I’m halfway through my fourth in-depth sequential reading of the booklet. The childlikeness of the five-year-old youngster who simply told her little sister, “My body fell, but I am not in my body. Can God’s child fall?” is beautiful (C.E.M., Journal, July 1898; p. 77).
As you suggested, I made no effort to read and digest them all at one sitting. Since I had to look them all up in their original form, I repaired on four separate days to the terrific Reading Room of First Church, Arlington, Virginia. Reading the original volumes required physical as well as mental effort—climbing onto step stools many times to retrieve volumes, some over 100 years old, gently pulling them down with their crumbling covers, and gently turning the pages in search of the valuable lessons these testimonies taught.
1. In all honesty, do you feel differently about Christian Science healing and your own practice of C.S. after completing the reading? What new conclusions might you draw from these testimonies?
I do feel differently about Christian Science healing and my practice. I feel a stronger reliance on and trust in Truth and in the truth about man. The conclusion that can be drawn is that we can depend completely on the truths of God and their effectiveness in healing; we can trust that they do heal.
The introduction, which tells about the two wartime workers, made me think of Mrs. Eddy’s words, “If we would open their prison doors for the sick, we must first learn to bind up the broken-hearted” (S&H 366:30–31). The most broken-hearted of all would be those who feel the way that man in the introduction felt—that God isn’t there, because if He were, these terrible things couldn’t have happened.
Question 1. I may not feel differently about Christian Science so much as I feel differently about my own ability to practice it. I always understood Christian Science heals. Had I contemplated quite so fully what a healing treatment does? Not exactly.
I have a bulletin board in front of my desk, and at the top in big letters I have the words “Rise in the strength of Spirit to resist all that is unlike good”…
I have been feeling a heavy burden from just about everything, then procrastination, and then more of everything. Finally I made myself sit down with the booklet of testimonies and read for a couple of hours each time.
After the end of the testimonies, a passage from the Bible came to me: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). I felt that I, too, could fight the good fight. Being obedient to Truth is a natural part of man and a natural part of me. It also rekindled my desire to study the Bible, the textbook, and other writings by Mrs. Eddy.
Yes, reading the testimonies in this year’s assignment (and many more articles in the Sentinel and Journal) has made me think much more about how Christian Science relates to our daily life. It shows how healing can be so natural. I am starting to understand how the spiritual reality of being is a present possibility that is right here with us.