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The missing ingredient

ONCE, while I was a novice cook, my husband and I invited his parents to dinner. The dessert was homemade pumpkin chiffon pie. It looked just elegant. But a strange expression crossed my mother-in-law's face as she began to eat; I had left out the sugar!

I often think of this as an appropriate analogy for a much more serious matter than sugarless pie.

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As a youngster I was privileged to attend a private school for girls. Bible study classes were compulsory. Since I was there for seven years, I came out of that school with a better-than-average knowledge of the letter of the Bible. I could reel off the books of both the Old and New Testaments, tell the succession of kings in both Israel and Judah, map Paul's journeys, quote many of Jesus' words.

But there was one missing ingredient. I had no comprehension of the spiritual sense, or spiritual meaning, of the Bible's message.

A vague puzzlement remained with me. If the Bible stories were true-that is, if an ancient prophet really raised a dead child, if Christ Jesus really rose from his own tomb, if Paul really shook off a poisonous viper unharmed-why wasn't everyone much more excited about these happenings? Why weren't such healings taking place today?

It wasn't until a full five years after leaving the school that I was introduced to Christian Science through its textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. n1 Almost immediately I knew that this book illumines the spiritual dimension of the Bible. I felt as if I were coming out of a dark tunnel into bright sunlight when I read passages like this one: ''The Bible teaches transformation of the body by the renewal of Spirit. Take away the spiritual signification of Scripture, and that compilation can do no more for mortals than can moonbeams to melt a river of ice.'' n2

n1 The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science .

n2 Science and Health , p, 241.

Proofs of the effectiveness of this spiritual grasp of Scripture have marked my experience over the years. Perhaps an outstanding one was the time I survived a serious automobile accident when I was expecting my first child. During the quiet days of being healed through spiritual means alone-that is, through my own prayers, those of my family, and those of a Christian Science practitioner-I read the Gospel of John through for the first time since becoming a student of Christian Science. In this reading I understood something of Christ Jesus' marvelous knowledge of himself as God's own Son, utterly dependent on his Father, totally inseparable from Him. ''I and my Father are one,'' n3 he said. And, ''My Father is greater than I.'' n4

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n3 John 10:30.

n4 John 14:28

I saw, too, that we all can demonstrate in a measure our own dependence on and inseparability from God, our Father-Mother. God fathers and mothers each of His children, and in a very important sense our lifework is to understand this and at least to begin to prove it. The result of this inspiration was a quick healing of physical injuries and complete protection of the unborn child.

Speaking of her use of the term ''Christian Science'' to designate the scientific system of divine healing that she discovered, Mrs. Eddy states:

''The revelation consists of two parts:''1. The discovery of this divine Science of Mind-healing, through a spiritual sense of the Scriptures and through the teachings of the Comforter, as promised by the Master.

''2. The proof, by present demonstration, that the so-called miracles of Jesus did not specially belong to a dispensation now ended, but that they illustrated an ever-operative divine Principle. The operation of this Principle indicates the eternality of the scientific order and continuity of being.'' n5

n5 Science and Health, p.123.

The Bible is much, much more than a fascinating collection of important religious writings. The spiritual sense of the Bible unlocks the apparent mysteries of God and man.

Try reading the great book from the standpoint of spiritual sense; that is, from the recognition of the allness of God, Spirit, and of the evanescent nature of matter. This premise is the basis of every crucial Biblical message. The allness of God, Spirit, provides a firm foundation for Christian living and healing. DAILY BIBLE VERSE The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple. Psalms 119:130

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