I’ve always been a comparatively orderly or organized individual, even as a boy, as my beloved mom would attest. And, when I was a college student who changed his major from Business/Economics to English Literature years ago, I read numerous books by various authors, playwrights and poets. Among my many favorite quotes is from the English poet, Alexander Pope (1688-1744), who penned this in his Essay on Man: “Order is heaven’s first law.”
This verse spoke to me at the time and to this day. During this period, I also learned through reading the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer and founder of Christian Science, that she quoted Pope. She wrote on page 87 of her biographical work Retrospection and Introspection: “The poet’s line, ‘Order is heaven’s first law,’ is so eternally true, so axiomatic, that it has become a truism; and its wisdom is as obvious in religion and scholarship as in astronomy or mathematics.”
I was beginning to learn and accept more of systematic order in life and the universe. I began to apply this to my experience. So, later when I came to Wide Horizon (now that’s a story), I quickly needed to learn more about Christian Science nursing. This from Mrs. Eddy’s statements on the topic stood out: “The nurse should be cheerful, orderly, punctual, patient, full of faith, – receptive to Truth and Love.” (Science and Health with Key to Scriptures, p. 395)
Evidently, orderliness is essential to being a good nurse. So, being a former English lit major and teacher, I began to do word studies and research regarding this statement. Here’s a sampling of that study:
- Methodical; regular.
- Observant of order or method.
- Well-regulated; performed in good order; not tumultuous.
- According to an established method.
- Not unruly…peaceable.
- Being on duty.
The Student’s Reference Dictionary (TSRD)
- Free from disorder; having a systematic arrangement.
- Marked by or adherence to method or system.
- Devoid of violence or disruption; peaceful.
American Heritage Collegiate Dictionary (AHCD)
I pondered these definitions and the above quotes a lot during this past year of extreme global and national challenges. I also read from the Book of Acts, “…but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law.” (Acts 21:24)
I recognized the need for law and order for all mankind and throughout the earth. Though, for me, it needed, first and foremost, to be based on divine Law and God’s heavenly order.
I believe the activity of Christian Science nursing can help leaven the thought and actions of persons beyond the buildings of Christian Science nursing organizations (as Wide Horizon) and churches. I think orderly thought does bring peaceful resolution and methodology. It is therefore my hope that the work of Christian Science nurses and those who wholeheartedly support them helps mankind to feel the unspeakable peace which comes from God, divine Love.
Again, from Retrospection and Introspection, Eddy states, “. . . the rules of Christian Science can be far more thoroughly and readily acquired by regularly settled and systematic workers, than by unsettled and spasmodic efforts. Genuine Christian Scientists are, or should be, the most systematic and law-abiding people on earth, because their religion demands implicit adherence to fixed rules, in the orderly demonstration thereof.”
She then offers some of these rules, “. . .Christian Scientists are to ‘heal the sick as the Master commanded. In so doing they must follow the divine order as prescribed by Jesus, — never, in any way, to trespass upon the rights of their neighbors, but to obey the celestial injunction, ‘Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.’ In this orderly, scientific dispensation healers become a law unto themselves. They feel their own burdens less, and can therefore bear the weight of others’ burdens, since it is only through the lens of their unselfishness that the sunshine of Truth beams with such efficacy as to dissolve error.” (Retrospection, p. 87)
Although there’s always opportunity to grow and do better, we at Wide Horizon work to do our best to emulate the Master by following Christ Jesus, and to be witnesses to the practical leavening and healing influence of the practice of Christian Science nursing.
D. Brian Boettiger