For the whole human family
On a trip to Thailand some years ago, I visited the Sunday service of a Christian Science Society. As the first one to arrive, I sat in one of the small wooden chairs and waited. Soon, a sprightly gentleman arrived. His face alight, he asked if I would be willing to serve with him to read aloud the Bible Lesson-Sermon (found in the Christian Science Quarterly) that morning. Shortly, a few more local folks joined as the Christ message was read.
The gathering brought to mind the joy, love, and power of the early Christian community, referred to by Mary Baker Eddy, and a few first members of the Church of Christ, Scientist, when they voted “to organize a church designed to commemorate the word and works of our Master, which should reinstate primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing” (Church Manual, p. 17). In the service, we may have thought in different languages, but all experienced a sense of church in one Spirit. Anyone attending would have felt God’s, divine Love’s, healing touch and carried this Christly uplift out into the community. Each time and wherever this happens, the impact goes beyond our immediate surroundings to augment leavening the thought of “the whole human family.”
“The whole human family” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 98) was a phrase used by Mrs. Eddy, speaking in Chicago in 1888. It relates a powerful reason to come together as Christian Scientists and support each other: to find ways and means to not merely better ourselves but to help all humanity find within themselves the Christ-spirit already present.
Jesus set the standard. His healing work proved that when any heart yearns for wholeness—for a more complete expression of Life and being—such seeking thought inevitably awakens to the spiritual idea of God as Life and Love, revealing how to live together without fear.
This waking of thought brings healing, but isn’t just for the one healed. When Jesus restored vision to a blind man—who tossed off his beggar’s cloak to meet the Master and gain the sight that he knew should be his (see Mark 10:46–52)—the Christ presence also affected those nearby. They saw the blind beggar, Bartimaeus, as limited, defective—less than or different from what they considered the norm. Untaught and inexperienced in the oneness of Spirit, the conforming crowd would rather have prevented him from seeking healing than help him be healed.
But Christ-healing is more powerful than any such entrenched culture. Its truth cuts through misperceptions and conventions, false influences and wrong habits, and stirs dormant spirituality into life. The Christ-spirit recognizes and radiates a sense of humanity’s universality as children of one God, and dissipates silos of thought born of collective opinion, which are often in conflict with each other, dividing, not helping to realize a “whole” human family. When accepted into our hearts, Christ brings physical healing, but also does so much more. This truth affirms what unifies us all: our inseparability from one God as discerned through Christ, Truth, and our innate expression of God in our love for one another. In this case, that love shone through as the resistance of the crowds melted. They said to Bartimaeus, “Be of good comfort; rise, he calleth thee.” All had been touched by Christ’s presence.
Christly inclusiveness brings oneness and completeness to church, and therefore, to humanity. In church, all are welcome because all are needed, as much as the final chord to close a musical composition or the goalie to complete a soccer team. Even the “all” of humanity that we’ve never met is needed, and both the all we know and the all we haven’t yet met need and deserve our loving mental embrace.
Measured humanly, it’s a big ask trying to care for this global family. But it must be a doable task because it’s part of a “Daily Prayer” acknowledging God’s Word enriching “the affections of all mankind” (Manual, p. 41).
Supporting humanity in realizing these enriched affections requires a different type and degree of love. Mrs. Eddy shares this life-changing paradigm: “True prayer is not asking God for love; it is learning to love, and to include all mankind in one affection” (No and Yes, p. 39). Have you ever thought what it might feel like to be so inclusive in your prayers that the mental embrace of all of God’s creation is made possible? That doesn’t happen through self-absorption, but through the amplitude and elevation, the infinitude and ever-expanding nature, of God’s love for all—through knowing God’s Word and the Christ, the perfect idea of man, which is the true spiritual nature of everyone, without exception.
Human endeavor, with all the empathy we can muster, is, of itself, inadequate. But our God-originated spiritual sense embracing the whole of humanity makes such help achievable. We see, in that moment, the actual, already-present, divine wholeness of each family member. Only then can we say, “Be of good comfort; Christ-love beckons you because you are God’s loved individual creation, a necessary part of ‘the whole human family’ ”—one harmonious chord, protected.
Rich Evans, Member of the
Christian Science Board of Directors