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One Shepherd and One Fold

From the August 1976 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Christ Jesus was speaking to a mixed group, including some of the Pharisees and others, when he referred to himself as the good shepherd who knew his sheep and was known of them. "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold," he said, "them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd."John 10:16; Since that time Christianity has spread all over the globe, and hundreds of thousands of churches based on Jesus' teachings have been established for the worship of God.

Today, however, we can see two distinct trends in religious thought—a disenchantment with organized collective worship and a startling growth of interest in spiritual things drawing people together. While churches of many Christian denominations have been viewing with concern their dwindling congregations, an exceptionally strong wave of curiosity about the deeper meaning of existence has sprung up. College courses on religion and metaphysics are often oversubscribed; there has been a boom in the publication and sale of religious books; and great numbers of earnest people crowd together to listen to popular evangelists, charismatic preachers, and gurus.

There evidently exists today a deep yearning in human hearts to discover what man truly—spiritually—is, to have an awareness of identity in the infinite, divine oneness, and to feel a kinship with fellow men and women. But at the same time there is resistance to church as an institution, that church which ideally is the visible human expression of the invisible, spiritual structure of God's creation, constituting true being.