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

Declaring our Independence from illness– with help from the Bible

My colleague from Illinois, Thomas Mitchinson, published the following piece on July 4th, which also can be read on Tim’s blog.

Declaring our Independence from illness– with help from the Bible
by Thomas Mitchinson

The first 45 years of her life were rough. Often ill as a child, her first husband died after a few short months of marriage, leaving her destitute and pregnant. She didn’t receive much support from family members after her child was born – and she continued unwell. She married again for her child to have a father, but that man deserted her, and the child was given to others to raise. Now one day coming home from a meeting, she slipped on the ice and was considered close to death.

But she opened her Bible, and in moments of inspiration, she felt God’s great love for her and declared her independence. She became well and spent the next 45 years of her life writing and editing a book that would sell over 10 million copies, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. She also established a church. Her name was Mary Baker Eddy.

Another woman was diagnosed with inoperable cancer. She too, opened her Bible and began to study it. She wrote, “The Word of God is extremely important to people who are fighting a battle with their health, for often it’s the only hope they have. I know I would have died if it had not been for the Word of God.”

She chose 40 verses of Scripture that she studied throughout her illness and recovery. They are:

Exodus 15:26
And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.

Exodus 23:25
And ye shall serve the Lord your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.

Deuteronomy 7:15
And the Lord will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee.

Deuteronomy 30:19
I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

Joshua 21:45
There failed not aught of any good thing which the Lord had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.

Psalm 91:16
With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.

Psalm 103:1-5
Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. 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.

Psalm 107:20
He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.

Proverbs 4:20-23
¶ My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.
¶ Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

Isaiah 43:25, 26
I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified.

Isaiah 53:5
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Jeremiah 30:17
For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord; because they called thee an Outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after.

Joel 3:10
Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong.

Nahum 1:9
What do ye imagine against the Lord? he will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time.

Malachi 3:10
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

Matthew 8:2, 3
And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

Matthew 18:18, 19
Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

Mark 11:23, 24
For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

Mark 16:17, 18
And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

John 9:31
Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he hearth.

John 10:10
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Romans 8:11
But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

II Corinthians 1:20
For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.

II Corinthians 10:4, 5
(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Galatians 3:13, 14
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Ephesians 6:10-17
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

Philippians 2:13
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

II Timothy 1:7
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Hebrews 10:23
Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

Hebrews 10:35
Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.

James 5:14, 15
Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

I Peter 2:24
Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

I John 3:21, 22
Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

I John 5:14, 15
And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

II John 1:2
For the truth’s sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever.

Revelation 12:11
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

She didn’t die, she was healed of that cancer through prayer. Her name is Dodie Osteen. She also wrote a book, Healed of Cancer.

Others have found their independence from illness through reading and studying the Bible. They have found that the understanding of God given in Scripture lifts their thought above the fear and dismay they feel and align it with the divine – this results in the healing of disease.

Many health columnists provide all sorts of advice on how to stay well. Here is one that may not get much attention: Read and study the Bible. You may want to consider beginning with Osteen’s list. You may find your own list of healing verses. My prayer is that you also find the health, wellness and purpose found by Eddy, Osteen and many others, including myself, by using the Bible to help you declare your independence from illness.

©2014 Christian Science Committee on Publication for Illinois

Boston brotherhood

photo by Elodie Reed
2014 Boston Marathon Champion Meb Keflezighi (photo by Elodie Reed)

Growing up I was somewhat of a loner. Running changed that. In my first cross-country race, even though I finished in last place, I made some friends with teammates. Ten years later, Boston running teammates invited me to join “Team New Balance,” which was a group of elite runners competing in races across America. We trained and raced together in a bond of brotherhood for the Greater Boston Track Club.

Greg Meyer, the last American to win the Boston marathon before today, was a fellow teammate. Today, three decades later, American Meb Keflezighi won the 26 mile run from Hopkinton to Boston. Before the race Meb said, “This year, all 36,000 of us will run together to demonstrate the spirit of the marathon. We will still have our individual motivations, but we will be unified under the Boston Strong umbrella.”

Meb is a 39 year old experienced runner, but was not expected to win. Younger African runners have dominated this race for decades. After today’s triumphant race, Meb said that he worked to win the marathon for God and for the people of Boston. And I’m confident that God and the people of Boston helped him to victory.

Today, Boston experienced a sense of brotherhood as a community, which was magnified with an exhilarating marathon for both the men and women. True brotherhood and sisterhood has its origin in the one God, a major theme of the Bible.

Author Mary Baker Eddy, who built her first church in Boston, writes in her book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the Scripture, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself;’ annihilates pagan and Christian idolatry, — whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes; equalizes the sexes; annuls the curse on man, and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed.” (page 340)

Today’s successful marathon is one illustration of how the expression of brotherhood results in good.

The writer retired from professional training and racing in 1980 to devote his time and energy to the healing ministry of Christian Science. He currently is the media and legislative liaison for Christian Scientists in New Hampshire.

© 2014 Christian Science Committee on Publication for New Hampshire

Prayers for Easter health

The following “letter to the editor” was published in the Concord Monitor and Manchester Union Leader this Easter weekend.

Easter brings remembrance of the death and resurrection of Jesus, but also of his life, an important part of which involved healing others through prayer.

The health care that Jesus brought folks in his day can be ours today. Health is derived from the root word heal. It’s a sound state of mind and body. Health or heal means to restore to original purity or integrity.

Health is a restoration of what man already is as the son or daughter of God. Not man, but God is the source of true health.

There are three things that would undermine health in consciousness and body: fear, ignorance, and sin.

Fear would limit our full demonstration of health.
Ignorance would keep us from understanding God as the source of wellness.
Sin would try to separate us from God and destroy our God-given well-being.

Years ago I was ill with weakness and breathing problems. I turned to God in prayer for healing. I prayed for courage, to understand God, and to destroy any sinful sense of separation from divine Love – from Love’s consciousness and natural provision of health.

The Lord’s Prayer and a sentence in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by former Concord resident Mary Baker Eddy helped: “Realize the presence of health and the fact of harmonious being, until the body corresponds with the normal conditions of health and harmony.” (page 412)

Earnest prayers eventually healed me and I resumed my normal activities. My prayers today are for a healthy Easter for all.

The connection between consciousness and health

The Concord Monitor published a letter to the editor that readers of this blog might be interested in. It can be read online here.

A connection between faith and health

Monday, February 17, 2014

One aspect of faith that would be helpful to your readers is to show how faith and health are connected. A Pew Research study found that 80% of Internet users search online for health information.

Numerous medical studies show a strong connection between health and our thinking and actions. Harvard Medical School has reported that our health is affected by our thinking, whether it’s a simple thought of gratitude or a stressful blowup.

These are not new revelations. For 5,000 years Scriptural writings have taught similarly. The Bible says that God is Love, and that God is the countenance of our health. Love and health are strongly connected.

We all have the capacity to be what God made us to be in Love’s image and likeness. Love is a powerful medicine.

Of course there’s more to health than Love. Yet our answers are at hand. Today’s enlightened physicians are digging deeper into finding the mental causes and cures for illness.

New Hampshire native Mary Baker Eddy wrote a textbook based on her lifework of spiritual healing titled Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. It has healed folks all around the globe for more than a century.

Placebo surgery?

Placebos have graduated into surgical procedures.

A placebo is a pill or substance without an active medical ingredient. The patient believes that he is receiving a drug. Physicians have found that the patient, unaware of the deception, may respond as if an actual drug was administered.

Five years ago psychologist Dr. Irving Kirsch, Associate Director of Harvard Medical School’s Placebo Studies program, reported that antidepressants are no more effective than a placebo in treating depression. On CBS 60 Minutes two years ago, Dr. Kirsch reported that some placebo knee surgeries are as successful as actual knee surgeries. A “placebo surgery” is surgery that is faked by the surgeon. The patient believes that he had an actual surgery.

In this 60 Minutes report Kirsch said “placebos are great for treating a number of disorders: irritable bowel syndrome, repetitive strain injuries, ulcers, Parkinson’s disease. Even traumatic knee pain. In this clinical trial some patients with osteoarthritis underwent knee surgery. While others had their knees merely opened and then sewn right back up. And here’s what happened. In terms of walking and climbing, the people who got the placebo actually did better than the people who got the real surgery. And that lasted for a year. At two years after surgery, there was no difference at all between the real surgery and the sham surgery.”

Recently, the reputable The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) published the results of another medical trial that also shows similar results between actual surgery and placebo or fake surgery. The report is titled “Arthroscopic Partial Meniscectomy versus Sham Surgery for a Degenerative Meniscal Tear.”

Although researchers and physicians have varying views on why the placebo effect works, most agree that it has something to do with the patient’s belief in the medicine or procedure. As more patient and health care providers come to see that thought and faith affect the body, it could serve as a springboard to a deeper study of the mental and spiritual nature of health.

At the same time, research into the impact spirituality, prayer, and religious practices have on health is on the rise.

The public these days 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 oriental medicine. Some of the alternative approaches have underpinnings that are tied to theological and/or religious belief systems and practices. Hospitals and clinics are adding “integrative medicine centers” at a rapid rate because the demand for such approaches is high. And 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.

Health seeker, health researcher, and New Hampshire native Mary Baker Eddy experimented with homeopathy and placebos. Homeopathy stops short of administering placebos outright; it attenuates or dilutes substances supposed to have medicinal value. Mrs. Eddy explains her experiment: “We have attenuated a grain of aconite until it was no longer aconite, then dropped into a tumblerful of water a single drop of this harmless solution, and administering one teaspoonful of this water at intervals of half an hour have cured the incipient stage of fever.” She continues, “The highest attenuation we ever attained was to leave the drug out of the question, using only the sugar of milk; and with this original dose we cured an inveterate case of dropsy. After these experiments you cannot be surprised that we resigned the imaginary medicine altogether, and honestly employed Mind [God] as the only curative Principle.” (Christian Healing, p. 13; this case of dropsy or edema is further described in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, page 156.)

This experience and others like it helped Mrs. Eddy to reach her conclusion that cures are not produced by drugs or chemistry. The effects of drugs, she taught, are produced by the faith placed in them by doctors, nurses, patients, families, and the public. And she discovered, as Jesus had demonstrated some 2,000 years earlier, that prayer is a powerful healing medicine.

I have found in my own experience that it is possible for a knee injury to be healed without resorting either to medical intervention or to placebos. I had severely injured a knee by running up and down a New Hampshire mountain with my daughter. I couldn’t walk for a few days, but through prayer the knee injury was healed, and when it returned a few years ago in a milder fashion, it was healed again through prayer so that I am able to walk, hike, and bike freely. My complete account of this experience can be read in the 2012 Christian Science Journal.

© 2014 Christian Science Committee on Publication for New Hampshire

A neurosurgeon’s life-changing experience

The public is giving more and more attention to the connection between spirituality, consciousness, and health. It shows in the popularity of a recent book by Dr. Eben Alexander, Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife.

In his best-seller, Dr. Alexander tells of coming back to life after being in a coma and on a ventilator for seven days with a 2% medical prognosis of survival and 0% prognosis of recovery. The condition, according to medical diagnosis, had been brought on by a rare strain of bacterial meningitis.

While he was in the hospital, Dr. Alexander was prayed for by those close to him, including an Episcopal pastor. A family friend who describes herself as a psychic counselor and healer, also attempted to help him. Dr. Alexander says that he was given the clear impression, while he was unconscious, that he had to return because he had more work to do. And he said he came back because of his love for his 10-year-old son; that he was brought back because of this connection of love.

Dr. Alexander writes that he received these messages: “You are loved and cherished.” “You have nothing to fear.” “There is nothing you can do wrong.” He summarized this message in one sentence, “You are loved.” And in one word: “Love.” He said the unconditional love that he experienced on his mental journey was his most important discovery. He awoke out of the coma and was restored completely back to health. He writes: “The (false) suspicion that we can somehow be separated from God is the root of every form of anxiety in the universe, and the cure for it – which I received partially within the Gateway and completely within the Core – was the knowledge that nothing can tear us from God, ever.”1

The Scriptures teach that “Love alone is Life” as recorded in a hymn of prayer by New Hampshire native, discover and founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy. (Hymn 30) Divine Love itself is what resurrects us from death, both here and hereafter.

Dr. Alexander says in his book that, before his coma, he was skeptical of the existence of God and had been losing interest in religious matters. A recent inspired interview by my colleague from Massachusetts, Ingrid Peschke shows that he has had a revolutionary transformation in his thinking. He has had a glimpse of spiritual reality.

The universal truth of spirituality, consciousness, and health was revealed in 1866 to Mrs. Eddy. She learned that spiritual consciousness unfolds spiritual health. It heals disease. She writes, “The true consciousness is the true health.” (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 298)

Spiritual healing, which is sanctioned by the Bible, can bring recovery for all mankind right now. There are laws of health behind spiritual healing that we can learn to understand and to practice. These spiritual laws of health are God’s laws, the laws of divine Love, the one Healer.

A student of Christian Science learned the importance of understanding and demonstrating these truths at a time when he started feeling pain in his body. Soon the discomfort was so intense that he had to lie down while praying for himself. He was grateful to be able to stay calm and to feel the peaceful presence of God somewhat. He suspected that the acute pain and illness was an attack of appendicitis. He called a Christian Science practitioner for spiritual treatment. The prayers of the practitioner brought much comfort. Soon the pain subsided, other symptoms stopped, and he got up and about.

The following evening, however, he believed he might need to go to the hospital to be fed. He had been unable to take nourishment for two days. But then what he calls an angel thought from God came and brought him relief. He became thankful for the milk of God’s Word. Then he felt led literally to drink some milk, which met his immediate need for nourishment. He continued with Christian Science treatment. In the next few days the pain, sickness, and debility were completely healed. The peace of Love reigned.2

The Bible promises, “For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord.” (Jer. 30:17) And Science and Health explains: “Health is not a condition of matter, but of Mind. . . The basis of all health, sinlessness, and immortality is the great fact that God is the only Mind; and this Mind must be not merely believed, but it must be understood.” (Science and Health, pp. 120, 339)

We are all on a spiritual journey to understand more of God, Mind, the one true consciousness of Love, and the effects of this understanding of God upon the health of humanity.

1 Proof of Heaven, A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife by Eben Alexander, M.D., © 2012, Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, New York, NY, pp. 71, 73, 76, 123.

2 No enemies? by George Reed, © 1998, Christian Science Publishing Society, Boston, MA, Christian Science Journal, August 1998, Volume 116, Issue 8, p. 13.

© 2013 Christian Science Committee on Publication for New Hampshire

Find a health care voice: The individual mandate, individualized

The following piece was written by recent Amherst College graduate Elodie Reed, reporting for the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript in Peterborough, NH. The original can be read online at the Ledger-Transcript website and on the Concord Monitor website.

Find a health care voice: The individual mandate, individualized

By Elodie Reed
Monday, October 7, 2013
(Published in print: Tuesday, October 8, 2013)

“This past summer, I, a somewhat politically ignorant, country-loving, New Hampshire native, found myself in the most unlikely of places: Washington, D.C.. As an intern for the Federal Christian Science Committee on Publication, the legislative group for the Christian Science Church, I became well acquainted with downtown D.C., spreadsheets, our legislators on Capitol Hill, and most importantly, the Affordable Care Act.

“As a Christian Scientist, I actively rely on prayer for preventative and curative care for any issue that arises. In addition, I have access to Christian Science practitioners for prayerful assistance, as well as Christian Science nurses and Christian Science nursing facilities, which provide religious nonmedical care with services such as bandaging, mobility, food preparation and bathing that allow someone to be physically comfortable while undergoing prayerful treatment. While the Christian Science Church leaves all health care decisions up to each individual, most Christian Scientists choose not to use medical care, relying successfully and solely on Christian Science treatment. Having never used medical care, medical health insurance hasn’t seemed relevant for me or other Christian Scientists … until now.

“With the exchanges opening up last week and the ACA individual mandate taking effect come January, myself and other Christian Scientists, like many people in this country, are left wondering what to do about medical health insurance. Almost definitely as a result of oversight in the rushed drafting process for the ACA, there is currently no religious exemption for Christian Scientists. Only the Amish, the Mennonites, and Health Care Sharing Ministries can claim exemption to the individual mandate under a ‘religious conscious objection.’ It doesn’t seem fair, however, for Christian Scientists to pay into a health care system that does not provide the type of care they have used throughout their lives — prayer and Christian Science practitioners and nurses.

“For this reason, it made sense for me to go to D.C., contrary to what would appear sensical from my self-description above. I had this wonderful opportunity to be a voice in a legislative issue directly affecting me, and I also could take the time to learn more of what Congress is all about.

“What I saw there was — don’t fall out of your chair — encouraging.

“By working with the Christian Science Committee on Publication to find a solution to the lack of provision for Christian Scientists in the ACA, I met people at every stage of the game: constituents, lobbyists, many staffers, and even some Congressmen. With most of these individuals, when myself and my colleagues took the time to explain our issue in a face-to-face conversation, something amazing happened: people not only listened from both sides of the aisle, but heard us, and helped us move forward on our legislative efforts.

“While Christian Scientists do not yet have a solution to the lack of a provision under the ACA, we have taken the first and most important step. By considering all the ways to be included in or excluded from the new health care law, Christian Scientists have learned how to be part of the political process, building relationships and becoming a respected presence on Capitol Hill. We have allowed our voices to be heard, and though the things we say may be quite different, they matter. Our health care needs, like everyone else’s, matter.

“When individuals become people and not just numbers, individuals’ needs are much easier to recognize, and address. Sure, there are over 300 million people in our country, each of whom has singular needs, but the more voices behind those collective needs that can be heard, the better. The only way you can address a problem is if you know about it — if you hear about it — first.

“Which is why we shouldn’t all just throw our hands up and say, ‘Well, to hell with it,’ about Congress, about the ACA, about anything. The purpose behind the ACA, after all, is to provide for everyone’s needs. The implementation may not be perfect (let’s be honest, right now it may be only barely functional), but like someone new to parenting, it’ll get better, it’ll become more effective. And eventually, akin to the weathered and dependable parents like my own, our health care system will find a way to provide for as many needs as it can, and for the ones it can’t, we’ll have been given the tools to figure it out.

“Elodie Reed, originally of Bow, now lives in Harrisville. She is a reporter for the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript, covering the towns of Dublin, Jaffrey and Rindge.”

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