From the first testimony, I wanted to cheer aloud. The 1943 Sentinel testimonies have truly been for me the promised bugle call. They’ve woken me up, cleared out the cobwebs of concern and doubt, and cut through the din of mortal opinions, fears, apathy, vulnerability, and even nostalgia that I felt lost in. So, it’s not surprising that as I drank them in, I found I could much more readily hear (they sing out) the spiritual truths that fill the Bible Lesson each week. I’ve been happier, “more alive” to God and Spirit, more desiring of what God gives freely. I plan to continue on into 1944 and on and on as a yearly assignment!
You asked us to consider what we today can learn from these Christian Scientists and their experiences. Several things stand out to me:
- They were learning to do their own work. Gratitude for the work, grace, patience, and love expressed by practitioners ran throughout the testimonies, but there was a clear sense that Christian Science was enabling them to meet every difficulty. Doing their own work was part of the proof that they reflect God, all-powerful Love.
- The healings happened in tandem with big thought shifts – towards more love, spiritual insight, and fearlessness. But the ideas that caused the shifts were often very simple. Not intellectual or based in a material process of thought. Just simple spiritual truth that the individual stuck to and lived out from. In that sense it wasn’t difficult mental maneuvering of mortal mind. Even the healings that were gradual came about that way only because of the stubbornness of mortal beliefs, not because the truth itself was complicated.
- CS made their lives steady. This came from learning that their lives are spiritual – not hypothetically so, but actually in Spirit. Nothing to fear there.
- There was so much gratitude for Church! For every avenue set up to sound the call to human hearts – practitioners, nurses, nursing facilities, periodicals, branch church and TMC membership, Sunday School, ushering, serving Church in whatever way. And especially for Mary Baker Eddy. The testifiers really seemed to see who she is as the Discoverer and Founder, as our Leader, and how she had spiritual courage and selflessness in order to give all of us the opportunity to see God truly, as she had.
Can the same profoundly impressive healing be found today? Why can it be expected? Well, given that they were all relying on a Principle that is “the same yesterday, today, and forever”, the answer is OF COURSE! (Heb. 13:8) It hasn’t gone anywhere at all. And JSH publishes examples of tremendous healing all the time. The challenges and mental atmosphere perhaps are strikingly similar now to those in 1943. Is this healing happening in my life? That is where these testimonies were so helpful to me – they made me expand my sense of the tremendous power of Christian Science healing. The wonderful book “Mary Baker Eddy: Christian Healer” had much the same effect. The fact that “all things are possible to God” leapt off the page and made me ask myself if I’m working with CS from that basis of practice. And the testimonies have made me start to say, “yes”! A big part of practicing CS with such power is to really be listening and hearing and hungering to understand more that I have only a spiritual existence, and that God is all. So simple. So fundamentally true. I’m seeing this more than ever before.
The state of consciousness that these testifiers have is spiritual. It’s spiritual consciousness. There is sincere gratitude, more and more heavenly outlook and loving treatment of themselves and others, there is moral beauty, steadiness and strength, humility, sweetness and authentic simplicity, honesty and no request for attention or approval, just a deep desire to stand up and be counted as having their lives and thinking completely changed by Christian Science.
Am I living out from spiritual truth? What an exciting question to answer in light of these testimonies and the tremendous study references sent for us to study in preparation for Association.
While working on the assignment, I’ve had healings of discomfort in my knees and everywhere else while running, skin growths, sores on my breast, lost items, several hard falls while running, turbulence while flying, guidance on what to say and do during work meetings, food poisoning, contagion, progress in lessening menstrual cramps, back pain, fear of our urban neighborhood, and I have been able to help others in my family.