The Fellowship of Saints

Before coming into Christian Science one was accustomed to hear "the fellowship of the saints" discussed, and various theories advanced as to what the phrase really meant. Every time, however, one was left unsatisfied, conscious only that the desire for such fellowship was welling up afresh.

Since coming into Christian Science it has been seen that what had looked like a far-off possibility, perhaps to be enjoyed some day when one had reached a future heaven, could and should be realized here and now. Probably the initial mistake arose from the misapprehension of the meaning of the word "saint," which has from a worldly point of view been deprived of its original meaning. The remark, "He is such a saint," has often been accepted as applying to a priggish, tiresome person, whose mission in life seems to be an airing of his own perfections and other people's imperfections. The word "saint" as used by Paul was intended to describe one who was holy "by profession, by covenant, and by conversation." It will be readily seen that such a fellowship would indeed mean the fulfillment of what Mrs. Eddy describes in "Retrospection and Introspection" (p. 76) when she says, "The spiritually minded meet on the stairs which lead up to spiritual love."

That the apostles had this fellowship very clearly in view is apparent when we consider the frequent allusions to it in the epistles, embracing all conditions of what should constitute such relationship—the doing good and receiving good from one another. First, we have agreement or concord in doctrine. This is necessary for true communion or fellowship. Second, the duty of exhortation, by which is understood "to provoke unto love and to good works." Third, the duty of consolation to those needing loving encouragement. Fourth, that attitude of humility which rejoices in another's advancement rather than its own. Fifth, the tender compassion which, seeing an enemy hunger, feeds him. And last, that clear realization of perfectibility, embodied in the statement of John that "now are we the sons of God," a statement which completes and crystallizes the whole experience of Christian fellowship.

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June 14, 1924

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