By DeWITT JOHN
From the October 1982 issue of The Christian Science Journal
Christian Science is a religion of the heart. Its meaning really cannot be grasped just in the head, as a theory. To understand it in the heart is to understand it with love. And to understand it with love is to grasp its true meaning because it is the religion of Love. There is no other way to fathom it. In the words of its Discoverer and Founder, Mary Baker Eddy, "The vital part, the heart and soul of Christian Science, is Love." 1
It was the warmth and radiance of divine Love, manifested in works as well as words, that gave Christ Jesus' mission its transcendent luminous power. Our Saviour was a living transparency for divine Love. His marvelous humanity and compassion brought convincing evidence to sinners and sufferers of the healing efficacy of Love. His selfless affection and sacrifice have continued to touch human hearts throughout the centuries.
He himself said his teachings must be understood in the heart and with the heart. Speaking of the stolidity of those around him, he said, "This people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them" 2 (emphasis added).
We need to see that Christian Science is the Master's religion of Love, practiced and demonstrated through spiritual understanding. Its healing works bear witness to the shining in human hearts of the light of Love. As this glow of Truth and Love illumines our consciousness, our lives and deeds bear witness in healing to the true meaning of Christian Science. This is the best evidence that we do understand it; and this is the indispensable answer to the false views of Christian Science too often held and promoted by its critics.
We cannot afford to lose sight of what spiritual love means practically and what it implies. To cite an example, it is sometimes assumed that the healing process in Science is mainly a matter of mental argument. Now, it is true that systematic spiritual reasoning and argument—based on the allness of God and the nothingness of evil and made concrete in prayerful affirmations and denials—is usually necessary in healing. But isn't the healing process characterized even more profoundly by a heart inspired by Truth and overflowing with love—with the gratitude and joy of knowing Love's omnipresence? Clarity of thought and specificity in reasoning are essential, but the spirit of the Christ must take the lead. We find the right relationship set forth in the textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, where Mrs. Eddy writes: "Remember that the letter and mental argument are only human auxiliaries to aid in bringing thought into accord with the spirit of Truth and Love, which heals the sick and the sinner." 3
Another illustration has to do with our attitudes toward others. As Christian Scientists our goal and standard is spiritual perfection; indeed, Christian Science gives us a clear discernment of the absolute perfection of divine Mind and Mind's spiritual creation. But do we allow the very earnestness of our desire for perfection to make us supercritical of others?
Here is where the Christ-spirit of affection and meekness is so greatly needed. No human being has ever had a purer vision of the sublime perfection of Truth and Love than did the Master; yet when he was confronted with the foibles, perversities, and weaknesses of mortals, his patience and love were without parallel. If we remember that Christian Science is a religion of the heart, we will not allow an immature sense of things to trap us into a shallow material perfectionism that magnifies and criticizes the flaws seen in others. No room remains for uncharitable criticism or chronic fault-finding when Christ's redeeming affection rules the heart. What marvelous opportunities we have to prove this in our homes, in our places of work, and in our church relationships!
Still another example has to do with the question of personality. We learn in Science the mighty truth that God is the only Mind, and the true Mind of man; that this Mind is the only Ego; that the error of mortal selfhood apart from God must be repudiated, and mortal egotism stilled. We also learn that good does not originate in a human self, since the source of all good is divine Principle, Mind, Love—the infinite good that is both universal and impartial.
But in our zeal to repudiate mortal egotism do we tend to reduce ourselves (or others) to a zero and, in effect, say that there is "only God"—thereby belittling our own God-given individuality as God's reflection, and that of our fellowman? Crediting God as the only power, the Master said, "I can of mine own self do nothing";4 but he also bore witness to the might, glory, and dominion of man reflecting God when he said, "The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works." 5 As we read in Science and Health: "The Ego-man is the reflection of the Ego-God; the Ego-man is the image and likeness of perfect Mind, Spirit, divine Principle.
"The one Ego, the one Mind or Spirit called God, is infinite individuality, which supplies all form and comeliness and which reflects reality and divinity in individual spiritual man and things." 6
The Master's life-example makes clear that our efforts to worship God alone as good, never should lead us to be unappreciative of ourselves or others, for God is Love including all and appreciating all. We should never be cold or uncaring toward other people. If the Christ-spirit of meekness and affection takes the lead in our hearts, we'll never let an "impersonal" lack of concern for others chill our outlook. On the contrary we'll seek to find and appreciate in others, and in ourselves, the spark of divinity that bears testimony to our real spiritual identity in the image of God.
People sometimes speak of Christian Science as "an intellectual religion"—but in the ordinary meaning of the phrase this is a misnomer. True, Christian Science gives no weight to pomp, ceremony, or ritual, nor does it depend on charismatic appeal; and it is a religion of ideas, calling for thinkers and challenging the beliefs of mankind. But it is also the pure, practical, healing truth that Jesus taught and proved. It is the genuine Science of Christ, described by its inspired Discoverer, Mrs. Eddy, as "aflame with divine Love." 7
There is nothing abstract about the Christ, Truth. It is evident from the gospel accounts that the great Teacher, ever attentive to the Father's guidance and also to the human need, lovingly and patiently shared the Christ, Truth, with all who would listen. Through his works the Word was made flesh in lives redeemed—men, women, and children profoundly blessed and healed. His ministry illustrated the coincidence of the divine with the human: the redeeming power of divine Love meeting the truehearted human cry for help. As Christ Jesus made plain, the healing touch of this Love is felt not only in exalted words and stirring healings, but also in the inspired humility and affection that prompted him to say, in referring to Christian deeds of mercy, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." 8