Saturday, June 22, 2013

All Mankind

        It's good at times to be jolted out of our, what can be, petty daily concerns and this just happened to me.  Today's Wall Street Journal has a front-page article, with a full page inside on appalling conditions on the other side of the world from where I live -- Bangladesh.

        It is difficult to imagine our fellow beings living and working in such conditions, and this article brings it out graphically.  When scarcely- teenage girls are worked as these are by greedy and inhumane employers at clothing factories supplying us in the USA, well it jars me to do something about it.

        First is prayer and in contemplating what I've just read, it occurs to me that the Lord's Prayer, prayed more earnestly can't help but have a beneficial effect on the situation.  On any situation that needs correcting.  Certainly what Jesus gave his disciples, and all mankind, has enormous divine power to bring about more Christly compassion in this world of ours.

       And a line from  the Daily Prayer by Mary Baker Eddy is helpful for me to think about in this regard:  "And may Thy Word enrich the affections of all mankind, and govern them."  Those employers whose compassion for others is lacking, can be helped to change their ways, I do believe. They can feel for their fellow countrymen more sympathy and love for them.

        In addition to deeper praying, there are human footsteps that can be taken, and these I intend to do.  There is just one world, and we're all united in being children of our heavenly Father, (even those factory owners) and countless numbers need whatever help we're inspired to give.

Monday, June 17, 2013

What would I do if...

         ...I did not have Christian Science in my life?  Many are the times I've said this to myself, as well as to friends and family members.  And I mean it!  Having learned from its teachings that God is a present help in all kinds of trouble is beyond price to me.

          There are readers of this blog who are not yet acquainted with what my religion teaches.  Let me assure you that if you feel alone and afraid before problems of lack, fear, or sickness, you too, can find solace and help through the study of Christian Science.  You can find  out just how near and powerful is your loving Father, God.

        How many of us at times have longed for the carefree, happy days of childhood, for the comfort and love we experienced from our human father and mother. We can't turn back the clock to those years of dependency.  But we can experience even greater love and care in our present day-to-day lives.

        One of the many passages throughout the Bible that reveal God as the tender, watchful guardian of all is, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." (Psalm 46:1)  And Christ Jesus, who was ever conscious of God's unfailing care for His children said:  "He that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone."  (John 8:29)  Nor does our dear Father ever leave you or me alone.  God's constant love and support are still at hand for all who yearn for heavenly help.

       Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (p. 332):  "Father-Mother is the name for Deity, which indicates His tender relationship to His spiritual creation.  As the apostle expressed it in words which he quoted with approbation from a classic poet:  'For we are also His offspring.'"

        I've learned through my study of Christian Science that since man is God's offspring, His image and likeness, as the Bible reveals, man is spiritual and perfect, continously reflecting the Father's love.  This spiritual identity, the true selfhood of us all, is not helpless before the mortal claims of fear, lack, sorrow, and suffering.  These erroneous beliefs, which seem so real to the unenlightened thought, stem from ignorance of man's inseparable relationship to God, divine Love, and are corrected by spiritual understanding. 

        Mortal suffering is an illusion of the physical senses, a lie about God's perfect creation.  It is like the bad dream a child has at night--frightening to him, yet not real to the loved one awake at his side.  And what comfort the child feels when he wakes and sees that he is not alone and there is nothing to fear.

        When, through spiritual understanding, we awake from the mortal dream of life in matter to the reality of the truth of spiritual being, we feel the sense of security, the freedom and well-being come only from a knowledge of spiritual reality.

        I would say to any one reading this essay, you can be free now. You can know the comfort and assurance of man's God-bestowed peace, joy, and security the moment you awaken to the glorious truth that you are ever with your heavenly Father, God.  And you can experience physical healing as well.

       Not just airy words these; this has happened countless times in my own life. 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

When Divine Fire Descends

Do I have faith
in Jesus' words
to transform a life?
Indeed I do.
And what they have done
and are doing
for so many others,
they can do for you.
One real-life example:
composer of music sublime,
Felix Mendelssohn.
There was this time
when a stray copy of
the New Testament
he happened to read,
and although brought up a Jew,
something our Master taught
ignited something within
and caused this man
to at once become a
convert to Christianity.
Little wonder Jesus' words
could do this, and can today,
backed up as they are
by a heavenly fire.

If you haven't already,
acquaint yourself with
these teachings divine.
As a saving force in your life,
right now and ever after,
you cannot aim any higher.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

"Feed My Lambs" Jesus said

It wasn't a little lamb looking back at me as I opened the door to the garage to put out trash, but a little masked creature, very, very hungry.  It (a mother with young to feed?) had been drawn in by the bag of dog food, some of which we pile near the edge of our woods for wildlife that visit during the night. With ever shrinking habitat, this happens with woodland creatures more and more we're finding.

It ran off when it saw me.  Though still daylight, I put some food near the woods.  Soon this darling thing came back and fell upon the food.  As satisfying as this was, in its way, to feed an animal in need, I couldn't help thinking about nourishment of another kind -- spiritual nourishment that so many are starved for (though they may know it not) -- the life-giving Word of God. 

What a privilege it is for you and me to be doing what we can to be carrying out our Master's solemn charge to Peter.  What a pure joy!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Concerning Healing in Christian Science

        (Just came across the following statements as I was reading from Prose Works by Mary Baker Eddy, and I thought they might be informative for those of my readers who are not acquainted with Christian Science and why it is we rely on God for healing.)

        "Those who laugh at or pray against transcendentalism and the Christian Scientist's religion or his medicine, should know the danger of questioning Christ Jesus' healing, who administered no remedy apart from Mind, and taught his disciples none other."

       "If God created drugs for medical use, Jesus and his disciples would have used them and named them for that purpose, for he came to do 'the will of the Father.'"

        "Christians and clergymen pray for sinners; they believe that God answers their prayers, and that prayer is a divinely appointed means of grace and salvation.  They believe that divine power, besought, is given to them in times of trouble, and that He worketh with them to save sinners.  I love this doctrine, for I know that prayer brings the seeker into closer proximity with divine Love, and thus he finds what he seeks, the power of God to heal and to save."

(From Message to The Mother Church - 1901)

Healing of Grief

                               (I'm happy to post this contribution from my long-time
                                       friend, John Wellsman.  He lives in Tucson,
                                              Arizona, and is a photographer.)

        Some time ago an e-mail arrived notifying me that a dear friend of many years had passed on suddenly and very unexpectedly.  Although this individual had been a close high school and college friend with whom I had shared many happy occasions, our lives had taken separate courses over the years until re-connecting via the Internet several years ago.  Although it was unlikely that I would see this individual again in person due to our being on opposite sides of the country, we enjoyed reminiscing and sharing details of our lives.

        To say the news of this individual's passing came as a shock would be a major understatement.  Over a period of weeks I found myself recalling fondly many of the good times we shared and becoming more and more grief-stricken with depressing thoughts of death beginning to overwhelm me.  I realized it was well past time to deal prayerfully with the situation in Christian Science.

        Humbly I reached out for guidance in my thought.  Almost immediately it came very clearly that the first thing I had to deal with was to defend my own thought from accepting the world's obssession with thoughts of death.  I began by vigorously declaring that my thought could not be mesmerized by the world's beliefs and thoughts of death.  I saw that my sense of grief was just that--an acceptance of the world's belief of death.  My prayer continued along these lines for several minutes, by the end of which I was completely free of the oppressive weight of grief.  I cearly understood that the world's belief of death was not my thought at all and it could not affect my thought in any way since my thought was in fact a perfect reflection of what God, Life was/is knowing.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Unfailing Supply for Fishers of Men

                                            (John Robert Howell)

        "Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result hapiness.  Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."  (Dickens, David Copperfield)  Wilkins Micawber's frequent bouts of misery were usually the result of his chronically impecunious and feckless nature, but even in these modern times financial worry and anxiety can come calling on almost anyone, even to the prudent and frugal.

        Christian Science provides the only real and permanent answer to what supply and substance really are, though many may feel this is frequently a Brazil-nut concept to crack spiritually.  To most of us (Americans at any rate) sawbucks, fins, and c-notes are supply and the provider of substantial things.  At some point, all of us will need to master the truth of supply on the basis that Christ Jesus mastered it when he fed the thousands with amost nothing materially, but with unlimited wealth and supply in spiritual understanding of God.  He effortlessly embodied omnipotent and omnipresent Truth as a fact.

        Until we get it the way Christ Jesus and Mary Baker Eddy clearly got it we will be subject to the terrible demons of temptation to believe in lack and loss.  But with the inspired teachings of the Bible on this topic, as well as the teachings of Christian Science, we can get it.  Countless men and women have gotten it, and are doing so today.

        A can't-be-over-recommended book:  From the Methodist Pulpit Into Christian Science and How I Demonstrated the Abundance of Substance and Supply by Reverend Severin E. Simonsen (1928).  It should still be available from The Bookmark.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Family Harmony

        Getting together with family members one hasn't seen for awhile can be a happy time.  Then again, family reunions may not always go as smoothly as we wish.  Maintaining harmony may take some extra effort on our part.  It may require nothing less than Christlike love.

        For the follower of Christ Jesus, loving other people is not something we can choose to do only when we feel like it.  The Master expected his followers to express the divine nature day in and day out.  Jesus taught, "Blessed are the peacemakers:  for they shall be called the children of God."  (Matthew 5:9)  It is our divine right to experience peace; it is also important that we make  peace.  We can do both successfully as we strive to replace the mortal picture of man--the false view--with the spiritual, perfect concept of man that Jesus came to declare.

        The Bible teaches the sure way to realize harmony within the family unit and in all our relationships.  It reveals in the very first chapter the fact that God made man in His own image and that He pronounced all that He created to be very good.  There's no better starting point for placing family relationships on a firm basis.

        It is a belief in many minds, in conflicting personal egos, that causes trouble among family members.  But because there's just one infinite God, the source of all intelligence and wisdom, there's really only one Mind; and man, as the spritiual image and likeness of God, reflects this one divine Mind.  When we acknowledge and realize, in prayer, that the divine Mind alone is governing all concerned and  holding them in love, hostility is defused.  Peace comes, not on the shaky basis of mere human agreemnt or appeasement but through the understanding that God's law of  harmony is in operation. 

        We can help promote healing by realizing that the traits causing conflict are no part of anyone's genuine, God-created selfhood.  Empowered with the Christly, correct view of man, we can recognize inharmony as illegitimate and keep it out of family relationships.

        Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures:  "Let Christian Science, instead of corporeal sense, support your understanding of being, and this understanding will supplant error with Truth, replace mortality with immortality, and silence discord with harmony."
(page 495)


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Knights Whose Armor Doesn't Squeak

                                              John Robert Howell

        The thought of yourself as Sir Lancelot or Joan of Arc astride a magnificent charger in your resplendent suit of proofed armor may be more risible than romantic, but no doubt many an armored gladiator was glad of his wrinkle-free attire as he emerged victorious from the lists.

        Today, the idea of wearing steel clothes is rather passe, a throwback to the days when a poorly designed visor might garner you a fatal blow from the blind side by Sir Wilberforce Periwinkle's mace.  On the other hand one might indeed find considerable comfort in the thought of being safely ensconced in impenetrable protective clothing.  To go through the day without having to worry about accident, assault, or physical misfortune would certainly appeal to many of us, even if fishing for change in an inner pocket might require some extra time and a screw driver.

        Effective, lasting security and protection are just as desirable and necessary today as they were in days of yore, if not more so.  It is highly important that we don each morning armor against fear, sickness, accident, failure, personal inharmony, unethical behavior, and financial woes.  But what kind of armor protects us against all these challenges?  The spiritual armor of God.  This armor is described in some detail in the well-known verses in Ephesians: "Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."  (Eph 6:11-17)  His breastplate, footwear, shield, helmet, and sword are specifically described as righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, and Spirit, respectively.

        We put on this invoilable armor through prayer, through humble, importunate, daily communion with God.  We will embody, and hence express, righteousness, faith, salvation, and love as the result of our efficacious prayer and be protected from all forms of evil and error.  The Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, says in her short, incisive admonition, "What Our Leader Says":  "Good thoughts are an impervious armor; clad therewith you are completely shielded from the attacks of error of every sort."  (Miscellany 210:7-9)  This armor has the added advantage of being unconfining and weightless, since it's spiritual and require none of the complicated maneuvers required of the wearer of a metal suit.

        Like the medieval armor, however, spiritual armor does take time to put on.  Thoroughness in our spiritual preparations for the day is essential.  We need to take time to accouter ourselves with the complete armor described in Ephesians.  We will thus be better able to meet and overcome any contingency or emergency, since God's armor is faultless and impenetrable.  And it never has any of those nasty little chinks human armor is wont to possess.  Haste in prayer and fretful, perfunctory listening to God can lead to chinks in our spiritual armor, so thorough preparation is necessary.

        We also need to keep in mind that God is all-powerful and as willing to guide and protect his sons and daughters, each of us, as a human father his children.  Evil, error, and all the troubles associated with the belief of life in matter are actually powerless, and the armor of Christ will deflect their illusory blades, arrows, and bludgeons throughout our daily activities.  It is better to repel error's attack than cope with the consequences of its invading and injuring our mental domain.

        I have a faint recollection from my childhood of a poem titled "The Knight Whose Armor Didn't Squeak".  It had some delightful illustrations as well.  I forget the knight's name, but he was unhorsed when he gave his position away because his armor squeaked.  We obviously don't want to fall prey to some malingering foot soldier who is knocking a few splinters off his cudgel in the peace and cool of a sylvan glade, hears the squeak of our approach, and seizes the opportunity for a surprise attack and some easy pickings.

        Like the knight's, spiritual armor must not only be carefully put on, but maintained.  Thought needs to be vigilantly watched over and replenished, and the rewards for this alertness and sedulousness are health, happiness, peace, safety, and success.  No squeaks, no tweaks.  But it would not be possible if this weren't what God desired for us.

        There is never a need to make do with rusty, ill-fitting, inadequate protection.  The armor of God's making is always a perfect, custom fit and able to meet any need with flawless integrity.  Let each of us be a knight whose armor doesn't squeak.