by Mary Beth Singleterry
Gilbert Carpenter writes in one of his books about Mrs. Eddy, that she would despair when she would see her students falling into an apathetic sense of human harmony. And during those times she would take drastic measures to wake them up! In Miscellany she states, “Unless one’s eyes are opened to the modes of mental malpractice, working so subtly that we mistake its suggestions for the impulses of our own thought, the victim will allow himself to drift in the wrong direction without knowing it. Be ever on guard against this enemy. Watch your thoughts, and see whether they lead you to God and into harmony with His true followers.”
I once mistakenly thought human harmony was what I, as a “Christian Scientist,” was trying to achieve. How wonderful to construct a nice little haven for myself! I could not have been farther from the truth! Human harmony is going along with the drift of mortal mind. It claims, “Peace, peace, where there is no peace.” Everything seems to be “going fine,” so no need to pray, no need to ask God for direction, no need to care if a brother is in trouble. My life is fine and that’s all that matters.
Gilbert Carpenter states in his book, Mary Baker Eddy — Her Spiritual Footsteps, “in a mental state of exhilaration without an ache or a pain, man may be further from God than when he is depressed or suffering. When he feels badly, he is out of tune with God, to be sure, but he is struggling to get back. But when he is in a state of mental exhilaration, he may be out of tune with God, and in tune with what he should not be; yet, because he feels well and happy, he is not driven to make the struggle to throw off the domination of the enemy of God.”
We once had a cartoon pinned to the bulletin board at church. It depicted a man who was relaxing on his raft, floating on a river, not paying attention to anything, completely oblivious to the fact that he was about to tumble headlong over a huge waterfall! And so it is with human harmony. That waterfall is never too far away!
Divine harmony, on the other hand, is entirely different. One is alert and working, asking God for guidance every step of the way. You are ever aware of God’s presence and power, and this also makes you much more sensitive to error’s subtle suggestions. This God-given alertness enables you to nip error in the bud — and hallelujah for that! Error cannot catch you off guard. Going over a waterfall would be impossible for the man who is putting God first in all his ways.
Mrs. Eddy writes in her article on “Obedience,” “Never absent from your post, never off-guard, never ill-humored, never unready to work for God — is obedience; being ‘faithful over a few things.’”
During this holiday season, let us keep Mrs. Eddy’s wise counsel well within our hearts. Alert and faithful obedience to God brings to us a divine harmony, and with that, a peace unspeakable, for it is truly Emmanuel, — God with us!