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.
Moses was scared. Chapter 4 begins with, "And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The Lord hath not appeared unto thee." (4:1)
Then Moses did the strangest thing. Or was it?
He was instructed by God to throw down his rod and Moses saw it turn into a snake. God told him to pick it up by the tail. When he did, it became a rod again. Next, God told Moses to put his hand in his bosom. He did and it turned leprous. God told him to do it again and his hand was restored to health.
As I read this story, I thought, "Who puts their hand to their bosom a second time when after the first time it turned leprous?" I realized - a guy who is more focused on learning about what God is and does, than one who is preoccupied with the fluctuating phenomena of material conditions.
Imagine if the appearance of the snake suddenly diverted Moses' attention from God to figuring out the best pest control. Would he have picked up the snake by the tail and discovered it wasn't what it seemed to be? What if Moses had suddenly changed subjects mid-prayer and allowed the alarming symptoms of leprosy to redirect his thoughts from listening for God's voice to disease management? Would he have put his hand to his chest a second time?
Speaking of Moses' experience, Eddy explained, "It was scientifically demonstrated that leprosy was a creation of mortal mind and not a condition of matter, when Moses first put his hand into his bosom and drew it forth white as snow with the dread disease, and presently restored his hand to its natural condition by the same simple process. God had lessened Moses' fear by this proof in divine Science, and the inward voice became to him the voice of God..." (ibid, p. 321)
Yesterday's post emphasized the pitfalls of drawing conclusions about cases from symptoms. Eddy wrote, "Health is not a condition of matter, but of Mind; nor can the material senses bear reliable testimony on the subject of health... Any conclusion pro or con, deduced from supposed sensation in matter or from matter's supposed consciousness of health or disease, instead of reversing the testimony of the physical senses, confirms that testimony as legitimate and so leads to disease." (ibid, p.120)
I wonder had Moses become preoccupied with the symptoms of leprosy, would he have listened to that voice when it told him to put his hand to his bosom again? Would he have discovered that what appeared to be a big deal was nothing more than an illusion of mortal mind?
It's a good thing for us that Moses was more interested in listening for God's voice.