“Blessed are they that dwell in thy house”

Notes from a talk by Nancy Stiner CS

Nancy talked to the staff about the spiritual concept of house today.  She mentioned that when Solomon built his house, he said “the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?” (I Kings 8:27).  God cannot be limited to a place.

One helpful object we find in a house is a mirror.  Mrs. Eddy says of a mirror: “Now compare man before the mirror to his divine Principle, God. Call the mirror divine Science, and call man the reflection. Then note how true, according to Christian Science, is the reflection to its original. As the reflection of yourself appears in the mirror, so you, being spiritual, are the reflection of God. The substance, Life, intelligence, Truth, and Love, which constitute Deity, are reflected by His creation; and when we subordinate the false testimony of the corporeal senses to the facts of Science, we shall see this true likeness and reflection everywhere” (SH 515:28).  Nancy stressed that we must look at the original model and that studying the seven synonyms for God helps us to better understand this model.  The Sermon on the Mount also shows us how this model is lived, and when lived that it is Principle in action and the Comforter acknowledged.

We also have pictures in our house.  Mrs. Eddy asks us: “Dear reader, which mind-picture or externalized thought  shall be real to you, — the material or the spiritual?  Both you cannot have. You are bringing out your own ideal. This ideal is either temporal or eternal. Either Spirit or matter is your model. If you try to have two models, then you practically have none. Like a pendulum in a clock, you will be thrown back and forth, striking the ribs of matter and swinging between the real and the unreal” (SH 360:13).  Nancy talked about this idea of model and asked us whether we were accepting thoughts of time or eternity, Life or death, Spirit or matter.

Regarding the care at Fern Lodge, it was mentioned that some government funding agencies considered the nursing care at a Christian Science facility to be merely “custodial care.”  But Nancy helped us reach a “diviner sense of the facts” by looking at the word custodial.  The definition of custodial includes: protect, guard, shelter, safety, cover, shepherd, nurse, ministry, care, lovingly, religiously.  Thus this is a very positive term.  “In proportion as matter loses to human sense all entity as man, in that proportion does man become its  master. He enters into a diviner sense of the facts, and comprehends the theology of Jesus as demonstrated in healing the sick, raising the dead, and walking over the wave. All these deeds manifested Jesus’ control over the belief that matter is substance, that it can be the arbiter of life or the constructor of any form of existence” (SH 369:5). This word–custodial–as applied to nursing shows that nurses have a shepherding ministry with these beautiful qualities being exhibited in the attention and care given to patients.

An imposition we were asked to watch for is the question of: who will be greatest.  This question stems from a misunderstanding of the Ego: “I, or Ego. Divine Principle; Spirit; Soul; incorporeal, unerring, immortal, and eternal Mind. There is but one I, or Us, but one divine Principle, or Mind, governing all existence; man and woman unchanged forever in their individual characters, even as numbers which never blend with each other, though they are governed by one Principle. 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” (SH 588:9-19).  Since there is only one I or Us, and since we reflect the one Mind, there is no greater or lesser reflection of God.  Anything that suggests that there is something greater is a false and erroneous suggestion, which places us not in the kingdom of heaven, but in personal-sense-action.  “Two personal queries give point to human action: Who shall be greatest? and, Who shall be best? Earthly glory is vain; but not vain enough to attempt pointing the way to heaven, the harmony of being. The imaginary victories of rivalry and hypocrisy are defeats. The Holy One saith, “O that thou hadst hearkened to My commandments! then had thy peace been as a river.” He is unfit for Truth, and the demonstration of divine power, who departs from Mind to matter, and from Truth to error, in pursuit of better means for healing the sick and casting out error” (Mis. 268:3).

The remedy to this question of who will be greatest is found in a better understanding of unity.  “The question is often asked, Why is there so much dissension among mental practitioners? We answer, Because they do not practice in strict accordance with the teaching of Christian Science Mind-healing. If they did, there would be unity of action. Being like the disciples of old, “with one accord in one place,” they would receive a spiritual influx impossible under other conditions, and so would recognize and resist the animal magnetism by which they are being deceived and misled” (My. 212:14).  Nancy brought out an important point about the day of Pentecost that you cannot have unity of action without the Holy Ghost.  The Holy Ghost is Divine Science or the law of God.

Finally, we discussed who lives and works in the house.  A house is composed of family members.  We were reminded that we should not be limiting that family to merely human strengths, understandings, and opinions.  Fern Lodge is not in the world’s workplace.  Fern Lodge is the activity of church government and we are in the middle of this activity as defined in the Glossary.

The talk concluded by mentioning that God’s model has no opposition. “Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee” (Ps. 84:4).

The above post is based on notes taken at the meeting and should not be used as direct quotations.

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