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SPIRITUAL HEALING —NOT GUESSWORK

From the February 8, 2010 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel


The "still, small voice" of scientific thought reaches over continent and ocean to the globe's remotest bound. The inaudible voice of Truth is, to the human mind, "as when a lion roareth." It is heard in the desert and in dark places of fear. It arouses the "seven thunders" of evil, and stirs their latent forces to utter the full diapason of secret tones. Then is the power of Truth demonstrated,—made manifest in the destruction of error.
—Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 559

When someone initially learns of Christian Science and its spiritual means for healing, one of the first questions often asked is whether it really works, and is it reliable. And some inquirers, because of the connection of Christian Science healing with a religious movement, may have mistakenly confused it with a kind of blind faith-cure. Yet, while certainly upholding a deep trust and conviction in God's power to heal, Christian Scientists earnestly endeavor to couple their faith with a growing understanding of God and His immutable laws of harmony to direct and govern their lives.

In the early days of the Christian Science movement, a newspaper reporter once filed a story about the establishment of the first congregation in Baltimore, Maryland. The reporter quoted Dr. Hammond, who discussed the Christian Scientists' practice of healing, grounded on their spiritual understanding of the Bible. Dr. Hammond noted: "We find in this view of the Bible the power fully developed to heal the sick. It is not faith-cure, but it is an acknowledgment of certain Christian and scientific laws, and to work a cure the practitioner must understand these laws aright" (Pulpit and Press, p. 69).

Mary Baker Eddy, the author of the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, proved the practicality of spiritual healing for herself and in her long and successful ministry. And she was able to teach this healing method effectively to others. She observed that genuine metaphysical healing was not based on guesswork, but was, in fact, guided by divine Truth. She also noted that those who wanted to learn this method would find definite rules in Science and Health that would provide a sure and trustworthy foundation for the healing work (see pp. 458-459).

Obviously, in our everyday lives we are guided by many kinds of rules that govern behavior and action in all sorts of ways. When the rules are clear, there is no guesswork. Then, too, those who would follow the example of Christ Jesus recognize that there are additional rules for faithful Christian living. The Christian strives humbly to love God with all the heart and mind, and to love one's neighbor as oneself. Honesty and integrity, compassion and caring, mercy and forgiveness, are central qualities of character to be nurtured. And the Golden Rule of doing unto others as we would have them do unto us is an absolutely fundamental guide.

So, for consistency in the practice of spiritual healing— original Christian healing—both the moral and the spiritual demands are essential. There are also consecrated prayer and daily Bible study. And always there is the role of inspiration. Many times, a moment of direct spiritual insight and light, an inspired perception of divine reality, brings immediate healing, and a person's thought is substantially transformed.

The work of a spiritual healer that isn't based on guesswork or blind faith will instead be built on discipline, fidelity, the authority of understanding, and unselfed love. And as we more fully appreciate Jesus' own example as a healer, we will also appreciate those clear rules for healing that help us follow him more effectively. Because the practice does have a Christianly scientific basis, its rules are precise and open to everyone to be demonstrated. Learning the rules for healing supports us in steadily gaining a deeper understanding of the essential metaphysics of man's relation to God. This enables us to discern how the laws of God apply specifically to individual human needs when confronted with sickness.

Mary Baker Eddy had much to say in Science and Health about the significance of scientific rules in practicing Christian healing. In the chapter "Teaching Christian Science," she wrote, "A Christian Scientist requires my work Science and Health for his textbook, and so do all his students and patients." Among the reasons offered are these: "Because it is the voice of Truth to this age, and contains the full statement of Christian Science, or the Science of healing through Mind." And: "Because it was the first book known, containing a thorough statement of Christian Science. Hence it gave the first rules for demonstrating this Science, and registered the revealed Truth uncontaminated by human hypotheses" (pp. 456-457).

Also, in referring to her own discovery of the Science of Christian healing, Mrs. Eddy wrote: "Late in the nineteenth century I demonstrated the divine rules of Christian Science. They were submitted to the broadest practical test, and everywhere, when honestly applied under circumstances where demonstration was humanly possible, this Science showed that Truth had lost none of its divine and healing efficacy, even though centuries had passed away since Jesus practised these rules on the hills of Judaea and in the valleys of Galilee" (p. 147).

A careful reading of Science and Health reveals many rules throughout. Some are worded as fundamental propositions on which the system of scientific, Christian metaphysics is itself established. These propositions have broad application to our whole lives and are vital in working out our salvation. They include statements confirming the absolute allness, goodness, and omnipotence of God, and the consequent emptiness, or nothingness, of anything unlike God, good. Other rules are worded as statements applying very specifically to disease, its conditions and symptoms, and to the mental and moral outlook of the patient.

The chapter "Christian Science Practice" in Science and Health provides a wealth of these rules (see especially pages 390-393). These are often stated as imperatives—some of the "musts" when treating particular cases through scientific prayer. For example, the healer is instructed to meet the first sign of any illness from a position that is both firm and steadfast. "Mentally contradict every complaint from the body," Mrs. Eddy wrote, "and rise to the true consciousness of Life as Love,—as all that is pure, and bearing the fruits of Spirit" (p. 391). Two pages later, she added: "Rise in the strength of Spirit to resist all that is unlike good. God has made man capable of this, and nothing can vitiate the ability and power divinely bestowed on man" (p. 393).

When the rules are clear, there is no guesswork.

As the healer reviews such imperatives, it's clear that Christian Science sets forth a standpoint that is mentally active, alert, forthright, commanding, and that always rises higher than what is conveyed by the outward material picture. In Science and Health, there is a solid conviction expressed in the rules for healing—conviction of the all-power of God as infinite Spirit, of the spirituality and wholeness of man as God's likeness, and of the demonstrable impotence of disease, or error.

None of this, however, is to suggest that healing as Christian Science teaches it is some sort of humanly mental "technique." Healing is never a process whereby the human mind confronts matter through mental manipulation in an effort of willpower to somehow influence or alter matter's action, functions, and conditions. What is actually occurring through adherence to these rules is not aimed at changing unintelligent matter into better, more intelligent, healthier matter. Rather, one's thought is opening up to the powerful, regenerating action of the Christ, Truth. Thought is coming into conformity with the truth of man's spiritual being; yielding to the higher laws of God; perceiving and affirming the divine reality of man's perfection; becoming attuned to all that is pure; losing materiality.

The result is that spiritual truth takes precedence over the suggestions of material error, or sickness,and physicality itself is seen to be nothing more than a shadow of who we actually are. The truth of our purely spiritual identity is made tangible in consciousness, and soon the false claims of diseased symptoms and conditions are cast out. Then our natural, healthy state is objectively manifested. The patient is healed because thought has been transformed through the redeeming action of the Christ, and because the body, which is essentially thought objectified, is consequently also transformed—made new.

The mental work of the healer in adhering to the rules of metaphysical practice is put in its proper perspective when one also considers all that Science and Health has to say about the role of inspiration in every case. For example, the reader is reminded, "Remember that the letter and mental argument are only human auxiliaries to aid in bringing thought into accord with the spirit of Truth and Love, which heals the sick and the sinner" (pp. 454-455).

In the present demonstration of scientific Christian healing, the healer is surely aided by these "human auxiliaries." We are each still working out our salvation and need to adhere to the moral and spiritual demands that help us break the fetters of believing in a limited life in matter with its suggestions of sickness, pain, or debility. As Jesus told his disciples: "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled" (Matt. 5:18). Yet, abiding by the rules of Christian Science is never heavy or burdensome. The discipline and obedience required are actually a joy and a blessing. They are invigorating. And heeding the rules encourages us to realize the never-failing operation of God's grace, and to be firmly united with that very "spirit of Truth and Love, which heals the sick and the sinner."

It's always that light of ever-present Truth and Love that illuminates Christian Science treatment. Cogent instructions, or rules for healing through the method of scientific, mental argument, are found on page 412 of Science and Health: "To prevent disease or to cure it, the power of Truth, of divine Spirit, must break the dream of the material senses. ... Argue at first mentally, not audibly, that the patient has no disease, and conform the argument so as to destroy the evidence of disease. Mentally insist that harmony is the fact, and that sickness is a temporal dream. Realize the presence of health and the fact of harmonious being, until the body corresponds with the normal conditions of health and harmony."

Yet again, the healer should remember that along with these emphatic instructions, as with every other essential, practical, and indispensable rule that Science and Health offers, the heart and soul of Christian Science treatment will always reflect the tender, all-embracing love of God. The consciousness, the motive, and the prayer of the healer are continuously being brought into harmony with the spirit of unwavering Truth and pure Love. Thus, the healing work will naturally express the conviction of a practice that is not guesswork—not blind faith—but consistently trustworthy, provable, and reliable. ♦

FOR MORE ON THIS TOPIC

To hear Bill Moody speak on this topic, tune in to Sentinel Radio during the week of February 6-12, 2010. For a listing of broadcast locations and times, go to www.sentinelradio.com. To purchase a download of this radio program, #1006, on or after February 6, go to www.sentinelradio.com and click on Audio Download Store.


Contributing editor Bill Moody is a Christian Science practitioner and teacher. He lives in West Tisbury, Massachusetts.

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