Branch Church Business Meetings

The student of Christian Science who becomes a member of a branch church legitimately looks forward to taking his part in the affairs of the church and in its business meetings. Too often, however, he is dismayed because members, some of them of many years' standing, have not achieved that standard of perfection which he expected. He sees the apparent activity of error, hears personal opinions, and is upset. Just what had he expected? What exactly is a church business meeting, and what is to be accomplished there? Part of Mrs. Eddy's definition of "Church" in the Glossary in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 583) is as follows, "The structure of Truth and Love; whatever rests upon and proceeds from divine Principle." This refers to the Church universal, spiritual, and invisible to the material senses; the Church created and sustained by God alone. All of God's children are included in it. It is without creed or sect, and is governed solely by divine Love, its members rejoicing forever in the bliss of spiritual unity.

This being so, the members of the visible, humanly organized church are striving to be governed by this true sense of Church, and it is accomplishing its mission in human lives, as set forth in the second part of the definition, which reads, "The Church is that institution, which affords proof of its utility and is found elevating the race, rousing the dormant understanding from material beliefs to the apprehension of spiritual ideas and the demonstration of divine Science, thereby casting out devils, or error, and healing the sick." One can hardly expect all this to be brought about without some show of resistance on the part of mortal mind, and this is what the new church member is apt to overlook. He thinks that church is for those who have been entirely healed in Christian Science, instead of for all who are being healed, that is, spiritually regenerated, in Christian Science. If he realized that the healing work, only begun in the experience of each member, is going forward with all the grandeur and inevitability of divine law, he would not have so many struggles with disappointment, nor expect persons to be perfect, since he himself is not.

The real business to be transacted at a meeting is the Father's business, the business of reflecting God in a spirit of loving, humble gratitude, though the meeting may have to concern itself with by-laws, salaries, and the electing of officers. No meeting should ever be attended without consecrated prayer for unity, and for guidance in expressing what one feels to be right. Even should diametrically opposite opinions as to the solution of some problem confronting the membership be voiced, is that any occasion for two camps to be formed, for a sense of separation to be let in or for each side to contend for its own sense of right? No doubt one side is usually nearer right than the other, but just there is where we should watch out against self-righteousness, and be willing to wait on divine Mind until the right way becomes sufficiently clear to be jointly acted upon.

The Naturalness of Truth
September 21, 1935

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