I went up to Maine over the weekend to pray for Association and escape the phone and hubbub. While in Maine, there was an unexpected healing (not part of my plan) and I’ll recount it. The year has brought good healings but also showers of grace; this felt in a small way like both.
For a day prior to the trip, my upper gum above a missing tooth was starting to swell. The swelling started going full-scale on the trip, coming at the same time as a number of work-related issues that seemed to mix both difficult and rewarding situations—unfoldment, but also some collisions of views and models. During this time the face was beginning to distort.
A quick break for a brief, relevant interlude: Some years back, just after Association, a tooth was acting up. The claim was pain of a kind that I had not realized a little part of the mouth was capable of. Mortal mind seemed to want to say the tooth was tolerable during the day, but that at night it would scream so badly that I would have to be up and walking around the apartment, trying to pray, unable to get peace and rest. Finally after a couple days of pain, I called a practitioner at about 10 p.m. and said I needed to make a decision about whether to go to a dentist. He quietly said, “I don’t know whether you need to go to a dentist, but I do know that you do not need to experience pain.” I thanked him and about a minute later, literally, all pain ceased. It just vanished after several days of claim. And that was quite a lesson, not to mention a relief.
This weekend, interestingly, on a trip planned as a time of prayer, I did not seem to want to deal with an actual physical situation requiring healing! I kept thinking things like, How am I going to listen to the Association address with an inflamed mouth? How am I going to deal with the pain on Association day? Can I muddle through? I even wondered if maybe I could poke the ballooning gum with a knife or tool. Crazy? Yes. There was also an unwanted mental rehearsal of office politics and dramas.
Meanwhile, the face and gum kept swelling and trying to take over, while I seemed to want to do anything but quietly, calmly work.
But eventually God’s grace began to give the strength and sense to be quiet: As I was looking at the ceiling, I felt called to really ask what it is about Christian Science that is distinct from anything else. Like most Christian Scientists, I have thought about this a thousand times. Still, I felt a need to be clear on how our Discovery is different from just any other good Christian or Protestant expression of church and prayer.
There were many things. What stood out was a need to understand more of God’s allness as a part of the Discovery or revelation of Science. It is just so basic, but so unavoidably exact and true about God and His creation. In humbly asking for more understanding of God’s allness, the Lord’s Prayer became not a vaguely nice exercise but a statement with enormous dimension: Thy kingdom come. Thy kingdom IS come. Mary Baker Eddy tells us not to simply parrot the idea of God’s allness in a trivial way, as mere belief, but that does not excuse us from having to grapple with what “All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation” means.
In Science and Health I turned to pages 208 and 209. On the former, a paragraph heading reads, “Seemingly independent authority.” That paragraph talks of a seeming power, independent of God, that is “the very antipode of immortal Mind, of Truth, and of spiritual law,” and says it is not “in accordance with the goodness of God’s character that He should make man sick, then leave man to heal himself.”
On the opposite page of Science and Health, the paragraph with the heading “Allness of Truth” offers the counter-fact: “Mind, supreme over all its formations and governing them all, is the central sun of its own systems of ideas, the life and light of all its own vast creation.” It is a paragraph bursting with beauty and progressive and radical views of divine Mind and Mind’s nearness.
At one point I turned to John 9 where Jesus heals the man born blind. There is great power when the healed man answers the Pharisees with the guileless joy that has come from the healing power of the Christ felt: “Why herein is a marvelous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes.”
At this time there was a different feeling—that the situation was not bigger than God’s man. There was also a quiet feeling that the problem was going to abate. I didn’t obsess about its abating or constantly check; the quiet sense was more powerful than that.
I went to sleep and woke up early. I could feel a draining taking place in the gum. I did feel joy and it did feel like something beautiful, but it also felt like the way things should be in righteousness. The words “Spirit is taking over the story” came to thought, and it felt like this was true with a range of other issues. Breathing was easier, and the world outside was more lighted, and the littlest detail seemed beautiful in this more awakened spiritual sense.
The mouth has remained fine. More importantly, it felt like the work was very much about Association!