Anne Melville grew up in a Christian Science family that depended on prayer for healing, and where emphasis was placed on honouring the qualities of God—qualities like honesty, integrity, equality, and justice.
When she became a young mother, Anne soon realized that she had to pray for her family every day. On one occasion, when their son wasn’t eating or drinking properly, her husband became worried and asked her to take him to the doctor. “I had no problem with this,” Anne told me during a recent interview. “But on the way to there, I prayed to know the doctor wouldn’t find anything but the image and likeness of God.”
Anne had to carry her son into the medical clinic. After examining him, the doctor told her the boy had a fever but he couldn’t explain why. Her son then asked for a glass of water. He drank it down, and a few minutes later they ran out of the clinic together. Anne filled the prescription the doctor gave her—which said to use as needed for pain—but it was never needed. The healing was complete.
Anne is now a Christian Science teacher, practitioner, and lecturer from Kaikohe, New Zealand. She’ll be presenting “The law of Love,” an online talk about the divine laws at the centre of Christ Jesus’ healing ministry, which can be accessed by clicking on tinyurl.com/CSBC04Love. It’s being hosted by the First Church of Christ, Scientist, Victoria on Sunday, April 25 at 2:00 pm.
Here are a few highlights from my conversation with Anne.
Matt Jackson: Most lecturers I’ve interviewed say they found Christian Science as adults, but you grew up with it. What was that like?
Anne Melville: It’s hard for me to imagine not being a Christian Scientist. It was always real because when our family turned to it we were healed. It was a natural choice to continue with it after I grew up.
MJ: Do you recall an experience or healing that stood out for you at an early age? What did it mean to you?
AM: There were a lot of healings. I remember one time as a child asking my mother to take us out. She told us she had a bad headache, but then asked me to pray for her. At first I thought it was strange she would ask me, but I did pray and she soon felt better. She took us out to wherever it was we’d asked her to go.
There was another time as a teenager when my horse was showing a lot of distress. Rather than worrying, I decided to stop and pray about it. They were not sophisticated prayers, but I read something in the Christian Science Journal that meant a lot to me. I just knew my horse was healed. And he was!
MJ: The title of your lecture is “The law of Love.” Thinking about love in this way might be new for many. Can you explain what you mean?
Love is the central theme of the Bible. While it’s true the ancient Hebrews believed God required appeasement, they did catch glorious glimpses of God as Love.
In actuality, God as Love governs the universe. This is what Mary Baker Eddy learned, and why she came to refer to it as a divine law. God’s love saved many people in the Old Testament from famine, disease, lack, and enemy armies, and the demonstration of this law of Love culminated in Jesus’ healing ministry.
That’s why healing is so important—it shows humanity that God is Love.
MJ: Is there a difference between human love and divine Love?
AM: The human concept of love is often fickle or changeable. It can seem to come and go depending on who we are with or how we are feeling that day. Or perhaps we believe that to feel love somebody has to give it to us.
But the love of God is greater than even the highest form of human love—which might be a parent’s love for their children. It is all power and presence. The Bible tells us that God is Love, and that God can be depended on no matter where we are, what we’ve done, or what has happened. That’s pretty unconditional love, isn’t it?
Yet sometimes it seems like we can’t feel that love. Our state of thought can hide God’s love from us. For example, Jesus’ teachings tell us that when we are humble and gentle, when we care for others, that those states of thought enable us to recognize God’s love as always present—caring for every person no matter what. This understanding of God as Love reveals itself in our thinking to dispel the darkness of anger, fear, pain, or sickness. This has a healing effect on our bodies and our experience.
MJ: What does the law of Love say about loving our enemies?
AM: Jesus taught us that God’s love heals—including our relationships. And there is no greater reward than healing a relationship with a perceived enemy.
For a decade, my family had a serious problem with one of our neighbours. We took all kinds of human footsteps through the local council and the police. I prayed, of course, but I also pushed these agencies to do something. Then, one day, one of the neighbours entered our house uninvited to confront my husband. This woke me up to the idea that I had to turn wholeheartedly to God. After that, every time I passed the neighbours’ home, I practiced seeing them as God sees them—and declared that Love was the only power governing the situation. This had been going on for ten years, but after I committed to praying like that the entire conflict just melted away in less than a month.
MJ: When we think about the challenges our world faces—covid-19, political polarization, climate change. What does the law of Love say about these problems? How do you approach praying about the big issues?
The first thing I do is to confront fear. Think about how bold Jesus was. Even faced with death, he stood firmly in the law of Love—which is the only true law governing creation. As we practice loving one another—and praying for each other—it allows us to see solutions. That’s the law of Love in operation.
Matt Jackson has been fascinated by how science and religion relate to each other for as long as he can remember. He is a member of the Christian Science church in Victoria, BC, and has been a professional writer and editor for 26 years
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