Sunday, September 28, 2014

Some thoughts on "Man"

                                                              John Robert Howell

        Genesis l:27 reads:  "God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him".  It is worth noting that the Hebrew word here for "man" is "adam", which became, of course, the proper name of our putative forebear "Adam".  In Genesis 2:7 man is said to be formed of the dust of the ground, and that "man" is also "adam".  Around that fleshly axle theological material mindedness and slavish literalness to the text have been wrapped and tangled for over two millenia.

       Without Mary Baker Eddy and her glorious Discovery, we might never have known better.  Her inspired and inspiring definition on pages 475-77* of her "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" is alone worth the cost of that priceless volume.  Students of Christian Science are thus blessed with the knowledge that the man of our heavenly Father-Mother God's creating is something much more glorious than the descendant of a couple of wardrobeless sinners cavorting about the Garden of Eden skimpily clad only with "napkins" made of fig leaves.

*Let me quote for you some of the passages therein:

"Question. -- What is man?
"Answer. -- Man is not matter; he is not made up of brain, blood, bones, and other material elements.  The Scriptures inform us that man is made in the image and likeness of God.  Matter is not that likeness.  The likeness of Spirit cannot be so unlike Spirit.

A mortal sinner is not God's man.  Mortals are the counterfeits of immortals.  They are the children of the wicked one, or the one evil, which declares that man begins in dust or as a material embryo.  In divine Science, God and the real man are inseparable as divine Principle and idea.

When speaking of God's children, not the children of men, Jesus said, "The kingdom of God is within you;"  that is, Truth and Love reign in the real man, showing that man in God's image is unfallen and eternal.  ...Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is intact, universal, and that man is pure and holy."


Friday, September 26, 2014

From the Land of the Near Aware To the Land of the Far Unseen

(A poem by Raymond Sutherland,
       Aberdeen, Scotland
From his book, "Life's Tapestry" 2008 -
Raymond is not a Christian Scientist)

In the land of the near aware
Where the present presses in
There is no feel for what's right or real
No consciousness of sin
A man is judged by his bankbook
A lady by looks or dress
Go with the flow
Keep in the know
Know which knuckle to press.
In the land of the near aware
We consider ourselves as sage
Cardboard men, cardboard lives
Dance on a cardboard stage.

In the land of the near aware
Heaven's voice is strangely stilled
Fighting the cause for he world's applause
Remaining unfulfilled
In this nether-land of self
It's said that there's no God
With lofty voice men make their choice
Careering down hell's road

Yet there is no need to stay
In the land of the near aware
For the land of the far unseen
Can be reached by just a prayer
Amazing though it seems

Yes, it's just a prayerful stroll
To pass from death to life
To the uplands of the soul
In the land of the near aware
It may seem but a distant dream
But Jesus has opened the door
To the land of the far unseen.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Person's Disposition

        When a neighbor asked us if we could recommend someone to help him with a landscaping project, we readily mentioned someone who helps us out from time to time.  This man, from Guatemala, is such a good, good man, honest and so hard-working.  It never dawned on us that there would be a disagreeable outcome.  But it seems that, once again, this neighbor was not pleased with Gaspar's work, as he too often is not with workmen.

        From a merely human standpoint, one would say that this individual has a disagreeable disposition that may well have come from a parent and that he can't help being the way he is.

        In thinking about this situation, I was helped by what Christian Science brings out about man.  And the command Christ Jesus gives us to love our neighbor.  First, from my religion, that man, all of us, are ideas of divine Love, created by God to express His nature, His disposition.  Second, that to truly love my neighbor, I have to view him or her in the right light, that is to say, as a right-thinking and acting expression of His heavenly Father who created him.

        Praying correctly about this neighbor freed me from pinning on him what most others around here do.  It isn't kind to him, who after all, probably doesn't want to go through life falling out with people, not finding anyone willing to work for him.  And seeing him as God's child, with all the lovely qualities of His maker, can't help but have a positive influence in his life.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Love the Essential Thing

We who follow Christ,
Who reverence the Name
Can't allow the shame
Of feeling indifferent
Toward our fellow man.
I trust this fellow traveler
Is learning when loving
Others starts to slip,
It's more than a blip
On the divine screen:
It's a dangerous, and
Deadly, mesmerism
And needs to be gotten at
As quickly as possible.
The worst thing about
Such blatant disobedience
To what our dear Master taught
Is a feeling of estrangement
From our loving Father,
Not that He ever stops
Caring about us, but
Our God Who is all love
Is not going to indulge us
While we indulge in a little hate!
Do we want to love the
Look of approval on His face?
If nothing else, a concern
For our own well-being
Should impel a return to loving
Before it's too late.
How many diseases can be traced
To lack of Christly love!
But this need not be the case,
With no-fooling praying,
With attention to what John
Puts so clearly:
"God is love, and he that
Dwelleth in love dwelleth
In God, and God in him."

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Healing of a Child

        My mother and I had just walked out of church for her, and Sunday School for me, when we encountered someone my mother knew.  She was a Christian Science practitioner.  I was only about 5 or 6 years old at that time, and was troubled with a childhood disease that had left sores all over my face.  What happened next left quite an impression on my mother who until her switching from Methodism to the teachings of Christian Science had been heavily mired in material remedies for healing.

        This woman after greeting us noticed my appearance.  But, and this is the unusual thing, the practitioner mother said, said nothing about the problem, but instead looked off in the distance as though she was thinking about something.  This continued for a time, then we went home.And when we got there, the disease was gone!  My face was completely clear.

        Whatever was the basis of this woman's thinking/praying, the source of it had to be the spiritual truths she had gained from her study of Christian Science.  These powerful truths are available to all through the book Mary Baker Eddy wrote:  Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.  They not only were the basis of my healing that day on the sidewalk of the church.  They have changed bodily ills into freedom and harmony for countless men, women and children since.

        The discovery Mrs. Eddy made, that matter is really a mental phenomenon, was and is revolutionary.  Though you may never have considered it in this way before, both the image of disease and its expression in the body are false beliefs about you and me--not actual conditions.  The understanding of this fact is a potent force in destroying disease.  

        It is by turning thought from an inharmonious physical condition and turning to God, contemplating man's real-spiritual selfhood as God's idea, that one is restored to health and well-being.  We can thank God for the eternal fact that we are His reflection, the expression of infinite, harmonious Spirit.  Being His offspring, we include only those qualities that Spirit imparts--wholeness, freedom, perfection. By abiding in this true consciousness, we see that the suffering which seemed so real has no actual power.  Disease is seen for what it is:  a misconception, a false state of mortal thought; it has no God-created reality.

        This everlasting truth was proved that day by the Christianly scientific praying of that  practitioner.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Staying Out of That Valley

Life for all at times is challenging.
But if we go down into
Discouragement, defeatism,
We eventually have to climb back up,
"But I've done all the good I can do"
Someone may be saying.
No, you haven't.
No one has.
We can all do more.
Truth to tell,
You may have done more good
Than you know.
And the smart thing to do
When that croaking devil tries
To make us quit
Is the very time to resolve
To do even more good.
If discouragement and self-pity
Were from our heavenly Father,
We would do the best
We could with it,
And grow stronger thereby.
But it isn't from God.
And while we're wallowing in it,
And wallowing is not too strong a word,
(Picture yourself doing this --
Dignified isn't it?)
We're lost in self,
And can't be about our business
Of loving and serving others.
Remember this:
It isn't primarily us the devil is after;
It's to interfere with Christ
Working in us to lift up others.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Where Our Talent Comes From

I say "our" talent

Since we all have it.

Do you think your Father God

Would give gifts to some

And leave you out?

No, not one.

Not one daughter,

Not one son,

Need go through life

Feeling discontent.

God made you,

Himself to reflect,

          to express,

What He is and has.

You are now endowed

With all you need

For limitless success.

Be in no doubt --

What Christ Jesus said

is operative for you.

"Son, thou art ever with me,

           and all that I have is thine."

Monday, September 1, 2014

Enslaved by False Beliefs

        While reading the testimonies of healing at the back of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, I couldn't help but think of what the divine truths in this volume did for those desperate for relief from suffering.

        Just some of the headings on testimonies are:  Rheumatism Healed, Substance of Lungs Restored, Cataract Quickly Healed, Valvular Heart Disease Healed, Cancer And Consumption Healed, Intense Suffering Overcome, Relief From Many Ills, Diseased Eyes Cured, From Despair To Hope And Joy, Many Physical And Mental Troubles Overcome.  I could go on as there are 100 pages of such accounts, but this gives my readers who are not Christian Scientists the idea.

        In many cases, these people who were pondering what they were reading in this book were healed almost at once.  Sometimes in a few weeks, and others over months of changed thought regarding their ailments.  But complete healing always came.  What they thought was solid reality, what heredity seemed to pronounce on them, what doctors who tried to do their best said was incurable, turned out not to be so at all.  Where did all these afflictions go?  Not being God-created who made all that was made, they disappeared into the nothingness disease always is.  When one's thought is radically enlightened by Christ, Truth, false beliefs are replaced with spiritual facts.  And this sets the sufferer free.

        The woman who wrote this book says on page 226:  "I saw before me the sick, wearing out years of servitude to an unreal master in the belief that the body governed them, rather than Mind."
        "The lame, the deaf, the dumb, the blind, the sick, the sensual, the sinner, I wished to save from the slavery of their own beliefs and from the educational systems of the Pharoahs, who to-day, as of yore hold the children of Israel in bondage.  I saw before me the awful conflict, the Red Sea and the wilderness, but I pressed on through faith in God, trusting Truth, the strong deliverer, to guide me into the land of Christian Science, where fetters fall and the rights of man are fully acknowledged."

        The contention of this blog post that bodily ailments are unreal may seem to some preposterous.  But they are unreal.  And thousands upon thousands of healings in Christian Science prove it so.

Blessings Bountiful

                                                         John Robert Howell

        When God is always first in our thoughts, He will be first in our lives, and we will not fail to obtain the continuing blessings which can only come by putting Him first.

        To reap God's blessings in health, security, protection, harmony, abundant supply -- we must to a degree demonstrate an understanding of our oneness with Him, and this is an eternal activity, not a one-time sprint to the door of consciousness to answer Christ's knock.  The gold in our character is only revealed as the dross is purged, but gold is not purified by gentle warmth, but  by the furnace fire of testing.

        We take great risk if we give casual lip service to our gratitude and loyalty to God while our real thoughts are elsewhere.  Woe to him who says, "I'm doing the bet I can" when what he really means is "I'm doing for God all my very busy schedule, pleasurable activities, and real desires will permit."  Let him who think this is a justifiable excuse picture himself saying it tete-a-tete to Christ Jesus.

        We should desire above all else to make ourselves vessels unto honor, as that chosen vessel Paul expressed it in II Timothy 2.  And recall what Jesus told Peter:  "Simon Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat" (Luke 22:31).  If so loyal a Disciple s Peter could not escape such words, can we?

        But this need not be the case with us students of Christian Science.  Being faithful to what God, Christ Jesus, and Mary Baker Eddy have given mankind enriches every area of our lives.