Q: For fifty years I’ve been trying to figure this out: If we are spiritual, and not material, why do we experience and appreciate things like good food and beautiful weather? Aren’t these material things as unreal as the error of fear and sickness? A: Well, my friend, I can’t say that after fifty years I suddenly have the right words for you! But here are some thoughts that you might add to what, no doubt, will eventually become a full and satisfying answer. You may not realize your question touches on issues that have to do with the very fabric of life—of all we believe to be true about matter, substance, creation, even reality itself.
Q: What is the difference between human goodness and divine goodness? Does not human goodness have its source in the divine? Editor’s note: The question refers to a statement in the lead article “ The Christmas season or Christmas—which shall it be? ” in the December 2015 issue of the Journal. The author responds as follows.
Q: How can we express our God-given dominion and joy when we are going through a phase of feeling deeply betrayed or rejected by someone we love? A: I love the fact that the way this question has been framed suggests the key to its answer: “our God-given dominion and joy. ” Betrayal or rejection by someone we love is a difficulty we may all face, at least in some modest way, but it offers the opportunity to embrace that person and even ourselves in a more spiritual light that leads to healing.
Q: How can I get rid of a deep sense of shame and guilt about what was done to me and what I’ve done to others? Basically, how can I be reborn and find the real me? A: Your question reminds me of a brief but meaningful question and answer given by Mary Baker Eddy: “How shall we reach our true selves? Through Love” ( Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 104 ).
Q: Does God have your soul mate planned out for you? If so, how do you find him/her? It seems that some people are just fortunate enough to find someone with whom they share a mutual attraction and love. A: We might think that finding the right marriage partner was a haphazard undertaking if all we had to go on was the famous song Snow White sings in the Disney movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Q: I have never felt that I really belonged or found my right place in this world. I suffer from a sense of unworthiness, and yet I am very talented and have a lot to share.
Q: When it comes to following Christ Jesus, sometimes I think I must be a “tough cookie” because I’m so rebellious! How can I do a better job at being obedient to what Jesus taught? A: Journal readers join you, dear friend, in being alert to this tendency in ourselves, and we’re grateful for your honesty in asking this question. What I love about the Science of Christ—which Jesus demonstrated for us—is that the saving law of God cannot forever be ignored.
Q: I know in Christian Science it’s God that does the healing, but sometimes that truth gets lost in the fear that someone is in pain and needs help—and as a Christian Science practitioner I’m supposed to have the “magic bullet,” the specific understanding of truth, that will help them. How can I pray about this? A: As a practitioner, if a case seems fraught with fear, I sometimes turn to this passage from Isaiah: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” ( 41:10 ).
Q: If a friend were going into the hospital for medical treatment and posted a request for prayer on Facebook, how would you—a Christian Scientist—respond? A: I hope, as a Christian Scientist: with unconditional love and prayer that affirms God’s presence and power. The questioner may be concerned about the ethics of giving Christian Science treatment (essentially, taking someone on as a patient) unsolicited.
Q: Why does it take so long to reach the stage in my practice of Christian Science where I am regularly asked by others to pray for them? I would love to help people this way. A: Christ Jesus guides all who want to practice Christian Science more widely with his words, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” ( John 12:32 ).