Christian Science: And the Business of Living
Herschel P. Nunn, C.S.B., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Herschel P. Nunn, C.S.B., of
"Wist ye not that I must be about my father's business?" was the reply of Jesus to his parents when they rebuked him for wandering away from them and confronting the doctors in the temple. Luke gives us only a glimpse of the boy Jesus, but enough for us to see the early devotion of his thought to the knowledge and understanding of God. The ministry of his later life proved that his thought was consecrated to the fundamental purpose of all business, to supply mankind with an abundance of good.
"I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." And again "Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst."
Thus we see that Jesus recognized this good to be spiritual while most business men think of it as material. He knew that when men seek first the kingdom of good, of God, their professional business which, of course, is expression of their thought, begins to reflect the quality of their thinking. Being about the Father's business is this constant, alert awareness of the kingdom of good where God is supreme, the sole governor, the one infinite intelligence or Mind, the divine Principle of the universe.
Each one of us is engaged in a business of some sort. The house wife in the business of making a home, the youth attending school in the business of learning. The so-called business man is not the only one of whom we may say, he is in business. Whatever constitutes the activity occupying our thought and effort by which we contribute to the welfare of mankind is our business.
We all are engaged in the business of living, of expressing the goodness of God who is Love, the wisdom of God who is Mind, the beauty of God who is Soul, the stability of God who is divine Principle and Truth.
If, as I have said, the primary object of business is to supply mankind with an abundance of Good, this true purpose will be best expressed when a Christianly scientific sense of good replaces the limited sense which mortals ordinarily entertain.
What is this good ? Is it good in terms of matter or good expressed in the new tongue of Spirit? In terms of matter a business might be considered good merely because it was making money, whereas from a higher standpoint, a more spiritual point of view, it might be anything but a blessing to humanity.
That would be a first step in demonstration with a Christian Scientist. He would ask himself - If I engage in this business, or if I take this business step, will it bless my fellowman? Only when the answer to this question is "yes" can he move on confidently to the next step, that of recognition of the truth about himself, the man of God's creating, this man engaged in the business of living, the business of expressing God. This true man is the reflection, emanation, outcome of the divine Mind, God. This man as the image and likeness of God, in his true being, his spiritual understanding, evidences the goodness of God, the presence of God, the power of God, and the law of God.
No business could be conducted without intelligence. Many a man has found, through his study of Christian Science, satisfying successes in business through acknowledging this one Mind, God, as the source of his intelligence. Mind is one of the synonyms for God which Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, has given us in her textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. To know God as Mind, is to find release from the limitations of the belief that brain is the fount of intelligence. This belief is the source of egotism, the source of the notion that we have a mind of our own and therefore can be proud of our accomplishment when we develop mental ability. What a wonderful relief it is for the Christian Scientist to realize that the one Mind, God, is his mind; that because of this fact he reflects the intelligence to make wise decisions, counsel unselfishly, act with assurance, plan and execute fearlessly!
A friend of mine, a Christian Scientist, who is a salesman, was working to achieve a quota which had been set for him. Without realizing it he had come under a strain in attempting to do this. This resulted in a break in his health to the point where he was barely able to carry on with his work. One morning, so ill was he that he could not rise from bed. The weight of that quota seemed to be holding him down.
As he worked mentally in Christian Science, very clearly the realization came to him, I am not working for a quota, I am working every day, every hour, to demonstrate Christian Science in my daily life. Every call on a customer is not made to increase my quota but to increase my understanding, to demonstrate my knowledge of Truth. In other words, my friend knew that he was first and above all about the Father's business. All at once he realized that he felt better than he had in many weeks. In two hour's he was at his office.
That was the turning point leading to a complete physical healing. Also from that time on his business showed a constant improvement. His quota was easily made.
There is no need of, no possibility of, man's not having, doing, being whatever is right and good. In our real being as divine Mind's idea, we all are the reflection of and therefore express the whole of the activity of the law of God, Good, and the whole of the power to enforce that law. In the consciousness of that fact is man's dominion realized.
The solution for a business problem may always be found in the recognition of what is really going on in the divine universe, the universe of divine Mind and its ideas. In this, the only true and real universe, God is supreme, the only power, the only law-giver.
Suppose in the human picture of one's business activity there seems to be injustice, dishonesty, lack of truth-telling going on. Could such things be known of God? Could they be in divine Mind's universe? Can the man of God's creating lie or cheat? No! Why does a mortal do these things? Is it not because he believes there is something profitable in it for him? He is the victim of a false sense of good. His material universe is the only one he knows. But the Christian Scientist steadfastly holding to the spiritual facts which exist in the divine universe can release this victim of ignorance and false belief. He knows that that kind of thinking is not in his reflection of divine Mind nor is it in divine Mind's universe. Further more it cannot get into this universe.
The revelation of the one infinite, self-existent, all-constituting Spirit, God, establishes man and creation as the forever perfect representation of this divine cause, or Father-Mother. From the very nature of this perfect cause, its infinity, its omnipotence, its unvarying presence of good, that which represents it, reflects it, manifests it, namely man and the universe, will express this infinite all-power and unvarying good. In our present experience we see this in one form of its expression as a harmonious business, a good
The business of living is expressed in what we might call the business of church. "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" This was not merely the child Jesus speaking, but the expression of the Christ which he manifested. The story says that Jesus' parents "found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors both hearing them and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers."
Here, in that limited ecclesiastical concept of church, the child Jesus must have been voicing the spirit of the healing Christ, refuting false doctrines, revealing spiritual ideas. This was the first record we have of what Jesus' later life proved, namely, that his expression of the Christ became the basis for the appearing of the true idea of Church, because the church is that which shows forth or manifests the Christ: it is evidence of the Christ.
One of the purposes of the Christian Science Church is the healing of the sick, the sorrowing, the sinful, the unhappy, the dissatisfied. This church springs from the healing experience of the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy. The discovery came to her when she read of Jesus' healing of the palsied man. She recognized in it the fundamental law of spiritual healing, its availableness to humanity today, and the result was an immediate recovery from an injury which her physician, minister and friends had expected would prove fatal.
Through her illumined understanding of the Bible she found the basic principle of Jesus' healing work. She saw that his healings of the blind, the deaf, the lame, the sinning were not miraculous occurrences but resulted from his spiritual recognition of the truth of being and of the true spiritual man. Jesus' every day life expressed this true being so joyously, vividly, naturally, that those who thereby glimpsed something of the Christ, Truth he expressed and so turned to him for healing were instantly released from various forms of bondage. An example of this receptive perception is seen when the woman who touched the hem of his garment "was healed and immediately her issue of blood stanched." (Luke 9:44).
In the preface to her textbook our Leader writes (S&H p. xi) - "When God called the author to proclaim His gospel to this age there came also the charge to plant and water his vineyard."
The press and platform have often
spoken of Mrs. Eddy's remarkable achievement in establishing her cause. Her
unerring wisdom in organizing the Christian Science movement might appear to
the world as mere business sagacity. But by those who have proved the truth of
Christian Science in demonstration, her great accomplishment is seen as the
evidence of spiritual revelation and divine guidance. Passing through a
Christian Science is spiritual and impersonal. But the church organization has to be carried on by persons who are still more or less encumbered by material beliefs. Christian Scientists therefore find that church membership makes great demands upon them for growth in spiritual understanding. They do not immediately solve all their human problems but learn to work out these problems through the demonstration of Christian Science. In the church they are working with others on the same basis of Principle. Thus one helps the other and the results are unity of thought and action.
We need to have great patience with the other fellow, but we should not be weakly tolerant with ourselves concerning what is un-Christlike.
Unselfishness is the natural state of man, for man is the expression of the one infinite Mind which is Love. Unselfishness is not false modesty. The best characters have never even known they were unselfish. When the divine Mind is expressed in our thinking we do not stoop to congratulate ourselves upon being good. Unselfishness or selflessness is pure Science. It is our expression of true Being. A selfish aim or effort implies a limited mentality, localized narrow views and desires, and is typical of the "small-scale individual" defined by Sir Alfred Zimmern, as the greatest obstacle to the building of world peace. Unselfishness, spontaneous and free, opens the thought to the vast possibilities of Mind, in which fear has no abiding place.
When anything is accomplished by exact Science the individual entertains no personal feeling of fear but stands with divine Truth and is serenely secure. One need not fear to deny false selfhood, for in demonstration of Christian Science he discovers his individuality, his true selfhood, forever at peace in divine Principle, which is omnipotent. The belief of life in matter is a phase of selfishness. The understanding that Life is Spirit is the true basis of unselfishness and reveals true individuality.
Through spiritual understanding and the progressive unfoldment of qualities of character which express the goodness of God, the intelligence which is divine Mind, the beauty of consciousness which is Soul, we experience salvation. To bring salvation to mankind through spiritual awakening is a function of church.
"Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" With gentle admonition Jesus rebuked the human sense of mother love which would have held him under the measurement of years. Again this was not merely the twelve year old child speaking, but the Christ-expressing consciousness which evidenced no limitation of years, but, no doubt, saw far beyond the limited concepts of priests and rabbis. Years do not measure wisdom. I once heard a Christian Scientist call to the attention of a group of college students Mrs. Eddy's assertion on page 246 of our textbook, "The measurement of life by solar years robs youths and gives ugliness to age." How does this time measurement rob youth? By laying down laws which demand that only years can give wisdom, poise, balance, keenness of mental perception.
Christian Science points out that
through demonstration, we can express these valuable qualities of character in
our youth as well as in our more advanced years. A well known periodical
recently cited that
To meet the needs of the public we have our reading rooms. A Christian Science Reading Room fulfills the fundamental purpose of business to supply mankind with an abundance of good. Here where our Leader's works may be read, borrowed or obtained, and the Christian Science periodicals procured, many Christian Scientists have found their opportunity for that quiet study and meditation so necessary to true spiritual progress. Here our weekly lesson-sermon, made up of references from the King James version of the Holy Bible and correlative passages from the Christian Science textbook may be thoughtfully and prayerfully studied. Those in charge of our reading rooms dedicate their thought to providing these havens of rest with an atmosphere of healing and spiritual refreshment.
A reading room librarian in one of our university cities wrote of her experience substantially as follows: "So you're going to serve in the reading room,'' a friend said to me - "What an opportunity for you when you see those dear, struggling people come in day after with their problems and their troubles, their sorrows and their trials!" "These words were overwhelming for a moment. Is that what the reading room work is going to be? I wondered. Immediately the demand came, what am I going to see? Sick, suffering people, or man as spiritual idea reflecting divine Mind, possessing no quality which is not derived from God. Am I not learning through Christian Science to clear my vision, to behold the beauty of holiness, the perfection of being? How about the assurance of Jesus - 'Blessed are your eyes for they see: and your ears, for they hear?' (Mat. 13:16) Am I going to look from the viewpoint of personal sense, or of divine Principle? Am I going to know spiritually even as I am spiritually known of God? Yes, I am.''
The reading room, as an idea of service is neither limited nor bounded by place or location, nor is it confined in material environment. It has its source, purpose, and continuity in infinite Mind. Its only activity is the activity of infinite Mind and its expression. To view the reading room in this light lifts it above the limited sense picture of merely a place for people to come and get something. It elevates it to an activity expressing spiritual consciousness, the atmosphere of Soul, by which the receptive thought is awakened and enlightened. Then, "What to material sense seems substance becomes nothingness, as the sense-dream vanishes and reality appears," as we read in our textbook, (S&H p. 312).
A fundamental point in the study and practice of Christian Science is the necessity to analyze the truth of statements made to us. Our friend the librarian challenged and analyzed the statement of her friend. She translated the human situation of sick and suffering humanity. She saw in place thereof the spiritual facts of being and insisted upon recognizing the perfect man in place of the faulty evidence of material sense.
Someone might ask. "Does not her thought concerning her work contradict what Mrs. Eddy says on page 570 of the Christian Science textbook?" "Millions of unprejudiced minds, simple seekers for Truth, weary wanderers athirst in the desert - are waiting and watching for rest and drink. Give them a cup of cold water in Christ's name and never fear the consequences." No, it does not contradict our Leader's statement. The "weary wanderers'' are mortals. When one comes to a Christian Science practitioner for help, the practitioner ceases to think of him as a mortal and sees him as an immortal, the spiritual idea of God. This turning away from the evidence of material sense is a fundamental step in Christian Science treatment.
The fact which all the while becomes clearer in our Science is that we have to recognize what we actually are, the sons of God, now, instead of wasting thought and time on merely wishing. "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God." (Romans) Nothing we could ever want or strive for is equal to that which is divinely, naturally our real and eternal being now. No problem is ever solved by thought set solely on the problem. It stands to reason that the power which solves the human problem must be entirely outside that problem. Real power is so divine, so perfect, that it is unaware of any problems.
The one and only Mind, which never heard of a problem to be solved, alone provides the solution. Why? Because of the fact that from the standpoint of the divine Mind alone can a human problem be seen as unreal, and thereby dissolved. You can never solve a problem as long as you consider it as a reality. And when I say from the standpoint of divine Mind alone, let us be well aware that this means our genuine standpoint of being right here - our spiritual and divinely governed consciousness which reflects or is the expression of Mind, Life, Love, God.
Webster defines, standpoint as "a position from which objects or principles are viewed, and according to which they are compared and judged.'' What was Jesus' point of view when he said, "Hast thou not known me, Phillip? He that hath seen me hath seen the father," and "My father worketh hitherto and I work," and again, "I and my father are one?" Was he not speaking here from the standpoint of the Christ? However, when he prayed "Let this cup pass from me, nevertheless not my will but thine be done," was it not the human Jesus taking mental steps toward solving his problem through his understanding of the Christ, his true selfhood?
In Miscellaneous Writings (p. 52) Mrs. Eddy says, "Mortals have the sum of being to work out, and up, to its spiritual standpoint. They must work out of this dream or false claim of sensation and life in matter, and up to the spiritual reality of existence, before this false claim can be dispelled." What could this position be but that of divine Mind itself, or as I have already stated, our spiritual, our divinely governed consciousness which reflects or is the expression of the divine Mind? Two well-known quotations from our textbook illustrate these two positions of thought. "When the human element in him struggled with the divine, our great Teacher said 'Not my will, but thine be done!' - that is, Let not the flesh, but the Spirit, be represented in me." Here was the beginning of the struggle which was to prove the truth of his mighty statement to the Jews, "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up." Of this statement our Leader says: "That Life is God, Jesus proved by his reappearance after the crucifixion in strict accordance with his scientific statement: 'Destroy this temple (body) and in three days I (Spirit) will raise it up.' It is as if he had said: The I - the Life, substance, and intelligence of the universe - is not in matter to be destroyed." (p. 27).
In this clear statement of his oneness with the Father is Christ Jesus' identification of his true selfhood as the expression of "the Life, substance, and intelligence of the universe."
In the face of opposite presentation by the material senses, the Christian Scientist declares and realizes his fundamental oneness with God, his perfection as the idea of divine Mind. Unless this declaration is made from the position of the absolute facts of being as presented in Christian Science it will not be in accord with our Leader's instructions as given us in her work - The First Church of Christ, Scientist and Miscellany, (p. 242) "You can never demonstrate spirituality until you declare yourself to be immortal and understand that you are so. Christian Science is absolute; it is neither behind the point of perfection, nor advancing toward it; it is at this point and should be practiced thereform. Unless you fully perceive that you are the child of God, hence perfect, you have no principle to demonstrate and no rule for its demonstration. By this I do not mean that mortals are the children of God - far from it. In practicing Christian Science you must state its rule correctly or you forfeit your ability to demonstrate it."
So we have seen that the business of living is the business of expressing God, of reflecting Him in every thought, in every deed. In right living we express the true concept of being. True being is oneness with God - that is a constant awareness of divine Mind's presence expressing itself as our true, real and only selfhood.
Are you aware of your true being all of the time, or do you part of the time allow thought to wander without purpose or direction? What is the remedy for this state of thought? To "pray without ceasing" - that is the only remedy. We pray without ceasing when our thought is lined up with Truth, when we express ideas - spiritual ideas - constantly, unvaryingly, certainly.
Easier said than done, you say? Well, let us see about that. As we walk down the street we look into the faces of those we pass. Often we find in them certain expressions of thought which need to be handled for the world at large - worry, for instance, fear, unhappiness - so that going forth on an errand becomes a constant adventure and opportunity for witnessing to the Truth. There is only one claim of mortal mind. Every time we clearly see the nothingness of a specific mortal belief we are helping too destroy it for the whole world. So instead of allowing idle thought to becloud our day we are thinking constructively, helpfully, purposefully - we are praying unceasingly for our own good and that of many others.
If we are to have a more abundant life we are going to find that it takes more than political changes to give it to us. This life is not found through theory, political manipulation, nor bureaucratic control, but by doing away with the false theories about education, the erroneous teaching of religious, medical, psychological, political schools, which concede reality to sin, sickness and sorrow. Christian Science exposes these false beliefs and helps to destroy them in the thought and experience of mankind.
Now, genuine, substantial happiness lies in letting our thought daily and hourly approximate more nearly the perfection of the divine Mind. The real practice of Christian Science is in no sense routine, mere repetition of words. In the denial of error and the affirmation of Truth which largely constitutes prayer and treatment, we can always find new inspiration, new power, new joy, new peace.
So, if as you walk down the street you see a man who seems wrapped in sorrow, you may play a part, and a very important part, in lifting the burden of sorrow from that individual and from all mankind. You do this when instead of accepting the testimony of physical sense as evidence of a real and inevitable human experience, you repudiate it as false. Instead, you see the discordant evidence as false suggestions presenting an untrue picture of what God's man really is. We know that in Mary Baker Eddy's experience, her instant reversal of the testimony of mortal belief resulted in many instantaneous healings of supposedly incurable diseases. The business of living then is a continual mental aliveness to the reality of being. It is prayer unceasing in the sense that it is thought habitually expressive of divine Mind. Since there is but one real consciousness, our true being is ever conscious of the presence of God. Spiritual sense, which our Leader defines in S&H as a "conscious, constant capacity to understand God," (p. 209) is the heritage of man. We need to see that since we are actually the son of God now no process is in reality necessary to get us there - because in our real being we are there.
Our practice as Christian Scientists is capable of the greatest things. Mind is infinite; therefore man who is the manifestation of Mind is infinite also. "Mortals have a very imperfect sense of the spiritual man and of the infinite range of his thought," our textbook says (p. 258:25). Difficulties between nations are either greater than God or less great than God. Is there any difference between anger in one person or a million persons? If we can heal anger for one person we can be sure our work is having its effect if we deny the anger, hatred and brutality of nations.
In Revelation 12th Chapter after the account of the appearing of the woman clothed with the sun, we read: "And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon: and the dragon fought and his angels. And prevailed not: neither was their place found any more in heaven. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night."
Does not war in heaven indicate the warfare which seems to take place in the realm of thought when evil is seen as nothing in the presence of good realized? It may also refer to the warfare which seems to accompany the uncovering and overcoming of hatred in the mortally mental realm so that heaven may appear in our thinking. "Michael and his angels fought against the dragon . . . . and the dragon prevailed not'' shows clearly that evil, error, is to be rendered harmless, wholly impotent, seen as non-existent - without place, power, law, or influence. To heal war in and between nations we must heal war in ourselves, in our office, our home, our church, and when we are alone. We must love more and even more until the Love which is God is seen as the all in all of being, the only Mind, the only Principle and substance of man.
We must see that our loved ones are not in reality mortals in dangerous places, but are man, the expression of the one divine Mind, and Life, the divine idea of God. This realization helps to keep them out of danger, lift their thought above despair, and bring to them that inner peace that passeth understanding.
"Wist ye not that I must be about my father's business" - the practice of Christian Science is truly the "Father's business." So let us consider the business of God.
One of Webster's definitions of business is "special undertaken service, duty, or mission." How applicable that is to our healing work - a special undertaken mission. We should always think of our healing work as a mission, a ministry, rather than as a profession.
Healing through Christian Science becomes the natural spontaneous activity of daily living.
God heals in the practice of Christian Science. Not in the sense that God changes sick matter into well matter, but rather that the so-called human being still manifesting a sense of existence that is called material, glimpsing in a degree the nothingness of the human, begins to be aware of his true selfhood as the expression of divine Mind. He thus makes this expression of divine, infinite Truth so much his own that disease, whether it appears in himself or in another, cannot stand in the presence of the Truth which he reflects.
Demonstration is not spirituality appearing in the realm of physicality. It is spirituality appearing as the fuller expression of Truth. The actual truth is that divine facts do not become humanly evident - they become more divinely evident. Healing is a progressive liberation from a material sense of things. One who recognizes himself as the expression of divine Mind reflects the divine Mind in his experience, the only Mind – his Mind.
A friend of mine whom I have known
for over a quarter of a century was healed when a very young man of a pulmonary
disease. A condition considered very serious by the medical profession. The
physician in attendance had told the boy's parents that he must be removed to a
hospital for an operation which at best could give him only temporarily relief.
His mother who had been a student of Christian Science for about three years told
him frankly of his condition and the physician's verdict. He thereupon decided
to turn to Christian Science and rely upon it solely for his healing. This
stand was taken at about . His mother began to read the Bible and the Christian
Science textbook together, his mother helping him with Christian Science
on the same day he realized that he was healed. The next morning when the
physician arrived he found my friend dressed and ready to go to his work. The
physician, astounded, insisted upon making an examination whereupon he found
complete healing of the condition. From the materia medica standpoint such
quick healing was considered a physiological impossibility. He said that in all
his years of practice he had never seen such an occurrence: in fact when told
that my friend had turned to Christian Science he said the experience could
only be accounted for as a miracle. My friend has never since had the slightest
evidence of the difficulty and several years later he passed the army physical
examination, serving in
The law of God becomes operative in human experience through the understanding of God, the presence of God, ruling out of human thought everything unlike itself.
The divine presence is the presence of omniaction, eternally unfolding Life, Mind, Love. It is the continuity of spiritual being, the consciousness of the I AM that is Spirit, the I AM that is the Christ.
The presence of God is the presence of divine Love. Infinite, divine Love, delights in man in his image and likeness - as indicated when Jesus heard the benediction, "This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased." Divine Love promotes man's welfare, bestowing peace, dominion, power, harmony, good - bestowing every glorified radiant gift from the infinite resources and capacities of infinite Love.
God is divine Principle. The law of God is the law of Principle, the law of harmony, in operation, bringing the human experience, redemption of the sinning, healing of the sick. Not one atom of sense testimony is true. There is not one true fact about the whole fabric - it is not there. During all eternity perfection and perfection alone has been and is the fact.
True selfhood appears as we pray "I and my father are one." It is the unity of Principle and idea. It is being which is the presence of good, God. It is as safe as God because this being is the expression of the presence and power and law of God. Let this selfhood be in evidence all the time!
"Wist ye not that I must be about my father's business?" Is not this the eternal demand of the Christ, surrendering the human for the divine? In this surrender the oneness of divine Mind and idea acts through our demonstration of Christian Science as a law to our present experience, our business of living. To each day's demand, each opportunity for service, each call to duty, we respond confidently, buoyantly, humbly - "Wist ye not that I must be about my father's business?" Thus living becomes a joyous awareness of God's everpresence, a constant assurance that our business is the Father's business, and the Father's business our business.
[Published in The Marion County Mail of Indianapolis, Indiana, Oct. 5, 1945.]