For three weeks - long before I heard about the shooting on the Champs Elysée - I have been working on an article about what it takes to awaken a terrorist or political régime to a change of course. It was programmed to be published today in the Christian Science Monitor. The status quo that accepts that evil people will do evil things has to be challenged. A course change is needed if we expect to stop terrorist acts, feed hungry children, or stop wars. And it begins with me (us), because no substantive change happens in a vaccum. So what can I (we) do? Read my article and find out.
Feeling cornered? Is the enemy advancing? Is doubt or fear niggling at you, wearing away your confidence in being healthy again?
Take a lesson from Isaiah's playbook. Called by Hezekiah when an enemy army was advancing with intent to decimate a city, Isaiah prayed a prayer so significant, so powerful, that it merited two accounts in separate books of the Bible - II Kings and Isaiah - and with results so effective that they received a third mention in II Chronicles, chapter 32. Prayer stopped the deadly enemy cold.
At the crescendo of Isaiah's prayer was this thundering finale:
"Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning the king of Assyria,
Let me break this down.
In its spiritual signification we can look at the king of Assyria not as a particular person in history, but as any thought or condition that bullies or threatens to wipe us out. Point by point Isaiah explains divine Love's protective power against four specific tactics of the enemy:
It shall not:
Long before the impending battle, Hezekiah battled the threats of the enemy. The enemy king sent a messenger to announce his plans to destroy the city. The intent was, of course, to undermine Hezekiah's confidence and increase his fear. Hezekiah was feeling defeated before the actual battle had begun. So when Isaiah came to his side and declared that God wouldn't allow it - that evil would not take the city - his message was like a good rain to thirsty soil.
The results of his prayer were immediately evident. And graphic.
"And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses."
Undeniably effective outcome.
I learned about Isaiah's prayer when I was suffering from a case of pneumonia that was taking me down fast. I felt invaded and pervaded by disease. The fact that I had been praying for healing for a considerable time and yet the symptoms worsened, was eating away at my spiritual resolve. I didn't understand this resistance to healing and the persistence of my suffering.
When I came across Isaiah's prayer, it almost seemed to arrive too late. The disease had already gotten in. The enemy was well entrenched. Or so I thought.
The following explanations from pages 426 and 427 of Mary Baker Eddy's Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, were significant to my identifying the real enemy and understanding how to apply Isaiah's prayer to the case.
"When it is learned that disease cannot destroy life, and that mortals are not saved from sin or sickness by death, this understanding will quicken into newness of life. It will master either a desire to die or a dread of the grave, and thus destroy the great fear that besets mortal existence...
I realized that the disease symptoms were nothing more than the messages being sent ahead by the enemy to intimidate me and wear down my confidence in God and my spiritual resolve. Neither my body, nor pneumonia were the enemy. Even death wasn't the actual enemy because it would eventually be proved to me that man doesn't live or die in matter. No. The enemy bearing down on me was the fear of death. And that I could do something about.
It wasn't too late to work with Isaiah's prayer. Here is a look into some of my reasoning:
As Isaiah saw regarding Hezekiah's enemy, so it was for mine. "By the way that he came" (from the nowhere of fear) "by the same shall he return (to the nothingness of fear).
The pneumonia was stopped dead in its tracks. The black cloud of fear that had threatened me with aggressive symptoms dissipated completely. I was well.
Don't be fooled into fighting an unreal enemy. The symptoms are a red herring. Your body doesn't hate you. The culprit is always fear. It's never too late - NEVER TOO LATE - to stop fear and disease cold.
This post is an updated version of a post that first appeared on 2/10/2012.
Yesterday on the train I looked up from my phone to see various other people staring intently at theirs. One had a nice new haircut; another, a curious coat with raggedy edges. One pretty lady had funky glasses perched low on her nose. This bouquet of interesting folk piqued my interest, so I put the phone back in my purse.
After spending a few moments contemplating outward appearances, I had a thought. What if, instead of noticing the “externals” of my companions, I looked for the qualities they expressed? And with that, the somber-shadowed car suddenly filled with light.
I saw concentration, patience, intention, beauty, humor, intellect, individuality, intelligence, kindness, thoughtfulness, focus, detail, originality, gentleness, conviction, stature, seriousness and quirkiness. Bodies and physical adornment receded from my focus. What was left was pure thought.
My morning and evening commutes will never be the same.
We should forget our bodies in remembering good and the human race."
Advancing spiritual steps in the teeming universe of Mind lead on to spiritual spheres and exalted beings. To material sense, this divine universe is dim and distant, gray in the sombre hues of twilight; but anon the veil is lifted, and the scene shifts into light. ibid. 513:6-10
“All of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord--who is the Spirit--makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” 2 Corinthians 3:18.
You and your friends are invited to participate in a one-hour webinar (the last one I have scheduled for this Spring) Friday, March 10, 2017, at noon Central Time. Titled Christian Science: What it is and How it heals, this event will cover some of the nuts and bolts about Christian Science.
What is it?
Where did it come from?
How can it be considered a science when it excludes material methods in its approach to healing?
How does Christian Science treatment work?
Is it positive thinking?
Those are starter questions, and the rest is up to the participants. There will be an open question and answer period.
This event is sponsored by First Church of Christ, Scientist, Elsah, Illinois, USA. Hope you can join in. And please feel free to share this invitation widely.
Readers of this blog are often interested to know when events will be available so that they may participate and invite others. Thanks to the generosity of First Church of Christ, Scientist in Jenkintown, PA, USA, this Thursday, February 23rd, at noon, I will present a webinar entitled, "Christian Science, What it is and How it heals" - a one hour presentation with open QA.
Every webinar takes on the flavor of the unique audience that gathers. Thursday's webinar has updated content and visuals, and will provide ample time for responding to questions from participants.
Hope to see you there! Feel free to share the invitation. This webinar responds to public questions about Christian Science practice.
First time using PowerPoint with this lecture. Prefer to listen rather than watch? Find the audio replay on the sponsor's website: First Church of Christ, Scientist, Palos Verdes Peninsula.
Have you ever prayed and prayed about something but nothing seemed to change? I did. For two years. Then suddenly a breakthrough came – and on a day I didn’t even pray about it. I was so annoyed! What had happened? Why all that prayer for all that time? And why did things suddenly change that day? I was missing the cause /effect link I often find in prayer-based healing. Sometime later I learned what had happened.
I had been chasing the donkeys.
What’s that, you ask? Well, the Bible tells the story of Saul, sent by his father to go with a servant and look for some lost donkeys (see I Samuel, chapter 9). They searched in Ephraim (Heb. “fruitful”), then checked in the land of Shalim (Heb. “foxes”). They looked all over the land of Benjamin (Heb. “son of the right hand”) and after that tried Zuph (Heb. “honeycomb”).
Then Saul decided it was time to head back. Gone so long, he thought their families at home might be worried. But his companion suggested that while in Zuph they might pass by the house of the prophet Samuel, so they did. What Saul didn’t realize is that the day before, God told Samuel that Saul should be the new ruler of Israel (see I Samuel, chapter 8). The prophet reassured him that the donkeys were safe - already found - and then he anointed Saul for his new mission.
To me, chasing the donkeys means more than searching for something – be it better health, a good relationship, or actual donkeys. Prayer that opens one wholeheartedly to the power of divine Love is never offered in vain. The journey of prayer can sometimes be as important as what we conceive as the outcome that we hope for. Fidelity, discipline, commitment, focus, perspicacity and persistence in prayer prepare us to receive more good in our lives.
In my case, the character development and spiritual growth that came out of those two years of prayer were worth more in the long run than the simple solution I sought. For two years I was chasing the donkeys; but the spiritual discoveries made along the way have since outlasted the healing moment and formed a strong platform for my healing practice.
The Psalmist sang,"The steps of a good man are led by the Lord. And He is happy in his way," (37:7) a sentiment reflected in the following words of Christian Science founder Mary Baker Eddy: “When we wait patiently on God and seek Truth righteously, He directs our path.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, 254) "If the disciple is advancing spiritually, he is striving to enter in. He constantly turns away from material sense, and looks towards the imperishable things of Spirit. If honest, he will be in earnest from the start, and gain a little each day in the right direction, till at last he finishes his course with joy." (ibid 21:9)
I recently addressed this subject in the Christian Science Monitor. Find rest of article here.
I recently lectured in Madison, Wisconsin. Find below a one hour recording of the event. Thank you to First Church of Christ, Scientist in Madison for hosting this public event and for initiating my Fall lecture tour. In all, the lectures received a warm reception followed by vigorous QA sessions in DC (twice), MI, WI (twice), FL and VA.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and all.
Recording available online until February 19, 2017.
Why does the tweet #prayfor have such staying power? This was recently explored in the Monitor’s View editorial “Why the tweet #prayfor has staying power” (CSMonitor.com, Oct. 4, 2016).
As the headline for the piece noted: “After major tragedies, social media lights up with calls for prayer. One reason, based on a new survey: A majority of Americans rely on prayer in the hope for healing....” This points to the question of what prayer is, and whether it can truly lead us to help and healing. Americans and many others around the world, including me, have found that indeed it can...
Read the rest of this post on csmonitor.com.
Throwback video from 2013, found on Liberty University's Godtube - "Say goodbye to the bear"
Sponsored by First Church of Christ, Scientist in Duxbury, MA. Recorded from my home in France.
(I apologize for issues with the visual presentation, but the audio is quite clear throughout.)
What are your questions and/or concerns about Christian Science and its practice of healing through prayer? This Saturday, October 22 at noon ET, I will give a short presentation on some of the basics of the healing practice of Christian Science _ its history, its Bibilical roots, its modern day practice. What happens after that, is up to you.
You may have seen advertised , or even participated in, one of these webinars before. But what makes this one different is the questions that come in from participants. In other words, the webinar adapts to you and your needs.
Won't you join us? And invite your friends.
This event is sponsored by the members and friends at First Church of Christ, Scientist, Duxbury, MA, USA.
I won’t come off well at the beginning of this story. But that’s OK. The lesson it illustrates is worthy of the disclosure of my bad form.
For several months, I ruminated and criticized my husband over accumulated small stuff until the small stuff didn’t seem so small. My tendency to memorialize his mistakes blinded me from recognizing the progress my husband was making and kept me from supporting him as I should. This happened in thought, mostly, but also in conversation when I would talk about him to my girlfriends...
To find out what I did about it, find a version of this blog post as it was published by The Christian Science Monitor on September 7, 2016.
Is kindness an evasive response to animosity? Is love a weak reply to hatred? Are self-abnegation and courage exceptional when one is under threat? It’s pretty safe to say that Christ Jesus didn’t think so. He taught that kindness, love, setting aside one’s own interests in the interest of others, and courage, are natural ways for us to respond to evil.
He said, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:43-45. KJV)
What I get from Jesus' analogy of the sunlight and rain is that, like a beam of light is capable of lighting any degree of darkness, and raindrops can cleanse, satiate, saturate, and nourish any type of plant, every single expression of God’s love, reflected in our thought (through blessings and prayers) and actions (like doing others good), meets any human need, including the need to defend against and to disarm evil. God, who is divine Love, provides each one of His children with His own love to experience and express. As the reflection or image of God, each of us has a limitless spring of kindness, courage, selflessness and love to draw on. God’s love expressed in us, in big and small ways, can turn an enemy from evil, guiding him in some degree to express his (or her) true spiritual selfhood. God’s love expressed through us can even disarm and render an enemy incapable of doing harm.
I once discovered a not-yet-consummated plot to bring harm and upset to our very loving and happy family. Initially I was caught off guard. No one had recognized that hatred had been slowly, silently building up behind the scenes in the thought of a distant relation over many decades. I should note that at first I didn’t know this woman personally, but I married into a family that had a long ago history with her. So not knowing the back-story, I unwittingly invited her to stay with us during a time of need. Consequently, being the hostess and the one the most present, I made the discovery of the plot and became the main target of animosity.
A typical human response might have been to ask her to leave. I certainly contemplated it. But in consideration of the family, I decided to keep her close. Pushing hatred off in the distance would not eliminate the danger. So, I decided to take the opportunity, while she was under my care, to pray for resolution. It required both courage and self-abnegation to put my family’s needs before my own, but each morning for three days I turned to God for guidance in how to proceed, and for the wisdom and courage to follow through.
The first morning, my answer to prayer - “Be kind” - seemed counter-intuitive. But it was all I could hear when I prayed, “Be kind, just be kind.” So I trusted the answer to my prayer and thought of all the kindnesses I could express. I prepared her tea and sat with her while she drank it, even while she said the most awful things to me. I took great care in making her room up nicely, providing fresh linens and towels. I was as nice as I knew to be, remaining non-reactive to the stinging verbal abuse that continued throughout the day.
Day two, I prayed again. And I got the same message. “Be kind.” But this time I wanted to go beyond mere human "do-gooding." My heart craved to feel the power of kindness as a spiritual attribute sourced in God. So I looked a bit deeper into what kindness involves.
I found this in Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, where she wrote: “Christian Science commands man to master the propensities, — to hold hatred in abeyance with kindness, to conquer lust with chastity, revenge with charity, and to overcome deceit with honesty. Choke these errors in their early stages, if you would not cherish an army of conspirators against health, happiness, and success.” SH 405:5-11
Science and Health helped me to see that kindness was more than a stall-tactic to delay evil; when understood to come from God, Love, it is an expression of spiritual and loving power that suspends and renders evil inactive. Armed with this perspective, I approached the second day with joy and determination. Even though her conversation didn’t improve, perhaps even worsened, I felt that my expression of patience and good, through kind thoughts and acts, were Love-enforced and therefore were choking out evil’s capacity to hit its mark.
As I grew stronger and more confident in my reflection of divine Love through self-abnegation and kindness, I became more convinced that evil could be completely disarmed. I awakened on day three with a sincere prayer to disarm evil. The message I received in prayer was different. “Love her.”
Whoa. I felt unprepared for that. Love her? I didn’t even like her! At least I didn’t like what I had seen in her – the hateful resentment, the determination to do harm, the justification of her position, and the personal attacks on me as an innocent bystander trying my best to be kind.
The Bible tells a story of David before he became a king. The present king, Saul, discovered David's whereabouts in a desert wilderness, and hunted him with a murderous intent. David found Saul’s camp, and he could have easily taken out Saul and his guards at night while they slept. But instead, David said he could not do harm to “God’s anointed.” So rather than killing Saul to save himself, he disarmed him, taking away his weapon and his water, and leaving Saul with neither the means to harm David nor the water that would allow Saul to continue his desert pursuit. Upon awakening, Saul recognized that David had been kind to him by disarming without harming him when he was most vulnerable and exposed. In the end, Saul admitted his error in hunting David, and blessed him. (See I Samuel:26)
Interestingly, David recognized that Saul had more to learn, and that he would come after him to attempt to kill him on another day. (I Samuel 27:1) But Saul’s behavior didn’t determine David’s actions. David’s agenda was set by God, Love. David loved Saul. He never failed to recognize Saul as “God’s anointed” even while Saul behaved abominably. And through all future encounters with this enemy, David remained perfectly safe. (See I Samuel 21-31, II Samuel
We could say that a spiritual sense of Saul as "God's anointed" helped David keep his cool and disarm his enemy. Well, my spiritual sense of our hate-filled houseguest helped me love her on that third day. I recognized that as God’s child she was a reflection of divine Love, and therefore loveable, no matter what she believed about our family or expressed. I spent the day, feeling divine Love, like light and rain, pouring forth with no judgment on all His creation.
The fourth morning, I awakened and leapt out of bed to greet our guest and to prepare her breakfast. I was truly looking forward to seeing her, so strengthened was I by all this kindness and love. On the kitchen counter I found a short note which concluded, “Thank you for your kindness.” She had packed in the night and left before we awakened.
She never did act on her destructive plan. In fact, we never saw her again. We had news of her from time to time for about a year, but never negative. And after a year or so, we never heard of her again.
Perhaps not every enemy will become a friend. But enemies don’t set the agenda unless we allow them to. Christ Jesus taught and David illustrated that we can choose to love by letting divine Love reveal the human footsteps for disarming any enemy. Courage, strength, selflessness, love and spiritual understanding open the way and do the work.
On May 28, 2016 a spiritual summit was held in South Lake Tahoe. I participated with two other experienced healers and speakers - Lois Carlson, CSB, and Tony Lobl, CS - as we discussed the what, the why, and the how of Christian Science as it relates to human progress - individual and worldwide.
Some comments received:
"You three came together as a fantastic team. Several have commented that the speaker order and subject matter sequence was absolutely SPOT ON! And that the timing was “just right”.
"Though we did not ask for donations, there were spontaneous donations made this afternoon and a couple area church members indicated they would be making donations. Frankly, THAT has never happened before.
"Many asked to be sure when our "NEXT Spiritual Summit would be held . . . you are having another, right”? Well, I’m sure we will. One man drove his family of 4 up from Henderson (Las Vegas). That’s an 8-hour drive. He talked with me afterward about how glad he was that they made the trip as the “harmonized” talks were just so right."
This event was sponsored by First Church of Christ, Scientist, South Lake Tahoe, with financial support from other area Christian Science churches and individuals.
Find the link to the Summit replay, which will be available online through September 27, 2016.
First Church of Christ, Scientist, Belmont, MA, recorded my lecture Finding God, Finding Health; and the Belmont Media Center - a community organization - have kindly featured it on their website for the next three months.
Messages surround us, but not all are honest, open, clear and positive in their intent. However, Alex Cook's messages conveyed in his “You are Loved” murals, make crystal clear the value of seeing ourselves and others in a positive light: as loved, beautiful, important, needed, capable and accomplished.
Alex sees his artwork as supporting a positive inner conversation by promoting messages that help people challenge the negative voices that so often occupy thought.
He writes, “The public conversation about worth, value, and well-being is often dark. We are surrounded by belittling messages of materialism, bullying, and violence. Instead, imagine the words 'You Are Loved,' - the letters, 12 feet tall, covering the side of a public school in your community... Imagine the young woman, struggling with fears about her appearance, drinking in a confident, colorful mural declaring 'You Are Beautiful' instead of the belittling message of sex-based advertising. Imagine a young man struggling to find work encountering an unequivocal public statement that 'You Are Needed.'"
Alex’ murals appear in over 120 locations around the US and abroad. He collaborates with schools, worship groups, artists, businesses and organizations of all types to create murals in public and private spaces, conveying five messages:
More examples can be found on his site. For a beautiful testimonial of Alex’s personal journey, read his article “How art helped rescue me from the darkest traps” at goodmenproject.com.
If you or someone you know would be interested in working with Alex on a mural, or if you would like to support this initiative in other ways, feel free to reach out to him directly at this contact address, or find and follow him on Facebook.
Find a podcast recording of a
recent interview in Belmont, MA.
Recorded before the presentation
of my lecture, "Finding God, Finding Health,"
in Belmont, this June, 2016.
"Christian Science: What it is is and How it heals" (In-person version) Sponsored by First Church of Christ, Scientist, Mobile AL, this video will be online until July 17, 2016.
"Christian Science: What it is and How it heals" (Webinar version)
I have practiced Christian Science professionally in some form since 1979. But my journey with Christian Science started in a Sunday school where as a young child I was taught the Scriptures and some simple basics of Jesus' method of scientific Christian healing. A significant experience at the age of twelve opened my eyes to the great potential of this Science. After impaling my foot on a rusty nail while mowing the lawn I prayed the way I had learned in Sunday school. Within moments the pain stopped and healing began. By evening, the wound had closed and by the next morning it had disappeared without a trace. I never had any ill effects - no problems with tetanus, infection or any scarring. Having myself experienced the great potential of Christian Science, there would be no turning back.