Freedom and Service

At the present hour as never before people are compelled by the exigencies of these times to examine closely their own standards and then watch to see whether they are living up to them. The trouble with many is that they assume a dignity to which they are not entitled, for the simple reason that they have not worked up to it. It is, for instance, foolish to talk of the dignity of service while unwilling to engage in it, and this may have been one of the age-abiding lessons given by Christ Jesus when he washed the disciples' feet. When Peter grasped the deep import of this object lesson, he no longer shrank from having his Master perform what seemed a menial service, and this will be readily understood by the Christian Scientist who knows that the demands of Principle rest upon us in all we do from the least thing to the greatest. On page 166 of "Miscellaneous Writings" Mrs. Eddy says: "This spiritual idea, or Christ, entered into the minutiæ of the life of the personal Jesus. It made him an honest man, a good carpenter, and a good man, before it could make him the glorified."

A number of years ago some advanced thinkers declared that in order to maintain the dignity of labor as well as to bring individual freedom to all men, head and hands should be educated together. This was undoubtedly right, only we must not forget that in life's great school when any task is wrought up to the point of perfection a higher task is given, and while we must never lose sight of the perfect ideals of Mind, we shall have to "work out" these ideals on the human plane in the way which is best not only for ourselves but for all others. The trying experiences of this period are forcing mortals to shake off the fetters of pride and indolence, and head and hands alike are engaged in responding to the call for loving service in the name of brotherhood.

It is noteworthy at this point that the example has been set by men and women of the highest culture, who have cheerfully undertaken tasks from which the most ordinary laborer would shrink, especially in the field hospitals and other lines of service in the war stricken areas. It is said that many women holding college degrees have toiled with others of refinement, education, and high social position, in digging drains and otherwise preparing field hospitals for the reception of the wounded, and of course caring for these after they were brought in. While the women who remain at home are not called upon to work in this way, their hands as well as their thoughts are employed as never before, and they rejoice in applying, possibly in a new way, Paul's words to the Philippians, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." In working bravely and unselfishly they discover the close relation which exists between freedom and service.

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War and Peace
September 7, 1918

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