In Oprah Magazine, my favorite monthly feature is “What I know for sure.” Here Oprah Winfrey lets the reader see what has meaning to her, what moves her to action. I think that until each of us connects with what we know for sure, we haven’t found our truth - the reality, the substance and the honest core of who we are.
Jesus said, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32
Christian Science takes the next step of explaining and defining this truth as the ultimate, as God Himself. To be in touch with God, - to know for sure what is Truth - frees from the push and pull of simple belief. To know Truth as Spirit, for example, dissolves the thoughts about, fears of and obsessions with matter, Spirit’s opposite. To know Truth as the divine Principle of life leads to a bigger life where limitation, sin, sickness and death fall away.
Truth is true and right, always victorious over a lie. Lies fall by their own weight before Truth. Truth is permanent. Lies are temporary. One of my favorite quotes along these lines is:
“Man survives finite, mortal definitions of himself, according to the law of “the survival of the fittest.” EDDY, NO AND YES, p. 25
To me, Christian Science discoverer Mary Baker Eddy understood that we can, and ultimately will, master the false and misleading beliefs about life that bind us to problems. The “fittest” is always the truth. In proportion to our understanding of - that is, as we know for sure - the truth of Truth, God and His creation, man, we thrive.
In her complete exposition of Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mrs. Eddy gives two graphic illustrations of mastering mortal error, – what we can call a mistaken, false view, or lie about life, disease and limitation included – with an understanding of the truth. Under the heading Benefits of metaphysics in the chapter “Christian Science Practice”, she writes:
“Gazing at a chained lion, crouched for a spring, should not terrify a man.” p.380
Now, why wouldn’t he be afraid? Because he knows the lion is chained.
When we know for sure that an error – any discord – is already chained by divine Truth, the God of harmony, goodness and health, we are strong and safe. Fear and its symptoms of stress and disease stop. Truth masters the lie in every case. Mrs. Eddy continues:
“The body is affected only with the belief of disease produced by a so-called mind ignorant of the truth which chains disease. Nothing but the power of Truth can prevent the fear of error, and prove man’s dominion over error.”
A second example in the same chapter involves a tiger. Under the heading Latent power, Mrs. Eddy writes :
"By looking a tiger fearlessly in the eye, Sir Charles Napier sent it cowering back into the jungle. An animal may infuriate another by looking it in the eye, and both will fight for nothing. A man’s gaze, fastened fearlessly on a ferocious beast, often causes the beast to retreat in terror." p.370
And that begs the question: What is the truth? Are we a beast fighting a beast – a mortal, material being fighting with a mortal, material condition? Or are we man – the man of Truth’s, of God’s, creating, possessing and expressing dominion over mortal beliefs and material conditions through the power of Truth?
What we know for sure determines outcomes.
Mrs. Eddy concludes, “A man’s gaze, fastened fearlessly on a ferocious beast, often causes the beast to retreat in terror. This latter occurrence represents the power of Truth over error, — the might of intelligence exercised over mortal beliefs to destroy them…” (ibid)
23 years ago I suffered from the aggressive symptoms of pneumonia. One night, after a series of progressively difficult nights, I read two passages from Science and Health that nourished my prayers with spiritual truth.
"Sickness is not a God-given, nor a self-constituted material power, which copes astutely with Mind and finally conquers it. God never endowed matter with power to disable Life or to chill harmony with a long and cold night of discord." p.378
"When it is learned that disease cannot destroy life… this understanding will quicken into newness of life." p.426
These passages reminded me of what I knew to be true - that sickness is not a material power and that disease can’t destroy the life of the real, spiritual man. I stopped being afraid. I understood that no matter how impressive the lion’s roar of symptoms, disease was chained and powerless over me.
Only while I believed that sickness was a power that could control a weakened physical "me" did I suffer from pneumonia. But what I knew for sure was that matter – sick or well – is not me and does not control me.
I knew for sure that I am the creation of Truth, divine Spirit, and therefore completely spiritual. I could feel the power of Truth in me, on me, healing me. From the moment that I gave consent to what I knew for sure, disease lost its destructive hold.
Knowing the truth produced a definitive change in my physical state. I slept that night for the first time in weeks, and I was entirely well when I awakened the next morning. I didn’t need any period of convalescence – not even for an hour.
Take a page from Oprah’s magazine. Think about what you know for sure. Question your truth, examine it thoroughly. Challenge it to meet the high standard of the Truth that is God. Test it for its substance and basis in what is unchangeably real and permanently true.
What I know for sure is that what we know for sure is controlling us. And we can know the truth, the real truth of Truth, God, that makes us and keeps us free.
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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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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