January 27, 2000
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."
Duty has a slightly quaint ring to it, but can be opened up in Science to provide life and love giving insights. The word derives from roots meaning giving and receiving and implies what is owed or due someone. The key in Science is reflection, as indicated in Mrs. Eddy's revision of verse 12:13 of Ecclesiastes to read, " Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter; love God and keep His commandments: for this is the whole of man in His image and likeness" (Science and Health, p. 340:9-12). In short, the concept of duty is subsumed in the practice of divine reflection.
We went through the so-called "Daily Duties", or those prayers and provisions meant to guide students of Christian Science in practicing the presence of God. These are set forth in our readings, including a new one to most of us — the entry in the Manual concerning Easter (see page 60) with powerful statements about our daily duty to live as Love and drop the so-called past.
We focused on "practice not profession". Some of us could actually feel the difference, or mental shift, between talking about the Truth and being it. The latter, which is the practice of Science, is an all-inclusive, non dualistic appreciation of the very people, places and things that we previously evaluated from a mortal perspective as a mixture of good and evil. It is decidedly not floating above anyone or anything, but is the being of Good as I, Us.
A couple of us were experiencing difficulties with people in business. These situations screamed for help in Science. They seemed to indicate states of greed, paranoia and envy leading to fear and mendacity. Both members were greatly tempted to struggle with the others — after all the Bible and the writings of Mary Baker Eddy can be marshaled to support such a course.
However, in light of our topic and the insights that had unfolded so far in the meeting, they decided to take an alternate route. One member pointed out that mortal, dualistic existence is a dream, which is quite amenable to Freud's insight that every dream, no matter how elaborate, contains a wish or desire. In Science, desire is prayer; and the prayerful, desiring mortals — i. e., those expressing greed or whatever and those seemingly the victims thereof — are in reality infinite, all-having immortals. So we quickly, through this route, got to a place where we could behold in Science not only the seeming offenders but those aggrieved and in fact all. It was thrilling. And those suffering seemed to be helped.
This led to a discussion of "heaven now". We agreed we were in heaven already, even though the five senses might not so indicate. But suddenly it opened to one member, who shared it, that the five senses — there may be more ultimately — cannot be dualistic if we look out from heaven. We can actually do this by accepting only Good as constituting man and the universe. All is divine idea, also known as people, places and things.
We then turned to whether we should ever call someone or something good or bad. Jesus was very abrupt in correcting the man who addressed him as "Good Master" (see Matthew 19: 16, 17). He referred him to God as the only good. On this basis and from the suffering we've endured by designating people and things good or bad, we concluded that our practice of Christian Science needs to be on firmer ground than afforded by mortal judgments. The good expressed by people and situations can be seen as based in God alone. Furthermore, even when evil seems present, we can rejoice that good alone is operating (see Unity of Good, by Mary Baker Eddy, p. 21: 7-9). In this way, we can fulfill our moment to moment duty to translate the distractions of material sense into the ideas of Soul or the experience of heaven as earth.
We discussed briefly some techniques used by other spiritual practices, including a lovely Sanskrit prayer, "May peace and harmony prevail throughout the world, starting with my heart", and some anger soothing breath work of a Tibetan Master, Thich Nhat Hanh. A member ventured to re-write the "Daily Prayer" (see Manual, p. 41: 19-25), as follows: "Thy Kingdom is come, Thou art ever present. Truth, Life, Love constitute I, Us, eliminating all possibility of duality. Thou art the only source of conversation and action."
A member reported the healing of a severe case of anger with a neighbor over some disagreements in his building. He calmed thought and went to work in Science to see the facts of relationship. The anger quickly melted and the two were friendly again at their next visit.
We'll look at Affluence for next week.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy
Christian Scientists, be a law to yourselves that mental malpractice cannot harm you either when asleep or when awake.
The objects of time and sense disappear in the illumination of spiritual understanding, and Mind measures time according to the good that is unfolded. This unfolding is God's day, and "there shall be no night there."
Simply asking that we may love God will never make us love Him; but the longing to be better and holier, expressed in daily watchfulness and in striving to assimilate more of the divine character, will mould and fashion us anew, until we awake in His likeness.
Whoever reaches the understanding of Christian Science in its proper signification will perform the sudden cures of which it is capable; but this can be done only by taking up the cross and following Christ in the daily life.
This text in the book of Ecclesiastes conveys the Christian Science thought, especially when the word duty, which is not in the original, is omitted: "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man." In other words: Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: love God and keep His commandments: for this is the whole of man in His image and likeness. Divine Love is infinite. Therefore all that really exists is in and of God, and manifests His love.
Miscellaneous Writings, by Mary Baker Eddy
One thing I have greatly desired, and again earnestly request, namely, that Christian Scientists, here and elsewhere, pray daily for themselves; not verbally, nor on bended knee, but mentally, meekly, and importunately. When a hungry heart petitions the divine Father-Mother God for bread, it is not given a stone,—but more grace, obedience, and love. If this heart, humble and trustful, faithfully asks divine Love to feed it with the bread of heaven, health, holiness, it will be conformed to a fitness to receive the answer to its desire; then will flow into it the "river of His pleasure," the tributary of divine Love, and great growth in Christian Science will follow,—even that joy which finds one's own in another's good.
There is not sufficient spiritual power in the human thought to heal the sick or the sinful. Through the divine energies alone one must either get out of himself and into God so far that his consciousness is the reflection of the divine, or he must, through argument and the human consciousness of both evil and good, overcome evil.
Manual of The Mother Church, by Mary Baker Eddy
GUIDANCE OF MEMBERS
A Rule for Motives and Acts. SECTION 1. Neither animosity nor mere personal attachment should impel the motives or acts of the members of The Mother Church. In Science, divine Love alone governs man; and a Christian Scientist reflects the sweet amenities of Love, in rebuking sin, in true brotherliness, charitableness, and forgiveness. The members of this Church should daily watch and pray to be delivered from all evil, from prophesying, judging, condemning, counseling, influencing or being influenced erroneously.
Daily Prayer. SECT. 4. It shall be the duty of every member of this Church to pray each day: "Thy kingdom come;" let the reign of divine Truth, Life, and Love be established in me, and rule out of me all sin; and may Thy Word enrich the affections of all mankind, and govern them!
Alertness to Duty. SECT. 6. It shall be the duty of every member of this Church to defend himself daily against aggressive mental suggestion, and not be made to forget nor to neglect his duty to God, to his Leader, and to mankind. By his works he shall be judged,—and justified or condemned.
Easter Observances. SECT. 2. In the United States there shall be no special observances, festivities, nor gifts at the Easter season by members of The Mother Church. Gratitude and love should abide in every heart each day of all the years. Those sacred words of our beloved Master, "Let the dead bury their dead," and "Follow thou me," appeal to daily Christian endeavors for the living whereby to exemplify our risen Lord.