Many Christian Science teachers will tell you that one of the main reasons they conduct classes on Christian Science is to pass along what they’ve received both from study of the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy, and from the daily practice of the truths in those books. The benefits of Primary class instruction have been so life-changing and transforming for me that I naturally want to forward on to others the majesty, goodness, and practicality of the Science of Christianity.
It was Mary Baker Eddy, the woman who instituted Christian Science teaching, who founded the Christian Science Board of Education and provided its teachers with the materials that are covered in class instruction. She included in Science and Health, in fact, the essence of her very own class book—the book from which she herself taught. This became the foundation for the “Recapitulation” chapter in Science and Health. Christian Science class instruction follows this outline and the questions and answers covered in this chapter.
I love how in each class session pupils gain new perspectives and discover more of the universal truth that heals and regenerates. Class prepares a pupil to heal, not only himself or herself, but his or her fellow man; just as important, it prepares the pupil thoroughly for the public practice of Christian Science.
I especially love how class instruction helps one to understand the importance of and how to pray for oneself daily. Students are taught about the workings of mental malpractice and how to be alert to detect it and know it to be powerless. Class helps pupils make the lessons their own, and instills confidence that they can give an effective Christian Science treatment immediately.
Class instruction caused me to want to study more, and also to love and live Christian Science much more deeply. It helped me recognize that radical reliance on God brings great confidence, causing all types of uncertainty to evaporate. And it engendered in me a deeper love of the Manual of The Mother Church.
When talking about God, Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life” (John 10:27, 28). I appreciate how, together, both teacher and pupil listen to and follow God’s leading, and discover how Love’s wonderful kingdom of heaven is within each of us.
Mary Baker Eddy says, “The entire purpose of true education is to make one not only know the truth but live it . . .” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 252). Christian Science class instruction gives pupils this education in detail, and then it’s their privilege to bring into their daily life what they’ve discovered. Class brings about a transformation of human consciousness and a resurrection of the Christ in one’s heart.
Just as it is natural for teachers to love to provide class instruction, it is a normal element of progress for a pupil to take steps toward asking for it. The Comforter that Jesus promised has come again and is outlined in detail in the Bible and Science and Health (see John 14:16 and Science and Health, p. 55, line 27). A pupil’s impulse to attend class is a result of his or her response to this earth-changing return of the Comforter. A growing love for God and mankind, coupled with a steady, gently increasing spirituality, prompts the desire to follow Jesus’ healing example. Class instruction in Christian Science is the ideal setting in which to fulfill that desire tangibly and practically.
Mark Swinney is a Christian Science practitioner and teacher in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is also a member of the Christian Science Board of Lectureship.
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