"Up to the age of twenty"

While enjoying the many blessings which are afforded those who attend the Christian Science Sunday School, one of the pupils found the time approaching when her attendance must cease. The By-Law stating, Pupils may be received in the Sunday School classes of any Church of Christ, Scientist, up to the age of twenty years" (Manual, p. 62), which had heretofore been read perfunctorily, now became of serious importance. Merely to obey the letter and ignore the spirit of the By-Law by holding to a sense of loss, she knew would not be loyal obedience to our beloved Leader, Mary Baker Eddy, or to Jesus who said: "It is the spirit that quickeneth." Therefore she began to study the By-Law for the spiritual meaning, turning to divine Love to guide her and open her eyes to the blessing to be gained through the experience which her imperfect sense had pictured as a future lack.

A few days later, as she sat pondering the thoughts which had come as a result of her prayerful study, she was called into the yard. For some time a nest of young birds had been of much interest to the household, and now the mother-bird had decided it was time for the nestlings to fly. The young birds, however, were timid, and in spite of the mother's coaxing and assurance that they all would be safe, they would not venture to try their own wings. With great patience she tried to persuade them to leave the nest, but it seemed that fright overcame some of them each time they endeavored to fly. Finally the mother-bird got into the nest, and amidst her chirping directions began gently to shove one little bird from the nest. When he found he was crowded out, he naturally took to wing and found to his surprise that he could fly. It was but a little way at first, but gradually as his courage increased he was able to fly a little farther, thus overcoming the limitations he had placed upon himself. Gently and lovingly the mother-bird worked with each one, until all had learned the same lesson.

This manifestation of the mother-love of the bird forcing the nestlings to fly suddenly became fraught with deep meaning to the young woman who had thought the leaving of Sunday school to be such a problem. To her it seemed that the nest typified the Sunday school, where the child-thought is fed and instructed. Then these words by Mrs. Eddy (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 371) unfolded still more to her: "I would not transform the infant at once into a man, nor would I keep the suckling a lifelong babe."

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Knowing God
August 11, 1928

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