When I went out to get the mail the other day, I put my hand in the mailbox and pulled out a bunch of letters and a wasp that was stinging my hand. It was painful, and there was immediate swelling. But as I walked down the driveway to the house, I was conscious of two thoughts that were more impressive than the pain. The first was the quote above - ''nothing shall by any means hurt you'' n1 - part of a promise that Christ Jesus gave the seventy disciples he sent out to preach and heal. And the next thought was from the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy n2: ''Suffer no claim of sin or of sickness to grow upon the thought. Dismiss it with an abiding conviction that it is illegitimate, because you know that God is no more the author of sickness than He is of sin.'' n3
n1 Luke 10:19.
n2 The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
n3 Science and Health, p. 390
Mentally I did dismiss the pain - I refused to give it my attention, to be angry at the wasp, to feel that any hurt could be part of my true being as the child of God, created in His likeness. Within five minutes the swelling had gone down, and there was no more pain.
This ability to treat an apparently physical phenomenon mentally, through the spiritual means of prayer, is one very satisfying aspect of being a student of the Bible and the writings of Mary Baker Eddy. The teachings and the postulates of Christian Science are practical; they can be demonstrated in the most elementary manner, and related to every situation.
When Jesus sent those seventy disciples out - ''two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come'' - he told them to heal the sick and ''say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.'' n 4
n4 Luke 10:1
Spiritual healing results when we trust more in the fact of God's infinite power and love - His kingdom - than in the evidence of material circumstances and conditions. Spiritual healing reveals man's primary relationship to God, Spirit, as His child. It confirms the actual, spiritual identity of man and his present place in the kingdom of God.
It is because of so much evidence of healing through relying on prayer, following the way of Christ Jesus, that many parents confidently turn to God for inspiration, direction, and healing. This has certainly been the case in our family. Four generations have relied on Christian Science and have seen a wide variety of cures, including the healing of whooping cough, crushed fingers, and smoking.
Perhaps the most crucial incident involved one of our sons. When he was in third grade, he came running in from the yard, crying, ''A bee stung me, and I wasn't even doing anything to it.''
''Well, never mind,'' I said, ''it can't do you any harm.'' (I was not in the habit of making a fuss about minor matters.)
But it was quickly evident that this was no minor incident. Our boy continued to cry, and his face began to swell, including his mouth and tongue. I knew he needed immediate help of the most practical kind.
I made him as comfortable as possible in his bed and called a Christian Science practitioner to pray, to help me calm my fear and to feel certain about the spiritual identity of our son and his exemption from any material law relating to poison. The practitioner was compassionate, and convinced that God was completely in control. She told me to pray the Lord's Prayer out loud so our son could hear it.
Our son tried to pray out loud with me, though it was hard for him to talk. Then I read (and as I read I felt, and trusted, and loved the truth underlying the words) ''the scientific statement of being'' from the Christian Science textbook, which includes these statements: ''Spirit is the real and eternal; matter is the unreal and temporal. Spirit is God, and man is His image and likeness. Therefore man is not material; he is spiritual.'' 5
I felt the fear slip away like the tide going out. Soon our son fell asleep. In less than an hour the swelling had gone way down, and by the time his father came home from work, his appearance was almost normal. We kept in close touch with the practitioner during the evening, and the reports were all good. Our son had his usual dinner appetite and played outside before bedtime.
As I said, this was a crucial incident; it involved our child and challenged my trust in God to meet the physical needs of one I loved more than myself. It was unmistakable proof of the protection our children have under the law of God.
DAILY BIBLE VERSE In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust. Psalms 71:1