Church Building

When a branch Church of Christ, Scientist, attains the stage in its development which necessitates the building of a suitable structure in which to worship God, the nature of Church and the teaching of our Leader on this point should be the subject of careful study on the part of all the members, including those intrusted with the details of the work. On page 583 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" Mrs. Eddy gives the following illuminating definition of "Church": "The structure of Truth and Love; whatever rests upon and proceeds from divine Principle. The Church is that institution, which affords proof of its utility and is found elevating the race, rousing the dormant understanding form material beliefs to the apprehension of spiritual ideas and the demonstration of divine Science, thereby casting out devils, or error, and healing the sick." Obviously, the first sentence refers to the spiritual idea, Church, to that perpetual going forth of the divine energy which heals and blesses impartially all who seek its ministrations with a clean heart. The second part of the definition designates the human activity which follows an apprehension of the true idea first indicated.

The establishment to-day of a permanent home for a church organization is foreshadowed in the construction of the tabernacle by Moses, and in the erection of the temple in Jerusalem by Solomon. It should be noted that God directed the builders in both of these instances, and that the offerings of money and materials were voluntary and spontaneous. A hint regarding procedure may be taken from the experiences of David as related in II Samuel and in I Chronicles. When David conceived the plan of building a house for God in Jerusalem, he revealed his purpose to the prophet Nathan, who at first indorsed it unreservedly. But we read that the word of God came to Nathan that night saying, "Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the Lord, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in?... I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime." Obedient to the prophet's injunction, David abandoned his project and devoted his efforts to gathering together materials for future use.

Even as the tabernacle and the temple were the visible symbols of God's presence with His people, the church edifice we erect to-day evidences a consciousness of the omnipresence of divine Principle, God, "who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases." The completed structure should embody beauty, dignity, and simplicity, and should express the characteristics of quietude and peace. It will stand as an oasis in the desert of human fears and longings toward which the parched thought of sin-sick humanity may turn with the sweet assurance of surcease from its sickness and woes; its atmosphere will be that animus of spirituality which the true Christian Scientist naturally exhales, and which is the result of obedience to the teaching of Jesus, "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you." This attitude of brotherly affection and regard is conducive to growth and expansion, and is the fulfillment of God's requirement. Where these conditions obtain, it may safely be said that we have builded well.

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Truth and Tolerance
September 8, 1928

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