Category Archives: God

Olympic health

The Olympics usually inspire me to run. This year’s Olympics has inspired me to think. Why have they grown so big in thought, in financing, and in global participation? Even Muslim women are competing this year. (See this article.) Perhaps the Olympics are more important than simple sports activity. There is some serious history here.

When the ancient Olympia games started some 2788 years ago, a national truce – ekcheiria – was observed throughout Greece. Athletes and spectators were allowed to travel in safety and to celebrate the Greek religious festival with which the Olympic games were closely connected. These truces provided a common basis for peace and national unity for the Greeks.

The first Olympics was a festival held in 776 B.C. and was dedicated to Zeus, the chief Greek god. A 200-meter footrace was held. Greeks gathered every four years for the next millennium in Olympia to honor Zeus through sports, sacrifices, and hymns. Wrestling, boxing, and horse racing were added to the Olympic roster. They complemented devotional sacrifices, hymns, celebrations, and visiting family.

This combination of Greek worship and sports led the Roman Christian Emperor Theodosius to ban the Olympics in 393 A.D. Modern Olympics revived some rituals as seen in the Olympic oath, the procession of athletes, and the lighting of the flame. In London at the 1908 games, Anglican Bishop Ethelbert Talbot declared, “The most important thing in these Olympics is not so much winning as taking part” — which has become part of the Olympic creed. He followed in the footsteps of the Reverend Henri Didon, a Catholic priest who penned the official Olympic motto “citius, altius, fortius” – faster, higher, stronger.

The founder of the modern Olympics, Frenchman Baron Pierre de Coubertin, restored the Olympic Games in Athens in 1896 after excavations at Olympia renewed public interest in the Olympics. Coubertin had other national reasons of peace and brotherhood, yet he wrote: “The first essential characteristic of the Olympics, both ancient as well as modern, is to be a religion.” His motive was to glorify God. He was educated by Jesuits and influenced by muscular Christianity. Muscular Christianity shaped the modern programs of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) and Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and its devotees used sports to strengthen their faith. Today, muscular Christianity inspires professional athletes such as Tim Tebow.

Athletic exercise is a wholesome activity that glorifies God when done for the right reasons. Even the Bible declares, “For bodily exercise profits for a little while: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” (I Tim. 4:8) And, “whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (I Cor. 10:31)

I’ve been associated with athletics since running track and cross-country in high school. My exercise isn’t done for health reasons, but for joyful sports participation. Bible study and prayer help to keep me from being obsessed with exercise and it is these things and not the exercise that give me health. And I’ll tell you why.

Health comes from something more spiritual than exercise or matter-based thinking. It comes from understanding one God, infinite Spirit. Jesus taught, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63)

God is the source of strength and health, whether or not we believe in the one God – who is divine Mind – that Moses, Jesus and others have proclaimed. It’s not simply matter muscles that give us strength. There’s thought behind muscles. And it’s more than mind over matter. It’s divine Mind, God, over matter. (Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 199) In previous blog posts you can find some examples of spiritual healings through this line of thinking and prayer.

New Hampshire has a special connection to this year’s Olympics. Concord High School graduate Guor (Majak) Marial came to the United States as a refugee from South Sudan. He literally ran for his life when he escaped the war-torn region and made his way to Concord. He is not yet a US citizen and year-old South Sudan republic has not qualified to field an Olympic team. But Guor qualified for the men’s marathon through discipline and hard work. The Concord High School graduate was selected by the International Olympic Committee to run the men’s marathon this Sunday.

Guor’s response, which can be found here, was: “If God gave me this talent and this education and I can be able to dedicate my life every single day to this kind of thing, one day God will give me the chance to support, to help my people, the people of South Sudan.” More stories about Guor’s inspired life story can be found here.

Guor isn’t the only athlete participating to glorify God. (For example, see this article and this article.) We can be grateful that a festival that began in ancient Greece to honor the god Zeus of mythology has today become an Olympian effort in which some athletes are conscientiously declaring their choice to glorify the one Almighty God through their participation. This is an attitude that should be encouraged.

George Reed is a former runner for Team New Balance, USA and still holds the outdoor one mile record at the University of New Hampshire, where he received a degree in mechanical engineering. He currently is a Christian Science practitioner, and the media and legislative spokesperson for Christian Scientists in New Hampshire.

Healing hepatitis

Recently over two dozen patients were accidentally infected with hepatitis in a New Hampshire hospital. There is no known medical cure for this disease and it is thought of as a life sentence.

How is Christian Science treating this tragedy? With the power of God. Because God does not cause disease, healing is possible through prayer. Christian Science treatment starts with gratitude to God and allays fear as proclaimed in the Bible by the Psalmist: “In God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.” (Ps. 56:4)

What is the antidote of fear? The realization that God is Love as the Bible declares Him to be: “God is Love. . . There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear.” (I John 4:16,18) Understanding God, which is a step beyond trust, helps us to overcome fear. Gratitude and Love help us to destroy fear.

What is the next step in our Christian Science treatment? Mary Baker Eddy’s Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, states that if we wholly remove the fear, there will be healing. (p. 411) So we must fully destroy the fear.

Because Christian Scientists have been taught to allay fear, they are aware of the contagious nature of fear. While the medical profession tends to look almost exclusively at material and physical causes, Christian Scientists will be quick to offer prayers that heal the belief of mental, fearful contagion that would spread from person to person.

Each of us in reality has a spiritual immunity, which means that our spiritual identity includes a spiritual toughness that protects us from contagious disease and strengthens us to overcome its symptoms. Our task is to understand and accept this spiritual fact. Reading the Scriptures and Science and Health teach us how.

Some cases of healing by spiritual means are quick. In other cases there seems to be resistance and the healings take longer. In the ministry of Jesus, a father brought to the Master his child, who probably today would have been diagnosed as having epilepsy. The disciples, according to the account in Matthew, could not heal the case. But Jesus did. When asked afterward by the disciples why their efforts had not been met with success, Jesus replied, “this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” (Matt. 17:14-21)

When there is not quick healing in Christian Science, treating disease is much like a court argument. Such argument would include both “prayer” – the deeply grateful acknowledgment of God’s presence and power, and of His creation of man in his own image and likeness, and “fasting” – denial of the possibility that man, as God created him, can possibly be subject to anything unlike perfect good. (Gen. 1:26,31)

In Science and Health (p. 430), there is an allegory that shows how such treatment heals a case of “liver-complaint,” or what today might be called hepatitis. This allegory comprises 13 pages of Science and Health. Generations of readers of this part of the Christian Science textbook have learned that in God’s court, God’s law overcomes so-called human health laws of disease through Christian Science treatment. In the Supreme Court of Spirit, man is found to be innocent, healthy, strong, and free.

The spiritual realization of God’s allness, of Love’s allness, completely wipes out fear and disease from thought – and eventually from body. This has been demonstrated to be the case. There have been several reports of the healing of hepatitis over the years in the Christian Science periodicals. I’ll conclude with one that was published in the November 12, 1955 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel. (Click to view it on JSH-online.)

A Christian Science Minister for the Armed Services received a telephone call from a woman who seemed full of fear. She explained that her husband, an Air Force officer, was in the hospital at his air base. The doctors had diagnosed his condition as viral hepatitis. Claiming that there was nothing more they could do for him, the doctors had stopped giving him medicine and had placed him on the danger list. At this point the officer’s wife asked a doctor if he thought her husband should try Christian Science. He acknowledged that it might prove helpful. Accordingly, she went to her husband, who knew very little about Christian Science, and recommended that he try it. After receiving his consent, she called the Christian Science Minister.

That very day the Minister visited the officer in the Air Force hospital and found him in an extremely weakened condition due, in part, to the fact that he was not receiving solid food but was being fed intravenously. The Minister worked to uplift the officer’s faith by quoting inspiring and comforting Bible passages. At the end of the interview the officer seemed more cheerful, hopeful, and strong.

During his second visit the Minister read over with the officer “A mental court case” (see Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, pages 430-442), which deals with a patient suffering from liver complaint. The officer genuinely enjoyed this allegory and derived much good from it. Not long afterward the doctors placed the patient on solid food and then transferred him to an Army hospital.

The Minister continued to visit the patient and recommended that he start reading Science and Health from the beginning. When he was about one third of the way through the textbook, all the yellow color left the officer’s skin and eyes. Soon he was discharged from the hospital completely healed through Christian Science.

© 1955 The Christian Science Publishing Society (http://jsh.christianscience.com). Reproduced with permission.

© 2012 Christian Science Committee on Publication for New Hampshire

“The Next Big Decision on Health Care . . .”

Christian Science Committees on Publication Manager Russ Gerber has written an insightful piece about watching our thought to maintain our health. It’s aptly titled, The Next Big Decision On Health Care May Be Your Own. You can read it here.

A Pew study found that about 80% of internet searches are on the subject of health. The correlation of thought to health is well established in the Bible. For example, Jesus said “The kingdom of God is within you.” This might perhaps be paraphrased today as “Health and holiness, which come from God, are in your thinking and prayers.” Scriptures also state that God is the countenance of our health. As we increase our understanding of God, we can establish wholesome health on a spiritual basis.

Another Pew study found that about 50% of us turn to prayer to improve our well being. Much of this prayer is mixed with medical care, yet studies have found that inspired prayers for health are beneficial.

In his book, The Healing Power of Prayer, Duke University professor and physician Dr. Harold Koenig, M.D. writes, “Over five hundred studies have now documented correlations between religious practices like prayer and better health. I have also seen the powerful effects of faith in the lives of my patients, and what a tremendous difference prayer has made in their healing – physical, emotional, social, and spiritual. There is power in prayer – there is little doubt about that.” (p. 19)

New Hampshire native Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, also wrote a book about prayer and health. Eddy titled it Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures because she discovered the spiritual basis of true health from her study of the Bible, and found that this God-given health can be scientifically demonstrated. Through consistent healing of almost every disease known to mankind by herself and by her students, Eddy proved that prayer is more than an art.

Christian Science teaches that we can to turn to Mind, God, rather than matter to establish health. As Russ Gerber clearly points out, we must watch our thought, what we are thinking, to protect our well-being. This watchful thinking is much more than positive thinking. It’s spiritual thinking of Godly thoughts that inspire Godlike actions.

Metaphysically speaking, health is an attribute of God that is manifested through man. God is healthy and man is healthy. Science and Health tells us how to pray from the mountaintop of reality: “Realize the presence of health and the fact of harmonious being, until the body corresponds with the normal conditions of health and harmony.” (p. 418)

This is something that we can all do. Years ago I had an asthma condition that restricted my movements considerably. I had difficulty climbing the stairs in our three story Victorian home. Yet I can honestly say that I was not afraid, even when it seemed like I was on my last breath. I knew God would heal this condition because “Health is not a condition of matter, but of Mind [God].” (ibid, p. 120)

I asked an experienced Christian Science practitioner to pray with me. We prayed to realize the ever-presence of God’s perfect health and to reject any claim of physiology that would try to undermine or contradict my health. We learned more clearly that divine Mind, God, is all acting. I had the courage to go for a walk, and eventually some of those walks stretched into miles. Soon I was healed.

Is it any wonder, when we consider the effectiveness of spiritual healing, that these words of the Psalmist are so dear to Christian Scientists?

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.” (Ps. 103:2-6)