Today, in homes and churches, as well as on Twitter and Facebook, Mary Baker Eddy’s words are repeated.
That is, of course, appropriate. Her words are thought-provoking and filled with many profound images. Borrowing effectively from Christ Jesus, the apostle Paul, John Wesley, the Declaration of Independence, and Alfred Tennyson’s “Hope, Smiles from the threshold of the year to come, Whispering ‘it will be happier,’” Eddy laboriously called upon citizens of the world to recognize and realize “the healing power of the divine Love in what it has done and is doing for mankind.”
Eddy’s words speak clearly over a century. From her book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures:
- “Now is the time in which to experience salvation in spirit and in life.”
- “My weary hope tries to realize that happy day, when man shall recognize the Science of Christ and love his neighbor as himself.”
But today it is important that we remember not only Eddy’s iconic words, but the period that led to them. It was the 19th century. Sickness was God’s will, Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution was a blow to religion, and social equality was struggling to emerge.
Eddy made herself known, “through her laborious publications,” emphasizing “how much time and toil are still required to establish the stately operations,” of the Science of Christ, Love. After publishing Science and Health, she organized a church contemporary to the 19th century yet with the timeless mission to advance deliverance from sickness and evil through divine Love, as lived in the life of Christ Jesus.
On the one hand, gone into the dustbin of history are preachers that shriek predestination and damnation, gone are absolutes in science, and gone is the tradition of overlooking social equality.
But on the other hand, after 100 years, these issues still are in the forefront of our lives and thoughts. It is no wonder Eddy wrote, “Time and toil are still required to establish the stately operations,” of the power of truth and love. (Science and Health, page 464)
The late 19th and early 20th century crowd may have shared a sense of history, mission and community when Eddy’s words first were gathered and articulated, but there is more work to be done.
Many people act as though we are in a post-religious stage. They hold to the legacies of predestination and damnation—believing only a few select will see the light—and as a result, Eddy’s church withers away. They are complacent as barrenness, dogma, and isolation manage the church. And Eddy’s words become confined to reduction and repetition.
But, against these odds, the new work will be accomplished.
I may not fully understand the dynamics of the thought movement during Eddy’s time, but I do recognize the benefits of knowing I can find, and know, a healing love now. I can respond to the same divine Mind that spoke to previous spiritual leaders. And, instead of only repeating Eddy’s loving words, we can apply the same love in today’s spirit and life, and advance the Science of Christ in today’s language.
It’s not over. The work Eddy labored over is unfinished. Time and toil are still required to keep the Science of Christ alive in today’s presentation and tone.
Divine Love continues its need of expression. We have made progress, but we still have more work to do to make Eddy’s weary hope become realized.