Friday, May 29, 2015

One Lie

                                                            By John Wellsman

                                             (John is a life-long Christian Scientist and he
                                                             lives in Arizona.)

        It has been reported that Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of the Christian Science religion--much as did Christ Jesus--taught her students and followers important lessons with apparently simple analogies and parables.  For example Mrs. Eddy reportedly once asked one of her household workers something like this:  "If you had a beautiful piece of jewelry pinned to your dress and went before the mirror, that jewelry would be visible in the reflection, wouldn't it?  And if that jewelry was pinned to your dress, it would be impossible to remove it from the reflection wouldn't it?"  We Knew Mary Baker Eddy, Third Series p. 71)  Of course the worker agreed with her. However Mrs. Eddy continued penetratingly: "Are you perfectly clear about that?" indicating she felt this point required deeper thought than most would give it.  Many overtly simple examples are like that.

        For instance, the commonly used statement of 2x2=4 as a demonstrable and provable truth versus the untrue 2x2=5 lie (any untruth uttered, is in fact a lie regardless of motive) can provide much food for thought.  An experienced Christian Scientist once brought that home to me by pointing out that while 2x2=4 is the truth, if someone claims 2x2=3 or 2x2=6 or anything else they are actually speaking lies.  Moreover he continued, all such statements are in fact the same lie. Admittedly this took more than a little mental juggling on my part.

        It was perfectly clear that all of these statements were untrue or, in fact, lies.  However initially my thought was distracted by the obvious claim that the statement 2x2=3 is clearly not the same as 2x2=5 so how could these be the same lie?  Different numbers had to be different lies.  Obviously deeper thought was required.  Starting back with the true statement, 2x2=4, I pondered how these apparently different statements could be one and same lie.  Suddenly it dawned on me that while these different statements were in fact lies, they were THE lie in this case.  In fact the ONLY lie about 2x2=4 is something that says 2x2 is NOT 4.  Therefore THE LIE or one lie, in this case is ANY statement that 2x2 is not 4 regardless of how they are presented.  Simple, yet with profound applications to the practice of Christian Science.

        To heal most quickly and effectively in Christian Science it is necessary to directly address the lie behind what claims to be the problem.  Otherwise one is just lopping off the branches of the claim and leaving the root untouched.

        Suppose, for example, one were struggling with a claim of disease.  It would not matter whether that claim presented itself as a "common" cold, an infection or a case of heart trouble or even cancer. The actual lie to be handled was and is always the suggestion (and the lie always presents itself first as a suggestion) that there can be anything unlike God, good, the perfect principle of man.  See this fact (truth) with spiritual understanding and the symptoms--whatever they claim to be--must disappear.

        Why?  Because as Mrs. Eddy showed her student in the above example, it is impossible for the reflection in the mirror to differ from the original standing before the mirror.  In the Christian Science Textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (p. 515:30) she explains it this way:

"Your mirrored reflection is your own image or likeness.  If you lift a weight, your reflection does this also.  If you speak, the lips of this likeness move in accord with yours.  Now compare man before the mirror to his divine Principle, God.  Call the mirror divine Science, and call man the reflection. Then note how true, according to Christian Science, is the reflection to its original.  As the reflection of yourself appears in the mirror, so you, being spiritual, are the reflection of God."

        This was demonstrated to me a number of years ago when a serious accident threatened to prevent me from performing an important function.  Almost immediately as the accident still claimed to be in progress the suggestion came that this would prevent me from participating in this most important task the very next day.  Immediately this was recognized for what it was: an attempt to disrupt the next day's events.  Instantly I shouted out a very vigorous, "NO!" in rejection of the suggestion. Not in rejection of any claim of accident, pain or injury, but in rejection of the suggestion that the harmony and effectiveness of the upcoming event could be in any way disrupted.  The lie in this case was not the accident, injury or pain but the suggestion that anything could disrupt this upcoming event. As my wife and I prayed we did not refute claims of pain, injury or disfigurement but merely rejoiced in God's ever-present protection from all harm.  It was clear that this lie of disruption could not take the form of an accident or injury.  Very quickly in the next few hours all evidence of an injurious accident disappeared completely.  The next day I was able to perform the needed activity without anyone other than my wife knowing there had been even been a claim of an untoward event.

        In the years since this healing, I have continued to ponder the effectiveness of discerning the lie behind the apparent situation.  Mrs. Eddy speaks of this activity thus:

"When the illusion of sickness or sin tempts you, cling steadfastly to God and His idea.  Allow nothing but His likeness to abide in your thought.  Let neither fear nor doubt overshadow your clear sense and calm trust, that the recognition of life harmonious--as Life eternally is--can destroy any painful sense of, or belief in, that which Life is not.  Let Christian Science, instead of corporeal sense, support your understanding of being, and this understanding will supplant error with Truth, replace mortality with immortality, and silence discord with harmony."  (S&H p. 495:14).

        Thus as we cling steadfastly to the true idea and our likeness to God, we are able to see not only the truth but also discern the lie that would claim to obscure that perfect reflection.  We can see that the beautiful jewel that is our perfect being in God cannot be removed from the reflection--us.




Thursday, May 21, 2015

Why Pray in Secret?

                                                       By John Robert Howell

        Each of us has always existed in the eternal now as God's perfect and harmonious idea.  The extent to which this is not being realized and expressed is the extent to which sin and aggressive mental suggestion occupy thought.  Through prayer, the righteous overcome sin and its attendant demons of fear, disease, and death.

        Christ Jesus and Mary Baker Eddy admonish us to enter our (mental) closet, close the door, and pray to our Father in secret.  The door, we are told, shuts out sin:  sinful sense, the physical senses, the erring senses, the material senses (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures 15: 4, 7, l0, 16). Those false senses, facets of personal sense, blind us to everpresent God.  The door must be shut, not just pulled to, since being even slightly ajar will allow sin and false beliefs, which can never perceive God, to enter.  Then prayer becomes a wrangle with error instead of a communion with God, and tussling with error can have the effect of making its claims appear more real and formidable. In that event what was intended to be standing in God's healing and uplifting presence devolves into a kind of mad hatter's tea party.

        It is more important that our prayer be a knowing of Truth than a denial of error.  We cannot permit sin to enter the closet with us to be purged there from our thinking.  The closet is not a portal, like the storied magic wardrobe, through which one passes into some enchanted kingdom.

        Why must we pray in secret?  Secret is being used in the sense of unseen, private, removed from sight.  "The Student's Reference Dictionary" gives this inspired definition of secret:  "Known to God only".  Daily growth in grace will enable us to pray more effectually, but the specific steps each of us takes will of necessary be the result of individual spiritual unfoldment.  Then we shall not just read,  but know, "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High [abides] under the shadow of the Almighty."

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

"How Come You're a Christian Scientist?"...

        ...someone recently wanted to know. Believe me, I wouldn't be if it didn't "work" as some people might put it.  It works for me, and has all these years.

        Why would anyone stay with Christian Science if it didn't deliver benefits not obtainable elsewhere?  Common sense tells one that we are receiving help from our religion or we wouldn't still be its grateful followers.  That I have it to turn to in every conceivable circumstance is a joy for me. This is why I feel privileged to be able to speak up for the effectiveness of Christian Science whenever asked. I can never thank God enough for Mary Baker Eddy's discovery of Christ Jesus' healing method.

        Many people think of the healing of physical ills alone with they hear the words "Christian Science". While healing is actually the lesser part of my religion, healing of physical challenges has proved to be a stepping-stone for thousands to a higher understanding of our loving, heavenly Father who as Psalms puts it, "healeth all thy diseases."  But what I'm most indebted to it for is being drawn closer to God, for understanding Him better, for knowing more about the divine laws my dear Master knew.

        This is why I'm a Christian Scientist.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Safe - Wherever We Are

        Just ran across some beautiful words in the Old Testament, to keep in thought today,
tomorrow, and always.  Isaiah has our heavenly loving Father saying, "I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand."  (51:16)

        To think that wherever we go in a given day, whatever we may be doing, we're completely, constantly out of harm's way.

        Do you believe this applies to you?  Well, do you?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Presenting Christian Science, Not Debating It

        Having just been contacted about speaking on a national radio program on Christian Science healing with an individual who holds a decidedly opposite viewpoint, it may be helpful to any others who would want to have me on a similar program to learn my thoughts on such.

        It is always a joy for me to speak up for what God can do for us through the spiritual understanding of His laws that my religion makes available, Sharing some of the healings I have experienced through Christian Science is a privilege.  However, I have learned through the years that discussions with those who minds are closed, profits nothing. And one can quickly discern what the underlying motive is when someone asks about my religious beliefs.  If the individual is honestly interested in the subject, and wants to know how they, too, can benefit from what Christian Science has to offer, then let the talking begin, I say.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Practicing Christian Science

                                                        John Robert Howell

        At times of need, many Christian Scientists turn to the chapter "Christian Science Practice" in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures faster than a hungry dog to a favorite buried bone, and for good reasons.  How many of us, however, return to the same few well-chosen pages for a deeper understanding of how to demonstrate divine Science?  There will come a time--and probably sooner than we might wish--when we  need t begin chewing on all of it, the whole chapter, and not just those comfy pages we like best.

        For some the trial on pages 430 - 442 may smack too much of boiled mustard greens to be engaging, but people have been healed by gaining a more inspired grasp of it.  It is saturated with important and some might add, subtle points.  Mrs. Eddy presents a "mental case", as mental as a case of insanity, which it is at bottom.  A temptation could be to view the trial as just an example of how a physical problem--in this instance "liver complaint--is met and the physical body returned to its normal functioning.  Yes, on one level it is that, but since disease can only exist in some false belief of one's personal sense, he needs to begin understanding that matter, nothingness ,can never be well or ill and therefore never really healed of anything.  We possess a body, but it is not a physical something.

        Another aspect of the trial worth noting is that it is the healing of a "Mortal Man" who felt ill in the course of doing good for a friend. Could this imply that a condition for healing or continued healing is to be always doing good for one's fellow man?  Mrs. Eddy certainly chose the scenario and every detail of the trial carefully.  This query may have a partial answer in the statement and two questions in the chapter "Prayer" (S&H 9:5-11).  Does it not appear that the only way for us to consistently express and demonstrate our God-given health and harmony is first to see and love our neighbor as His flawless reflection?

        The above is by no means an attempt to present a definitive statement, or even more than a well-meant first thought on the trial, but nothing in Science and Health should go unpondered and certainly not the trial.  One would not exhaust its message with fifty prayerful readings.  It, like all of our textbook is a wellspring of inspiration, and we need all of it in order to attain and continue in harmony and health.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Freedom From Fearing Disease

        People who take as Gospel media predictions of disease do not have to live with the fear of "Will I be  next?"  TV ads for drugs and pills can be especially vicious.  The intent may well be to save consumers' health, but in many cases it appears the motivation is to cause fear and create a demand for the product they're pushing.

        Fortunately, no one has to live with such tormenting worry.  There is a way not only to eliminate fear of these maladies but to prevent them from occurring.  Through the study and application of Christian Science, one may learn to defend oneself from disease and suffering.  The Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, written by Mary Baker Eddy, contains many things one can do mentally, prayerfully, to safeguard his physical harmony.  For example, it tells us:  "Stand porter at the door of thought.  Admitting only such conclusions as you wish realized in bodily results, you will control yourself harmoniously.  When the condition is present which you say induces disease, whether it be air, exercise, heredity, contagion. or accident, then perform your office as porter and shut out these unhealthy thoughts and fears.  Exclude from mortal mind the offending errors; then the body cannot suffer from them."

        The Bible speaks of the all-power of God, Spirit.  It tells of men and women through the ages who have proved God's uplifting and protective power.  One of the many passages in the Scriptures that offer a way out of worry is this one from Psalms:  "In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me."

        To overcome fear is not to ignore disease but to undermine its very foundation.  Many are mastering fear and the discord associated with it through applying the liberating, strengthening, spiritual truth found in Christ Jesus' teachings and works.  The Maser understood fully the inseparability of man from God.  He knew that man is God's child, eternally safe in Him.  Discerning something of our real being as God's spiritual image, and expressing the purity that characterizes that being, we can come to feel the assurance of His care.  We can prove for ourselves that true immunity from disease and abiding peace of mind are found in the consciousness of God's omnipresence and perfect control.

        You and I as actually created in the likeness of Spirit, are not fleshly mortals at the mercy of whatever disease happens to be prevalent, not helpless before it.  God's child can never, even for a moment, be deprived of God's care, never robbed of his God-provided spiritual well-being.

        Everyone has the right to live without fear of becoming ill.  Yet Jesus emphasized the effect of what we entertain in thought.  He said:  "Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man...Those things which proceed out of mouth come forth from the heart."

        Understanding that thought affects every aspect of daily life, we realize the necessity of purifying our thoughts, of bringing them into harmony with the spiritual, perfect model of man as created by God.  Sickness, incapacity, suffering are not the immovable, objective realities they seem to be but are false states of thought that can be healed through prayer.

        Because you and I are actually the offspring of infinite, harmonious Spirit, and we include only those qualities Spirit imparts--health, joy, peace, dominion--the suffering and fear that may seem so challenging have no genuine power over us.  They are misconceptions, false human beliefs, not actually, God-created conditions.  And being misconceptions, they can be corrected through prayer, with the truth of man's inseparable relationship to God, of his uninterruptible well-being as God's own likeness.

        The Old Testament counsels us, "Be not afraid of sudden fear..."  No person needs to dread being overpowered  by some disease. The determining factor in each one's well-being is what he understands of his unity with God.  Equipped with the understanding of God's supreme government of all His creation and our uninvadable wholeness as His beloved child, we have a divine right to go about our daily lives without fear of getting sick.