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Healing and the Family

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

The Seventh Annual Family Re-Union Conference, held at Vanderbilt University, focused this year on improving family health care. The conference is noted for discussions that lead to new legislation. This year President Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton were among the delegates.

As moderator Vice President Al Gore noted in his remarks, "Our system of medical care, while scientifically ingenious, has not made proper use of the crucial healing power of the family."

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From what I've seen, I would agree. Mr. Clinton's approach leaned toward increasing governmental action to seek out children and sign them up for government health-care programs. My experience has been that a family's prayer, based on an understanding of God's power, has proved itself in countless instances to be a viable means for healing children.

The true "healing power of the family" is spiritual rather than material. The Word of God in the Scriptures points to divine law as the most effective healing and saving power. Christ Jesus, who understood this law so clearly, healed many types of illness through the power of God. His method of healing was so effective that multitudes who came to him were freed from their afflictions. The Christ, God's eternal message of Truth, healed children and adults alike.

The power of Christ to heal physical disease was not limited to Jesus. He taught others this Christ method of healing. First his 12 disciples, and then 70 other followers, went into the towns and villages, preaching what Jesus taught and healing many people. Jesus prophesied and promised that all those who truly followed him would practice his divine method of healing: "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do ..." (John 14:12).

The method of healing physical disease that so many Christian Scientists have successfully relied on for over a century is purely mental and spiritual, and involves no medications. It recognizes that God is supreme, and that illness results from the human mind's fears and ignorance of God's all-powerful goodness. Understanding God's nature and the normal perfection of all that He creates effectively heals disease.

The work of the Christian healer is prayer, love, and spiritual understanding. The Christ, Truth, awakens the patient to his or her God-given health and harmony. Its power purifies and spiritualizes thought, which in turn restores the physical body and results in consistent health.

While practiced by individuals for several centuries after Jesus' ascension, the Christ method of healing was discovered anew by Mary Baker Eddy in the modern age. Since 1866, what she named Christian Science, or the Science of Christ, has reinstated the spiritual understanding that Jesus taught. Tens of thousands have been healed of disease through practicing this divine Science, and for them it has proved to be a significant advance in improving family health care.

When my mother was in grade school, she and her two brothers all came down with scarlet fever simultaneously. Their mother called a Christian Science practitioner to pray for them and reported the cases as the law required. The children were quarantined for two weeks, and a large sign was posted in the front yard. The family turned wholeheartedly to the Christ method of healing. Because of this, no medical treatment was given.

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After two or three days, all three children were completely healed. Boisterous and active, they pleaded with their mother to be allowed to play in the snow and build a snowman. The next-door neighbor, a medical doctor, telephoned to ask about the children he saw happily playing outdoors. After speaking with my grandmother and observing the children, he called the authorities and had the quarantine sign removed. He remarked that there was no reason for the quarantine to continue, since the children were obviously well.

As one of Christ Jesus' disciples wrote, as the result of his own healing practice, "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" (James 5:16).

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