Touching the Hem

How often there comes to us a sense of humble gratitude when, through the glorious light of Christian Science, we receive a new and better understanding of some verse or verses in the Bible! In the ninth chapter of Matthew, in three brief verses, there is told simply and concisely the healing of the woman who had been diseased for twelve years. She came behind Jesus and touched the hem of his garment; "for she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole." And we learn that the healing was accomplished then and there; for "the woman was made whole from that hour." The questions arise: What is "the hem of his garment;" and how may we touch it and be made whole? For to prove that man is whole and perfect now is the sincere and earnest desire of every Christian Scientist, and a vital part of Christian healing.

In "Miscellaneous Writings" (pp. 74, 75) Mary Baker Eddy gives the following illuminating explanation: "If you will admit, with me, that matter is neither substance, intelligence, nor Life, you may have all that is left of it; and you will have touched the hem of the garment of Jesus' idea of matter." Recognizing our aim as a desire to touch the hem of Christ's garment, what must be our method of approach? First, this sick woman must have finished with material methods. After finding them of no avail for twelve years, she must have turned her thought toward the new spiritual method of healing, because she greatly desired to reach Jesus. And she did not even ask that he turn and speak to her. She sought only to get near enough to him to enable her to touch his garment. Here was a faith-lighted thought; and we have it in Jesus' own words that her faith healed her.

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A willingness to give up error, a right desire, true humility, and faith were her avenues of approach to Truth, as they are ours today. Turning away from old material methods, desiring and humbly approaching the spiritual, together with exercise of faith, these will do for mankind now just what they have always done,—heal or make whole, physically and spiritually.

In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 170) Mrs. Eddy tells us, "The age seems ready to approach this subject, to ponder somewhat the supremacy of Spirit, and at least to touch the hem of Truth's garment." We are willing to give up our old methods when we see their futility; it is not, therefore, so difficult to desire the new. But these are the first and easiest steps.

The next step, true humility, seems not so easy to attain, since it means the giving up of our belief in our own importance, in our ability to do something or deserve something of ourselves. These false beliefs must go down before the absolute truth that we are nothing except as we reflect God. We have no ability to do anything except as we understand that God has done all things and done them well, and that man can only reflect God, good. We deserve nothing except as we work for it and earn it through overcoming the erroneous beliefs in a selfhood apart from God. Christ Jesus understood all this. It sometimes seems strange that after we have once experienced the real joy and peace that come from giving up the false and gaining the true, we should not always gladly do this. But it is necessary to repeat the lesson many times. Humility is, indeed, a very important step to the clearer apprehension of man's wholeness, and one to be fervently prayed for and carefully guarded when attained.

Faith follows humility. It might seem on first thought that one should naturally have faith; but we find that so-called mortal mind knows naught of good. It is true there are some who seem always to have had at least some degree of faith; but there are many who, like doubting Thomas, cannot believe until they see. Their faith must therefore be the fruit of demonstration, the demonstration that follows the humility that is willing to say, "I can of mine own self do nothing." This faith relies on the divine Principle, which it trusts because it has proved it. It is this faith which remains unshaken during trials.

After we have faithfully and prayerfully taken each one of these steps, Jesus' loving words will come to us, "Be of good comfort," and we shall know the peace, as well as the healing, that follows the giving up of materiality and the gaining of spirituality, a process constantly going on in the honest thought. We may well rejoice in our work, and be grateful over every overcoming. With Whittier we can know

That healing gift He lends to them
Who use it in His name;
The power that filled His garment's hem
Is evermore the same.

Spiritual Enrichment
October 16, 1926

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