What's at the heart of Christian healing?

Because of its emphasis on healing through prayer, one might get the impression that Christian Science is primarily concerned with achieving physical health and well-being. But this would no more be a fair assessment of this religion than it would be of Christ Jesus' theology, on which Christian Science is based.

Did Jesus come primarily to make people on earth comfortable and healthy, or was there a greater purpose to his ministry? If one were to focus solely on his miracles and healings, one could conclude that Jesus' main objective was to alleviate human suffering and lack. After all, he healed all kinds of diseases and fed the multitudes in need. Never was there a more compassionate man.

But as every Christian knows, Jesus' purpose was infinitely grander in scope than the alleviation of human ills, as worthy and important a goal as that is. His fundamental purpose was to save mankind from allm evil, to show the way of everlasting life, and to reveal the presence of God's kingdom. As he himself said, ''The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.'' n1

n1 Mark 1:15.

You can no more divorce Jesus' theology from his healing works than you can separate cause and effect. Even so, as pure Christianity, the theology of Christian Science and its healing practice are inseparable. In Christian Science as in our Master's own ministry, healing is a sign of the kingdom of God being made evident on earth.

There is no actual and permanent healing of the body that is not first what many religious teachings would call the healing of the soul - of one's whole sense of himself. Which is but to say, there is no Christian Science healing without its theology, for spiritual healing is most fundamentally getting oneself right with God, the very ''theo'' of theology.

And so it is that Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ''Let us have a clearing up of abstractions. Let us come into the presence of Him who removeth all iniquities, and healeth all our diseases.'' n2 And when Christian Scientists have been healed - as thousands have for over a century - it's the renewed sense of God's presence that illumines their experience.

n2 Miscellaneous Writings, p. 174.

A passage in the concluding chapter of the book A Century of Christian Science Healingm puts it so beautifully: ''To a Christian Scientist the real importance of a healing is the light it lets through. The change in physical condition or personal circumstance is only the outward and visible evidence of an inward and spiritual grace - a hint of a perceived spiritual fact. In looking back on a healing, the Christian Scientist is likely to think, not 'That was the time I was healed of pneumonia,' but 'That was the time I learned what real humility is,' or 'That was the time I saw so clearly that all power belongs to God.' '' n3

n3 A Century of Christian Science Healing (Boston: The Christian Science Publishing Society, 1966), p. 237.

So Christian Science involves one's whole being with the profoundest theology - with knowing and loving God. It inspires a shift of one's entire life toward Him, a total reorientation of thought to the things of Spirit. It requires purification of the deep motives and feelings of the heart. It involves dissolving, through the power of divine Love, the sin, emotional conflicts, hatred, fear, resentment, and anxiety that are often at the root of disease. And as always, the physical healing is merely the outward sign of a heart brought closer to our heavenly Father, a consciousness awakened to His reality.

Thus no matter how grateful the Christian Scientist is for the healing that comes through discipleship, he is even more grateful that he has found ''pure religion and undefiled,'' n4 which allows him to better worship and adore his God.

n4 James 1:27.

DAILY BIBLE VERSE God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth John 4:24

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