Have Faith: Changing the world

Christian Scientist speaker Mark McCurties will visit next weekend.

Mark McCurties is a Christian Scientist who will speak at a free lecture on-Island. — Courtesy Mark McCurties

Every once in a while I hear from people who might be having an interesting speaker coming to visit, and this time it was Susan Murphy who called. Next Saturday, March 25, at 2 pm, the Christian Science Society of Martha’s Vineyard will host a free lecture, “Making Meaningful Change: How God-Centered Ideas Shape the World,” with Mark McCurties, one of the members of the Christian Science Board of Lectureship who travel all over presenting talks. Mark has worked in the education field as a camp director, experiential educator, resident counselor, and athletic coach. He says he’s seen God’s power at work in the young people he’s known.

Mark is from Ann Arbor, Mich., and on the road all the time. We decided it was easier for me to email him some questions than to try to coordinate a phone conversation.

I thought the title of the lecture was a pretty hefty challenge itself, so I asked him a few questions.

How God’s love can change the world — that’s a lofty topic. I’d love to hear a little about how we can make this happen.

My perception of God is informed by the Scriptures. While there can be a lot to digest and process when reading the Bible, I believe that the underlying message is one of great hope. The Bible offers a promise of God’s love bringing salvation, transformation, and healing into our lives and into our communities. In fact, the various authors of the Bible and the thousands of individuals discussed therein were witnesses to how the power of God can indeed bring needed and practical help right into our everyday lives. The Bible also makes it clear that this healing and saving power is eternal, it is with us here and now just as much as it was for the men and women of the Bible.

So part of what I would like to explore in my talk is understanding more about how we can see and feel this divine power bringing the help that we need today. For me, that starts with learning to know God better. I have found in my experience, and seen it to be true for many others, that the more we learn about our relationship with God, the more we can see and witness God’s power in our lives. In essence, then, my talk is about how we can get to know God better, and how that growing relationship can start to change our life for the better.

Ultimately, a community is made up of individuals. If even one individual can experience moral, physical, and spiritual healing by strengthening and deepening their relationship to God, then the entire community would benefit, even if only on a small scale. I hope many individuals leave my talk experiencing this kind of healing.

How has God’s love moved through your life? How has it helped you?

God’s love has been a consistent theme and force in my life since I was a young child. I have always relied on God for help and healing in difficult times, and have found that God is indeed what the Bible declares, “a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46). There are too many instances of how God’s love has helped me to enumerate in this article, but two that I will discuss in my talk are: 1.) An immediate return to health within minutes of experiencing all the symptoms of a heat stroke. 2.) Calming and transforming an angry student who wanted to possibly harm me and others.

How does the Christian Science Lectureship work? 

The Christian Science Church was founded by Mary Baker Eddy in the 19th century. As public interest in the church grew, she saw the wisdom of adding the Christian Science Board of Lectureship to the organization of the church to share more widely the message of Christian Science. In her time, and still today, every Christian Science church is asked to host at least one Christian Science lecture a year. Members of each individual church may contact a member of this Board of Lectureship, and engage them to lecture in their community. There are thousands of Christian Science churches around the world, and generally speaking, the lecturers go wherever they are called. We do the best we can to coordinate with each other, and organize tours in specific regions when it’s possible.

What is the purpose of the lectures?

The purpose of a Christian Science lecture is first and foremost to give a clear and accurate statement of what Christian Science is and what it is not. In addition, there is a broader goal of spreading the gospel of Christianity. Christian Science is a Bible-based religion that is devoted to following the teachings of Christ Jesus. Each lecture, therefore, is meant to expound upon the life and teachings of Christ Jesus, and to discuss the importance of living genuine Christianity and how that can bring help and healing to a challenging and modern world.

Do you get discouraged about passing along your message in a world that seems far from fixing?

It’s true that there are a lot of challenges in our world today. While I don’t think that the road ahead is necessarily an easy one, I do believe that a road to a better tomorrow is there. I believe in an all-loving God who provides help and healing to each one of us in times of need. I believe that a better understanding of our relationship with God can bring God’s divine power and presence into our lives in wonderful ways. When I am tempted to feel discouraged or overwhelmed, I remember that individuals in the Bible faced great adversity and hardship only to see God’s power bring deliverance and salvation. I remember, too, that I have seen wonderful instances of God’s power in my own life, and I have seen proof of God’s healing love in the lives of many other people that I know and care about. These instances of God’s power and grace inspire and re-energize me all the time. So, one day at time, I work to know God better, I endeavor to help others do the same, and I rejoice in the small and big victories that I experience along the way.

The Christian Society of Martha’s Vineyard is on 123 New York Ave. in Oak Bluffs, and everyone is welcome to come to the lecture.