I was listening to a Christian Science service in my local branch church recently. I was hearing many revolutionary ideas read from the desk that led to healing thoughts dancing in delight on the floor of my consciousness. “I’m not a material body. I’m a spiritual being. God governs my health. Medical belief does not….” And on and on came the enlightening inspirations.
Reveling in the bounty of inspiration coming my way, I stopped mid-thought and realized that I owed a debt of gratitude to Mary Baker Eddy for designing a church service that allowed for inspiration to come directly from God to a congregant.
Attendees have complained in the past that Christian Science church services lack pizzazz and theatre. They lack the dramatic and musical productions often found in the mega-churches that dot communities across the land, it has been said.
As I sat in the Christian Science service in quiet awe for the abundance of ideas flowing my way that took me very close to God, and away from personal sense, I rejoiced that nothing human-made was getting in the way of the message coming to me.
The readers were expressing vitality, life, vigor and conviction as they read from the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, but there was no personal opinion getting in the way. I didn’t have to listen to their political position, their stand on abortion rights, or who they thought I should vote for. I didn’t have to listen to any personal opinion, either spoken or unspoken. It didn’t exist. It was not a part of the service. The service was set up and designed so that every congregant could listen to God. And the readers were doing a good job of letting the divine message shine through.
Mrs. Eddy was very wise in eliminating personal preachers from the pulpit. Unfortunately, it’s just too tempting for the human mind to get up on the stand and not be quiet. It wants to voice an opinion, state a position, push an agenda, or assert a belief that may or may not be spiritually inspired.
There are certainly places and opportunities for inspired individuals to share their helpful ideas with others: in talks, lectures, Sunday school, classes, forums, round table chats, one on one conversations. These are all necessary and vital parts of a growing and progressive community. But the church service can be very special. It can be the one place in our community that is free of human opinion and mortal viewpoint. It’s the one place any earnest seeker can go and collectively participate with his brothers and sisters in listening to God together for the common good. And it can be a holy experience for one and all.
I’m grateful for the simplicity of the Christian Science service. It serves a valuable purpose. It is an oasis in the middle of a busy hectic world, and a place for thinkers to thrive.