Have you ever tried a one-spit prayer ? Seriously. There is one. I discovered it on a Google search one day.
Studying one of Christ Jesus’ healings - the one in John’s gospel, Chapter 9 (see also Mark 8), of a man healed of congenital blindness - I read that Jesus spat on the ground and anointed the man’s eyes with the muddy mix of spit and dirt. Then he sent him off to wash it away. After all this, the man could see.
I have heard a variety of takes on this act act of spitting. Could it be that Jesus was using mud as a form of medication to cure blindness? That wouldn’t make any sense, because Jesus had already explained to his disciples that the blindness was not a material condition with a human cause. The disciples wanted to know who and what had caused the blindness. They assumed it was the result of sin; but whose? The man or his parents? Jesus explained that neither sin nor a person had caused any blindness. He suggested a new and healthier premise for their reasoning – that the man was a work of God made manifest.
To the Christ, man is a creation of God, not even temporarily damaged. To believe that God permitted even a momentary condition of sin or blindness would have rendered the case incurable to them. But Christ Jesus’ spirituality gave them a way out of disease. He redirected both the disciples’ and the man’s focus, from sin and sickness, to God and His perfect work. This new premise for spiritual reasoning would allow for healing in the case.
Christian Science explains Jesus’ healing methodology this way :
"Deducing one’s conclusions as to man from imperfection instead of perfection, one can no more arrive at the true conception or understanding of man, and make himself like it, than the sculptor can perfect his outlines from an imperfect model, or the painter can depict the form and face of Jesus, while holding in thought the character of Judas.
"The conceptions of mortal, erring thought must give way to the ideal of all that is perfect and eternal." (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, 259-260)
I think that this premise shift is what Jesus was talking about when he continued his explanation to the disciples, discussing “night work” and “day work”. Jesus said:
“I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
To me, Jesus was saying he could only accept the Genesis Chapter 1 premise of life, revealed in the light of God’s perfect day, where all is known in its glory and perfection and goodness as the work of God.
He points out that although a darker “night” premise suggests itself – the material, sinful man premise introduced in Genesis Chapters 2 and 3 – we don’t have to stay there and struggle in the dark. We can upgrade our premise with spiritual understanding and reason from the basis the ever-present Christ gives. That is where healing is found.
Next, Jesus spat on the ground, made clay, and anointed the man’s eyes.
We don’t know for sure what he was thinking. But we do know that he didn’t see the man as diseased, so medicating that disease would make no sense. We also know that Jesus and the disciples (and most probably the patient) received a Jewish education. Jesus preached in synagogues. One doesn’t get to do that unless they are faithful in their Jewish practice.
So I did a search on ONE SPIT JEWISH PRAYER and I came across the Aleinu, a beautiful prayer recited at the end of each of the three daily Jewish services. The Aleinu is the one occasion when the act of spitting is performed in Jewish prayers. After the first line of the prayer, the congregants would spit on the ground before continuing.
In the first line, the prayer praises and ascribes greatness to God as the Master of all creation, a creation not formed like earth-nations; that God hasn’t placed them in the same situations, or given them the destiny, of those who worship vanity and nothingness and pray to a god who can’t save.
Then they spit.
The prayer continues, “But we bow in worship and thank the Supreme King of kings, the Holy One, Blessed be He, who extends the heavens and establishes the earth, whose throne of glory is in the heavens above, and whose power’s Presence is in the highest of heights. He is our God; there is no other. Truly He is our King, there is none else, as it is written in His Torah: You shall know and take to heart this day that the Lord is God, in the heavens above and on the earth below. There is no other.”
Of course, we could pray such a prayer with a personal sense of God as a tribal protector. Or, we could pray it with the understanding that Christ gives of a universal and loving God that heals and saves and leaves no one out.
In this second sense, the Aleinu is a prayer that worships and ascribes greatness to God as the Master of all creation, and identifies all of God’s creation as not formed like earth-nations – that is, not formed after the Adam-man type, out of dust and sin; that God hasn’t placed man in the same situations as Adam and his tribe, or given us the destiny of sin and mortality that comes from worshiping the vanity and nothingness of matter, which is a god who can’t save.
From the Christ-perspective, the Aleinu spits on the belief of life and intelligence in matter – the belief that we are sentenced by sin or by our gene pool to a lifetime of disease. It promotes the worship, in all humility, of God as supreme, as the true Life, the King of kings, and the one Parent of the real man - the Christ-man - who is spiritual and perfect.
We don’t know what Jesus was thinking or how he was praying. But we do know that his words and his actions were consistent throughout his career.
Mary Baker Eddy wrote,
“The method of Jesus was purely metaphysical; and no other method is Christian Science. In the passage recording Jesus’ proceedings with the blind man (Mark viii.) he is said to have spat upon the dust. Spitting was the Hebrew method of expressing the utmost contempt. So Jesus is recorded as having expressed contempt for the belief of material eyes as having any power to see. Having eyes, ye see not; and ears, ye hear not, he had just told them.” (Miscellaneous Writings, 170)
Jesus sent the man away to wash his eyes – to wash away the false belief that matter or sin controlled his life or his health. And in so washing, he could see.
If you have been feeling stuck in your prayers, searching for a healing, and aren’t satisfied with the results, you may well find that a good one-spit prayer is what you need.
Remember, Jesus didn’t believe he had a blind patient. His prayers always uncovered the true facts of God and of man as pure and perfect and good. Christian Science offers a perspective on the Aleinu that can make a night to day difference in the outcomes of your prayers.
If you have ever found yourself caught in a battle against illness and have struggled to find peace and healing without making much headway, this audio blog post is for you.
Christ Jesus was a master at turning water to wine. The wine they drank was not like the intoxicating drink of today. It was mixed with water, to make bitter, undrinkable water sweet and pure. This redirection from bitter to sweet, unhealthy to healthy, was a theme in all of Jesus works.
Here you will find a 4-minute audio clip that discusses the healing of a woman whom Luke described as "bowed for 18 years." Listen to insights into how Christ - the spirit of Truth that Jesus expressed - transforms minds and bodies from a bitter battle with disease to the sweet worship and praise of the infinite and ever-present Good that heals.
Now He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath.
And behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years,
and was bent over and could in no way raise herself up.
But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her,
“Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.”
And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. (Luke 13:10-13)
"We bow down to matter, and entertain finite thoughts of God like the pagan idolater.
Mortals are inclined to fear and to obey what they consider a material body
more than they do a spiritual God."
(Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, 214)
Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.
Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.
Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp.
Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.
Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.
Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord. (Psalm 150)
What do you do when it feels like a thousand symptoms of sickness are screaming for your attention all at once? If you are like the man from Gadera (see Luke 8: 26-39
outcast from a normal life due to a years-long struggle with disease, you might feel cornered by a view of yourself as a miserable wreck. Here are some clues:
- When asked how you are, do you respond with a list of aches and pains?
- Is your first waking thought, "I wonder what hurts this morning"?
- Do you plan your day around activities that will be least likely to aggravate your symptoms?
- Do you measure time by how long it has been since you last felt good?
Don't be discouraged if you see yourself in that list. It is not to late
to turn your case around. Christian Science founder, Mary Baker Eddy
, gave some essential instruction on healing such cases. In her seminal work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,
, she explained:
The sick know nothing of the mental process by which they are depleted, and next to nothing of the metaphysical method by which they can be healed.... Assure them that they think too much about their ailments, and have already heard too much on that subject. Turn their thoughts away from their bodies to higher objects. Teach them that their being is sustained by Spirit, not by matter, and that they find health, peace, and harmony in God, divine Love... The evidence before the corporeal senses is not the Science of immortal man. (417)
Mary Baker Eddy took Christ Jesus
as her authority on healing stubborn cases of disease; In the case of the Gadarene, Jesus asked the man, "What is your name?" The man replied, "My name is Legion, for we are many" (Mark 5:6-13
). Shortly after, the man was well. Eddy explained, "The Scripture seems to import that Jesus caused the evil to be self-seen and so destroyed." (Science and Health, 411)We might ask, "Self-seen? How is that?"What is the one thing you know, when you may forget or be distracted by all else? Your name. You know your own name. It's your identifier. It's never in doubt. You always know your name.Don't let disease, or symptoms become your identifier, your name. Don't be fooled. You know your name. If you want to think a bit further on how "knowing your name" and "turning thought to higher objects" heals disease, you can check out these posts:
Have you ever watched a baseball game and seen how the pitcher intently leans in toward the catcher to pick up the signal for the next pitch? Sometimes he gives a quick little head-shake that says: "No!" Then he leans in again looking for a different signal. If it still doesn’t feel right, for sure, he will give another authoritative "No!"
Pitchers have to make immediate decisions about a catcher’s suggestions. Catchers will advise, but it’s always the pitcher’s call when it comes to deciding on which signal to act on. When a pitch finally comes that he can agree with, he will straighten up, set himself, and throw the baseball with all his might.
Sometimes thoughts are presented to us a bit like those pitch recommendations. But how quick are we to shake off the bad ones and ready ourselves for a better idea? I've seen time and again in my practice of Christian Science that folks worry about why negative, unhealthy thoughts have come to them, instead of just simply dismissing them and moving on to a better thought. We do have a choice about the signals we respond to and the ones we simply shake off with a quick and definitive "No!"
I don’t imagine a pitcher scratches his head and asks, “Is it my fault you are calling for this pitch?” Neither does he stand up and take a moment to ruminate, “Why, that is the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen.” No. Pitchers know that not every signal is worth acting on, and it is a waste of time to engage with them in any way.
Have you ever suddenly felt despondent, irritated, confused or sad? “No!” can be a powerful prayer. When saying “No!” to fear, to mulling, to owning negative feelings and behaviors, we can do more than simply go into a state of denial. Every “No!” opposing a negative suggestion can be a big, welcoming “Yes!” to the next better thought. A progressive “No!” includes expectancy that a right idea - a God-authored good idea – is available to be acted upon right away.
This little scene of the catcher and pitcher came to me one afternoon when I was just about to let a silent, mental tirade get launched. I was irritated with someone who was interfering with a project, and I was getting all kinds of signals to react negatively. But instead of being clogged, stymied and sidelined by negative mental chatter, I realized I could say “No!” to the roiling thoughts, and listen for a better idea. And healing ideas came. Of course they did! And as they did, all the irritation and frustration stopped hounding me. The project was soon back on track and we were able to complete our work together with no further complications.
Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures
, says, “Truth is affirmative, and confers harmony.” (418) The Truth referred to here is God. A strong and clear “No!” to wrong can include the affirmation of the present and available good ideas that God gives us. This is the kind of All-Star thinking that brings harmony to any aspect of our lives.
No matter what the negative suggestions may be, you have the power to say “No!” God's ever-available help, love and care, are right there with you leading you to the best pitch, which is never any further than the next thought away.
Our new guest blogger, Lois Herr, CSB, is a Christian Science practitioner and teacher in Virginia, USA. Feel free to give her your feedback in your comment below. You can also be in touch with her directly @ email@example.com.
Here is a 5 minute podcast that shows you a bit of what I am working on for the "Angry no more" lecture that will be coming soon. Hope you find it helpful!
Also, if you would like to see/hear short clips from my other two lectures- "Finding God, finding health" and "Unending life within your reach" - they are now available on my LECTURES page.
On vacation in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, members of my family were at each others' throats.
The sun and fun left us all pretty exhausted and irritable. My husband and daughter would not let up on fussing at each other. My patience with them both had reached its limit. At a certain point, when I had had enough, I informed them that we were going to attend the Wednesday evening testimony meeting at the local Christian Science church. I would not take "No" for an answer.
It was a first time visit to a Wednesday meeting for my husband, and a first time out of the children's room and into the pews for my 8-year-old daughter. As we listened to the inspired Word of the Bible and correlative passages read from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures -
the complete exposition of Christian Science
by its discoverer, Mary Baker Eddy
- a change occurred in us all. My restless daughter quieted. The frown wrinkles on my husband's face - signaling fatigue, grumpiness and resistance to being in the church - ironed out. I began to feel more peaceful and relaxed. We listened to readings, we sang hymns, we prayed for each other, and we
heard examples, through personal testimony of the attendants, of God's law of harmony in action in their lives. There were accounts of lost articles found in amazing ways, physical cures through prayer, financial difficulties overcome. It was only an hour. But when we left the church, my husband said, "Thanks. I feel better." And the rest of the trip proved to be
one of our happiest ever.
I am frequently asked, "What is Christian Science?"
Like anyone engaged in the active practice of a science, I have several "go to" answers. For example, I might describe it as the scientific system of divine healing
based on the teachings of Christ Jesus
. But there is another simpler definition found in Science and Health.
It is " the natural law of harmony which overcomes discord."
How simple and direct! The complete reference is found on page 134: "The true Logos is demonstrably Christian Science, the natural law of harmony which overcomes discord, - not because this Science is supernatural or preternatural, nor because it is an infraction of divine law, but because it is the immutable law of God, good."Christian Science is the natural law of harmony which overcomes discord.
Thinking back to that Wednesday meeting during our summer vacation, there was nothing supernatural or even unusual about it. It was pretty typical of many I have attended over the years. But the meeting gave us a simple, straightforward opportunity to engage with the immutable - unchanging through time, unalterable, ageless - law of God, good: Christian Science.
Engagement, even for an hour, with the natural law of harmony
, can blow away the gloomy clouds of discord. It certainly did for us. Are you on vacation and looking for a local Christian Science church, society, informal group or Reading Room? Search online.
, radio host of the advice call-in program, "What's your problem?" (airing in NYC and Phillie from 1967-mid 90s) once said, "A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words." Are you that kind of friend? Do you tend to discern the good in others and help them see it in themselves? Do you need that kind of friend in your life?On his rock album titled A way to see in the dark, Jason Gray's song "Remind me who I am
" starts with these two verses:
| || |
When I lose my way
And I forget my name,
Remind me who I am.
In the mirror all I see
is who I don't want to be.
Remind me who I am.
In the loneliest places
When I can't remember what grace is
Tell me, once again, who I am to You.
Tell me, lest I forget
Who I am to You,
That I belong to You.
We have in God our best Friend. We reflect from God the unlimited capacity to be a best friend to each other. Someone in your path may be looking for a friend today. Will you listen for their song and sing it back to them? Will you see them as God does and tell them what you see?
Faith Bass Darling is a fascinating main character in a recent novel that I read (Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale, Lynda Rutledge, Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, 2012). She is a very wealthy woman who becomes convinced that God has told her that "her time has come". She decides to have a huge yard sale selling everything she owns, in order to be ready. Everything! Without a single bit of regret.
Imagine emptying your house of long-cherished belongings. Recently, I did just that. Not because I believed my "time has come." I don’t share Mrs. Darling's belief that God, who is Life, has anything to do with death. But the time had definitely come to accept my daughter’s invitation to live with her.
My husband had passed. She and my other children, were eager for me to make the move. So I did. I sold my house, but I didn’t have a yard sale. Instead, I had a happy time giving away loved possessions to my children and grandchildren, without a single regret.
You might think that getting rid of absolutely everything would have been stressful. But it really wasn’t. Why? Because I wasn't trying to figure out my next steps by myself. I was convinced that I would know what to do and when to do it as I went along. I understood that God, in whom I live and move and have my being, is the divine Principle of divine good, unfolding good for me. God always knows the next step and when to take it in His revelation of good.
This was a lesson I learned from a youngster named Morrie. Unlike the fictional Faith Bass Darling, he was a real little boy who lived in Colorado in the 1890s. Morrie trusted God's perfect timing. He had lost his mother's coal shovel, and he knew she would need it the next morning. It couldn't be found anywhere. Later in the day his mother found him in his room, unusually quiet, and asked him what he was doing. He replied, "I'm praying.”
She asked: "How are you praying?"
"You said I must find that shovel so I'm praying for understanding," he replied.
"Will you pray out loud so I can hear it?" she asked.
This was his prayer: "God is my understanding. He knows all things, and whenever I quit trying to know for myself, then I will know, because God knows".
After his prayer, Morrie went outside to play. Later, his mother asked if he had found the shovel. He was surprised and said, "Why mama, you must wait till the time comes, and not try to know for yourself.”
Early the next morning he came running in to his mother, saying, "The time has come; here it is." He presented her with her the shovel. (Christian Science Journal, Jan. 1890)
I think Morrie’s story shows that he must have felt something of his life inseparable from divine Life, God. Christian Science teaches that God imparts His understanding to us at all times. Morrie expected to know what to do to find the shovel, and he waited for it to be made known. No stress or fuss or fear. And the shovel reappeared right on time for his mother to use it.
God is omniactive Life. His understanding, knowing. expressing, reflecting, manifesting, revealing of good – of all the good that God is – is present in the details of our daily lives.
The emptying of my house and sharing of its contents happened without a hitch in just a few short days. I learned in the process that ridding oneself of things and moving to another State does not imply an end of good. God's goodness continues to provide all that I need in just the right way for my present circumstances. My sense of home – and of being at home – is full and complete.
Best of all, I know that at any point as my journey continues, I can quietly pray for understanding and, like Morrie, I can "try not to know" for myself. God is a caring guide, leading us all into a fuller sense of divine Life and of all the good that life includes.
The Daily Lift for this weekend was inspired by the prodigious
, loving men in my life (my dad, my first and second husbands, my brothers and many others) whose lives reflect such rich and generous love for others. Based on Christ Jesus' parable of the prodigal son, this two-minute podcast recounts a familiar story with a new twist.
Find the Lift in English
and in French
. And if you would like to read the full parable, here it is:
Luke 15:11-32 King James Version (or you can read it from the New International Version
And he [Jesus] said, A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.
And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father.
But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.
Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.
And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.
Happy Father's Day!
What can you do when someone's unfair, unkind remarks cling to your thinking like a spider's web? Sticking like glue, unkind words can mess up one's peace of mind. Worse, they tend to give rise to indignant, defensive, self-righteous mental responses. They can keep us busy ruminating, making us miserable, solving nothing.
I spent some days just like that. I had all kinds of mental conversations with someone who had hurled hurtful remarks at me. I mentally told her off, making it clear that I was right and she was wrong. It didn't help. I was simply feeding the hurt feelings.
One day, while looking out my bedroom window, I noticed a dead leaf stuck to a spider web on one of the clapboards of my neighbor's house. Every time I passed by the window, I found myself checking to see if the heavy rain or strong wind had managed to dislodge that sad looking leaf. Nope. The strength of a single thread of spider web held it captive. Spider silk is widely regarded as the strongest natural fabric on earth, at least half as strong as a steel thread of the same thickness, and much more elastic. So it looked like, once caught in the web, that old dead leaf was really stuck. And so it would prove to be for a couple of months.
I likened my situation to that stuck dead leaf. Glued to hurt by a gossamer thread of unkind words, I was caught and getting nowhere. But as one who practices Christian Science, I eventually realized I could do something about this. I didn't need to stay stuck. I remembered the message Jesus gave to his disciples at the crucifixion: "Forgive them, for they know not what they do". (Luke 23:34) As I prayed about Jesus' words, I considered that this dear one possibly had no idea that her words had so disturbed me. And even if she did know, there was no real power in the sticky thread of the hurtful words.
Christian Science teaches that the Christ, or God's spiritual influence, is the only true communicator. The real connection between God's children is through Christ-love. Nothing else sticks. It occurred to me that simply knowing this would allow me to forgive. And that is just what I did. I could then see the whole dispute was a sham. God's children aren't really in conflict. We were both innocent, loved, and loving in God's eyes. We are His own creation under His control.
The Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote of error as "deprived of its imaginary powers by Truth [God], which sweeps away the gossamer web of illusion" Science and Health,
403. That is what I had been suffering from - the sticky false belief, or error, that my friend and I could have anything but love pass between us.
That gossamer web of illusion was swept right out of my thinking. I was free. And the next time I looked, the leaf was gone. The spider web on the clapboard, too, had lost its hold.
Kay Olson is a Christian Science practitioner and teacher in the US. She welcomes your comments on her post below. If you would like to be in touch with her privately, she is happy to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.