Response 1: Dawn-Marie Cornett
Travel is fantastic! I wish I could do more of it. But if my vacations began getting in the way of my service to church, I'm not sure I'd be comfortable with that. But that's just me.
I can't say whether or not someone travels more than they should, serves church adequately, or is committed enough to church. That's got to be between the individual and God. For myself, I think about Mrs. Eddy and her expectations of those who lived in her home and those who served her church and its branches. Those expectations were pretty high.
Mrs. Eddy did take a few trips, though, and she certainly had her daily hour long carriage ride. But what defined Eddy's life was her incredible commitment to God and mankind. Her deep love for others, and her intense gratitude for God and Christ Jesus impelled her to work, and work hard.
Maybe this is the key to the question here. What are we serving? Is it really that we need to be devoted to church, or is it that our fellow man needs to know about God, about Christian Science, about the healing that comes from this knowledge? Christ Jesus said that the two most important commandments were to love God and love each other. If this is being expressed in our church work, then I think we're good. However, if we find that we've minimized or forgotten this sense of inspired purpose, maybe there is more we can do.
Again, it's up to each individual to determine this for themselves. We never know what God is telling someone else. All we can do is judge our own thoughts and actions. And maybe remember a little thing that Mrs. Eddy said, "We are all capable of more than we do” (Science and Health, p. 89).
Response 2: Dave Stevens
What a thoughtful question! In many ways, the memberships’ prayerful consideration of it is more important than any one person’s attempt to answer. But I’m happy to share a few thoughts.
Mobility and commitment are both expressions of infinite Mind. So they are not inherently in opposition but complement one another when rightly understood and exercised. They must both be resources, aspects, of this holy and complete idea called Church.
Thank goodness “rightly” in Christian Science means spiritually. As usual, the demand is for a refreshed spiritual view of the activity of Church, its purpose, and scope.
I often refer to the definition of Church on page 583 of Science and Health, and think, okay, here’s Church. How am I valuing the practical spirituality of it? How am I seeing its universality? How am I giving evidence of the proof of its utility? Does my commitment really express my love of God and of my neighbor or am I going through the motions without the “vital part” which Science and Health explains is Love? (see Science and Health, p. 113).
Focusing on what we love the most takes conscious effort. I have to maintain an inspired vision of Church as the mouthpiece, workshop, laboratory, shelter, greenhouse, and champion of freedom for all mankind in order to love it. When I do, it’s much easier for me to hold it as a high priority. Of course this is doable because the message is Christian Science, the demonstrable law of good for all; and I grow in this practical spirituality through church commitment.
Maybe some say, “Yes, but my life doesn’t always let me do what I love most. There are demands and complications." Two points are helpful here. First, Paul’s statement “in him we live and move , and have our being;” (Acts 17:27) means that the causative forces and reference points all belong to God, Mind, Love. So, Science and Health makes sense in stating: "Truth, Life, and Love are the only legitimate and eternal demands on man” (p. 184). If the only legitimate demands come from God, and all the resources needed to meet them come from the same source, we really are in business. This is where--and how--we can see mobility and commitment supporting each other, where a blessing for one blesses all, and the practice of Church is the essential nature of whatever we are doing, wherever we are.
The living of Church does lift up the living Christ in our communities and proportionately shows the same fruition Christ Jesus promised, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (John 12:32).