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The heartbeat of church

A Christian Science perspective on daily life

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A woman was writing up my order for furniture, and she began apologizing for coughing, explaining that she had severe allergies.

Her struggle brought to mind a healing I'd had many years earlier that came about as the result of prayer.

I was allergic to cats. One night when the symptoms became aggravated, I prayed to understand this verse from Genesis: "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth" (Gen. 1:26).

I saw that God's design for man, including everyone, involves dominion over everything on the earth - including animals and flowers. I also claimed no life separate from God. I was able to recognize no other Creator or creation. I have had no ill effects from cats since that time.

I felt inspired to tell the saleswoman about my healing. She was quite interested in spiritual healing and quietly listened. There was no more coughing throughout the rest of the sale. She thanked me and said what I had told her was helpful.

Sharing my healing that day and reaching out with healing love to a stranger taught me something about what I think Jesus' church might have been like.

My mental image of his preaching that I have from reading the Gospels involves him surrounded by a large crowd, taking his place outside the city limits with absolute simplicity. He was out in the open. No music, meal preparations, handouts, or seating arrangements. Just his message, meant to clarify all of our duties to God and our brothers and sisters.

In what has become known as the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 5:16).

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