Healing addiction through spirituality

Jul.'16 RR theme poster - Out of the darkness of addiction--into light

The following article by Don Alusic was published in The Telegraph, Nashua, NH on July 29, 2016

Milford Christian Science group turns to spirituality in battling addiction

by Don Alusic

When I attended the interfaith panel event titled “The Drug Crisis: A Spiritual Response” at the Harbor Care Health and Wellness Center this past May, I was struck by how central the spiritual element is in handling addiction.

Many conferences involving city, state and federal representatives have looked at addiction. The spiritual dimension is rarely mentioned and is in general missing from the dialogue.

At the Milford Christian Science Reading Room, we would like to offer to the ongoing dialogue – written, published testimonies of healing of addiction through spiritual means alone.

We will be using these testimonies to focus on “Out of the darkness of addiction – into light,” from 2-3 p.m. Fridays, July 29, Aug. 5 and 12. Insights gained from these testimonies can aid other approaches to healing addiction that look to the spiritual universe as well.

When Mary Baker Eddy, a spiritual pioneer in the late 1800s, had a quick healing of a very grave injury, she later described the incident as follows: “My immediate recovery from the effects of an injury caused by an accident, an injury that neither medicine nor surgery could reach, was the falling apple that led me to the discovery how to be well myself, and how to make others so.” (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 24).

Like Newton, she discovered that her healing was based on laws, spiritual laws that she named Christian Science. She was confident that these laws are available to everyone and initially “Cherished sanguine hopes that Christian Science would meet with immediate and universal acceptance” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 330). When this did not happen, she realized that to have her discovery preserved, she would have to found her own church.

Her initial healing came when she read from her Bible one of the healings of Jesus in the New Testament. As she studied and continued to see more healings, she realized that the spiritual laws that had healed her and others, are the same spiritual laws that were in operation when Jesus was on earth. They are the basis of his many healings and other wonderful works including his resurrection from the dead and ascension from this human experience.

These same laws are the basis for the promise and realization of healing today which includes the healing of addiction. The church that Mary Baker Eddy founded includes The Christian Science Publishing Society which has been publishing articles and healings based on Christian Science for over 130 years.

In the Milford Christian Science Reading Room (87 Union Square), we have a selection of articles about the healing of various forms of addiction. We also have internet access through www.jsh-online.com to the articles and healings published during the 130 years. We can help you find other healings of addiction and many other human challenges. Also available are Bibles and the published works of Mary Baker Eddy including “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” and much more. Everyone is invited to join us.

Don Alusic lives in Amherst, NH.

Christian Scientists gather in Boston at denomination’s annual meeting; ponder the relevance of church

Boston CS church edifice with attributionPhoto: The First Church of Christ, Scientist, Boston, MA
© 2016 The Christian Science Board of Directors

By: Richard Evans, Manager, Christian Science Committees on Publication, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, Boston, MA

Boston, MA — When Christian Scientists convened in Boston, Massachusetts, Monday, June 6, for the annual meeting of their denomination, they faced a question that many mainline Christian churches also confront: can church be relevant today?

Their perspective on this question—as on just about everything else—runs counter to the popular narrative. “There’s a universal hunger for the heartfelt experience of God’s saving power,” said Margaret Rogers, chairwoman of the five-member lay board of directors of the Church of Christ, Scientist, which has its worldwide headquarters in Boston. “The demand,” she said, is for a church “that is vibrant with unselfed love and actively engaged in authentic Christian healing for humanity.”

For most Christian Scientists, this doesn’t seem to mean better outreach or new ministries and programs. It means drilling down on the thing they feel they bring to the world: spiritual healing, based on the teachings of Christ Jesus, that is expected to be both humane in spirit and effective in results. “We pray,” explained another director, Allison W. Phinney, “because prayer aligns us with how things really work. It lets us see and feel more of the immense good and the divine Love that’s actually here for us and for humanity.

Founded 137 years ago by religious leader Mary Baker Eddy, the Christian Science Church is a Christian denomination based on the Bible. While relatively small in numbers, the denomination has branch churches in more than 60 countries and has had an outsized impact on Christian thought by its insistence that God’s goodness brings not only salvation from sin, but healing of illness and suffering.

The group’s diversity is seen among some of the new officers announced at the meeting. The new church president is Annu Matthai of Bangalore, India. The new First Reader—who conducts Sunday worship and Wednesday testimony meetings at The Mother Church in Boston—is Louis E. Benjamin of Hillcrest, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The new Second Reader is Diane Uttley Marrapodi of Forest Hill, Maryland, USA. Many church members travelled to Boston for Monday’s proceedings, while more followed the meetings live online.

The theme of this year’s meeting—“Church: ‘healing and saving the world’”—comes from Mary Baker Eddy’s view that Christ Jesus’ original Christianity has deep relevance for the world and its future, and that church must be a practical force for good in daily lives, bringing hope and spiritual progress for humanity. One small symbol of this is the planned renewal of the Christian Science plaza in Boston’s Back Bay. The outdoor spaces surrounding The Mother Church will be updated to better benefit the community as an environmentally sustainable oasis in the midst of the city. A longer-term commitment of the denomination has been publication of The Christian Science Monitor, an international news outlet providing daily and weekly news, online and in print—news that is intended to bring light, rather than heat, to the important issues of the day.

Members at the meeting reported on activities in their regions, as well as provided examples of healing from around the world. Christian Scientists from around the world, including New Hampshire, attended this year’s meeting.

For further resources see: http://christianscience.com/press-room

Interfaith response to drug crisis

May'16 Senator Ayotte Nashua drug lecture
United States Senator Kelly Ayotte

Nashua church offers spiritual response to drug crisis
by Laurie Toupin, First Church of Christ, Scientist
Published in the Nashua Telegraph, May 28, 2016

“Faith communities have an important role to play” in the battle against drug addiction, U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., told attendees in introductory remarks at the “The Drug Crisis: A Spiritual Response” Interfaith Panel Discussion on May 14. The event, sponsored by the First Church of Christ Scientist, Nashua, was held at the Harbor Care Health and Wellness Center.

Overdoses resulted in 438 deaths last year in New Hampshire, Ayotte said.

Four out of five people start by misusing opiates. But people won’t seek help because they see it as a stigma, she noted.

The religious community has a special voice that can save lives, she said. This role can’t be filled by government.

Four speakers talked about that special voice by presenting solutions to the drug situation based on their job and journey where God and prayer often took center stage.

Lock it up

Janet Valuk, director of the Nashua Prevention Coalition echoed Ayotte’s dire description saying that New Hampshire is ranked first in the nation for the number of drug overdoses and 48th in the nation for treatment facilities.

Her solution? Prevent drug use in school age children.

As a teacher, Valuk has seen the easy access many children have to everyday medications at home. The number one way youth are getting access to these drugs is through parents and grandparents who leave drugs in accessible places, she said.

To confront this, her group’s latest initiative is the Lock It Up! Campaign. The group promotes using a Prescription Lock Box sold at some Walgreen Pharmacies and online. In addition, they stress the importance of disposing unneeded medications quickly. Many communities have Medicine Drop Boxes in their Police Departments that are accessible 24/7. The DEA also sponsors a Drug Take-Back Day in the spring and fall.

An internal solution

“Substance abuse disorder is a internal problem,” said Ryan Gagne, founder of Live Free Structured Sober Living in Manchester. “People don’t fail. They simply try treating the internal problem with an external solution.”

Gagne shared his journey of how he overcame his cocaine and alcohol addiction. As a teen, Gagne felt like he didn’t fit in. He had a good home, but said jokingly “I kept waiting for the alien ship to come back for me.”

He started hanging out with others who felt isolated like himself, and who filled this void with drugs and alcohol.

To truly heal, Gagne said he had to fill that void with something else. For him, recovery and spirituality go hand in hand.

He went through a 12-step program and felt, for the first time, that he had a purpose.

On November 22 2015, Gagne opened his facility for men such as himself – who needed a place to transition from treatment to recovery.

“If you are not treating the internal problem with an internal solution, people are at risk for the cycle of abuse to continue,” he said.

A spiritual connection

Ann McIntyre, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, agreed that a spiritual connection needs to be made. McIntyre and her husband run an addiction recovery weekly support group, meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesdays at 110 Concord St., in Nashua.

The program, based on the 12-step program from AA, has a deeply spiritual foundation. McIntyre said, “With the Savior’s help, we can overcome our addictions and find new meaning to life.”

The program is also open to family and friends. “Family and friends can learn to rely on the Savior for healing and to help them support their loved ones through recovery,” she said.

Support groups are held in Nashua, as well as other towns throughout New Hampshire.

A vertical approach

John Adams, CSB, a teacher and practitioner of Christian Science, summed up the underlying message of all the speakers. “This is not only a horizontal (human) effort, but a vertical (spiritual) effort to lift up one’s thought to the understanding that he or she is created in the image of God,” he said.

At 15, Adams began drinking with boys older than him. It wasn’t long after that he began smoking pot which led to indulging other drugs.

In his mid-20s, he visited his grandmother. She was a Christian Science practitioner, one who devotes his or her life to helping others through prayer. She gave Adams her copy of a book titled “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” by Mary Baker Eddy. “Read this,” she said. “It will change your life.”

Adams was not inclined to read the book and struggled with his grandmother’s request.

But soon after he read it, “It totally altered my course of reasoning.” He read the book three times. By the third time, Adams completely lost his desire to do drugs and was fully healed.

This led him to look beyond himself, asking instead, “Who or what can I bless today?” This gave him a sense of purpose, integrity, and dignity.

“The people doing this work are motivated by love and a strong desire to help others struggling with a drug problem,” Adams said. And together, we can solve this.

http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/neighbors/1081206-478/nashua-church-offers-spiritual-response-to-drug.html

Can prayer heal addictions?

Courtesy of Biblos Foundation

An abbreviated version of this post was published in the Concord Monitor (click to read). It also was published on Concord’s Patch.com

According to news reports, pop singer Prince had been dependent on opioid painkilling medication, and that he was treated for a drug overdose a few days before he passed on in April. He had made an appearance at a party the next day, telling his fans to “wait a few days before you waste any prayers.” His tragic death shows the need to take our faith and prayers seriously, to continue praying, and never to stop.
 
While the human reasons for drug dependency are many, and the pull of addictive substances may feel insurmountable, divine help is beneficial and is always at hand. Prayer can be helpful in healing the most difficult situations, even severe drug addictions. Not to appreciate the value of prayer in the most challenging situations would be a mistake, especially when there is documented proof of its effectiveness.

Even medical schools are teaching the benefits of spirituality and many hospitals have spiritual care chaplains. These support wellness and healing. The popular 12 Step Program is helping many carefully think through the root causes of addiction, address them, and through a higher power find healing from within.

I’ve found that effective prayer includes inspired thinking and reasoning, inspired study and listening – from a spiritual basis. More than asking the Divine for blessing, it’s acknowledging that God is good and pure, and that it is natural for us, too, to be good and pure, whole and complete. Prayer helps us to align our thinking toward this fact.

Addiction is something we can all defeat with God’s help. Although it may seem that the body and brain are craving a drug, the temptation and decision to take it is mostly a mental thing. Prayer can heal the seeming necessity for a drug, be it pain or pleasure, and prayer can help overcome any withdrawal symptoms. God provides the spiritual strength to resist and defeat what is addictive.

The apostle Paul promised: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (I Cor. 10:13)

A friend was quickly healed of a lifelong smoking habit through prayer as taught in Christian Science.  While this habit was not as severe as an opioid dependency or addiction, the healing was significant for my friend. He came to understand that God is Love and that man is made in Love’s image and likeness, as the Bible says.
 
There is nothing loving about addiction, so divine Love does not and could not lead its children into the temptation to smoke or into bondage to any form of matter. Love provides satisfaction and completeness, health and wholeness. The realization of these spiritual facts freed my friend from smoking.

When we realize that these truths are true for ourselves, we can demonstrate dominion in our experience right now. We can heal addictions through prayer.

Tony Lobl, a colleague from England, was recently interviewed in an article titled, “Release from addiction.” Tony says, “What you’re proving through your healing journey is that addiction has no power over you. You’re proving that there is one power, one true influence, one God. And this belief that your addiction has a power over you is proved to be totally false because there is no duality; God has all the power, and we actually are governed by that power, and that’s what we’re proving in our healing practice.” Tony’s entire interview can be read by clicking here.

© 2016 Christian Science Committee on Publication for New Hampshire.
linkedin.com/georgereedcsb

Mary Baker Eddy in Concord

MaryBalkerEddyIn June of 1903 a crowd of about 10,000 people flocked to the Concord estate of a New Hampshire native who by then had become one of the most influential women in the country. Her name was Mary Baker Eddy, discoverer and founder of a Christian denomination and system of healing still practiced today in 80 countries around the globe – Christian Science.

Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, said of Mrs. Eddy, “Love permeates all the teachings of this great woman – so great I believe that at this perspective we can scarcely realize how great.” Miss Barton said she was the one person, regardless of sex, who had done the greatest good for mankind.

Mary Baker Eddy lived in Concord from 1889 to 1907, and was one of its most famous citizens. She took a daily drive through the streets of Concord and often helped those in need.

The existing record of Mrs. Eddy’s charitable contributions shows a broad range of interests. She contributed to or funded a number of causes while living in the state capital, a few of which include: the provision of shoes to Concord’s indigent children over a number of years; the paving of major streets in the town; the restoration of fire-damaged buildings at a nearby Shaker community; the town’s YMCA building fund; the New Hampshire Historical Society; Dartmouth College fund for building a hall; the Concord Congregational church to aid repairs; the Bow Bog Methodist Church bell; the relief fund for victims of the 1900 flood in Galveston, Texas; and the relief fund for victims of the San Francisco earthquake in 1908.

Mary Baker Eddy also helped to design and build the granite Christian Science church on the corner of North State and School Streets.

Concord appreciated Mrs. Eddy’s contributions to the community. When she moved from Concord back to the Boston area in 1908, a group of Wonolancet Club members (now the Bow Brook Club) estimated how much Mrs. Eddy’s stay of almost twenty years among them had financially benefited the city of Concord. A conservative estimate was about $1.5 million, which in today’s dollars would be about $40 million.

While residing in Concord, Mrs. Eddy also healed some of Concord’s residents. For example, a Methodist minister, Rev. E.N. Larmour of nearby Bow, was healed of the need to wear eyeglasses (Mary Baker Eddy, Years of Authority by Robert Peel, p. 469); and a reporter visiting Concord from a New York newspaper was healed of throat cancer (Twelve Years with Mary Baker Eddy by Irving Tomlinson, p. 63).

In addition to publishing eleven books, in her 88th year, after leaving Concord in 1908, Mrs. Eddy established an international daily newspaper, The Christian Science Monitor. It started as a result of her legal challenges with the tabloid journalism of her day while residing in Concord. Its object and journalistic ethic established by Mrs. Eddy is “to injure no man, but to bless all mankind.” Winner of seven Pulitzer Prizes, the Monitor in each of its issues offers balanced, in-depth news coverage to inform readers of the opportunities and problems of peoples and countries throughout the world, along with a religious article giving healing solutions to problems faced by mankind.

In 1992, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures received the National Women’s Book Association award as one of the 75 books whose words have changed the world. About 11 million copies (in 17 languages) have been sold since it was first published.

In 1995, Mary Baker Eddy was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame for leaving an indelible mark on society, religion, and journalism. She was the first American woman to found a world-wide religion.

“When I removed from Boston in 1889 and came to Concord, New Hampshire,” Mrs. Eddy wrote in 1904 in a letter to the Editor of the Concord Monitor, “it was that I might find retirement from many years of incessant labor for the Cause of Christian Science, and the opportunity in Concord’s quiet to revise our textbook, ‘Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.’ Here let me add that, together with the retirement I so much coveted, I have also received from the leading people in this pleasant city all and more than I anticipated. I love its people – love their scholarship, friendship, and granite character. I respect their religious beliefs and thank their ancestors for helping to form mine.”

© 2015 Christian Science Committee on Publication for New Hampshire. linkedin.com/georgereedcsb

Health benefits of spirituality

Vermont winter photo by Elodie Reed

Vermont winter photo by Elodie Reed

An abbreviated version of the following was published in the Concord Monitor.

A recent Concord Monitor interview with retired New Hampshire Hospital Chaplain Rachael Keefe shows how spirituality and spiritual care help patients with mental illness. Chaplain Keefe served for six years, praying for and providing spiritual counseling to patients and staff at New Hampshire’s State facility.

The State website says that the hospital seeks to give holistic, compassionate, psychiatric services to help the mentally ill recover. The Dartmouth School of Medicine magazine shares a history of New Hampshire’s institutional and community care of those deemed mentally ill.

The history is interesting but perhaps more important are the benefits patients have received from treatment that helps them connect with divine Love and provides them with spiritual care.

In the Concord Monitor interview, Chaplain Keefe said, “Spiritual care is essential to anyone’s well-being. When you’re in an acute psychiatric crisis, having someone who can offer hope – at its core, that’s what we do – is essential.”

A paper by Dr. Harold Koenig titled, “The Spiritual Care Team: Enabling the Practice of Whole Person Medicine” brings out similar points advocated by Chaplain Keefe. Dr. Koenig also has other research articles on his website showing the benefits of spirituality and religion in healing the sick.

Spirituality – a conscious connection to God – and healing results were the essence of Jesus’ ministry. Christians strive to follow Jesus in all that he did, and he healed mental illness through spirituality and prayer. He said, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)

The Bible also says, “God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (II Timothy 1:7) This is a powerful truth to pray with that helps us to get out of ourselves and into the stillness and peace of God.

After years of struggling with his mental health, a friend who now daily studies the Scriptures and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, has found peace of mind and sound mental health.

Divine Love and spirituality provide complete and permanent health.

© 2015 Christian Science Committee on Publication for New Hampshire

Give the gift of forgiveness

Elodie's cow-4
Child and cow photo by Elodie Reed

Our colleague from Illinois, Thomas Mitchinson, recently published this Christmas message on his blog:

As we decide what to give to others for Christmas this year, why not consider the gift of forgiveness? Many of us have family, friends, colleagues who have hurt us, if not this year, then in years past. Isn’t it time to forgive and forget? What benefits might it offer to others and to ourselves?

Christian healer Mary Baker Eddy once wrote, “I would enjoy taking by the hand all who love me not, and saying to them, ‘I love you, and would not knowingly harm you.’ Because I thus feel, I say to others: Hate no one; for hatred is a plague-spot that spreads its virus and kills at last…If you have been badly wronged, forgive and forget.”  (Miscellaneous Writings, page 10)

Years after having written this, she had to forgive family members and former students who conspired to take away her right to make her own monetary decisions. When the case fell apart, she wrote to them words of kindness and forgiveness.

The health benefits of forgiveness are obvious. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. By embracing forgiveness, you can also embrace peace, hope, gratitude and joy. Consider how forgiveness can lead you down the path of physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.”

They added, “Forgiveness can even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you deny the other person’s responsibility for hurting you, and it doesn’t minimize or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person without excusing the act. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life.”

Isn’t “peace on earth” one of the goals of this time of year (and throughout the year) whether we come from a religious background or not?

There have been times when the people I am closest to have hurt me badly. The anger and resentment has sometimes built up so much that it is hard to sleep or even think clearly. But the emphasis on forgiveness given by Jesus especially in his words from the cross, “Father, forgive them….” has been a beacon of light to enable me to forgive what others have done to me, and feel and rest better.

Even when we have hurt others, we can forgive ourselves and offer to make amends. Let’s bring more peace and health on earth, by giving the gift of forgiveness this holiday season.

© 2014 Christian Science Committee on Publication for Illinois

Finding gratitude in this summer’s Market Basket situation

Lake Willoughby, Vermont Duck Photo by Elodie Reed

Lake Willoughby, Vermont Duck Photo by Elodie Reed

Mr. Don Alusic, from Amherst, NH, recently published this piece in the Nashua Telegraph.

In New England this summer, we experienced a period of economic disruption unlike anything that has happened in recent years. As we return to things as usual, I would like to acknowledge what I consider to be the presence of the Divine or God in the harmonious outcome.

As I expect you recall, when one board member of the Market Basket board had a change of heart, this allowed one of the two long-feuding cousins, Arthur S., to remove the other cousin, Arthur T. (also known at Artie T.), as CEO of the chain of 71 stores in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine with around 25,000 employees and reportedly $4.6 billion in sales in 2013.

A massive revolt by store employees and customers followed that was ongoing after a month with no end in sight. Every store that I passed had 15-20 people standing on the edge of the busy road urging a boycott of the store unless the former CEO was reinstated. The stores resembled ghost towns, with few cars in the parking lots, few customers inside and greatly reduced stock on the shelves. Although I had never really shopped at Market Basket, in spite of strong urging by a number of my friends, I remember honking in support because it was easy to do as I drove by.

At one point, the governors of New Hampshire and Massachusetts wrote a joint letter to the board imploring for a return of “economic peace.” This was a call to action for me, and I started praying for peace in this situation.

It started with turning to the Bible and the first chapter of Genesis, where it affirms that God created the entire universe and everything in it, including man. Then “God saw every thing that he had made and, behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). Next, I considered the Lord’s Prayer, where it states, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). In my view, this heaven is the very good creation from Genesis.

I also thought about a statement from Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer and founder of Christian Science, who states, “The First Commandment in the Hebrew Decalogue – ‘Thou shalt have no other gods before me’ – obeyed, is sufficient to still all strife” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist and Miscellany, p. 279). This conflict at Market Basket appeared to have many elements of strife, such as long-standing grudges, revenge, discord and acrimony. I held to the idea that God was the only power operating in this situation in spite of the appearance otherwise.

The disruption continued another week. Then, it was announced that a deal had been reached for Artie T. to buy the outstanding shares of stock and return as CEO. This lead to great rejoicing on the part of customers and employees.

In a speech to a number of his employees at the company’s headquarters in Tewksbury, Mass., Artie T. said, “Seeing you all here today is like seeing little piece of heaven on earth,” which struck an immediate chord with my prayer. He added, “And not a Greek tragedy!” or human actions leading to an unhappy or unfortunate ending.

This is indeed where it was headed, as bankruptcy and the complete disappearance of the company seemed like the only other viable option. I would like to add my gratitude and rejoicing for the harmonious outcome of this situation. As a result, I have now joined the legion of happy and loyal Market Basket shoppers.

God’s love helps woman make sense of tragedy

ChurchThe following piece by Laurie Toupin of Brookline, NH was published in the Nashua Telegraph on September 27th, 2014.

The Brookline community lost a beloved teacher at CSDA Elementary School last week. She was allegedly murdered by her son who then turned the gun on himself. No one is sure of the motive. Nor does it really matter at this point.

Elizabeth Trombly was a wonderful, kind soul whose life was devoted to helping the students of our community. She was always ready with a warm smile and a nurturing, motherly spirit. She will be missed by many.

No matter what one’s religious conviction or affiliation, everyone struggles to make sense out of these situations and find a solution that will at least bring a moment of peace.

When I am confronted by such a tragedy, I find myself turning to a higher power, which I call God, who offers a sense of love that enfolds and comforts not only those who are left behind, but I am sure, those who have gone on as well.

I like to hold to a letter that a woman named Mary Baker Eddy, the discover and founder of a religion named Christian Science, wrote to one of her students who had just lost her husband:

“Your dear husband has not passed away from you in spirit; he never died, only to your sense; he lives and loves and is immortal. Let this comfort you dear one, and you will find rest in banishing the sense of death, in cherishing the sense of life and not death. Your dear husband is as truly living to-day as he ever lived, and you can find rest and peace in this true sense of Life.” (From Mary Baker Eddy: Christian Healer, Fettweis and Warneck, pg. 219.)

Sometimes it may be hard to feel or recognize a higher power’s presence and help, especially in the face of irrational human actions.

Especially since this death, which has left many in the Brookline community in shock, is only the most recent in a series of similar situations which seem to be affronting American culture.

These situations force such questions as: How do we detect those who may need help before they hurt themselves and others? How do we help them? How do we help the families of the one who has been diagnosed?

The only answer that comes to my mind is love: love that goes beyond ourselves to first notice, then actually reach out to those who are struggling and need help.

But this isn’t a love that we need to cultivate. The Bible says that we are all made in the image and likeness of God. It also says in I John 4:16, that “God is love.”

And if God is love, and we are His image, then we also are capable of expressing and feeling a higher sense of love that blesses everyone we come into contact with.

Mrs. Trombly lived this love through her interactions of all the children and teachers and parents with whom she worked.

And her son as well, who from all accounts, was intelligent and good hearted, but had fallen upon hard times, was loved “unconditionally” by his mother.

When tragedy happens, nobody can make sense of it. There is no rhyme or reason. Evil has no face, no purpose, no rational motive. But there is something that does make sense, especially to those left behind — that is a sense of love that never dies. A love that heals all hurts — the love of God, which fills all space and all consciousness.

Love won’t bring her back to us physically, but God’s love is able to comfort those who were touched by her so that her life may be celebrated and remembered.

May we continue to feel and express that love which she lived.

In the words of a hymn from the Christian Science Hymnal, #30:

Fed by Thy love divine we live,
For Love alone is Life;
And life most sweet, as heart to heart
Speaks kindly when we meet and part.*

* words by Mary Baker Eddy

Spiritual health care that works

Elodie Reed SunflowersVermont Sunflowers photo by Elodie Reed

Participation in alternative health care has surged in recent years. Many people want care and healing with simplicity and results. They are increasingly wary of expensive care that is complicated or drug and surgery dependent.

A few years ago, the Los Angeles Times published “More Doctors Going the Alternative Route” by Janice Neuman, reporting that 83% of physicians are turning to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for their own health care needs, compared to 63% of the general population.

The public is looking for health solutions in a wider variety of approaches – in some cases integrating alternatives with allopathic medicine and in others moving completely to alternatives such as naturopathy or spiritual care. Hospitals and clinics are adding “integrative medicine centers” at a rapid rate because the demand for such approaches is high.

Some of the non medical approaches have underpinnings that are tied to theological and religious belief practices. There is a well documented yearning among patients and care providers for an individual’s religious or spiritual beliefs to be included in their treatment.

Studies show that prayer and spiritual care are the most popular non medical care methods used by the public – about 50% of us pray about our health. And yes, it has been shown to improve lifestyles and health outcomes. While to some this may seem incredible or anecdotal, to those who rely on spiritual care for their heath care needs, spiritual healing is dependable, accessible, and affordable.

So just what is spiritual care? For some, it’s spiritual counseling by a member of the clergy in a hospital that brings comfort while the medical team makes efforts with the illness to mitigate pain and suffering. For others, it may be a practice of meditation incorporated into an allopathic treatment plan to relieve symptoms. In my faith tradition, it’s sincere prayer to God with the expectation of complete healing.

What is this God of health and healing? This God is divine Love, a love that is so much bigger and stronger than any human love. We can learn how to turn to divine Love and better understand our relationship to this powerful source as a means to maintaining or restoring our health.

I learned how to do this many years ago by studying, in conjunction with the Bible, a textbook on healing through prayer by New Hampshire native, Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science. Her book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, has been instrumental in my approach to my own spiritual care.

Here’s one recent example of how Christian Science has helped me. Years ago I had an asthma condition that restricted my movements considerably. I had difficulty climbing the stairs in our three story Concord Victorian home. Yet I can honestly say that I was not afraid, even when it seemed like I was on my last breath. Why was I so confident? Because I have successfully relied on Christian Science spiritual healing for over a half century. And because I was praying and felt God’s comforting presence.

I asked a Christian Science practitioner to pray with me. This is someone who devotes their full time ministering and specifically praying for those who have health care needs. We prayed to understand and realize God’s perfect health as His gift to me at that moment and always. We studied this statement in Science and Health: “Health is not a condition of matter, but of Mind [God].” (Science and Health, p. 120)

I learned more clearly that God, divine Mind, is all acting. I started to feel better, breathe easier, and had the courage to go for a walk. Eventually these walks stretched into miles. Soon I was completely healed.

Is it any wonder, when we consider the effectiveness of spiritual care and healing, that more and more of the public are turning to it to support their health care? The Bible promises, “For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord.” (Jer. 30:17)

© 2014 Christian Science Committee on Publication for New Hampshire