Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

A Spiritual Response to Contagion ; A Christian Science Perspective on Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

A Spiritual Response to Contagion ; A Christian Science Perspective on Daily Life

Article excerpt

Numbers, staggeringly big numbers, get tossed around. They tally projected casualties from a worldwide pandemic of bird flu. Naturally, healthcare experts are scrambling to map out a comprehensive response.

I think, as I watch this story build each day in the news, how invaluable a spiritual component would be in this campaign for preparedness. A spiritual component could favorably reach people in far-flung areas and in ways that no other response does. As long as we're marshalling resources, we don't want to overlook the power of prayer. At its deepest and purest, prayer has a profound impact on the safety, immunity, and ongoing health of the human family.

Think back to the Bible, to an account of healing from the ministry of Christ Jesus. He faced what was believed to be a contagious condition - a man afflicted with leprosy - in a startlingly unorthodox but healing way. According to common practice, everyone, including Jesus, was supposed to give the man a wide berth. What did Jesus do? When the man asked Jesus to heal him, the Bible says, "Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean." And then the Bible adds, "And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed" (Mark 1:41, 42).

Moved with compassion. Think of that. When Jesus was moved with compassion, it wasn't just a nice feeling. That Christly compassion was powerful, decisively transforming. That compassion - which emanated from God, from divine Love - gave the man a new life.

But there's more. The power that healed the patient was also the power that protected Jesus, and anyone with whom Jesus came in contact. He was neither a victim of that illness nor a carrier. All that got transmitted to anyone was Christly compassion, and that was both preventive and curative.

When you look at Scriptural healing as a whole, one of the recurring themes is: Eliminate fear. Those early healers evidently saw a strong link between eliminating fear and eliminating disease, even eliminating the inclination to become ill. …

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