Not long ago, I was in a shared car in my city. In the course of our conversation, the driver expressed his heartbreak and confusion about the fact that the pastor of his church had engaged in an extramarital affair.
My heart went out to him. I tried to encourage him, and as we pulled up in front of my destination, I explained that I was about to attend a church service where my pastor was going to share the good news about God’s love for us, and that he was welcome to come with me. He thought about it, then said he wanted to, but couldn’t because of his work schedule.
Our conversation filled me with renewed appreciation for the pastor of the Christian Science Church – the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy. In fact, several years ago, the love and care of this always-available, universal pastor saved my life.
I was overseas for the summer, and during this period I went through difficult times and often felt desperately alone. For the first and only time in my life, I contemplated committing suicide.
One day I was in tears, thinking about suicide as a way out, but not really wanting to die. I had witnessed the effects of individuals’ suicides on my family, and I didn’t want to subject anyone to that, but I also felt helpless and hopeless.
While I was growing up I attended the Christian Science Sunday School, where I had gotten to know my pastor. In fact, I had been gifted my own set of the Bible and Science and Health when I was in kindergarten, and I loved these books. I loved reading from them regularly and brought them with me to Sunday School each week.
Can having two books as pastor really meet the personal, and sometimes critical, needs of an individual and the world? In her “Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” Mrs. Eddy describes the relationship we all can have with the Christian Science pastor this way: “Your dual and impersonal pastor, the Bible, and ‘Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,’ is with you; and the Life these give, the Truth they illustrate, the Love they demonstrate, is the great Shepherd that feedeth my flock, and leadeth them ‘beside the still waters’ ” (p. 322).
Ever since I was a child, studying the spiritual laws of God these books contain has made me feel close to God, taught me about God’s love for me and for all His children, showed me how to apply these laws to experience comfort and physical healing, and helped me understand my inseparability from God. So in this moment of deep sadness and loneliness, I reached out to God, divine Love, to help me and to show me what to do.
In that instant, I looked up and saw my Bible and Science and Health on the table across the room from me. It felt like an answer to my prayer – and I went to my pastor. At first, in my extreme need, I didn’t open the books, but simply hugged them, knowing that the spiritual, healing truths they contain would help me and provide me with what I needed. My pastor was with me!
This simple recognition immediately broke the mesmerizing sense of despair, and reminded me that my Father-Mother God is always with me and is constantly helping me. I’m never alone. My tears of helplessness were replaced with tears of hope and gratitude and a feeling of being loved.
After several minutes, I opened the books to familiar passages and regained my emotional and mental equilibrium. To say that I was grateful to God would be an understatement! This “dual and impersonal pastor” had rescued me in my moment of dire personal need.
The healing message that this pastor preaches – about the spiritual laws of God and their applicability to our lives – is equally available for everyone to apply in his or her life, regardless of background or circumstance. All are welcome to come to this pastor to learn more about God as Spirit and about their real identity as the spiritual, blessed, loved, harmonious, and healthy child of God – and to experience the peace and healing that such an understanding brings.
Adapted from an article published in the Sept. 24, 2018, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.