The Sermon of the Emblem

A young student of Christian Science sat one day in a Christian Science Reading Room earnestly praying to find some small opening in the formidable wall of error which seemed to bar all approach to the New Jerusalem. There were in reality, she knew, no tears to be wiped away, no night of doubt to be lifted. Her gaze dropped to "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, which lay closed in her lap; and with that one gesture she not only found the opening but saw the whole wall crumble away and vanish.

She was looking at the emblem which is found on the cover of all of Mrs. Eddy's writings and on most of the Christian Science publications. It is a cross thrust through a crown, and around them twelve words. Looking at the cross, she realized that humanity has all unthinkingly fashioned for itself a cross of materiality, which bears us again and again to the ground with the weight we give it. Verily, the wall in her thought seemed hung with a hundred crosses! But she saw the crown, too, and remembered that there is an inevitable heaven of rejoicing for those who press upward and onward with a song, until they know that the cross has no reality, no weight, no fearsomeness. The girl noticed that the crown and not the cross is in the foreground, typifying eternal reality, the ever dominant note of the true creation. Then, like the quiet glow of a thousand candles, peace flooded her being. As eagerly as a castaway watching the approach of a tiny ship on the horizon, she read the twelve familiar words with a new, deeper understanding: "Heal the sick. Raise the dead. Cleanse the lepers. Cast out demons."

"Heal the sick"! Why surely, she thought, this could not mean sick bodies only! A sick heart needs healing too—a sick consciousness saturated with the lie of discouragement and failure. A sick faith that has shrunk and shrunk until there is scarcely any left, and a sick disposition which is entertaining such questionable guests as unjust criticism, false pride, tale-bearing, resentment—what of those? Do they not need healing too, and perhaps need it even more abundantly than a so-called sick body?

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"Increase our faith"
July 16, 1932

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