Fidelity and Faith

To the student of Christian Science whose healing may seem to be delayed, the incident recorded in Luke, thirteenth chapter, is pregnant with hope and assurance. The incident deals with the case of a woman who had suffered for eighteen years from what to-day might be called a chronic form of rheumatism. She "was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself."

It is interesting to note that the synagogue was a place in which the people met on the Sabbath day for prayer and for the reading of the law and the prophets, and that, although this woman was a cripple, she was not prevented from attending. Probably it was her wont to go there regularly to hear the Word of God. Her presence certainly indicated the desire to know more of Him. And would she not there hear the words read from the book of Isaiah, "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price"?

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This woman thirsted for the living God. And we read in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy (p. 2), "The desire which goes forth hungering after righteousness is blessed of our Father, and it does not return unto us void." She may often have heard read also, and doubtless had often voiced, the words of the Psalmist, "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God."

The narrative tells us, further, that Jesus called this woman to him, having through his wonderful spiritual perception read her thought, discerning her faith in God. This is shown very clearly, because later on he referred to her as "a daughter of Abraham." If we refer to the word "Abraham" on page 579 of Science and Health, we shall find that Mrs. Eddy defines it as "fidelity; faith in the divine Life and in the eternal Principle of being." Thus we are shown the mental qualities which Jesus recognized in this sufferer, namely, her faith in the divine Life and her fidelity to the revelation she had of God.

With what ineffable sweetness would the words fall upon her ears from the lips of Jesus, "Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity"! What a wealth of meaning is contained in them! For do not they embody the fundamentals of Jesus' teaching, namely, man's perfection, and his inseparability from God? "Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity"—the lie that has claimed to keep you bound for the past eighteen years is no part of your real selfhood; that selfhood is the image and likeness of God, the perfect reflection of the perfect creator!

Christ Jesus' consciousness abode in the realm of reality. In consequence, he was constantly about his Father's business, always knowing the truth about God and His idea, man. At all times he saw only the divine idea, governed by its perfect Principle. The result was his wonderful declaration, "Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity." And we read that "he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God."

The truth which enabled Jesus to utter the words, "Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity," is as powerful to-day as when they were uttered, nearly two thousand years ago. Whatever the error that may be claiming to hold us in bondage, it is our birthright to demand our freedom as the sons of God. And we should expect to find ourselves strengthened, renewed, healed. To this end we may be required to affirm and reaffirm the truth about man's perfection; and it may seem sometimes as if, like Joshua, we had to march over and over the same ground, around a very stubborn wall; but assuredly the wall will fall—error cannot withstand the repeated onslaughts of the truth. Perhaps all that is required to complete the demonstration is the shout of joy, or the prayer: "Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always."

Requiring the Past
January 7, 1928

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