Our Church Services

Estimating the future progress of Christian Science by the past two decades of its history, one is reminded of our Leader's prophetic statement at the time of the dedication of the original edifice of The Mother Church in 1895: "If the lives of Christian Scientists attest their fidelity to Truth, I predict that in the twentieth century every Christian church in our land, and a few in far-off lands, will approximate the understanding of Christian Science sufficiently to heal the sick in his name" (Pulpit and Press, p. 22). Is it, then, too distant a goal to vision the whole world finally saved from its woes by the ministrations of Christian Science? A due realization of the magnitude of the work of Christian Science rebukes the trivial, the indifferent, and the complaining attitude of thought, and all that would retard or obstruct it ceases to attract the attention of those who have identified themselves with its stupendous mission.

Among the means provided for furthering the mission of Christian Science are the public services of the church. It is imperative, therefore, that Christian Scientists should guard their thoughts against the intrusion of anything that would tend to obscure their scientific sense of the relation of the church services to the progress of the cause, and it should never be forgotten that healing must always be the keynote of these services. We open wide our doors, not that the public may enter and be charmed with an artistic edifice or delighted with a musical performance; not that the esthetic sense may be gratified, but that through the promulgation of the gospel of our great Master the sick and the sinning may be healed. At this period of our history, when beautiful structures are multiplying and prosperity is attending our efforts, it is well for Christian Scientists not to become enamored with the material. When artistic perfection begins to enthrall, spirituality begins to wane. Wise is he who remembers the crude externals under which the cause progressed in its early days. Such a one realizes that all which makes Christian Science worth while is its transcendent spirituality. In the enjoyment of prosperity it gives mental poise to contrast its rugged beginnings with the finished product of its assured future.

There should always be uppermost the conviction that the public services of the Christian Science church have their raison d'être in their healing work, and every church-member should feel the responsibility of clearly realizing this truth during the public reading of the Lesson-Sermon. If each does his whole duty in this respect, he will not have time either to laud or to criticize adversely the personality of the readers or their service. He will be alert to see that in devoting his attention to such subsidiary matters he temporarily interdicts the appearing of Truth in his own consciousness. Either praise or blame of the readers indicates a lapse on the part of the hearer. Thought should be focused upon something immeasurably higher than vocal technique, if the Christian Science pulpit is to give out the word "with signs following." No less obvious is it that readers should discourage criticism of their work from members of the congregation. The reader who loses sight of the spiritual import and efficiency of the word of God in his belief that his reading is exceedingly gratifying to the congregation, makes a stupendous mistake.

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