The famous painting, “Scene at the Signing of the Constitution,” is a huge 18′ x 26′ oil portrait by one of our nation’s greatest artists, Howard Chandler Christy. It was completed in 1940 and hangs today in the east stairway of the House wing of the Capitol building. Congressmen and congresswomen have been walking by it since the early days of WWII. It is among the best known images in the United States Capitol.
If I could, I’d like to share with our nation’s leaders how the painting represents more than a great work of art or a significant moment in United States history. It also signifies how Christian Science has been, and continues to be, a benefit to the world. You see, Christy would have never painted this amazing portrait if his sight had not been restored by Christian Science years earlier.
In the following letter, published in Time magazine on April 12, 1937, Christy recounts how he fully regained his sight by the healing work of a Christian Science practitioner:
“It is fitting that I should give testimony of my healing in Christian Science on this Easter morning, as it was twenty-eight years ago at Easter Time when first my health was returned to me. Previous to this time I had been partially blind, and numb from the knees down. I had tried all kinds of cures but no help. I tried to forget through drink. The doctors said I could live but a few months.
One day my relative, a Christian Science practitioner, called to see me. I managed to hobble into the front room where she was sitting and during the conversation she asked me if I would like her to give me a treatment. Right then something told me from within that I would regain all my strength; so I answered ‘Yes, go ahead.’ While she was talking everything in the room began to clear. I could even see the color of her eyes, which were blue. It was as if a fog had lifted. I stood up and wanted to walk out in the clear air and did for a three-mile walk—bought tickets for the theatre that night, and actually saw the actors clearly for the first time in many months.
That night I read three pages of the Christian Science textbook (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” by Mary Baker Eddy) and had no trouble in reading the fine print. The next day I went to work and have worked ever since. In a few minutes’ time my life was changed from discouragement to joy and light and happiness, and gratitude is mine and will always be so long as I live.
(Signed) Howard Chandler Christy, March 28, 1937“
Among the distinguished men and women who sat for Christy after his healing were President Warren G. Harding, President Calvin Coolidge, Will Rogers, Amelia Earhart Putnam and Vice President John Nance Garner.
Many thanks to Justin Long and Aaron Bingham for bringing this story to my attention.