What an interesting and inspiring assignment! I was impressed early on in the reading of the testimonies by the outpouring of sincere gratitude expressed in all these testimonies. I could feel the gratitude coming to me from the pages; gratitude for Mrs. Eddy, gratitude for Science and Health, gratitude for Christian Science, gratitude for Church services, gratitude for Sunday School and Sunday School teachers, gratitude for Christian Science practitioners, gratitude for the periodicals, gratitude for class instruction, gratitude for healing power.
While I have felt that I too have great gratitude for all of this, it made me think about it, and it made me more aware of what we have as well as deepening my feelings of gratitude for all the many blessings we are privileged to receive through Christian Science.
I was particularly impressed by one testimony I read early on in this assignment that started out “I am indeed grateful that from a very early age I was sent by my mother to a Christian Science Sunday School. The truths of Christian Science which I learned there will always remain with me, and I must express heartfelt gratitude for those consecrated teachers who were always so loving, understanding, and ready to help.” (Vol XLV, No 9 Feb 27, 1943)
As a former Sunday School student and a present Sunday School teacher, this meant much to me, and opened my thought to pray about what appears to be a somewhat lackadaisical attitude toward Sunday School in many of our churches and societies these days, at least in the Sunday Schools I am hearing about. In reading the testimonies, I became more aware of how many of them expressed gratitude for the teachings that had been learned at Sunday School.
Another aspect of these testimonies that greatly impressed me was the often quick or instantaneous nature of the healings that came to people with no prior knowledge of Christian Science. I considered on what it was that brought these quick healings to newcomers to Christian Science, and I concluded that a prime reason was the willingness to learn and accept this Truth in their lives.
My mother was involved in, what appeared to be, a very bad automobile accident before she was married. She was told that her pelvis was crushed, and that she would be lucky to walk again, but she would never be able to dance again, nor would she be able to have children. She told me that she had to wear a brace in order to keep her internal organs in place. A short while after this, someone suggested that she go see a Christian Science practitioner because she might be able to heal my mother.
My mother did go see this practitioner, and was greatly impressed with what she was told. She said that she just “drank it in.” A short while after working with the practitioner, she discarded the brace without any negative effects whatever. She was soon completely healed. Since I am here, we know that the doctor’s prophesy about her not being able to have children was rendered null and void. She also danced again in ballet performances as before.
Nevertheless, I noticed that both in the testimonies I was reading, and in my mother’s experience, there were times when later healings took much more time to be accomplished, and I thought about why this might have been so.
Two things came to me. The first was the parable about the sower and the seed that Jesus told to his followers. (Luke 8:5-15) These people had been healed because the Truth and Love found just wiped away all fear or acceptance of erroneous concepts. However, some had to till the “soil” deeper, some to clear out the stones and rocks already imbedded in their thinking, and some to build their defenses against the thoughts of apathy and procrastination. That which would say, “I know I have things that need to be corrected, but I am good for now, and will work on them later; or as Mrs. Eddy called it in her Message for 1900 (p. 9), “a more convenient season.”
The second thought that came to me concerning the apparent need of time in order to be healed came as a result of some extra-curricular activity in regard to our assignment. I tended to read more than the testimonies, including the letters from the military servicemen and the Chaplains as well as some of the Signs of the Times, and now and then, an article that would catch my eye. I was looking back for one testimony I remembered and wanted to read again, and I came upon an editorial titled “Felling the Big Trees” in the May 15, 1943 Sentinel.
In this editorial, it was pointed out that we sometimes think all it takes to fell a tree is to go up to it and chop or saw away, and down it comes. However, in reality, the tree is often imbedded in weeds or vines or brush needing to be cleared away before chopping of sawing can be done. It points out that we sometimes approach our healing work in this same way endeavoring to heal a specific claim when there are many “weeds” and much “brush” that need to be cleared out of consciousness first.
I noticed that this was illustrated in many of the testimonies I was reading, but this article made the system of healing apparent. I applied it to my own healing work of claims that continued to linger, and results were amazing.
I am so grateful for this assignment. This work has revealed or reminded me of doors to re-open and paths to travel and explore.