Christianity of the heart.
February 28, 2014
I’m not talking about what could be called institutional Christianity – the behemoth that doesn’t necessarily practice what it preaches. I’m talking about what might move you – and you, and you – to be a Christian, despite the sometimes negative connotations Christianity has “out there.” I’m talking about the Christianity of the original Christian – Christ Jesus himself.
Jesus is the example of what being a Christian really is all about. His words, his works, what he lived and taught, form the basis of true Christianity. This truest of religions – and I mean that in the broadest possible sense – is not of sect or creed, but of the heart. The Master had the sternest rebuke for hypocrisy and self-righteousness, because they limited the practice of religion to words only. But true Christianity – true religion of any kind – is in, and only in, the life that expresses its original theology.
The Scriptures – especially the New Testament – are full of guidance on that theology: certainly what not to do, but very clearly on what to do. And love is the major part of what to do. Echoing Jesus’ own message, the Apostle Paul says, “Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” (Rom 13:10)
There is a yearning in our churches to see more of that Christianity of the heart; to practice more of the teachings of Christ Jesus, here and now, in their simplicity and power. Mary Baker Eddy, the Founder of my religion, expected Christian Scientists to have those kinds of churches. She defined church, in part, as “that institution, which affords proof of its utility and is found elevating the race, rousing the dormant understanding from material beliefs to the apprehension of spiritual ideas and the demonstration of divine Science, thereby casting out devils, or error, and healing the sick.” (Science and Health, page 583)
Jesus expected his followers to build their churches on the rock – the fact of his Christ nature. (Matt 16:18) If we see that command as merely one of making church out of human personality or human laws, we miss his point. And in missing that fundamental point we commit terrible atrocities in the name of Christianity. Our hearts must, instead, connect with his heart, his vision, his expectation. And then we must go and do likewise.
If this is what you’re hungry for – to live out from a higher, holier, more effective Christianity and not just a scholastic theology – then hold yourself accountable to the words and works of Jesus himself: the true, the only Christ. Doing so, “religion will then be of the heart and not of the head.” (Science and Health, page 140)
Melissa Hayden is a Christian Science practitioner in Salem, OR. You can find more information and additional articles at this link. If you like what you’re reading, click the “add me” button.