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Gratitude grows

From the November 1982 issue of The Christian Science Journal

Christian Science healing doesn't merely convert present troubles into past history. Christian Science healing demonstrates that troubles are errors about the true history of the real man, created in God's likeness. Constructive gratitude for a healing enables us to derive increasing instruction because it shows us how to minimize the vanquished error and maximize the victor, divine Truth.

Gratitude in one's heart honors deliverance, not dis-ease. Such gratitude is an aspect of the substance of healing; and the substance gleaned in Christian Science healing is the progressive understanding and conviction of the truth that effected the healing.

Who should know what gratitude for Christian Science is, and what it does, better than the Discoverer and Founder of this Science? In her book The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, Mrs. Eddy writes, "What is gratitude but a powerful camera obscura, a thing focusing light where love, memory, and all within the human heart is present to manifest light." Miscellany, p. 164.

As when a tiny opening lets through light into a darkened chamber, to focus a brilliant image on a facing surface, so our gratitude lets in the light of Truth to shine away the mortal dream of discord, bringing into focus instead the spiritual unfoldments that individualize the healing and make it permanent. Instead of particularizing the problems we have outgrown, pure gratitude highlights and clarifies the progress we have gained.

Gratitude fills a treasured album with spiritual views. It captures each day's unfoldment according to the first chapter of Genesis, where, in recognition of His own complete handiwork, "God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good." See Gen. 1:4, 10, 12, 21, 25, 26, 31.

The healing, redeeming, and restorative works of Christ Jesus provide permanent views of man's present perfectibility, preserved by grateful witnesses and recorded in the Gospels. But the Master must have recognized how relief from pain, guilt, and sorrow could deceive grateful people into unwittingly ascribing potential reality to error by unduly vivid descriptions of it. Even gratitude for healing should not emphasize error as though it were a defeated power in a past place. Several times in the New Testament, Jesus warned those he healed to tell no one.See Matt. 8:4; Mark 7:36 and 8:26; Luke 8:56. When we understand that evil is ultimately devoid of reality, we will color and detail it no more.

Yet we can safely share genuine gratitude. Jesus told a man he healed of insanity, "Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee." Mark 5: 19. And the Master's disciples certainly shared their gratitude in speaking and writing.

Christian Science provides sheltered, timeless channels for our sharing, too. In the Manual of The Mother Church, Mrs. Eddy writes: "'Glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's' (St. Paul). Testimony in regard to the healing of the sick is highly important. More than a mere rehearsal of blessings, it scales the pinnacle of praise and illustrates the demonstration of Christ, 'who healeth all thy diseases' (Psalm 103:3). This testimony, however, shall not include a description of symptoms or of suffering, though the generic name of the disease may be indicated. This By-Law applies to testimonials which appear in the periodicals and to those which are given at the Wednesday evening meeting." Man., Art. VIII, Sect. 24.

Our efforts to understand and obey this By-Law will establish our healing in the clear light of spiritual realization. There gratitude grows. Obedience routs indifference toward the need for gratitude. Obedience also tempers exuberant tendencies to "jump the gun" of wisdom or exaggerate the facts. Sincerity impels us to speak honestly, write fearlessly, and above all to think modestly of the lessons in trust, watchfulness, patience, and meekness. We gain those lessons when we rely radically on Christian Science treatment to awaken us to the unchanging perfection native to all the children of God.

Before, during, and ever after our work for a specific healing, we can cultivate gratitude. We can be grateful for the whole concept of spiritual healing—in which we deprive evil of any supposed place, presence, and power. Once we have proved in some degree the ongoing relevance of healing to the emergence of true individuality in God's likeness, we no longer regard healing as an object just of past or future. Lighted by gratitude, healing is a living testimonial, a growing reminder of the glory and permanence of eternity.

A virtual gallery of scenes of divine reality, illumined by the spiritual understanding and inspiration that bring healing, is available to us. At Wednesday evening testimony meetings in branch Churches of Christ, Scientist—and at Thanksgiving services held annually in many countries—we can share our own inspiration and hear others share. We can subscribe for and contribute to the Christian Science periodicals, which include uplifting testimonies in every issue.

Like fine works of art, the spiritual lessons we have experienced, heard, and read become more valuable as we ponder their messages. The simple Bible language describing Jesus' healing work allows for individual unfoldment of infinite meaning. The concise testimonials included in the chapter "Fruitage" in Science and Health are ever fresh and new.

When healing is cherished with scientifically disciplined gratitude, the public sharing that ensues inspires listeners and readers to be grateful, too. And when gratitude focuses on spiritual substance, shortcomings of expression and unnecessary embellishments no longer get the spotlight. The glorification of God and His idea, perfect manhood, brings a glow that lingers with us. If God was proved All-in-all then and there whenever we were healed, He can be proved All-in-all now and here.

More in this issue / November 1982


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