During a marathon of Saturday lectures I gave over a six hour period as a Christian Science lecturer, I faced some pretty noisy competition from an organization nearby playing loud music. Although there was amplification, I still needed to strongly project my voice to be heard. Upon awakening Sunday morning I found myself voiceless, mute. But the next lecture was scheduled for three o’clock that afternoon, so this simply would not do.
I prayed for healing. “Pray to get your voice back?” my husband asked as I sat with my Bible open to Isaiah’s promise: “Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you. And when he comes . . . those who cannot speak will sing for joy” (Isaiah 35, New Living Translation)
“Here, drink water,” my husband said. “It will help.”
Now I will admit something. I got mad. Not that I said anything to him about it. But I didn’t appreciate what felt to me like a lack of support for my desire to apply what I was learning about God and healing prayer.
Then the sweetest thought interrupted my mental tirade, “But he loves you.” That softened me a little - enough to set me to praying again.
I thought about the water he offered and realized that a material substance couldn’t do for me what the Mind that is God could do. In her Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy explains, “In metaphor, the dry land illustrates the absolute formations instituted by Mind, while water symbolizes the elements of Mind” (p. 507).
I thought about how the divine Mind that is God has formed me to speak His Word. Every element of truth that I express is sourced in God and cares for me as I care for others. Within moments of these considerations in prayer, my voice reappeared in the form of a faint, breathy whisper.
My husband returned to the living room. He saw me making some notes and looked concerned. “Stop working so hard. If you want your voice back by this afternoon, you need to rest.” Well, now I got irritated again. Here I was making good progress, and he’s telling me to stop and nap? Then I thought, Wait a minute. He loves you.
I understood that the human advice and concern my husband was expressing stemmed from his education under the medical belief system that he relied on to care for himself. However, remembering that he loved me moved me beyond his restrictive fear and the reliance on matter, time, and hygiene as healers that his words promoted. Discerning love to be the true motivator of man allowed me to plunge ever deeper into the renovating laws of divine Spirit that would heal me through spiritual means alone.
Not his fear nor his advice but his heart’s expression of love yearning to help me, thus reflecting the divine Love of the Christ, was my helper. I realized I could not be harmed or slowed in any way by fear or interference as I advanced toward complete freedom from the problem. That finally eradicated my anger and reaction to his "help" and propelled me forward to engage exclusively with the divine Mind and Mind's spiritual method to care for my needs."
In her Rudimental Divine Science, Mrs. Eddy wrote, “Christian Science erases from the minds of invalids their mistaken belief that they live in or because of matter, or that a so-called material organism controls the health or existence of mankind, and induces rest in God, divine Love, as caring for all the conditions requisite for the well-being of man” (p. 12).
I understood that a mistaken belief—that my capacity to speak was material—was being erased from thought through the recognition of the one and only Mind and substance that is God. Gaining such an understanding wasn’t work. This understanding was doing the work for me. My job was simply to rest in divine Love’s ability to care for me in all ways and circumstances.
At this point my voice seemed stronger, although frog-like. Convinced that all would be well by the time of the lecture, I decided to practice it out loud. I began croaking the words when my husband walked in again. “Oh, no!” he said. “Don’t talk. You will never be ready if you do that!”
This time I remembered straightaway that he loved me. And I felt a deep urge to sing! That Sunday morning I had decided that I would stay home from church, forgetting to consider the value of worship when seeking healing. But now I really wanted to go to church and sing the hymns with the congregation. Although I would be late, I hurried to get to church. In the car, I rasped out some hymns. I am glad I did, because when I arrived, the first hymn had already finished.
It was a holy service. I felt so embraced by the Scriptural Selection of the First Reader. Not only was his reading inspired, but he had a deep bass voice that was a pure pleasure to listen to. When we sang the second hymn, I could actually get the words out.
A soprano soloist sang for us. Her heavenly voice was filled with such reverence and praise. Manifesting perfect tone, cadence, expression, and rhythm, her voice glorified God.
The service was complete. Nothing was missing in the full range of harmonious sound. It struck me that it symbolized my own completeness and that I, too, express the full range of God’s infinite goodness and harmony.
When we sang the third hymn, I was completely well. That afternoon, I gave the lecture with a voice heard to the rafters of a grand church edifice. No mechanical amplification was available (their system had blown out during their service that morning), and none was needed.
When I think of my dear husband and his effort to help all those years ago, I am reminded how this healing marked the end of his offering me medical or hygienic advice. He witnessed, step-by-step how I worked out the problem by spiritual reasoning and prayer. When health challenges arose after that, he simply encouraged me by saying, You know what to do. How can I help you? It was a sweet and helpful change.
I am deeply grateful to God. For me this was a changing-water-to-wine experience. Mrs. Eddy referred to the wine of Christ as “the inspiration of Love” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 35) and “understanding” (p. 598). As the material belief that water, rest or time could bring healing gave way to the spiritual understanding of Love, I discerned my real, uninterrupted existence as spiritual. And that healed me.
Please note: This post has been revised for clarity since it was originally posted.
Are you stumped by a problem and wondering why the answer continuously eludes you? Working out the solution may involve a simple adjustment in method. In math, working on a problem by holding onto a wrong answer, and weighing it in your calculations, naturally produces frustration and a sense of futility; whereas, erasing the error and recalculating the question from the top down, you have a greater likelihood of solving the equation. Equations don’t have to be problems in math or in life when you make your calculations on the right side of the question.
The Bible story of a fishing expedition recounted in John 21 illustrates this point. Briefly, seven of Jesus’ closest students decided to go fishing one night shortly after the resurrection. Although they gave a good effort to find fish, dropping and pulling up their nets all night, by morning they still had nothing to show for their work. Then came the light. Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples didn’t know it was him. He spoke to these dear fishermen, men he loved, asking if they had any food. They replied, No. He then suggested that they change their approach and fish from the other side of the boat where they found immediate success - more fish than they thought they could bring up in the nets.
Something shifted. Hadn’t they experienced this kind of thing before? Health suddenly appearing where disease was rampant; food in abundance where supplies were short; life restored where the end seemed final – these were the works of their Master and Teacher. Suddenly they recognized him and the method he had worked so hard to reveal: You have to work on the right side of an issue if you expect to have effective results.
More than just a teacher of some human problem-solving theory, Jesus was the great Exemplar of the practical method of Christ-healing. His theology included an understanding of the law of God and of the ever-present kingdom of goodness and power manifest in man as God’s reflection. His explanations and illustrations of healing prayer started with God and ended with the knowledge and experience of healing.
Jesus' methodology followed a logical pattern of à priori reasoning from divine cause to healthy effect. A priori knowledge or justification is independent of material experience, as with mathematical logic (2+2=4) and universal truths. Starting with a non-contradictory Principle, à priori reasoning leads to ontological proofs - evidence of reality or true being. Webster's describes ontology as "a branch of metaphysics concerned with the nature and relations of being."
Christian Scientist, Mary Baker Eddy explained, "Our system of Mind-healing rests on the apprehension of the nature and essence of all being, — on the divine Mind and Love’s essential qualities. Its pharmacy is moral, and its medicine is intellectual and spiritual, though used for physical healing. Yet this most fundamental part of metaphysics is the one most difficult to understand and demonstrate, for to the material thought all is material, till such thought is rectified by Spirit." (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Eddy, 460)
Jesus started with one infinite God, the perfect Father, in healing sickness, sin, and raising the dead. His theology and method of spiritual reasoning effectively vanquished the material mindedness that bases its conclusions on signs of limitation, mortality and fear. Evil isn't to be ignored in à priori reasoning; rather it is to be reduced to its true denomination as no cause, no thing, no mind, no power, through the understanding of what is real and true. Evil is not something to be feared. Sin, disease, and their varied manifestations are not the controllers of health, existence, or of healing prayer. The appearance of evil in our assessments of man indicates a false or mis-calculation of the facts of true being. A priori reasoning from the basis of perfect God as the sole source of man's condition changes the calculation and produces better, more accurate conclusions.
While Jesus' students naturally saw what he could do, and wanted to do it themselves, à priori reasoning wasn’t always their first inclination in treating the sick. Earlier on, a case of blindness is discussed in John 9. In this account, Jesus taught a lesson which should have corrected the disciples’ tendency to focus on disease symptoms and their causes. He came at healing from a completely different direction, saying, “It is expedient that I do the works of him that sent me while it is day; the night comes, when no one can work.” (Jubilee Bible 2000, John 9:4)
To me, Jesus likened problem-solving which starts with a material cause to trying to work in the dark of night; whereas Jesus saw the expediency of working in the day. By relying on his spiritual source, the healing Christ, to reveal the true being, or “works of God,” in the patient, Jesus worked in the light. In short, while the disciples reasoned from the basis of the disease up to God, Jesus reasoned from perfect God to discover only perfection in man. Of these two approaches, only one could work. Jesus’ method did, and the man was healed.
Perhaps this story offers some clues to understand the disciples’ later fishing experience. Once again, they were working in the night on the wrong side of an issue, where no answers were, until Jesus pointed them to a better way. Mrs. Eddy explained, “Convinced of the fruitlessness of their toil in the dark and wakened by their Master’s voice, they changed their methods, turned away from material things, and cast their net on the right side.” (Science and Health, 35)
In fact, they never actually suffered for a lack of fish. They were plumbing the dark abyss of materiality where nothing would be found. But guided by the Christ-perspective pointing them to search the abundant ever-present good of God and of man, they changed their methods, dropped their nets on the right side of the boat, and found not only a few but more fish eager to jump in their nets than they could have imagined.
The seven page chapter “Animal Magnetism Unmasked” in Eddy's Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures is devoted to a central point in the Christian healing practice that Jesus taught. Animal magnetism, the generic term for evil, is exposed for what it is: absolutely nothing – no mind, no power, and no person, never a true cause or true effect - in short, not to be found. Evil is never a thing or condition of God or man. Not infrequently we may hear the chapter referred to as the “animal magnetism” chapter. But perhaps a more accurate nickname would be the “evil is not cause” chapter.
These succinct seven pages aren’t the only ones in the Christian Science textbook devoted to unmasking the true nature of all that opposes God, or divine Good, and man as God’s image and likeness. But in this chapter we find some of the best, clearest statements on the unreal nature of evil, or error – which is always a mistaken sense of God and the real man. For example, we read, “In no instance is the effect of animal magnetism, recently called hypnotism, other than the effect of illusion.” (101) “Mankind must learn that evil is not power. Its so-called despotism is but a phase of nothingness.” (102) And here is one of my favorites: “The maximum of good is the infinite God and His idea, the All-in-all. Evil is a suppositional lie.” (103) What this chapter does is effectively reduce evil to zero.
A recent reading of this chapter had me scratching my head. Why is it such a short chapter? What is its main point? And, why is this point important to effective healing prayer? Then I remembered Jesus’ methodology of à priori reasoning, and the necessity of starting with what is real and true about God and man in order to work in the daylight of the healing Christ. Unless evil is recognized as nothing and reduced to zero, it will always claim to be a real cause and therefore a focal point in prayer.
Fear of evil makes material causes seem urgent and pressing. In reaction to fear, we may be duped to accept material appearances as difficult or hopeless, and reason that they figure in some way in the healing. It is the hypnotic pull to consider evil as causative that keeps one persistently casting their net on the wrong side of the question.
In mid December our beloved family cat, Ginger, started exhibiting disturbing behavior, tearing at her fur in an aggressive manner when out of our sight. By the first of the year she had hardly any fur left on her tail, and her chest and one side became the new focus of her attention. For weeks my prayers were a bit pell-mell as I hastily shifted my attention from one potential cause to another, getting nowhere. Over the holidays, Ginger received the loving care of a good friend who prayed for her, too. But when she returned back home, little had changed and the fretful behavior continued.
One night, as I settled in bed, I caught sight of Ginger and her thin rat’s tail. That is when I reached out to God for direction on what to do. I would be leaving shortly on a long business trip. One of my leading fears surfaced: Maybe I should pray again about the stress on her of my work. Then I thought, No, not this time. I wasn’t going to pray over that subject or any other erroneous cause. Instead, I silently affirmed her perfection as an idea of God, and her total exemption from disease and danger from any so-called material or emotional cause. I felt complete peace as I prayed, knowing that God was the only cause and perfection was the only possible condition of our cat.
By morning, it became evident that the self-destructive behavior had stopped. I left on the trip, trusting Ginger again to the devoted care of our friend. Upon my return her fur was nearly restored. Within a short time, her tail, which had looked thoroughly done-for before the trip, was back to its fluffy original state. And she has been free of the problem ever since. (The above photo is an "after" shot.)
My simple prayer to God, asking what more I could do, led to the insight that broke me free of the hypnotic pull to repetitively examine evil as cause, even if under the guise of praying about it. Like the disciples, I changed my method. I turned away from the abyss of material cause, and cast my attention on the right of the issue. Ginger was healed through Christ – the true understanding of God and His perfect creation.
Of Christian healing Jesus said, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." (Jubilee Bible 2000, John 9:5) The Christ is here, in this world. And Jesus’ healing methodology shows us how to heal in this divine light.
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