There is a divine Principle in which we can have total confidence. It's an infallible, absolute, invariable, concrete and substantial Principle that provides security in life. In Christian Science, divine Principle is another way of describing God - not a man on a throne, a superhuman god - but that which is the cause and source of all that is true and good. If it doesn't meet the criteria of being true AND good, it doesn't correspond with the order of Principle.
The divine Principle of life is powerful, strong, illuminating, liberating. Principle is real. It is a present help in any situation. Principle is just, impartial, available, universal, unconfined and glorious. Divine Principle is the fundamental basis of everything, the origin and ultimate of all that is real.
Principle is stable, positive, precise and demonstrable. It commands obedience, integrity, health and harmony. Why? Because divine Principle reproduces its own characteristics. The divine Principle is perfectly reflected in its own creation.
True law (that which under-girds human justice and is unassailable by variable opinions) is an attribute of this Principle. That is, the law that counts, the law that protects and enforces good is sourced in Principle. Two verses from the Bible shed light on this Principle:
Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. (I Chronicles 29)
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. (James 1:17, 18)
The divine Principle of life is Love, universal and divine Love. If you feel the term Principle seems distant or cold, think of divine Love and you will have a good idea of it. One of my favorite things to think about is that Principle without Love would be like steel - cold, hard and unyielding. And Love without Principle would be like jam - lacking structure, stability or form. But Principle IS Love - perfectly balanced in strength and tenderness, in power and affection, in authority and support. Christian Science discoverer Mary Baker Eddy uses imagery that I think describes so well the tenderness of divine Principle, when she writes of the ocean, "able to carry navies, yet yielding to the touch of a finger." (The First Church of Christ, Scientist and Miscellany, 121)
With an understanding of God as divine Principle comes a sense of the omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence of the law of good. And with it we can begin to drop the sense of limitation in God or in his creation - the spiritual man and the spiritual universe.
Divine Principle is expressed through its own laws, in its own kingdom - the kingdom of all that is real and permanent - the realm of Spirit. The concept of another realm or another control - ie matter or material law - is an illusion that a better understanding of the divine Principle erases. Christ Jesus walked on water in direct violation of material law, but in obedience to the spiritual law of Love. This gave him complete mastery over the wind and waves. Moses divided the Red Sea in disobedience to the laws of physics that would render the act impossible. But his obedience to Principle and His unswerving commitment to follow Love's leading out of Egyptian bondage opened the way to demonstrating the higher spiritual law that was in place and accessible to him.
Matter and material law are not a real substance to be controlled, improved, healed, by turning to divine Principle in prayer. Prayer that reveals that there is only one true Principle or law, one true substance of life - Spirit - adjusts our reality view. Spirit is expressed in the spirituality that breaks the illusion of matter and its so-called laws, restrictions and problems.
A miracle fulfills God's law, but does not violate that law. (Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, 134 )
Miracles aren't really exceptional. What many term a miracle is the natural activity of the divine Principle that is understood to be God in Christian Science.
In the beginning of my public practice I had a case that resulted in a resuscitation of life from death. As it turned out, it wasn't more or less difficult a case than any other. I was on my knees hand-washing the kitchen floor when the call came explaining that a person had died. I was asked to pray by the nurse in attendance. I did. I knelt back down and continued washing the tile as I prayed.
My prayer was a gentle, yet firm, affirmation that the divine Life that is God is manifest normally and continually - that is, that neither God nor his creation can be interrupted in being. The normal activity of man, under the perpetual control of the Principle of life, only includes the expression of the Life that is God, not death.
I was aware of the ease with which I returned to washing my floor after the call. I hadn't been shocked by the news. I then realized that this man, too, could continue with his day without being shocked by the belief that life could suddenly end, when it couldn't. Life really is eternal.
My words, here, seem somewhat feeble to explain the deep significance of what I saw of spiritual reality in that prayer. My prayer wasn't difficult or complicated. It was completely logical and natural. I wasn't a bit afraid. I didn't feel I was engaged in a great battle with death. My prayer was a simple witness to the divine Principle of life that holds all creation in Life, God, without rupture, without interruption.
The patient revived. Ten or so minutes after his sudden decease, he sat up - and not in a state of recovery, but in a better state of health than before he passed. And he continued on in good health.
This kind of things happens more often than we may realize.
To go deeper as you consider Principle, remember that:
The divine Principle that is God holds you completely secure in life.
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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.
As a Christian Scientist, I am sometimes asked questions like, "What did Jesus really mean when he said..." Those who love the Bible know that there can be as many different interpretations of Biblical meaning as there can be readers of scripture! And I wouldn't presume to know Jesus thoughts or the full depth and breadth of his meaning. But I can - and often do - share what his words mean to me according to my current inspiration.
One question that has come up, and not infrequently, is "What did Jesus mean in the gospel of Matthew, chapter 5, verse 32, when he said :"But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery"? And I understand the concern. It could sound accusatory and condemning to women. But read in its historical context - I think this verse speaks to an important issue that deserves a deeper look - the subject of women's rights...
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