Saturday, February 26, 2011

Meek -- But Mighty

Sometimes daughters
of the South,
are too sweet and light;
individuals who are weak,
lacking in might,
reluctant to fight
when the Cause is right.
Acting meek, while
standing up for oneself--
what a challenge.
After centuries of
half the race being
put down, told to
be seen and not heard,
(with a few exceptions)
can make one want
to go overboard
to oneself express.
Thank God for the Word--
which helps many
of us to keep words in,
and not commit the sin
of not being loving enough.
Sometimes this is tough.
But there is our Hero
for all time,
our Exemplar sublime,
who though his rebuke
was something one could
not have wanted to be
on the receiving end of,
was the most loving man
that ever walked the earth.

Being daughters (and sons)
of the King,
shouldn't we be able
to express meekness and might?
This we followers of Christ
will increasingly need to do.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Mind that was in Christ

On my way back this morning from breakfast, I was thinking about something I had just read. Quite an interesting piece on developing one's mental processes, on memorizing mainly. And it seems this person practiced by associating certain things he wanted to recall, with unwholesome images. And this puts in mildly! Some tricks involved downright gross mental pictures.

The contrast with this, and what my religion stresses--namely developing the Mind that was in Christ Jesus--stood out clearly. In fact, one of the tenets of Christian Science states in part: "And we solemnly promise to watch, and pray for that Mind to be in us which was also in Christ Jesus;" This is from Mary Baker Eddy's masterwork, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, page 497. (The rest of this tenet reads, "to do unto others as we would have them do unto us; and to be merciful, just, and pure.")

To be involved daily with understanding, claiming one's identification with the one Mind, God is an exercise that couldn't be more important for one to engage in. It is challenging to be sure. It takes humility. It takes discipline. But oh the rewards--in peace of mind, in health, in harmony, in expanded usefulness to humanity. I could go on and on with the benefits from acknowledging God as our Mind--which Jesus indisputably did. But thank God, the teachings of divine Science enable any one of us to do this holy work.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Cultivating Wisdom

I used to wonder why our dear Master placed the need for wisdom before harmlessness in this statement: "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." (Matthew 10:16)

Then one day I came across something the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science says on this topic: " wise and harmless, for without the former the latter were impracticable. A lack of wisdom betrays Truth into the hands of evil as effectually as does a subtle conspirator; the motive is not as wicked, but the result is as injurious." This is from "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, page 128

Of the many blessings I've gained from a study of the Bible and the teachings of Christian Science, acquiring more wisdom in my day-to-day dealings is right up there. Doing our best to obey God, to live in accord with what Jesus taught and practiced, listening for divine direction in the seemingly trivial aspects of daily life, we find ourselves manifesting greater wisdom and becoming more judicious. Gaining more Christly clearsightedness, we experience the right distance, balance, freedom in ourinteractions with others. Nothing can have so dynamic and healing an impact on our own experience and the world as the spiritual knowledge we're gaining and applying in Christin Science. Therefore, we learn to keep human opinion and influence at arm's length and entrust our unfolding spiritual understanding to God alone.

How rewarding it is to cultivate the consciousness that we are inseparable from God--to feel our oneness with the all-powerful forces of good and our consequent dissociation from circumstances we no longer need to be involved with. We more and more enjoy what the Old Testament promises: "And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left."

One cannot be following more closely what God gave His Son to give to the world without experiencing a more discriminating consciousness, without becoming wiser in what he says and does. And this is all to the good, as Mary Baker Eddy pointed out in the words above.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Serving God -- Not Money

To the follower of Christ,

Jesus' words offer such comfort.

To the selfish materialist however,

They're disturbing, and actually

Impossible to obey --

Until priorities are straightened out.

Take Matthew 6:24 for instance

Where our Master warns:

"Ye cannot serve God and mammon."

Coming into right relation

To the Christian requirement

To serve God, not selfish interests,

Brings the supply one needs.

And it even ensures enough

Left over to help others.

Best of all, it replaces fear

With joy and trust in God's dear love --

The greatest treasure there is.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Four Points to Consider (John Wellsman)

Those contemplating Christian Science and its applicability to their own circumstances or lives might be helped by pondering the following four points:

First, consider the definition of the word "Science." Although current usage has largely pictured science as relating to the goings on in sterile laboratories filled with glass beakers, test tubes, Petrie dishes and white-coated staff with safety glasses and clipboards. That image is far from the original meaning of the word.

For example the 1828 Webster's (the edition which was current when Mary Baker Eddy the Discoverer and Founder of the Christian Science religion was writing her seminal work Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, includes this as the primary definition of the word "Science": "1...knowledge, or certain knowledge; the comprehension or understanding of truth or facts by the mind." And then gives this example of usage: "The science of God must be exact." Nothing about test tubes or white coats there.

The 1913 Webster's gives this definition of Science:

"Accumulated and established knowledge, whic has been systematized and formulated with reference to the discovery of general truths or the operation of general laws; knowledge classified and made available in work, life, or the search for truth;"

Webster's eleventh edition collegiate dictionary gives this primary definition of Science:

"the state of knowing: knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding:

Slightly different, but still no test tubes.

We can therefore consider that the key factors in Science are mental, not physical.

Second, consider the fact that has apparently largely escaped the consciousness of the world today, including even a large percentage of devout Christians: although the healing work of Jesus is considered miraculous it is largely identified with the personal Jesus. However in fact, Jesus TAUGHT his followers how to "perform" those miracles on their own. His disciples were after all just what the word "disciple" really means, learners or students. (1828 Webster's again):

"Disciple: A learner; a scholar; one who receives or professes to receive instruction from another; as the disciples of Plato"

The disciples LEARNED from Jesus. And they were generally successful when Jesus sent them forth to practice what he had taught them. "And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name." Luke 10:17

Besides the twelve disciples, Jesus is generally credited with approximately 300 other students of varying degrees of diligence and accomplishment including those seventy he sent forth at once. One point is important to consider here: Jesus' disciples were not educated intellectuals. They were generally common fishermen and laborers without any paraticularly advanced level of education. Thus apparently worldly learning was not necessary for the understanding and practice of what Jesus taught.

Therefore we can deduce there was a basic body of knowledge or truth behind Jesus' works which he himself could teach his disciples. The Science of Christianity. And this truth or Science would be discovered in his words and works by anyone who sincerely sought it out. Mary Baker Eddy was such a person. After her discovery of the Science of Christianity in 1866, Mrs. Eddy devoted the final forty-five years of her life to the study, practice and dissemination of that body of knowledge and truth to the world. Over a period of seven years she taught over four thousand students the rudiments of primitive Christian healing at her Massachusetts Metaphysical College.

Third, consider the degrees of achievement covered by the word student. For example, an inspired or gifted teacher will have some students who easily grasp the materials he is imparting to them. Some may go on to excel in the field themselves, perhaps even furthering the field of knowledge itself. The majority of the students, however will simply absorb the rudiments and even if they understand its practicality will do little or nothing with that knowledge. A few may even challenge or deny the truth or practicality of what is being taught. However Science can only be affirmed. Being truth, Science cannot actually be denied. Therefore these non- practitioners or deniers have no effect on the essence of Science or truth. Sometimes they can actually highlight or demonstrate its truth.

Consider Jesus' experience. Peter, James and John were exemplary students. Despite his denial of Jesus before the crucifixion, Peter went on to do and accomplish much good in the early Christian era. Even the dull and doubting Thomas was able to accomplish some healing once he understood better what Jesus was imparting.

Then of course there was Judas Iscariot whose denial of Jesus' teachings led him to betray the Master leading to his crucifixion. However Judas' denial and betrayal only enabled the Master's final and complete demonstration of the Science he taught in what we call the ascension.

Mary Baker Eddy also had different degrees of students over the years. A few accomplished much, some little and some turned on her and worked diligently to destroy her and her lifework. The key point here is this: However few students actually grasp an instructor's teaching and despite students' lack of accomplishment or denials of the teachings, the non-practice and denials cannot alter the actual truth of what the instructor imparts. Science, if it is Science cannot actually be denied, it can only be affirmed, practiced and demonstrated. Or not. Your choice. But you cannot deny what is Science.

Fourth, and finally, considering that Science is truth or true knowledge that can be organized, preserved and taught or transferred, there is actually a practical Science of the primitive Christianity which Jesus taught and practiced. It is that Science which Mary Baker Eddy sought out, discovered, recorded and preserved in her work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Because of Mrs. Eddy's selfless dedication, that Science is available to anyone today. Thus the Science of Christianity can be learned and practiced with healing results to a greater or lesser degree by any sincere seeker who is willing to earnestly strive for its acquistion. Even you!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

On Blogging for Christian Science

What motivates one in so doing

If not to honor God's dear Son --

In the hope that the truths

Christ Jesus said and taught

May serve to set another free,

As Science divine has done,

God be prasied, for you and me.

Life-saving, eternal truths, when

Lighting up another's thought

Can and do lead to joy and

Health, peace and freedom

Obtainable in no other way.

Our Master said of his words

That they shall not pass away

Though everything else perish.

And those grateful ones

Who blog on behalf of Christian Science,

Which makes clear these words and works,

Can see what they post in cyberspace --

If they listen for God's direction --

Reach the hearts of those in need,

Inspire them to want to learn more

Of what will surely set them free.

May God bless and prosper us,

Each and every one.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

To Love God More

There comes a point in our lives when something that Jesus commanded takes on special importance, something we feel must be obeyed more. "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment", our Master said. (Mark 12:30)

How can I repay some of the good God has given? How can I show my love for Him more?" takes hold of our thinking, we have arrived at an unusually holy place in spiritual development. We and our neighbors are in for unimagined blessings--once you and I learn the answer to this crucial question and start to act on it.

"Heavy topic!" some of you might be thinking. Not really! After all, our relationship to our Creator eclipses all others. And the sooner we begin thinking of how we can more fully express our love and gratitude to Him, the happier and healthier life is going to be for us and for those whom our lives will increasingly touch.

The Psalmist's question, "What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me?" is a lofty one. (116:12) And it deserves sublime counsel on how best to achieve such giving--counsel that the above command of Christ, together with the one immediately following provides us. "And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself", Jesus said.

These two commandments are as one, for to obey the first ensures obedience to the second. Love of our fellow beings has to be active; it must take form. It is an expression, not merely a feeling. It is an active service, as Jesus' life showed. Actually, we can't love God without this unselfed activity. As a New Testament writer points out, "He that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?" (I John 4:20)

As most of us can attest, the human mind is not inclined to do this, not for any length of time that is. Obviously something more than good intent is needed for one to carry out Jesus' command successfully. And speaking for myself, my religion has provided this help by giving me a spiritual, scientific basis for developing enriched affections, a greater love for others.

As the teachings of Christian Science reveal, man is one with God, divine Love; he is the expression, or idea, of the only Mind there actually is. And so, love for God includes love for His idea, man. God's love for man is expressed in our love for others. Looking at ourselves in this spiritually enlightened way, claiming our divinely derived ability to manifest warmth, compassion, kindness, unselfishness, we feel lifted up, spiritually strengthened to reach the high goal of loving our neighbor as ourselves. Instead of striving in a merely human way for something we may not feel qualified to do and which may not seem attainable, we see that God is actually our Mind--that we have the Mind which spontaneously loves and is Love. We awake to a a capacity to love that is already spiritually natural for us since it is our God-given right and present endowment as divine Love's reflection. Learning to love as Jesus did--consciously reflecting the Mind that is Love--moves us beyond the human mind's inhibitions, its frustrations and failures. Our caring becomes more effective and healing, more rewarding for all concerned. And best of all, we experience the special joy that comes from doing what is pleasing to our heavenly Father.

"But still, I wouldn't know where to begin expressing the love Jesus is talking about," someone might be thinking right now. Let's not forget that our fellow beings aren't a species different from us! The hopes and fears and struggle and the consequent need for warmth and support that we feel at times, they feel too. The emotions that stir our hearts, stir others' as well.

The Old Testament offers some help in seeing how we can begin to love more. Proverbs enjoins us, "Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it." (3:27) What a world of difference a sincere thank-you or just a smile that indicates we appreciate what another is doing can make! Most of us, every single day, fail to take advantage of opportunities to reach out to our neighbor in simple but highly effective ways. Yet whenever we take the time to let others know we recognize the contribution they are making and really care about their well-being, this magnifies the good they are doing and it honors them as sons and daughers of God.

Many people have a genuinely warm nature and could be reaching out much more than they do to bless others. But affections are being bottled up for what they consider valid reasons. Perhaps they fear looking foolish if they show concern. It is true that all who express love need to have courage and resolve. But even if their efforts to love are misunderstood and elicit no response (and this happens to all of us at times) Christ's followers will go right on expressing divine Love as much as they can.

Some might be holding back on living Christly love because their conscience won't allow them to heap what they feel is unearned praise on people just to be nice to them. We don't have to compromise our integrity to help others. Nor do we have to resort to flattery. But if we are seeing others as God knows and loves them, we can in all good conscience rejoice in the goodness of the man God created and love even when it may humanly be undeserved.

The good we can do through a God-inspired kindness is many time greater than the time and effort it costs us. The right sentiment expressed at the right moment ahs been known to positively light up another's life with joy, even transform it forever. And loving is always timely when God impels it. When we align ourselves with the source of all uplift and comfort and healing and are willing to be used by God, divine Love, there is no limit to the blessings He will bestow through us.

Loving and blessing those that come into our experience are an answer to one of society's more pervasive problems, and that problem is the terrible loneliness so many are feeling today. Christlike interest in others is an unfailing antidote for too much self. Even if one has spent a lifetime being self-centered, now is not too late to start being God-centered. When the thought comes, "What am I really living for?", this could be an indication that one is beginning to reach out for a higher, more spiritual sense of purpose, a more selfless, truly satisfying way of life than absorption in self can ever bring. The ways we can live Love are endless. Living Love will give anyone all the purpose he or she can handle.

Mary Baker Eddy points out: "As an active portion of one stupendous whole, goodness identifies man with universal good. Thus may each member of this church rise above the oft-repeated inquiry, What am I? to the scientific response: I am able to impart truth, health, and happiness, and this is my rock of salvation and my reason for existing." (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 165)

You and I are in the world to bless the world, as our Master showed. Jesus went all out for God in a life filled with the loving and healing others. As we follow his example, we see with out own eyes how many today need all the Christly warmth and compassion they can get. How can we not do this for our infinitely loving God?