My 24/7 pastor
Over the past four years I have had the most incredible experiences with my National Leadership Council (NLC) group. NLC is a four-year program for high school students sponsored by DiscoveryBound, a youth group for Christian Scientists. My group includes 20 other kids who are all working toward similar goals with “servant leadership” as a focus. The program has challenged me to grow in so many ways. I’m especially grateful that it requires us to have concrete spiritual goals each year—this requirement has helped me dive deeper into Christian Science and see how practical it is in my life.
One of my spiritual goals this past year was to read through Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. I prayed about how I could dedicate quality time to this goal since I am pretty busy with all of my school activities, and sometimes it feels like there isn’t enough time in the day. As I prayed, I realized that one of the freer times I had during the day was on my 30-minute bus ride to school early in the morning. I decided to add Science and Health to my phone, which made it really easy to read for a good chunk of time and even highlight ideas and take notes. In fact, I got into the habit of copying inspiring passages and sending them as text messages to my family in the morning. My early morning study time was like seeds taking root in my thought, and I experienced some great healings as a result of wanting to put into practice what I was learning.
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I’m a runner on my high school track team, and I compete in triple jump and mid-distance events. Around that time I had been pushing myself pretty hard in training, and one night I woke up with a searing pain in my calf. I tried to get up to stretch it out, but I found I couldn’t even stand on that leg. At first I was really worried because I had a lot going on at school the next day, and I wanted to be better. But then I decided to turn on the light and open my copy of Science and Health, which was on my bedside table. I love that the pastor in Christian Science—the Bible and Science and Health—is always available, day or night, wherever you are.
The paragraph I opened to was just like a light bulb in my consciousness! It couldn’t have been more perfect for my situation: “Muscles are not self-acting. If mind does not move them, they are motionless. Hence the great fact that Mind alone enlarges and empowers man through its mandate,—by reason of its demand for and supply of power. Not because of muscular exercise, but by reason of the blacksmith’s faith in exercise, his arm becomes stronger” (p. 199). Not only were these ideas perfect for me in that moment, but I also felt so loved by God, and I could see how He communicates directly with me, whatever my particular need is at any time. The pain subsided and I felt calm. As I went back to sleep, I thought about how it’s really the divine Mind that governs me, not muscles. When I woke up the next morning, I could walk and run in track without any problem. I haven’t had a pain like that again.
I felt so loved by God, and I could see how He communicates directly with me.
Another amazing experience that happened as a result of my spiritual study came about when I was on a service trip to Peru with my NLC class this past summer. There were so many instances where I had to put into practice what I was learning. For example, one night when our group was traveling back from Machu Picchu, toward the end of our trip, I suddenly felt queasy. I didn’t want to eat dinner, which is very unlike me, as my group knows! We had a lot of travel ahead of us in the next few days, and I really wanted to feel healthy. I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it, but then my group leader took me aside and reminded me of the power of prayer. She said: “You do not need to let this control you. You can be free right now.”
Her direct and clear approach—and her conviction in my health—really helped me. That night, my best friend spent time reading the Bible and Science and Health to me while I was resting. I felt so comforted by his support, and I knew the rest of my group was praying, too. I had a good night’s rest and when I woke up early the next morning, I felt great! I ate a normal breakfast and was packed and ready to travel from Cuzco to Lima to catch our flight home.
Christian Science is so relatable and useful for me. In fact, I’ve been able to share a lot of ideas about the spiritual nature of health with my friends at school who ask me questions about my faith and want to know more. I’m incredibly grateful for this spiritual perspective on life.