His weeping and trembling were honest, and to be expected. The man was not sniveling. He made great effort not to let the sobs become uncontrollable. His effort failed. Flowing from the depth of crushing stress and sorrow, the crying would not stop. Barely audible, he asked, “Kleenex? please.” Three facial tissues and a bandanna quickly appeared. “Thank you,” the man said. And he meant it. After wiping his eyes and nose, feeling the surrounding encouragement, the sobbing eventually eased. The man’s heart calmed.
Words convey ideas and provide a venue for communication. Words, though, can have different meanings to different people. But, when push comes to shove, the idea of, “something to wipe my face and nose with,” is communicated and understood. In the fictitious account given above, the people’s minds did not get barbed on the word Kleenex, no matter how well branded the trademark is. Words were used as a tool. Tissues and a bandanna were offered. More importantly, the ideas of encouragement, compassion, and appreciation were expressed and healing was the natural outcome to the stressful situation.
Although words can be helpful, they can also be stereotyped and misconstrued. For example, the words Christian Science, basically a trademark made more widespread by Mary Baker Eddy in the 19th century. However, Eddy’s definition for Christian Science is very different from the definitions read in today’s dictionaries. In her book Rudimental Divine Science, Eddy defined Christian Science, “As the law of God, the law of good, interpreting and demonstrating the divine Principle and rule of universal harmony.”
In Science and Health, Eddy wrote, “The term CHRISTIAN SCIENCE was introduced…to designate the scientific system of divine healing.”
In her definitions for Christian Science, Eddy does not mention, or allude to, it being a religious system she founded, or a church. In fact, because Christian Science is spiritual power, she writes in Science and Health, “Through Christian Science, religion and medicine are inspired with a diviner nature and essence…” Christian Science is simply a brand name for the universal force of good.
Newton discovered a force, influencing motion, and called it gravity. He wrote a manuscript, Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, describing universal gravitation and its rules. Eddy discovered a force, advancing goodness, and called it Christian Science. She wrote a book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, describing the universal Science of Truth, Good, and its rules, including the rule of spiritual healing.
Years after Eddy discovered, wrote about, and taught Christian Science, she started a Church of Christ, Scientist; Newton did not formally organize an institution for students. During the next century, Christian Science became inordinately associated with the Church of Christ, Scientist. And, the definition of Christian Science tends to be reversed, defined as a religious system, a church, a philosophy of beliefs established by Eddy; whereas the definition for gravity is distinguished from Newtonianism.
Words are symbols. The human mind has a habit of confusing the symbols with the ideas supporting the symbols. Therefore, every so often definitions warp, although this does not alter the ideas or their principle. But usually, definitions are fairly stable. Admittedly, the spiritual ideas of encouragement and compassion have not been restricted to the use of facial tissues, and “the only thing to wipe our face with” has not become the definition of Kleenex.
A force of Good exists, is advancing healing and improvement—advancing deliverance from limitation and mortality. This force has been and ever will be, discovered, experimented with, practiced, and described by people of all backgrounds, ethnicities, religions, and circumstances. Different words or symbols will be used to describe the law of Good, because this immortal energy is immeasurable and will never ever be constrained by, or constricted to, a symbol, a book, a select group of people, a product, or a human organization.
Definitions of Christian Science in today’s literature display an assumed ownership, detracting from Eddy’s original meaning. We read definitions of Christian Science such as in the Merriam-Webster online Dictionary, “a religion founded by Mary Baker Eddy in 1866 that was organized under the official name of Church of Christ, Scientist…” http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/christian%20science (Sept. 2008). Public perceptions, including the definitions of Christian Science, are diverse due to the assumption that a person, or a religious group, originated or have control over Christian Science. Impossible, when Christian Science is a spiritual, eternal power.
Christian Science, in its spiritual meaning, does not begin with a select person or group. Every person, every iota of creation is influenced by the law of Good, just as we all are influenced by the law of gravity.
When push comes to shove, the law of Good, and its healing influence, prevails. Words, and their random definitions, will not be an obstacle. Through Christian Science, also called divine Science, spiritual Science, the law of Love, of the Almighty, and a plethora of other words, human beings can take a stand—can detach themselves from symbols long enough to re-attach on a clearer level, to infinite, all-embracing Good. We can apply the principles of spiritual healing to our environment, our religions, our bodies, and our perceptions, scientifically, and feel the natural outcome of goodness.
Cheryl Petersen has revised and updated Mary Baker Eddy’s “Science and Health.” In today’s language, readers can consider the timeless, spiritually healing ideas in “21st Century Science and Health,” found online at http://www.HealingScienceToday.com