Are We Building?

How does the Christian Scientist build a church? To be consistent, it is evident that he cannot build it out of matter, even though the continuous sound of the hammer and chisel may seem to authorize such a view. The world watches the so-called material structure rising day after day under the hands of the busy workmen, and it says, This is the church which the Christian Scientists are building. But the Christian Scientist knows better. He knows that the Christian Science church is already built, and that the edifice which is becoming visible to the community is but the outward type and symbol of that perfect spiritual idea, the real church, "an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." He also knows that unless he has this perfect model ever before him, he is not building at all. The church which the world sees may present an imposing appearance; it may be very large and stately, and it may have cost a great deal of money; yet one knows that unless he has built on the right foundation, he has done nothing, for a display of matter is not a Christian Science church. Unless the true substance has entered into every grain and fiber of its construction, our Leader says, "though you should build to the heavens, you would build on sand" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 135).

The building of a Christian Science church is a metaphysical process. Building is knowing; it is realization. Building, like healing, is a grateful acknowledgment of that which God has already done. Healing, as the Christian Scientist understands it, is not an attempt to change matter, so that sick matter shall presently become well matter; it is rather a looking away from matter altogether, to contemplate instead that perfect spiritual being which needs no healing, for its "builder and maker is God." Similarly in the building upon which the Christian Scientist enters, no attempt is made to change matter, to pile it up, brick by brick and stone by stone, until it finally assumes such shape that the world says, The church is finished. Rather does he look away from matter, to contemplate instead that spiritual creation, the real church, not being built, but already finished, not to be made perfect and complete, but, like the real man, to be seen and acknowledged as already perfect and complete, because God made it so.

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July 4, 1914
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