By Julio C. Rivas, CS
Thursday, December 22, 2022
By Patti C. Christopher
Since the beginning of my experience in Christian Science, I have read in Matthew 5:13 “Ye are the salt of the earth….” Recently, while reading the gospel of Mark, I encountered the concept of being salted or having salt within us (Mark 9: 49 For everyone shall be salted with fire…. Mark 9: 50 …Have salt in yourselves and have peace one with another.)
Being too embarrassed to admit that I did not understand the phrase, or ever ask a Bible scholar what it means, I have wondered for years what being “salt” or “salted” meant. So I asked God recently, and this is what He said: “To be salted is to be filled with all goodness, purity, and Love, and to live this way eternally.”
Over the years I have learned that salt has 4 uses:
- it gives flavor (goodness, Love)
- it cleans (purity)
- it preserves (eternal life)
- it was used as payment (worthiness)
These are all qualities of our original status when God created us as ideas made in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:26, 27). For one to be the image of God, good, one must have goodness inherent in him. Since there is no evil in God, good, one must be pure as His image and likeness. God is eternal, so His ideas must be eternal as well. Mrs. Eddy says, “…man is immortal and lives by divine authority.” (SH 76:20) The divine authority of God gave man dominion, which speaks to our worthiness.
But what does it mean to be “salted with fire” (Mark 9:49)? To this God answered, “To be salted with fire is to be brought to that point where your light shines brightly.” This reply brought forth a memory from my childhood. As a kid sitting in front of our fireplace, I loved when dad put a piece of driftwood on the fire because it burned with beautiful colors of turquoise, purple, and green. Also, the fire glowed brighter if salt itself was thrown on the fire.
From this I perceive that, if we are salted with fire and are the salt of the earth, then we are to bring goodness, Love, peace, and purity into every aspect of our lives, and to burn so brightly with our salted-ness that we become a beacon of the Christ for all mankind to see.
Sunday, December 11, 2022
By Julio C. Rivas, CS
By J. Denis Glover, CS
“Christian Scientists demonstrate absolute Christian Science as far as possible. Beyond this we are obliged to choose the lesser of two evils.”
—Alfred Farlow, CSD, first Committee on Publication of The First Church of Christ, Scientist. (appeared in Kansas City, Missouri Star, 7 Nov. 1897)
“Honesty is spiritual power.”—Mary Baker Eddy. (Science and Health 453: 16 only)
Farlow’s frank comment above shows a humble and winning honesty. It raises the question of what Christian Scientists might do when choosing the “lesser of two evils” when it comes to the employment of temporary aids in certain emergency cases or in others when spiritual healing and comfort may not come rapidly.
His view connects with statements and actions by the Founder of Christian Science. In such circumstances Mary Baker Eddy advises the Christian Scientist in Science and Health to seek divine guidance in finding the proper temporary means of help, while still praying for spiritual healing. So often in the Christian Science textbook, she recommends a gentle emergence from material means to spiritual.
And in the Church Manual, the provision for Christian Science nurses is another indication of Eddy’s realization that, for some, healing may not occur immediately and that wise steps for temporary care may be in order.
Our family faced just such a circumstance. A daughter had been riding at camp when her mount came too close to a barbed-wire fence, and she suffered a leg wound. Camp officials, expressing a considerable amount of fear, called my wife and me. They felt that significant first aid had to be administered immediately, so we asked for our daughter to be transported to a nearby hospital to obtain professional help.
Part of our decision was motivated by our desire to alleviate the fear at the camp. But, more importantly, we turned to divine Love for help, knowing that we would be led to do the right thing with no harm to the child. We felt confident that our prayers would be answered. At the same time, we telephoned a Christian Science practitioner for spiritual guidance and prayerful support, which she gladly gave.
When we arrived at the hospital, the scene did not appear good from a human point of view. Continuing to pray, we patiently awaited a doctor—knowing that there was only one Great Physician, divine Love, and that the outcome would be harmonious. When the doctor arrived, he seemed concerned, but we expressed confidence in his skills and started quietly singing hymns. To our surprise he hummed along with us. As he proceeded, the doctor’s initial prognostication began to abate, and skillfully-done stitches and other first-aid steps moved along rapidly and harmoniously.
It became increasingly clear to us that we were following Eddy’s compassionate and wise counsel: “Until the advancing age admits the efficacy and supremacy of Mind, it is better for Christian Scientists to leave surgery and the adjustment of broken bones and dislocations to the fingers of a surgeon, while the mental healer confines himself chiefly to mental reconstruction and to the prevention of inflammation.” (Science and Health 401:29-3)
We were grateful for the inspiration and physical help, but even more grateful the next day to discover our daughter had returned to riding—without fear. Christian Science treatment ensured that mental reconstruction had taken place and that no inflammation could occur.
The question might be asked, “Did we sacrifice spiritual power by seeking medical help in this situation?” Well, we sought spiritual help first, and we never gave up the thought that divine Spirit could lead us to the right temporary means. All that is symbolic of good, in the end, comes from God, however it may be expressed.
Was our temporary turning to a physician for first aid “radical” Christian Science? Let’s look at that word, “radical.”
A friend of ours studied classics at Oxford University, and I queried him once about it. I learned the connotation had changed considerably in the last century to become “extreme,” but he told me that the word actually derives from the Latin “radix,” meaning “root.” We find this usage in a word used by Shakespeare, “deracinate,” meaning “to pull up by the root.”
I checked on-line and found other definitions: “an underlying support,” “basic,” and, of course, “arising from or going to a root or source.” From this point of view, our choice for temporary means was, indeed, “radical.” We had turned “radically” to God for our “underlying support,” and all involved were blessed.
Here’s another remarkable case of a Scientist in a similar situation. On May 31, 1913, The New York Times reported that a Christian Scientist, returning from a Rochester-Montreal ball game, was thought to be dying after an automobile accident. At first, according to the article, the Scientist refused to be taken to a hospital, but soon realized he needed practical care and agreed to go. The newspaper further reported that “he had little chance of recovery.”
Although we cannot know exactly how he prayed, we do know that the Scientist fully recovered through his understanding of Christian Science. He later had class instruction with a Christian Science teacher, who had served as Mary Baker Eddy’s secretary.
Interesting enough, he went on to become a Christian Science teacher himself and the author of many healing articles in the Christian Science periodicals. My wife and I knew him for a number of years, and his honesty about the need for temporary aid had not prevented his healing, robbed him of God’s caring love, nor impeded his spiritual progress.
Sometimes the suggestion comes in situations like this, “Why was interim help even needed?” It’s a question that goes nowhere since in the truth of being as taught by Christian Science, accidents and illnesses represent erroneous mental impositions—never occurring in Spirit’s, God’s, dominion. We need to be mindful that Spirit renews and remakes us every moment, without histories of accident or delayed healing.
But we also need to be honest about them from a human point of view. In doing so, we’re spiritually empowered, as Eddy suggests—and, in addition, we avoid misunderstandings by non-Christian Scientists.
Alfred Farlow wrote many years ago: “Why not admit the truth? That, while a knowledge of Christian Science enables one more easily to prevent, lessen and overcome the ills of life, there is no Scientist who is wholly exempt, at all times, from aches and pains, or from trials of some kind.” (The Christian Science Journal, June, 1892) Again, his statement rings with a disarming humility and honesty.
Early Christian Scientist, Edward A. Kimball, CSD, pupil and associate of the Founder of Christian Science, stated with the same frankness: “It is not pretended that Christian Scientists have as individuals or as a class risen to the height of demonstration that excludes all failures.” [“Facts and Fictions About Christian Science,” published in The Atlanta Constitution. (Lectures and Articles on Christian Science by Edward A. Kimball, p. 39)]
Such statements need not be cause for discouragement. They present a candor that can lead to an increased sense of spiritual guidance and power. After all, we’re told that even the Master found such challenges on occasion, as St. Matthew openly reports: “And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.”(Matthew 13:58) That situation did not impair his faith, worthiness, or later demonstrations of spiritual healing.
On the other hand, we have this encouraging report from Mary Baker Eddy about the present possibility of the healing effectiveness of Christian Science, “when honestly applied under circumstances where demonstration was humanly possible”:
“Late in the nineteenth century I demonstrated the divine rules of Christian Science. They were submitted to the broadest practical test, and everywhere, when honestly applied under circumstances where demonstration was humanly possible, this Science showed that Truth had lost none of its divine and healing efficacy, even though centuries had passed away since Jesus practised these rules on the hills of Judaea and in the valleys of Galilee.” (Science and Health, 147: 6)
Here is an honesty informed by profound spirituality, successful demonstration—and radical promise.
By Patti C. Christopher
Many years ago, I had a healing by singing Hymn 64 as I walked in a nearby park, memorizing it as I went. Recently, I decided to go back to Hymn 64 (From sense to Soul) to get a clear idea of Truth. Not only did I sing the hymn, but I also dug deeply into the words.
In the first verse, I acknowledged that I was right now in “Truth’s clear day.” In this moment, I could clearly understand all the Truth about myself and others dealing with any challenge.
In the second verse, it dawned on me that I am always one with divine Mind, and therefore always stand on “holy ground.” I am an idea held in the Mind that is God, and so cannot step out of that holy ground, and so can see and feel the “loveliness of Love” all around me. Being held in the Mind of Love and having only the Mind that was in Christ meant that my thought easily “soars enraptured, fetterless and free.” That is why healing occurs even though great distances seem to lie between practitioner and patient, or us and our loved ones for whom we pray. Isaiah 55:11 says, “God’s word goeth out in righteousness and doth not return unto Him void… but He maketh it to prosper in the thing wherein He hath sent it.” In Truth, everyone is an idea held in the Mind of Love, and therefore there is never any separation between us and God.
When I came to “I touch the fringes of eternity”, I thought about the woman with the 12-year issue of blood, who reached out to touch the hem of Christ’s garment. She was reaching out hoping to understand the laws of God, knowing they would heal her. During Biblical times, the hems of garments were made by gathering the threads into tassels and knotting them. Each tassel represented one of over 300 of God’s laws. Knowing this, the woman reached out to touch Christ’s hem, even though the unclean were not to touch or be touched by others. When she felt that divine Love pour out of Christ into herself, she knew immediately that she was healed of that issue. She had a glimpse of the law of omnipresent Love, and saw how beloved she truly was. Not even her uncleanness could prevent God from sending His Love out to heal her.
With this inspiration, I definitely had touched “the fringes of eternity.” This inspiration continues to fill my thought. I am grateful for the inspiring hymns in both of the Christian Science hymnals, which so easily come to mind when we need help.