Conversation among mothers waiting to collect their children from school often includes detailed accounts of various contagious diseases. It is accepted by common consent and without question that children are vulnerable to these diseases and will probably catch them. This assumption is based on a supposed law that matter has power and intelligence to transmit disease from one person to another. This false law, which might be termed more accurately ''human belief ,'' can be challenged.
Our authority for challenging it may be found in the Bible, and particularly in the teachings and healings of our Master, Christ Jesus. He wasn't impressed by the weight of opinions or assumptions about any disorder. His high spiritual altitude of thought enabled him to demonstrate the allness of God and to disprove the most cherished beliefs. He didn't discuss symptoms or inquire about infectious contacts. He refused to give his consent to human opinion. The cures were immediate and in accord with his understanding of God as good, as perfect Spirit, and of man as God's spiritual, perfect offspring.
It is an elevated state of thought anchored in this understanding that nullifies the belief that matter can have power to convey disease. This state of spiritual awareness is depicted in Jesus' words from the Sermon on the Mount, ''The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.'' Speaking of the opposite state of thought, he continues, ''But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness.''n1 What a vivid picture of the way we allow ourselves to be blindfolded, cut off from the light of spiritual truth - the great truth that God, our loving Father and Mother, created us in His image and forever maintains our spiritual perfection.
n1 Matthew 6:22, 23.
Challenging the beliefs of contagion and infection requires vigilance over our thinking. But even if we or our children are suffering from the prevalent disease, we needn't be discouraged. As we base our prayers on an understanding of God's healing power and man's true nature, the symptoms can vanish instantly. And we can be grateful for the inevitable spiritual progress that accompanies every healing, whether instant or requiring persistent prayer.
Our family has found that gratitude is a key to the spiritually based thinking that prevents and heals infectious conditions. Even small children are often happy to consider the things in their lives for which they can say thank you. Once their thought has turned in this direction the next step may be to encourage them to replace their worried attention to symptoms with acknowledgment of all the good they can think of, particularly their true identity as God's spiritual image.
To contemplate and express good, with gratitude, is a Christlike activity. It is an effective, healing activity, not naivet. Expressing good, we express God, and by doing this both parent and child are taking the first important steps to withdraw consent from the belief in contagious disease, from the belief that matter has actual power to hurt man and is something to be feared. From the basis of this more spiritually inclined thinking, parents can then deal vigorously and specifically with their own fears. They can affirm with conviction God's love and care for His creation, letting the light of spiritual understanding reveal the reality of existence as governed and controlled solely by God. They can deny power and influence to any form of matter.
In a short article entitled ''Contagion,'' published in her Miscellaneous Writings, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, concludes with these words: ''A calm, Christian state of mind is a better preventive of contagion than a drug, or than any other possible sanative method; and the 'perfect Love' that 'casteth out fear' is a sure defense.''n2
n2 Mis., p. 229.
From this Christian standpoint we can gently turn playground conversation into more healthy channels, allowing the expression of good to become dominant in our own and in our children's thought and words. This is valuable work for ourselves and our neighbor. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Unto thee, O my strength, will I sing: for God is my defence. Psalms 59:17