Why Do We Go to Church?

To attend divine service at least once on Sunday has been the custom of religious people for centuries; and certainly thus to serve God is manifestly the duty of men. In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 40) Mrs. Eddy writes, "It is sad that the phrase divine service has come so generally to mean public worship instead of daily deeds." In Christian Science, God is recognized as infinite, ever present Love, and Jesus the Christ as the perfect Example and Way-shower for us all. Jesus proved his love for his heavenly Father by the service which he rendered to men. He went about doing good; and on the Sabbath he continued to do good and to heal the sick without neglecting the public worship which had been established of old. His service was perpetual; ours must be the same: we must serve in private and in public, if we are to follow our Way-shower sincerely.

It is sometimes asked: "Why need Christian Scientists go to church? They realize that God 'dwelleth not in temples made with hands,' and they study the Lesson-Sermon daily at home. Is not this enough?" Many of those who now attend Christian Science services were brought up to worship with a more ornate ritual, and have come to learn from experience of the healing which results from taking their proper part in the simplicity of the Christian Science Sunday services and Wednesday evening testimony meetings. To do this, it is not enough merely to attend the services, to listen to the reading, to share in the hymns. We do not go to church to listen to beautiful music in dreamy satisfaction, or to take advantage of the quiet time to form our plans for the coming week. The purpose of the service is to heal; and in this healing process each one present has his share. As Christian Scientists we go to church to give, not just to receive. The money we put in the collection plate is but a part of what we have to bestow.

Mrs. Eddy's divinely inspired wisdom has given us our Quarterly Bible Lessons; and each one who has studied the subject of the lesson during the week brings with him his store of understanding, which he contributes to the whole. We should each be as familiar with the lesson for the day as though we might be called upon to occupy the Reader's desk ourselves at a moment's notice. The Readers give audible voice to the sermon, but the preaching must also come silently from the pews in order that the full effect may be felt. It is as if each one were a servant in attendance, bringing a lighted torch in his hand, holding it aloft in the darkness of the so-called human mind. The more torches there are, the brighter is the illumination for all; so that from our place of worship should go forth a glow of love and truth that will shine with healing ray far over the whole community.

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Real Freedom
October 4, 1924

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