by Edwin Leever, CS. from Rocklin, CA
Mary Baker Eddy valued her loyal students, and to help us understand what she valued she wrote, “By loyalty in students I mean this, — allegiance to God, subordination of the human to the divine, steadfast justice, and strict adherence to divine Truth and Love” (Ret 50: 19). At our 2008 Annual Meeting, Edwin Leever, C.S. shared some ideas about these four points that are essential to loyalty. We are glad to share the following excerpts from his talk.
It starts with our allegiance to God. That’s Christian Science in a nutshell. In a talk Mrs. Eddy gave to students in 1889 she said this: “We, today, in this classroom are enough to convert the world if we are of one Mind; for then the whole world will feel the influence of this Mind” (Mis 279:27-29). Wow! Don’t limit the good that is going on in our movement, and subsequently in our world.
So let’s individually do our part. That’s why we have talks on Christian Science–to keep us all going spiritually. As we keep growing spiritually, we keep bringing healing into our lives and into the lives of others, because we’re becoming more loyal students, not only of Christian Science, but also of Christ Jesus, and we’re keeping Jesus’ healing mission going forward. Look what Jesus did in the three years he demonstrated and taught the power of the Christ, Truth. And he did it so beautifully; he didn’t limit it in any way.
In speaking to the members of Second Church, New York City, Mrs. Eddy said this: “May the benediction of ‘Well done, good and faithful,’ rest worthily on the builders of this beautiful temple, and the glory of the resurrection morn burst upon the spiritual sense of this people with renewed vision, infinite meanings, endless hopes, and glad victories in the onward and upward chain of being” (My 202: 13). Onward and upward, not backward and downward, that’s the way to go! Our job is to keep going spiritually each day in the right direction. The results: only good can take place, not only in our lives, but also in our whole Christian Science movement, and in our world. It requires of us all to study and ponder more and more deeply what our dear Leader has told us. And, as we all have experienced, sometimes holding each day to just one inspiring statement from her writings gets us going in the right, healing direction.
When I was relatively new in the practice someone I didn’t know called me for help. She told me her problem. And then I gave her some quotes of Mrs. Eddy to study. Before I could say another word she fired back at me, “Oh, I know all that.” My quiet reply, after listening for an angel message to relay to her, was simply, “Really, Then why are you calling me?” The result? Silence from the caller. And then she meekly replied, “Okay, I’ll do it. I’ll read those passages.” We ended our conversation on a nice note. I prayed to simply correct any human thought about her that came to me and to replace it with what Mrs. Eddy has told us as to what we all really are in our true, spiritual, Godlike being. When she called me back later she told me she was carefully studying what I had recommended. And in no time at all, she later said, she got her healing, and she thanked me profusely.
Jesus said, “…with God all things are possible” (Matt 19:26). Now, do you believe that? After all, it is true! So when we start getting disturbed, or even a little bit discouraged, about anything, or any person, or our church, or any human situation we’re involved in, are we giving God full allegiance? We do this by knowing that whatever challenge is presenting itself to us can be healed quickly and completely and permanently, as we go onward and upward spiritually in our study of Christian Science.
You know what I do frequently when I’m reading the weekly Bible Lesson? I stop reading and ask myself, “Am I really accepting what I’m reading wholeheartedly today in the current Lesson Sermon, or am I simply sliding over the words?” And then I say this many a time: “Am I really starting to not just accept what I’m reading, but starting to live it better and better, step by step, moment by moment, in my whole thought and life?” And what do you know? That’s so often when healings take place in our lives. And why not? The basis of all healing in Christian Science is being more loyal to Mrs. Eddy’s writings, and then expressing and living more of what she’s telling us.
Many times over the years I say to mortal mind, when it seems to be hanging on in my life, “This suggestion of bodily difficulty is really nothing but a lie. So, mortal mind, beat it!” Sometimes I say “Buster, beat it!” Then I’m not accepting mortal mind’s validity or authority for another moment. Healing, so often, immediately takes place, and if not immediately, I know healing is on its way, and it is.
Allegiance to God is what we’re talking about. Why are we bowing down to pain, discouragement, despair, or whatever? None of that is true for a moment. And to accept any of that is not being allegiant to God, not becoming more loyal to our Leader. So why accept any evil suggestions? Not one of them is true.
Mrs. Eddy tells us, “To reduce inflammation, dissolve a tumor, or cure organic disease, I have found divine Truth more potent than all lower remedies. And why not, since Mind, God, is the source and condition of all existence?” (S&H 180:3 1-2). ”And why not?” Don’t you love those three words, ”And why not?” Let us all keep spiritually going forward, onward, and upward. ”And why not,” regardless of what’s before us? “For with God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1: 37).
We experience God’s healings as we confidently and continually see ourselves and others as we all really are–God’s beloved, spiritual creation. We do not have to give in to any materially minded false belief–physically, mentally, or whatever. Let us pull the rug out from every false belief. Then discouragement, despondency, fearfulness, and hopelessness, along with any discordant material condition, will vanish. “And why not?” as we simply become more allegiant to God and listen better to what He’s telling us.
Just because we are having a challenge–even a so-called rough challenge–it does not mean that we’re bad Christian Scientists! It’s just time for us to grow spiritually some more. And the whole claim can vanish. “And why not?”
God never punishes, forsakes, nor neglects any of us for a single moment. His great love for us all is ever with us, no matter what we’ve done or haven’t done. God is right here with us at all times, and we have to start listening more and more to what He is telling us, and start living more and more what He’s saying to us, and not listening to what material sense is telling us. How grateful we can be that Mrs. Eddy has shared with us how to do all this. It begins with seeing ourselves as we truly are–God’s perfect image and likeness. Holding on to that is expressing our allegiance to God and not bowing down to a single mortal mind suggestion. So why delay listening to what God is telling us? Delaying our spiritual thinking and listening doesn’t do a thing for us. Just keep being allegiant to God, and good is the result!
Subordination of the human to the divine is the second point Mrs. Eddy brings out in her definition of being a loyal student. God doesn’t waver, falter, or doubt His supremacy and power. He has all power. “There is no power apart from God. Omnipotence has all-power, and to acknowledge any other power is to dishonor God,” (S&H 228:25-27). There is no power but God, and He is all good. So who wants to dishonor Him? To keep subordinating the human picture to the divine is honoring God, and by so doing we are understanding God better and better each day. Why did Mrs. Eddy assign to us the Weekly Bible Lesson to be read each day? It tells us to cut through and stay out of materially-minded thinking. Let’s ask ourselves, “What do we spend more time on each day, God, or a problem we’re facing?” We don’t ignore the problem, not do we have to get obsessed with it. Rather, we align our thought more consistently with God and see what He’s telling us about all of this. Let’s listen more continually to what He is telling us about the falsity of every material condition we’re dealing with.
The third point Mrs. Eddy named as essential for loyalty in students is steadfast justice. Think about those two words, steadfast justice. So many times in our lives we’ve all run into injustice. But we don’t have to put up with it, because justice, and not injustice, reigns supreme. God, the only source of our being, is eternal good and the only power there is. And He simply doesn’t put up with injustice. Remember this verse from Job, “…[God] is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: he will not afflict,” (Job 37:23). So where does injustice come from since God is the only power? Mortal mind suggestions are always trying to get us in big trouble. Mrs. Eddy tells us specifically what brings injustice. She says, “When pride, self, and human reason reign, injustice is rampant,” (My 283: 19). How about that, just three reasons–pride, self, and human reasoning.
So let’s handle injustice. Handling something in Christian Science is seeing its nothingness. Where do pride and self and human reason come from? Mortal mind suggestions. Nothing else! Think about each of those four words. Pride is simply letting our human thoughts dominate our thinking. But really, what are we receptive to? It’s Truth or error–take you choice. And self, what is that? A mortal arrogant self that gets all caught up in what he or she wants. Yet to see ourselves as spiritual ideas of God, how could we be so personally wrapped up in ego? That’s all a mortal self is–egotistical reasoning. I like what Mrs. Eddy says about the definition of “I, or Ego.” She says, “All the objects of God’s creation reflect one Mind, and whatever reflects not this one Mind, is false and erroneous, even the belief that life, substance, and intelligence are both mental and material,” (S&H 588: 15). “Whatever reflects not this one Mind is false and erroneous.” I like that! So when we come up with any personal opinion, are we checking it first with God, divine Mind? Or, are we egotistically saying “This is it”? If it doesn’t come from Mind, divine Mind, or God, what we have to do is to throw it out. Quickly!
When we find ourselves getting so upset and disturbed over something — like injustice of some sort — let’s make sure we’re listening for the right understanding of God, as divine Mind, the only Mind. We’re all simply Mind’s expression, which is not out to harm or to hurt anyone. Sticking with God, eternal Truth, we discover we’re not lost nor trapped in any way. We’re just being driven nearer to God. Not one of us can ever be hurt or harmed, and as we take the time and effort to spiritually strengthen and enlighten our courage and faith, we are led to steadfast justice. In reality, is there really any other kind? Of course not. Justice is simply a basic part of God’s creation–what we really are. “Every trial of our faith in God makes us stronger. The more difficult seems the material condition to be overcome by Spirit, the stronger should be our faith and the purer our love” (S&H 410:14-17).
As we strengthen spiritually our courage and faith, and purify our love, we wake up to what’s really true, and steadfast justice pops into our lives. We simply must watch what our thought rests upon–Truth or error, Spirit or matter, diving Mind or mortal mind. And how grateful we can be that injustice, in any form, is no part of God’s plan for any of us. So why do we accept it, or get alarmed by it? It’s nothing but lies. So why accept it any way? Jesus didn’t. Mrs. Eddy didn’t. Are we with them in our thought? What are we believing is true?
The fourth point of being loyal to our Leader is strict adherence to divine Truth and Love. Church is “the structure of Truth and Love” (S&H 583: 12-13). Let’s make sure our concept of church is constantly adhering to divine Truth and Love. Mrs. Eddy writes, “The church is the mouthpiece of Christian Science,” and “The continuity of The First Church of Christ, Scientist..is assured…It will embrace all the churches, one by one, because in it alone is the simplicity of the oneness of God; the oneness of Christ and the perfecting of man stated scientifically” (My 247:5-6; 342:19-20,21).
Are we really accepting that consistently? Are we prayerfully, in thinking about Church, staying with the “oneness of God; the oneness of Christ and the perfecting of man stated scientifically”? Because, after all, God is in complete charge and control of “the structure of Truth and Love.” Mrs. Eddy goes on to say that church is “whatever rests upon and proceeds from divine Principle.” Is that how we view our church? Every day? As the very “structure of Truth and Love” and “whatever rests upon and proceeds from divine Principle”? If we do, that’s strict adherence to divine Truth and Love, and that is being loyal to our Leader.
I love this sentence from Science and Health: “It is our ignorance of God, the divine Principle, which produces apparent discord, and the right understanding of Him restores harmony” (S&H 390:7-9). It’s “our ignorance of God,” not somebody else’s, “which produces apparent discord.” Know, then, that God will see us through any discordant church situation in a loving and harmonious way. How? Through “the right understanding of Him,” that “restores harmony.” And that, remember, leads not to disaster, discouragement, depression, or even to closed doors. It leads us into healing, harmony, triumph and victory in our entire church experience.
All these things we’ve been talking about are simply helping us to be more loyal to our Leader. The results? Healing in our lives, and progress in our whole movement, as well. Remember the four points of being loyal to our Leader: “Allegiance to God, subordination of the human to the divine, steadfast justice, and strict adherence to divine Truth and Love.” So go for it, stay with them, and see wonderful things happen.