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My church is a healing church. 

If you’ve grown up as a Christian Scientist, you may have heard this phrase enough times to tune it out. But pause on it: What a powerful statement! What amazing advertising. The promise to be healed at church is not hollow. You can probably think of times when you arrived at church feeling bummed, sick, sleepy, or anxious, only to find comfort in a hymn, a good testimony, or a line from the Bible or Science and Health. And when you walked out of church, you were at least uplifted, if not fully healed. 

Christian Science church services offer more than fellowship, comfort, or music, as great as those are. Christian Scientists know that healing happens reliably as we pray and listen to God during a service and our thoughts move to new, inspired places.

It is a fundamental law that healing results when heart and thought are moved by Christ, Truth.

If you aren’t sure you’ve experienced this kind of healing at church, here’s what I suggest. Get to church a few minutes early and commit to focusing on what you’ll hear. Phone off. Bring a spirit of adventure and a readiness to realize something new, something spiritual about yourself. Recognize gratefully that everyone at the service is going to hear and realize new things, too! Pray to love each person in the room and appreciate that they each express qualities of God. Think of the lesson you’re about to hear as God’s special message just to you. Listen more with your heart than your head. Be ready to grow and change. 

Do this again next week.

Church requires more than our passive presence; it demands our active participation, our prayers, our humble desire to be changed. This engagement welcomes in the Christ, God’s healing message that lifts us out of our fears. Church services are healing because the Christ speaks to each of us during the service. You know it’s Christ when you get a wonderful new view of yourself as God-created and pure. It’s Christ when you feel joyful relief or new possibility. Your thought is moving.

It is a fundamental law that healing results when heart and thought are moved by Christ, Truth. Mary Baker Eddy discovered and explained the healing effect of realizing anew the God-given truth about yourself, or feeling God’s love deeply. Couldn’t this happen alone on the couch? Yes, but it’s different. Church helps open everyone’s thought to the bold activity of Truth. Why? The nourishing atmosphere, members’ prayerful preparations, and the prayers of those attending the service are tangible factors.

A room with lots of windows gets a lot more sunlight than a room with only one window. Each window gets the same light, but together the effect is brighter. We can each know the truth individually and find healing, but when everyone comes to church receptive to the light of Truth, we’re all windows for Truth. And that Truth, which is the Christ, has a powerful healing effect for all of us.

Jesus’ statement, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20) illuminates that powerful dynamic.

Recently, I visited an elegant, old downtown church. I was praying about a painfully clenched jaw muscle that had made my head ache for two days. Near the end of the service, Mrs. Eddy’s passage in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures stood out to me: “Truth is immortal; error is mortal. Truth is limitless; error is limited. Truth is intelligent; error is non-intelligent. Moreover, Truth is real, and error is unreal” (p. 466). Pow! I got it. With profound clarity, Christ brought to light a new fact for me. I realized that if I was feeling pain, the pain by definition was untrue and unreal, since what is real, what is of Spirit, doesn’t hurt. 

Even as I write this, I’ve just had a healing at church.

In a flash, a series of healings I’d previously experienced came to mind. The common thread connecting them was realizing the symptoms were illusions, even while I still seemed to be experiencing them. When someone is lying to you, and you know it, nothing about the story persuades you. No matter how long they ramble on, you aren’t convinced. Similarly, the clenched jaw was now unpersuasive. The certainty I felt during the church service was Christ-delivered. The logic was undeniable in a way I hadn’t grasped as completely before. 

During brunch afterward, I felt joyous and empowered: The pain wasn’t real! Yes, I was aware of pain several times during brunch, but I wasn’t persuaded by it. A Christ-given spiritual fact nests deeper in your heart than the appearance of pain. That evening, completely healed, I was moved as I thought back on that immense old church, the Readers’ clear delivery of the Bible Lesson, the prayers of those attending the service, and the legacy of healings that so many have experienced under its roof. 

Even as I write this, I’ve just had a healing at church. I spent the day lonely, mopey, and tired after a long trip. Yet ideas I heard at the Wednesday evening meeting reminded me of who I actually am: the daughter of God, free and loved and whole. My thought moved. I walked out energetic, happy, and feeling like myself. 

The last verse of Hymn 220 from the Christian Science Hymnal is my favorite way to summarize church: 

The freer step, the fuller breath, 
The wide horizon’s grander view; […] 
The Life that maketh all things new. (Samuel Longfellow)

Church is a reliable place to rediscover that “wide horizon’s grander view”—that liberating spiritual perspective of ourselves and others. This expansive view heals. 

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