The Christian Science movement is rightly named. It stands for a great revolution at the base of human thought beyond anything the world has known since Jesus' time. What makes the movement move? The impulsion is God's, but the growth is ours, the individual spiritual growth of the members. So the movement grows as its members grow; it lags only when the individual church member lags.
Christ Jesus said, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." John 12:32; Jesus grew Spiritward every day, proving through marvelous healing works his awareness of man's Christly identity.
How can individual Christian Scientists be sure they are making the spiritual progress each day that they desire to make? What are some of the facets of life that should be responding to spiritual growth?
First might be one's thought of oneself: Am I thinking of myself in spiritual terms? One can be conscious of corporeality or conscious of his spiritual individuality. Following Christ Jesus' example, we need to identify properly and consistently with God as our source, our sole cause. To see oneself as an idea in Mind, emanating from God, being caused to be by almighty Spirit, one needs to yield a physical sense of self living in an enclosure called a material body. One can't hold on to both concepts. Mrs. Eddy writes, "Limitations are put off in proportion as the fleshly nature disappears and man is found in the reflection of Spirit." Retrospection and Introspection, p. 73;
Christian Scientists are being called upon to be instant in season to reject mortality's self and to accept immortality as the truth of man. One cannot contemplate immortality and still hold in thought an aching head or a sprained muscle, nor can he properly identify himself as God's expression and still think of himself as crippled, sick, sinful, or dying. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, puts it plainly: "You can never demonstrate spirituality until you declare yourself to be immortal and understand that you are so. Christian Science is absolute; it is neither behind the point of perfection nor advancing towards it; it is at this point and must be practised therefrom. Unless you fully perceive that you are the child of God, hence perfect, you have no Principle to demonstrate and no rule for its demonstration." The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 242;
Another checkpoint for spiritual growth is how we perceive our neighbor, including the members of our own family. We might ask ourselves, "Do I extend my spiritual view to include my brother?" Each day's contacts are opportunities to behold the son of God. It is our privilege to know the truth of man in every instance and to reject the carnal mind's false imposition, its suggestion that man is a physical being with a private mind. Our Leader, Mrs. Eddy, writes, "Man is more than physical personality, or what we cognize through the material senses." And further on she says: "Man outlives finite mortal definitions of himself, according to a law of 'the survival of the fittest.' Man is the eternal idea of his divine Principle, or Father. He is neither matter nor a mode of mortal mind, for he is spiritual and eternal, an immortal mode of the divine Mind. Man is the image and likeness of God, coexistent and coeternal with Him." No and Yes, p. 25;
There is no outside to God's allness. He is all-inclusive, and man and the universe are His infinite expression. Man, the outcome of God, reflects the nature and wholeness of God. He is Love's product. To accept this as the truth of one's fellowman necessitates giving up the belief that man is a physical mortal with certain inherited tendencies and physical debilities that can cause distress and concern. As we consistently give up the false for the true, we grow in our conviction of the truth and gain in our spiritual progress.
Church is a vital workshop for spiritual growth. Our churches grow only as we grow. The vibrant activity of a church reveals the sound growth within the lives of its members. What are some of the checkpoints here? We might ask ourselves: What is my attitude toward the board of my church? Do I consistently see the deeper nature of Church as a divine idea? Do I see fellow church members as spiritual ideas embraced in Mind and obedient only to Mind's direction, or am I seeing mortals with little minds and human opinions running my church? It is not our job to regenerate that other fellow or to educate him in the running of the church. It is our job to strive to see him as God sees him and to acknowledge the divine control of Spirit in our own thought and in the thought of our brother. This aids in healing the wrong another may be practicing.
"Beloved, let us love one another," I John 4:7. was John's counsel to students of the early Church, and it is still the one thing that will keep our growth sturdy and assure that the movement moves. Destructive criticism, self-will, judging and condemning, stall us along the way. Love, affection, encouragement, and consistent prayer for church support each member in fulfilling his individual function. This altitude of thought, brought to our committee work and interaction with members, blesses our church, giving sure evidence that we not only believe but understand the truths of God and man taught in the Bible and in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mrs. Eddy.
The Church of Christ, Scientist, is not like any other church in the world. Christian Science impels us Spiritward from the time we pick up the textbook, Science and Health, or enter the doors of a branch church. As Christian Scientists strive to be continually lifted up in thought, the community will feel a genuine welcome in our churches and will respond to the potency of the truths Science teaches.
In the workaday world we have ample opportunity to demonstrate our spirituality. Courtesy, honesty, integrity, patience, loving-kindness, compassion, charity, and forbearance will attest to the altitude of our outlook. To behold the son of God in every contact does more to move us forward than we can measure.
Each night we can check our progress for the day. If we find areas that need strengthening, we can set a goal for improving that particular area of thought. As we improve, we move forward, and the movement moves as well.
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