Sunday, July 9th, 2023 Roundtable

For Without the Christ, Ye Can Do Nothing

This week’s Lesson Sermon Subject: Sacrament

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Morning Prayers

Our baptism is a purification from all error. Our church is built on the divine Principle, Love. We can unite with this church only as we are new-born of Spirit, as we reach the Life which is Truth and the Truth which is Life by bringing forth the fruits of Love, — casting out error and healing the sick. Our Eucharist is spiritual communion with the one God. Our bread, “which cometh down from heaven,” is Truth. Our cup is the cross. Our wine the inspira­tion of Love, the draught our Master drank and com­mended to his followers.

— from Science and Health, by Mary Baker Eddy, page 35

Oh, may the light that is never dim so encompass you, that no night is there. May His angels hold thee in their power, and Songs of Science be heard in the intuitions of thought, till your life is in tune with the rhythm of God.

— from Divinity Course and General Collectanea, (the “Blue Book”), by Mary Baker Eddy, page 224

Discussion points

141 — WATCH lest you base your sense of Christian Science and worship of God upon the form from which the Spirit has fled. Traditional theology is a sense of worship based on Jesus without the Christ, or instead of the Christ. There is little difference between this error and an acceptance of Christian Science based on Mrs. Eddy as person, rather than as the Pastor Emeritus, or the impersonal spiritual idea which she embodied.

Once a statue of a woman kneeling in prayer was ordered, with Mrs. Eddy’s permission, for the extension of The Mother Church. It was put in place over the organ and remained there for three days. Then the Directors received a letter from Mrs. Eddy instructing them to remove it.

One of our hymns tells us that, as we rise, the symbols disappear. The three days the statue was in place are symbolic of the ascension of Mrs. Eddy’s thought, in which she realized that her personality must be replaced by the consciousness of her spiritual presence. She knew that Jesus had declared that, as the spiritual idea, he was present with us always; but that this spiritual presence, or Comforter, would not come unless the conception of him as a human person was taken away.

Mrs. Eddy realized that if the statue remained, students might descend to the attitude of worshipping it, as representing her personality, which would be a deterrent to the attainment of the understanding of her true mission, and of the concept which she desired students to hold for all time, as being most conducive to spiritual growth. The lazy mind takes the easier way. It prefers worshipping a statue to demonstrating the right concept and memory of the Leader.

We crucify the Christ afresh, whenever we descend to the worship of the form without the Spirit, or instead of the Spirit. Once Mrs. Eddy defined scholastic theology as the worship of personality. She said, “Christian Science theology is: reality of good and unreality of evil. Theologies are opinions of men about what Jesus did; also, about the teachings of the Scriptures and the prophets. In Science we understand all the teachings of Christ, which include all good and exclude all evil. And we can prove it.”

— from 500 Watching Points by Gilbert Carpenter

GOLDEN TEXT: Hosea 6 : 6

“I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.”

Responsive Reading – James 1: 21-27: The engrafted word.

Mortals point with pride to their family trees, — endless genealogies, designed to show a long and illustrious line of earthly progenitors, — believing that they have inherited some good from the traditional past. According to Christian Science, however, the real family tree is “the tree of life,” and by following Christ, Truth, all men can trace their spiritual ancestry to one heavenly Father, in whom all have their being.

In fruit culture the peach-tree teaches a lesson which may illustrate the new birth, or spiritual regeneration. A tree springing from a peach-stone will seldom produce fruit fit to be eaten; but if the stock be budded when quite young with the bud of a cultivated tree, and only the bud allowed to grow, the tree is literally born again, and under the care of the gardener will soon develop into a good and sturdy fruit-producing tree. The so-called “natural” or mortal man in like manner can never “bring forth fruit meet for repentance,” unless he is born again and receives “with meekness the engrafted word.” Paul said, “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” Peter speaks of “being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.”

“The Tree Of Life” from Christian Science Journal, July 1913 by Richard P. Verrall

Jesus set forth simple and quiet truth, the remedy for the world’s sorrow and self-will when he said: ”Be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. … Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ…. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” Many masters must be continually fighting for greater mastery, whereas men mastered by Mind, that is, obedient to that same Mind which Christ Jesus obeyed and manifested, will first of all find heavenly harmony within, and then in act and influence will be establishing the kingdom of heaven in earth. Kipling reminds us of that in his “Recessional”: —

The tumult and the shouting dies,
The captains and the kings depart:
Still stands thine ancient sacrifice, —
An humble and a contrite heart.

The choice before the inhabitants of the earth to-day is a simple one: Will you continue in the service of evil masters or will you choose to follow the Good Shepherd?

“Good Shepherd Or Evil Masters” from Christian Science Journal, December 1918 By William P. Mckenzie

Article — A Call to Prayer by Benjamin Franklin

Article — Three Essential Statements by Mary Beth Singleterry

Thoughts shared on the Lesson from readers:

When Jesus directed his disciples to prepare for the material passover, which spiritually speaking is the passover from sense to Soul, he bade them say to the good man of the house: “The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guest chamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? and he shall show you a large upper room furnished: there make ready.”

In obedience to this command may these communicants come with the upper chambers of thought prepared for the reception of Truth — with hope, faith, and love ready to partake of the bread that cometh down from heaven, and to “drink of his blood” — to receive into their affections and lives the inspiration which giveth victory over sin, disease, and death.

“Annual Meeting, January 6, 1905″ from Miscellany, by Mary Baker Eddy, page 156

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. To love, and to be loved, one must do good to others. The inevitable condition whereby to become blessed, is to bless.

“Message To The Annual Meeting Of The Mother Church, Boston, 1896” from Miscellaneous Writings, by Mary Baker Eddy, page 127

Final Readings

When James was writing to the early Christians, warning them against the sins to which men seem liable, he urged them to be swift to hear and slow to speak. He did not stop there, however, but went on to say, “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves,” concluding his exhortation in this direction that if one be “not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”

The distinction between doers and mere hearers has always been definitely drawn; the one standing for that right activity which is always rich in fruitage; while the other represents the inaction and inertness which, like the barren desert, is of little value to itself or others. The hearers are always many. Even Jesus, however, lamented that the doers were so few, and he told his disciples to pray that God would send forth laborers into His plenteous harvest.

To-day, as in past time, there is the same temptation to hear and not to do; to listen with perhaps earnest intent, and then fail to make use of what has been heard. To-day, as of yore, there is the same danger of pouring in the letter of Truth and then failing to demonstrate it. Christian Science indicates beyond question that however much of Truth may have been heard or read, unless it be put into practice it is indeed but the dead letter.

In “Retrospection and Introspection” ( p. 86) our beloved Leader states the matter very tersely when she says: “There is but one way of doing good, and that is to do it! There is but one way of being good, and that is to be good!” And the best of it is that in her teachings of Christian Science she has shown so plainly how to accomplish this that all are without excuse who fall short of fulfilling every requirement which this Science makes of those professing its name. In Mrs. Eddy’s writings there are rules upon rules which, if put into practice, will certainly render the student “not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work.”

… In her Message to The Mother Church for 1902 (p. 17) Mrs. Eddy says, “Happiness consists in being and in doing good;” and she adds, “Conscious worth satisfies the hungry heart, and nothing else can.” How true it is that only by being and doing good can man ever be satisfied!

… As we awaken to this glorious possibility of being “doers of the word,” we are also shaken out of the foolishness of sitting down and waiting for salvation. We find that salvation must be won, not simply expected without any effort on our part. We can never be saved from evil with-out actively using good. How great is the satisfaction which comes as we realize that every right thought and act, every true effort to be doers of the work, does tend not only towards our salvation, but so lifts up the light of Truth that others will also long to become doers. One real doer is a potent rebuke to all lethargy and stupidity, to inaction and laziness—to all that is unlike God.

Then as Christian Scientists let us obey our Leader’s admonition in “Miscellaneous Writings” (p. 177) and, doffing our “lavender-kid zeal, … become real and consecrated warriors.” Let us be alert “doers of the word”!

From the issue of The Christian Science Journal

“Doers Of The Word” from Christian Science Journal, October 1885 By Ella W. Hoag

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