When I was a new student of Christian Science I was very enthusiastic about sharing it with others, even strangers.
One Spring day 30 years ago I was walking to my office on the East Side of Manhattan when I saw a man, who looked depressed, sitting on a bench in front of the United Nations. I approached him and offered him a Sentinel, which is a magazine published by the Christian Science Publishing Society. He rejected it so firmly that I was stunned and quickly departed, a little embarrassed.
Later, when I was walking home on First Avenue two beggars approached me asking for a dollar. I said, ” I’m really sorry, but I don’t have any money.” They both laughed and one of them said, “Look at you, with that elegant suit and brief case and you don’t have any money!” I tried walking faster but they kept up with me. One even commented on my girth, tightly packed in a blue shirt, “Look at the big blue belly!”
Nothing I said made them go away. Suddenly, one took a knife out of his pocket and pressed it against my abdomen, my big blue belly. A police car passed by ten feet away, but the policemen seemed lost in their thoughts. I sensed if I yelled for help, the man with the knife might panic and stab me. I quickly decided prayer was the only hope.
I closed my eyes and remembered that God is all good and the only power and presence. The men and I were all the perfect sons of Him. Evil could not exist in this universe filled only with God and His sons. Immediatly, the man put the knife back in his pocket, while the other spun around frenetically yelling obscenities into the air. Then all tension faded and calm prevailed.
The man with the knife in his pocket asked me if I was a psychiatrist, perhaps because there are many hospitals in that neighborhood. I said no, but I was a Christian Scientist. Then suddenly he started quoting the scientific statement of being from page 468 of the book Science and Health, by Mary Baker Eddy. The words were all mixed up and I asked him to stop so we could say them together correctly: ” There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and it’s infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all…” While we were saying the words, the other man remained paralyzed, his jaw dropping. I asked the man with the knife where he’d learned the Scientific Statement and he said it was when he was in prison, from a Christian Science counselor.
After this I was completely without fear. We all smiled and I introduced myself to them. I gave them each a dollar and a copy of the Sentinel. In order to fully do away with any last bit of fear, I said that I walked that way every day at that time. We said goodbye like old friends.
I never saw them again, but I have to admit this encounter affected me profoundly as I believe it did them also. My desire to share Christian Science with others was satisfied in an unexpected way. The three of us struggled for the light–and found it.
My friends question why I continue to bring this healing up, to talk about it and explore its aspects. I suppose it’s because it represents the moment when my new religion became real for me and its power was unleashed in my life.
In fact I don’t think it’s too much to say the effect of this healing on my life was similar to that which Mrs. Eddy experienced when she lay dying from the effects of a fall on the ice. All hope appeared lost when the doctors announced that nothing more could be done. In her desperation, she turned with total devotion to God and was instantly healed. Here are some of her words describing that event:
“The world was dark. … The senses could not prophesy sunrise or starlight. Thus it was when the moment arrived of the heart’s bridal to more spiritual existence. When the door opened, I was waiting and watching; and, lo, the bridegroom came! The character of the Christ was illuminated by the midnight torches of Spirit. My heart knew its Redeemer.” (Retrospection and Introspction, page 23)