It is appropriate that we call Fern Lodge a care facility. Care denotes love, and love is the significance of service. Care finds joy in doing good for others. Just as we say that God expresses love, we can say that God expresses care. Care epitomizes the never failing attitude of our Father-Mother God toward His dear children. Care is the essence of the practice of Christian Science. How grateful we can be for a facility that endeavors to fulfill the purpose of care.
And how grateful we are for Christian Science nurses and those individuals who express are in loving service for others. There is no greater opportunity for the cultivation of love, compassion, and selflessness than the work of the Christian Science nurse. As these qualities grow in character, the more the impersonal view of the work comes to light in accordance with what our Leader attributes to the angel, Gabriel, as “the more quiet task of imparting a sense of the ever-presence of ministering Love.”(1)
Our Leader considered such a form of activity necessary, and she in her great love and wisdom provided for the Christian Science nurse. In addition to a practical knowledge of the care of the sick, the nurse’s thought and presence has that spiritual quality which aids in overcoming fear and in bringing peace to the patient. This takes place only through genuine love, which proves all error to be unreal. We are indeed grateful for Fern Lodge and all those who make it truly a care facility.
And now I would like to address the subject of demonstrating unity. The challenge of disunity is being presented in many facets throughout the world. Jesus stated, “If a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”(2) Isn’t “divide and destroy” a battle strategy of an army general? This is also the tactic of animal magnetism. We need to see that every problem is one of animal magnetism. We deal with a problem as we handle animal magnetism. We handle animal magnetism as we see it is not a real entity but a term, a term we use to indicate that error, the supposed absence of truth, has the power to act, to do something. How? By presenting a false suggestion! It is no sin to be confronted with a false suggestion. Even Jesus faced false suggestions. What counts is how we respond to it. Remember, animal magnetism is only a term denoting nothing but the hypothetical action of a lie. We reject a lie as we know the truth. Exercising daily defense against aggressive mental suggestion prevents witnessing the false claim of disunity.
Christian Science teaches that there is only one Being composed of cause and effect, God and man. There is nothing in addition to the oneness, the allness, of being. The omnipresence of Deity deems impossible a separation from God, good. To be conscious of this truth is our defense against the suggestion that man can be separated from God. As we recognize our unity with God, we find our unity with one another.
Does unity have anything to do with healing? Yes, a great deal! Disunity would also claim to be an attack on our health. Disease is always an attempt to divide and destroy. Animal magnetism suggests that man is not one whole entity, but an organization of many parts. Then under this division into parts, mortal man is subject to destruction of the whole by the disruption of the parts. What appears as a physical body composed of material parts is a counterfeit of the real man’s embodiment of spiritual qualities. But while a physical body composed of material parts is vulnerable to “divide and destroy,” the real man — the compound idea of God — cannot be divided into parts and therefore is safe from destruction. The belief that man is liable to disease is a misstatement that man can be separated from God.
The oneness of God and man is the wholeness, completeness and health of man. When confronted with a problem, we do not have a sick man to treat or even a man who believes himself to be sick, but rather a man about whom a lie is to be disbelieved.
You and I need to defend ourselves constantly against the aggressive mental suggestion of disintegration, whether it is a disintegration of body, a business, or a relationship. Disintegration is animal magnetism’s effort to disrupt unity, man’s oneness with God. The whole healing practice of Christian Science can be stated in terms of a realization of our oneness with God.
During this past year, there have been many reports of branch church disunity. I hear of members who have stopped attending church or even dropped their memberships.
There is no question that church membership has its challenges. Church meetings often provide opportunities to put our Christian Science commitment into practice. For example, if there is disunity among the membership, it is an opportunity for the members to pray deeply to recognize and yield to God’s government.
Animal magnetism presents human will under the guise of divine will. But the Christ strips off the disguise and reveals the truth. Our prayer is not to see our will done, but to acknowledge that God’s will must be done. Furthermore, there is no power to oppose God’s will. As Paul tells us, “If God be for us, who can be against us?”(3) So, one on God’s side is more than a majority. It is a monopoly. This is true humility, with the meekness and power which go with it.
Man’s only meaningful activity is to express God. The realization of this fact eliminates politics from church affairs, lifts thought into a higher level of action, and provides fresh insights, inspiration, and unity of purpose to the role of church membership.
As long as we see disunity as the result of opposing individuals, we are being handled by animal magnetism. We have accepted the suggestion of many minds, some in conflict and some in agreement. But there is only one Mind being reflected by each person. The culprit is not person, but the anti-Christ claiming to gain witness as a person with a mind separate from God. Regardless of the nature of the error, be it discord, disunity, disease, personal sense, or egotism, one and all are simply wrong concepts working mesmerically in human consciousness.
All members of The Mother Church want to see their church prosper. But there are differences of opinion on how we best bring this about. We can learn from history. The government of the Roman Empire didn’t destroy Christianity. Primitive Christianity was destroyed from within. It was the early Christians who adulterated Jesus’ teaching to make it more alluring and acceptable to the non-Christian pagans. No doubt the motive was good for many of the early Christians.
They wanted to reach out to the pagan world and share Christianity. In order to attract more converts, they allowed various pagan idolatries to adulterate the pure teaching of Christ Jesus. Compromise of doctrine was condoned if it was believed it would benefit the institution.
Will Durant, the famous historian, tells us, “While Christianity converted the world, the world converted Christianity, and displayed the natural paganism of mankind.”(4) The pagan concepts which were adopted to make Christianity more attractive led to the demise of primitive Christianity and the forfeiting of healing. It would appear that it was some of the early Christians who were mesmerized into destroying primitive Christianity. But, was it a person that impeded truth? No! It was the failure to handle animal magnetism claiming to be a person.
Mrs. Eddy restored primitive Christianity. She established our church to maintain the purity of Christian Science, not to destroy it. Her goal was to bless mankind, not to form a huge institution. One need only read the Manual to see that it deals primarily with protecting the purity of Christian Science and promoting healing for all mankind. Without the Manual, pure Christian Science, with its element of healing, would soon be lost to the world.
So, what is our motive in wanting to share Christian Science? Don’t we want to share because we love our fellow man and want to help him overcome the limits of a matter-based world? Our motive is right in wanting to share Christian Science with others. And what better attraction is there than healing?
Why did people throng Christ Jesus? Because he healed! It was healing that built the original Christian church in Jerusalem, and it was healing that reinstated the primitive Christian church in Boston. Jesus said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”(5) Not, “If I come down to their state of thought.” Jesus showed us that the most effective way to share the truth is by living it.
If there is world indifference to Christian Science, perhaps it is because the world no longer sees enough difference in Christian Scientists. It is the Christ we exemplify which is attractive. Of course, we do not want to hide our light under a bushel. As we let our light shine, live the pure standard of Christian Science, we will draw men to us. If we don’t offer mankind healing, then we have nothing new or different to offer. Christian Science heals! It is the Comforter promised by Christ Jesus!
To summarize, do we pray to see our will or God’s will fulfilled? Could there be disunity if we work from the standpoint of one Mind, reflected by everyone? Each individual in a family, nation, church and the world actually reflects the same Mind as the source of his or her intelligence and ability.
You have the opportunity for a victory over disunity by:
1. Handling animal magnetism, seeing it as nothing but a term and thus destroying it;
2. Impersonalizing the error;
3. Knowing that neither you nor anyone else can be influenced erroneously because God is the only Mind;
4. Affirming that there can be neither disunity due to a conflict of minds nor unity due to a meeting of minds. Rather, there is a unity based on one divine Mind being reflected by each individual;
5. Holding to the fact that the real government of our church, world, nation, and family is maintained under God’s law.
Although individual, we are nevertheless controlled and governed by divine Principle, God. There is naught but unity in the oneness and allness of God. Therefore, there must be unity of purpose, unity of thought, and unity of desire and practice.
(1) S&H 567:1-3 the more (to 1st.).
(2) Mark 3:25 if.
(3) Rom. 8:31 If
(4) Durant, Will, The Story of Civilization: Caesar and Christ, p. 657 (Simon and Schuster, New York)
(5) John 12:32