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God's presence—35,000 feet up

From The Christian Science Journal - January 23, 2013


On a flight overseas to take the two-week course in Christian Science Primary class instruction, meal service had just begun. The flight attendant was asking me what I’d like to drink when a woman a couple of rows over—in the middle section of the plane—exclaimed, “I need your help!” She was urgently requesting the assistance of the flight attendant, as her husband, seated next to her, was unconscious. 

From my vantage point, as I took an instinctive glance across the aisle, the situation seemed dire. As the flight attendant quickly responded by asking if there was a doctor onboard, God’s angel voice said peacefully to my thought, “I AM here, dear child.” 

I declared three simple, absolute truths with deep conviction:

  • God is Life.
  • God is the only power.
  • God is in absolute control.

I knew that God was right there. For eternity—and in that moment. Less than a minute later, I heard the man’s wife exclaim, “He’s awake now!” Shortly, a nurse and a doctor traveling on the flight came to assist him, going through routine questions and procedures. Things had returned to “normal,” and they were simply doing what they felt was best to ensure he was in good condition. Eventually the doctor had the man stand and walk the length of the plane. I caught a glimpse of his face as he returned to his seat—he was smiling.

Although I was on my way to take class instruction, I had already decided to devote my life to the full-time practice of Christian Science, so it was instinctive for me to apply the laws of God, which I know are absolute. When I am not asked to give specific treatment to others, the metaphysical declaration that God is always present, always active, brings clarity to me on a daily basis.

As Christian Scientists we are all healers, and understanding the exclusive reality of spiritual good, we have a precious role to play. When faced with any testimony that tries to claim God’s absence—that we or anyone else is alone in an hour of need—each one of us has the power to reverse this imposition on thought—and claim harmony. This was so important to me that day, because it affirmed that being in an airplane over the Pacific Ocean did not mean separation from harmony or a healing solution.

Being in an airplane over the Pacific Ocean did not mean separation from harmony or a healing solution.

It is God who creates, manifests, and maintains our being. We have no individual responsibility to create that good—but we do have the charge to acknowledge what is already true. Especially when that truth seems to be covered by a blanket of lies the five physical senses are trying to tell us.

I knew from past experience that continuing to fixate on the passenger’s condition wouldn’t do any good. In fact, it would only make me an audience to the lie—and mesmerized by it. So I chose to turn away, not in disregard of the need, but in response to it.

Human compassion may naturally lead us to assist on a human level, and often that’s the rightly guided thing to do. But far more potent than the human footsteps, Christian Scientists have something profoundly powerful to offer: the comfort of the Christ activity. The truths that we know in our prayers afford a tangible understanding of the presence of God, Love, to dissolve instantaneously all sense of disease or discord.

While most of the world does not recognize or is not aware of Christian Science, its application is the most precious gift we have to give mankind. Mary Baker Eddy gave it to the world not simply so that individuals could promote the prosperity of their own lives, but so that its practitioners—every Christian Scientist—would bless our fellow man with healing truths. She wrote, “… the Science of God and the spiritual idea, named in this century Christian Science, is leavening the lump of human thought, until the whole shall be leavened and all materialism disappear” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 166). Her choice of the words “until the whole shall be leavened” broadens our purpose beyond “improving” our personal lives. What a beautiful gift each one of us has in the palm of our thought to share with the world today! 

As you can imagine, that experience on the plane was a wonderful preface to the 12-day spiritual feast that lay ahead of me. I’m so grateful to have been taught of God throughout my life. In the middle of Manhattan or in the middle of the desert, on the battlefield or in our living rooms, in a dark alley or at 35,000 feet up, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalms 46:1).


Eric Pagett is a Christian Science practitioner in San Luis Obispo, California.

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