An invaluable resource
In the first of two editorials considering the value of the Christian Science
periodicals, Editor Ethel Baker speaks with Associate Editor Tony Lobl.
Tony: As Editor of The Christian Science Journal, the Sentinel, and The Herald of Christian Science, what’s your sense of their value to the world?
Ethel: Evidence keeps mounting that the Science of Christ is effectual—is humanity’s panacea. Because God is at the helm, the reality of a good God guarantees that there’s an answer to whatever the human family may face. This statement would, of course, be overreaching if we were talking about anything other than following Christ Jesus’ path of knowing God and employing this spiritual understanding in meeting even the greatest of needs. If you read the periodicals consistently over time, you know that somebody, somewhere in the world, has met a challenge similar to one you may be facing and has successfully dealt with it through prayer and their practice of Christian Science. This evidence has been chronicled daily, weekly, and monthly for well over a century.
That echoes what was happening in New Testament times.
Yes. To me, each of these periodicals is a vehicle that captures the ways in our times that we’re grasping the immortal Truth—the healing Truth—that Jesus and his early followers proved. The publications need to keep “abreast of the times,” as the Manual of The Mother Church says (Mary Baker Eddy, p. 44). So they utilize advances in means of communication and address the needs and challenges of the times we live in. The divine metaphysics at the core of each article and testimony is universal, ageless, absolute, and is captured in the context of each new advancement Spiritward, because that’s where we’re headed. We’re headed to God even as we come from God. It’s the only destination, just as it’s our only origin. And it’s the greatest gift to see that. The human heart hungers for this. Jesus described it as hungering and thirsting after righteousness—after right or true thinking, or “holy thoughts and heavenly strain, / That make men one in love remain,” as a poem by Mrs. Eddy puts it (Poems, p. 6). Jesus’ words refer to being starved and parched. So the spiritual is our deepest need and our deepest desire.
Subscribing to the Christian Science periodicals feeds thought in the best possible way.
So in relation to the periodicals, we can say that people won’t be satisfied with just a little bit of spiritual nourishment. They’re searching for the Science, the infinite Truth that will forever satisfy their hunger and quench their thirst.
And when people find that divine food, they know it because it’s feeding them in a way that nothing else can. Certainly, the human family, in a thousand ways, is seeking this discovery and its evidence, this absolute Truth. The human mind is endeavoring to substitute people, material means and methods, and matter-based systems and organizations, but nothing satisfies the hungering heart except Truth’s spiritual nourishment. And the more we discern Truth, the more we wish to discern it.
My experience of the Christian Science magazines is that they are priceless, yet they come with a price tag. What if we don’t have enough money to subscribe?
I agree that the periodicals are invaluable—meaning that they have worth beyond any financial amount. Mrs. Eddy uses the words “can afford” in the Manual By-Law about subscribing to the periodicals (p. 44), and when concerned about issues we face ourselves and desiring to embrace humanity’s broader needs in healing prayer, we really can’t afford to be without them. I became convinced of that during college. My parents subscribed to the Sentinel for me then, and at one point a new Jewish friend was healed overnight of a dislocated shoulder and fractured arm just through reading a couple of Sentinels I’d shared with her. She knew nothing of Christian Science before reading them.
After college I subscribed to the Sentinel myself. During a time when I was living on my own and paying school debts, I ran low on money and was out of food—and my subscription came up for renewal. The thought “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33) came to me. I realized I needed the ideas in this magazine more than anything else. So I renewed, and the next day, a friend, though not knowing of my need, brought around a bag of groceries.
I’ve found that subscribing to the Christian Science periodicals feeds thought in the best possible way. It’s putting God and our spiritual needs first, which in turn encourages and enables us to discern and address needs beyond our own. In this way, these magazines bring to the surface and satisfy a deep desire within us to exercise our unselfed love for others and help forward the advancement of all humanity Spiritward. This impetus to be the healers we are intrinsically capable of being is the value inherent in every issue.