Christian healing: Retooling or renewing?

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

Over dinner, a new acquaintance and I got on the subject of alternative healing. She's a massage therapist, and, being interested in non- mainstream remedies herself, was curious to know what other forms of alternative healing I'd consider combining with my own approach to healthcare: spiritual healing through Christian Science.

She was intrigued but mystified when I explained that when it comes to healing, for me, treatment in Christian Science is it. That I didn't feel the need to mix and match, or combine multiple approaches. "Interesting," she replied. "Because the more I see what the various forms of alternative medicine have to offer, the more I want to experiment to find the most effective combinations."

It was the word alternative that got me thinking. I realized that perhaps I'd become unconsciously accustomed to grouping Christian Science healing with other alternative approaches to healthcare.

But all that changed in an instant when I found myself saying, "Think of it this way: In essence, what makes Christian Science unlike anything else is that it's the only method of healing that starts, not from the basis of matter, but from the basis of spiritual perfection."

Healing, I went on to explain, is not primarily about trying to restore a troubled physical body. God is Spirit, and each individual is His spiritual creation - made in His likeness. So bringing our thoughts into line with God's view shows that we're safe and whole and that we could never be otherwise. As we see this, it becomes clear that fixing or altering matter is not the focus of our effort.

I like the way the Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, put this in her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." Speaking of Jesus' foundation for healing - the foundation for all Christian healing - she wrote, "The Christlike understanding of scientific being and divine healing includes a perfect Principle and idea, - perfect God and perfect man, - as the basis of thought and demonstration" (page 259).

This hit home for me one day last fall when I began experiencing pain in my neck and shoulders. By evening, the pain was so intense that I couldn't keep from crying. I tried to pray, but to no avail. So I called a Christian Science practitioner for help.

The practitioner told me she'd pray for me and encouraged me to think about a passage from the Bible that talks about "the whole armour of God" (see Eph. 6:11-17). "You've got your spiritual armor on," she told me, "so you must be safe."

I was comforted by this idea, but still struggling with the pain. I thought of myself as protected by that helmet of salvation and that breastplate of righteousness. I imagined myself holding that shield of faith. But I still felt as though I was under attack. Wearing my armor, but dealing with an assault.

An hour or two went by. And then, suddenly, it hit me. This spiritual armor wasn't just a few good thoughts I was trying to use to protect - or even restore - a material me. My real armor, the armor the Bible was talking about, was the understanding that I was spiritual. A spiritual me, held in God's love, could never be under attack. My salvation was my God-given perfection, which could never change.

"Oh, yeah," I thought, as though remembering something I'd temporarily forgotten. "I'm not made of matter. I'm spiritual!"

With that recognition, the pain, which had been so unbearable, began to lessen immediately. Shortly, I fell asleep. And by the next day, the pain was entirely gone. I was healed.

What I learned from this experience, and continue to learn, is that I'm not living some kind of dual existence - one life in matter and another in Spirit - but that Spirit's reality is the only reality, and healing is all about discovering that. Healing isn't about gaining comfort in materiality, but about finding complete freedom from matter. It's about taking that mental leap from a perception of existence as limited, flawed, and vulnerable, to the Spirit-based perspective that's grounded in perfection and wholeness.

There's something profoundly reassuring in the fact that real healing doesn't require a tinkering or retooling or a fixing of something that's wrong. It takes recognizing what's already true. Healing, as a friend put it, is two little words. Stated simply: "Oh, yeah!"

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