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Christ, not crisis

From the December 11, 1978 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel


We have only to open a newspaper to realize how many crisis spots there are in the world today. We may be tempted to feel that one person can do little or nothing to stem this tide of unhappy events, but Christ Jesus showed us how great the healing effect of just one individual can be. He brought Christly thought to bear on problems and solved them. We can too.

From a human standpoint Jesus' life seemed full of crisis. He had to face angry mobs, the hatred of the world, disease in its severest forms, and even death itself. He overcame them all through the understanding of his sonship with God—through his expression of the Christ.

"The Father ... hath committed all judgment unto the Son," John 5:22; we read in the Bible. This word "judgment" comes from a Greek word meaning a verdict, sentence, or decision. Interestingly, our modern word "crisis" comes from this source.

Our Master was not deceived by the many disasters that threatened to stop his mission because, constantly exercising this Christlike judgment, he discerned in their place the law of God in full operation.

Take two examples: One night the disciples tossed about in a storm on the lake thinking their end was near. Jesus was asleep in the boat unaware of any peril until in their fear they woke him. Clearly judging the situation, he invoked God's rule of harmony, and calm was quickly restored as evidence of the ceaseless operation of divine law (see Mark 4).

On another occasion we read that Jesus' friend Lazarus had been buried long before Jesus arrived—the crisis point had passed, and it looked as if mortality had won the day. Martha chided him, "Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died." Jesus, turning away from this personal approach and identifying himself fully with the Christ, replied, "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live." 11:21, 25; With the verdict of Truth he specifically reversed the false picture of death, and Lazarus came out of the tomb in obedience to the law of Life.

We too, as Jesus' followers, can exercise Christlike understanding in our prayers for ourselves and the world. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in Science and Health, "Understanding is the line of demarcation between the real and unreal." On the same page she explains, "This understanding is not intellectual, is not the result of scholarly attainments; it is the reality of all things brought to light." Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 505;

In the light of the Christ we can discern perfection as the reality of God's creation right where discord and disease claim to operate. This spiritual understanding becomes ours when in deep humility we—habitually as well as in times of distress—pray to God.

Several years ago I was battling with a painful physical condition that affected my neck and shoulders, making it impossible for me to rest. I spent the nights sitting in a chair. After several days, when this difficulty was not healed through my own prayers, I called on a practitioner to help me with Christian Science treatment.

The following night it seemed as if a crisis point had been reached, and I was filled with fear and self-pity. At that moment my thought was arrested by a sentence I was reading in Science and Health: "Nerves have no more sensation, apart from what belief bestows upon them, than the fibres of a plant." ibid., p. 488;

I looked around the room and saw the serene beauty of my plants. It seemed utterly ridiculous to believe that they could be in pain. I then saw clearly how impossible it is for any part of God's spiritual creation to suffer. The light of Christ, Truth, dawned in my consciousness with such clarity that I was immediately and permanently released from the difficulty. The authority of the Christ proved the unreality of the crisis.

We do not need to let events balloon into crisis proportions. Let us decide with the Christ against unreality and for freedom and health. Stilling the mental storms of strife with the divine verdict, "Peace, be still," Mark 4:39. the judgment of the Christ is just as active in the trouble spots of the world today as it was in Jesus' day.

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