An intriguing question was raised: “Is Christian Science a health-care system?” While acknowledging that physical healing results from Christianly scientific prayer, I was unwilling to answer a straight “yes.” For me to convey that Christian Science is merely a health-care system would have been misleading and incorrect. Christ Jesus didn’t heal simply to provide an alternative health-care system for the world. He presented a radically different view of reality. He acknowledged his unity with his Father, God, and that the healing works he did were solely the outcome of his divine understanding of that relationship to God.
The Bible has numerous references to God as Spirit, and to God as all. Based on these foundational biblical truths, Christian Science concludes that all is spiritual. Christian Science reveals the divine reality, which lifts us out of the material picture mentally, and thus changes the human evidence.
It can be tempting to focus our thoughts on the material scene—examining the body and its actions. We may think that our goal is simply to keep the body healthy, and therefore that we need to spend our time focused primarily on it. But this is actually counterproductive to health and well-being. By turning our thoughts away from the body, and lifting them to spiritual reality, we find an uplifted spiritual consciousness that gives us a deeper perspective on what is real, and we also experience freedom from bodily discords.
Christian Science reveals the divine reality, which lifts us out of the material picture mentally, and thus changes the human evidence.
In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy writes: “Look away from the body into Truth and Love, the Principle of all happiness, harmony, and immortality. Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts” (p. 261). Following this direction prevents us from becoming convinced that the material scene is real and powerful, and it actually changes our experience through healing. It is how we begin to understand and experience the harmony that God produces.
My daughter’s feet were abnormally turned in as an infant. From the beginning, every time I thought of her, I prayed to see what God had created. I kept a notebook of passages from the Bible and Science and Health that related to God’s creation as whole, perfect, upright, and strong, and I worked to deeply understand these spiritual truths.
Some of the biblical statements I worked with included “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings” (Isaiah 52:7); “It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places” (Psalms 18:32, 33); and “Thou hast enlarged my steps under me; so that my feet did not slip” (II Samuel 22:37).
And from Science and Health: “The great truth in the Science of being, that the real man was, is, and ever shall be perfect, is incontrovertible; for if man is the image, reflection, of God, he is neither inverted nor subverted, but upright and Godlike” (p. 200).
As my daughter began to walk, and we went to purchase shoes for her, it was suggested that we get orthopedic ones that might help compensate for the abnormality. We purchased a regular pair of shoes that day, but the remark by the kind salesperson at the shoe store prompted an even more diligent prayer and study on my part to understand what God creates and not to go with the flow of material views or opinions.
I refused to see this dear child as anything but pure and free, expressing the infinite capacity of divine Love and Soul.
I refused to see this dear child as anything but pure and free, expressing the infinite capacity of divine Love and Soul—reflecting the beauty, form, and grace that are natural qualities of God. I worked to know more about God and His creation and refused to judge my daughter by the material sense evidence.
This was not the work of a moment, and the work eventually broadened beyond its initial impetus regarding my daughter’s feet. As I lifted my thought to the spiritual facts of her being, her uprightness, strength, and joy, I was prompted to be more consistent and disciplined in establishing in thought the spiritual, God-derived qualities of her entire being, and to expand this perception to everyone, not just my daughter.
I didn’t examine her feet or look at her gait to see if there was evidence of change. I stopped focusing on whether a physical correction was taking place; my thought was uplifted to a greater understanding and appreciation of God’s reality in all aspects of our experience.
The most immediate result of this shift in thought was that my daughter never appeared to be limited in her movements. She freely walked, ran, played, danced, rode a bike, and interacted with others. It wasn’t until several years later, when she was in a classical dance performance, that I recognized that all physical evidence of abnormality had totally disappeared. She was a beautiful, graceful dancer, without a vestige of any disfigurement or impediment. She was demonstrating her true nature as the image of God’s perfect creation.
Now, did I use Christian Science as a health-care system? In a way, yes. I turned to the Science of the Christ to meet what appeared to be a physical need. But I wasn’t starting with matter and trying to see how it could be manipulated by Christian Science in order to bring matter into conformity with the generally adopted standards of human health. I started from a totally different, totally spiritual paradigm.
The world tends to start with the material picture and judge health by what matter presents. But how can we judge spiritual truth by the material senses? Science and Health states, “Strangely enough, we ask for material theories in support of spiritual and eternal truths, when the two are so antagonistic that the material thought must become spiritualized before the spiritual fact is attained” (pp. 355–356).
How could we say that all is spiritual and then turn around and look at matter to see whether Spirit is real or doing what we think Spirit is supposed to be doing materially? If we seek to understand God’s nature—spiritual reality—and keep our thought uplifted to what spiritual sense is revealing, then we find our human experience to be transformed. We find our thoughts and lives to be in tune with God’s reality, the only reality. A natural outcome of this inspired view is the harmonious action of our human affairs, including our health.
Christian Science reveals to us spiritual reality, the Science of Christ as demonstrated in the life of Christ Jesus. The Church of Christ, Scientist, is the means by which this spiritual reality is shared with the world. Christian Science is not a health-care dispensary in the common sense. Health is seen to exist above and beyond the material senses as a spiritual quality of God, and it is demonstrated as human thought is lifted upward to a higher understanding of Truth.
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