Supporting Our Church Services
To thought spiritually illumined in Christian Science, going to church takes on a new meaning. Indeed, divine revelation makes "all things new." Churchgoing comes to mean something higher and holier than merely being in a certain building at a specified hour. It is vastly more than joining in congregational worship in the generally accepted sense. In fact, it so transcends the finite concept of the term that the material senses are unable to perceive or to meet its demands.
Our revered Leader, Mary Baker Eddy, in the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 583), defines "Church" in part as "the structure of Truth and Love; whatever rests upon and proceeds from divine Principle." The real Church, therefore, is wholly spiritual and exists in and of God, ever-present Love. Being spiritual, it is perfect, harmonious, complete, immutable, and immortal, untouched and unharried by the ever-changing and conflicting beliefs of material sense. It is governed, directed, and controlled by divine law. It is sustained by infinite divine Love. It proclaims the Christ-principle and the Christ-power, and none else besides.
In the next paragraph Mrs. Eddy further defines "Church" as "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."
Paul in his epistle to the Ephesians expresses praise to God, who "hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ ... and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all."
It was upon the spiritual foundation of the real Church, "eternal in the heavens," on the rock, Christ, that our Leader founded the Church of Christ, Scientist, The Mother Church and its branches. The edifice in which we gather for worship is material, like all things in the material world. It is the spiritual understanding and demonstration of real being, and of the real Church, which binds the members of our churches together, builds, maintains, and supports the edifices, guides and directs the affairs of the organization, and promotes and expands its usefulness on earth, casting out evils and healing the sick.
Going to church, then, to the Christian Scientist, means primarily the continuous spiritualization of one's consciousness, wherein one loses the false material sense of things and lays hold of the true. It is a purifying process whereby one brings with him to the church services a realization of the ever-present Christ, Truth, and its power to heal and to save. It is loving one's neighbor as oneself. It is subduing the human will and lovingly bowing to the divine plan, man's unity with his Maker, and demonstrating one's God-given dominion over all the earth. It is silently and humbly entering into the inner sanctuary of communion with God. In the proportion that we live what we understand of Truth, will our church services bring forth the fruits of the healing Christ, thereby blessing mankind and glorifying God.
The real Church is everywhere present, and the real man is ever at one with it. He could never be separated from it or be where it is not. A realization of the fact of man's ceaseless oneness with Church brings into evidence in our lives a greater love for and more fervent devotion to our church services and the work incidental to church organization. He who is gaining the true understanding of Church knows that it holds the key to the salvation of the whole world, and he will not be indifferent to "that institution, which affords proof of its utility and is found elevating the race."
The alert student does not let personal pleasure or a sense of apathy or indifference keep him from attending the church services. He does not listen to suggestions that would lessen his regular church attendance; for he has felt the touch of the healing Christ, and has been awakened to the noblest desire that one can have, that of having a part in bringing this Christ, Truth, to other hungry hearts.
It is indeed cause for gratitude that healings are constantly taking place at our church services. When church members realize the great privilege that is theirs in sustaining and supporting our church services by ever bearing in thought the real Church as "the structure of Truth and Love," healing such as took place in apostolic times will be more frequent, thus fulfilling our Leader's prayer (The First Church ofChrist, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 182), "May the wanderer in the wilderness of mortal beliefs and fears turn hither with satisfied hope."