Christian Science treatment—the activity of the Christ
Christian Science treatment allows spiritual inspiration to take center stage in our thought, leading it out of the depths of pain or discouragement and into the light of Truth.
Treatment in Christian Science is distinctly different from treatment given in a medical setting. Christian Science treatment addresses thought alone. It is inspired prayer that corrects and replaces with spiritual Truth faulty beliefs and claims based on material perceptions. It is motivated by deep love for God, Spirit, as well as for those around us.
Here is one description from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy of what happens in Christian Science treatment: “Spirit, God, gathers unformed thoughts into their proper channels, and unfolds these thoughts, even as He opens the petals of a holy purpose in order that the purpose may appear” (p. 506).
The “holy purpose” could be our desire for healing. When we begin to pray specifically to relieve suffering for ourselves or others, even the unformed thoughts—thoughts that haven’t yet occurred to us or that we can’t even put into words—are gathered, identified, and characterized by Spirit, God. Christian Science treatment lets the human ego step back so spiritual inspiration can take center stage in our thought, leading it out of the depths of pain or discouragement and into the light of Truth, God. This happens because Christ, the activity of Truth, which Jesus taught and demonstrated, comes to each of us in ways that we can understand.
Christ makes us aware of fundamental divine facts about man’s nature as entirely spiritual, not a mixture of physicality and spirituality. When teaching his disciples, Jesus told them, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). This is not an instruction to somehow mentally see our bodies and dispositions as humanly perfect, physically and psychologically. It is instead an instruction to know God’s essential nature as Spirit and our essential spiritual nature as the perfect reflection of our divine Father-Mother. It is an instruction to see man (the real nature of you, me, and everyone) as Godlike—not God as manlike.
Such reasoning requires spiritual sense. Science and Health states, “Spiritual sense is a conscious, constant capacity to understand God” (p. 209). Our spiritual sense enables us to acknowledge the good going on in the world, and the Christ prompts us to understand that it comes from the divine law of good, as Jesus understood. When called upon to feed thousands of people with a meager supply of food, he blessed the little food that was there, and he thanked God. The outcome was that everyone was fed (see Matthew 14:15–21). The spiritual sense we entertain enables us, too, to amplify the evidence of good in our lives today.
What if we feel our best efforts at giving Christian Science treatment are less than ideal? We can be assured that good is still going on, and we can heed the promise that “. . . to all mankind and in every hour, divine Love supplies all good” (Science and Health, p. 494). It’s not a matter of demanding that we feel the healing Christ at any given moment but of maintaining thought that is most conducive to hearing divine Truth and feeling its presence. As a result, we might find ourselves subduing fears, doubts, and anxieties. We might be encouraged to be more compassionate or insightful, or perhaps less egotistical. This is the activity of the Christ in our lives.
Christ, the activity of Truth, which Jesus taught and demonstrated, comes to each of us in ways that we can understand.
Mrs. Eddy writes (capitalizing Life as a synonym for God): “Become conscious for a single moment that Life and intelligence are purely spiritual,—neither in nor of matter,—and the body will then utter no complaints. If suffering from a belief in sickness, you will find yourself suddenly well” (Science and Health, p. 14). The practicality of this instruction has been evidenced many times in my experience with the quick dismissal of colds, flu, aches, infections, and inflammation. Sometimes, however, healing has taken longer—for example, restoring harmony in marriage, finding a purposeful career, and eradicating a tendency to have painful headaches. But the diminishing of the suffering associated with these issues came from persisting with moments of feeling more deeply that “Life and intelligence are purely spiritual.”
Treatment in Christian Science is never dependent on time. Beneficial adjustment in our thinking can happen in a moment of awareness that the healing Christ is with us today. This awareness is not an intellectual exercise, nor is it based on a formula, rote learning, or our personal literacy level. It is thought shifting, coming more in line with spiritual realities as revealed by God, divine Mind. Putting off personal efforts at praying or treating any given case, we feel the substance of something Mrs. Eddy put succinctly: “Mind in every case is the eternal God, good” (Science and Health, p. 415). All cases are healed by Mind; there is no other mind that can heal.
When a Christian Science practitioner is contacted for treatment, both the healer and the one seeking healing—practitioner and patient—are listening for the Christ to spiritualize thought. Treatment opens our thinking to the power of divine Love influencing, motivating, and comforting patient and practitioner—and all mankind. We stand together to witness the regenerative power of Truth. As I once heard it described: When there is a call for Christian Science treatment, there is a recognition of divine perfection already at hand, on both ends of the phone. Both practitioner and patient become conscious of Life and intelligence being entirely spiritual and ever present.
Ideal Christian Science treatment was illustrated by Jesus throughout the Gospels. As his followers, we can keep this high model in our thought daily and expect healing.