Throughout my life I have had many opportunities to learn and grow in Christian Science by reading and praying alone, but I’ve also found that there’s a lot to be learned from sharing concepts and spiritual ideas with others. This was the case last summer, when I spent several months as a counselor-in-training [CIT] at a summer camp for Christian Scientists.
My “major” that summer was rafting, and, being a CIT, I was responsible for the safety of all the campers around me and also the care of the equipment. The way the rafting program works is a fellow counselor and I lead a boat of several campers, and most days we get an opportunity to take the boat down different rapids on the river.
It was midway through one day when the boat accidentally hit a rock and I was knocked out of the boat. When I fell out, I smashed my shin against a rock before I pulled myself back in. It was not immediately painful, but after a few minutes my leg hurt a lot and I saw that there was a deep dent in the shin bone, where I had struck the rock. At first I didn’t feel as if I needed to pray, but later that night when I continued to feel pain, the idea came to me that God was always with me and there was no other power, nothing that could separate me from the love of God.
The next day my leg didn’t hurt at all, and I was able to go about my CIT duties as usual—until partway through the morning when I bumped my leg on a chair while I was setting up for lunch. The pain I felt was very intense, unlike anything I had felt before, and this was alarming. I continued to pray, knowing God was with me and governing me, and I couldn’t be in pain under His care. While the pain subsided momentarily, other knocks brought it right back.
Later on, I was talking with a camper about the concept of evil. This camper had confided in me that he was having trouble understanding how everything could be made good by God and be rooted in His love, and yet we see so much evil in the world, from kidnappings in the news, to natural disasters, and more. As we sat down on the lawn, I told him this was something I’d struggled to understand, too. While we talked about it, I shared what had been helpful to me in the past.
I told him that we’re designed to reflect God’s good qualities. That’s our only purpose as God’s children since we are God’s spiritual expression. But sometimes we get caught up in our day-to-day lives or in scary news headlines, and forget what we really are and what we’re made to do. It can be easy to buy into a picture of a material world, in which people are susceptible to fear, or injury, or lack. But that view is mistaken. God’s creation is totally spiritual, and our role within that creation is to reflect God through spiritual qualities such as honesty, strength, and love for others. When we truly understand who we are and express these qualities, that’s showing us our purpose as children of God, and we’re proving it.
God’s creation is totally spiritual, and our role within that creation is to reflect God through spiritual qualities.
If we forget the path we’ve been shown by God, and buy into a picture of ourselves as helpless, or sick, or injured, we’re believing that we’re not God’s expression but something material. But we’re never helpless, since we can pray to remind ourselves that God created us, and everyone else, spiritually.
As I talked this over with the camper, it became clear to me that I had been forgetting my spiritual identity, which is always free, complete, and whole. A picture of an injury was never true about me, so it didn’t have any power to stop me from expressing God. Such a picture was unreal and false, and couldn’t keep me from performing my job as a CIT. I was doing good at a place so dedicated to God, Love. How could I forget who I really was even for a second?
With that thought, immediately I felt good. The next day I again grazed that same spot on my leg, but no pain came. The rest of the session was great, and I love how I can look back on this healing experience when I need some inspiration.
Michael enjoys playing musical instruments—specifically the piano, violin, Peruvian nose flute, didgeridoo, and the theremin.