Working in the Church

There was an educator who discovered a beautiful ideal for the instruction and development of young children, and he phrased a motto for parents in the words: "Come, let us with our children live." It was not very long before this motto appeared with a word changed. Parents had it, Let us for our children live. So the children, instead of finding the joy of fellowship with their parents, found these parents becoming persons serious and sad and far off from their lives, ever devising plans and arrangements for making their children walk the narrow path hedged on either side with thorn bushes of the "must not" variety, or for incarcerating them in a prison house built up on all sides with "don'ts." Working for her child, a poverty-stricken mother will dress the unhappy being in absurd finery, and get into a rage of vexation if in any action native to a child it disarranges or defiles this costly expression of her pride. Then where there is wealth, and fine raiment is usual, the child is programmed for and spends the day with teachers of language and music and deportment, because the seldom seen parents are planning for her welfare. Manifestly a democratic ideal for home is where parents and children dwell together, every one learning from the others, the parents finding a joyous relationship with the children, the children adding their gladness to brighten the home.

If the Christian Scientist gains a metaphysical view of church he will be content to work in the church. Then his happiness will grow and his usefulness will keep pace with his happiness, which is indeed his "joy in the Lord." But if one is misled into any sense of self-importance and tries to work for the church, immediately then he engages in planning and materialistic outlining. Anyone who dreams out programs for other free people, and tries to force them into set ways which they are not ready to choose for themselves, invites conflict. What is autocracy but mortal mind laying down its law, and in seeking its own advantage making a narrow program for men and nations with the claim to benefit them? And democracy—what is that but the struggle of the child to be free to engage in activities natural to happy childhood, or the endeavor of the man to develop his own nature and talents with joy, or the struggle of the nation to build up its own characteristic institutions and government?

Here is where Christian Science is at this hour invaluable because it can offer the thing most needed, namely, example. There are churches in the movement, branches of that living vine, The Mother Church, which have been already pruned for fruit-bearing, that is, purged of vainglory and self-will and personal leadership, so that their work goes on by demonstration and in that way illustrates Principle. In these churches rotation in office is understood and the increment of good realized which follows obedience to this ideal. Our Leader sets this forth graphically when she says (Miscellany, p. 250): "Rotation in office promotes wisdom, quiets mad ambition, satisfies justice, and crowns honest endeavors." As the years go by, increasing numbres of those who have learned how to work by working in various offices continue to do their metaphysical work in the church as exemplars of harmony and examples of obedience to Principle.

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Consecration and Protection
February 23, 1918

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