This lecture was recorded on April 16th on the University of Victoria, BC, Canada campus. You will find several video clips of the QA session. The full lecture appears in the last clip.
The lecture will be available online until July 16, 2015. The lecture was sponsored by First Church of Christ, Scientist, Victoria.
Angry No More by Michelle Nanouche, CSB
On my recent lecture tour in Togo, workdays started early and frequently continued very late into the evening. We traveled from town to town giving radio interviews, holding meetings, giving lectures and answering questions about Christian Science. Not a minute of our time was wasted. They knew I was available for a certain fixed period of time and made sure that we maximized every second to forward our healing mission.
One morning I and my travel team - three gentlemen from Lomé charged with organizing and caring for the details of my trip - decided to make a detour. We would visit and encourage a young family that had recently begun to study Christian Science following a healing through prayer of a family member. In order to cover the four-plus hours driving time to make our 10 am radio appointment and to fit this side visit in, we needed to start very early.
The minarets of Sokodé's many mosques sounded the morning prayers promptly at 4am, but the lights in my travel team's rooms came on even earlier. Why? They wouldn't think of setting out before studying the Christian Science Bible-Lesson Sermon for that week. One could say they studied the Lesson religiously, that is in a scrupulously faithful manner. They never missed a day, reading the Lesson as if their lives - and the lives of others - depended on it.
Arriving at the home of the young family by sunrise, we sat on their front porch surrounded by a rooster, some hens, and the several small children that were awakened by our early arrival. All listened attentively as my companions discussed what they felt was of single-most importance for this family's spiritual progress - to study the Bible through consistent daily reading of the weekly Lesson-Sermon. Each shared their experiences of how such regular study had literally saved lives - their own and others'.
This morning meeting brought to mind the time that Christ Jesus prepared his basin and washed his disciples' feet to teach them a lesson in caring for each other. Jesus said, "Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you." (John 13:14,15) As we let the Christ bathe us in the true understanding of God and of man we are fortified and readied to care for the needs of others.
Through their early morning study and by the sharing of their experiences these men washed the feet of our young friends.
Any act that provides support to someone's progressive spiritual steps is the foot washing that Jesus expected us to do. Service in church; Bible study; writing and sharing spiritual insights and experiences with others; praying for others; supporting and encouraging others; listening; caring for the emotional and physical needs of others; these are all forms of foot washing.
I think often of my brothers and sisters in Togo who know that their and others' lives depend on the spiritual nourishment that consistent Bible study gives. I see my own work as an act of solidarity and support to their healing mission. Through my prayer and study, through my writing and lecturing, I wash their feet. And through their devotion and good works, they wash mine.
Mary Baker Eddy explained, "Who shall inherit the earth? The meek, who sit at the feet of Truth, bathing the human understanding with tears of repentance and washing it clean from the taints of self-righteousness, hypocrisy, envy, — they shall inherit the earth, for 'wisdom is justified of her children.'” (First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, 228)
How are you washing others' feet today?
Do you find it strange to have your feet washed by others? I do because my feet are extremely ticklish. But what if I told you that allowing your feet to be washed by someone else promotes spiritual growth? And it has nothing really to do with feet, water or physical contact.
Christ Jesus dined with a ranking member of a Jewish sect one evening. Before dinner started, a woman from town found out he was there and bought an expensive bottle of perfume. Luke’s gospel says, “Then she came and stood behind Jesus. She cried and started washing his feet with her tears and drying them with her hair. The woman kissed his feet and poured the perfume on them.” (See Luke 7)
The significance to us of this story isn't so much the physical act. Mary Baker Eddy once referred to the woman's tears as “tears of repentance.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, 367) Jesus remarked that the woman showed such love for him because she had been forgiven so much – a way of saying she had progressed a great deal in her life under the influence of the Christ.
He allowed himself to be bathed in her love and gratitude. Why? Because it did him good to receive refreshment and support from one who had paid the price for progress in her own life, and who was willing to share the blessing with him.
To repent literally means to think again, to change one’s mind, correct mistakes and live right. Tears of repentance can take many forms:
Have you ever been bathed in someone’s tears of repentance? Have you ever been blessed by someone's efforts to grow spiritually and their willingness to share their experience with you, for you? By the correction of their mistakes? By the joy in making progress? By their gratitude for and expressing of pure inspiration?
Then you have had your feet washed by their tears of repentance. And I bet it felt really good.
Some resources for a good spiritual foot-washing today:
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