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To give of the ‘heart’s rich overflow’

From the July 2015 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Two of the world’s greatest givers, Christ Jesus and one who reverently followed him, Mary Baker Eddy, show us through their words and works how to be active participants in the healing work of brotherly love, charitable kindness, generous spirit, and spiritual witnessing. We could say that, instead of keeping to themselves all the spiritual good they loved and lived, they gave of their “heart’s rich overflow” (Minny M. H. Ayers, Christian Science Hymnal, No. 139)—Jesus, the Master Christian and Way-shower, demonstrating for all mankind the healing truth of being; and Mrs. Eddy, obeying his command that we heal and, in so doing, discovering the Science of what he taught and practiced.

Jesus applied his clear comprehension of the allness and everywhereness of God’s power and presence to each human scene that testified otherwise.

Jesus was the most consummate giver of all time. Look what he gave! For instance, to a woman taken in adultery he gave nonjudgmental compassion and spiritual regeneration, cutting through the public condemnation, restoring her dignity, and seeing her spiritual worth and integrity (see John 8:3–11). We read in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy: “Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God’s own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick” (pp. 476–477). This observation is a master class to us as we open our thought to live for others.

Jesus acknowledged the perfect, spiritual selfhood of everyone he met, whether he was gathered with sinners or encountering someone with a longtime affliction or who appeared to have died. He applied his clear comprehension of the allness and everywhereness of God’s power and presence to each human scene that testified otherwise. He met each challenging discordant picture with love and healing compassion, unimpressed by the carnal mind’s claims of severity, longevity, or incurability.

The result was healing that was immediate, complete, unconditional, final. And his example shows us that we too can demonstrate such healing. Christ Jesus was, without a doubt, the ultimate giver.

Mary Baker Eddy, walking in the path pointed out by the Master, discovered and gave to the world the Science of the healing Christ, “with signs following” (Mark 16:20). She labored to discern and explain to others the inspired message of the Holy Bible, and recorded it in Science and Health for all to study, practice, and apply—enabling us to demonstrate the profound Science of healing seen in Jesus’ life and healing works. She taught many students and nurtured their healing work, changing and redeeming lives and restoring health.

Mrs. Eddy’s résumé of healing work includes cases of all kinds of bodily illness and human suffering, many of which were diagnosed as incurable. Her exceptional tenderness and love for children brought remarkable healings, such as the one of a seven-year-old boy with club feet. She came upon this child, who had never walked, while he was waiting for his mother to return from an errand. When the mother came back, “she was stunned to find him walking hand in hand with a stranger. The mother and the strange woman [Mrs. Eddy, then Mrs. Patterson] looked in each other’s eyes, then both of them wept and joined in thanks to God” (Robert Peel, Mary Baker Eddy: The Years of Discovery, p. 201; most of the original account is available to read in Mary Baker Eddy: Christian Healer, Amplified Edition, pp. 67–68). Through her clear realization of the child’s God-given, God-governed identity as His perfect child, reflecting the divine substance of Spirit, Mrs. Eddy gave to the woman a wholly restored son, and to the child complete healing and the opportunity for a productive, happy life. And to the world, she gave Christian Science.

Jesus taught that to inherit eternal life, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself” (Luke 10:27). He then shared a parable illustrating how to put this into practice, expressing tender regard and healing compassion even to strangers in our experience. Importantly, he ends the account with a command: “Go, and do thou likewise” (Luke 10:37). Mrs. Eddy and those who first followed her teachings lived this directive, and we too have the privilege, duty, and ability to obey this command and give of our “heart’s rich overflow.”

Several years ago I had an opportunity to do this in an important way. A man in the prison system with whom I visited and exchanged letters discussing Christian Science was taken to a hospital for examination and evaluation. Evidently he had a gunshot wound from someone who had attempted to rob him prior to his incarceration. The injury had never healed, but up to that time it had not caused a problem. 

Now, however, the collarbone was infected, and the man had lost a great deal of weight. The doctors felt the infection would spread and determined that significant surgery was needed.

I shared with this man the written account of Joseph Mann, an early student of Christian Science, who had been accidentally shot, the bullet lodging near his heart. Mann had received fatal predictions from four physicians, but “Christian Science awakened [him] to a new sense of life which brought with it an almost instantaneous restoration to health” (We Knew Mary Baker Eddy, Expanded Edition, Volume II, p. 160). 

We have the privilege, duty, and ability to obey Jesus’ command, “Go, and do thou likewise.”

I also shared a copy of a testimony in which the testifier was healed of a shoulder difficulty when she realized nothing could prevent her from reflecting God and being His perfect image and likeness (Jane M. Brueckner, “All things are possible,” Journal, February 2006). Her testimony, and another she referred to, struck me as convincing proof of the power of Truth to expel anything foreign to man’s innate purity as a child of God.

I cherished these clear accounts of the power of the healing Christ to break through the dream of human suffering and establish man’s health. These lines from a much-loved hymn played over and over in my thought: “The Christ is here, all dreams of error breaking, / Unloosing bonds of all captivity” (Rosa M. Turner, Christian Science Hymnal, No. 202, © CSBD).

I prayed to keep my thought free of the discordant, material picture. Mrs. Eddy writes, “A spiritual idea has not a single element of error, and this truth removes properly whatever is offensive” (Science and Health, p. 463). I affirmed man’s spiritual purity and perfection, knowing that whatever is not in the original and only source, God, cannot be in the reflection, man.

The next time I visited this person, I noticed the weight had been regained, and he looked healthy. He told me that shortly after I’d shared the accounts of healing with him, the fragments of the bullet had been naturally expelled. The infection was completely gone, and the opening in the flesh closed; the body was fully restored to normalcy, without the surgery the doctors had felt would be needed. 

We all have countless opportunities to give spiritually through love and healing, to behold all those we meet as the expression of the majesty of the one grand creator, God. These experiences, awaiting each of us, enable us to experience the spiritual thrill of giving of the “heart’s rich overflow.” 

The starting point is a heart overflowing with a deep, spiritual love for God and all that is real and true, good and pure; and gratitude for all we have learned and demonstrated in Christian Science through our love for God and the healing Christ. This spiritual understanding and heartfelt love equips all of us to bless and heal our fellow man.

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