Discovering what Christian Science is really all about
I’ve grown up in a family that practices Christian Science. We attend church every Sunday; we pray whenever we have a problem; I’ve even had the privilege of attending summer camps for Christian Scientists for a lot of my life. One of the most consistent messages I’ve heard through my years of Sunday School, prayer, and camp is that God is Love and is omnipresent—meaning that Love is everywhere and includes everyone. And yet, for many years I felt as though I were missing something. I felt disconnected from God’s love and couldn’t understand how Christian Science was applicable to my life. I didn’t feel I’d really had healings or would ever have one.
As high school began, I found myself struggling even more with my understanding of Christian Science. Fortunately, I was part of a program for high school-aged Christian Scientists, and one of the projects we were assigned was to read the textbook on Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, cover to cover, with an adult mentor.
As I think back on my first couple of months of reading, I’m a bit surprised by how little it seemed I was getting out of the project. I struggled to understand Mrs. Eddy’s complex sentences, and the hundreds of pages ahead of me seemed daunting.
However, as I continued reading, annotating, and discussing, something amazing happened. What before had been a daunting task quickly became the highlight of each day. And I watched as the ideas I learned during my reading began to permeate every aspect of my life.
The first notable change was in Sunday School. I’d already felt comfortable exploring ideas with my teacher and class, but as I read through Science and Health, I found that I became much more inclined to question and to voice my own perspectives. I engaged more deeply with the subjects we were talking about, questioning things that I didn’t understand. Whereas before I usually just accepted or nodded along with what other people had to say, now my own understanding of Christian Science was beginning to take shape. And I realized that, for the first time, I was looking for opportunities to understand more about God outside of just an hour on Sunday or a week at summer camp. I found that I wanted to apply Christian Science to challenges in my life—and that I was expecting healing.
I didn’t feel I’d really had healings or would ever have one.
The most pivotal development for me came as I realized what a healing really is. I’d always thought that a healing had to be something dramatic. But as I read through Science and Health, I began to understand that healing can begin with simply feeling the presence or touch of divine Love. And more importantly, I saw that feeling this to any degree brings a change in perspective, and that is a healing.
I finally understood that my entire life was overflowing with healing. I didn’t have to overcome a major physical problem to experience God’s law of love. I could recognize Love in action everywhere. I could see that everything is governed by Love and that Love isn’t expressed just in tiny moments here and there but truly is omnipresent. The love I felt for my friends and family, the love that was coming from the people around me—all of this is sourced in God, divine Love. And every recognition of that shifts me to a more spiritual way of thinking, which is a perfectly valid example of healing in my everyday life.
I realized I didn’t need to go to Sunday School for a certain amount of time or meet an imaginary set of requirements in order to “earn” a healing, as I’d thought in the past. I was already experiencing God’s constant care, and I had more proofs of it than I could have ever imagined.
This understanding changed the way I related to God. I was no longer afraid that I might do something wrong that could somehow disconnect me from Love. I understood that everything in my life was already embraced in Love. And this made me feel more comfortable turning to God for help in difficult moments. I also stopped being afraid that my prayers could fail, because I finally understood that prayer is based on divine law and that this law can’t fail; it’s always operating. God’s love had always been there, and I felt assured that it always will be.
Reading Science and Health changed my life. I feel I’ve discovered for myself what Christian Science is really all about, and I’m excited to go on learning more about the truth of being.