Here are some of my thoughts from our 1943 Sentinel testimony reading assignment. I had different thoughts throughout the process of reading, so broke it up into parts.
To start this assignment I dove right in and began reading the articles off of JSH. Soon, I found that I was getting lost in what I had read or not read, and wanted to take notes on the articles. So, the idea to copy them all into a document, print it out and then read all the testimonies straight through came to me. This ended up taking longer than I thought and in my first sitting to do this I made it through one or two months of Sentinels.
Something unexpected happened during that first session. After copy and pasting for about two hours, I had noticed a trend in every single testimony. Every one of them began with a sentence of gratitude. This was something I had never really recognized before when reading the Sentinel testimony sections. What I was surprised by, was that reading “It has long been my desire to express my gratitude…”, “words are inadequate to express my joyful and sincere gratitude…”, “I thank God from the depth of my heart…”, only these first half of a sentences for two hours, lifted my heart up into gratitude as well. I felt lighter, happier, and grateful just having read how so many people were helped by Christian Science…and I hadn’t even gotten to the testimony of what they were grateful for!
So that started the assignment off pretty well!
One concept that has come to me while reading these testimonies was one of man’s innate innocence and worthiness of healing. Many of the testifiers came to Christian Science for healing and then stuck with it. Others already identified themselves as Christian Scientists when the need for healing came. The concept that struck me was that we should come to our daily study as fresh and open to God’s thoughts and healing as if we were new to Christian Science. If it seems like we are struggling with something for a while – we are allowed to lay off the old, and not carry it around. For the “new” people or a “new problem,” this can seem so easy and yet somehow more difficult for lifetime Christian Scientists or issues that have seemed ongoing. I guess the key to it all is, is letting go of human history – any history – for our real self as a simple, pure reflection of God.
Looking back on all of these testimonies, as a whole, the common strain running through them is gratitude and expectancy of healing. The turning to God, trusting His care, leaning and holding onto the Truth of God’s goodness. This is most evident to me in the healings of small children that were given: The baby who seemed to be born blind but was healed, the child hit by a car and was walking and playing the next day, the children who experienced terrible accidents while playing and were healed the same day and able to go on with their regular daily activities, another was healed of a crooked back and legs of unequal length, another was healed from being trampled by runaway horses. All of these healings were enabled because the parents were able to trust and pray to God. Fear was cast out of thought and God’s Love felt mentally and it was then seen physically. I just am in awe of these parents’ love for their children and to God, their Parent, and the expectancy of good they had and its fulfillment is heartening. A deep goal of mine is to be able to reflect that same Parent Love to all.