This is my personal reasoning and conclusion, which changes with new ideas:
My parents introduced me to religion by taking me to a church of Christ, Scientist. During the 1870s through the mid-80s, I began to feel barren. Although I experienced and prayed for others to experience healing through spiritual truth, I realized that my attitude was pretentious, devoid of true welcoming.
I realized the tent emptied.
After getting married, we moved to another city (Kennewick) and started a First Church of Christ, Scientist, approved by The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts. We had a small group, happy, full of fortitude.
From the mid-80s to the turn of the 21st century, despite my happy demeanor and spiritual success, desolation stared me in the face.
I stared back.
Because I study history, I knew that Mary Baker Eddy’s requirements for church membership were to follow the six tenets listed in her Science and Health: The Bible is sufficient (not the only book) to lead to eternal life, strive to stop sinning, acknowledge one Christ, Jesus, have the mind of Christ, and do to others what I want done to myself.
But I learned that when branch churches formed, early-mid 1900s, some branches included in their by-laws, the strict requirement not to use medicine. It was a bad mistake. And we refused to carry the law into the new church we formed in Kennewick.
I can sympathize with those of us who didn’t turn to medicine first and experienced spiritual healing, but to force the cart before the horse lacks common sense. And to apologize or try to reverse that standing, does little good. And can even make me more pretentious, thinking I have something others do not and if they join my tent, all will be well.
The day came when I crawled out of that tent.
And I saw before me, what was always in front of my face. A large tent, as defined by Eddy in Rudimental Divine Science, “As the law of God, the law of good, interpreting and demonstrating the divine Principle and rule of universal harmony.”
Open minded people are pursuing spirit, overcoming their fears with love, and experimenting with alternative, less intrusive, methods of healing. Doctors are acknowledging the power and presence of a good mind. People are striving, struggling to treat others the way they want to be treated. Many other faiths acknowledging God as a healing force and hosting prayer meetings. Physics standing strong on the power of love and life over fear and death. Young people use different terminology, i.e. the universe, divine energy, but it fits as squarely with a God of love and truth as Christian Science lingo.
Sometimes, it’s not easy to see this, amid the divisiveness of politics, disparity of economics, and vile human nature, but the Christ is more powerful than human will-power, and good news is happening, making history.
I see a tent, enlarging its borders, of people blessed by the law of God interpreting harmony. Despite my blind believing it was barren because its inhabitants don’t bear fruit that looks, talks, reads, and acts exactly like I do or because they didn’t work as hard as I did in my church.
Within this large tent, fruits of divine Spirit are produced.
People enlarge their vocabularies to reach more truth-seekers, they stretch their arms out to assist those who need physical, financial, and emotional support. They talk through their problems instead of sweep them under the rug with the hollow behavior that pretends mended ways.
God is interpreting and demonstrating the divine Principle and rule of universal harmony. Big time.
“Sing, O barren one, who did not bear;
break forth into singing and cry aloud,
you who have not been in labor!
For the children of the desolate one will be more
than the children of her who is married,” says the Lord.
2 “Enlarge the place of your tent,
and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out;
do not hold back; lengthen your cords
and strengthen your stakes.
3 For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left,
and your offspring will possess the nations
and will people the desolate cities.—Isaiah 54:1-3