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.”
Her 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, Darwin’s theory of evolution was a lightning rod strike to religion, and salvation came after death.
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]. She organized a contemporary church and a mass consciousness moved toward advancing deliverance from sickness and evil through divine Love.
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 notion that death will bring heaven or hell.
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 love.
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.
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 a healing Love now. And, instead of repeating Eddy’s words, I need to apply the love in today’s spirit and life.
It’s not over. The work Eddy labored over is unfinished. Time and toil are still required to advance the Science of Christ, Love.
Many people think we are in a post-religious stage, but the legacies of predestination and damnation linger and have thwarted progress in the church Eddy established. Dogma, fear, and suspicion became subtle and systemic. Eddy’s words are confined to repetition.
Divine Love continues its need of expression. We have made progress, but we still have work to do to make Eddy’s weary hope become realized.