Friday, September 7, 2007

I love the hymnal

I was not raised in Christian Science but found it in my early twenties. We did not sing as part of my church experience. So it was quite a feeling when I attended a Christian Science service and everyone stood to sing together. Later, as I began to seriously study it, I was drawn to the hymnal as a source of comfort. There is a companion book, a concordance to the hymnal that includes notes about the composers and writers. Serving as First Reader in our branch church involves choosing the three hymns for the Sunday service. This week I am considering hymn #232.

As I researched this hymn I discovererd that the words were writtten by Margaret Glenn Matters, a Christian Science teacher. The words illustrate a definition in the glossary of Science and Health: MOTHER. God; divine and eternal Principle; Life, Truth, and Love. The concordance says that this is probably the first hymn that has directly addressed divine Love as Mother.

Each verse of this hymn ends with the assurance that man is the child of God, God's own child, the loved of Love. I had not thought of God that way growing up. Finding Christian Science at the time in my life when I had just become a mom myself, it was quite a revelation. I loved my own Mom deeply. It has taken maturity and life experience to see just what a wonderful job she did in giving me such a happy childhood. I can easily make a list of her qualities, the qualities I hope I express with my children. Seeing God as my divine Mother takes prayer to a new level.

My mom had found her religion when she married my dad. She raised us within that church. But it never brought me the comfort I wanted, it never measured up to my personal view of what God is. All my life I pictured Him as the Good Shepherd. I did not believe He was harsh or condemning. I just couldn't accept the idea that innocent babies arrive with a sin already attached. I questioned my teachers and struggled with religious education until my early teens when I left that church and began my own search. My dear Mom understood. The first time I read Science and Health and found Mrs. Eddy's lovely interpretation of Psalm 23 I knew I had found what I had been looking for.

Over the next few days I would like to share some of the things that came to me as I studied Psalm 23 for a year. That was a wonderful journey and has stayed with me. It is my favorite way to connect with God and His love for me. More tomorrow.

Go in peace.

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