Stretching

PEOPLE stretch. When men, women, and children wake from sleep they stretch. They stretch their arms, they stretch their legs, they stretch their thinking. They check what's going on around them.

There's another kind of stretching people do. They stretch their spiritual outlook. They pray. Christian Scientists, for example, pray daily. They pray for themselves--and for mankind.

In a small book, the Manual of The Mother Church, written by Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science and founded the Christian Science Church, there's an item that says, ``It shall be the duty of every member of this Church to pray each day: `Thy kingdom come;' let the reign of divine Truth, Life, and Love be established in me, and rule out of me all sin; and may Thy Word enrich the affections of all mankind, and govern them!"

Encouraging us all to stretch our thinking, Mrs. Eddy declares in one of her other books, called Miscellaneous Writings: ``For `who is so great a God as our God!' unchangeable, all-wise, all-just, all-merciful; the ever-loving, ever-living Life, Truth, Love: comforting such as mourn, opening the prison doors to the captive, marking the unwinged bird, pitying with more than a father's pity; healing the sick, cleansing the leper, raising the dead, saving sinners. As we think thereon, she says, ``man's true

sense is filled with peace, and power . . . ."

I can recall one morning when I stretched my thinking to understand more of God and was healed of an injury.

At the time I was serving as a sailor on a ship during wartime. I had an injured foot and, just before dawn, I was leaning on the ship's rail for support. I was also praying. As I prayed, my attention was caught by the dawn breaking. From a pale sliver of light on the horizon, the sunlight became a brilliant radiance. Its brightness swept across the sky, and across the sea. It settled on the ship. It shone on me. At that moment I had a vivid insight into what the Bible means when it says in Genesis: ``Go d saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good." Just then, the bosun's pipe shrilled out the start of a ship's new day, and I turned and walked away--totally free from the foot injury. In that moment, with my thinking stretched beyond physical limitation by my insight into spiritual reality, I had been healed.

Since then, I've been healed many times through prayer. But that one incident holds special meaning for me.

Stretching our thinking in prayer to God is always effective. And we can all do it. We are all able to reach out spiritually to absolute Truth, Life, and Love, and be healed through prayer. God, divine Love, does not discriminate.

We read in the Bible how Peter, one of Christ Jesus' disciples, realized that God makes no distinction between people of different race, nationality, or religion. For Peter, raised under strict Jewish law, this realization required a great deal of mental stretching. But the results were dramatic. It increased his capacity to heal.

Christ Jesus, the master Christian, healed multitudes through his reflection of God's all-encompassing love. He fed thousands through his understanding of God's limitless supply. Explaining his remarkable spiritual ability, he said, ``The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works."

The fact that God is Spirit, or Mind, Jesus demonstrated beyond argument. And he showed through practical illustration that the real universe, including you, me, and everyone, is spiritual, not material. Jesus taught us to stretch our thinking beyond a limited, material sense of life to the unlimited reality of Spirit. As we do so, we find freedom and healing.

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