The Christian Science Nursing Service

by Canadian Author, Researcher, Explorer, Producer
Rolf A. F. Witzsche

 

Nursing, a vital function 
for the Christian Science Church.

 

Uncompromised Spiritual Commitment


On motion of Mary Baker Eddy, at a meeting of the Christian Scientist Association on April 12, 1879,  it was voted "To organize a church designed to commemorate the word and works of our Master, which should reinstate primitive Christianity and its lost element of healing" (Manual p.17). The healing in this case is non-medical healing - purely spiritual healing, or Christ healing, or in its highest sense, divine healing. 

Mary Baker Eddy writes of herself: 

In the year 1866, I discovered the Christ Science or divine laws of Life, Truth, and Love, and named my discovery Christian Science. God had been graciously preparing me during many years for the reception of this final revelation of the absolute divine Principle of scientific mental healing.

The Scriptures inform us that Christ Jesus never resorted to drugs, but proceeded from a higher-level platform where healing is natural and efficient, on the basis that disease is not a part of the divine process of God, Life, being reflected in life. This means that health can be restored on the basis of divine authority - a type of spiritual intervention to restore the 'world of normal,' to restore harmony, health, well-being. The Scriptures also inform us that Christ Jesus stepped up to the plate and met the human need. Multitudes came to be healed, and they were healed. In some cases, his disciples were not as successful. There may have been many such cases. We are told that in one instance he commented on their lack of "faithfulness" (their being unfaithful in participating in the divine process.) "How long shall I be with you?" he added (Matt. 17:17). Evidently success depends on a high degree of understanding and acknowledgement in divine Science. Until this degree is reached, care is required. The Master was evidently aware of this requirement.


The Samaritan Principle


Christ Jesus presented a parable. He spoke of a traveller who was attacked, robbed, injured, and left at the road side to fend for himself. Since parables are stories in metaphor, the traveller was likely a person who was attacked by a disease, struck down, injured, and robbed of his confidence. Three people came that way. A priest saw the case, and saw himself impotent to help. To avoid having to deal with his own impotence, he made a detour around the scene. Another man came, of the high-minded class. He acted the same, though probably for a different reason. He may have asked, as is common today, "has this man health insurance? Can he afford the care he needs?" And as it is increasingly the case, he simply walked by. The third person who come that way acted as a divine human being would. At this point in the parable, Christ Jesus described how such an intensely human person would respond, which he named a Samaritan. He describes four different processes (Luke 10:33).

For the first response, an immediate response, the healer cleanses the wounds with oil and wine (with consecration, charity, gentleness... and inspiration and understanding).  Then he binds up his wounds for the healing to unfold.

For the second response, the healer places the man on his own donkey and takes him to an inn. In other words, the healer assures the victim is placed into an environment of care in which the victim can recover.

For the third response, the healer remains at the inn and takes care of the injured person until the healing is sufficiently progressed that the victim can recover on his own.

For the fourth response, the healer arranges with the innkeeper that the victim will have all his human needs met, for however long it would take for the healing to be complete. He promises that the costs will be taken care of by him in due course.

When any of these types of responses are needed, the Christian Science nursing service exists to provide them. 


The Christian Science Nursing Service


The service is essential, because it is the only facility available to Christian Scientists to achieve a healing with the same gentle and supportive care in a non-medical environment as a person would receive otherwise. This requires a high level of humanist commitment, rare as the extreme cases may be. Without this commitment to meet the human need as required, the Christian Science church is an empty house. This makes the Christian Science nurse and the supporting nursing service, one of the most critical institution for the welfare of the Christian Science church, including the funding for it and for its liabilities. That's not a small task, and permeates all levels as required, from the local level to the national level, and higher.

In the Church Manual, the nursing service appears in the segment of "discipline," which evidently applies to all levels of the church organization. In the scientific context of the City of God, the nursing service is located at the level of "church-building," which makes it a high-profile item. In the universal dynamics the process of building reflects the dynamics of life. Life is reflected in growth, in constant unfoldment of vitality and good. Nothing less is life.


The Power of Care


When Mary Baker Eddy was stuck down by a severe injury from falling on an icy street or sidewalk, she was taken unconscious into the nearby home of some kind persons who cared for her human needs there, and also sent for assistance. She remained at this place under their care till morning. When she became conscious enough, she asked to be moved to her own home, against the advice of the doctors who had attended her. On her insistence she taken to her home with extreme caution on a sleigh, and under the supervision by the doctor, in a state of sedation. The doctor remained at her side till she recovered consciousness. She was under what one may call, intensive care, for two more days, with no improvement occurring, until her subsequent self-healing on a higher level took place that enabled her to get out of bed, suddenly, completely healed, so much so that she was able to open the door when the Clergyman came by after his sermon intending to prepare her for death. 

Without those four days of intensive care, her self-healing would likely not have been possible, which eventual gave rise to her discovery of Christian Science. Thus, the gentle care of a few very human persons, became, without anyone being aware of it, the foundation on which a church would become founded that changed the world. 

May we remain forever conscious of the power of care as one of the basic elements in the divine process.

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