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Association 2018

Response to the Post association assignment

A student writes:

July - September, 2018

This year’s post-Association assignment offered me the opportunity to bring to light some thoughts and ideas in handling the claims presented.  Two very different situations offered some startling similarities that have helped me in my own (sometimes seemingly stagnant) practice.  It seems to me that we could all ask ourselves the same question:  Does it ever seem as though the more you pray, the worse it gets?  When the first testifier wrote of the frustration and pain caused by a family member who didn’t quite get the whole picture, this tried to awaken memories in my own experience that I thought were long buried.  The second testifier wrote of the passing of a loved-one after diligent and consecrated prayer, and I thought “Boy, I have so been there!”  But empathizing with the writers doesn’t offer much in the way of support, and actually is a poor substitute for Divine Love – the Mother Love which is already meeting every human need.  

Interestingly enough, I had the opportunity to revisit a healing with my oldest son that I shared in an Association meeting years ago, a healing of the claim of autism.  We hadn’t talked about this healing in a long while, simply because, well, it was HEALED.  And I bring it to this assignment, not because we are “back at square one,” but because it helped to consider how to handle these two cases.   I know what the world thinks about mental conditions: human thought would tend to categorize and compartmentalize circumstances into conditions, then further weigh the claim down with data like heredity, predisposition, genetic information, personal tendencies, diet and lifestyle, etc.  The world doesn’t want to hear what Christian Science has to say about reality; the world wants to make the mental condition itself the reality.  

Recently, I was helping my son to complete a writing exercise for a college application. He was asked to describe a difficult or traumatizing life event that profoundly changed or influenced him in a positive way – how he handled it and it’s outcome.  He wrote about the experience of being told he was showing signs of autism as a young child and how this seemed to create a false sense of his identity that followed him throughout the rest elementary school.  My son described what it felt like knowing that each new teacher he had every school year considered him to be “the kid to watch out for,” the kid whose parents refused to medicate his condition (which is the same as ignoring it).  He told about learning to calm himself physically and mentally so to prove to his classmates and teachers he was not autistic.  Reading this was like experiencing the healing again, even though he really could not include the prayerful work that allowed our family to bear witness to the unfoldment of Truth.  We sent his essay to a family member who is a writer, and who had graciously offered to edit my son’s work.

But when we received this person’s response, the reaction was critical and doubtful, and my son was gently but firmly chastised with a narrative of how “autism is not a curable condition” and he really had no right to claim he was healed.   The response included scientific evidence and studies that proved this point.

I couldn’t help but think of this incident while contemplating the experiences presented in this year’s post-Association assignment.  It’s true that when trying to help others, we draw on our own demonstrations and triumphs to reassure them that there is a way out of hopelessness, despair, doubt, fear – whatever human condition tries to upset the reign of harmony.  I would imagine the testifier who wrote of pain and frustration would gladly shout from the mountaintop, “I AM healed!  How do I prove it to you (the doubting family member)?”  And similarly, the testifier who wrote of the death of a family member after much prayerful work; “I KNOW there is no death!  How do I prove it?”  Therein lies the task of the Christian Scientist: living the demonstration as opposed to preaching the demonstration. 

 In both accounts, I felt so clearly the earnest honest work that the testifiers feared was unrewarded or even unnoticed by God.  How often have we all faced that terrible feeling: that God neither notices nor cares of our struggles, much less swoops in to help?  Where is that so-called “ever-present help?”  Whenever I struggle with a sense of God’s nearness, I remember the (paraphrased) words of Mrs. Eddy, “If man were not here, God would not be known.”  This, then, is man’s perfect holy purpose: to bear witness to God, to demonstrate by works over words, the allness of the Father-Mother.  God is the substance, life, intelligence of man – his divine essence; man is the reflection of that essence.  Each individual idea or expression of God comprises the family of man and no idea can lack even the tiniest measurement of all that God possesses.  Every experience in which we turn to God brings us closer to God and closer to understanding ourselves.  

To the testifier who struggles with proving they are healed I would say, “You are the beloved of God now, as you have always been.  The sharp struggles that seemed to define your experience are even now becoming as shadows dissolving in the light of Truth. The denial of your good work by your brother cannot harm you nor can it stop the steady gain you have achieved.  If it takes him 500 years, he WILL see what you see and know what you have learned.” 

To the testifier who lost a beloved family member I would say, “Let your heart be at peace.  There is no retrograde step, no backward motion.  The cycles of light progress ever onward and upward.  Bless your heart for bearing witness to this great truth: that God’s child is not subject to false laws. This most certainly includes the greatest lie of all, that man can perish.”

Most of all, I am daily reassured by the understanding that there isn’t a single malady, situation, human experience (disease, sin, etc.) that hasn’t been overcome by Truth because the Christ overcomes all evil.  In our beloved Master’s own words, “…I am with you, even unto the end of the earth.”

Respectfully submitted, Sept. 2018

A student writes:

I am now revisiting this assignment after traveling during the month of June.

In the first case I was able to see the author come to the truth about who she really is, a reflection of God. She let go of believing that the "messiness" in her surroundings was defining who she was.  She was able to get to that understanding as she cleared away the false claim that she is less that a divine reflection. She came to see the lie about the separation of herself from God, and her separation from her brother.
In treating her case I would bring my thought to seeing her as harmonious, whole and seeing her filled with God's abundant love.

"Harmonious action proceeds from Spirit, God.  Inharmony has no Principle;  its action is erroneous and presupposes man to be in matter.  Inharmony would make matter the cause as well as the effect of intelligence, or Soul, thus attempting to separate Mind from God."
Science and Health p. 480: 13-18.

In the second case I was moved by the awareness of the author that "a sense of comfort comes when I accept God's plan by holding to the belief that it is beyond my understanding."  It was apparent that her process involved acceptance, then developing the trust in God's plan, and then the firm conviction that she and her daughter and husband are one with the divine.
In treating her case I would reinforce my own understanding that there is no death.

"The universal belief in death is of no advantage.  It cannot make Life and Truth apparent. Death will be found at length to be a mortal dream, which comes in darkness and disappears with the light."
Science and Health p. 42: 5-8.
 

Post association assignment - May 2018

The following are two pieces of fruitage from this year’s Association assignment that I would like us to consider as cases. We are fresh from the mountaintop and these accounts represent the kind of challenges that are both common and seem daunting.

Partly this has to do with the fact that the situations are complicated, personal, and packed with human history. They represent life experiences that are dramatic and disruptive. I held them back on Association day because we didn’t have adequate time to go through each one in the depth required.

Let’s look at them now with an eye to both the counter-facts  (the absolute truths that save us from the condemning narrative)  and how we access Love’s fearless patience and compassionate assurance of life harmonious and everlasting. I would propose that it is the “how” - the “doing the dishes” part of the work that daunts us. The reasons for not imbibing Spirit seem legion, yet we know better. We know from experience that the Spirit does profit us and those our thought rests on, and we know in our hearts that Truth is natural and relieving. The work then, is to let ourselves turn to spiritual sense and let God be God.

The first case has to do with working through the seeming collaboration of material events, personal history, and particular life challenges. It sometimes seems as if we are being conspired against and this lends a claim of authority to the suggestion that we are “up against it”.

The student is moving through the claims and working out her own salvation. But please consider how you would respond to such a case if it came to you for help (the author of the fruitage should do this as well). What are the lies? More importantly, what are the present truths that blow those lies out of the water. And most importantly, what is the motivating thought-force behind those truths and what is your relation to it.

Finally, ask yourself: What does (or doesn’t) time and space have to do with the work - is it a factor, or is it actually irrelevant to the case?

I have always been emotionally sensitive, picking up on others’ thoughts and emotions. I have also tended to become very emotionally attached to others; and, I’ve had issues with depression, anxiety, and some mood swings at various times. Unfortunately, I thought that meant there was something wrong with me. I didn't talk with anyone about it, and my own prayers did not seem to help much.

When I stopped studying Christian Science in college, I turned to counseling for help. They suggested psych meds. I thought that would be an easy way to “fix” what felt wrong with me.  Instead, it led me down the rabbit hole of materia medica. I spent years taking various medicine and trying different therapies, some of which seemed to help; none of which “cured” me. Additionally, I  developed chronic pain issues, which led me to have to stop working.  

Eventually I returned to Christian Science, because it was the only thing that offered true healing. It took a lot of prayerful study and introspection, as well as assistance from practitioners, to unravel the false beliefs about myself I'd acquired over the years as having mental health challenges. I worked on knowing my true identity as God's child, always safe and loved; letting go of the memory of trauma, asserting that the mortal past had no power over me;  and on forgiveness, knowing you can’t find true peace until you see all involved as the perfect child of God. And I made great progress!  As my study progressed, I saw that I'd used mental health diagnoses as an excuse to justify not getting a handle on my thought. Over time, I gradually had the healing I needed to stop taking all psych meds (and most others as well). 

After that, I found a need to focus on something outside myself.  First, it was the Reading Room, which unfortunately turned out to be very stressful.  As that situation improved, Mom's health worsened.   The material labels were stroke and dementia; her movements slowed way down and she often became confused and overly emotional, especially resentful.  We had become very close, and I was her main source of emotional support, so I heard about it a lot.  

The dissonance was very challenging.  I had to  work hard to separate her symptoms from her true identity as God’s perfect child.  I struggled to keep from taking her situation on myself, not entirely successfully.  My own energy dropped as I spent more of it on Mom; my pain issues worsened again, and my apartment became more cluttered. Still, I was very glad I was there, helping as much as I possibly could. Hard as it was, I knew I was in my right place.

Unfortunately, my brother decided since the clutter in my apartment wasn't going away, that meant I was not doing enough - that I wasn’t addressing my issues. I responded by resenting him for not being around to help support Mom - and me. That in turn reinforced his belief that I was messed up.

After Mom passed on, I was in a haze.  I no longer had the one person in my life who always made me feel special.  After a period of mourning, I began to slowly pull myself together, and started taking steps to take care of the things I’d let slide.

Not surprisingly, I had continued problems with my brother.  At one point, I became upset at something he’d done - actually I was dealing with that okay, but got really mad when he blamed it on me - so then he blamed my getting mad on my mental health issues.   Well, I knew for certain THAT was a lie.  But, it made me stop and think; and I realized there was another claim I hadn't caught: I'd had a very heavy box fall on my head, and hadn't adequately addressed the idea of injury.  The outsized anger stemmed from a claim of concussion.

That jarred my thought further:  I saw clearly that all these claims -  both my previous ones, and Mom's of dementia – were really mortal mind arguing against the supremacy of the one true Mind.  I understood in a new way how none of it was ever true because no one can ever be separate from the mind of God.  And when challenges in thought presented themselves, it became easier to recognize and see through them.

All that was put to the test when I made the mistake of asking my brother for a little help with my apartment.  He tore into me, accusing me of all sorts of nastiness.  I knew what he said had no basis in reality, that it was his problem – not mine – but felt it necessary to stop communication for a while.  I did not want to be around him while he was mentally attacking me like that.  

This required a great deal of prayer. It was especially important to deal with it fully because I always stay with him on my Association trip. I first worked to know my own perfection. I prayed about things with Mom, and reinforced my own innocence – I hadn't been humanly perfect, but I had done everything I could to help Mom.  The one thing I would have changed, was to have been able to take better care of my own needs at the same time.  Then I had to address the thought that there was something wrong with him, that he had a character flaw which caused him to behave like that. I recognized that, just as he was malpracticing me by holding a false picture, I was doing the same to him.  So I worked to correct that, and hold true his identity as God's perfect child, too.

I was grateful when we began talking again; as I finish this, I’m at his house.  I do have to be alert, error thoughts still try to creep in.  But I am much more able to recognize and refute them when they do.  Knowing there is one Mind helps a lot in keeping personal sense out of the way!   I know the change of thought has taken place; what's left is breaking bad habits, and creating new ones.  And I am finally starting to relax!


This second case must drive us to God. It is a dear members’ ongoing work and experience and should be embraced in thought as inseparable from the unfoldment of Love. 

It is impossible to hear this account without experiencing a feeling the temptation to start with matter and remain with it and despair. This is what I wish you to treat in your own thought. Often, when someone we know in church or in our movement passes on, there is not only a feeling of loss, but of fear - that somehow God is of no avail to us, that Christian Science does not save and heal. 

Christian Science uncovers our ever-present wholeness and oneness with eternal divine Love. This is true and is an active force even when it may seem to us most distant and unlikely. At such times we must treat the sorrow and fear with that resonating spirit of Life and Love that Abraham and Paul and Jesus responded to so readily. That is not only the way forward, it is the way to finding the actually substantial unity and goodness that we are all part of for all time.

Our 2018 assignment for Association is to take a case and heal it.  At first this seemed daunting and I felt totally unprepared to accomplish the assignment. Then I realized that I was already praying to support others in their time of need, helping to uplift their thought to see beyond material sense.

My daughter's husband was diagnosed with a form of cancer considered terminal.  He was not a Christian Scientist and went forward with standard medical treatment. My daughter choose to stand steadfast in praying to understand his perfect being always with God. Over the years the decline of his health seemed apparent and she asked me to support her in prayer. At this time I had been praying about the belief that man could never be a random victim of  disease, accident, violence or any other commonly accepted malady.  My prayers had included reversing the thought of cancer.

Over the last year my daughter took a more active role in her husband's physical care attending appointments with his doctors, often rushing him to Emergency and asking a lot of questions on his behalf. She finally took him to University of Michigan for a second opinion only to be told that his condition was worsening because of the outdated practices the Cancer Center was giving him. Still he chose to stay with medical care though under new supervision by the new doctor.

LeeAnn and I talk nearly every day and often when I would see her number come up on the phone I would ask God to supply me with the sustaining thought of the day to support her. I like to start prayer by declaring God as All eliminating any space for something unlike God, good. God as creator made man in his image and likeness which to me means man is idea not a physical being. Therefor disease cannot manifest itself on God's idea. It has no power or existence. Material conditions cannot influence an idea of God i.e. the Bible story of the Hebrew men cast into the fiery furnace.  

Some passages I found very supportive I will list:

Science and Health p 463  “A spiritual idea had not a single element of error, and this truth removes properly whatever is offensive.”

pps 470-471:  “The relations of God and man, divine Principle and idea, are indestructible in Science, and Science knows no lapse from nor return to harmony but holds the divine order or spiritual law, in which God and all that He creates are perfect and eternal to have remained unchanged in its eternal history.”

Miscellany p 260:23-27  “The true spirit of Christmas elevates medicine to Mind; it casts out evils, heals the sick, raises the dormant faculties, appeals to all conditions, and supplies every need of man.”

The last several months my son-in-law went through frequent x-rays and scans to check on progress or lack thereof from treatment. I spoke often to LeeAnn  that these “pictures” are not a measure of man's true being. Drawing a picture of a 6 legged cat will not turn cats into 6 legged creatures. God created man as His idea. If an idea is stolen, plagiarized, distorted in any way by someone else it never effects the original idea which is always safe in God's consciousness.  Those pictures are not true representatives of God's idea man.  Nothing can form or attach itself to man. We have to stop being impressed by matter. Take ownership out of self. It belongs to God.

In a testimony in the January 1, 2018 Sentinel, John Briggs wrote “As with most activities, prayer is most effective when the one praying has both feet in the same boat. So, I stopped engaging in two different sides of a mental conversation.”  

This helped in times when I felt discouraged and inadequate to pray. I would find myself playing devils advocate to myself  undermining my belief that prayer is effective. “Be still and know that I am God.”  and “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding” were messages from God that helped refocus my thinking,  Another passage that helped was from We Knew Mary Baker Eddy, Expanded Edition, Vol. II, p. 167  “You are not getting rid of the old man if you try to make him better.  If you should succeed in making him better, he would stay with you.  If you patch up the old and say it is good enough, you do not put it off, but keep it”

Many times the weekly lesson had sustaining ideas that my daughter and I discussed. Expanding on one from a lesson is “Mind creates His own likeness in ideas, and the substance of an idea is very far from being the supposed substance of non-intelligent matter.  Hence the Father-Mind is not the father of matter.” Science and Health p 257:12-15.  

Our dear Asa passed peacefully on May 6 with my daughter by his side assuring him of his perfection and eternal life.  She feels very grateful that Father-Mind not father time gave them the opportunity to experience this chapter in life together.

Science and Health:“There is but one primal cause. Therefore there can be no effect from any other cause, and there can be no reality in aught which does not proceed from this great and only cause.”

Ask yourselves: What brings a sense of comfort (a real sense of comfort, not just platitudes that are supposed to comfort)? What truths can one go forward with and how do we keep connecting with them. Why is it important to understand eternality, infinitude, and pre-existence?

Make notes on your journey of prayer and email your responses to me: carylfarkas@gmail.com  I will post them together with some further thoughts on the work.

Hymn 151

In speechless prayer and reverence,

Dear Lord, I come to Thee;

My heart with love Thou fillest,

Yea, with humility.

My bread and wine Thou art,

With Thee I hold communion;

Thy presence healeth me.

To do Thy will is greater

Than sacrifice can be;

O give me needed courage

Sweet with sincerity.

From earthly thought released,

In speechless prayer and reverence,

Dear Lord, I come to Thee.


May 1 Information Letter

Dear People,

Association day approaches.

We will gather at 315 N. Mills Street, Madison, on Saturday, May 19th at 9 a.m. (business meeting at 9 a.m., Association begins at 9:15 p.m.).

There is still some parking available at the Student Organization. There is ample parking a block away on N. Brooks Street in the parking ramp in Grainger Hall.

Thank you to those who have sent fruitage from the assignment.

Every member of this Association is integral to Association Day and I hope to hear something from each one of you, even if it is as simple as a question you wish to have answered during the address.

If you haven’t already visited our new website, you can find information about the assignment as well as all the letters pertaining to this year’s meeting.  Click on Members Only and type in Psalm91 for the password.

Association dues ($25) can be paid prior to Association Day by check (to Caryl Farkas) and mailed to me at 6 Monte Alto Place, Santa Fe, NM 87508. Or paid during the business meeting in Madison at 9 a.m. on the 19th.

We will be ordering lunch from Panera this year. We will have a selection of sandwiches and salads. Let me know if you would like to be included in the catering order and you can pay at lunchtime. Also let me know if you prefer a vegetarian selection.

Looking forward to seeing you on the mountaintop in a few weeks!

Caryl

Spring letter (assignment, some study references, meeting details)

March 13, 2018

Dear People, 

We've come together for a number of years now on Association day Saturdays in the May, and given our attention to many topics. Most recently, we’ve talked about the practice as an everyday expression of Christ and Christmas, discussed the importance of seeing what God is doing right where we are, and the practicality of the First Commandment - understanding that God is always, “the biggest thing in the room”.

This year, our aim is a little different. It is to face up to one of the most urgent needs for us individually and as a movement. We're going to think and pray and honestly consider together how much we are practicing Christian Science from the standpoint Mrs. Eddy knew would be needed as the decades moved on. We're going to be asking ourselves the question, What's your view of Christian Science?

That may seem like an odd question, since most of us in this Association aren't new to Christian Science. So what is our view? Is it that we're committed to Christian Science, that it's good, we're grateful for it, sometimes inspired by it, that we probably need to work harder and more consistently at being a Christian Scientist?

Well, all that's true enough; it's honest. But it's just not the view of reality that the Science of Christ is actually providing for us and that Mary Baker Eddy expected those who became Christian Scientists to learn of and to be healed and set free by. Is that view out of reach of the average Christian Scientist, who may not be a practitioner or teacher of Christian Science? No! It's entirely accessible, as has been found by thousands of Christian Scientists from the time of its discovery.

Often it has been a severe – even "impossible" – human situation that has turned someone's thought toward acceptance of and realization of the fact that Christ, Truth, does speak to human consciousness. That was the case for Jesus' disciples, certainly. They thought Jesus had been crucified and buried and lost to them forever. 

But something happened to Mary at the tomb, and to two of the disciples on that bleak trip to Emmaus. Something happened on that glorious morning at the shore of the Sea of Galilee. And the same thing can and does happen to us. We find – if we're listening – that the Christ speaks to human consciousness. "Discerning Christ, Truth, anew on the shore of time," Mrs. Eddy writes of the disciples, "they were enabled to rise somewhat from mortal sensuousness, or the burial of mind in matter, into newness of life as Spirit." (SH p. 35) 

The Christ, Truth which they discerned is the ever-present nature of God and the power of divine Love. Healing and the nature of God is the title and theme of our Association address. And discerning our inseparability from God can make all the difference between generally identifying ourselves as a Christian Scientists and living more within the actual Science of Christ and being changed and healed and transformed by it.

The assignment was to take a case and heal it. We eagerly await your fruitage and any questions you may have. Meanwhile, read – that is, read anew, with new eyes and fresh attention – Science and Health 35:6, 10-14, 37: 22-9, 38:23, and 43:3.

Association is on Saturday, May 19th at the Christian Science Student Organization at 315 N. Mills Street. Please contact Louise Krueger if you need housing or parking. She usually has one or two spots available. Otherwise, you can park in the Business building parking ramp one block east.

We'll be ordering in lunch from Panera. Please review the menu and let us know what your order will be! 

with love,  Caryl

2018 Assignment letter

12/26/17

Dear People,

It’s the day after Christmas, and I find myself thinking about Paul and Silas, imprisoned in the stocks, singing praises to God. Not a very “Christmasy” image, but one that has everything to do with the mind of Christ.

We think of that story and remember that they were beaten and bloodied, that this was not the reception they hoped for in their attempt to spread the “good news” of Christianity, and that their condition was not one you would associate with triumphant joy.

And yet they sang.

Mrs. Eddy once wrote a Christmas message wishing her followers a feast of Spirit and a famine of sense. One of her hymns speaks of, “that sweet secret of the narrow way”. Spiritual sense is the narrow way that excludes pain, sin, sickness, and death. And yet it is vast in its all- inclusiveness - it is utterly joyful because there is no darkness or error there.

Spiritual sense wasn’t some comforting “add-on” for Paul and Silas. It was reality itself. Not something to improve or fix a difficult situation, but a response to the biggest thing in the room - Divine good! Life, Truth, and Love is always the biggest thing in whatever room you’re in. Spirit is what is always there regardless of the report of sense and the seemingly magnetic fear, anger, and sorrow argue for the error that leaves God out.

2017 has arguably been a banner year for “yeah, but...” and for those practicing the science and art of Christ healing, the spiritual demand has been, well, demanding! The way forward is strait and narrow and we may feel at times that we’re not up to the challenge of excluding from our hearts and thoughts all that is unlike God. But the sweet secret of our narrow way is that we are not the ones who must hold back error, darkness, injustice, and the assault of mortality. God does that. Our part is to acknowledge that fact.

The Association Address that has been steadily evolving since June will be titled, “Healing and the Nature of God”. It’s the title of an article by Allison W. Phinney Jr. that I have often shared with patients over the past two decades, an article which is all about the naturalness of

Christian Science healing (I’ve attached a copy). It is God’s nature that makes healing normal for us. Given the onslaught of suggestions that healing is difficult, out of reach, and just plain not possible for us, it seems like the perfect time to dive deep into the recognition that God actually is present and maintaining His creation spiritually, substantially, practically right where we are.

I’ve also attached a piece of fruitage that goes directly to this point and is, I think, a very helpful spur to remind us feast on Spirit.

Our assignment for the coming Association meeting (May 19th at the Christian Science Student Organization, 315 N. Mills Street in Madison) is to take a case and heal it. It can be any case at all - any claim against the supremacy of divine Mind. Take the case, heal it, and share with us in detail how you worked.

Healing and the nature of God - By Allison W. Phinney, Jr.

“Gratitude for a swift healing”

December, 2017

I have struggled off and on (as I'm sure every practicing Christian Scientist has) with the suggestion that Christian Science doesn't heal. The world certainly doesn't think so. I've felt like such a disappointment to myself, a sorry Christian Scientist who has been unable to prove what I believe to be true. My mother often told me that this is not something that is part of me, personally, but something that each student of Christian Science must prove for him/herself. As time after time I believed myself unable to prove it, I increasingly felt like a failure in the field. This caused me to continually question the truths I had held sacred for so long. What if, after all this time, everything I was studying was wrong? What if Mrs. Eddy was wrong? What if Christ Jesus was wrong?

I would like to share the experience that changed my mind.

Over a year ago, I noticed that there was a mysterious growth on the back of my throat, on one of the tonsils. This was not a removable thing; it was clearly part of the tonsil. I thought little of it, except to notice it didn't look very good (rather diseased, in fact). I could see it when I brushed my teeth, but because it caused no pain or discomfort of any kind, and never changed in size or appearance, I simply chose to ignore it. I knew by the look of it that only the removal of the entire tonsil would get rid of it, and that's what a medical doctor would almost certainly recommend. So I did nothing at all, not even bothering to treat it prayerfully. I managed to convince myself that simply by refusing to see a doctor I was actually practicing Christian Science. All the while, a little voice keep niggling me, saying You know you CAN pray about this, hint hint hint. I ignored the voice just as I ignored the growth, without realizing that I was actually reducing that little voice (the still small voice) to the same level as the growth!

Not long ago, I found myself really annoyed by the growth – not physically, for it hadn't changed – but mentally. Why are you here? I railed at it. Why don't you just go away? The growth, of course, could not respond. It continued to bother and scare me every time I looked in the mirror, and the more bothered and frightened I became, the more I felt the compunction to check on it. I started thinking it might be something serious, or even indicative of a greater problem. I even broke down and consulted the internet, only to learn that I probably had a type of cancer that really only results from a lifetime of chewing tobacco and smoking. I had never done either, but what if I was the rare case, the one that baffled the medical profession?

I was running errands in the car one afternoon when I finally decided I'd had enough. It dawned on me that I was actually allowing myself to live with this growth, treating it like a house guest that was sticking around far too long. I realized I had to kick it out.

I wondered what would happen if I concentrated all of my prayerful thinking on this growth – all I had been learning about Christian Science healing. I began to focus then and there, mentally blocking the mere suggestion of the growth with every truth I had ever learned. I refused to let up on the growth, which meant facing down a bombardment of suggestions such as, you don't have time to treat this now. Come back to it when you're done running errands, and This growth isn't hurting you. Is it really so bad? The worst, You've lived with it this long and have had no effects from it. It's probably not even serious, so trying to heal it is really a waste of your time and not even a real Christian Science healing. As I mentally faced this down, the onslaught of suggestions grew increasingly ridiculous, until I realized I was only arguing with animal magnetism. That was the real waste of time. Who cares if a problem is labeled serious or not? That growth didn't belong there; it was no part of me, no part of mankind. There is no spot where God is not! My refusal to allow the growth even one inch of space in my thought mentally opened the door and exposed it as the bald-faced lie it always was and ever would be. It could no longer hide under the disguise of human argument.

Suddenly I felt free! At that moment I didn't care one whit about that growth. No one needed to tell me what it was or what to do about it. I let the whole mess go and my thought was so uplifted I found myself basking in God's care and love. I completely forgot about the growth in my new-found sense of freedom. The total amount of human minutes I spent focusing my thought on this healing was no more than ten, but I felt like I had tasted eternity.

The next day I was volunteering at my son's elementary school and had just finished my lunch. Using the restroom, I instinctively checked my teeth to make sure nothing was caught in them from my meal, and stood there with my mouth open in surprised shock: the growth was completely gone! I checked several times because I couldn't believe my eyes. This growth that I had tolerated for more than a year, that had become such a part of my life that I expected it to be there, had vanished! There was no trace of a spot or blemish, nothing to tell that a growth had ever been there – remarkable because it had been deeply embedded in the tonsil. It had vanished into it's native nothingness.

This healing experience has done a lot more for me than simply removing a pesky growth. I have touched the hem of Christ and in doing so have gained a better, truer understanding of Mrs. Eddy's discovery and how it works. The works of Jesus have taken on new light and Mrs. Eddy's writings have suddenly become clearer in a way I thought impossible. The gift of this understanding even outweighs the physical healing. In demonstrating, I have proved to myself that Christian Science DOES heal, just as Mrs. Eddy has promised.

2017 Association post-meeting letter

June 12, 2017

Dear People,

It’s been a little over a week since we met and I’ve been hearing little bits of good fruitage from some of you.

Hilary wrote from London to express gratitude for the Association: I’ve had such a wonderful day of spiritual growth; It really feels like association day and that I’ve not been separated from the inspiration… The unity was really extraordinary. Especially a little after 4pm my time I had to pause because it was so clear that the association was praying. It was a very cool thing to experience!!

I’ve been thinking about our immediate take-aways from the day:

[from the address]

Divine good is always present. The narrative arc of every testimony of healing may begin with a mortal sense of care and woe, with fearful evidence and an argument that leaves God out, but the story belongs to Spirit, not matter, and the end of that story is Love.

You will find yourself over the course of the year, confronted with different variations of sin, disease, and death. You will, figuratively speaking, find yourself in a room, three fingers to your forehead, earnestly needing the spiritual truths found in the Bible and Science and Health. It may feel as if there is a serpent coiled in the corner ready to strike. 

You will find yourself at some celebration for a perfectly good cause and you will need to remember the spiritual interpretation of that gathering and the fact that you are present as the “temple of the living God,” the place where God’s own qualities are seen and heard.

You will be presented with numerous opportunities to trust, to “do the dishes,” to escape the hamster wheel, to let God be the biggest thing in the room. The more willing you are to do this work, the less time you will spend in the erroneous condemnation of mortal mind.

It is profoundly liberating to experience even one moment of the revelation of God’s control. In that moment, we see that the mortal mind story is powerless and just wrong. That God is big enough to encompass all creation with divine Love. In that moment we remember, and think - “I’ve always known this! This is the way it has always been”.

Don’t settle for getting by with the carnal mind. However much we may try to decorate the house of life in matter, at its best it doesn’t come close to the smallest glimpse of God’s glory. Don’t re-decorate - move out. Discord, pain, and fear are not God’s creations, he does not ordain them or authorize them. We have the right to reject them and come home to the secret place of the most high and take our stand there.

“Either here or hereafter, suffering or Science must destroy all illusions regarding life and mind, and regenerate material sense and self.” (S&H 296:7-9) 

Let’s make it here and now!

Please do share your thoughts, progress, questions, as this Association year unfolds.

Just a reminder: we settled on Saturday, May 19 for our next Association. 

with love,  Caryl