A WOMAN used to call at our house occasionally when we were children. She was quiet and gentle and took a genuine interest in us. She often told us of happy experiences and then would tell one of us quietly how she had prayed. It was obvious that she saw God as the source of all good. This was something quite different for us because God was never mentioned in our house. She told us that a stranger on a bus had invited her to a talk on spiritual healing. The stranger never turned up, but our neighbor did, and that was where her life as a committed Christian began. ``That was when I woke up to reality,'' she said.
Stories I heard as a child about people who had been helped through prayer had more impact on me than all the formal religious education I ever received. Years later, when I was feeling empty, fearful, and depressed, it was not surprising that I turned to a spiritual source for help. I opened a gift copy of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. I started reading the chapter entitled ``Prayer.''
From the outset I was stirred by what I was reading and was reluctant to put the book down. I agreed with what it said, although there were sections I could not understand. I also began to study the Bible. A great change was taking place in my thought. I realized that the teachings of Christ Jesus are the truth. That was when I woke up to reality.
Waking up to reality for me was like being called ``out of darkness into his [God's] marvellous light.''1 What can change our thinking so radically? It is the Christ! Christ is the healing and saving power of God that reveals the meaning of the Scriptures to us; that can uplift, heal, and redeem lives enslaved by sin, sickness, poverty. Jesus embodied this practical Truth, which is here always.
It is the Christ-power, discerned in prayer and active in our own lives through purified living, that wakes us up to an understanding of God as Spirit, restores our lost sense of divine Love's presence, and reveals man's true identity as the perfect, spiritual image of God. It is the Christ that dissolves the fear underlying disease, and therefore disease itself, through a clear recognition of God's supreme power and man's true selfhood.
When we turn to God in prayer, Christ's ministering love comes to us in a way we can feel and understand. We catch glimpses of ourselves as God's children, precious and valuable, always worthy of love. We begin to see that man is created to express the nature of God, to show forth His qualities and His love. We feel a deeper desire to do right; to give more than to receive; to serve God rather than self. We gain greater compassion for our fellowman. In short, we find joy in living. And we prove that man is loved and blessed by God. The Psalmist said of those who trust God, ``They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.''2
But the human mind promotes the belief that life originates in the flesh; that man is imprisoned in a sick or healthy body and is liable to be a victim of forces beyond his control. Or that good can only be found in sensualism or worldly success. This is the dream of life in matter, from which the Christ awakens us. A hymn from the Christian Science Hymnal says,
O dreamer, leave thy dreams for joyful waking,
O captive, rise and sing, for thou art free; The Christ is here, all dreams of error breaking,
Unloosing bonds of all captivity.3
Zacchaeus, a tax collector, had accumulated a fortune by not altogether honest means. He climbed into a tree to see Jesus pass by. Jesus said, ``Zacch8us, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house.'' Zacchaeus received him joyfully and said later, ``Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.''4 Zacchaeus willingly accepted the Christ, and this transforming power caused a change of heart. He woke up to the reality of his true, Godlike nature.
The Christ can touch our lives today in whatever way we need its help. Our job is to yield humbly to its transforming influence, to yield to God's perfect will and government. To the extent that we're receptive to divine help and strive to obey the law of God, we'll wake up to reality and experience healing.
1I Peter 2:9. 2Psalms 36:8. 3Hymnal, No. 202. 4Luke 19:5, 8. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: God is the Lord, which hath shewed us light.