Keep on Course Through Winds of Change

Keep on Course Through Winds of Change

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By Susan Spears from Costa Mesa, California

I found myself looking out the window yesterday and there is a tree at the level of our third floor window that was vigorously dancing in the wind – an unusual occurrence here in Southern California. It was beautiful to watch – with flashes of silver from the undersides of the leaves and hints of red from the new growth.Continue Reading

If It Heals You Does It Need to Be Measured?

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In his Huffington Post piece my colleague and health writer Tony Lobl ponders an interesting point – If you cannot measure it, does it exist – and considers important “immeasurables” like spiritual healing experiences. He begins with what Dr. Brené Brown has to say.

“If you cannot measure it, it doesn’t exist,” Brené Brown was told by a research professor when still an aspiring PhD student.Continue Reading

Lives Lived: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Healed Through Prayer

by Don Ingwerson

Here is another great example of the power of prayer. Meet Hilary. She was diagnosed with M.E. disease (chronic fatigue syndrome) and couldn’t find a medical solution. She later accepted a Christian Science practitioner’s offer to pray for her, and within months she recovered fully. Lives Lived videos can be found on the christianscience.com website.

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The Practicality of Prayer

The Practicality of Prayer

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A guest post written by Graham Bothwell from La Cañada Flintridge, California

We live in a world where we face an onslaught of observations and conclusions based on scientific and engineering research. It’s easy to be convinced that life is entirely organic and physical; that our health is governed primarily by physiological and environmental conditions; that prayer is of little or no value in most circumstances — or perhaps prayer might be appealed to as a last resort.

On the other hand, numerous people have discovered that prayer is a good day-by-day tool for maintaining health. Each one of us has a purely spiritual side, which truly governs us; we can think of prayer as aligning our thought with what is spiritually true about ourselves.

For example, it’s generally accepted that contagious illnesses spread between people when the relevant conditions of exposure are present. On more than one occasion I’ve avoided such situations effectively. What comes to mind is a number of instances in my place of work where multiple staff members were absent because of a widespread illness, and people were speculating about who might get it next.

I started to feel the symptoms myself, but quickly recognized what was happening, and turned my thought firmly to understand that divine Life, or God, the infinite good that knows nothing unlike Himself, is the Creator of my life. With this realization, the symptoms dissolved, and I was able to continue with my work, unafraid and safe, interacting normally with others in the office.

In those instances, what I experienced was unlikely to be mere positive thinking; it certainly wasn’t just the immune system doing its job; and I doubt that one can reliably say things would have happened in that manner anyway, — multiple experiences of this kind indicate a pattern of specific response to prayer.

The late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century pioneer of spiritual healing, Mary Baker Eddy, was pointed in her conclusion about the mental causation of physical effects. When asked by the New York Herald about her approach to contagion, her response was, “If I harbored that idea about a disease, I should think myself in danger of catching it.” She held an unambiguous, spiritual viewpoint associated with her extensive work in curing many forms of illness.

It’s encouraging today to see so many people convinced that their health is not necessarily dependent upon physiological explanations and treatments, and that there are other approaches available to provide a sound basis for stable, healthy, life experiences.

Listen to an Audio Chat: A Spiritual Approach to Health Care

Listen to an Audio Chat: A Spiritual Approach to Health Care

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Gary Jones, Christian Science practitioner, teacher, and Manager of the Federal Office for the Committee on Publication in Washington, DC, answers questions about turning to a spiritual approach to health care – which was exemplified by Christ Jesus healing multitudes, and by Mary Baker Eddy, who wrote Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, which opened the door of health and healing to millions who read it and practice what it teaches.

To listen to this chat, click here: mp3

To find this audio page on JSH online, click here: Health care: a spiritual approach

 

 

Absolute Faith vs Blind Belief

college kids

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A guest post written by Donna Clifton from Whittier, California.

I vividly remember the first time someone made a disparaging remark to me about the power of prayer to heal. Having been raised as a Christian Scientist, I was used to turning to God in prayer whenever a healing was needed. I took it for granted that my prayers—and those of my parents—would always be effective. As a child, long before I understood much about God’s law that governs us all, I simply trusted that because God is all-good, all powerful, and all-loving, healing would always result from my prayers.

So I was taken by surprise that day when someone I scarcely knew made a sarcastic comment to me about praying for healing. I was a freshman in college and had been planning to go somewhere with a group of friends but at the last minute declined because of a severe headache. A friend in the group who knew I was a Christian Scientist informed the others that I wouldn’t be going with them because I need to stay behind to pray for a healing.

Immediately one of the young men in the group that I had just met spoke up and said, “Well, pray hard!” in a very sarcastic voice. Several of the others laughed at his remark. I didn’t reply, not knowing what to say just then. But I did get healed through prayer that day, just as I had many times before.

Why is it so difficult for some to believe that prayer heals? I think it’s because 1) they don’t know what prayer is, 2) they have been taught that healing results from medical treatment, and 3) they don’t understand that “God is a very present help in trouble” as the Bible states (Psalms 46:1). Christian Scientists have learned that they can certainly trust God, not only with physical problems, but also with any problems that need healing – relationships, employment, bad habits, etc. We also know that it isn’t blind belief that heals. Neither is it repetition of words nor any “magic” phrases that bring healing.

In her book, Science & Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy describes prayer as an “absolute faith that all things are possible to God, —a spiritual understanding of Him, an unselfed love.” (S&H 1:2) She distinguishes between absolute faith that is based on an understanding of God’s power to heal and “mere belief” (or blind belief) which denotes no understanding and is not a reliable means of healing.

As a young child, I could put my faith in God through simple trust in His goodness and omnipotence. But as I grew older, I realized that I needed a deeper understanding of God’s healing power. And as I gain this understanding day by day, I continue to have healings. Once after a long cross-country flight, I again faced a debilitating headache that prevented me from even sitting up or eating anything. I asked my sister to read to me from Science & Health, and while I listened, I acquired a better understanding of how God’s law governs me and everyone, and that my health is not precarious.

Suddenly the headache was gone, and I felt strong and completely well. The healing was so instantaneous that it was as if a light switch had been flicked on and light flooded the room, vanquishing the darkness. I realized that listening for messages of healing and accepting them was a form of prayer, and that was what healed me.

This kind of prayer is based on the spiritual understanding of God’s healing power and of our true spiritual nature. And this understanding leads to healing.

Now that I’m wiser about how prayer heals, if I were to meet up with the same guy whose sarcasm had disconcerted me that day in college, I would reassure him that prayer really does heal, and that I am a living testament to that fact. Spiritual healing is the proof of God’s healing power.

Article originally published January 29, 2013

Giving Thanks

Giving Thanks

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A guest post written by B. B. Prest from San Diego, California.

Ready for that turkey dinner this year? And what about giving thanks – will that be on the menu? For many of us it will be. But for others, it may not.

In thinking about giving thanks, I am reminded of the Biblical account from Luke about the ten lepers who were healed, and Christ Jesus’ question to the one (a Samaritan) who returned to give thanks, “Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?”

Good question.

How sad it would be to be counted as one of the “nine” who never returned to give thanks. Let’s face it; this is Christ Jesus we’re talking about.

This passage ties healing to faith and gratitude, according to J. R. Dummelow’s Bible Commentary. Christ Jesus never speaks of healing, but instructs the lepers to “go show themselves to the priests.” Their obedience and faith become instrumental to their healing. And although the nine did not return, I’m sure they were grateful that they were healed. But the Samaritan’s gratitude seemed to exceed that of the others. He took action. He returned. Not just to give thanks to Christ Jesus, but to acknowledge God.

It’s no coincidence that in the next passage the Pharisees question when the Kingdom of God should come. Jesus answers that it does not come with observation, neither “here” nor “there,” but is “within you;” that the Kingdom of God is a spiritual power and source of good already at work in our lives, not simply a physical location, object, or circumstance.

Celebrating Thanksgiving before Christmas and New Year’s seems so fitting and parallels this account and its surrounding passages. It reminds us that faith and gratitude to God can result in blessings and new beginnings in our lives. A faith that can realize the impossible, and gratitude that recognizes the good already present within us, based on our spiritual relationship to God as His expression.

Mary Baker Eddy speaks of this in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “Are we really grateful for the good already received? Then we shall avail ourselves of the blessings we have, and thus be fitted to receive more.” And on November 29, 1900, when asked by the Boston Globe for a sentiment as to what Thanksgiving should signify, Eddy replied that “divine Love, impartial and universal, as understood in divine Science, forms the coincidence of the human and divine, which fulfils the saying of our great Master, ‘The kingdom of God is within you;’”

So this holiday season, before we open that holiday gift or draft up our New Year’s resolutions, let’s first give gratitude for and have faith in God’s ever-present source of goodness and grace already in our lives, our families’ lives, our communities, and our country. Not only will we have a fulfilling Thanksgiving, but we’ll also experience the true meaning of giving and receiving this Christmas, and realize a spiritual sense of renewal for the coming New Year.

Now that’s something to give thanks about. Happy thanks giving!

Article previously published November 20, 2012

Tenderness and Healing

Tenderness and Healing

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Models used for illustrative purposes

Guest post written by Stewart Moses

One of the best known healings performed by Jesus Christ in the New Testament is the recovery of a young girl from a mortal illness.  The version of this act in the Gospel of Mark is particularly vivid. The local religious leader, Jairus, is desperate to have Jesus come and heal his daughter, but Jesus is delayed while healing a woman suffering from a hemorrhage of long duration. In the meantime a messenger comes and informs Jairus that his daughter has died and he should not bother Jesus anymore.

But Jesus insists on proceeding to Jairus’ house and is met by a scene of tumultuous grief and despair.  Jesus tries to reassure the household that the girl is not in reality dead, but they misunderstand him and find his remarks offensive. The grieving people heap scorn on Jesus, who is then forced to order them out of the house.

Accompanied by his disciples and the girl’s parents, he enters the place where the child’s body is lying. This is how the King James Version of the Gospel of Mark (5:41) describes what followed:

“And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise.”

Mark then reports that she arose and walked to the astonishment of everyone — except, we assume, Jesus. Personally, I have read and heard this healing many, many times and find it quite moving. But I recently learned something new about Mark’s account that got me thinking about the nature of healing.

The primary language of Mark’s Gospel is Greek and that is the language that is translated into English in the King James New Testament. However, here Mark includes a phrase in a different language. “Talitha cumi” is Aramaic, the common language in use in the place and at the time of Jesus. So Mark is very likely giving us Jesus’ exact words. To help readers not familiar with Aramaic, Mark also provides a translation in Greek.

But I recently learned that “talitha”, the word translated as “damsel,” can be translated more accurately from the Aramaic as “little lamb.” To me this made Jesus’ words more than an authoritative command; it made them tender and gentle. Mark informs us that the girl was twelve years old, by the customs of her community on the verge of womanhood.  Jesus is talking to her as a loving father, uncle, or older brother would.

Isn’t this what we all are looking for in times of sickness or distress? We want a cure, but we also want comfort, tenderness, and compassion. Jesus is showing us that these are part of spiritual healing.

Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, sought to understand and practice Jesus’ method of healing, and concluded that the power to heal came from God’s love, which she called Divine Love in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. For example, on page 367 she provides the following advice to spiritual healers:

“The tender word and Christian encouragement of an invalid, pitiful patience with his fears and the removal of them, are better than hecatombs of gushing theories, stereotyped borrowed speeches, and the doling of arguments, which are but so many parodies on legitimate Christian Science, aflame with Divine Love.”

What she is saying, in the language of her day, is that we need tenderness, patience, and comfort to heal spiritually, just as Jesus demonstrated. This is not just human affection, but an expression of the spiritual Love that God gives His children, us. Jesus showed us that this Love is more powerful than even death, and Mrs. Eddy showed us that it is still available for healing here and now.