A journal is a record. It’s an accounting of important things to be remembered. This one you’re reading now—The Christian Science Journal—puts “on record the divine Science of Truth” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 353). It was specifically designed by its founder, Mary Baker Eddy, “to bring health and happiness to all households wherein it is permitted to enter, and to confer increased power to be good and to do good” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 262).
How precious, promising, and practical is this Journal to those who read it. Its verified accounts of present-day Christian healing—of lives restored, redeemed, and regenerated by God’s great love—inspire hope in the reader, especially in the accounts where all hope seemed lost. These testimonies of healing give spiritual strength where only weakness seemed to be, and provide answers where none seemed possible.
How? Why? Because each healing recorded in this Journal is tangible proof that God’s great love is just as almighty, just as provable, and just as alive and active in the hearts, minds, and lives of people today as it was to people whose lives are recorded in the Bible.
I know, because I’m one of the Journal’s readers—an avid one by now.
How precious, promising, and practical is this Journal to those who read it. Its verified accounts of present-day Christian healing—of lives restored, redeemed, and regenerated by God's great love—inspire hope in the reader, especially in the accounts where all hope seemed lost.
Long before I knew this Journal’s purpose, it had already been bringing health and happiness to our household, and conferring power to be and do good. I remember the day it first entered our home. It came as a gift subscription from my father. For a while it sat there unread. Soon there was a short stack of them.
Before long, when our family was having physical, financial, and emotional struggles, I felt drawn to the Journals. I opened the top one and began to read the articles and healings recorded there. Soon, I’d read the whole pile. Every issue contained at least one article or healing that spoke specifically to me. They communicated in a way I understood, and they met my need. I dog-eared the pages, highlighted parts, and read them over and over.
That was the gentle beginning that soon sparked a deep and conscientious study of the divine Science of Truth that the Journal announced. As I took up this study, my family’s problems were resolved, and soon I was reading this magazine the minute it arrived in the mail.
So, why were those Journal accounts so helpful to me? While no two
records were the same, they shared some underlying messages:
- The experiences recorded were, to me, like modern-day Bible stories—the same issues and challenges dealt with in the Bible, only modern versions of those issues. The people writing the accounts, like so many people in the Bible, trusted God’s promises when challenged with difficulties, and stuck like super glue to what they knew of God until they triumphed. And they did triumph!
- More than just saying that they prayed, their accounts shared how they prayed. And while the kinds of prayers varied widely and were not formulaic, what impressed me was that no matter how desperate or scary their situation seemed, as the writers turned wholeheartedly to God, He always answered them in a way they could “get it” and understand.
- These accounts showed me that it isn’t necessarily how much we know of God that’s important or makes a difference; but rather, it’s what we do with whatever we know of Him. These Journal writers, whoever they were, utilized—put into practice—what they did know. And as they did, their understanding of God grew and grew.
- As essential as physical healing is, the writers so often emphasized that even more important to them was the spiritual growth they gained from the healing they experienced. I was beginning to see that spiritual growth is what Christian Science is really all about, and that our challenges and trials in life are opportunities to experience that growth; and healing is the natural, necessary effect of our growing understanding of God.
- The Journal writers regularly turned to their Bible and Science and Health for answers, and so, I, too, turned to mine. How precious God’s promises became to me; how alive and relevant the Bible stories now were with the spiritual interpretation Science and Health gave them.
Some years later, I became ill with a fever and a large infectious sore. I’d been praying. So helpful were these Journal records to me at that time that I said to myself, “Thank you, God, for this Journal, Your messenger of good. What can I do for it?”
Not more than an hour later, I came across these words of its founder: “Students of Christian Science (and many who are not students) . . . should take our magazine [the Journal], work for it, write for it, and read it” (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 271).
Those four admonitions, and the order in which they were written, really stood out to me: (1) take it; (2) work for it; (3) write for it; (4) read it. Up until now, number 4 was the only one I’d done. Suddenly, my appreciation of the Journal became huge. And my appreciation became a commitment, too, as I pondered each and all of what those four commands said to me.
(1) Take It
To me, this said to take the truths contained in the Journal to heart. But it also meant I should subscribe to the Journal, rather than just borrow it, or buy an issue on occasion. My gift subscription from my dad had run out, and I’d told him I’d renew it. But I hadn’t yet, although I bought single issues of the magazine from time to time.
A subscription—an upfront payment for every issue—meant not only my appreciation for the Journal, but my commitment to it. Later, I read this By-Law in the Manual of The Mother Church: “It shall be the privilege and duty of every member [of this Church], who can afford it, to subscribe for the periodicals which are the organs of this Church . . .” (p. 44). This By-Law spoke to me as an assurance that I could afford the Journal (as well as the other Christian Science periodicals). In fact, so helpful was the Journal to me, I felt I couldn’t afford not to subscribe.
(2) Work For It
“How can I do this,” I asked myself, “since I live so far from where it is published?” The answer that came to me was that these periodicals are the “missionaries” of Christian Science. If The Mother Church had people as missionaries, I’d certainly pray for those missionaries—for their being welcomed wherever they went, and for the successful accomplishment of their good purpose.
So, I reasoned, why not do the same for these missionaries? They are sharing God’s messages and going out into all the world. Right then and there, I committed to pray regularly for the Journal (and the other periodicals), knowing that nothing could hinder their reaching minds receptive to Truth, nor their healing mission for humanity.
(3) Write For It
What a surprise to realize that admonition meant me, too! It didn’t specify “writers” or “higher-ups in the church.” It simply said “students of Christian Science” and even “many who are not students.”
At first, I was sure nothing I’d experienced or knew could possibly help others. Then, this instruction of Mary Baker Eddy came to me: “First purify thought, then put thought into words, and words into deeds . . .” (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 341). As I got quiet, and humbly realized it was God’s inspiration that had helped me so many times, I knew that surely the same inspiration could help another who might be faced with challenges similar to mine.
At that time, our family was constantly being transferred because of my husband’s work. So, revisiting the prayers and inspiration that had so helped me on our most recent corporate move, I sat down, put those “thoughts into words” (wrote an article), and put the “words into deeds” (submitted the article the next morning for possible publication in the periodicals).
(4) Read It
Last, but not least. Up until now, this was all I had done. How I had enjoyed it, too! But now I resolved to read each issue even more gratefully, even more devotedly, and even to share the Journal with others so they might be helped. Since then, I’ve never thrown one issue of the magazine away, but have always shared each one with someone else.
Remember the fever and large infectious sore I had been struggling with? Should it seem surprising that both were healed by the time I finished writing my article? The fever left immediately. The sore drained, closed, and didn’t even need a bandage the next day.
My thoughts had become so focused on God, good, as I had journaled—recounted and put in writing—the prayers and inspiration that had helped me with the recent move, that there was simply no room left in my thinking for sick thoughts. Reflecting on this later, I realized I’d not only proved the healing power of gratitude, but also the efficacy of Mary Baker Eddy’s counsel: “. . . keep your minds so filled with Truth and Love, that sin, disease, and death cannot enter them” (Miscellany, p. 210).
My gratitude for The Christian Science Journal only continues to grow. It’s boundless. And now, at jsh-online.com, from my own computer I can access any article and testimony in any issue, from the Journal’s inception right to the present day, and e-mail those articles and testimonies to others on the spot!
P. S. That article I mentioned was published in the June 22, 1974, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel. It’s titled “On the Move” by Judith Ann Hardy. You can find it on jsh-online.com!
Judith Hardy Olson is a Christian Science practitioner and teacher from Westport, Connecticut.
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