When I was asked to serve this month as back-up practitioner and then to give a talk if something came to mind, it seemed quite a challenge, particularly the talk. But early on I was overwhelmed by the thought that Fern Lodge was part of “Church”. I hadn’t thought of it that way; and we are always supposed to work for church. Well, how was Fern Lodge part of church? Branch churches have Service and Care Committees. Isn’t the care facility and extension of the committee’s work, a part of the institution that afford proof of its utility? That is what we do!
First, let’s briefly review the Scientific Translations of Immortal Mind and Mortal Mind that Mrs. Eddy gives us on page 115 of Science & Health. I have found that many people pay little attention to these two pages. I’m told they don’t like them or they don’t understand them; usually they don’t like them because they don’t understand them.
When we look at the Scientific Translation of the Immortal Mind, we note that the marginal headings are: Divine synonyms; Divine images; Divine reflection. What starts with divinity ends with divinity. When you translate spiritual facts you still have spiritual facts.
With the Scientific Translation of Mortal Mind, it is interesting to note that the marginal headings here are: Unreality; Transitional qualities, Reality. When Mrs. Eddy starts with error or mortal mind she comes back to the spiritual original of all- Immortal Mind. This teaching is unique to Christian Science: that everything can be translated back into its original, spiritual language.
It is also helpful to understand that these lists of qualities are far from being exhaustive, they are just representative.
We have here three degrees. The third is the absolute, ultimate truth. These qualities describe the Christ or the character of God. They can be called absolute qualities because they are not limited or changeable, just as God is not limited or changeable.
The second-degree qualities, of which there are many more, are third-degree qualities as they appear in human consciousness. Though limited, they are entirely good, because they relate always to the divine and absolute. They are relative because, though they are limited, they relate to spiritual facts. Second-degree qualities are the way third-degree qualities appear in human life. As the third degree describes Christ, so the second degree describes the man Jesus, the highest human concept of the perfect man. No one has graduated from this second degree and stayed in our sense of life. Jesus disappeared when his thought was entirely permeated by third degree qualities. There seems to be no immanent danger of repeating this, at least not today!
Nevertheless, our goal or object in human life is to live up to Jesus’ example, to express second-degree qualities in their fullness. Those qualities have substance because, and only because, they reflect the third-degree qualities – relate to the third-degree qualities.
Again, human thought is but a limited sense of the divine. It is not necessarily bad or mortal, just limited, as Jesus of Nazareth was a human or limited concept of the divine fact of the Christ. As Mrs. Eddy states, The divinity of the Christ was made manifest in the humanity of Jesus.
Again, the first-degree qualities: evil beliefs, passions and appetites, fear, depraved will, etc., but note that there are differences of degree. In an extended list some are worst than others, for example murder is worse than robbery. They are commonly thought of in different levels of badness; but there is no reality in any of them. Even when indulged in universally, they are not true. They constitute what we call bland malpractice, or as misses Eddy says in Miscellaneous Writings, a bland denial of Truth.
In giving a treatment we use affirmations, denials, and realization. Mrs. Eddy tells us in the chapter on Christian Science Practice, To prevent diseases or to cure it, the power of Truth of divine Spirit must break the dream of the material senses. Then she goes on to say To heal by argument… I remember being told they where two ways to heal: by inspiration and by argument. I was also told that by far the greater part of our work would be by argument. In answer the Question #22 in Recapitulation, Will you explain sickness and show how it is to be healed? Mrs. Eddy begins her answer with this statement: The method of Christian Science Mind-healing is touched upon in a previous chapter entitled Christian Science practice. Indeed, touched upon for some 80 pages. This method, or systematic method, as we often call it, enables us to heal, inspired or not.
Miscellaneous Writing yields this interesting bit: “There is not sufficient spiritual power in the human thought to heal the sick or the sinful. Through the divine energies alone one must either get out of himself and into God so far that his consciousness is the reflection of the divine, or he must, through argument and the human consciousness of both evil and good overcome evil.”
By all accounts Jesus healed mostly by inspiration. From the information we have about Mrs Eddy, she also healed a number of people by inspiration. I expect most of you could recount healing by inspiration, particularly in emergencies when you didn’t have time to do anything but instantly call on God with a full and open expectation of His presence.
But for most of us, most of the time, to break that false concept or dream of the material, we will need the help of argument. To continue the quote: “To heal by argument, find the type of the aliment, get its name, and array your mental plea against the physical. Argue at first mentally, not audibly. That the patient has not disease, and conform the argument so as to destroy the evidence of disease. [That is denial] Mentally insist that harmony is the fact, and that sickness is a temporal dream. [That is affirmation, isn’t it?] Realize the presence of health and the fact of harmonious being, until the body corresponds with the normal conditions of health and harmony.”
Now, “realize” means to perceive as a reality; to appreciate fully and vividly. My dictionary adds to make real or actualize. To appreciate fully and vividly is a great definition for gratitude, a fitting support for our declarations. To realize until the body corresponds with the normal conditions of health and harmony.
Now, we can acknowledge with gratitude; that is, appreciate fully and vividly, that all the truths are rooted in the teachings and sayings and works of Jesus Christ as brought to us in the Bible. We can acknowledge Mary Backer Eddy’s place and function in re-discovering these truths; in receiving her revelation and bringing to us the promised Comforter, Divine Science, We can also acknowledge our own experiences in applying these truths as we have made our way forward.
So, we have the basic steps or elements or pattern of treatment, Deny: to declare or assert not to be true. Affirm: to assert positively, declare to be true. To deny has the advantage of being specific. To affirm has the advantage of dealing with Truth. Realize: to perceive as a reality; to appreciate fully and vividly. This pattern, to deny, to affirm, to realize or support when done thoroughly eradicates fear and doubt. A clear sense comes through the first two steps. The third step is often just gratitude. Interestingly, they do not have to be in order: for example, Jesus at Lazarus tomb—Father I thank thee…