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Church Alive

CHURCH. The structure of Truth and Love; whatever rests upon and proceeds from divine Principle.
The Church is that institution, which affords proof of its utility and is found elevating the race, rousing the dormant understanding from material beliefs to the apprehension of spiritual ideas and the demonstration of divine Science, thereby casting out devils, or error, and healing the sick.
– Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures

The 'progress' of Church: an expanded view

From the November 2012 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Recently, I asked myself how well I thought the current Christian Science Church, whether The Mother Church in Boston or its branch churches, is fulfilling its purpose. Mary Baker Eddy described the purpose of Church as nothing less than “ … healing and saving the world from sin and death; thus to reflect in some degree the Church Universal and Triumphant” (Church Manual, p. 19).

While contemplating an answer, I was led to consider how well the Church was doing in Mrs. Eddy’s time. That immediately brought up a strong picture of a large, vibrant church, representing Christian Science as a religion that was a household name in the United States and a growing movement in other countries. But I also remembered something Mrs. Eddy wrote at the time: “The present stage of progress in Christian Science presents two opposite aspects,—a full-orbed promise, and a gaunt want. The need, however, is not of the letter, but the spirit” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 355).

To me, this is a salutary lesson for today. If the need for the “spirit” was the case back then when Mrs. Eddy was providing inspiration and guidance—and when the church was clearly flourishing—then surely the need is at least as great now. This lesson helps dispel the myth that all the exciting church “action” occurred only early in the twentieth century. It definitely is occurring today—as each one of us feels more of the spirit. 

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