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Receptive hearts—and the touch of the Christ
As I began to study the Bible Lesson from the Christian Science Quarterly for one particular week, I found it included the story of the healing of Bartimæus, a blind beggar (see Mark 10:46–52). I began to think deeply about that man’s desire to be healed and his encounter with Christ Jesus on the road from Jericho. The question came to thought: “How does this story from about 2,000 years ago relate to people seeking spiritual healing today? Is it relevant?”
Although I had read this account many times, this time three simple words stood out to me: “He calleth thee” (verse 49). Imagine the anticipation of knowing that something wonderful is about to happen to you. A life-changing experience. These words carry that promise and its fulfillment. It is the response that Bartimæus heard as he cried out to Jesus in hopes of being healed.
The determination in his cries could not be stifled. The words “He calleth thee” meant only one thing—healing! The Christ, Truth, had come, and as a result the blind could see, the deaf could hear, and the lame could walk. As the mortal illusion of life in matter was put off and thought rose to meet the Christ-idea, sin, sickness, and death were destroyed, character was transformed, and life renewed. And so it was for Bartimæus.
Reading that story again made me think what a mistake it is to believe that only a chosen few are called to feel the healing touch of the Christ, or that it was only in a certain time period. Rather, in any age, having a receptive thought allows us to experience the full radiancy of God’s eternal love for man, transforming a mortal sense of life and all its limitations, into unbounded spiritual freedom and harmony—our life as God knows it.
When healing Bartimæus, Jesus made it clear that it was the man’s faith that had made him whole. Although we might not see the human form of Jesus walking down our streets, the healing Christ is, in Mary Baker Eddy’s words, “without beginning of years or end of days.” She continues, “Throughout all generations both before and after the Christian era, the Christ, as the spiritual idea,—the reflection of God,—has come with some measure of power and grace to all prepared to receive Christ, Truth” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 333). In other words the Christ has always been present and felt by every receptive heart. Christ is with you and me and everyone—here and now.
Our calling out to the Christ for redemption and healing never goes unanswered. Receptive thought feels the tender touch of the Christ embracing us in warmth and love. The light of the Christ illumines our consciousness, bringing to us the truth of our spiritual being as eternal and perfect—forever unaffected by material conditions. Seeing ourselves and others in this light is how we not just glimpse, but grasp, the spiritual reality of the universe, which was the foundation of Jesus’ healing work.
We can rely with confidence on the reassuring words of a hymn in the Christian Science Hymnal:
I look to Thee in every need,
And never look in vain;
I feel Thy touch, eternal Love,
And all is well again.
(Samuel Longfellow, No. 134)
Worldly belief tries to convince us that the Christ is no longer here or is not as effective as in Jesus’ time. This false belief originates in and is perpetuated by mortal mind—the false, material sense of life, which attempts to separate us from God. The Christ, the healing presence and power of God’s love for man, does not diminish over time. In fact, this love is felt when it is most needed.
Today the heart’s yearning for healing and salvation is answered by the Christ, just as it was 2,000 years ago. And with this answer comes the joyous anticipation Bartimæus must have felt when he heard those words: “He calleth thee.”
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