"Christian encouragement"

ON page 367 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy we read, "The tender word and Christian encouragement of an invalid, pitiful patience with his fears and the removal of them, are better than hecatombs of gushing theories, stereotyped borrowed speeches, and the doling of arguments, which are but so many parodies on legitimate Christian Science, aflame with divine Love."

A student of Christian Science was once pondering this statement of our beloved Leader, and at the time the word "encouragement" stood out above the others. How often in one's experience has a word of encouragement uttered by a friend been of inestimable value in the working out of a problem! A person groping about in a dark room may know well that he needs only to find the electric light switch in order to flood the room with brightness; he knows that it is available, but for the moment he has lost his bearings and cannot locate the switch. He needs only the little gleam, say from a match, and at once the whole situation is transformed; he no longer has to grope about, but at once proceeds to employ the means by which he will have the benefit of a well-lighted room. Although it is not the light from the match that now provides the illumination, yet it must be acknowledged that its momentary gleam played a very useful preliminary part. And so, when the way in human experience seems obscure, a word of encouragement will indeed be a gleam of light, healing and comforting.

"Christian encouragement" is surely needful, not only to the one looking for physical or moral help, but also to the newer member of a Christian Science church. Filled with the desire to be of service to the Cause which he already knows is going to bring the fulfillment of the prophecy of "on earth peace, good will toward men," this member has taken an important step in his career as a student of Christian Science. Insomuch as this step is eminently a right one, should he not receive every encouragement from those who have gone somewhat ahead of him in point of experience? What is to be the attitude of the older member toward him? Is it to be one of "Christian encouragement," or is it to be one which is continually saying, The way is hard; there are lions in the path, and you are young in Science? Surely not this latter; for such an attitude would tend to retard the growth not only of the individual, but also of the Cause which we love so well. The older member knows, on the contrary, that should the younger be elected to office he can be guided and governed by divine Mind, and that his every step can be protected by Love. Such knowing would in itself be an encouragement, and would be expressed in such a way that the newcomer would be helped to feel that the one Mind is indeed in operation, and that in reflecting this Mind each is capable of doing well his part in the carrying on of the Christian Science organization.

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Tending the Light
April 30, 1932

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