This system enables the learner to demonstrate the divine Principle, upon which Jesus’ healing was based, and the sacred rules for its present application to the cure of disease. (Science and Health, p 147:1)
A Few Starting Thoughts
The “Golden Rule” (treating others the way you want to be treated) provides the standard and ethics of Christian Science. Because of this, Christian Scientists are always free to make their own decisions about health care, and indeed, every aspect of their lives. They respect the individual rights and conscience of those who choose medical care, just as they respect the humanitarian motives of those who provide medical care.
What follows are ways Christian Scientists often provide care for themselves and other Christian Scientists. More questions and answers can be found at Christian Science – Questions and Answers.
Turning to God
Christian Science teaches that God is ever-present, so He is always at hand. No matter the condition, place, or situation, God is right there. As the Psalmist reminds us, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalms 46:1).
Whether seeking help for oneself or helping another, a humble, trustful appeal to God, divine Love helps one hear the answers coming to us from our Father-Mother God.
For more on how Christian Scientists pray, see the first chapter in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy. It’s entitled simply, “Prayer.”
Wanting More: Going to the Christian Science Pastor
Often we turn to a trusted source for guidance and teaching. Many turn to a pastor, and this is true for the Christian Scientist as well. In this case, the Pastor of Christian Science is always available, always near. That’s because the Pastor in Christian Science is two books: the Bible and the textbook of Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.
This Pastor is described on christianscience.com (a website on Christian Science maintained by The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist) in this way:
As the universal Pastor for the Church of Christ, Scientist, the Bible and Science and Health, embrace church congregations with a message of Christian love, preach the Word with clarity, minister to those needing care in every place and circumstance, and prove their worth through healing transformation.
You can access these books at Christian Science Publications and Activities. You can also purchase them at any Christian Science Reading Room.
Regular Study: The Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lessons
For many, being a “Christian Scientist” and a “student of Christian Science” are synonymous terms. This is because living the life of a Christian Scientist means sincere, daily study. They want to get better at the practice of this way of life.
One primary study tool is the weekly Bible Lesson found in the Christian Science Quarterly. Each Lesson contains a Golden Text, Responsive Reading, and citations from our Pastor, the Bible and Science and Health.
The Christian Science Quarterly is published in several formats, but they all contain the same weekly Lesson:
Christian Scientists study the Bible Lesson during the week, and then hear it read at the Sunday church service by two Readers. This allows for all the members of a congregation to bring their spiritual understanding to the service, sharing their love for that week’s Lesson.
Anyone can listen in to the Sunday Service read from The Mother Church in Boston.
Becoming Active as a Member of a Christian Science Church
One soon learns the importance of practicing in addition to studying the teachings of Christian Science. It’s natural to want to join with others for support in this practice. By becoming active in a Church of Christ, Scientist, we commit to supporting each other and to sharing the blessings of this way with others in our communities.
Christian Scientists can belong to two churches: a local Christian Science branch church in a community and The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ Scientist in Boston, Massachusetts.
Becoming a member of The Mother Church signals one’s heartfelt desire to practice Christian healing and to share its moral, physical, and spiritual benefits with the wider world. In many ways, membership enlarges the understanding and application of Christian Science that brings healing to the individual and community (from Church Membership).
Joining a branch church allows you live out your love for Christian Science in practical ways that bless others: serving as a greeter at the door, teaching Sunday School, serving as a Reader or Reading Room librarian, or in other ways that benefit individuals and the community as a whole.
Becoming a Spiritual Healer: Primary Class Instruction
At some point, a serious Christian Scientist may feel a desire to be more effective in their own healings and in healing others. When that time comes, they have the wonderful privilege of taking a course of instruction on Christian Science healing by an authorized teacher of Christian Science.
Taught as an intensive, two-week course, Christian Science Primary class instruction supports the desire to bless and heal through this practical, spiritual system. A list of Christian Science teachers can be found at Find a Christian Science Teacher or in The Christian Science Journal, a monthly magazine published by The Christian Science Publishing Society. Christian Science practitioners carry the initials “CS” behind theirs names, and Christian Science teachers use the initials “CSB.”
Calling on a Christian Science Practitioner
Many times, one’s study and practice of Christian Science brings quick healing. But there may be situations where additional support from an experienced healer is needed.
Christian Science practitioners are engaged in the full-time practice of healing. When extra help is needed, anyone may call on a practitioner for support and healing.
Christian Science practitioners advertising in The Christian Science Journal are experienced Christian Scientists, members of The First Church of Christ Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, who make themselves available to respond to requests for prayer. Christian Science practitioners exercise the mission of a minister of religion: They are in service to God and their neighbor. This ministry is exclusively religious and consists solely in prayerfully supporting any person asking for help, regardless of religious affiliation or location. They practice from their highest sense of Christianity and integrity (from Christian Science Practitioners).
Christian Science practitioners are independent professionals who charge for their services. When engaging a practitioner, it is helpful to ask them about their fees when you first make contact. More information about Christian Science practitioners and how to find one can be found at Christian Science Practitioners.
Calling for Christian Science Nurse assistance
When help is needed with care — such as bathing, mobility, nourishment, bandaging, even mental challenges — a patient may enlist the services of a Christian Science nurse.
Christian Science nursing is grounded in the Bible-based theology of Christian Science, which includes Christ Jesus’ commandment to love one another (see John 15:12). This practical care is carried out with prayer, wisdom and skill, supporting the patient’s decision to rely on Christian Science for healing, which includes treatment by prayer, generally from a Journal-listed Christian Science practitioner (from Christian Science Nurse Scope of Services).
Care by a Christian Science nurse can be received at a Christian Science nursing facility or in your own home. Home visits are usually made by a visiting Christian Science nurse service or by contracting directly with a private-duty Christian Science nurse.
Fundamental to the ministry of a Christian Science nurse is active, prayerful affirmation of everyone’s innate spirituality and responsiveness to God’s harmonious government. This spiritual witnessing undergirds each aspect of the care a Christian Science nurse renders.
More information about Christian Science nursing and how to find one can be found at Christian Science Nursing.
For help thinking through these ideas, please call Caring for Christian Scientists at 800.930.3797.