My mother believed in introducing me to different churches and teachings. Growing up, I attended a Protestant Sunday School of one denomination, and went to a parochial school during the week of yet another denomination, where we had a Bible class each day. So, from a young age, I was a follower of Christ Jesus. But what it means to follow in Jesus’ way has shifted for me significantly since I began studying Christian Science.
As a child, my sense of Jesus was as a personal Savior who had brokered my salvation through dying on a cross and washing away my sins. If I just believed enough in him and what he did for mankind, Jesus would save me and wash me clean of my sins. But over the past two decades since I began to study and practice Christian Science, I’ve come to love the concept of Christ Jesus as the Way-shower. The Christ aspect of Christ Jesus (his spiritual identity) is a living presence throughout all ages that shows each of us the way to demonstrate the healing power of God here and now. And the concept of Way-shower resonates deeply with me and provides the standard to follow in my life. The Christ shows each of us, today, the way to live based on the way Jesus lived and taught a life of love and healing. So we’re not relying on him to do everything for us, but to “save us” by showing us the way to live these precepts ourselves.
When I recently began studying more deeply this concept of Way-shower, I assumed it was another name for Jesus found in the Bible. He is referred to by so many different names or descriptions throughout the Bible, such as Messiah, Savior, Wonderful, Counsellor, Immanuel, Son of God, Prince of Peace, and the light of the world, just to name some. These descriptive names and titles illustrate his role and what his presence meant and continues to mean for the world. Yet the Bible does not use the name Way-shower to refer to Christ Jesus. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, and a meticulous wordsmith, referred to Christ Jesus as the Way-shower 15 times in her published writings and even included this title in one of the Tenets of her church.
It reminds me of Jesus’ own words as found in the book of John in the Bible: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (14:6). He knew the way to God, Truth, and Life, and he wanted us to follow him. Throughout his time on earth, he was able to prove his oneness with the Father through his demonstrations of healing various diseases, including cleansing lepers, raising the dead, and casting out devils. He expected his followers to do these works also (see John 14:12)—not only the early Christians, but modern-day Christians as well—to heal in his name. That includes you and me!
I remember feeling this healing touch in my early years when I would read the Bible every morning and night. In first grade, I was given a copy of The Way Bible by my school teacher, and it was my favorite Bible for many years. I would copy out citations on the extra pages at the front and back. These important ideas were like a road map that guided me as I navigated turbulent high school years and a break-up of my family and home. Now, as a student of Christian Science, I continue to learn that the way of Jesus introduced to me by my childhood Bible and then elucidated by the teachings of Mary Baker Eddy is the only way I desire to live. We can safely follow this way and trust it for true happiness and freedom.
When my husband and I raised our four children in four different African countries over 25 years, our family experienced numerous healings through practicing Christian Science. These include healings throughout pregnancy and childbirth; healings of hepatitis, cancer, malaria, a broken bone, childhood illnesses, dysentery, and food poisoning; and safety in a war zone, during dangerous travel on roads, and in a shoot-out. In each case it was recognizing the ever-presence of the Christ that brought healing and protection.
Mary Baker Eddy’s use of Way-shower aptly elucidates what the way of the Christ makes possible for us today. It points out the way to live a life in and of God, and welcomes the Christ presence to our consciousness, which results in healing. Eddy had grown up as a devout student of the Bible and later immersed herself in scriptural study, which led to God’s revelation to her of the ever-present healing Christ, Truth. This illuminated Christ Jesus as the Way-shower to demonstrating this healing presence, as brought out in the following tenet of Christian Science: “We acknowledge Jesus’ atonement as the evidence of divine, efficacious Love, unfolding man’s unity with God through Christ Jesus the Way-shower; and we acknowledge that man is saved through Christ, through Truth, Life, and Love as demonstrated by the Galilean Prophet in healing the sick and overcoming sin and death” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 497).
It could be posited that Christ Jesus’ way introduced the biggest paradigm shift for humanity in the history of time.
The title of Way-shower describes the purpose of Jesus’ 33 years walking among people, showing and demonstrating the standard to live by, rooted in his most famous of all sermons, known as the Sermon on the Mount (see Matthew, chapters 5–7), which includes the Beatitudes. The Beatitudes (such as “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled”) could be described as the “attitudes” to have in order to live the way that Jesus laid out for us.
Also, Jesus’ many parables and actions were instructional lessons for all times and ages and for all people wanting to follow in his footsteps. These stories and accounts have endured for thousands of years. As Christians, we are modern-day disciples and students of Christ Jesus, the Way-shower, when we study his lessons and strive to follow his way.
Christian Science explains how the way he exemplified was so radically different compared to what had been considered the standard up until his appearance on earth. It could be posited that his way introduced the biggest paradigm shift for humanity in the history of time. Moses had been given the Ten Commandments by God some 1,400 years earlier. Jesus deepened the importance of having only one God by emphasizing the most important ingredient that underlies all ten of those commandments—love. He reiterated that we are to love God with all our heart, and he introduced to the world an overarching commandment with these words: “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13:34, 35, New Living Translation). This set a new standard for Christians (and others) for the next 2,000 years and beyond. The way would now be based on the love he showed the world and would be the ultimate instruction for all to follow.
Jesus’ disciple John emphasized that “God is love” (I John 4:8).
And in her Message to The Mother Church for 1902, Mary Baker Eddy indicated that the idea of God as Love makes Christianity clear and commands us to love as Jesus loved. She expounded: “No person can heal or reform mankind unless he is actuated by love and good will towards men. The coincidence between the law and the gospel, between the old and the new commandment, confirms the fact that God and Love are one. The spiritually minded are inspired with tenderness, Truth, and Love. The life of Christ Jesus, his words and his deeds, demonstrate Love. We have no evidence of being Christian Scientists except we possess this inspiration, and its power to heal and to save” (p. 8).
As a Christian Scientist, one who practices the Science (the divine laws) of the Christ, I have come to realize that I am practicing the new commandment. It’s the action of the Christ as exemplified by the Way-shower, to love one another as Jesus loved us—to let our lives attest the way by following Jesus’ teachings and living the new commandment. Eddy said, “True prayer is not asking God for love; it is learning to love, and to include all mankind in one affection. Prayer is the utilization of the love wherewith He loves us” (No and Yes, p. 39). This is the way we are to conduct our lives. It is our actual reason for being, as God made each of us to love one another, and to learn to love in the way that Christ Jesus taught us by his example.
One thing for sure is that this love we are to love one another with is not humanly generated. It is ours through reflection of divine Love as Love’s spiritual ideas, created in the image and likeness of God. That God is Love is the nexus of Christian Science. The Science of the Christ is really the Science of Love, because the Christ is like a “beam of living Love” (Mary Baker Eddy, Poems, p. 29).
Today, we can individually strive to live the way Christ Jesus exemplified. It is my daily prayer to follow the Way-shower in my public practice of Christian Science healing. What motivates me is my love for God and for others, and the desire to live the “new commandment” as best as I can. I feel privileged to witness healings and demonstrations of the ever-presence of the Christ in people’s lives, and in my own life. While popular thinking may claim that this type of healing in Jesus’ way and in his name was only for those early Christians thousands of years ago, I can honestly attest through my personal experiences and those of others, that healing does take place every day, here and now, through following the way of the Christ. We can all rejoice in this present fact!
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