The Art of Christian Science Nursing — a talk given to the Fern Lodge staff

by Nancy Stiner, C.S.

A former nurse at Fern Lodge referred to the Christian Science Nurse as a Christian Science Practitioner who does windows. While the practitioner is working to understand that the body is the “temple of God” (1 Cor 3:16) you nurses are right in there washing those temple windows. I just love that concept. The nurse is an active healing partner.  What are some of the things we need to address to keep those windows clean?

Let’s consider a remedy for cleaning outside dirt and grime.  A window is a transparency through which light enters a space. In Miscellaneous Writings, 204:12, Mrs. Eddy says the following about the cleansing power of truth:  “The baptism of the Holy Ghost is the spirit of Truth cleansing from all sin; giving mortals new motives, new purposes, new affections, all pointing upward.  This mental condition settles into strength, freedom, deep-toned faith in God; and a marked loss of faith in evil, in human wisdom, human policy, ways, and means. It develops individual capacity, increases the intellectual activities, and so quickens moral sensibility that the great demands of spiritual sense are recognized, and they rebuke the material senses, holding sway over human consciousness.”

So as consciousness is immersed in the Holy Ghost, or in other words the activity of being a Christian Scientist in general and a Christian Science Nurse specifically, there is less and less of the world thought that can distort the view of the caregiver.  This correct view is the very activity of the Christ, who sees the perfect man of God’s creation right where mortal mind, or world belief would plant its grime.  And let’s understand that the correct view is not in spite of the material evidence, but instead of the material evidence. The nurse, then, is a transparency through which the light enters the patient’s room.

What is a remedy to help us approach an undesirable task?  In the daily activity with patients and interaction with staff there are tasks we prefer doing and those other tasks that we wouldn’t do if we didn’t have to, or we would give them to another person who we are sure is better at doing them, and what’s more really wants to do them.  Right?

Peter Henniker-Heaton wrote (Jubilee and Other Poems p.118) a poem he titled “Capacity.”

If God forgave the uncompleted task,
The shelved assignment or the work undone,
Then might we think that God could sometimes ask
Too much of man.
But God requires the utmost farthing paid,
His will completely done;
Therefore our hearts may answer unafraid:
“Because we must, we can.”

Such is the requirement in the activity of healing in Christian Science. “Because we must, we can.”

A friend of mine got a call from someone asking for prayerful help. This friend determined that he could not possibly act as practitioner on the case because he thought the work would require too much time and effort.  He was the caregiver for his wife and did not feel he could commit himself to such a difficult case.  I think he wanted me to tell him that it was OK not to accept the case, and thus he could eliminate any sense of guilt he was feeling in making that decision. He said that even though he would not accept the case, he had shared some truthful facts with the caller.  Now on the phone with me, in amazement he told me that this person had just phoned to thank him for the work, that there had been an immediate healing. He didn’t understand how this could be possible. One statement of Truth healed the receptive thought.  Healing was accomplished because the individual who called my friend was left in God’s care, with no sense of any personal responsibility to get in the way.

Mrs. Eddy explains this experience in Rudimental Divine Science, 9:21.  She writes, “The spiritual power of a scientific, right thought, without a direct effort, an audible or even a mental argument, has oftentimes healed inveterate diseases.”  This statement is really important for the nurse to consider. Nurses spend much more time with the patient than does a practitioner.

At a moment of reaching out in the desire to experience healing, a patient might express his need to the nurse; in that moment of receptivity the nurse should voice only a statement of Truth, and healing follows. Christian Science nurses are healers.

How can you determine if any thought you have is a legitimate message from divine Mind?  Ask yourself if you can say, “Thus saith the Lord,” about that thought. If you can’t say, “Thus saith the Lord,” the thought is a mortal mind intrusion on your right thinking and you have the authority to dismiss it. All messages to which we can say, “Thus saith the Lord,” are statements of Truth.  The opposite of Truth is obviously a lie.  A statement or thought is either Truth or a lie. It cannot be both.  It’s important to understand that we are either reflecting Truth or reacting to the lie. We can’t do both at the same time.

Our protection and defense is to constantly watch our thoughts. Mrs. Eddy puts it this way: “Your means of protection and defense from sin are, constant watchfulness and prayer that you enter not into temptation and are delivered from every claim of evil, till you intelligently know and demonstrate, in Science, that evil has neither prestige, power, nor existence, since God, good, is All-in-all” (Mis 115:15).

Let’s deal metaphysically with the suggestions of time and fatigue.  “Eternity, not time, expresses the thought of Life, and time is no part of eternity” (S&H 468:28).  If we would be masters of our decisions, we should choose to be part of eternity and not to be limited by the finite measurement of time.  If Life is not limited then the time we are given to perform an activity of life is not limited.  Mortal thoughts alone limit activity. Are Christian Science nurses mere human beings doing mere human activity?  Indeed, human being is a term and not a being.  Being is in Spirit, in Mind. When the conscious thought is lifted above time and mortality and into the glorious contemplation of eternity, and as you are understanding the Truth about time and eternity for yourselves, you are understanding that same Truth for your patient.

The remedy for fatigue is to learn the power of Mind over the body, which will destroy the illusion of physical weariness. If it is Mind which is communicating to Mind’s idea, man, would that communication have any element of falsity in it?  Would any message that says, ” You are tired,” or “You feel weak,” or “You should stay home and recuperate tomorrow,” be a “Thus saith the Lord” message?  Again, if it’s not “Thus saith the Lord” it’s not your thought.

OK, so you agree that time and fatigue have no authority in your day, but mortal mind wants to trick you and says, “But this is hard to do.” I smile at this effort of animal magnetism to trick us, because the rebuttal to this trickery is already given in Science and Health on page 462.  Anyone who would demonstrate the healing of Christian Science will find that activity not “difficult nor toilsome.” But there are four qualities that are necessary in this activity: “self-denial, sincerity, Christianity, and persistence.”

If the nurse is believing she is nursing matter, that nurse is burying her talents in material thinking,.  If the nurse is nursing unfoldment, that nurse is using her talents in the day-to-day inspiration of overcoming the limitations of material thinking, and there is a doubling of the blessing; it’s called Christian Science healing.

2 Responses to The Art of Christian Science Nursing — a talk given to the Fern Lodge staff

  1. avatar Sabrina Teel says:

    Thank you for making this talk available!

    The idea has come to me over the last few months to pursue becoming a Christian Science Nurse. Calling this an ART is wonderful. Expression!

    Since re locating to Southern California…I have found myself at The Willows. My adventure began in January of 2010, care giving for a wonderful woman. It started as an “organizing” job…and quickly unfolded to a 3day/10hour day a week position. This has been a lovely surprise to me…after 30+ years in retail!

  2. avatar Patricia Brugioni says:

    Thank you so much! I trained at Fern Lodge and felt so divinely buoyed by the Christ, inspiring, instructing, supporting and carrying out every thought and action! What a joy to feel the pure spontaneous sense of being the ‘immediate object’ of God’s understanding! I love the sense of life’s activity not being limited nor dependent on us personally…it’s interesting (and brings to mind many of my own experiences) that the practitioner felt he didn’t have time to ‘deal with’ this case and how this unitentionally left the field to God…How wonderful to realize that we don’t have to give any time to the problem nor feed into it in any way…that our view and our sense of listening and expressing is all within the ONE mind and that there’s no need to ‘deal’ with another (Saith the Lord) 🙂 I laughed and laughed at the Gary Larson cartoon too! Thanks again 🙂 ~ Patricia

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