'Rise up and walk'

A Christian Science perspective: The relevance and practicality of Bible's message of healing today.

“Rise up and walk,” said Jesus’ Apostle Peter.

And suddenly a beggar who had never walked and who crouched outside the door of a temple, stood up, “leaping, and praising God.”

Of all the healings recorded in the Bible, the one with Peter and John at the gate of the temple called Beautiful is among the most joyous. We can only imagine the exhilaration felt by this lifelong invalid when he reached up to take Peter’s hand, expecting a handout, and received a hand up. Instead of a pittance in his palm, strength welled up in his legs and feet.

Peter said, “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God” (Acts 3:6-8).

That bent beggar, a familiar figure on the temple doorstep, had never been inside. The infirm were barred in the cruel belief that they had brought God’s disfavor upon themselves. Now he danced among the faithful.  

All who feel the joyful touch of the Christ (God with us) in trying times know the nearness of God. This heavenly help comes not in mere response to a human plea. It is divine Love’s ever-present provision, our “very present help in trouble” (Psalms 46:1).

Prayer is not just an escape hatch to use occasionally to flee perilous plight. Nor is it pie in the sky or head-in-the-sand trust. Prayer plugs us into God’s perfect reign over all. The Apostle Paul urged us to “pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17). Although the beggar who was healed may not have been praying specifically to be healed, it appears that he had a deep underlying desire to be free from that lifetime limitation.

Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, declared in her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”: “The habitual struggle to be always good is unceasing prayer. Its motives are made manifest in the blessings they bring, – blessings which, even if not acknowledged in audible words, attest our worthiness to be partakers of Love” (p. 4).

Endless prayer is ongoing gratitude for the blessings we are heir to as beloved children of God. Our heavenly Father-Mother does not mistreat us. Isaiah promised, “Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain” (40:4).

These Bible truths helped me stay in college. With three bus rides to my part-time job, I seldom got back to my dormitory before midnight, with little time for study. My grades had sunk near the expulsion point. Rather than trying to catch up on the reading, I decided to study my good lecture notes.

My doubts and fears on the day of the big test melted as I recalled these words by Mrs. Eddy in Science and Health: “We are all capable of more than we do” (p. 89). Of course we are! I had all of divine Mind going for me. Often the clearest vision is gained during testing times as thought rises above godless fears.

I was happy to see the test was based on the lectures. I quickly finished. The joyful news came in the mail a week later. I got a “B” on that crucial test, good enough to keep me in school.

Like that beggar who had never walked, we can all rise up to claim our divine dominion as Jesus promised when he said, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Free from what? Free from the earthly shackles that would bind our true spiritual selfhood – and free even from something as simple as the fear of failing a test.

So rise up. Live and leap for joy!

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