All that unifies us is all that is important and worth consideration and contemplation. The misconception that we can be divided, in the form of disagreements and personal points of view, needs to be faced and challenged, but let’s not spend our time there.
Our unity has always rested in God’s love for us and therefore our love for one another. We have supported and encouraged one another time and time again. We have listened to each other and at times agreed to disagree, but we didn’t give up on that person or on church!
Who doesn’t want to afford (produce) proof of the utility of church? Who doesn’t want to experience the race being elevated? How can we continue to unify in rousing the dormant understanding in our daily lives – what if we all committed to this together?!
None of these actions require us to be in the church building – why wait! Take prayerful action now! It seems to me that proof of the utility of the structure of Love would be to love, to live love and be love wherever we are and in whatever we are facing. To utilize the strength, firmness and commitment that Love provides, and utilize it in every situation day in and day out. The need for the usefulness of Love is very apparent everywhere we look and live. Remember in her article on “Love,” Mary Baker Eddy explains, “I make strong demands on love, call for active witnesses to prove it, and noble sacrifices and grand achievements as its results.” (Mis.Writings 1883–1896, p. 250:16–18) It seems like it’s a great time for all of us to make strong demands on love and yield to what Love is telling us about our fellow members and our community. Anything that would try to divide our membership is also saying that our church is not the structure of Love. We have to be careful not to take in world thought about sides and divisions, that’s all it is, world thought, it’s not our thought because division is not part of Love.
The proof of the utility of Truth can be proven wherever we are! We need to be so familiar with Truth, the law of divine God, good, that when confronted with disruptive and chaotic situations we instantly and clearly see that Truth is dominant and a strong foothold. A lie cannot confuse us or throw us off guard. Those unsettled feelings would claim that Truth is not present. And, there is one Truth, that is the only place to unite. To be so familiar with Truth, its permanence, direction, vitality and reliability will lead us all to its universal utility right now.
It might be hard to see sometimes, but resting on and proceeding from divine Principle does elevate the race. Where does this happen… in thought. When the divine Principle that is God initiates our thoughts about any person or situation it comes from the love that is purifying and elevating. Our thought can raise the thought of those around us, or if not watched, negative, incorrect thinking can intrude and pull everyone down to a place that seems to be hard to get out of, one of angst, anger, fear, condemnation and on and on. That place is error repeating itself and us going in circles getting nowhere. If we are finding ourselves in the latter condition we can go back to divine Principle as our base and think from there. If our sense of peace has been shaken we need to examine our thought and see what needs to be let go of or on the other hand, maybe we find we need to be fortified. These action steps can be taken every day of the week wherever we are, this is church.
The same is true of rousing the dormant understanding. We have to start out with the true sense of progress and purpose which we know through Truth and Love. Is our thought stagnant? Do we want to go “back” to how things were? Dormant: “Sleeping; hence, at rest; not in action; 3. Neglected; not used; 4. Concealed” (Websters 1828) Yikes! Is our sense of church sleepy, are we neglecting church, have we concealed what church really is? Have we let mortal mind convince us that this is a time to take a break from church? Again, we don’t have to be in a building to rouse the dormant understanding, Jesus wasn’t. If nothing else we can start with our individual thought! Simply think of the church committees we are on – are we doing the prayerful work needed to rouse stagnant sleepy thought for that committee? The usher committee has a great opportunity to support each service specifically understanding and believing that the Christ is speaking to each person at the Zoom service. The only thing that is different is you aren’t handing them a quarterly. It’s all about thought and we can be attentive to what we are thinking about and be sure it is on the mark. Collection committee, flower committee, every committee can and should be feeling inspired about their church work. It’s the ultimate in changing things to thoughts!
In a building or out of a building our church work needs to continue. “… We are not divided, All one body we, One in hope and doctrine, One in charity. … (CS Hymnal No. 264). We can’t be concerned or obsessed with what the charity needed right now might look like. Whether we are wearing a mask or doing other things to be obedient to the orders for our state, it’s what we are thinking about that matters. A mask or procedure does not limit us in terms of what we are thinking. Certainly Paul didn’t stop praying when he was shackled in prison. Nothing was fair about his imprisonment, but he didn’t muddle in it or let it interfere with his purpose. He saw the bigger picture and the material bindings fell off. Who knows if he even prayed about not having to wear the bands that were loosened so he could be free of them, there’s no indication of that. His prayers and singing lead to the divine touching the human experience in a practical way. Let’s stay on solid ground acknowledging and praising God for His constant care, the details will follow.
Let’s be alert to excuses that present themselves as legitimate, they might come in the form of a suggestion to curb our support of church and church members and those in our community. Let’s genuinely love our neighbor, our church family. Let’s not spend any moments trying to figure out why or how someone could think a certain way, instead let’s spend those moments understanding the depth of God’s love for us and all. Let’s feel the impulse of the Christ speaking to us, individually and collectively, teaching us the way divine Principle carries.
Marcia Hufstader (10/30/20)