The Bible, Christian Science and You (Summary)
Sylvia Poling, C.S.B., of Phoenix, Arizona
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Friends, do you know that the Bible is talking about you? Do you know that the Bible concerns you? It concerns how you think, how you live, and what becomes of you. It concerns your health, your happiness, your conduct, your work, your life, and your relationship to others. Because it concerns you the Bible tells you how to think and what to do to bring harmony and completeness into any situation in which you may find yourself. Knowing and practicing what the Bible says about you changes the course of human experience. Health, success, love, friendship, joy, goodness take the place of sickness, failure, hate, discord, sorrow, and evil.
Now if you're thinking, "That's hard to believe," I'd like to ask if you've really put the Bible to a practical test. Do you know what the Bible says about you? Do you know what the law found in the Bible can do for you? Are you doing what it tells you to do?
The Bible contains the law that produces and governs all existence. When it is really understood and obeyed our experience must be good. The understanding and practice of this law rests on a spiritual interpretation of the Scriptures. Until the Bible is interpreted spiritually and practiced from this standpoint, we are without a definite rule for our conduct or existence.
What Heaven Is
I might try to play Chopin without applying the laws of music or harmony, but I wouldn't become a performer. The Bible contains the law of God that governs the universe and man. Christian Science interprets that law for us that we may perform successfully in our living. Whatever our age, whatever our situation, we can start wherever we are and experience the full blessings of the Bible. Jesus brings this out in one of his parables about the kingdom of heaven.
Now when Jesus talked about the kingdom of heaven, he was talking about law, too — law that is vital to each one of us, that reaches us right where we are when we're willing to learn it and obey it. You see, God's laws exist for our good. But until we know about them and obey them, we haven't brought ourselves under their operation and protection.
The prophets, Christ Jesus, and the apostles discerned divine law. Christian Science helps us to understand divine law. Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer and founder of Christian Science, says in her "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 257), "The law of God is the law of Spirit, a moral and spiritual force of immortal and divine Mind." Further on she continues (p. 259). "God is the law of Life, not of death; of health, not of sickness; of good, not of evil." Can you agree that this is heaven?
Heaven is harmony. Harmony is everything fitting together; it is unity or wholeness. It is dependent on law. Christ Jesus brought a sense of harmony and completeness to situations. A man born blind, a multitude without food, the death of Jairus' daughter, a tempest-tossed sea — all these yielded to his understanding of harmony and completeness.
Heart Trouble Healed
Those studying and proving Christian Science have absolute assurance that it's the law Christ Jesus understood and practiced. We find that as we obey this law, it heals us of everything unlike God — fear, envy, hatred, revenge, irritation, unhappiness, sickness. It helps us express more intelligence in our work and live more harmoniously with others. This is why Christian Science means so much to those who live it.
A man who was suffering from heart trouble had accepted the verdict that he must die. However, his daughter took him to to a Christian Science practitioner. The practitioner talked with him about God's love for His children. Then she read this passage aloud from "Miscellaneous Writings" (p. 50), where Mrs. Eddy answers the question "Do you believe in change of heart?" — "We do believe, and understand — which is more — that there must be a change from human affections, desires, and aims, to the divine standard, 'Be ye therefore perfect.'"
The practitioner said, "Now if you have a grudge against anybody, or hate someone, you'd better get it out of your system. This can mean your healing. 'Be ye therefore perfect.'"
Startled, the man replied, "Oh, that's impossible!"
The practitioner said, "Oh, no it isn't. God, who is all powerful, so powerful that he controls everything everywhere, created you perfect and is able to keep you that way — but you have to obey His will. As God loves you, you have to love other men."'
Soon after the man and his daughter left, the daughter telephoned the practitioner and said, "You certainly hit the nail on the head. My father has despised my mother for thirty-five years. But when he came home today, the scene was entirely different, and my mother hardly knew what to make of it."
The next morning this man was digging in his garden, permanently healed of his "heart trouble." A fundamental law of being, the law of love, was operating all the time for his good. When he was obedient to it, it proved his health was right at hand.
Such an experience reveals the concept of God that Jesus had. It's a concept that makes us love God. We're not afraid of God's will or the law of God when we learn that He is our divine Principle, Love. We see that it's the work of Principle to preserve, not to destroy. Divine Principle is the law of perfection to every situation. As we gain a clearer spiritual understanding of the Bible, we begin to see this and to know God better.
Christ Jesus Our Example
Christ Jesus understood the presence of God better than anyone else who has ever lived. He is our example and wayshower. He showed us how to obey divine law to overcome the belief in a life and power apart from God.
Jesus claimed God as his Father. Christ was his divine title because of the true idea of God which he taught and proved. Christ Jesus didn't appear until mankind was ready to receive a saviour, and although Jesus rose out of human sight, the Christ, the Truth he taught and proved, is still with us. It is God's message to us awaiting our ability and willingness to receive it. Jesus' lifework is meaningless to us unless we follow in his footsteps. We must obey God as he did. If we acknowledge the Christ as he did, we must live his example of humility, purity, holiness or wholeness, perfection, unselfishness, love and forgiveness. This is the demand of Christian Science as both Christian and Science.
A definition of "Science" is "knowledge obtained by study and practice." "Christian" refers to the religion based on Christ's teaching. "Christian Science," then, implies knowledge obtained through the study and practice of the teachings of Christ Jesus. Pure Christianity is scientific then in that it is in accord with basic spiritual facts. These facts constitute the Science of Christianity or Christian Science.
Man's True Selfhood
The Bible has the solution to every human problem.
Friends, when the Bible sets forth the laws necessary for the preservation of the health, happiness, and life of man — when it gives the rules for right thinking, right conduct, and good relationships — for whom is it doing this? Not only for your neighbor, your husband, your wife. But for you. For everyone — on an individual basis. The Bible concerns you, for you are, in truth, God's individual man. You're necessary to God as His expression. Your individuality is necessary to reflect the divine completeness.
If everyone, every man, woman, and child, began to spend some time each day in studying and pondering the great truths of the Bible, and then put them into practice, peace and harmony would reign in the world. The daily reading of the Bible can be the most thrilling, transforming experience in the lives of each one of us.
Christian Science interprets the practical truths of the Bible so that we can understand them more easily and live them. It fulfills the promise of the coming of the Comforter, the "Spirit of truth," which should teach us all things.
It brings the message of the tender, loving, healing presence of the Christ, Truth. This message is, indeed, wonderful, revealing the true identity of each one as the blessed child of God, forever spiritual, sinless, whole, and free.