Fujiko Signs didn’t consider herself a part of any religious community when she was diagnosed with heart problems in her mid-30s.
She didn’t pray for God to heal her or attend scheduled worship services. But she had recently started spending a few hours a week sitting in a Christian Science church waiting for her daughters, who wanted to attend Sunday school there even though they were not religious.
When she returned for a follow-up visit with her doctor, tests showed the heart palpitations and weak valve she was diagnosed with just two months before were gone.
“I didn’t believe it,” Signs recalled in a phone interview Monday. “Then I thought, well maybe the atmosphere I’m in had something to do with it.”
This realization marked the beginning of Signs’ exploration into Christian Science, and the relationship between spirituality and healing. She has seen and personally experienced in the intervening 25 years many instances in which prayer and spirituality creates physical and emotional benefits, she said. “When we are happy, and leading a meaningful life, we are the healthiest.”
Signs, a Christian Science student and practitioner who lives in Tokyo, offers healing services to others by praying for them in accordance with Christian Science teachings. She will share her personal experiences and studies in a lecture in Frederick on Sunday. The presentation, organized by the Christian Science Society of Frederick, emphasizes core Christian Science tenets but is open to audience members of all religious backgrounds and beliefs.
Signs described the person who might appreciate her lecture as anyone who appreciates introspection and self-reflection. “Thinkers,” she said.
Christian Scientists believe, as taught in the Bible, that humans are made in the image and likeness of God. Signs likened the purity of humanity to the innocence of children, before judgments and assumptions of life constrict their freedom.
Embracing that childlike innocence, and eschewing the self-imposed limitations that come with age and societal norms, leads to healing, she said. It’s a concept with a universal application.
“If you have ever been a child, you recognize the freedom you felt,” she said. “That freedom, it’s universal.”
Signs experienced this through physical healing on several occasions — her heart problems, which have never returned, and an urgent dental ailment that disappeared by the time she returned to the dentist.
The power of thoughts over physical well-being is not a new concept. Prior to the introduction of western medicine, many ancient and aboriginal tribes relied on the power of mind-body connection to heal medical ailments, according to Signs.
That doesn’t mean that modern medicine and belief in the power of prayer to heal are mutually exclusive. Prayer might accompany medication or surgical procedures, Signs said.
Julie Castleman, a Thurmont resident and member of the Christian Science Society of Frederick, agreed. She’s relied on prayer for healing her entire life, but has friends, including fellow Christian scientists, who also seek medical treatment.
Spiritual healing doesn’t always manifest itself in terms of physical healing, either. It can also come through emotional well-being — a sense of peace or a kind of “aha” moment, Signs said.
“There’s really no one path or formula,” she said. “It’s about listening to the message of God, going back to the basics.”
As conflict complicates the political landscape, the need to return to the basic principles of love and acceptance is even more relevant, Castleman said. “In the world today, especially, I think people are looking for spiritual guidance,” she said. “We all feel fear, but there’s so much room for love.”
Follow Nancy Lavin on Twitter: @NancyKLavin.