Monday, May 25, 2009

An Influence for Good

If you're like me, the thought has probably crossed your mind more than once, am I doing enough given mankind's urgent needs? When we consider the grandeur of our work for Christ and Christian Science, and we have a modest sense of our ability at this stage of things to connect with divine power, how can one not feel this way at times? But the desire to make a meaningful difference in this world of ours is inspired by God. And it does have His resources behind it.

Something that has helped me, besides all the healings I have experienced through my understanding of the teachings of Christian Science is this: so many limitations of the mortal sense of things have been put off. As I've gained a greater realization of my true selfhood as God's own image and likeness, restricting hereditary beliefs, environmental influences, and opinions of others have faded away. For this I can't be thankful enough. And this wonderful passage from "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy is worth giving here for anyone out there in cyberspace who yearns to serve humanity in a more effective way. Grasping our spiritual individuality as the likeness of our Maker will always expand our mental horizons. And this makes us more useful in the human realm.

"This scientific sense of being, forsaking matter for Spirit, by no means suggests man's absorption into Deity and the loss of his identity, but confers upon man enlarged individuality, a wider sphere of thought and action, a more expansive love, a higher and more permanent peace." (Page 265)

When it comes to being a blessing in the lives of others, you and I may never know the people we have helped/are helping. But this shouldn't hold us back from doing all we can find to do. Any expression of compassion--backed up by action--can literally save a life, turn a person right around, help place his feet in that path that leads to eternal good. Divine Love, lived by you and me, can do all that. And more. To save even one life is a holy thing, is it not?

Jesus' observation that "the harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few" followed by the command to "pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest" (Luke 10) gives me incentive to keep at it. Humanity's challenges so great, proclaiming the power of God such a heavenly adventure, and the reward so absolutely certain, why wait another moment to pray better, do more?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Poem for May


(c) By: Sharon Slaton Howell

Candy-pink roses blow in cool breeze,

Care-free birds dart in and out of hedges,

Someone mows his lawn in the distance.

Of all the May delights that confront me

As I sit here on stone garden bench,

It's setting-sun rays that get me most --

Light shines on forest floor,

Light plays on trunks of trees,

Light glints off rusting wire fence

A farmer put up long before we moved in.

But there's a thought much higher

Than enchanting light of earth --

It's something Christ Jesus once said:

"I am the light of the world; he that

Followeth after me shall not walk in darkness,

But shall have the light of life."

(John 8:12)

The beauty of this Light

Can never fade to black.

It's presence and its power

Followers of His can never lack.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Heroes of the Faith

And by faith, I mean of course, Protestantism. I'm still feeling inspiration from a program aired on PBS about Michelangelo and his secret struggles with religion. Though a Roman Catholic, he came more and more under the sway of the awakening begun by Martin Luther. Reading the Bible for himself, he was coming to see that there should be no persons between us and Christ-- certainly not a corrupt hierarchy. But sadly, he was beholden to the Church, was employed by them, and had to submerge the increasing reverence he was feeling for Jesus. His life came to a close still feeling this inner turmoil. But tellingly, right before that, he changed his statue of Moses which adorned the tomb of some pope, to have the illustrious servant of God face away from the altar where mass was said, to the light.

Inspiration from thinking about all of this has led to deeper gratitude than I've ever felt that I am free to openly proclaim my love for Christ. There is no greater privilege nor joy than this. Just think if we couldn't do this?!

And I can't help thinking about so many heroes of the Protestant faith who stood up to unspeakable hardships rather than be remiss in their duty to God and to mankind. From Germany's Luther who was under sentence of death from day one nearly, to Scotland's John Knox who spent two years as a galley slave, to England's John Wesley who once in preaching outdoors was grabbed by a mob and nearly killed, to England's William Tyndale who for his efforts to give humanity the Bible in English spent his time before going to the stake in a cold dungeon, to America's Mary Baker Eddy, whose courage in presenting the Christ Science I can only marvel at. There are so many other of these men and women one could write about, and on behalf of them all, I pray, may God continue blessing them and keeping them on upward wing, which I am sure He is doing. What these heroes and heroines endured out of love for God's holy child, we can only imagine.

But the upshot of all of this is for me, let not one of us ever allow persons to come between us and Christ, never bow the knee to hierarchy--wherever one may find it. Never live in fear of what mere mortals can do. Nothing they can hold out in money or titles or preferments should count for anything, should prevent one from giving our Saviour all the love and obedience we can.

The Leader of my Church writes in "Miscellaneous Writings" on page 172 of our being "Intrepid , self-oblivious Protestants in a higher sense than ever before." When we think of all those who have paved the way so that we might have the freedom to be this openly, I thank God we have eternity in which to repay their unparalled devotion to the Word of God.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Prayer That Gets Results

(Thinking about praying that reaches God and bears fruit, began jotting down thoughts which have resulted in the following. Herewith for whatever uplift it may give some reader. I can never be grateful enough for the teachings of Christian Science that point out--whatever we are praying about, for whomoever--the absolute need for Christlike love to be in our thoughts and our lives, to be what motivates our every action.)

"Selflessness Essential"

(c) By: Sharon Slaton Howell

Hope I'm learning as I

go from day to day,

something more about praying,

how to do it in a better way.

Reaching out to God--

to benefit not me,

but to lift up thee,

seems to be the key.

To pray with self removed

(not entirely, truth to say),

the good of another sought;

praying that is done

out of Christlike love,

must this not connect

with power from Above--

our God being all Love?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Alone with God

Albert Schweitzer, who as many of his admirers knew, was quite a performer of organ music. And it is said that when he was playing Bach (whose sublime compositions reach to high heaven), it was as though Schweitzer was in the church or auditorium all alone--concerned with only God hearing him play, seeking only His approval. Having a recording of one of his concerts, I can believe it. But thinking about that this morning on a walk in the rain, recalled a poem done earlier I want to share with you.


(c) By: Sharon Slaton Howell

How one can prefer society's noise
To solitude's tranquillity
Is more than the true lover
Of nature can comprehend.
For how can such infinite beauty
As our Father spreads before us
Be adequately appreciated
While in a crowd of people,
Talking when they have
Nothing to say,
Who go on and on
And never know when to end?
It's indisputable:
Contemplating nature and garrulity
Are incompatible.
On forays into the wild,
Give me a soulful quiet,
And possibly a companion
(Or two or three)
Who know the value of silence.


(May whoever reads this blog feel Jesus' assurance in John 14:27: "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.")

Monday, May 4, 2009

Commenting on Comments

While I have appreciated all the activity on this blog, have decided to go in a new direction a la comments: have blotted them out (though can still bring them back at any time). Should you have a comment you want to convey to me, my email address is: or which is listed in The Christian Science Journal under Practitioners. Either one is fine to use. However, through one means or another, I already hear from many of you.

Of late, I've had to not accept too many comments that went too far, in my view, in pushing a personal agenda, or were just too divisive on this or that issue concerning our Cause. It has seemed to me that in some cases, the individual holding forth voceriously might need to think about getting his or her own blog. Had I known who the commenter was, would have explained this to them, but alas, anonymous. So, as I said, you may email me about whatever is on your mind. It's just that my blog is not the place for this, I feel.

As I've said at the outset, my purpose in starting this blog was to show love for Christ Jesus and Christian Science, to have a means of glorifying God for all His unspeakable gifts to His children. And I am grateful to Him every single day that there is such a thing as the Internet. It has proved to be an immense blessing to me, and I trust what He has inspired me to share with the world, has likewise lifted up others. I must keep this blog on the highest plane possible so that as many readers of this blog, wherever they may be in this world of ours, might come away with a sense of our dear Father's love/comfort/healing power. But even before this, to reiterate-- praising Him for all the wondrous works of His hand.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Staying healthy

People around the world are concerned about swine flu and staving it off for themselves and those they love. In an effort to contribute to the lessening of fear, and to offer concrete spiritual truths that can keep one free from contagion, this blog post. It is primarily done for those who are not acquainted with what Christian Science teaches, since so many of the readers of this website already know these things and in many cases, have proved their protective, healing power.

Since first hearing of the outbreak in Mexico, have been praying with these two statements: first, from Genesis 21:22, "God is with you in everything you do." And this from the pen of Mary Baker Eddy: "A calm, Christian state of mind is a better preventive of contagion than a drug, or than any other possible sanative method: and the 'perfect Love that 'casteth out fear' is a sure defense." (Miscellaneous Writings, page 229)

This is not mere theory. I know personally of contagious conditions that have been quickly and permanently healed through the power of divine Love, God. One, which took place many years ago, involved my own brother, who, as a preschool-age child, was stricken with all the symptoms of infantile paralysis. The fear of the disease at that time was great in our community, and my mother, who had just begun studying Christian Science, was understandably worried. But she had herself been healed of a long-standing, serious physical condition through relying on the law of God. So she decided to ask a Christian Science practitioner to pray for my brother. The symptoms were so frightening, my mother feared he might nor live through the night. But he was healed within a couple of days. This powerful proof of God's love for His children made a deep impression on my mother, and it strengthened her trust in God as an everpresent help in times of sickness.

What my brother experienced was the effect of the understanding that man is God's own child, as the Bible brings out. And in harmony with the Bible's spiritual meaning, Christian Science shows that man is inherently pure and whole--not a mortal, flesh-and-blood creature, who is subject to fear, disability, and death. It can't be emphasized enough just what a powerful antidote to fear it is to realize we are not made up of material elements that can be invaded by a virus, or whatever. Grasping this divine fact puts us on an entirely different--and protective--plane of thinking. You and I are actually God's spiritual offspring, not at the mercy of whatever disease is believed to be prevalent and gaining ground. Divine Love, the tender, always present Father of all, by virtue of His allness, excludes whatever is unlike His pure nature. This truth destroys fear that we could be subject to a pandemic. It gives us immunity not available from any drug or pill or human precaution.

Our dear Master understood fully the inseparability of man from God. Jesus knew that man is God's child, eternally safe in Him. Discerning something of our real being as God's spiritual image, and expressing the calm, Christian state of thinking that characterizes that being, we can come to feel the assurance of His care. We can prove for ourselves that true immunity from disease, and abiding peace of mind, are found in the consciousness of God's omnipresent control of our lives. As one of the many passages in the Scriptures that offer a way out of fear of a pandemic states: "In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me" (Psalms 56:4).