Distinguished Service Order

THESE words convey a world of meaning in human experience; they stand for a military decoration given for prompt action taken oblivious of personal safety; for a recognition of achievement, of victory. Two pictures present themselves to me: A young man in command of a company of men, who, having taken part in a reconnaissance in force and taken possession of one of the enemy's trenches, when the counterattack developed and the time came for retiring saw that all his men were out of the trench before he was, and after successfully repulsing the first attack of the enemy sprinted back to the lines, taking advantage of any available cover, and safely rejoined his men.

Another picture: A young officer patiently training men year in and year out, keeping up their enthusiasm in their work and imparting it, in spite of all difficulties; and then straightening the line, and unfailingly giving in dispatches to his general. What was their distinguished service which entitled them to the D. S. O.? They, like many, many others, had simply done what to them was the obvious, most natural thing in the world to do; they had put the safety of their fellow men before their own, just as Christian Scientists are doing all the world over. They had no sense of disappointment at not getting a decoration, because it had never entered into their thought, and therefore the world's recognition or lack of it could neither give them anything nor take anything away. The brotherhood of man was so much a part of their daily life that "my safety" and "thy safety" were one, and that Christ-sense had stilled every suggestion of self-preservation at another's expense. Is not this, too, the "way of the Lord" in Christian Science—the way of preparation for the D. S. O. of Spirit, the "Well done, thou good and faithful servant . . . enter thou into the joy of thy lord"?

Mrs. Eddy says on page 15 of her Message to The Mother Church for 1901, "The Christian Scientist has enlisted to lessen sin, disease, and death, and he overcomes them through Christ, Truth, teaching him that they cannot overcome us;" and in Miscellany, page 194, she says, "Only those men and women gain greatness who gain themselves in a complete subordination of self." From the nature of the activity of good, as one awakens to the fact that good is the Life, the Principle of his being, there is an hourly reaching out and striving for perfection in all things,—from a desire for a better understanding of government and a truer representation of the people, to adopting the many methods of saving unnecessary labor and for making less drudgery in experience, as seen in the "ideal homes" and many kindred exhibitions. Truly has Mrs. Eddy said, "The only logical conclusion is that all is Mind and its manifestation, from the rolling of worlds, in the most subtle ether, to a potato-patch" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 26). John said, "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith,"—in other words, our understanding of the true nature and character of God and man, which comes from silent victories over malice, envy, evil thinking and speaking; victories that no one knows anything about, because the untruths believed about God and His perfect spiritual creation are blotted out and there is no recollection of them; those nameless victories over sense and self that prepare for the day when materiality has been so expunged that there remains nothing but the reflection of Spirit, which thinks, speaks, and acts only as the Father-Mother God directs. That surely is the "D. S. O." of Spirit, and that is an ever expanding sense of Life and activity, blessing all upon whom thought rests. In that consciousness there is no personal sense to offend or be offended, no temptation to be seen or heard of men, to be accounted great in metaphysics or physics, but just an expression of the unselfed love that melts away all the sorrow and suffering and sin, the suspicion and the doubt, and bears unflinching witness to Truth, the truth about God and man in His image and likeness.

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Right Knowing
August 14, 1920

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