I didn’t expect a trip to Central America to lead to a discussion about religion and spirituality. But that’s what happened during my senior year of high school.
I was visiting Guatemala and staying with a host mother and several volunteers. Christian Science came up in one of our conversations, and these volunteers were asking me about it, as well as about spirituality in general.
One thing I’ve always tried to do when I get questions about Christian Science is to share ideas that I think the person asking the questions can relate to, or that he or she might find meaningful. For example, the idea that God is Love and only Love is something that’s pretty amazing when you think about what it really means. I shared that idea, and one of the volunteers, who considered herself spiritual but not religious, really seemed to connect with that. We also talked about healing through prayer, though one of the other volunteers was a little skeptical about that idea.
Well, just two nights after we had this talk, I got really sick. I was throwing up throughout the night and the following morning, which alarmed the girls and my homestay mom. They wanted to take me to the doctor, but I assured them they didn’t have to worry—I was praying.
I ended up having a really quick healing. By that evening I was eating again, and the next day I was completely well. I thought it was so cool that the girls witnessed such a quick and complete healing. To me, it actually felt like one of the best possible ways to “explain” Christian Science to people unfamiliar with it, because I got to live it. Whether or not they registered what had happened, they got to see healing proof of what I’d been talking about.
Not every conversation about Christian Science is necessarily going to lead to someone witnessing a healing, but to me this is a good reminder that the way we live our lives as Christian Scientists is a really effective way of “explaining” what Christian Science is. Loving others, choosing to see others the way God made them, and sharing our healings are all ways of helping people catch the spirit of what Christian Science is all about.
Another thing that’s helped me speak more freely about Christian Science has to do with the way I’m thinking about Christian Science even before I get in a conversation about it. If I’m loving Christian Science and all that Christian Science is about—knowing how wonderful it is, rather than feeling like it’s weird, or difficult to talk about—then when an opportunity comes up to talk about it, that love for Christian Science guides my conversation. I’ve seen how people respond receptively to my genuine love for and excitement about Christian Science.
In addition, one thing my Christian Science Sunday School teacher helped me understand about these conversations is that it always helps to find ideas that the other people can connect to and understand, such as the idea that God is Love that I shared with my housemates in Guatemala. Or, if the person you’re talking to is also Christian, you could share that as Christian Scientists, we too follow the Bible and the teachings of Christ Jesus. We strive to heal as Jesus did, by looking to his teachings and example. In fact, Jesus expected us to be healers, because he said, “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do” (John 14:12).
If I’m loving Christian Science, rather than feeling it’s difficult to talk about, then that love guides my conversation.
Going into the conversation with the idea that you don’t have to personally prove anything to anyone is also really helpful; the Truth you live will do the proving. I’ve found, also, that a desire to share simply because you love Christian Science and you know how much it’s helped you leads to their receptivity. And it’s so important to love the person you’re talking to enough to really hear what they’re asking and to let God speak through you. Love them enough to see them as your brother or sister—not divided by differing perspectives, but bound together by God’s unifying love. Lastly, I’ve found that the conversation usually goes most smoothly when I prayerfully remove any sense of judgment both before and during our talk.
While it can take some practice, each conversation is an opportunity to learn what to say and how to say it with love and grace. That way, whether you find yourself in the school cafeteria or in a foreign country, you’ll be prepared to talk about Christian Science with confidence and conviction.
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