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Christmas and the certainty of healing

From the December 2016 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Christians around the globe pay homage at this season to the arrival of the babe that in time became known as Christ Jesus. The circumstances surrounding his birth—his virgin mother, his coming in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, the attending shepherds and wise men to whose hearts the occasion spoke in a revolutionary way of God’s great love toward humanity—were all utterly unique to Jesus’ life and mission. The story is ever new to receptive hearts, and it continues to evoke our deepest reverence and gratitude.

Perhaps no one statement better elucidates the enduring import for humanity of that first Christmas than this one by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science: “Jesus was the highest human concept of the perfect man. He was inseparable from Christ, the Messiah,—the divine idea of God outside the flesh. This enabled Jesus to demonstrate his control over matter. Angels announced to the Wisemen of old this dual appearing, and angels whisper it, through faith, to the hungering heart in every age” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 482).

Many of us would count ourselves among those hungering hearts Mrs. Eddy cited. We yearn to experience the purely spiritual healing practiced by the Master and his disciples—even a measure of the dominion over matter that Jesus demonstrated. So it’s natural that we would be looking to the gospel accounts to tell us more about the nature of this “dual appearing” and the promise it holds for healing in our own lives.

In the Gospels we find that Jesus spoke of himself both as the “Son of God” and the “Son of man.” “Son of God” referred to the eternal Christ, Truth, his divine nature; and “Son of man” to the coincident manifestation of the Christ in the human life and healing works of the man Jesus. The two titles represent corresponding roles, as indicated by the dual name Christ Jesus. They are inextricably linked in Christian history and highlight Christianity’s core message—that Truth’s appearing is accompanied by healing.

As we become increasingly aware of what God is unfolding to us, the mental images of disease and discord lose their reality in our thinking. 

The Apostle John must have been perceiving something of the unspeakable significance of this fact when he declared of Jesus’ mission, “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). No longer would those looking to God for aid be left wondering if He would answer their prayers in a tangible way. The Master would show them blessed proof that Truth, humbly accepted into human consciousness, always has a healing outcome. It is invariably borne out in individual lives through meaningful human progress, physical healing, positive change of character, and productive life purpose.

Overarching the gospel narratives is the simple fact that God loves us—He loves you and me. God is omnipresent divine Love, and this means that His Christ—His healing message of Truth and Love—comes to our individual consciousness right where we are currently in our spiritual understanding. When we consent to the hallowed influence of the Christ, we receive of the Father more light, more spiritual insight into the truth of our being as a child of God.

In a very real sense, the Christ is our advocate, upholding the truth of who we are as sons and daughters of God. The Christ shows us our spiritual selfhood, created by the Father in His own likeness, as an individual expression of Himself, of Spirit. We are not in fact mortals with a private mind and selfhood apart from God in matter. As His loved child, each of us is spiritual, untarnished, whole, well, strong, and free. The Christ communicates this to us in ways that we can feel and understand.

Our natural response to Christ’s assurances is that we begin to disbelieve the evidence before the material senses. We may, in fact, experience something of a mental rebellion against this false evidence! As we become increasingly aware of what God is unfolding to us, the mental images of disease and discord lose their reality in our thinking. Fear, discouragement, stress, the sense of suffering, give way before the inpouring truth and love of our Father-Mother God. The body then naturally corresponds to the harmony established in consciousness by the Christ.

In this sense Christ comes to the flesh—comes to the fleshly so-called mortal mind—and destroys what Science and Health terms “incarnate error.” The full definition of Christ given in the Glossary of the textbook is “The divine manifestation of God, which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error” (p. 583).

Nothing really can stand in the way of Truth being made manifest in our lives. The Master was continually elucidating this for us. An especially poignant example was his healing of a man he encountered by the pool of Bethesda (see John 5:2–9). This man had been waiting, along with a lot of other ill and disabled people, for “the moving of the water,” because it was believed that the first one to step into the pool after the water was troubled would be healed. According to the narrative, the man had been suffering for 38 years. Jesus’ question to him was simple and straightforward: “Wilt thou be made whole?” Instead of responding simply, “Yes,” the man began explaining why he had not yet been healed. He said he had no one to help him into the water when it was troubled, and so someone always got there before him. 

The Master didn’t try to talk this man out of his concerns but illustrated to him that, despite the agonizing evidence before the material senses, Truth was fully equal to his need. Through the singular experience of Christ-healing, this dear man was shown that God was not giving him some unfulfilled promise of good, but good itself, in the form of health restored.

Jesus must have known full well that Truth’s capacity to reach this man superseded the man’s personal doubts and fears. It overrode the seeming default position of mortal mind to focus on the material picture and to rehearse the sheer futility of human efforts to bring about healing. To the Master’s divinely inspired view, this man was the well, strong, free, spiritual idea that God made; he was not an ill and discouraged mortal. Jesus showed him that, yes, he could be healed now because he was in fact perfect now. Not one of mortal mind’s arguments to the contrary could get in the way of the healing Christ.

The most modest experience of healing in Christian Science shows us that Truth’s appearing is for all time, including our own. 

Just so, the activity of the Christ in our consciousness precludes whatever we imagine is separating us from the Father’s love and postponing the good we so long to experience. It supersedes our personal self-judgment, and even moral wrongs, when we are ready to follow its gentle leadings. It trumps the false assumption that a difficulty has the upper hand and healing is unlikely. It doesn’t matter what mortal mind is currently offering up as a reason why good cannot occur now. In the quietude of earnest prayer, we hear the eternal Christ saying to us: “Here’s your healing. ‘Semper paratus is Truth’s motto’ (Science and Health, p. 458). Truth is ready, and so are you, as your Father’s expression. Here’s your healing.”

It is false theology—some incorrect and utterly illegitimate view of God and man—that would keep healing, like the proverbial carrot on a stick, always dangling just beyond our reach. It amounts to a bald-faced lie, this suggestion that we can’t be healed now. In fact, we can be certain that only the carnal mind, or animal magnetism—not God, divine Love—would assert that we don’t qualify for spiritual healing. 

A beloved Christmas hymn reminds us, “Where meekness will receive him, still / The dear Christ enters in” (Phillips Brooks, Christian Science Hymnal, No. 222). If we will but allow Christ entrance prayerfully, the truth of who we are as God’s child will cut clean across mortal mind’s intimations, dispel self-doubt, and compel aggressive mental suggestion to yield to the scientific fact. In the light of the Father’s love for us, the claims of animal magnetism are silenced, nullified. While we may indeed need to relinquish some form of materialism or sin that is getting in the way of our spiritual growth, the needed regeneration is gained as we continue listening for and obeying the tender, healing Christ. 

The bottom line is that, much like an attorney, we want to side with the facts of the case—in this instance, the spiritual facts. We need to come down mentally, prayerfully on the side of Truth’s supremacy in our lives. Mortal mind is not going to give its permission for us to be healed, so we must get on with listening to those whispering angels Mrs. Eddy referred to—spiritual intuitions telling us that what we have been glimpsing of our likeness to God is true and demonstrable now. We’re free to go ahead and accept the healing that Christ is giving.

Even if a good deal of time has passed and we have stayed close to God in prayer without seeing much progress in regard to some difficulty, we can continue praying with the steadfast assurance that Truth is made manifest. Every iota of spiritual understanding is manifest in human experience, even when full healing is not yet apparent. The Master’s consistent banishment of all types of sin and disease illustrates that Christian healing can rightly be termed scientific—because the result is fixed, according to divine law. This statement of Mrs. Eddy’s, adopted as our own prayerful standpoint, strengthens our conviction of Christ-healing: “No evidence before the material senses can close my eyes to the scientific proof that God, good, is supreme” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 277).

The most modest experience of healing in Christian Science shows us that Truth’s appearing is for all time, including our own. Health and good are our divine right; they are, in fact, inherent to our being as children of God. Each of us has the spiritual capacity, given of the Father, to discern and understand that this is so and to see it made tangibly evident in our experience.

This Christmas, in ways perhaps more far-reaching and diverse than at other times in history, humanity yearns for healing. As we reach out in prayer to divine Love on behalf of ourselves and others, we can feel and know that divine Love is embracing humanity in Christ-healing. Our Master characterized the reign of divine Truth and Love as supreme “in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

Let’s take the time needed at this season to pray deeply and to entertain the healing Christ. Let’s listen quietly, faithfully, humbly for more of Truth’s revealing. We’ll surely hear angels whispering to our own hungering hearts the appearing of Christ, Truth, and we’ll have more Christ-healing.

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