June 24, 2015
The Mother Church has an “observer status” with the National Council of Churches which has posted the following on their website: “All of us together through the National Council of Churches (NCC) provide a network of prayer around Emanuel Church and all in the AME family as they weep and mourn those who have been lost.”
I had changed my scriptural selections last Saturday night to reflect the events in Charleston, not knowing that the NCC was requesting our prayers. I am in awe that God had communicated a way in which our branch church could honor the Emanuel Church through its scriptural selections while still following the Order of Service in the Church Manual. We might be a little branch church, but on Sunday morning, we were doing our part in this larger body of Christ!
This Wednesday, we are continuing on in our travels with Paul, and now we will spend some time in Rome. The Letter to the Romans has been called the “premier document of Christian theology,” and Mrs. Eddy quotes from Romans almost 100 times in her published writings. In discussing the condemnation of evil in Romans 3:8, Mrs. Eddy wrote the following in Miscellaneous Writings (335:16-7):
In my public works I lay bare the ability, in belief, ofevil to break the Decalogue, — to murder, steal, commitadultery, and so on. Those who deny my wisdom orright to expose error, are either willing participants inwrong, afraid of its supposed power, or ignorant of it.The notion that one is covering iniquity by assertingits nothingness, is a fault of zealots, who, like Peter,sleep when the Watcher bids them watch, and when thehour of trial comes would cut off somebody’s ears. Suchpeople say, “Would you have me get out of a burninghouse, or stay in it?“I would have you already out, and know that you areout; also, to remember the Scripture concerning thosewho do evil that good may come, — “whose damnationis just;” and that whoso departeth from divine Science,seeking power or good aside from God, has done himselfharm.Mind is supreme: Love is the master of hate; Truth,the victor over a lie. Hath not Science voiced this les‐son to you, — that evil is powerless, that a lie is nevertrue? It is your province to wrestle with error, to handlethe serpent and bruise its head; but you cannot, as aChristian Scientist, resort to stones and clubs, — yea, tomatter, — to kill the serpent of a material mind.
That was a very pertinent reading for me to ponder last week. When Jesus healed the soldier’s ear, he stopped the retaliation and removed Peter from the hate (the burning house). The Charleston Church has provided such an example for us that the closer we are to Christ, the greater the ability to forgive.
On selecting Romans, I did not realize that Paul was also dealing with society’s divisions, but according to my Oxford Annotated Bible Notes, he also wished to shape a life of respectful mutuality between Jews and Gentiles in Rome. Romans is very dense theologically, so I’ve included some Bible Notes. We will be reading the first 4 chapters in Romans, and then we will read Mrs. Eddy’s references from those chapters.