Last fall a neighbor and I were cutting firewood when the ten-foot-long steel I-beam of our motorized log splitter fell on my toe. Severely hurt by the crushing blow, I quickly began to order my thoughts in prayer. I mentally affirmed that a steely mass had no actual power to hurt me, since all power belongs to God, or Spirit. I clung to the understanding that Spirit is the only genuine creator, harmoniously expressing itself in spiritual, indestructible man. Though the physical senses screamed to be heard, insisting that I was a fragile mortal made of flesh and bones, I vehemently denied that there could be true life and sensation in matter - in Spirit's opposite. I identified myself as immortal man, perfect, spiritual, the constant reflection of God.
In minutes the pain had receded to such an extent that I was able to resume heavy logging for the entire afternoon. Within a week, complete freedom in the use of the toe had returned. ''O Lord my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me.'' n1 That Biblical passage came to me later with special meaning.
n1 Psalms 30:2.
''The Bible contains the recipe for all healing.'' n2 How Mary Baker Eddy, the author of those words, loved the Scriptures! Mrs. Eddy discovered and founded Christian Science, which is rooted in the healing truths found in the Bible, in particular, the words and works of the Master, Christ Jesus.
n2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 406.
Mrs. Eddy perceived eternal laws of God as the healing force in Jesus' career. And she labored to present to the world the scientific explanation of these laws. In the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health, she writes, ''It is not well to imagine that Jesus demonstrated the divine power to heal only for a select number or for a limited period of time, since to all mankind and in every hour, divine Love supplies all good.'' n3
n3 Ibid., p. 494.
The textbook brings out the metaphysical basis of Christianity. The topic is infinitely deep, and not gained at one gulp. But little children in the Sunday School and newcomers to this Science, of all ages, are among those able to heal themselves through Christian Science. Healing is a natural activity for the Christian, though it's something, to be sure, that we all can and must get better at. In Jesus' own words, ''He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do.'' n4
n4 John 14:12.
The healing truths of God and man are proved in the degree they are understood and practiced. One way Christian Scientists cultivate this understanding is by devoting some daily time to study of the Bible and Science and Health. Such periods are joyously satisfying and bring deep views of the Bible truths.
Along with this study, however, one must live a life that reflects the divine goodness that has been glimpsed. Daily obedience to the cherished Commandments received by Moses; hourly faithfulness to the Christly Beatitudes enunciated by Jesus - such devotion prepares the individual to view himself and his fellowman from a more spiritual standpoint, from a healing standpoint that discerns man's God-created wholeness. And how the disciple's heart burns within him as he strives to apply the Golden Rule, in thought and deed, to every single challenge faced. Such a commitment to righteousness and good purifies one by degrees and progressively prepares him to bear witness to the healing works of God.
Despite what appears to the physical senses, man is whole and perfect, the likeness of God, Spirit, as the Bible indicates. n5 Living and thinking in accord with this standard, we begin to see beyond the false, material image of a fallen mortal to the immaculate spiritual selfhood of each of us. In this view, attained through consecration to Spirit, we see man as exhibiting only the qualities of his Maker.
n5 See Genesis 1:26.
The Bible reveals God as divine Life and Love. The real man is inseparable from this divine source. A perception of this truth of being heals and comforts us, and must bring progressive freedom to all mankind. Yes, we must grow in this understanding through trials and victories. But we each have the God-bestowed ability to do so and to experience the blessings that result. DAILY BIBLE VERSE O Lord my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me. Psalms 30:2