I have so appreciated the assignment to read all the 1943 Sentinel testimonies. The scope of prayer, love, dedication, and healing found in this collection is awe-inspiring. The testifiers brought me to my knees in humility. My prayer is to follow in some degree their faith and spiritual insight, so selflessly shared with us in their own words. Those practitioners supporting healing throughout that year were surely following Christ Jesus’ example and Mrs. Eddy’s directive to heal.
What’s most needed and where do we need to be in thought today? Paul has given us an answer—where we always have been! — attuned to God, “for in him we live, and move, and have our being.’” (Acts 17:28) Words from Hymn #4 tell us something of what is needed: “Be every thought from sense unbound, Be every action love.” Ezekiel saw a vision: “Son of man, behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thine heart unto all that I shall show thee;” (40:4) Our need today is to do this—to see, hear, and pray deeply to obey and be true to the Ten Commandments, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, and rules of Christian Science which we are so fortunate to have available today for study and practice.
What can we learn from these Christian Scientists and their experiences? We can learn that as Jesus told his disciples, “with God all things are possible.” (Matt. 19:26). In the earliest testimony the practitioner said to the patient, “I did not treat you, but tried to know clearly that that condition was no part of the real man—the man whom God has created, and of whom we read in the first chapter of Genesis. I knew that the real man was not bound by material laws and that I could not accept any of the world’s erroneous suggestions regarding this belief.” This guidance has helped me in supporting others without their having directly asked me to pray for them.
What was the “state of consciousness” of these early testifiers? Some people had never heard of Christian Science. Ms. Hays in the 1/9/43 issue, shared this: “always there was the question in my mind, Why does not God answer prayer?…I prayed almost in desperation that if there were a God I would find Him. My prayer was answered very quickly…” Almost every possible type of human experience was included. Some testifiers were curious; others, not necessarily seeking healing, visited Reading Rooms or Wednesday services or lectures recommended by friends and were healed as a result. A few had been taught to doubt religion in general, and some had been warned specifically against Christian Science. Accounts from the war-front included amazing instances of protection, resulting from their own prayers and those of the wartime ministers and chaplains.
Many of the healings involved firm and direct refutation of medical prognoses, often dire. In the January 16, ’43 issue, L. Rice states: “A little later…I became suddenly ill and suffered much pain. After I had been in bed for four days and had been unable to take any nourishment, the landlady called in a doctor. The doctor said I was in for a very long illness with pneumonia, which was then prevalent, and with two other serious complications. While he was saying this I turned my back on error, and declared mentally that I did not have any such conditions. That repudiation of the error healed me.”
Yes, the same kind of profoundly impressive healing may be found today. Testimonies in our current periodicals witness to this. It can be expected because, as our Leader tells on p. xi of the textbook, “The physical healing of Christian Science results now, as in Jesus’ time, from the operation of divine Principle…” Principle has not and will never change from its God-constituted essence of spiritual perfection—God Himself and His perfect spiritual creation. We learn that “the three great verities of Spirit, omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience,” (S&H, p.109) are ours to prove through the rules given in the Bible and Science and Health and our faithful practitioners are here to help.