Faces on Faith: Christly garments
Around the world Christians are observing Holy Week, marking Good Friday with solemn awareness of Jesus’ intense sacrifice in the crucifixion, and his joyous and victorious resurrection on Easter Sunday.
Raised as a Methodist, I participated in all these sacred rituals. But at age 27, I had a miraculous healing at the birth of my son through the metaphysical treatment of a Christian Science Practitioner who came to my bedside when I was hemorrhaging and had lost consciousness.
He was able to stop the bleeding through his prayers, and the participating doctor acknowledged that he saved my life.
This event caused me to seriously examine the theology of Christian Science.
Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer and founder of Christian Science devoted three years to a deep study of the Bible. From her study she published her seminal work Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.
In this book she expands on the traditional concept of man and reality when she states: “The divine Science of man is woven into one web of consistency without seam or rent. Mere speculation appropriates no part of the divine vesture, while inspiration restores every part of the ‘Christly garment of righteousness'”.
Eddy goes on to say: “The robes of righteousness are white and glistering like the raiment of Christ”.
In Eddy’s vision of divine reality, man’s very substance is spiritual, above and beyond harm, damage, pain or accident. As a reader in the Sanibel Christian Science Church, it was my duty to prepare a lesson for the mid-week service using selections from the Bible and the Christian Science textbook.
The subject I chose was “Wearing Christly Garments”.
I reminded the congregation of Eddy’s quote about man’s substance, his very being as free from seam or rent, harm or destruction, also quoting from Psalm l38:8 which states: “The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me”.
Three days later I was preparing a special dinner for my husband, selecting a chicken recipe which required browning the chicken in a metal Calphlon skillet and then baking it at 450 degrees for 30 minutes.
Removing the chicken with a hot pad, I set it on the stove. Forgetting that the metal handle of the pan was burning hot, I grabbed it with my left hand to steady it while I thickened the lemon sauce.
An excruciating pain shot through my whole left hand and with a scream I let go and ran out of the room.
But instantly, all that inspiring research I had done on “Christly garments” came pouring into my thought and I felt myself to be wholly spiritual, absolutely untouched, unharmed and free.
This vision, this conviction of complete innocency and purity acted as a shield which literally nullified all sense of pain. The second I let go of this pure sense, without “seam or rent”, the pain came roaring back, so I held on to those “Christly garments” as my very own being, for a few more minutes, until I felt absolutely free.
Then I quickly proceeded to finish the dinner without the slightest mark, swelling, pain or evidence of the event.
Later that evening, as I was preparing for bed, and looked at my left hand which was as perfect as the right, I was stunned at Eddy’s spiritual perception of “God restoring every part of the Christly garment”, which had so rescued me from any negative effects of burn, swelling or pain.
Then I rejoiced that when we align ourselves with an all loving God, we too wear those Christly garments, ” the divine vesture without seam or rent”.
In a poem titled: “Soul Healing Through Christ”, Christian Science teacher, Godfrey John sums it up this way:
Above prognosis, Soul’s bright truths empower
Her sons and daughters each to seek to bless,
The life of Soul-the beauty that I wear —
Is Christ, redeeming every wilderness.
-June Sieber of Christian Science Church