A remarkable view By Marguerite Becker. Join us for church this Sunday online or in person. (Details Below)

A remarkable view

From the May 2021 issue of The Christian Science Journal

In the days before you could snap a photo with your cellphone and send it off immediately or post it for all the world to see, I left my home on Long Island, New York, and headed off to college in Oregon.

One of the first things I did was take a day trip to the beautiful Oregon coast with its magnificent cliffs, so different from the beaches that I was used to. On that day I bought a postcard. Back in my dorm room, I sat down to dash off a note to my parents, when I noticed the description on the back of the postcard: “Looking south on the Oregon coast.” I looked at the photo again. South?!

With my East Coast sensibilities, that picture looked north. I had grown up with the folk rule, “If the ocean is on your right, you’re looking north.” You’re probably wondering what all of this has to do with spiritual things. To be honest, sitting at that desk, I didn’t think I was on a spiritual quest. I just wanted that postcard to look correct. Only it didn’t. I stared at it for nearly an hour, wrestling with my view to force that West Coast photo to be looking south instead of looking like an East Coast north view. Try as I could, nothing changed.

If you’re thinking, “Well, of course that postcard wasn’t going to change,” you’re absolutely correct. I knew it was my view that was askew, and I really wanted to correct it. Then a proverbial lightbulb came on; I imagined a map of the United States, mentally turned it upside down, superimposed the photo onto it, and voilà! The photo looked south. Finally, California over the horizon.

There was never anything wrong with that postcard, or the Oregon coast. I had just been applying an imperfect rule to the view, a rule that only worked sometimes. I needed to apply a fixed law.

We must not be afraid to wrestle with error, to insist on the truth.

Mary Baker Eddy understood this dilemma when she wrote in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “In viewing the sunrise, one finds that it contradicts the evidence before the senses to believe that the earth is in motion and the sun at rest. As astronomy reverses the human perception of the movement of the solar system, so Christian Science reverses the seeming relation of Soul and body and makes body tributary to Mind. Thus it is with man, who is but the humble servant of the restful Mind, though it seems otherwise to finite sense” (pp. 119–120).

Each day we are confronted with troubling views of man. Instinctively we protest these views because, face it, we don’t like them. We inwardly object to the plight of the poor, the sick, the sinning, the oppressed. But when something doesn’t look or feel right to us, how often do we confront what we naturally suspect is a false view, then wrestle with it until we see the truth, God’s view, instead of what the material senses are claiming?

The Bible tells us of Jacob, who “was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day” (Genesis 32:24). Of that same story, Science and Health states, “Jacob was alone, wrestling with error,—struggling with a mortal sense of life, substance, and intelligence as existent in matter with its false pleasures and pains,—when an angel, a message from Truth and Love, appeared to him and smote the sinew, or strength, of his error, till he saw its unreality; and Truth, being thereby understood, gave him spiritual strength in this Peniel of divine Science” (p. 308).

Jacob would not let go of this angel until he was blessed, until he had gained a higher, spiritual view of himself, one based in divine law, not folklore. Jacob won that round so decisively that his entire nature was changed. Shouldn’t we demand the same reward for ourselves?

Jacob’s entire nature was changed. Shouldn’t we demand the same reward for ourselves?

A few years after college, I was faced with a view of myself that wasn’t at all one that I liked. For weeks I had pain in my left shoulder that made it almost impossible for me to do anything with my left arm. I had been praying for healing as taught in Christian Science. I’d had prayerful treatment from a Christian Science practitioner. But I had not yet found the freedom I so wanted.

Someone might ask, Why didn’t you just take some pain medication? There was no one or thing stopping me; no one I knew would have condemned me for it, not my family or my church, but I wanted a higher solution, a spiritual view of myself that did not include whatever this problem was. I wanted a view of man—my true identity—that, as Christian Science has taught me, doesn’t just temporarily subdue a problem but thoroughly heals it. But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t seem to see and feel that Christian Science did, in fact, heal. All I kept coming back to was that I hurt.                                          >

Very late one night, again unable to sleep because of this issue, I got up. I wrapped myself in a blanket and sat down in a comfortable chair. More than anything, I felt disturbed by the false view that Christian Science is ineffective. I had been raised in a Christian Science home; I had witnessed remarkable healings (see “Quickly healed after near-fatal fall” by Robert C. Hummel III with contributions from Marguerite Becker, Christian Science Sentinel, July 27, 2020; and a testimony by Robert C. Hummel, Sentinel, July 31, 1965). But at that moment, just like with the postcard, I could only seem to experience a distortion of the truth.

For several hours I sat there. I took the synopsis from my most recent Christian Science students’ association meeting and carefully read and pondered the multitude of spiritual insights that my teacher had recently shared with his students. Insights that reminded me I was, and always had been, in the care and presence of God, Love. I read from the Bible and Science and Health. And something in my thinking changed. The spiritual laws from the Bible and Science and Health that I had been pondering overcame a limited view, and suddenly I knew, without a doubt, that Christian Science is the truth of God and man, and does heal. And that was all that mattered to me. The pain? It was still screaming, but I was at peace. I went back to bed and fell right to sleep.

A few hours later I woke up completely well. I went to my job. And never again has my shoulder bothered me.

The definition of Elias (the New Testament form of Elijah) in the Glossary of Science and Health is: “Prophecy; spiritual evidence opposed to material sense; Christian Science, with which can be discerned the spiritual fact of whatever the material senses behold; the basis of immortality” (p. 585). Just as that postcard view of the Oregon coast had never been facing north, my spiritual identity had never included a pain-wracked shoulder. That night, I glimpsed a spiritual fact, and that spiritual fact healed.

I learned that we must not be afraid to wrestle with error, to insist on the truth of our God-created self that, as Genesis 1 states, is the image of God. It may take no more than a moment, or it may take longer, but we will win because a lie is, and always will be, a lie, and Truth will always be true.

There was another lesson from that postcard. No matter how hard I tried later, never again could I see that photo as looking north. As we agree to challenge each appearance of wrong, we will see that what has looked powerful and unsettling really is a lie and that the spiritual, perfect, good, is there instead. Not a single fact will change, only our view of it. Mrs. Eddy writes in her Retrospection and Introspection, “Divine Science demands mighty wrestlings with mortal beliefs, as we sail into the eternal haven over the unfathomable sea of possibilities” (pp. 56–57). What an incredible voyage we are on.



From sense to Soul my pathway lies before me,
From mist and shadow into Truth’s clear day;
The dawn of all things real is breaking o’er me,
     My heart is singing: I have found the way.
I reach Mind’s open door, and at its portal
     I know that where I stand is holy ground;
I feel the calm and joy of things immortal,
     The loveliness of Love is all around.
The way leads upward and its goal draws nearer,
     Thought soars enraptured, fetterless and free;
The vision infinite to me grows clearer,
     I touch the fringes of eternity.

—Violet Hay
Christian Science Hymnal, Hymn No. 64, © CSBD

You are invited to join us for our Sunday church service in person or on Zoom every Sunday at 10 am PT. (please let us know you are coming if you can). We meet for an hour and then have an open discussion about the week’s Bible lesson and/or testimonies of healing and comments and questions about Christian Science.

The Encinitas Reading Room is currently open by appointment only.

Phone 541 753 6395

912 S. Coast Hwy. 101, Encinitas, CA 92024

Driving Directions

If you would like to receive information from our Christian Science Society of Encinitas which includes notices about our events and services, please enter your email address to the right in the subscribe window.  It is free, and you will then be sent an email to confirm your subscription.

Leave a Reply