Christ—no longer an abstraction to me
When I first began to seriously study Christian Science as an adult, I realized I didn’t have a clear understanding of the Christ. I knew from having attended a Christian Science Sunday School through my mid-teens that Christ referred to Jesus’ divine nature, but I can’t say I really understood what it was and what it did.
In my spiritual studies, I continually came across references to Christ in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures and Mary Baker Eddy’s other writings, and I felt it was important to understand why, for instance, she would place the term Christ before Jesus’ name. I also wanted to know how Jesus healed through Christ. So I made a commitment to learn more.
I decided to set aside an hour every Friday to go to our local Christian Science Reading Room and read the weekly Bible Lessons (found in the Christian Science Quarterly) and other Christian Science literature for deeper insight. I did that for a year. The explanations of Christ given in Science and Health were enlightening and kept me on track. For instance, it explains that the name Christ Jesus signifies Jesus’ Godlike nature; Christ is a title that represents the healing power of divine Love, God. And I came to see that this healing power is available for all to demonstrate, and that the Christ, the divine Truth Jesus lived, is the means by which God speaks to us: “Christ is the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness” (Science and Health, p. 332).
The Christ, God’s healing and saving power, had come to me, awakened me, and healed me.
A few years later I had an unusual experience when everything I had been learning suddenly no longer seemed abstract. I was giving an art lesson in my home one afternoon when I began to feel quite ill with chills and a high fever. By the time the class was over, I was barely able to get a quilt around myself and drop into a chair. My husband was away and not expected home that night. I was alone. I remember turning my thought to God as I had done in the past, knowing He was my “very present help in trouble” (Psalms 46:1). I remember very little else because after this I began drifting in and out of consciousness.
At one point I felt as though I were floating below the surface in deep, dark water, with a dim light above. Then a clear thought came to me: “It is the Christ that awakens me from the dream.” It sounded like an internal voice. The thought was so strong that I felt I must repeat these words. Initially, I did so mentally. Then, I felt a divine impetus to say them out loud. It felt impossible to speak, and the resistance to voicing the truth was strong. I just wanted to drift back to sleep. But I was able to open my mouth and whisper the words. And then again, and then once more—this time in a booming voice!
The third time I spoke the words, I became fully conscious. I was healed! I felt energized and overjoyed and never again experienced this trouble. The Christ, God’s healing and saving power, had come to me when I was in a state of utter helplessness and awakened me. I was surprised to see that more than two hours had passed and that it was time to go to the Wednesday evening testimony meeting at my branch church. I grabbed my coat and went with a heart full of gratitude and joy. I intuitively knew something sacred and wonderful had occurred, so I kept the healing close to my heart and didn’t tell anyone about it for a long time.
No matter how hopeless we may feel, the Christ is nearer to us than we know.
One of the significant lessons I have taken from this experience is that it’s one thing to understand intellectually what the Christ is, and quite another thing to feel the living, powerful presence of Christ, Truth, as I did during this experience.
Although I didn’t fully understand at the time what had happened, I did realize that the Christ was not an entity outside of me but an ever-present divine influence speaking within human consciousness—and that it had awakened me in my time of need from the mortal dream of life in matter to a higher understanding of life as spiritual. This awakening to man’s existence as purely spiritual, the reflection of infinite Life, inevitably brings victory over disease, lack, and any other limiting belief of material existence.
No matter how hopeless we may feel, the Christ is nearer to us than we know, to free us from the bonds of materiality. The following verse from a hymn in the Christian Science Hymnal puts it this way:
O dreamer, leave thy dreams for joyful waking,
O captive, rise and sing, for thou art free;
The Christ is here, all dreams of error breaking,
Unloosing bonds of all captivity.
(Rose M. Turner, Christian Science Hymnal, No. 412, © CSBD)
May you, too, feel the living Christ and its healing power.