Broken cisterns dry up Christmas

December 26th, 2017

At our church on Christmas Eve, the sermon was on what Mark meant by “the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” At my son and daughters’ church the previous day, the sermon was on what the angels meant by telling Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds, “Be not afraid.”

At every Christian Science church this past Sunday, by contrast, the lesson subject was “Is the universe, including man, evolved by atomic force?” That’s the best Mrs. Eddy could do for loved ones of ours who attended those services in great need of the Christmas tidings of comfort and joy in Jesus’ birth.
Thud. It was a jarring reminder of how CS makes no provision for the climactic moments of the Christian year, our Lord’s coming at this season and his passion at Easter — though oddly it does bow to America’s civic year with a special service on Thanksgiving.
Science and Health does mention the importance of hearing “the manger and the cross tell their story” (SH 142). But how vital can that story really be for Scientists who see the real man as “never born and never dying” (SH 258 and 557)?
Eddy’s comment that the story of the manger and the cross is wasted on a mentality of “pride and fustian” — that is, pomposity and pretension — has the sad irony of describing perfectly the intellectual inhumanity of her own metaphysics.
It was the detached, dismissive CS attitude toward Christmas, explaining away the warm adoration of traditional carols and the miraculous nativity accounts in Matthew and Luke, that first began to propel my wife and me out of the Eddy orbit. We were thirsty for the living water of our Savior, God incarnate. She gave us only dryness.
And this is the tragedy of Christian Science, as God warned long ago by his prophets: “My people have committed two evils. They have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13).
Father, Son, Spirit, thank you for the gracious, saving invitation in the closing words of the whole Bible, which I and my whole family have eagerly accepted, and which our pastor gave as the benediction as we concluded Christmas Eve worship, “Let him that is athirst come, and whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17).

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