Many people-even those unfamiliar with the Bible-are aware of the story of the shepherd David and the giant warrior called Goliath. Although unskilled in combat, David defeated Goliath through his trust in God (see I Samuel, chap. 17).
The Bible also relates another of David's victories. It tells of an "evil spirit" that troubled King Saul, and of how David responded. "And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him" (I Samuel 16:23).
What was the spirit to which Saul was subject? In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, the word Spirit, with a capital S, is understood to be a synonym for God, and as such can't denote something evil. This book by Mary Baker Eddy says, "There are evil beliefs, often called evil spirits; but these evils are not Spirit, for there is no evil in Spirit" (pp. 206-207).
Then, what were the evil beliefs that troubled Saul? The Bible says our true being is the image and likeness of Spirit (see Gen. 1:26). We are each spiritual and at peace, not material and troubled. Accordingly, Saul must have been suffering from some misperception about his real being, and his life must have consequently seemed clouded by evil.
Somehow, David was able to restore Saul's spiritual sense of goodness. Was it just the sweetness of the melody that touched Saul? Perhaps David's playing soothed Saul because the music presented a vivid reminder of the harmony the king felt was absent. Harmony is the nature of God. Since we are God's image and likeness, it follows that our true nature is harmonious. Maybe the harp's beautiful music hinted to Saul of the primal harmony that was his to experience as an expression of divine Spirit; maybe it caused him to gain a truer sense of himself.
What about you? What if someone near and dear to you is struggling with an "evil spirit"-suffering from sickness, poverty, or depression? Can you do anything to help restore a sense of harmony to another's life? If you're anything like me, you wouldn't know how to hold a harp properly, let alone how to play it refreshingly! But we can all pray. Prayer involves the spiritual thinking and living that reveals the perfect nature of God's children. Prayer improves our thoughts. It helps us to realize that life, being, consciousness, individuality, and identity are all truly spiritual. They are the outcome of the perfect Principle that Christian Science, discovered by Mrs. Eddy, reveals God to be. We can pray to know this and come to see that Principle's harmony includes every individual. And we don't necessarily need music to help us (although today, as in Saul's time, music we love might help lift our thoughts to glimpse more of the divine harmony).
I've seen how feeling the conviction that our harmony is spiritual can touch other lives. At the very least, it makes us act more lovingly. Once when I was prayerfully contemplating this truth of universal, spiritual, harmony, I gained some clear recognition of God's creation as fully concordant. Although I wasn't consciously praying for others, I knew that the truth I was feeling convinced of applied to everyone.
Afterward, I went to usher at a church service, where the sunshine of those thoughts apparently warmed one of the members in particular. She told me later she had not been feeling well that evening. I had said and done nothing to address this directly (I hadn't even known), but she felt I had helped her recovery; apparently she had said something a little crabby to me, and I'd refused to react. I had just kept my peace and continued to express joy. The following week my friend told me she had felt "nursed" by my response, and soon after she was healed through her own prayers. This was the touch of the truth that harmony is the real standard of God's creation.
We can all be instrumental in helping others, through our own recognition of the harmony that is from God, universal Love.