If ordinary people were asked to think of one thing that might have a healing effect on the sickness, grief, and craziness of human life – without pills, therapy, or other medical procedures – a surprising number might simply choose love. Genuine love is felt so deeply by almost everyone, whether within families or friendships, for children, or even for strangers. Passersby have pulled strangers from flaming cars or plucked them from subway tracks just before the train came. In many instances, human love has carried a family member through serious illness.
But does this love indicate something far bigger – so big that it could change your perception of life and the universe, yourself included? What if this love isn't the fleeting best of mortal life but an expression of a deeper love that's always there? Perhaps whenever we feel the goodness, peace, and expansiveness of unselfed human love, we're feeling in some degree the Love that is God. The Bible says precisely that: "Love is of God" (I John 4:7).
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, looked deeply into that Bible statement. She felt impelled to seek out fresh language for God that would convey the wonder of what she was discovering. She used many ways to describe God, but when it came to conveying her own experience of the Divine, Love was the word she ultimately felt most at home with.
At the heart of her experience was the fact that human ills, even the most threatening, were healed by a kind of prayer that opened one entirely to God, to Love. But this was a God who was being felt in a new way through His closeness and such encompassing allness that it changed perceptions as to what was real and what were only fixed impressions of the human mind. It not only changed perceptions; it changed conditions – it healed challenges in the way Jesus taught.
Mrs. Eddy wrote: "Jesus, who so loved the world that he gave his life (in the flesh) for it, saw that Love had a new commandment even for him. What was it?
"It must have been a rare revelation of infinite Love, a new tone on the scale ascending, such as eternity is ever sounding. Could I impart to the student the higher sense I entertain of Love, it would partly illustrate the divine energy that brings to human weakness might and majesty" ("Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896," p. 292). Mrs. Eddy succeeded in imparting this higher sense of Love to her students.
For example, a woman who had been an invalid for 15 years had suffered so deeply that she wanted to die. Mrs. Eddy invited her to take a class in Christian Science. She did, with much doubt and difficulty. Partway through, it dawned on her that she'd been considering God as far away and hard to find. She explained: "Out of that darkness and bewilderment, an illumination of thought encircled me, and I felt and knew and realized God's ever presence. It was like a conversion – a remarkable experience of 'God with us' at all times, under all circumstances. My eyes were open to the truth of Being...." This woman was healed of chronic and organic diseases considered incurable, and she spent 47 years in the practice and teaching of Christian Science ("Mary Baker Eddy: Christian Healer," pp. 246-258). This healing Love wasn't confined to a few early students, but has had a life-changing effect upon thousands. For anyone seeking Christian healing through Jesus' example, those lessons are still relevant.
So, what's the basic lesson? Isn't it that what we suppose we can think matters far less than the action of infinite Love upon our thought? As our need and yearning for healing are subordinated to an increasing hunger to find out more about the Love that heals, we make irresistible progress. Labored human effort begins to melt before the dimensions of Love's actuality. It's like the awe of standing on the edge of some natural wonder. But rather than making us feel small, this view of Love's realness, substance, and activity assures us that we're not alone and far away from God's help – and never were. The effect is healing.
Adapted from the Christian Science Sentinel.