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COME AS YOU ARE

From the January 2010 issue of The Christian Science Journal


IN 1822 A YOUNG British woman named Charlotte Elliott met a famous Swiss minister at the home of friends. The Reverend Henri Cesar Malan asked her if she were a Christian. She took offense and said she didn't want to discuss the subject. He apologized but went on to say he hoped she would someday become a worker for Christ. Evidently something overcame her resistance, because when Miss Elliott met Rev. Malan again some weeks later she asked him how to come to Christ. He replied, "Just come to him as you are."

Some years later Elliott wrote what became a classic hymn, of which this is one variation:

Just as I am,—without one plea
But that thy love is seeking me,
And that thou bid'st me come to thee,—O
loving God! I come.

Just as I am,—though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings within, and fears without,—
O loving God! I come.

Just as I am,—thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, heal, relieve;
Because thy promise I believe,
O loving God! I come.

God's love is always seeking new workers for Christ, and new energy from longtime workers. When we feel inadequate before threats we face, we need a Savior. It's easy to despair that we don't have enough faith, courage, or dedication to pray to overcome big troubles. But those feelings aren't natural, any more than Charlotte Elliot's initial resistance to Christ was. Right in that conflicted state, the Savior is present. Christ is the always-active power of good, greater than the human mind, greater than all material skepticism, evidence, or inclinations that tempt us to doubt the promises of a loving God. We can come to this Savior just as we are—feeling dark, unworthy, tired, scared. Just be humbly willing to come.

Mary Baker Eddy chose "Just as I am" for singing at Christian Science services in Boston several times in the 1880s. At one of these services she delivered a sermon that was later published in Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896 with the title "The Corporeal and Incorporeal Saviour." It began with what would have been an arresting statement to an audience then, and still is today: "To the senses, Jesus was the son of man: in Science, man is the son of God" (p. 161).

It's probably not too sweeping to say that all our "fightings within, and fears without" stem from believing we're sons and daughters of human beings. Jesus arrived on earth like the rest of us, a material baby, but during his time here he gained a complete understanding of himself as the offspring of Spirit. As a corporeal Savior he welcomed, pardoned, healed, relieved anyone who came to him. And he did so much more. He showed the way to drop all materiality and put on, thought-by-thought, our real spiritual identity as sons and daughters of God.

Mrs. Eddy invited her audience to come to this divine Truth, the incorporeal Savior, by posing a series of questions people might ask about a newborn child (see Mis., p. 167). It can be helpful to think of her answers to these questions as affirmations of who we all truly are. To summarize, we are wholly symmetrical, altogether lovely, the compound idea of all that resembles God, having substance that outweighs the material world, without beginning or ending; our name (identity) is Christ Science, our parents are divine Life, Truth, and Love, and our brothers and sisters do God's will; we're heirs to an estate, with dominion over the whole earth; able to give power, peace, liberty, and health to all and to overcome the world.

Yes, come just the way you (think) you are to the loving God; and be ready to accept the wonderful news of what you actually are. Nothing can resist the transforming power of such a Savior.

is a member of the Christian Science
Board of Directors.

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