Christian healing as practiced in Christ Jesus' day was accomplished by spiritual means alone, and without material aid. And so it is today, as practiced in Christian Science. ''Our system of Mind-healing,'' Mary Baker Eddy n1 writes, ''rests on the apprehension of the nature and essence of all being, - on the divine Mind and Love's essential qualities. Its pharmacy is moral, and its medicine is intellectual and spiritual, though used for physical healing.''n 2
n1 The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
n2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 460. .
Christian healing is inseparable from salvation. Jesus' practice of healing illustrates this. A woman who had had an issue of blood for twelve years had worsened under the care of physicians. But when she touched the hem of Jesus' clothes, she was healed. Mark says that Jesus knew at once ''that virtue had gone out of him.'' He turned around and asked, ''Who touched my clothes?'' When the woman admitted what had happened, ''he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole.'' n3
n3 See Mark 5:25-34.
This healing was divinely natural - a miracle. But it was not without effort on the part of Jesus or of the woman. If we look with spiritual discernment, we can see the regenerative steps - the spiritual medicine - that brought about the healing.
''Virtue,'' representing the Greek word dunamis, means ''power, force, ability.'' Jesus did not have to rise to the demand of that occasion to express such virtue. He lived healing virtue. When the woman's faith, born of desperation, impelled her to reach for the virtue he so faithfully practiced, she was uplifted to healing.
Faith that finds healing with scientific dependability must reach higher than itself. It must touch the virtue of Christ, Truth, that Jesus represented. Christly understanding and demonstration come from God, divine Mind, and so are omnipotent. Mrs. Eddy writes: ''If Mind was first and self-existent, then Mind, not matter, must have been the first medicine. God being All-in-all, He made medicine; but that medicine was Mind. It could not have been matter, which departs from the nature and character of Mind, God.'' n4
n4 Science and Health, p. 142.
Interestingly, the words ''medicine'' and ''medical'' come from the Latin word meaning ''to heal.'' The preparation that heals need not be material in order to be substantial and effective. As a hymn in the Christian Science Hymnalm puts it, ''The thought of Thee is mightier far/ Than sin and pain and sorrow are.'' n5 Concern about the efficacy of Christian Science practice sometimes arises when someone thinks that because he can't see the medicine of Mind, Christian Scientists are doing nothing for their own health or for the welfare of those who place themselves or their children under Christian Science treatment. This assumption is far from true. To observe the workings of divine Mind requires spiritual discernment. Nevertheless, God, acting through His Christ, Truth, in the Christian discipleship of Christian Science practice, meets the needs of people today as certainly as in Jesus' time.
n5 Hymnal, No. 134.
The one who acts as Christian Science practitioner for himself or others prays and strives to climb spiritually to reach the altitude of Christliness that Jesus so constantly expressed. Through the practitioner's understanding of God and his living of pure, Godlike qualities, the healing truth of Mind reaches those who seek his help - much as Jesus' healing virtue reached the woman who touched his garment. Thus the medicine of Christian Science reaches the one in need directly from divine Mind. The patient is spiritually regenerated as well as mentally, morally, and physically restored. Therefore spiritual healing is more than a recovery of lost health; it is in some measure a discovery of the unchangeably perfect being of spiritual man created in God's likeness - a discovery available to us every moment through the study and practice of Christian Science.
This article is a condensation of an editorial that appears in the September issue of The Christian Science Journal.
DAILY BIBLE VERSE Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; ave me, and I shall be saved. Jeremiah 17:14 .