The simple act of inviting our neighbors to a Christian Science lecture has the potential of greatly promoting our and their spiritual growth. The lecture can teach the present vitality of Christ Jesus' life and work; awaken thought to the understanding and demonstration of spiritual reality—peace, health, purity—here and now; satisfy the longings of frustrated hearts; point out the path of regeneration; correct misconceptions of Christian Science.
The enlightening truths contained in the lecture will reach and thus bless the community largely in proportion to the unity, spirituality, and love of the church members who are sponsoring the lecture. As members pray to express these qualities and others, intelligent, practical activity results. The challenges in the community cannot place limitations on the lecture's success when members detect and reverse, through Christly prayer, resistance, tension, or other would-be hindrances.
When our work is based on divine Principle, Love, it has cohesion. Through claiming our individual unity with God we demonstrate the strength of spiritual unity in the work of the membership. As we fulfill our part, and acknowledge that the true nature of our fellow members is also obedient to Principle, we can be sure our church's lecture invitation (through an individual, a poster, a news announcement, or whatever) will be properly disseminated and will come to the attention of the folk in our area who are ready to receive it.
There are many directions in which our individual work can develop as we pray. For example, we can strengthen our own conviction that the lecture is God-appointed and God-directed, and we can trust that the right message is being delivered at the appropriate time. We can thank God for Mrs. Eddy's provision for lectures, which gives us this precious opportunity to serve our community. We can acknowledge our unshakable faith in the effectiveness of the declared Word. We can research the Bible for the repeated assurances that God always fulfills His Word. The book of Isaiah tells us that God declares, "Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live." Elsewhere in the same chapter, we read the divine promise that just as the rain and snow fall to benefit the earth, "so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." Isa. 55:3, 11.
In reality we live in Love's holy city, among God's children. Understanding this has a practical effect. It enables us to better express Christly qualities of unselfishness, compassion, humility, charity, inspiration, joy, moral courage, expectancy of good, in our contacts with people wherever we go. And we can expect to find opportunities to give invitations to the lecture. We can refuse to go out in the material trappings of self-will, personal persuasion, timidity, or a merely intellectual sense of doing good.
The love in our hearts for God, for our neighbor, and for our lecture, and the unselfish affection and compassion with which we go about sharing this event, will stir a response in the spiritual sense of the people we invite. Humility and charity will enable us to follow up our invitations and, if possible, to offer help to individuals in getting to the hall where the lecture is being given. Through inspiration our approach will be fresh and joyful.
Because every spiritual idea developing in human thought needs nurturing and protecting, another essential aspect of our work is to remain alert. We should not invite into thought any suggestions of mortal mind about the weather, the quality of the hall, and so on. Nor should we allow obstructive mental suggestions to limit our sharing of invitations with prospective attendants by our accepting the beliefs that "this one is too materially-minded, that one is always too busy; he seems antagonistic, her wrong impression of Christian Science is too fixed."
But if we are finding it difficult to give invitations, what then? We may need to heal ourselves of obstructive mortal traits. Have we been too self-conscious to ask a stranger; fearful of a rebuff; too busy to pray; complacently repeating last year's efforts; feeling superior to those we wish to ask? Learning more of our true Christly selfhood will enable us to speak with authority to such errors. We actually have God-given dominion over all claims of mortality.
And if our invitations are not being accepted? We may need to heal ourselves of the belief that the mental atmosphere of our area is resistant to Truth, laden with fear, ignorance, sensuality, malice.
Evil's hatred of Truth would hide, distort, or oppose the lecturer's message by persuading us to ignore—or to accept and fear—error's lying claims. Lies need to be denied. With the spiritual authority of Christ we can work boldly and persistently until the power of Truth has dissipated the miasma of mortal mind, showing it to consist of beliefs and opinions without basis, substance, law, or influence.
As the Christ floods our individual consciousness with Truth's inspiration, Love's all-encompassing attraction, divine Mind's intelligence, we know with spiritual certainty that there is no hypnotic power or false knowledge to prevent our God-appointed lecture from blessing others.
For instance, the challenge of prejudice can be proved to be powerless by our realization that there is one omnipotent Mind, God. Therefore mortal mind, the supposititious opposite of the divine Mind, is not real and cannot govern our thinking or use it to pour out false information or mistaken impressions of the Science of Christ.
Looking with compassion at those who seem most resistant, we may feel that surely they are in need of what Christian Science has to offer. We are not helpless! We can recognize in prayer that no beliefs of ignorant petty-mindedness, argumentativeness, stolidity, or lack of moral restraint can prevent the Word of God from being heard. There is no phase of mortal mind that can resist the power of Truth.
Other phases of mortal mind's challenge may be material demands, idle pleasure, the belief that religion is irrelevant, dislike of organization, a personal sense of loyalty to educated beliefs— tradition, creeds, reliance on material medicine. The acknowledgment that man rejoices in forever expressing God denies material demands and idle pleasure. The recognition of the omnipotent law of divine Principle, governing and maintaining the harmony of man and the universe, begins to annul the claims of educated beliefs, loyalty to material modes, and disunity. We can prove that the omniscience of divine Mind, perceived, rules out any mistaken or malicious mental influences. Let us rejoice that evil always disappears before the light of Christ, Truth, and that in divine Love's ever-presence there is no fear.
In Miscellaneous Writings Mrs. Eddy gives us this wise guidance: "'Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself' has daily to be exemplified; and, although skepticism and incredulity prevail in places where one would least expect it, it harms not; for if serving Christ, Truth, of what can mortal opinion avail? Cast not your pearls before swine; but if you cannot bring peace to all, you can to many, if faithful laborers in His vineyard." Mis., p. 7.
As we carry out our work for our lecture faithfully, we can be sure we will find blessings multiplying in our services, Sunday School, and Reading Room, as well as in our community. A lecture supported through dedicated prayer blesses everyone concerned.