Healers, regardless of their method of practice, must be so alert that nothing in their thoughts or in the way that they conduct their lives would interfere with the patient’s ability to benefit from their efforts to help. This is as essential to the practice of medicine as it is to the practice of Christian Science.
The discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, didn’t see her discovery as a system in competition with medical science. She saw it as a fresh start from a better premise – an old/new advancement beyond the finite reasoning from a material viewpoint that man is a strictly physical entity with inherent limitations and unavoidable problems.
That is not to say that she relegated the medical faculty to the category of charlatans, rather, she had great respect for the motives and aspirations of what she called “the higher class of physicians”. She had experienced firsthand what a love for humanity and a desire to relieve suffering could do for mankind. She once wrote, “I should have more faith in an honest drugging-doctor, one who abides by his statements and works upon as high a basis as he understands, healing me, than I could or would have in a smooth-tongued hypocrite or mental malpractitioner.” (Miscellaneous Writings, 19)
She placed a high value on the morality and spirituality of the healer, something she learned through her own medical practice of homeopathy before discovering Christian Science. A woman came into Mrs. Eddy’s homeopathic practice with a case of what was then called dropsy and today would likely be called edema due to congestive heart failure. The woman had been unsuccessfully treated by another homeopath, whose dosage of medicine caused an apparent bad reaction.
Mrs. Eddy took the case and treated according to her understanding of proper dosage, and the woman steadily improved. Mrs. Eddy later discovered that, in fact, her prescription was identical to that of the prior physician – the type and dosage that under his care produced horrible side effects and under her care resulted in marked improvement.
Why were the outcomes different? Later, Mrs. Eddy noted that she was always praying to God to keep her from sin, and to guide her on her cases. We can rightly deduce that the thought and prayers of the physician – that is the morality and spirituality of a healer – is an active ingredient in healing.
In the Christian Science Practice chapter of her textbook on Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mrs. Eddy wrote, “If the Scientist has enough Christly affection to win his own pardon, … then he is Christian enough to practice scientifically. If hypocrisy, stolidity, inhumanity or vice finds its way into the chambers of disease through the would-be healer, it would , if it were possible, convert into a den of thieves the temple of the Holy Ghost, - the patient’s spiritual power to resuscitate himself.” (p. 365)
Healers have to be so alert that their thought and lives do not project negative influences through the open door of a patient’s thinking and experience. Healers can and should pray daily to be kept from fear, discouragement, fatigue, distraction, vice, in order to give their patients the best possible care.
Psalm 25 in the Common English Bible offers a healer's prayer:
I offer my life to you, Lord. My God, I trust you. Please don’t let me be put to shame!...Make your ways known to me, Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth—teach it to me—because you are the God who saves me. I put my hope in you all day long.
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A blog reader sent me the link to this 10 minute sermon given last Sunday by Nadia Bolz-Weber at her church, House for All Sinners and Saints, in Denver, Colorado, where she is the founding pastor. She makes some really helpful points, so I am passing it along to you as the Prayer MOJO post for this week. I recommend that you listen to, rather than read, her message, because preaching is a spoken art form.
To hear her sermon, be sure your speakers are on, and click the button:
If you prefer to read the sermon, the following is the intro. A link at the end will take you to her full text.
"A couple hours ago on Facebook, Catherine posted that she had just seen a snake on her hike. As her pastor I thought it best to reply, “If it starts talking, don’t listen.”
"This likely came to mind since I was editing this very sermon about Adam and Eve. The story of the Garden of Eden is what is called an origin story and every culture has theirs. Origin stories tell us how the world came about and where we came from and other important things like why snakes don’t have legs. We think we might know our origin story really well, but in the Genesis account of the Garden of Eden, there actually is no mention of sin, or a fall, or Satan, or temptation, and I hate to break it to you but there wasn’t even an apple involved. Which means the cultural understanding of the story of the Garden of Eden is slightly corrupted. This is due in part to the countless paintings throughout the history of Western art which for some reason portray a tree and a snake and an extremely white Adam and Eve holding a Red Delicious.
"See, for generations folks have called the tale of Adam and Eve and the serpent and the forbidden fruit “The Fall from grace” or “The story of Original Sin."
"That's a little weird to me. Like, God created the heavens and the Earth and animals and it was like, this awesome all-inclusive primeval club-med for Adam and Eve – they ran naked through the warm sunlight of an idyllic paradise and everything was theirs for the taking – except for that one tree that they were told to steer clear of. And this absolute paradise in the garden between God and Humanity lasted approximately 20 minutes. Until Eve had a chat with a talking snake and then disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit. And because Eve, ate some fruit she was told not to, now all of humanity is cursed and this so-called original sin of Eve’s became sort of like a sexually transmitted disease.
"Because now, according to this version of what the story is about, every person born after that inherited original sin from Eve. That’s right. Eve messed it up for everyone by eating some piece of fruit God told her not to. Which feels kinda unfair to her and kinda unfair to us. But this is what we are told the story is about.
"See, religion has taught many of us that the story of Adam and Eve is a story primarily about their disobedience. And that the fracture in the relationship between God and humanity is caused by us breaking God’s arbitrary little rules. So it feels like maybe religion was established just so we could be certain about what rules we need to follow in order for our relationship with God to be a loving, peaceful one.
"But this week, after reflecting on several conversations I’ve had with many of you about your lives and identities and the struggles we all have to hear the truth of who we are, well, I started to wonder if the real damage to the relationship between Adam and Eve and God wasn’t the rule breaking nearly as much as it was in allowing themselves to believe lies about themselves and God. See, the serpent lied to them about who they were and who God was and like all the most dangerous lies, these lies the serpent told were just close enough to the truth to be really destructive...." Find full sermon.
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We were in the car, my 12 year old and I. She had just finished telling me that I didn't control her life and she could do whatever she wanted when I wasn't watching. I replied, "Don't forget, Betsy, your mom knows what you are thinking when you are thinking it."
She replied, "Nunh unhh." That's kid code for "No, you can't." So I said, "Right now, you are thinking, 'My mom is the worst mom in the whole world.'"
Her jaw dropped and then she slunk down in her seat. It was all I could do to keep a straight face.
Actually, I didn't read her mind. I simply stated the obvious. But what if our thoughts could be seen and felt by those around us. Would we feel the need to clean up our act?
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