Q: How can I talk with my friends about Christian Science?
A: I’ve found the most important thing I can do in sharing Christian Science is the same thing I try to do for anything in my life that matters: I pray. This prayer starts with understanding God as the only Mind, the only Truth, and the only communicator, as I’ve learned from studying Christian Science. When we’re sharing, it may seem like we’re doing the talking, but really, Truth is communicating directly to each of us, because that’s the way our relation to God works. Before, during, and after discussing Christian Science with someone, I make sure I’m very clear about this. If, after you’ve had a chat with someone, you feel like there are things you could have said better, or maybe even things you wish you hadn’t said, you can trust that God is speaking to everyone involved.
I had the opportunity to put this idea into practice when someone who had been my best friend for quite a while found out that because I rely on prayer for healing, and have been healed many times by feeling more of God’s love, I don’t use medicine. My friend was an atheist, and he wanted to become a doctor. So he was really angry that medicine wasn’t my first choice for health care. He actually stopped speaking to me for a few months. During this time I prayed to see more clearly that God was in complete control of our relationship. This prayer wasn’t about getting him to understand my point of view but about simply knowing that there were no misunderstandings or strong feelings that could obscure Truth.
Prayer leads us to show what Christian Science is about with our lives, rather than just talking about it.
Then one day, out of the blue I received a text from him saying that his granddad had passed on. As I prayed to know how to respond, I was inspired to share a Bible passage with him, and he replied that it was just what he’d needed. It turned out that his granddad had been very religious, and to honor his memory my friend began attending a Christian church in our area. We quickly became friends again, and it felt like those months of separation had never happened. In fact, our relationship grew much stronger. We loved to go on long walks—discussing our faith and teaching each other hymns from our churches to sing along the way. In those moments, I felt that more of the true spirit of Christian Science—and what it’s shown me about loving others the way Christ Jesus did—came out. And it wasn’t so much because of what I was saying, but because of the way I was living.
Prayer leads us to show what Christian Science is about with our lives, rather than just talking about it. That’s the way the Christian Science movement grows: through good works, including healing, by Christian Scientists. As Jesus said, “The works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me” (John 10:25). If this sounds intimidating, don’t worry. Living Christian Science can be as simple as choosing to love someone who’s been unkind to you, because you know it’s what God, Love, has created you to do. As you pray, you’ll find more ways to let your life show what Christian Science is about—ways that are unique to you and helpful to the people you’re encountering.
When we begin to trust the fact that God has a direct connection with all of His children, it’s easier to share Christian Science, because we’re focused on all that God is doing instead of on ourselves.
It’s also good to know that the reason your friends can understand Christian Science is that it is universal truth, something each individual already inherently understands and naturally gravitates toward. This realization was a huge learning moment for me, because it helped me move away from putting my friends in categories: people who “get” Christian Science and people who don’t. Now when I share, I have more of an expectation that people will connect with what I’m talking about and want to know more, because everyone wants to know more about what they really are—and Christian Science explains that. And if someone asks a question I don’t know the answer to, I’ve found it’s best to just admit that I don’t know everything and that I’m still growing in my own understanding.
When we begin to trust the fact that God has a direct connection with all of His children, it’s easier to share Christian Science, because we’re focused on all that God is doing instead of on ourselves. I think a statement by Mary Baker Eddy recorded by her student John C. Lathrop is a wonderful direction for sharing Christian Science with others: “All I have ever accomplished has been done by getting Mary out of the way and letting God be reflected” (We Knew Mary Baker Eddy, Expanded Edition, Volume I, p. 270).