As a college student, I learned about Christian Science for the first time. Within a few months of studying Christian Science seriously, I realized that I needed the spiritual support and solid grounding in the practice of Christian Science that class instruction affords.
As I prayed about a teacher, a name came to thought, and I made an appointment to interview her about class instruction. During our conversation, she encouraged me to pray and think about the 23rd Psalm and the 91st Psalm. I gained much spiritual insight from her loving counsel, but did not feel directed by God to apply to her for class.
A couple of months later, a teacher I had heard speak at a youth meeting sponsored by The Mother Church came to thought. When I met with him, he spoke for the better part of an hour about how Mary Baker Eddy had suspended class instruction in 1897 so her teachers and students could study her newly published Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896. Because there are 12 chapters in this book, he recommended that I take a chapter a month, really dig into it, and turn its ideas over in my thought, like a farmer would turn the soil over and break up the clods of dirt to prepare it for the seed. He said this study and deep prayer would prepare my thought for the seed of the inspired Word of God that class instruction provides.
He then shared an experience that showed to him how God governs student and teacher in the unfoldment of class instruction. He had accepted 30 students—the maximum allowed under the Church Manual by Mrs. Eddy (see p. 84). Class was to start in about a week. Then one of these new pupils phoned to say that this man no longer felt like his right teacher. The teacher then asked this individual, “Who really inspires you as a teacher?”
The student named a teacher in another state. The teacher he was rejecting called this other teacher to discuss the situation. The other teacher was about to begin his class in a week and also had a full class of 30 students. One of his pupils had contacted him and indicated a preference for having class with the teacher he was talking to on the phone. Both teachers had a good laugh, and agreed to swap the two students. So everyone involved was where God wanted them to be for class instruction.
I was inspired and animated by my interview with this teacher, but I still did not feel I’d found the right one for me.
Many decades later, class instruction is still a rock in my experience.
A couple of months later, I was involved with an activity of our campus Christian Science Organization. We had set up a table in the Student Union building to share Christian Science literature with anyone who was interested. A Bible verse on a poster that a local Reading Room had given to us read, “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left” (Isaiah 30:21).
As I prayed with this Bible verse that morning, I knew that the teacher who was right for me was the other teacher from the above story—the one I had not met or talked to on the phone. I asked his secretary for an application, which I filled out and sent to him. He accepted me without my ever meeting him or talking to him on the phone. I trusted God’s Word to “lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (Psalms 61:2), and God answered my prayer.
Some time after class, I looked again at the Bible verse from Isaiah and realized that the other teachers I had interviewed had helped prepare my thought for the right teacher, at the right time, in the right place.
Many decades later, class instruction is still a rock in my experience and a demonstration from which many other demonstrations have followed. I would highly recommend class instruction to anyone serious about their desire to grow spiritually. God will lead you to your teacher.
Richard Requarth is a Christian Science practitioner.
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