Compassing the City

We have arrived at the halfway point in the twentieth century. Of this century our beloved Leader, Mary Baker Eddy, writes in "Pulpit and Press" (p. 22), "If the lives of Christian Scientists attest their fidelity to Truth, I predict that in the twentieth century every Christian church in our land, and a few in far-off lands, will approximate the understanding of Christian Science sufficiently to heal the sick in his name. Christ will give to Christianity his new name, and Christendom will be classified as Christian Scientists."

"Christendom will be classified as Christian Scientists"! Surely our Leader is telling us here that the Word of God as interpreted in Christian Science must cover the earth "as the waters cover the sea."

As Christian Scientists we are being called, as was Joshua, to "arise, go over this Jordan ... from the wilderness ... even unto the great river, the river Euphrates," and "all the land of the Hittites ... unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun" (Josh. 1:2, 4). Significantly, in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 585) Mrs. Eddy has interpreted the river Euphrates in part as, "Divine Science encompassing the universe and man;... metaphysics taking the place of physics."

Before Joshua and his band stood Jericho, a walled city which resisted the children of Israel, just as the materialism of community thinking would resist the progress of Christian Science with all its great benefits today. How are we to break through these walls of resistance and "take the city"?

In the sixth chapter of Joshua we read: "And the Lord said unto Joshua ... Ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war. ... So the ark of the Lord compassed the city. ... And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they rose early about the dawning of the day, and compassed the city after the same manner seven times."

How are we today to compass the city with the ark of the Lord? Will it not be through compassing the community in our prayers—through realization that all in it are the children of one Father? How much better for us and the community that we do such embracing, rather than let the community embrace us in its materialism!

Here is a point we might well consider: Is our thinking as Christian Scientists having as much effect upon the community as the community is having upon our thinking? The thinking of the community may be largely negative in its materialism. Certain aspects of this materialism assume the right to outline and determine what shall be the thought and even the experience of the community. Can it be that the cause of many of our unsolved church problems, and perhaps some of our unsolved individual problems, lies in the unhandled resistance of this community thought to the activity of the Christ-idea in its midst?

The movement of Christian Science properly embraces the community in its loving purpose. It leads to the divine heights of spiritual understanding and demonstration.

It reveals for each individual his God-derived identity, and so affords redemption for all from bondage to materialism. In the redemptive activity of Christian Science a practitioner heals an individual, the church heals a community, and the churches heal the nations.

In Science and Health Mrs. Eddy writes (p. 561): "John saw the human and divine coincidence, shown in the man Jesus, as divinity embracing humanity in Life and its demonstration,—reducing to human perception and understanding the Life which is God." In other words, the divinity of Church embraces the humanity of the community in Life and its demonstration, making mankind aware of the Life which is God. Therefore, while we obey the laws of the land, it is our privilege to demonstrate metaphysically the divine fact that each Christian Science service, each lecture, each treatment—all of which we might think of as "the ark of the Lord"—compasses or embraces the community as a law of good and of healing and is in no way embraced, limited, or impeded by it.

What are some of the fundamental divine ideas which constitute this ark of the Lord? One fact which Christian Science reveals is that the community in which we live is in reality the community of God's ideas under the control of divine Mind, rather than a community of mortals under the domination of mortal mind. Therefore, right where a mortal appears to mortal sense, the divine identity appears to enlightened human thought, and Truth replaces the object of sense with the idea of Soul. What a blessing awaits a community that is being embraced by such realization!

Another spiritual fact, or divine idea, is that nothing has ever changed the status of man as a son of God. He is not a mortal. He is not under the delusion that matter is substance, that evil is real, or that sin, disease, and death are inevitable. This fact is now being reduced to human perception and understanding through the teachings of Christian Science and the demonstrations which attest the correctness of these teachings.

These, and a host of other facts, are available today through the Church of Christ, Scientist.

The healing power of such right thinking, consciously embracing the community, is illustrated in the experience of a busy practitioner who was being besieged with calls for help at a time when she had planned on doing metaphysical work in preparation for a Christian Science lecture to be given that evening.

Instead of letting herself become concerned about the agitation in these cases, she saw the disturbances as simply the manifestation of community resistance to the lecture. She then worked to embrace the community in her recognition that the Word of God, expressing itself as the lecture, embraced everyone in the community and was a law to it. She also realized that the law could not be resisted or reversed because it established God as the only Mind, in whom is no consciousness of anything but perfection, and nothing that needs healing.

As she dwelt on this sense of the presence of divine Love embracing the community in terms of the lecture, the tone of the reports she was receiving over the telephone changed completely. Two claims of relapse in cases of contagious disease were met. In one case, bodily functions which had been inactive for five days became normal within ten minutes. An attack of migraine headache was nullified. And a young girl who had just suffered an accident and had been near hysteria was comforted and restored to freedom. The ark of the Lord had compassed that community with healing.

This constructive attitude toward the community was also manifested by an Assistant Committee on Publication whose function it was to arrange for the printing of a Christian Science lecture in a local newspaper. The advance copy of the lecture was read carefully with the view of determining what, if anything, would be of particular benefit to the community at that time. The Committee checked several items and then approached the editor, who immediately reminded him of the paper shortage, mentioning that if that much space was made available to the Christian Scientists other churches would want similar consideration.

The Committee said, in substance: "I took all of this into consideration before I came to you, and I was determined not to ask anything of you that I would not grant if our positions were reversed. I have gone over this lecture carefully and feel that your publishing it would be a distinct benefit to this community. In fact, if an outstanding statesman were to come here and say some of the things that are in this lecture, you would place his remarks on the front page."

Together they considered several marked paragraphs. The Committee heard the editor say to himself, "This is fine!" In a short time he agreed to publish the full report of the lecture as a benefit to the community. Again the ark of the Lord, compassing that city, had broken down the walls of mortal resistance.

"And it came to pass," the account of Joshua continues, "when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city."

The Word of God is supreme. When the ark of the Lord, the Christ-idea of divine Love active in our thinking, embraces our community, the city of materialism gives way to the city described by the Revelator that lieth foursquare and descends "out of heaven" from God.

The Lord's promise to Joshua stands today as a promise to us in the healing and redemptive work of Christian Science: "I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. ... Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. ... Pass through the host ... for ... ye shall ... go in to possess the land, which the Lord your God giveth you."

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The Healing Efficacy of Christian Science
July 22, 1950
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