Category Archives: Mary Baker Eddy

Christian forgiveness

The clip-clop of horse’s hooves echo in our thought as my wife and I recall our visits with a dear Amish family in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Several decades ago we established a bond of friendship based on our mutual respect for each other’s faiths.

The response of the Amish community during the Nickel Mines school shooting tragedy provides a healing model of forgiveness. Their acts of grace shocked the world, especially when the Amish quickly forgave the shooter and embraced his family in love and support. The essence of this example of forgiveness also was demonstrated in the Sandy Hook, Connecticut shooting by some of the parents.

The Boston Marathon bombings will show the resiliency of Bostonians and quick healing is available for them too. There are stories of folks running towards the explosions to help. This courage, kindness, and forgiveness being lived by the Amish and by New England folks is what life is all about. These spiritual qualities cannot be bombed, shot or stopped.

To forgive is not always easy. But it has a healing effect. Why? Because when we truly forgive, condemnation and hatred, which are elements of what the Bible refers to as the “carnal mind,” are gone. The apostle Paul wrote, “to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God.” (Rom 8:6,7)

This “carnal mind” is what caused King Herod to kill a community of male infants when he sought to kill the baby Jesus. Whatever the motive in such cases, whether it is fear or hatred or some other form of depravity, it can and must be destroyed through the all-power and grace of God’s love. And this is where divine forgiveness plays a part.

New Hampshire native, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote “The pent-up elements of mortal mind need no terrible detonation to free them. Envy, rivalry, hate, need no temporary indulgence that they be destroyed through suffering; they should be stifled from lack of air and freedom.” (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 356)

We must deny and destroy carnal thoughts and actions through cultivating such spiritual qualities as gentleness and generosity. The Amish offer a good example. They are devout Christians. They shun materiality for spirituality, and practice Jesus’ teaching of radical, unconditional forgiveness. Christian Science teaches us that such spiritual minded living naturally promotes peace and health.

In a promise of such peace, a beloved psalm in the Bible tells us: “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. . . . Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.” (Ps. 91:1,5-7)

And in a statement entitled “What Our Leader Says,” Mrs. Eddy underlines the importance of right thinking, telling her followers:

“Beloved Christian Scientists, keep your minds so filled with Truth and Love, that sin, disease, and death cannot enter them. It is plain that nothing can be added to the mind already full. There is no door through which evil can enter, and no space for evil to fill in a mind filled with goodness. Good thoughts are an impervious armor; clad therewith you are completely shielded from the attacks of error of every sort. And not only yourselves are safe, but all whom your thoughts rest upon are thereby benefited.

“The self-seeking pride of the evil thinker injures him when he would harm others. Goodness involuntarily resists evil. The evil thinker is the proud talker and doer. The right thinker abides under the shadow of the Almighty. His thoughts can only reflect peace, good will towards men, health, and holiness.” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany 210:1-17)

What about the deaths that have occurred in Boston, Sandy Hook, and Syria? In a book titled No and Yes, Eddy wrote, “Jesus’ true and conscious being never left heaven for earth. It abode forever above, even while mortals believed it was here.” (p. 36:6-8)

Just as Jesus’ spiritual identity – the Christ – was not destroyed by his crucifixion, every child’s and adult’s indestructible identity also continues right now in the kingdom of heaven. The school children and bombing victims are still living the spiritual fact that life is love. Such Life is eternal.

The Christ awakens us to the great truth of divine Life and Love and its power to comfort and heal in times of loss. The Christ also awakens us to the truth that all evil and sin are ultimately self-destroyed. What’s left is the eternal goodness of God, which is always present and can be felt now.

God’s life and love are universal and impartial. They are based on a fixed divine Principle. According to John’s Gospel, Jesus’ new commandment is to love another as Jesus loved – agape.

Agape love is a Greek word meaning pure, unselfed, spiritual love. It’s Christ, Love, that inspires us to love and forgive, because this is what God and His law does. God’s love and law can even awaken those who kill and commit suicide, bringing to them redemption and healing.

Christly love understood and lived – by everyone and with everyone – will leave no one out to stew with mental demons of guilt and mistakes, but will cast the evil out and wash all clean in God’s love and forgiveness.

Forgiveness in individual lives has been proven to bring health to those who are grieving or sick. Both medical research and Christian Science practice have shown how unconditional forgiveness heals. Linked is a recent testimony of someone who was healed of cancer through forgiveness.

Forgiveness is an expression of true Love. Christly love includes all creation. Jesus taught that it even includes the so-called evil and unjust. Agape love embraces all men, women, and children on earth. So it’s possible, even if difficult, to love all – even our enemies – and bless them.

I love Boston…I wonder whether, were our dear Master
in our New England metropolis at this hour,
he would not weep over it, as he wept over Jerusalem!

O ye tears! Not in vain did ye flow.
Those sacred drops were but enshrined for future use,
and God has now unsealed their receptacle
with His outstretched arm.

Those crystal globes made morals for mankind.
They will rise with joy, and with power to wash away,
in floods of forgiveness, every crime,
even when mistakenly committed in the name of religion.

– Mary Baker Eddy (Pulpit and Press, p. 7)

Mary Baker Eddy: Finding the Love that makes us well

The following piece was written by Thomas Mitchinson, who is a Christian Science practitioner, teacher and Committee on Publication for Illinois.

Many individuals comment on the power of love to make us well. One of my favorite observations comes from Dr. Larry Dossey, M.D., who wrote in his book, Healing Words, “If scientists suddenly discovered a drug that was as powerful as love in creating health, it would be heralded as a medical breakthrough and marketed overnight – especially if it had as few side effects and was as inexpensive as love.” (p. 109)

Christian healer, Mary Baker Eddy, also found that love was extremely valuable in making individuals well. One of her students once quoted her as saying this in response to a question about healing through prayer, “Just live love – be it – love, love, love. Do not know anything but Love. Be all love. There is nothing else. That will do the work. It will heal everything; . . .Be nothing but love.” (We Knew Mary Baker Eddy, p. 134)

Eddy also knew that human love, while important, was variable and inconsistent. She looked for something deeper than human love – and found it in The Bible – in the book of First John – where it states, “God is Love.” She found the invariable, deep love for God that restores, redeems, forgives unconditionally, and heals disease. She found this more reliable and powerful than just human love, and used Love (with a capital L – see again her above quotation) as a synonym for God.

Her Bible study led her to write the book Science and Health with key to the Scriptures, which she wrote to help others understand this Love that heals.

She wrote, “’God is Love.’ More than this we cannot ask, higher we cannot look, farther we cannot go.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 6) She knew that it takes devotion, and sometimes hard work, to keep one’s thought filled with this love of God. The world can mightily test one’s faithfulness to Love. It certainly tested Mary Baker Eddy. . . At one time she was faced with a lawsuit that challenged her integrity. A group of newspaper reporters were sent to her community of Concord, New Hampshire, to see if something sensational could be written about her.

Eddy gave the responsibility for talking to the reporters to a member of her staff, Irving C. Tomlinson. In a book he wrote about his years of service to her, he wrote, “The chief man among this group, representing a big New York newspaper, was known as a particularly hard-boiled reporter and a steady drinker. He had been afflicted for some years with a cancerous growth of the throat, which was extremely painful and at times overwhelmed him completely.

“One evening as they were all sitting in his room at the Eagle Hotel, drinking and smoking, bored with their stay, this man was suffering with his throat; he had lost his voice entirely and was unable to speak a word. Mrs. Eddy had asked me to call these men by telephone and inform them that it was impossible for her to see them. But she cautioned me at the same time, ‘Be sure to ask for the leading man and speak directly to him.’”

Tomlinson was told that the head man could not speak to him. Eddy – who characteristically embraced even her enemies in the unchanging and universal love of God – had told Tomlinson to insist on speaking to this man – that if he could not speak, at least he could listen. He did – and he was healed.

Tomlinson continued, “the healing stirred these men. . .[They] had believed Mrs. Eddy to be only a humbug, and the reputed healings of Christian Science to be a great hoax. Their whole position was overthrown by this proof offered before their very eyes. They packed their bags and left.

“Some years later a relative of this man called at my office in Boston, and gave me the following message: ‘My uncle requested me to see you and to tell you that in his last days he turned to Christian Science, and he knew that he owed a debt of gratitude to Mrs. Eddy for his healing in Concord.'” (Twelve Years with Mary Baker Eddy, pp. 63-65)

Love. It is a vital ingredient in defeating illness.

©2013 Christian Science Committee on Publication for Illinois – used with permission

Woman’s Place

Today is International Women’s Day and March is Women’s History Month. The following piece was written by Virginia Harris, CSB, a Christian Science practitioner and teacher from Weston, MA and Center Harbor, NH.

“A native of New Hampshire, a child of the Republic, a Daughter of the Revolution…”

Oh, Mary Baker Eddy loved to describe herself as a daughter of New Hampshire! She represented generations of family and neighbors who tilled its soil to birth communities, create schools and churches to nurture individual and communal support, devote lives to freedom and independence, and shape its government and laws. New Hampshire natives created functioning societies where there were none, and made meaningful contributions to the state’s progress and its stature in the newly-formed United States of America. New Hampshire was one of the original 13 colonies that declared independence from Britain in 1776.

By the turn of the 20th century, Eddy reminded the thousands of readers of her publications of what New Hampshire had already achieved:

“The enlightenment, the erudition, the progress of religion and medicine in New Hampshire, are in excess of other States, as witness her schools, her churches, and her frown on class legislation…”

So I think that Mary Baker Eddy would be pleased to know that her New Hampshire has another notable achievement in the annals of civilization’s progress due, in all likelihood, to its legacy: it is the first state in the country to elect all women as its highest leadership. These are the federal delegation (2 Senators, 2 Congresswomen), the Governor, the Speaker of the State House and the chief justice of the State Supreme Court.

Why is this so significant? Why is it important to mark this achievement in the year 2013 – 237 years after the country’s declaration of independence? Because it is evidence of progress in the rights of all mankind to advance due to merit, and not to be held back by bias – in this case by gender.

The New Hampshire example shows this: these leaders proved their merit in different political parties, followed different paths to election and were chosen in different election cycles. They are individuals who earned their way all the way, proving at every step that bias has no place in a democratic society.

There are still battles to be waged and won, here in the US and the world, of gender-based civil rights, for example in education, healthcare, and fair pay. All the more reason to acknowledge and celebrate evidence of progress in New Hampshire.

Mary Baker Eddy’s rich and productive life challenged the 19th century image of women and formed a new model of womanhood that transcended her time and still sets a high standard for the 21st century. She authored a manifesto that continues to revolutionize thinking about the unconditional basis of each individual’s spiritual being, and how this knowledge breaks any and every limitation in life. Her publishing company communicates the practical application of her ideas for everyday living and her global church has adherents serving their communities in 130 countries.

In Eddy’s seminal book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, she devotes several pages to the divine mandate for equality of the sexes, always referring to the Bible for her inspiration. In the second chapter of Genesis, Gihon is mentioned as one of the four rivers of the Garden of Eden – perhaps metaphorically the cradle of civilization. Eddy makes a point of redefining Gihon with a practical meaning and purpose – a mandate – for our time:

Gihon (river). The rights of woman acknowledged morally, civilly, and socially.

New Hampshire’s leadership shows the progress that has been made toward achieving this ideal.

When Mary Baker Eddy returned to her beloved New Hampshire later in life she was probably the best-known woman in the United States. The local leaders enjoyed reminding their citizens that she was a native daughter, and hung a portrait of her in a place of honor in the capital’s seat of government, the State House…a woman’s place.

Doctored – Interview with Dr. Stephanie Mills

Love and compassion for everyone, not the making of greater and greater profits, are the high motives for prayer and healing. We see this love exemplified in the life of Jesus Christ, who was ever about his Father’s, divine Love’s, business (see Luke 2:49) and who “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38). We see this throughout history in the dedicated and selfless efforts of many doctors, nurses, and other health-care workers to do their best to relieve suffering above all other concerns. Yet the example of selflessness that Jesus left us is not yet the universal model.

Physician and writer Lisa Rankin, Md recently wrote a blog titled, “Has the health care industry lost its moral compass?” Dr. Rankin writes that health care professionals are spending too much time and money on procedures that are not helping, that may be hurting patients, rather than being supportive to patients by taking the time to talk with them, a practice which has been proven to help and heal.

Dr. Rankin writes, “Our health care system is seriously broken. Yet, those in power do not want the system to be fixed. Most of the money in health care dollars is going into the hands of medical device companies, HMO’s, and pharmaceutical companies, not doctors or hospitals. These companies have powerful lobbies and big budgets to ensure that Congress doesn’t enact laws that limit their power and profits.”

In the recent film Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare, renowned physician Dr. Andrew Weil comments that “We don’t have a health care system in this country, we have a disease management system.” And medical writer Shannon Brownlee states, “We’re in the grip of a very big industry and it doesn’t want to stop making money.”

According to Escape Fire and Dr. Rankin, United States citizens spend $2.7 trillion per year on health care, which amounts to $8,000 per person per year. Globally, the average health care expenditure is $3,000 per person per year. We spend more than $300 billion per year on pharmaceuticals, almost as much as the rest of the world combined. About 50% of Americans take drugs and they consume about 50% of the drugs produced worldwide even though Americans represent only 5% of world population.

One safeguard against such problems is the prevention of medical monopoly. Mary Baker Eddy, a New Hampshire native, was a nineteenth century spiritual thinker seeking solutions to health. As Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Eddy saw great danger in monopolies. In our day, some governments still restrict freedoms to the detriment of the well-being of its citizens. Religious and democratic freedoms enshrined in the United States Constitution need to be upheld to improve the US health care system. A free market system – freedom of competition – is necessary to reduce health care costs.

Medical monopoly has been studied since 1995 by Registered Nurse Sue A. Blevins who founded the “Institute for Health Freedom.” In a report published by the Cato Institute, Blevins wrote:

Nonphysician providers of medical care are in high demand in the United States. But licensure laws and federal regulations limit their scope of practice and restrict access to their services. The result has almost inevitably been less choice and higher prices for consumers. . . . Studies have repeatedly shown that qualified nonphysician providers–such as midwives, nurses, and chiropractors–can perform many health and medical services traditionally performed by physicians–with comparable health outcomes, lower costs, and high patient satisfaction. . . . Licensure laws appear to be designed to limit the supply of health care providers and restrict competition to physicians from nonphysician practitioners. The primary result is an increase in physician fees and income that drives up healthcare costs. . . . Eliminating the roadblocks to competition among health care providers could improve access to health services, lower health costs, and reduce government spending.

A recent educational film shows how some freedoms have been won back by alternative medicine. “Doctored” is a new documentary by Jeff Hays that shows how chiropractors have freed themselves from attempts to monopolize health care. For decades chiropractors were labeled dangerous quacks and prevented from collecting insurance funds for their treatments. The film states, “There’s been a deliberate campaign to label anybody who doesn’t sell or distribute drugs, surgery or radiation as a quack.”

“Doctored” reviews the Supreme Court case of Wilk vs. The American Medical Association. In 1984, the AMA was found guilty of an illegal conspiracy to contain and eliminate the chiropractic profession, and was ordered to stop. Since then the chiropractic profession has grown to be more accepted.

Dr. Stephanie Foisy Mills from the Concord area helped produce “Doctored.” Dr. Mills founded Crossroads Chiropractic in Pembroke. We spoke to Dr. Mills and asked her about the film “Doctored” and alternative care.

What role did Dr. Mills play in the birth of this documentary?

Dr. Mills said that she had heard about the project from the producer, Jeffery Hays, who had visited New Hampshire. He needed a financial backer and Dr. Mills stepped in.

What led Dr. Mills to become “an activist,” if you will?

Dr. Mills was adverse to taking medications when she was a small child. She said in the movie there is a segment about a boy in Utah, Parker Jenson, who was told he had cancer. Parker told his parents that he felt fine. He was told he had “invisible cancer.” The parents had never believed that he had cancer and fought to avoid the recommended chemotherapy. The doctor then told authorities that the boy had only two weeks to live and went to court to force his treatment. An independent MRI showed that the boy didn’t have cancer at all. The film states that the doctor was looking for a 12 year old boy to complete a clinical trial.

What does Dr. Mills see as the dangers inherent in a medical monopoly in America?

“It’s frustrating from a provider’s standpoint to see how the insurance companies are forcing the care being given,” she said. “For instance, x-rays are required before a patient is approved for MRI’s, even if an x-ray is not necessary. There was an anti-trust lawsuit by the AMA against chiropractors to eliminate them all together. It took 11 years. AMA is a powerful force – it’s amazing that chiropractors won. It was turned around when some medical doctors came forward with documents that showed what AMA’s motive was – to destroy their chiropractic practice.”

Do you think we will ever be able to return to a society in which powerful lobbies are not calling the shots?

“We will not win at higher levels since there is not enough money to battle the lobbyists. We may have some successes when different officials are elected, but elections can go the other way as well.”

How can the average American work to promote and support an environment of choice in health care?

“We need grass roots involvement to educate the public that there are alternatives and that these alternatives work. Moms and Dads need to speak up to governments.”

Who else is working on this issue of patient choice? What do you think is the leading edge of this conversation?

“There are a lot of alternative folks and groups who are working on this. Much comes of individual sharing and educating.”

In your experience, have you seen prayer or a spiritual approach to health care to be beneficial factors in recovery?

“On an individual basis – absolutely.” Dr. Mills says that she has seen patients who have a belief system and positive attitude that definitely do have better outcomes. She mentioned a story about a woman who was operated on and when the doctors opened her up, they saw that there was nothing to be done and that she would live only briefly after the operation. The daughter begged them not to tell her mom this, so they told the woman the operation was successful. She lived way beyond what they had expected. “The operation had done nothing, but her expectation brought amazing results.”

What role do you think spiritual care might play in a broader view of health and health care treatment? What keeps this approach from being more widely accepted? And, how does access to information or lack thereof – because of health care monopolies, play a role?

“So many opportunities are available. Telling the stories on an individual basis is really important. Individual experiences are key. Speak up to your neighbors and friends and strangers. This is what we need to overcome the monopolies.”

Thank you Dr. Mills for sharing your insights and experience.

Mary Baker Eddy writes: “Unconstitutional and unjust coercive legislation and laws, infringing individual rights, must be ‘of few days, and full of trouble.’ The vox populi, through the providence of God, promotes and impels all true reform; and, at the best time, will redress wrongs and rectify injustice. Tyranny can thrive but feebly under our Government. God reigns, and will ‘turn and overturn’ until right is found supreme.” (Miscellaneous Writings, page 80)

Studies show that spiritual care is the most popular alternative care method used by the public – about 50% of us pray for spiritual healing. It improves lifestyles, wellness, and health outcomes. Christian Science treatment uses the power of Mind, God, to heal. It is available to anyone, anytime, anywhere.

© 2012 Christian Science Committee on Publication for 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)

Christmas health and healing

Christmas Glow Images
© Glow Images

I’m praying for Christmas health and healing. Christmas is a time when people think about giving, and health is surely one of the greatest gifts that anyone could ever receive. The Bible teaches that health is natural to man, who is made “in the image of God.” (Genesis 1:27) Health is God’s gift to all of us.

Christ is what gives health and healing. Christ is not a person, but God’s incorporeal idea that constantly comes to human thought to heal. Christ inspires and regenerates life with peace and wholeness, and that is a gift that is available to us any hour of the day and any day of the year.

New Hampshire native Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science in 1866, sought on several occasions to convey the real meaning of Christmas. At one of these times, she wrote: “Christmas respects the Christ too much to submerge itself in merely temporary means and ends. It represents the eternal informing Soul recognized only in harmony, in the beauty and bounty of Life everlasting, — in the truth that is Life, the Life that heals and saves mankind. An eternal Christmas would make matter an alien save as phenomenon, and matter would reverentially withdraw itself before Mind. . . The true spirit of Christmas elevates medicine to Mind; it casts out evils, heals the sick, raises the dormant faculties, appeals to all conditions, and supplies every need of man. It leaves hygiene, medicine, ethics, and religion to God and His Christ, to that which is the Way, in word and in deed, — the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist and Miscellany, p. 259-260)

Health would be the gift at Christmas time, as on every other occasion, if “matter would reverentially withdraw itself before Mind.” The more we turn away from the belief of living in a material world and seek to understand God as Spirit and to cultivate spirituality in ourselves, the more we are freed to invite this gift into our own lives and the lives of others.

Mrs. Eddy understood something that can help us today: We must not get so deeply drawn into excess human activity during the holiday season that we close the door on spirituality. People commonly in our day speak of “the commercialization of Christmas” that seems to dominate during the holiday. Mrs. Eddy was well aware of this tendency toward materiality; what St. Paul called “the carnal mind,” which he said was “enmity against God.” (Romans 8:7) Mrs. Eddy sought, by her example, to draw all of us to the contemplation of spirituality at this season.

She makes this point: “Christmas to me is the reminder of God’s great gift, — His spiritual idea, man and the universe, — a gift which so transcends mortal, material, sensual giving that the merriment, mad ambition, rivalry, and ritual of our common Christmas seem a human mockery in mimicry of the real worship in commemoration of Christ’s coming.

“I love to observe Christmas in quietude, humility, benevolence, charity, letting good will towards man, eloquent silence, prayer, and praise express my conception of Truth’s appearing.” (Miscellany, p. 262)

How would silent turning to God for health be practical, at Christmas time or at any time of the year?

Here’s one example: Some years ago a Christian Science nurse attended the birth of a baby. A licensed mid-wife was scheduled to deliver the infant, but the baby came before the midwife arrived. So the Christian Science nurse guided the father in delivering the baby. When the infant was born, she was having difficulty breathing. The Christian Science practitioner attending the case was called to pray about this situation. The father relayed the practitioner’s prayers to mother and nurse, while the mother was active in declaring aloud God’s presence and power to heal right at that moment. The Christian Science nurse, who was also praying, was led to turn the new-born over on her stomach, patting her gently. Immediately the baby started to breathe with less effort. Soon the midwife, who was not a Christian Scientist, arrived and asked how the Christian Science nurse knew what to do. The midwife declared that her course of action saved the baby.

In an article entitled “The Cry of Christmas-tide,” Mrs. Eddy writes: “In different ages the divine idea assumes different forms, according to humanity’s needs. In this age it assumes, more intelligently than ever before, the form of Christian healing. This is the babe we are to cherish. This is the babe that twines its loving arms about the neck of omnipotence, and calls forth infinite care from His loving heart.” (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 370)

With every Christian healing that we experience, we find ourselves joining the angelic chorus in proclaiming: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!” (Luke 2:14)

© 2011 Christian Science Committee on Publication for New Hampshire