Grace and repentance bring healing

In the opening pages of the chapter “Christian Science Practice” in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy tells us that we should seek Christ “like Mary Magdalene, from the summit of devout consecration, with the oil of gladness and the perfume of gratitude, with tears of repentance and with those hairs all numbered by the Father” (p. 367).

While recent Bible scholarship concludes that the Mary who anointed Jesus’ feet with oil, washed them with her tears, and dried them with her hair was not the Magdalene, I’ve found the woman’s approach very helpful. The qualities she expressed can further the spiritual growth that leads to healing for anyone. They don’t comprise a formula for healing, but an attitude of grace and repentance is a theme running through many healings I’ve had, from broken bones to financial challenges.

Several years ago, I noticed a growth near my eye. It was embarrassing but not painful, so I didn’t give it too much thought or devote much prayer to it. But when it became painful, I started praying more deeply about it. On a car trip of over three hours, I listened to that week’s Bible Lesson from the Christian Science Quarterly several times. At one point when I looked in the rear-view mirror, I noticed that the growth had changed color, and it remained painful. This made me fearful. 

That night I woke up and spent a couple of hours in prayer and spiritual study. I came across this sentence in Science and Health, the textbook of Christian Science: “If thought yields its dominion to other powers, it cannot outline on the body its own beautiful images, but it effaces them and delineates foreign agents, called disease and sin” (p. 485).

This spoke to me. It felt like a shaft of light in the darkness. I had been letting this problem dominate my thinking, but I could choose not to let it do so. I realized that if God created me, then God was my substance; if, as the Bible tells us, He created me in His image and likeness, then I was divine, unmarred. I had to yield to these spiritual facts. It took the same grace and courage shown by that woman reaching out to Jesus to give up the picture presented by the material senses. I thought deeply about this and eventually fell asleep.

I’ve read about people praying, going to sleep, then waking up healed, but that was not the case for me on this occasion. And I was disappointed. But I quickly remembered the opening sentence of Science and Health: “To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, to-day is big with blessings” (p. vii). I held to that as a promise. Within minutes, the growth fell off, and I had no more issues with it. I was in awe and wept tears of joy. 

Practicing the qualities Mrs. Eddy identifies in the gospel account—living with more consecration, humility, gladness, gratitude, and repentance—is leading me to a deeper valuing of my relationship to God and of my life, and to healing.

Kurt Lancaster
Flagstaff, Arizona, US

Testimony of Healing
Eyeglasses no longer needed
March 6, 2023

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