by Rolf Witzsche
A long time ago an incident happened that may be small in the context of Christian Science healing, but which illustrates a profound principle that Mary Baker Eddy was evidently keenly aware of, even as a child. But first let me tell you my story of it.
My story begins in Boston during one of the annual meetings of the members of the Mother Church. I had come without hotel reservation. After all, Boston is a large place with great many hotels and motels. I didn't realize of course, that for the same time one or two other large conventions had been scheduled, resulting in all the hotels being sold out. I found a room for the night I arrived, but nothing was to be had anywhere after that. I spent ours that night on the telephone, searching for a room, but to no avail. The result in the morning was no different. Even the expensive places were sold out.
During the course of the searching a statement of principle came to mind. I realized that it was a right idea for me to be there, and up to this point everything that was required came together almost on its own. Now, at the most crucial point this suddenly stopped. I couldn't accept that. The statement of principle that came to mind was, that a divine idea is always complete in itself. including within itself all the 'substance' that is required for its full fruition. I recognized the principle of divine completeness, by which infinite Mind is incapable of incomplete ideas. I clung to this recognition.
With this truth in mind, I lined up for Annual Meeting registration, standing in line for well over an hour. Once inside, almost in front of the registration table, the thought came strongly to call one hotel once more. I almost dismissed the thought since I had called that place several times already. This the answer was "yes, we have just received a cancellation. The room is yours." It was a fine place and came at a fraction of the price I had been willing to pay at this point.
While lining up the thought came that I didn't need a glut of empty rooms in the city for my needs to be satisfied, one would be enough, nor did I need the room days in advance, it would be enough to have it when required. And so it was. It became available an hour before I had to check out from where I had been for that first night.
The recognition of principle that a divine idea is always complete and contains within itself all the substance required for its full fruition, lead to other beautiful experiences of a similar nature. But doesn't that principle also apply to the divine idea, man? Mary Baker Eddy's life appears to be a striking testament to this fact.
Historians tell us that from her childhood on, she always wanted to write a book. As the idea unfolded, at times against incredible odds, she did not only write a book, but discovered a brand new science that this book would make accessible to humanity by which countless people all over the world were healed of every imaginable ill. Today, over 300 editions later and over nine million copies in circulation, the idea did come to full fruition.
Her life came to fruition. Yes, there were hard times along the road. For years after her discovery of Christian Science she had virtually no income, received no fees for her healing work and other labor. She even lacked the means at time to hire a hall in which to speak, or to meet her own ongoing expenses. She writes in the April Journal of 1898, looking back to those days, "I had cast my all into the treasury of Truth, but where were the means with which to carry on a Cause? To dessert the Cause never occurred to me, but nobody then wanted Christian Science, nor gave it half a penny."
The time period of this occurrence was app. 1877. She had only one or two loyal students at the time and Christian Science had few followers. There was even a revolt in the church. Many had deserted her and scorned her teachings. Even those who had been raised by her from the door of death would shun her on the street, but a vision came to her at this period, which she voiced aloud, an idea, the realization of an idea. It was Isaiah's vision from the 54th chapter.
The 1898 letter concludes with a verse from that time that she remembered fondly, which is now a verse of a hymn:
She closed the letter: "Oh the goodness and loving kindness of our God, who can tell it? Oh, the Love that never faileth!"
From these tidbits of relevant history it appears that Mary Baker Eddy was always moved by the deep seated recognition that the fulfillment of her life would unfold from the substance of its own principle. After all, is not Life a divine idea whose fulfillment lies in the courts of the divine.
It appears to me that this is how Mary Baker Eddy saw herself, and the fulfillment of this idea was beyond measure in her love for humanity. A member of her household reported at one point that Mary Baker Eddy routinely withdrew herself each evening for an hour to work for the world. (see The Healer by David Keyston, xiii - Healing Unlimited)
When we read in the Christian Science textbook that God is Life, we do it often so casually, while in reality the concept it absolutely revolutionary. It is one of the pioneering aspects that Mary Baker Eddy has placed on the table of humanity and has illustrated in her own life. She became the exemplar of the truth that Life is divine, an idea, an aspect of God that is complete in every respect, containing within itself all the substance for its full fruition. Mary Baker Eddy was able draw out this idea to its fullest extent in her love for God and humanity.
Her last statement to humanity reaffirmed the principle that she understood about human existence, apparently always. The statement is brief, just four words: "God is my life."
In a rather unique fashion she documented the principle of the unfolding of her life at the very early stages of her scientific discovery work. She documented the principle in the definition she gave for names of the our rivers from Genesis 2, with which she defined the four development streams of the 'city foursquare' matrix (ref. All-In-One Christian Science Provision for our modern age). The definitions for the four development streams present the stages of the unfolding of her life in terms of universal principles long before unfolding was complete. The following are the definitions for the four Rivers from the textbook Glossary.
Gihon (river). The rights of woman
acknowledged morally, civilly, and socially.
It is unknown, of course, if Mary Baker Eddy was indeed aware that her definitions for the four rivers, defined the unfolding of her life. She may have been aware of it at some point, and have celebrated the recognition of her early discovery of those principles. Whatever the answer to that question may be, we have cause to celebrate, because in the definition of these rivers we find the fundamental principles defined by which our life unfolds to the full. This may not happen sequentially, but it happens within the flow of these rivers, and the Christian Science Bible lessons are designed to tap us into their flow.
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