Monday, October 23, 2006

When a miracle is not a miracle

I hope you enjoyed the story I posted on Friday, about the healing of nerve damage in the ear. We were amazed when we heard it at the Open House, but the person maintained that to her, it seemed entirely natural. So this led us to a discussion of miracles.

It occurs to me now that miracles are in the eye of the beholder. It depends on your perspective.

If you're the person experiencing the spiritual transformation and certainty that results in a dramatic shift in circumstances, the shift can feel like a simple outgrowth of the transformation. In other words, the startling part is the transformation of thought, and once you accept that, the circumstantial change makes complete sense.

However, if you're someone on the outside of this transformation and all you see is the circumstantial shift, it can appear miraculous. That's because you're used to having a physical cause for things. You're used to your eyes and your ears telling you what's happening, and when something happens outside the view of eyes/ears, it seems like magic. You can't *see* a transformation of thought.

I sometimes imagine what it was like for Jesus to walk along healing all those people, as is recounted in the Bible. Look at what Matthew has to say:

  • And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. Matt 9:35
  • When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: Matt 8:16
  • and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all; Matt 12:15
  • And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick. Matt 14:14
  • And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus' feet; and he healed them: Matt 15:30
  • And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there. Matt 19:2
  • And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them. Matt 21:14

Clearly all this effortless healing could seem pretty miraculous! But when I think about the state of mind Jesus must have had as he walked through the crowds, how he must have such a clear idea about the people around him that he could directly see through whatever the problem was so completely that they were healed on the spot. When Paul writes, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus," I think this must have been what he was talking about.

Because of his special anointing as the Messiah, I don't think Jesus had to experience the transformation of thought you and I need when we heal. His thought was already there. But he also knew it could be taught and cultivated, hence his taking disciples. And the disciples were amazed at what they could accomplish in his name.

I remember the first time my prayers for someone else healed them. The person, who was new to spiritual healing, ran up to me when she next saw me and said, "What did you do? That was amazing! It worked!" I just said, "It did?" I was pretty amazed, too. I mean, I knew as I prayed that my thought had transformed, but this was the first time that someone else felt the benefit of that.

Here's some of what Mary Baker Eddy says about miracles in Science and Health:

  • A miracle fulfils God's law, but does not violate that law. This fact at present seems more mysterious than the miracle itself. p. 134
  • Mystery, miracle, sin, and death will disappear when it becomes fairly understood that the divine Mind controls man and man has no Mind but God. p. 319
  • Christian marvels (and marvel is the simple meaning of the Greek word rendered miracle in the New Testament) will be misunderstood and misused by many, until the glorious Principle of these marvels is gained. p. 474
  • MIRACLE. That which is divinely natural, but must be learned humanly; a phenomenon of Science. p. 591

"Divinely natural." To an outlook limited by materiality, these words contradict, for how can something that is divine be of the natural world? But to an outlook that has expanded to include spiritual reality, the concept makes complete sense.


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