About 18 or so years ago, my wife and I became friendly with a woman who was a Christian Science practitioner. In addition to Christian Science, the friendship was also based on a love for classical music and art. This individual had a deep interest in these fields and regularly held musical soirées at her home. She knew that I was in the market for a new piano and at one point—about 6 or so months into this friendship—she told me after a church service that one of her patients would be passing on shortly and that I should approach the family about purchasing the patient’s Steinway grand.
To say that I was taken aback by this suggestion would be an understatement. I asked her if she hadn’t realized that her suggestion was in fact malpracticing against her own patient. She didn’t seem to grasp what I was saying and the friendship quickly faded.
Now outwardly, her idea might have seemed like an eminently practical and helpful one, but it was in fact an admission that she had already given up on her patient being healed—being lifted from the seductive dream of death.
I have to say, that this practitioner’s remark has stuck with me as a blatant example of a Christian Scientist giving in to death. Yet there are far more subtle ones—ones that we all need to be awake and alert to. Here are just a few:
- Are we accepting for ourselves, our relatives, friends, and fellow church members the supposed inevitability of death?
- Are we looking at ourselves or them in terms of aging—observing the physical signs of that lie?
- Or are we reminding ourselves—or letting others remind us—of our or others’ age status, and accepting the supposed ever-increasing activity limitations associated with it?
- Do we accept the physical appearance of anyone who is dealing with a serious illness as an indicator of their progress—good or bad?
- Are we buying into the lie of a material body as our identity and its subsequent and inescapable decay?
- Have we accepted the medical establishment’s aggressively insistent views of death—including giving a fatal prognosis to a patient in the misguided attempt to be “honest” with them?
- Have we allowed a “death-watch” to pervade—in any way, shape, or form—the atmosphere of thought surrounding those who appear to be facing death?
- Are we allowing any of these and more to go unchallenged and undefeated in our thinking—in our consciousness?
The pressure to believe in and submit to death—in all of its various guises—is enormous and is everywhere. It has become its own religion—a faith in death. Yet Mary Baker Eddy wrote (Science and Health, p. 426)
The relinquishment of all faith in death and also of the fear of its sting would raise the standard of health and morals far beyond its present elevation, and would enable us to hold the banner of Christianity aloft with unflinching faith in God, in Life eternal.
If death is the last enemy to be destroyed as the Apostle Paul stated in his First Epistle to the Corinthians (15:26), then shouldn’t we be actively seeking its destruction by uncovering its lies and recognizing the immortality which we each possess and reflect as the image and likeness of divine Life—of almighty God?
Shouldn’t we be acquiescing to Life?
Thank you, thank you, thank you Ken!
Thank you, Joan! 🙂
I so appreciate your list of questions, Ken! The whole article is an excellent wake up call … to Life! Thank you.
Welcome to the conversation! And thanks so much. I’m so happy you found the post and the list of questions helpful.
Yes, acquiesce to Life! It is not just a gift from God, it is God and we reflect it and Him. So we should never give up on life, but expect it, demand it and demonstrate it!
Thanks Ken. A much needed blog.
Many thanks! I couldn’t agree more with your comments–expect, demand, and demonstrate Life! 🙂
As Mary Baker Eddy said, “Life is eternal. We should find this out, and begin the demonstration thereof.” It’s not too late! Thanks Ken for the powerful ideas.
Thanks so much for your thoughts, godcanhealit. Indeed, “It’s not too late!”
Hi: I prefer to think of the love of sharing involved here, rather than the position of disappropriate considerations. I can see where the thought could be considered ‘malpractice, but do we know that the
person involved did not counter act this thought on her own. It seems to me that we, as C S’ers, some times look at the clouds rather than the sun beyond. Thx for the thoughts. Ted Smith MC165673666.
In reply to Ted: Thanks for your thoughts. Even if it was a desire to “share”, she was still nonetheless malpracticing her patient–intentionally or inadvertently (it really doesn’t matter, the effect being the same) by accepting that individual’s supposedly imminent demise. We need to stay alert and be aware of what error would tempt us into agreeing to.
I couldn’t agree more with you Ken! Better to discriminate between clouds and sun, error and Truth, rather than to think every human comment is of God. Most inhabitants of this earth believe they are dying mortals. The acceptance and expectancy of death within a “hospice mentality” has become all too common even among some Christian Scientists. Thank you for being a strong voice that reminds us all to be truly healers–never giving into death–always defending the life God gives us!