It had been a pretty busy time. We moved with our six children from the North to the South, and were living in a large apartment complex until the sale of our former house was completed. Try that with six children and a dog! Yup. It was busy. But it was also an adventure.
The apartment complex was new and attractive and living there was kind of like living in a college dorm. Even better, our patio doors overlooked the swimming pool and, now that we were in the South, we had a lot of opportunity to swim.
As busy as I was with moving and family, I was also beginning to take calls from people seeking help through prayer to solve their problems. Until I could find a downtown office, I put a desk in the corner of my bedroom for a quiet place to study and pray. The Bible and Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, were my textbooks for healing prayer.
Christ Jesus gave the command to heal the sick. To me, that implies that healing is a completely reasonable outcome of prayer.
Mary Baker Eddy wrote, “Spirit is omnipotent; hence a more spiritual Christianity will be one having more power, having perfected in Science that most important of all arts, — healing.” (Miscellaneous Writings, 232 )
She also explained, “Healing physical sickness is the smallest part of Christian Science. It is only the bugle-call to thought and action, in the higher range of infinite goodness.” (Rudimental Divine Science, 2)
How can healing the sick be the most important and the smallest part at the same time? I think it comes down to the motive of our prayers.
In Biblical Hebrew, there is no punctuation. There is also no time indicator - no past or future tense. Everything is stated in the present. Translators have tried to bring out, according to their understanding, the original meaning by adding punctuation and chronology. But as the picture to the left points out, the meaning of a sentence can be hugely affected by even minor adjustments. The placement of a simple comma can mean life or death to Grandpa!
In translating the King James version, men from different backgrounds and religions participated in the process of word selection and punctuating. Sometimes extra words were added if they made clearer the meaning of a text. Thanks to intellectual integrity, additions were italicized to avoid confusion. Aside from the difficulties of translation, scholars are still debating the theology of the original Hebrew.
When I received the angel message to start this blog, I had no idea that it would develop into a daily thing. I was tickled that 20 readers stop by regularly. Now as many as 1500 check in for insight into prayer on a given day.
As much focus and attention as it has demanded, I wouldn't have traded this writing run for anything. I have learned that inspiration is infinite when we look to the divine Source of all good to meet the human need.
Now, after six months and over 150 posts, I have the idea that it is time to change up the rhythm a bit to allow each post to have a little more airtime and to allow more conversation to develop in the comments section after each post.
I bet you remember this little ditty: “Sticks and stones may break your bones but names will never hurt you.”
My folks repeated that saying to me whenever I was called names. As catchy as it is, I didn’t find much comfort in it. Sometimes names and words can hit you like a shot in the heart. They can stick in one’s memory, too. I still remember the day my brother called me “bow-legged”, and that was in the first grade!
Christ Jesus thought words were important. He firmly rejected calling people by names that, today, we might not consider so bad; but to him they were pretty offensive. One word was raca, an Aramaic term of mild contempt meaning good-for-nothing. He declared it even worse to call someone a fool.
A Proverb says, "As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country." (25:25) But sometimes another kind of thirst takes over when the news isn't so good. The media often feeds an unhealthy appetite for details of sad events. If we aren't alert, bad news can be intoxicating, luring us into tales of horror that paralyze us, stone-cold, mentally. Isaiah describes "a thirsty man [who] dreameth, and, behold, he drinketh; but he awaketh, and, behold, he is faint, and his soul hath appetite." (29:8)
Thirst for news is as normal as thirst for water. But where we turn for news, and what we do with it after, makes a huge difference.
Years ago, the sudden death of a young child actress became a major reporting event in the US. Experts spelled out in great detail the symptoms and risks associated with her condition. A strong pull to these reports kept me glued to the television for days – until my own 17 month old daughter fell suddenly ill, exhibiting most of the symptoms described on the news.
Stirring the pot is good when the goal is a delicious soup or stew. Sometimes the best stuff tends to sink to the bottom. It needs to be brought up from time to time and mixed in well to bring out the yummy flavor.
Lively discussions are good when they stir deep thinking about prayer, bring up spiritual facts, and result in a greater expectation of healing.
Yesterday's post - Q&A on the professional side of Christian Science practice - produced some lively conversation. I responded to further questions on Facebook and in direct emails.
One question started out with "So how do u suggest handling..." To that I respond, I can't suggest. I wouldn't presume to. I am just answering the questions posed to me as a practitioner. Every practitioner prays to discern how to handle his cases in order to do what is best for his patients.
The majority of readers of this blog are those learning about Christian Science for the first time. Quite naturally, questions arise about my practice and how it works. These often reflect the questioner's experience with only one model of care - medical. Hence, I take every opportunity to touch on the point that symptoms of disease do not dictate the prayer, nor do they have to influence the length of time for treatment of a case. A spiritual understanding of God and man is always the subject of healing prayer. Spirituality, never time, is the condition for healing.
Christian Science practitioners provide prayer upon request with the intent and expectation that quick healing will follow. It is both a spiritual ministry and a professional practice.
I sometimes receive questions about the billing process. For example, I have been asked to fix a monthly retainer fee in case the treatment should go on for awhile. Of course, to such questions I only speak for myself. Each practitioner comes to their own conclusions regarding billing and the professional relationship with their patients. But, I consider taking a case on retainer to be inconsistent with my practice because it assumes prolonged treatment is necessary.
Unlike medical care, which projects treatment time based on the diagnosis of disease and the complexity of symptoms, prayer healing springs from spiritual growth and clearer views of God and man.
Spirituality, not time, is the determining factor in Christian Science healing. Health is an entirely spiritual phenomenon and is found to be permanent when sought through spiritual means.
There is something about the name Susanna. I just love it! Black-eyed Susans grow abundantly in Virginia where I grew up. I remember them as cheerful little flowers that steadily bloomed, giving us their happy color most of the summer. My friend Susanna, visiting us in Paris from Virginia, is very much like those yellow flowers - fun and happy and continually blossoming with encouragement and cheer.
Seeing her reminded me of her namesake - Amanda Susanna Boccanfuso - our yellow Labrador. From the start, I knew that this little black-eyed butterball puppy was Susanna. Her sunny puppy disposition recommended her to us as a lifelong companion. And as her name promised, she cheered and bloomed perennially in our home for many years.
Names can be important. Names can help identify one's spiritual nature and bring it out.
A few days ago, my husband and I opened our newspaper to a troubling story. The front page featured a picture of an old, ratty, dirty, dilapidated school bus sitting in the middle of a ragged, muddy field. Two children, a 10 year old and 5 year old, had been found living in the bus by themselves. I thought, “Those dear children – I hope they are being cared for.”
Then I remembered a conversation I had with someone many years ago. I was walking across the parking lot to the grocery store when this complete stranger approached me. She just wanted to tell me how much she admired the colorful jacket I was wearing. I thanked her for the compliment and was ready to move along when she suddenly grabbed my lapels, looked directly into my eyes, and shouted with great urgency, “Pray for the children! Please, pray for the children!”
She held on so tightly that I quickly promised that I certainly would do just that. Finally, she let me go and walked away. I hurried into the store.
Did you know that pure salt cannot lose its savor? The saltiness may be diluted when it is mixed with other ingredients, but the salt itself remains pure and powerful. According to Christ Jesus, "Ye are the salt of the world." You are a pure and essential manifestation of good.
In Jesus' time, salt had many uses. It gave luminosity to a lamp when added to oil, prevented food from spoiling, and was sprinkled on sacrifices.
Ever had foot in mouth disease? That is, have you ever voiced a criticism about someone as they walked in the room? I have. It is painful and embarrassing. Any thought that unjustly criticizes, undervalues, misidentifies or limits others is divisive, flawed judgment. It alienates friends and disrupts families. It undermines progress in churches and communities. It steamrolls peace.
Negative criticism often starts small – a single thought of self-satisfaction or superiority. But, oh my, it can flare up fast! A mental form of suicide bombing, it demoralizes the one who judges as well as the judged, leaving no winners.
When someone passes on, it isn't unusual to be drawn toward the poignant recollection of the ups and downs of our relationship with them. Sometimes deep appreciation surfaces. At other times wounds of regret or loss are laid bare. What can we do with the grief?
The Bible tells how the patriarch Abraham dealt with his wife Sarah's passing after a long and fruitful relationship. Abraham wept for her, but he didn't remain immobile with the heaviness of an unhealed grief. Noting this, The Interpreter's Bible concludes "It is not right that grief should be allowed to become a paralyzing bondage." (Abingdon Press, 1951-1957, Vol 1, p.649)
When our cat had her babies, she chose which one we would keep. A simple decision, really. One of her kittens refused to be weaned. She continued nursing for a full year. In the end, the baby was nearly half again bigger than her mom!
Momma cat was just a teenager in cat time when she had her kittens. Although she adored her baby, she was thrilled with my daughter’s decision to keep the kitten as an inside cat. Momma loved the freedom of leaving Baby in a safe place while having several hours daily of outdoor independence.
Then one day, right after she was weaned, Baby made a game-changing thirty second running tour of the house. Increasing speed and propelled by centrifugal force, she glanced off walls, toppled lamps and shredded draperies. At that precise moment she became an indoor/outdoor cat.
I will never forget the look on the momma cat when I pitched her kid out the French door. Furry face pressed against the bottom window pane, eyes blazing, I could almost hear her say, “Are you KIDDING me? Who is going to TAKE CARE of her now?"
Are there people in your life who are not worth the time of day? Some who just don't deserve to be loved, prayed for, given a helping hand?
If you can imagine, that is how Christ Jesus' words about not casting one's pearls "before swine" are sometimes interpreted.
His exact words according to the King James translation are: "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you." Matthew 7:6
So who or what are the swine?
Have you ever witnessed a shoplifter? Did you speak up? Or did you stand silently by and watch?
My friend Joanne and I, both 10, liked doing things together. One day, we walked downtown to the drugstore to pick up an order for Joanne’s mom.
When we arrived, Mr. Margolis, the druggist, greeted us just like we were grown-ups and we chatted for a minute or two. Then he disappeared into the back room to get the item we had come for while we waited by the candy counter.
Suddenly, Joanne grabbed a roll of Life Savers and slipped them in her pocket. I was surprised, but I didn’t say anything.
*Betsy goes by her first name, Aimee, now. Same kid, earlier time!
My daughter Betsy* was just a kid when she tried to charm her dad into buying her a trampoline. “I have a great idea, Daddy,” was how such tactical discussions usually started. I was away on business, so he pulled out his well-rehearsed counter-pitch, “Wait ‘til Mom gets home and ask her.”
But this time she was ready for him. “No, Dad,” she replied flatly. “I get better deals out of you.”
He was astounded.
She didn’t get a trampoline that day. After all, a dad can’t cave to every pressure move! But about six months later, Betsy barreled into the house after a trip to the store and gleefully announced, “Guess what Daddy bought you for your birthday!”
To read the rest on this post, click this link to visit the JSH online site where it is republished!
"Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb?
Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.
Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands."
Are you tired of fighting with food? Tired of struggling over what to eat? Tired of fretting over whether you will have to suffer the consequences for your meal in the hours and days to come? Christian Science offers solutions that can transform your dinner table from a battlefield to a safe haven. And it all starts with a few simple words: "Take no thought what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink...Seek ye first the kingdom of God; and all these shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:27-28)
When Christ Jesus said "Take no thought," this was not evasion. This was practical spirituality. He was making an unqualified statement about the value of seeking out Spirit and spirituality to meet human needs.
In the Glossary of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, KINGDOM OF HEAVEN is defined as "the atmosphere of Spirit, where Soul is supreme.”
Things really took off in the comments on Part 1 of the series, "Getting a handle on what we eat", over the weekend. The post delved into some common food concerns and the healing response of seeking harmony and balance by engaging with God's goodness and our spirituality at mealtime.
Sue said, "I must confess to not having noticed the extent to which Mrs Eddy deals with this [food issues]." Kathleen highlighted, "I love what you wrote here: 'I think Jesus begs the question, “Are you willing to stay awake to spiritual identification long enough to carry it into your daily routine?'" Tamara asked, "What does it mean enjoying something in a spiritual perspective?" This opened the discussion wide to all sorts of inspiration from Kim :" I love the idea of harmony and balance in eating" - and from Béatrice: "I think I got it! It's about 'seeking first the kingdom of God'!! :-)"
That just gives you a tiny taste. Check out the original post to see more. Thank you to everyone who wrote in and helped take the subject deeper. Today's post considers what constitutes a healthy relationship with food and offers practical tips.
If you are looking for a little something more, I really enjoyed a recent blog post by Kim Korinek, CS,
called "A Little more grace". So I thought I would pass the link on to you!
She begins, ""The miracle of grace is no miracle to Love," my cousin reminded me as we were waiting backstage to perform in our high school dance production. I was nervous. I was a freshman and this was the first time I had ever choreographed a full length piece that was now being performed in front of a crowd..." Read more
“Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth and wipeth her mouth and saith, I have done no wickedness.” Proverbs 30:20
Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy devotes a lot of attention to food and our relationship with it. I don’t think other conditions get quite as much attention in the book as do food-related problems, except maybe tuberculosis (referred to as consumption).
Christ Jesus gave the subject a good airing in the Sermon on the Mount. He said, “Take no thought... saying, What shall we eat? Or, What shall we drink?” (Matthew 6:31)
How many of us have used those words as a justification for overindulging, under-eating, or making unbalanced food choices?
I have practiced Christian Science professionally in
some form since 1979.
But my journey with
Christian Science started
in a Sunday school
where as a young child
I was taught the Scriptures and some simple basics
of Jesus' method of
scientific Christian healing.
A significant experience
at the age of twelve
opened my eyes to
the great potential
of this practice.
After impaling my foot
on a nail,
I prayed the way I had learned
in Sunday school.
the pain stopped
and healing began.
By the next morning the wound had disappeared completely.
the great potential
of Christian Science,
there would be no