Watching Point 141
From 500 Watching Points by Gilbert Carpenter
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141 — WATCH lest you base your sense of Christian Science and worship of God upon the form from which the Spirit has fled. Traditional theology is a sense of worship based on Jesus without the Christ, or instead of the Christ. There is little difference between this error and an acceptance of Christian Science based on Mrs. Eddy as person, rather than as the Pastor Emeritus, or the impersonal spiritual idea which she embodied.
Once a statue of a woman kneeling in prayer was ordered, with Mrs. Eddy’s permission, for the extension of The Mother Church. It was put in place over the organ and remained there for three days. Then the Directors received a letter from Mrs. Eddy instructing them to remove it.
One of our hymns tells us that, as we rise, the symbols disappear. The three days the statue was in place are symbolic of the ascension of Mrs. Eddy’s thought, in which she realized that her personality must be replaced by the consciousness of her spiritual presence. She knew that Jesus had declared that, as the spiritual idea, he was present with us always; but that this spiritual presence, or Comforter, would not come unless the conception of him as a human person was taken away.
Mrs. Eddy’s thought rose to this spiritual realization, and she ordered the statue (which today graces the campus at Principia) to be removed. Her letter to this effect is dated December 14, 1909: “No picture of a female in attitude of prayer or in any other attitude shall be made or put into our Church, or any of our buildings with my consent. This is now my request and demand: Do nothing in statuary, in writing, or in action, to perpetuate or immortalize the thought of personal being; but do and illustrate, teach and practice, all that will impersonalize God and His idea man and woman. Whatever I have said in the past relative to impersonation in thought or in figure, I have fully recalled, and my Church cannot contradict me in this statement.”
Mrs. Eddy realized that if the statue remained, students might descend to the attitude of worshipping it, as representing her personality, which would be a deterrent to the attainment of the understanding of her true mission, and of the concept which she desired students to hold for all time, as being most conducive to spiritual growth. The lazy mind takes the easier way. It prefers worshipping a statue to demonstrating the right concept and memory of the Leader.
We crucify the Christ afresh, whenever we descend to the worship of the form without the Spirit, or instead of the Spirit. Once Mrs. Eddy defined scholastic theology as the worship of personality. She said, “Christian Science theology is: reality of good and unreality of evil. Theologies are opinions of men about what Jesus did; also, about the teachings of the Scriptures and the prophets. In Science we understand all the teachings of Christ, which include all good and exclude all evil. And we can prove it.”