Is it possible for us to live without fear of deterioration, aging, disease and death? I take on this question in my lecture Unending Life Within Your Reach, now available online for the next few weeks. Sponsored by First Church of Christ, Scientist, Watford, Hertfordshire, UK, the lecture was recorded live at the Palace Theatre in Watford on January 21, 2014.
This one hour lecture introduces a Christian Science perspective of life before birth, the human experience and immortality. It presents the life of Mary Baker Eddy, founder of Christian Science, in the context of the religious and scientific questioning of her time on the subject of life and the afterlife. It addresses common questions about Christian Science and its contemporary practice:
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QUESTION: “How does one heal someone who has lost their sense of orientation, who is 80 percent deaf, who doesn’t know who he is, or with whom he is, anymore? I believe in spiritual healing. I want to see such healing for this man.” (Question originally asked in French.)
RESPONSE: Prayer is especially helpful in such cases because it bypasses broken down lines of human communication and lifts the case directly to God. Prayer involves engaging spiritual sense, which is the innate capacity we all have to discern spiritual reality. Through spiritual sense we can discern the true and present nature of God and man and prove that no one is out of reach of God’s care.
When the material senses break down, a case can seem unreachable. But this evidence of deterioration only points to a mortal belief about man as cut off from good. This is never the actual case. No one is without hope or help. Your prayers that seek out God’s perspective of His creation can lead you to the truth about the material senses – that they neither limit nor define a man’s capabilities. When we stop fretting over what seems to limit the person and discover real life to be limitless and free in God, the door opens wide to healing.
The identity and liberty of each one of God’s children are intact and safe. Never separated from the divine Life that is God, real life is completely free from limiting, material conditions. We don't have to wait for some hereafter moment to experience the freedom of spiritual being. This present state of existence is completely discoverable through prayer.
A marginal heading, “Identity not lost” appears twice in Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures:
“What is man? Brain, heart, blood, bones, etc., the material structure? If the real man is in the material body, you take away a portion of the man when you amputate a limb; the surgeon destroys manhood, and worms annihilate it. But the loss of a limb or injury to a tissue is sometimes the quickener of manliness; and the unfortunate cripple may present more nobility than the statuesque athlete, — teaching us by his very deprivations, that ‘a man’s a man, for a’ that.’” (172)
“The material body and mind are temporal, but the real man is spiritual and eternal. The identity of the real man is not lost, but found through this explanation; for the conscious infinitude of existence and of all identity is thereby discerned and remains unchanged. It is impossible that man should lose aught that is real, when God is all and eternally his. The notion that mind is in matter, and that the so-called pleasures and pains, the birth, sin, sickness, and death of matter, are real, is a mortal belief; and this belief is all that will ever be lost.” (302)
If you are worried that your prayers “here” may not reach one in need “there,” don’t be. It has been scientifically proven that the discernment of the true nature of man in one human consciousness can set others free from their false beliefs about themselves. Christ Jesus discerned the perfect man that divine Truth, God, creates and maintains. He did this in cases where, to material sense, the patient seemed completely out of reach. (See the healing of Jairus’ daughter, Gospel of Luke 8:41-56; and the raising of Lazarus from the dead, Gospel of John, chapter 11) Jesus proved that no one cut off from the Love that is God. He discerned the kingdom of God within us – the spiritual capacity to know and express the Life that is God.
Mary Baker Eddy explained, “When speaking of God’s children, not the children of men, Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is within you;” that is, Truth and Love reign in the real man, showing that man in God’s image is unfallen and eternal. Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God’s own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick. Thus Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is intact, universal, and that man is pure and holy. Man is not a material habitation for Soul; he is himself spiritual. Soul, being Spirit, is seen in nothing imperfect nor material.” (476)
Jesus didn’t illustrate an exception to the rule. He showed that the power to heal belongs to each of us and can be demonstrated when we understand who we are as children of God. The divine perspective that heals the sick and raises oneself and others out of the oblivion of material sense is available to everyone who is willing to seek it out.
Your prayers are important. Let your search for healing begin with deepening, expanding, your understanding of the true nature of God. The Bible and Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health are indispensable tools to aid you in your prayers. Let them open your eyes to what God is, and to what he is doing right now for His creation.
I frequently receive questions from readers of this blog concerning the practice of healing prayer. Many questions are personal in nature, but occasionally I receive a question generic enough to be addressed for a wider audience. If you have helpful thoughts to share with this questioner, please feel free to leave them in your comment below.
"You are never too young to start handling the problem of aging." I was about 18 when I first heard that. You might take it as a recommendation to wash your face and use a good moisturizer, but I knew this person was telling me I should pray to know my ageless, timeless being as a spiritual idea, a reflection of God.
I remember thinking it was a great idea. But I didn't do it.
So when I was in my thirties and developed arthitic symptoms in one of my hands, I felt guilty and scared. All the shoulda, woulda, coulda thoughts hit me like a falling anvil from the Coyote and the Roadrunner cartoons of my youth.
I berated myself with the question, Why didn't I deal with this sooner? Now that the problem had taken hold, it felt too late. Guilt and fear duped me into ignoring the problem for some time. Then the condition worsened and my knuckles became malformed.
Around this time I came across a prophecy in the Bible that reassured me that, no matter what, it is never too late to pray and be healed. Making reference to the power of God to meet the human need at any moment, even when it seems beyond all possible hope, Isaiah wrote, "He will not break off a damaged cattail. He will not even put out a smoking wick." (42:3)
I thought of a flower with a broken stem, and a candle that is snuffed out, with nothing but a plume of smoke to indicate the flame that had once been. Divine Spirit can restore life even where it seems to be completely over.
I stopped condemning myself and started to pray for healing. I can still remember certain elements of that prayer because they produced such memorable and quick results.
I considered a statement from Mary Baker Eddy's Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: "The measurement of life by solar years robs youth and gives ugliness to age. The radiant sun of virtue and truth coexists with being. Manhood is its eternal noon, undimmed by a declining sun." (246)
The leading thought that I took from this was that I was neither growing up to a perfect and eternal noon, neither was I declining from my highest and best. To stop disease from aging me, I had to see myself as eternally spiritual. Spirituality must be understood to be my permanent state and not merely the product of human development.
As I prayed about what it meant to be fully spiritual now, equiped to be and to do anything God prepared for me in life, I looked down at the painful, disfigured knuckles and said aloud to myself, "That has nothing to do with me."
I remember, upon awakening the next day, I discovered my knuckles to be smooth, supple, painless, and restored to their normal color and function - in a word, perfect.
In the years since, no such symptoms have ever recurred.
Sure, we are never too young to handle the problems of aging. Or too old, for that matter. It looks to me like understanding God as Spirit and what it means to be truly and fully spiritual as God's creation, is the key.
Remember, you are like the indestructible Roadrunner!
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