March 6, 2003
Christian Science is more than a prophet or a prophecy: it presents not words alone, but works,--the daily demonstration of Truth and Love.
The originator of our topic felt some of us were so absorbed in prophesying that we were undercutting any ability to heal in Christian Science. Well, perhaps it's true but then most of us are New Yorkers who survived 9/11 and somehow felt we were entitled to a bit of cynicism, judgmentalism, joke-telling about the president and political chatter.
After the readings, our topic-originator startled us by insisting that prophesying of any sort is excluded in Christian Science practice. He read this statement from Mary Baker Eddy's "Rule for Motives and Acts": "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." (Manual of The Mother Church, p. 40:11) While everyone else in the room felt the word "erroneously" applies to all the mental attitudes enumerated, he felt it applied only to "being influenced." Others pointed out we must judge righteously, condemn error, etc. As for prophesying, "It's the heart and soul of Christian Science practice, when done correctly," said one member.
The two definitions from the Glossary of Science and Health shown in the readings provide the key to correct practice here. See "Prophet" and "Elias". It is clear that Christian Science is the means by which we can "discern the spiritual fact of whatever the material senses behold" and that prophecy involves the "disappearance of material sense before the conscious facts of spiritual Truth."
Then what is it that Mrs. Eddy is warning us we should watch and pray to be delivered from? It's material sense, which is the basis, indeed the sum and substance, of all the evil and problems of the world. We watch our outer and inner world to see whether we're buying into the dualistic view of things and pray to see the spiritual healing reality. This is prophecy in Science.
It came as a surprise to some of us that prophecy is not merely prediction. It includes inspired utterance. Much of Old Testament prophecy is taken up with calling Israel back to the worship of Yahweh and the consequences of any dereliction. Members brought in some of the less hair-raising quotes from the most famous of these prophets, Isaiah and Jeremiah.
For hair-raising, take a look at Luke 21:5-27 — we have a few quotes in our Readings. Jesus ends on what appears to be a positive note: "And then shall they see the Son of man coming on a cloud with power and great glory." (Luke 21:27)
Mrs. Eddy tried her hand at apocalyptic writing on pages 96 and 97 of Science and Health. One member pointed out that every paragraph here ends in absolute Truth. So she appears to be showing us the way to meet what is called chemicalization, when Truth meets error and dissolves it. He said, "This is how we as students of Christian Science see the Second Coming: the resolution of the dark visions of materialism or mortal mind into spiritual perfection."
Most of us are finding it tough to keep our eye on the ball in the present onslaught of news about Iraq, North Korea, terrorism and the economy. Should we shut out all news? Or just drift with the popular current of thought? Both approaches are dualistic adjustments to mortal beliefs and not in line with taking up the cross daily and following Christ.
We were divided on whether we needed to investigate mortal mind's rendition of events in order to heal the situation. Everyone agreed however that we must be careful in handling such material in preparation for prayerful treatment. Whether we gulp or sip, we must not ourselves become so mesmerized by the surface presentation that we become part of the problem rather than the solution. Here's an interesting point by one member: "Truth will free us, but it's done by reversing error. So let's see and hear what error's saying."
Another member liked the analogy of those simultaneous translations we see going on at United Nations meetings. We can watch and pray by listening to whatever is being said by error and immediately translating it into spiritual Truth.
This description reminded another member of Mrs. Eddy's teaching regarding the difference between reading mortal mind and divine Mind. He read this: "There is mortal mind-reading and immortal Mind-reading. The latter is a revelation of divine purpose through spiritual understanding, by which man gains the divine Principle and explanation of all things. Mortal mind-reading and immortal Mind-reading are distinctly opposite standpoints, from which cause and effect are interpreted. The act of reading mortal mind investigates and touches only human beliefs." (Science and Health, p. 83:25-32)
Our members are particularly concerned with the growth of fundamentalist religions based on fantasies said to derive from Bible prophecies. This would be relatively harmless if kept in the churches, but now a number of government officials are not only believers but seem to be legislating and acting from these fantasies. They have gone beyond the usual condemnation of Gay people, women's rights and other liberal policies to things like supporting Israel because of something said to be in the Bible about the Jews returning to Jerusalem before Armageddon can occur. We're no experts on this line of thinking, but more and more of it will seep out and needs to be handled in Science. Similar fantasies having seized parts of Islam, urgency is required.
Are we caught in our own fantasies to feel that correct Christian Science prophesying can reduce all the religious claptrap to nothing? And leave mankind to be directed by the one God, good?
Towards the end of the meeting two members discovered their common interest in biology and wanted some aspect of it as our topic next week. We decided on Evolution.
Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.
And now, saith the Lord that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength. And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.
And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.
For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.
And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
PROPHET. A spiritual seer; disappearance of material sense before the conscious facts of spiritual Truth.
ELIAS. Prophecy; spiritual evidence opposed to material sense; Christian Science, with which can be discerned the spiritual fact of whatever the material senses behold; the basis of immortality.
Evidence drawn from the five physical senses relates solely to human reason; and because of opacity to the true light, human reason dimly reflects and feebly transmits Jesus' works and words. Truth is a revelation.
Jesus bade his disciples beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees, which he defined as human doctrines. His parable of the "leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened," impels the inference that the spiritual leaven signifies the Science of Christ and its spiritual interpretation,—an inference far above the merely ecclesiastical and formal applications of the illustration.
Did not this parable point a moral with a prophecy, foretelling the second appearing in the flesh of the Christ, Truth, hidden in sacred secrecy from the visible world?
Ages pass, but this leaven of Truth is ever at work. It must destroy the entire mass of error, and so be eternally glorified in man's spiritual freedom.
In their spiritual significance, Science, Theology, and Medicine are means of divine thought, which include spiritual laws emanating from the invisible and infinite power and grace. The parable may import that these spiritual laws, perverted by a perverse material sense of law, are metaphysically presented as three measures of meal,—that is, three modes of mortal thought. In all mortal forms of thought, dust is dignified as the natural status of men and things, and modes of material motion are honored with the name of laws. This continues until the leaven of Spirit changes the whole of mortal thought, as yeast changes the chemical properties of meal.
The ancient prophets gained their foresight from a spiritual, incorporeal standpoint, not by foreshadowing evil and mistaking fact for fiction,—predicting the future from a groundwork of corpo-reality and human belief. When sufficiently advanced in Science to be in harmony with the truth of being, men become seers and prophets involuntarily, controlled not by demons, spirits, or demigods, but by the one Spirit. It is the prerogative of the ever-present, divine Mind, and of thought which is in rapport with this Mind, to know the past, the present, and the future.
Acquaintance with the Science of being enables us to commune more largely with the divine Mind, to foresee and foretell events which concern the universal welfare, to be divinely inspired,—yea, to reach the range of fetterless Mind.
This material world is even now becoming the arena for conflicting forces. On one side there will be discord and dismay; on the other side there will be Science and peace. The breaking up of material beliefs may seem to be famine and pestilence, want and woe, sin, sickness, and death, which assume new phases until their nothingness appears. These disturbances will continue until the end of error, when all discord will be swallowed up in spiritual Truth.
The human mind will sometime rise above all material and physical sense, exchanging it for spiritual perception, and exchanging human concepts for the divine consciousness.
Evil in the beginning claimed the power, wisdom, and utility of good; and every creation or idea of Spirit has its counterfeit in some matter belief. Every material belief hints the existence of spiritual reality; and if mortals are instructed in spiritual things, it will be seen that material belief, in all its manifestations, reversed, will be found the type and representative of verities priceless, eternal, and just at hand.
The Scripture saith, "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." The Science of Soul, Spirit, involves this appearing, and is essential to the fulfilment of this glorious prophecy of the master Metaphysician, who overcame the last enemy, death.