FOUNDATIONS FOR CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP

Mary Baker Eddy's vision for fellowship in her Church.

Through the centuries—from Jesus' time till now—Christians have known the vital importance of joining together in fellowship. As a young woman, Mary Baker Eddy, who began publishing the Sentinel in 1898, enjoyed Christian fellowship as an active member of the Congregational Church. And she saw fellowship as vitally important for members of the Church she herself founded. But what specifically does uniting in fellowship mean for members of the Church of Christ, Scientist?

As a dedicated Christian, it was natural for Mrs. Eddy to turn to the teachings of Jesus for inspiration. In his ministry Jesus proclaimed the coming of the Kingdom of God, in which God would reign unopposed and His children would live in perfect love and harmony. In response to a question as to which was the greatest of all commandments, Jesus said: "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.' The second is this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself'" (Mark 12:30, 31, New Revised Standard Version). For Jesus, these two commandments embodied the essential values of the Kingdom, and he expected his disciples to then and there live these values by obedience to God and by radically loving and caring for each other. In fact, Jesus said that this aspect of fellowship was the way by which people could identify true Christians: "By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:35, NRSV).

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