I so appreciate the amazing and earnest work that is quietly going on in this place, day in and day out, at all hours of the day and night. Thank you for the love, care, joy, strength, and inspiration you each bring to your daily tasks. Today, along with a grateful appreciation for the good already practiced, we are going to look for direction on how we might improve. We are going to identify some specific passages in the chapter “Christian Science Practice” in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy. Like professional athletes or concert pianists who practice long hours to improve their performance, we are committed to deepening our practice of what we love, paying attention to the smallest details. And then we’ll do it better.
What is the value of noticing DO and DO NOT statements? Here is what Mrs. Eddy instructed in Science and Health on the topic: “He, who understands in a sufficient degree the Principle of Mind-healing, points out to his student error as well as truth, the wrong as well as the right practice” (page 454). Trusting Science and Health as a dependable guide, we want to note the right and wrong paths, and take heed.
When I was a Christian Science nursing student, and later working as a Christian Science nurse, I thought that the directions in Science and Health given about physicians, doctors, or even healers, didn’t apply to me really, unless it said Christian Scientist or nurse. In my prayer and ponderings on this, Love clarified it for me, letting me know I was not off the hook, just because it didn’t specify “nurse”! I came to see that all those directions actually all apply to Christian Science nurses, especially the physician passages. Let’s look at one at bottom of page 368. “Once let the mental physician believe in the reality of matter, and he is liable to admit also the reality of all discordant conditions, and this hinders his destroying them.” I see this as DO NOT “admit the reality of matter.” Note on page 376: “To fear and admit the power of disease, is to paralyze mental and scientific demonstration.” Clearly, another DO NOT do this.
Let’s focus on four pages in this remarkable chapter that are rich in action verbs telling us what we should do, need to do, and can do. Others tell plainly what we should not do—the right and the wrong practice. I recommend that we read those four pages as Love itself telling us what to do and how to do it. Here are a few of those great DO statements: “…dispute the testimony of the material senses with divine Science. Let your higher sense of justice destroy the false process of mortal opinions…”; “Blot out the images of mortal thought and its beliefs in sickness and sin”; “Mentally contradict every complaint from the body and rise to the true consciousness of Life as Love…”; “Rise in the strength of Spirit to resist all that is unlike good”; “…speak to disease as one having authority over it, leaving Soul to master the false evidences of the corporeal senses and assert its claims over mortality and disease.”
Now here we are on page 395, and we find another very familiar passage: the most substantive specific paragraph on nurses, right here in the chapter Christian Science Practice. How interesting that it falls right after these vigorous pages of rise, stand porter, insist vehemently, etc. It begins with a DO NOT: “An ill tempered, complaining, or deceitful person should not be a nurse.” And it concludes with a DO: “The nurse should be cheerful, orderly, punctual, patient, full of faith, —receptive to Truth and Love.” As Christian Science nurses, we are grateful for such clear guidance!
Now let’s look at what Science and Health says just below that passage about nurses, something super-important, I feel, for all of us. “It is mental quackery to make disease a reality—to hold it as something seen and felt—and then to attempt its cure through Mind. It is no less erroneous to believe in the real existence of a tumor, a cancer, or decayed lungs, while you argue against their reality, than it is for your patient to feel these ills in physical belief. Mental practice, which holds disease as a reality, fastens disease on the patient, and it may appear in a more alarming form.”
What is the directive here? It’s telling us what not to do. This is something we need to be very alert to here as we go about our work, when things can begin to look very real and scary, even overwhelming. We absolutely do not wish to “fasten disease on any patient” by holding disease, confusion, illness, or accident as some kind of legitimate reality. So, let’s renew our resolve NOT to do that. Let’s commit to practice the best Christian Science nursing and the best Christian service we are capable of, in every department, by daily, hourly, moment by moment, putting our hand in God’s, and asking, “What are you seeing, dear Father? Help me to see that, and not be taken in by these 3-D Halloween pictures.” In your day-to day-walk, refuse to see evil, error of any kind as a troubling reality. It is correct practice to be very vigorous with yourself in refuting these aggressive, noisy, bossy claims as powerless suggestions instead of disturbing and nagging conditions or realities. Do what we have been talking about. DISMISS those claims and suggestions! Let Love establish the truth. This is steadfastly clarifying your own awareness.
When we see something that frightens us because it seems so convincing, so terrible, or long-lasting; or there is petulance, strife, or even hatred popping up in relationships; or discouragement, hopelessness, or lack of inspiration are sapping our day, I invite us to remember that these things have no actual power. They are not God-created, thus without law, foundation, or activity. Affirming truths and rejecting errors, we are able to be the best actual help to any patient, whatever the need. In proportion that we acknowledge all power belongs to God and see that all the drama of human experience is just an imposition, completely powerless to hinder or rearrange Love’s benevolent government, Truth’s action, Mind’s determination, or Principle’s control, we will be unimpressed. Then we will find we are able to lovingly help where needed.
How does Mrs. Eddy put it? “It is well to be calm in sickness; to be hopeful is still better; but to understand that sickness is not real and that Truth can destroy its seeming reality, is best of all, for this understanding is the universal and perfect remedy” (page 393).
What is the chapter called again? “Christian Science Practice.” I invite us all to do a little of that practice together. We all are able to pray. That is the practice I am inviting us all to do together.
So, let’s pray together, first for our community here at Fern Lodge. This is a vital place, not just for the folks who live and work here, but as a public expression of grace and a courageous utterance of God’s love, its blessings have no boundaries. Let’s pray to not be divided. Let’s pray to love every single fellow worker. If you feel you have been wronged by someone, pray especially to love them. Let’s embrace our cooks, our housekeepers, our office staff, our maintenance and grounds people, our Christian Science nurses, our practitioners, our patients, and their families. Let’s listen to what God has to say and cherish this dear place as forever and permanently in God’s hands.
Now, let’s widen our prayer-tent to include all of California in it—its churches, mosques, children, teachers, waitresses, highway patrolmen, janitors, doctors, farm workers—whoever comes to mind. Let’s actively bless all we can think of, and let’s claim Love’s government for all.
Now, for our precious nation. Let’s embrace its people as loved, loving, and lovable, incapable of being mesmerized or taken in by fear, anger, or violence. Let us strive to see everyone as God’s children, naturally kind, intelligent, and good. Let’s listen to what Love has to say right now, and acknowledge that God’s reign is supreme, here and now, and cannot be overruled.
The very most important communication that has happened today, or will ever takes place, is what God, Mind, communicates directly to you. That is yours. It may look like it came from an idea someone shared, a sudden insight into familiar text, a new glimpse into possibilities. Treasure these angels! They are Love feeding you, speaking to you, cherishing you, giving you joy, vision, strength, and purpose. And they are ongoing, showing you what to DO and NOT DO, where to go and not go, and how to safely eliminate what is not good. They lighten up your practice. Thank you for listening to those angels! God bless you and keep you!