December 2, 2015
“Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there?” questions the prophet Jeremiah from the Bible’s Old Testament (Jer. 8:22). There is a beautiful answer to this question in a famous African American spiritual with this chorus:
There is a balm in GileadTo make the wounded wholeThere is a balm in GileadTo heal the sin-sick soul.
This Wednesday’s readings are about this balm of Gilead, its use as a physical remedy in the Bible, and what it represents spiritually today.
Gilead was a mountainous part of Palestine, east of the Jordan river, traversing the tribes of Gad and the eastern portion of Manasseh. Gilead is where the balsam tree grew. The medicinal “balm” produced from the tree sap was a rare perfume, and it has come to signify a universal cure in figurative speech (Wikipedia and CS Bible Lesson Notes). Does any of this hint about Mrs. Eddy’s definition of Gad in the Glossary?
Here is a quote from a letter of Mrs. Eddy’s referenced in Clifford Smith’s Historical Sketches:
“Do not forget to be strong in the clear consciousness that you are able to heal and no counter mind can make you weak for a moment through fear or a lack of confidence in our power or rather understanding. Remember God, Truth, is the healer, the balm in Gilead, and our only Physician, and can never be insufficient for all things.”
There is also a lovely poem about Science and Health which begins with these lines:
Can a book be Gilead’s balmhealing the hurt of all mankind?
These references are all on the readings page.
I hope to see you today, in person or by phone. If not, I hope you enjoy the readings because I love the balm of Gilead. It makes a great Christmas present!