The Role of the Church Manual in Christian Science Church–100 Years of Discipline
Christian Science nursing is a timeless expression of Christ’s love. It is one way Christians can fulfill Christ Jesus’ command, “Love one another as I have loved you.” All who seek to follow Jesus’ example and demonstrate Christian Science healing must include simple kindness and care for human needs in their prayer and practice.
Love for God and man is fundamental to everyone’s true nature and character. It is the spiritual expression of divine Love, which demonstrates God’s design. Our Father-Mother sets His/Her children in their proper relationships, each one fulfilling his or her own unique role in support of the fullness of Creation, and in obedience to the Creator’s instruction, “Be fruitful and multiply, replenish the earth and subdue it,” Genesis 1:28. Whatever our specific role, we reflect divine Love as we fulfill our God-appointed role in our daily lives. Every day, as we are led to complete our tasks under the unerring guidance of Love, we are shown how to love.
A vital characteristic of love is tender and patient willingness to help others. Christian Science nursing is one expression of such help. The mission of Christian Science nursing is to heal through steadfast witnessing of the true nature of man as God’s image and likeness. This healing mission includes daily willingness to provide comfort, protection, food and shelter for our fellow man in times of sickness or confusion.
If we obeyed only the urgings of divine Love, then every nursing need would be met by another’s able reflection of Love, and Christian Science nursing would need no other discipline. But in our daily experience the selfless, assured, and affectionate expression of Love seems to lack completeness. The bylaw, “Christian Science Nurse,” which Mrs. Eddy included in the Church Manual 100 years ago, provides the standards and discipline that are necessary for our full and correct demonstration of the loving care of our Father-Mother God (Manual 49: 7-16).
The Manual bylaw, when adhered to, ensures that Christian Science nursing cannot be understood as merely the human repetition of another’s words about health, however correct the words may be. Nor can Christian Science nursing be just competent assistance to meet another’s physical needs. The bylaw standards require Christian Science nurses to keep these two aspects of nursing, practical metaphysics and practical physical care, in their proper order. The bylaw requires all Christian Science nurses to understand and demonstrate the reflection of Love, which heals certainly and thoroughly. The bylaw also requires that Christian Science nurses be able to do whatever is necessary to care for individuals who need help to meet their physical and/or mental needs. And the bylaw demands that Christian Science nurses have the wisdom to know when and how their prayers must take form in the ministering attention known as nursing care.
Jesus made it clear that entrance into the Kingdom requires everyone to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, and visit the sick. And he taught that, “The Kingdom of God is within you,” Luke 17:21. Thanks to the discipline of the Church Manual bylaw, “Christian Science Nurse,” we can accept with confidence our ability to care for others and let our reflection of divine Love pour from our hearts to comfort and heal those who are in need.
If you would like to learn more about the role of nursing in Christian Science, and its miss ion of healing and saving mankind from sin and sickness, disease and death, please contact us. We will be happy to share with you the insights and inspiration that are gained by those whose love for others is expressed in Christian Science nursing.