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A sanctuary for healing—wherever you are

From the December 9, 2019 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

A sanctuary is a place of safety, such as a bird sanctuary or wildlife refuge, or a place set aside for the worship of God, such as a church, synagogue, or mosque. 

The sanctuary I’m writing about is a place of refuge and to worship God—and it’s a place for healing. It cannot be confined to a physical location but is present and available everywhere for anyone to enter at any time.

Christ Jesus, for example, walked in this sanctuary all the time. It was a sacred sanctuary of holy consciousness where the worship of God and the experience of healing are inseparable. Wherever he went—including in the synagogue—he embraced sick people and sinners within his reverence for God as their creator, and they were healed and redeemed. 

Jesus said that anyone could learn through his teachings how to worship and heal in this way. He said, “The hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him” (John 4:23, New King James Version). 

You and I can become these “true worshipers.” We can find healing and redemption for ourselves and for others by setting aside our consciousness as a sanctuary for honoring, revering, and obeying God, who is universal goodness and Love. Our heavenly Father has provided this sacred sanctuary of holy consciousness for every person to enter into here and anywhere. It’s the true consciousness that God Himself bestows on us.

Over fifty years ago I read a book, which I’ve recently reread, titled My Shadow Ran Fast by Bill Sands. Bill was nineteen when he began serving three life sentences in San Quentin prison. A dark upbringing had led to criminal rebellion and a “Nobody cares, so why should I bother to change?” attitude. But that shadow suddenly ran from his consciousness—to be replaced by a determination to do whatever he needed to do to become an upright and productive person—through the influence of Warden Clinton Duffy. One day, Duffy came into Sands’s solitary cell, sat down with him, listened to his anger and rebelliousness, and quietly said, “Bill—I care” (p. 49). 

Bill then worked every day to improve his way of thinking, engaged in upbuilding and productive activity, earned his way to parole in just a little over two years, became an upstanding citizen, and eventually devoted himself to the work of successfully rehabilitating prisoners. 

This sacred sanctuary is a holy consciousness where the worship of God and the experience of healing are inseparable.

Duffy was a different kind of prison warden. He had a pure and holy consciousness, which came from a deep-seated faith. Bill Sands tells of “Warden Duffy’s unshakable faith in the spark of goodness inherent in every man” (p. 66). 

The Word of God, as given in the Bible and illuminated in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, has led me time and time again into a sacred sanctuary of holy consciousness, providing me with inspiration, spiritual understanding, purification of thought, physical healing, and a deeply satisfying way of life. 

Maintaining this consciousness takes daily devotion and effort to overcome whatever obstacles present themselves. But the Bible and Science and Health reveal the spiritual reality of divine Truth and Love and show how Jesus’ steadfast worship of God demonstrated God’s healing power. They continually prompt me to serve God and humanity by entering into this holy consciousness as a means of seeing the world in that spiritual light that brings healing to it. 

In the book of Revelation, John speaks of seeing a new heaven and new earth through the revelation of Truth that came to him through the teachings and life of Christ Jesus. In Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy wrote of John’s experience: “The Revelator was on our plane of existence, while yet beholding what the eye cannot see,—that which is invisible to the uninspired thought. This testimony of Holy Writ sustains the fact in Science, that the heavens and earth to one human consciousness, that consciousness which God bestows, are spiritual, while to another, the unillumined human mind, the vision is material” (p. 573).

It’s that “consciousness which God bestows” that constitutes the sacred sanctuary where redemption and healing take place. God has given every individual the power to consciously live in this holy sanctuary wherever we are. Within it we see things in a new way that brings healing into areas of human need that come to our attention—in our own lives and throughout the world. 

As God’s perfect spiritual ideas, we naturally live, move, and have our actual being in this sacred sanctuary of holy consciousness. In our experience here on earth, though, it takes consecrated and continual devotion and striving to keep our thoughts illuminated by the spiritual truth that brings real happiness and healing.

Christian Science church services can introduce us to this sanctuary for healing. And daily study of the Bible and Science and Health can inspire us with the spiritual truth that reveals our true identity and enables us to demonstrate its healing power. And we can devote ourselves to living in this holy consciousness. We can even bring it to church with us—and contribute to the healing atmosphere of the service for the congregation.

Yes, it takes persistent attention and unselfish effort to take this inspiration with us and live in accord with it wherever we are. We may find ourselves hanging on to habitual ways of thinking that cannot enter this sanctuary—ungodlike thoughts, fears, and tendencies—instead of standing up for divine Truth by thinking and acting in accord with it. 

Stick with it, though! With daily practice, we each can become better and better at worshiping God consistently in the sanctuary of spiritual consciousness. And we will experience the improved character and healing benefits of God’s universal, healing love.

Barbara Vining

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