I have been thinking a great deal about Mrs. Eddy’s definition of CHURCH in Science and Health, especially where she says that church is “whatever rests upon and proceeds from divine Principle”. As I see it, WHATEVER rests upon and proceeds from divine Principle in our daily activities IS church in action.
I had a small experience recently where this wider concept of church evidenced itself in a multi-storey car park, of all places! Having parked the car on my way to the supermarket, I waited in line to pay for my parking ticket. Ahead of me was a young woman with a little boy, and she appeared somewhat flustered. I could see that she was trying to pay for the ticket using her mobile phone, but whatever she was doing, it wasn’t working, and she was becoming more and more agitated. I assumed that she didn’t have any loose change on her for the ticket, hence the need to pay by phone.
Without a moment’s hesitation, I walked up to her and said, “Hello, how much do you need for your parking ticket?” She said she only required a £1 coin, but she’d run out of change and she couldn’t figure out how to pay the parking fee on her mobile. I found myself saying, “Please, let me give you the £1, it would be my pleasure!” The woman looked taken aback, and said it wouldn’t feel right to take money from a stranger, but if she did, she would have to pay me back.
“Just look on it as my good deed for the day”, I replied, “and if it makes you feel better, why not pass this good deed on to the next person you encounter who is in need of help! Instead of paying me back, pay it forward! It’s like when you toss a pebble into a pond...the ripples just keep spreading out across the water!” I could tell immediately that the young woman loved this idea, as she exclaimed, “Oh, I will! I will definitely look out for opportunities to help others, and do them a kindness, as you have done to me this morning! Thank you, thank you, you’ve made my day!” And with that, she was gone.
As I stood there, I just felt enveloped in God’s presence, and I’m sure that the young woman and her little boy had also felt the touch of the Christ in that multi-storey car park.
Mrs. Eddy writes in her textbook, “Jesus established in the Christian era the precedent for all Christianity, theology and healing. Christians are under as direct orders now, as they were then, to be Christlike, to possess the Christ-spirit, to follow the Christ-example, and to heal the sick as well as the sinning...”
For this “pearl of great price”, Christian Science, I am forever grateful.