Structure of the 
Christian Science Church Manual


The horizontal correlation between
 "Temple" and "Church"

presented by Rolf Witzsche

The defense of mankind in the 1st column

 

The defense of mankind in the 1st column

 

Meetings
Discipline
Church Membership
Church Officers

In this column we face the ancient claim of empire, the claim of an imperial mission -- the supposed divine right of kings, the right to rule, the right to suppress.

The first column gives us the Temple-correlative of the third column that pertains to Church. In the third column the focus was on understanding and acknowledging the worth of God and man in the flow of divine Science. In the correlative column in the Temple the focus is on the expression of what is unfolding in Church. Expressing the divine identity of man becomes therefore the Temple-mission here. It becomes our mission universally, the mission of the Sublime in our humanity; the mission of Soul manifesting God; the mission of our life; the evidence that we are alive and have lived to the fullest. Everything in the first column is focused on making our mission as efficient and successful as we can possibly make it. It requires a discipline that is aligned with reality.

The mission of the Church officers at the bottom this column is well described and simple to fulfill, whenever the officers desire to do so, or society requires them. But as we move higher in the column the mission becomes less specific. Often the mission is self-defined by the logic of its unfolding as we follow the Christ. Nevertheless, there is a precise definition of the mission possible. It is defined by what we put into the flow of human culture, to enrich it, which is something that only we can do as human beings. With our unique human culture we have developed the capability to extended the substance of our achievements beyond the bounds of out corporal existence. When an animal dies, this cultural continuity does not happen. The only progression that is possible there happens over extremely long periods through genetic progression. Apart from the genetic progression, the evidence that an animals has lived ceases at the point of its death, while ours continues. Our life continues in the most immediate sense in the usefulness of the products we have created, or ideas we have developed, or discoveries that we have made -- the sum-total of whatever we have contributed to the riches of human culture from which present and future generations will benefit. 

This capability to enrich culture for the benefit of present and future generations makes the human being profoundly immortal in nature, and places in this dimension a development potential that far supersedes the development potential of any other form of life. It also brings God, the immortal and infinite, more fully to light in actual living. In this sense or mission comes closer to the expression of God. And so, in this first column of her pedagogical structure Mary Baker Eddy warns us that in respect to God "the name Adam represents the false supposition that Life is not eternal, but has beginning and end." The false sense of God that is expressed here would lower the status of man to that of an animal. Of course this error doesn't touch the truth. 

The Sublime status of man can never be lost, just as God can never become lost. The Adam definition only suggests that we can loose sight of the Truth, and thereby loose site of our immortality and with it of our mission. Scientific discipline is required here to assure that this won't happen. And why should we let this happen? The first column is oriented "northward: its gates open to the North Star, the Word, the polar magnet of Revelation." What happens in this column unfolds more like an adventure with infinite possibilities to apply the substance of our life, the divine Life. 

Thus, our mission is to make our life meaningful, to give it an 'industrial' type dimension. This isn't found in idleness, comforts, and entertainment, but in reaching for the stars, in searching and finding aspects of the divine characters that have never been seen before and to give them expression. Herein lies the heart of freedom, beauty, all that is good and immortal as we develop ourselves and our potential to be as we truly are as spiritual human beings. 

While in divine Science Life is seen in the dimension of its immortality, that dimension doesn't extend to the physical form, which like any animal form lacks that dimension. The Psalmist of old sang of man as an animal, "his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more." But the Psalmist also recognized that this animal image is not the true image for man. He sang about himself as a spiritual human being, "As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness." (Psalm 103, 17) 

And so, the very dimension of our mission as human beings that enriches the sum-total of human culture and with it future generation, also gives an equally rich dimension to the present and the fullness and completeness of our living in it. If that evidence is lacking, everything else is lacking too, and our life has no meaning. 

The sad part is that this description of lack applies to an ever-widening scene in the world today in which many people living in body are essentially dead as human beings by their neglecting to recognize themselves as spiritual beings. The further sad part is that the walking dead have a rather large following in their march to the grave that they pursue intensely without ever having really lived. Some of them have even amassed the political power to take entire nations to the grave with them. Thus the first column is an important one for developing the leadership in practice, beginning with the scientific leadership of oneself; a leadership in scientific discipline; a celebration of spiritual recognition and acceptance; a leadership for the world by example, to inspire others to reclaim their humanity and their life.

Mary Baker Eddy says "the apostle assures us that man has power to become the son of God." And she asks, "Is man's spiritual sonship a personal gift to man, or is it the reality of his being, in divine Science?  Man's knowledge of this grand verity gives him power to demonstrate his divine Principle, which in turn is requisite in order to understand his sonship, or unity with God, good." (Miscellaneous Writings 181) 

 

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Published by Cygni Communications Ltd. North Vancouver, BC, Canada - (c) Copyright 2008 - public domain - Rolf A. F. Witzsche