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Lives Inspired by Mary Baker Eddy's Example

A historian’s perspective

From the March 2011 issue of The Christian Science Journal

As a historian of Christian Science, one of the most illuminating and fundamental truths I have learned is that as useful as historical work can be, a perception of Mary Baker Eddy’s role can be gained only by spiritual study and prayer. In fact, an emphasis on her personal history can even interfere with this perception. That may sound strange for a historian to say, but perhaps an experience will illustrate what I mean.

A few years ago, while I was researching Mrs. Eddy’s history, the divine directive came to set aside for the moment all academics and simply pray to understand her better. After a timeless day of all-absorbing prayer, a great sense of love for her came to me. This love was not sentimental but richly appreciative, the type of admiration one feels for a good friend. It was a happy time, with daily pressures and woes far from thought. I caught a thankful, yet sober, glimmer of what Mrs. Eddy did for humanity by following Jesus more closely than anyone else has or will. She brought to earth the Comforter he promised God would send, completing Biblical prophecy, which involved more than I, or anyone, can fully grasp. As she wrote: “Millions may know that I am the Founder of Christian Science. I alone know what that means” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 249).

Science and Health explains that if we are to demonstrate the healing presence of Love, God, in our lives, we need to have a true sense of “anyone whom God has appointed to voice His Word” (p. 560). That day, I gained a clearer and more “true estimate of God’s messenger,” and it resulted in a clear demonstration of Love’s presence and care.

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