Back during the early years of my healing practice I was serving on my branch church’s Executive Board. At one meeting we discussed the new members we had admitted over the last few years. As the names were mentioned, I quietly realized that most of them had joined the church because they had called me as a practitioner. In each case, membership resulted from our progress in praying together.
I didn’t see this as something that applied only to me personally. Instead, I felt it was what happens when Christian Science healing is having an impact on the community. In other words, when public healing takes place, it also benefits the local church.
This is normal considering the history of the Christian Science church. In many cases, it was individuals healing in their local areas that first established our churches. Why do we think that it would be anything else that would maintain them and make them prosper today?
So, is public healing the sole responsibility of those who are professionally in the healing practice as Journal-listed practitioners?
The responsibility really lies with all of us.
Our Church Manual requires each branch church to have at least one member who is fully available as a professional practitioner (p. 73). And yet, elsewhere in this same Manual it recommends that each member heal the sick and sinner—not necessarily doing it full-time, but still striving to do it publicly (p. 92).
Many churches today do not have a Journal-listed practitioner. But doesn’t that point at a need for more members healing others? It makes sense that the professional practitioner would naturally come from the ranks of members already healing.
Here are some questions to consider asking yourself: Am I supporting the healing mission of my church by actually healing the sick and sinner? How can I do a better job of being the public healer our founder, Mary Baker Eddy, expected me to be?
Some may think it is sufficient to do this by simply serving in the various positions of a branch church. However, early worker and practitioner, James Neal, had a different point of view on this:
“In former times the art of healing began to be left to the few, as the strict demands of the spirituality Jesus required became more and more irksome to the materialists of that age, until at last all gave up trying to obey the full import of Jesus' commands. Then it is our responsibility to-day as Christian Scientists to learn the lesson this bit of history affords, and resolutely withstand every argument that would attempt to present plausible reasons why each one of us should not heal the sick. We must all guard, with increased spirituality, any attempt to justify ourselves for the lack of healing experience, even though it may come on the ground that we are healing business, church, or world problems, or doing our work in what is called a larger way. There is no larger way!” (“Scientific healing: the Christian’s obligation” in The Christian Science Journal, December 1918).
Let’s dedicate ourselves to this “[largest] way”—individual commitment to public healing. It will do more for our community and world than any other activity ever could. And just like the formation of our churches, it will be the means by which they progress today--showing the “proof of their utility” (Science and Health, p. 583).