Blog readers get the news before anyone else. I have a new lecture available titled Unending life within your reach
. It was immensely fun to put together because the subject is just so interesting. This one hour lecture introduces a Christian Science
perspective of life before birth, the human experience and immortality, to general audiences. It explains the nature of God as divine Life, the source of all being, and how it is possible for us to live without fear of deterioration, aging, disease and death.
Some common questions about Christian Science
addressed in the lecture are:
- Who is Christ Jesus, and what do his crucifixion, resurrection and ascension teach us about life and immortality?
- What present proof is there of eternal life?
- Is death an inevitable stepping stone to eternal life?
- Is Christian Science treatment effective in cases of grave illness?
- Can you show how physical healing happens in Christian Science?
- Can the deteriorating effects of aging be reversed?
- Is it ever too late to treat a case effectively through prayer in Christian Science?
If you are interested in attending this lecture, check out a my calendar
, listing dates and locations as they are scheduled.
Just popping in for a minute between lecture trips. Here's a little of "this and that" that I have recently published. Plus a little something extra that particularly inspired me on another blog earlier this year. Hope you will check out:THISGod is here and will help - a short podcast (audio) offers insights of how to get out of tight and difficult spots in life.
I tell the story of Jim Lovell and his amazing solution to an impossible situation while piloting a plane over the Sea of Japan.
THATOne, two, three prayer - a new Daily Lift. What do you do when your kids are driving you crazy? A little humor and a little prayer can be a big help. THE OTHERWhat voices are you listening to? A blog post from March 1, 2013 by Virginia Harris, CSB. This has a really cool take on the words of John,
“All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.”
When you have been wronged by someone, really wronged? What can you do to correct it? If your idea of correction involves wanting the other person to suffer as much as you have, well, Christ Jesus’ teachings on conflict resolution won’t be much help. But if you desire to unwind the snarl, right the wrong, and bless all parties, Jesus offers some really good direction on healing rifts.
Matthew, chapter 18, deals with correcting sin. “If your brother and sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.” (18:15)
When wronged, it can take a lot of discipline to keep one’s mouth shut and avoid discussing the case with others, especially when self-justification and injustice prick one’s pride. A wounded or embarrassed ego seeks security in numbers, gathering opinions to justify one’s position. Here is where prayer can be helpful. In fact, I believe prayer is the key to resolving disputes quickly and efficiently. Prayer between one listening heart and God can replace anger, fear, reaction - and any other mortal influence that would interfere with healing - with humility, moral courage, wisdom and unselfed love. This opens the way to healing.
Early in chapter 18, Jesus teaches a lesson on the importance of prayer for humility and childlikeness. In fact, all the lessons and stories of chapter 18 contribute to understanding how to follow Jesus’ directions on correcting wrongs.
Matthew wrote, “At that time, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’” (18:1) I read that as Bible language for “Who will ultimately be seen as right?”
Jesus called a little child to him. And he said to the disciples: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” (Matthew 18:2-5)
To me, to take “the lowly position of this child” involves prayer to know oneself as God’s child, as strong and pure and innocent and good, the way God makes us. And to “welcome one such child” extends the prayer to include the person in our path, the one we may have a problem with. Until we see ourselves and others as God's children we will never be right. When prayer reveals both parties as the image and likeness of God, they are seen to be on the same team. This better perspective smooths the path for conversation and other human footsteps that lead to righting wrongs directly, privately, quickly, lovingly, with forgiveness and without a big fuss.
Jesus said, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20) Prayer that gathers “two or three together” in the correct spiritual view of man as God’s child, opens all parties to the healing Christ. And it only takes one person’s prayer to accomplish this. We don’t have to wait for someone else to get it. One individual prayer can gather together the healing perspective necessary to redress a wrong with love and without fear.
The Matthew 18 code offers two more possible steps if persistence and insistence are needed for correcting wrongs. In all, the steps are quite insightful and complete. They require prayer to follow. Often one need only properly apply the first step to the case, through prayer, to resolve the dispute. The trick is to not have one’s eye on step two and step three “in case” step one fails! Why would we want to sabotage our own progress by skipping the prayer essential in the first step, or by assuming that such prayer won’t accomplish the desired result?
The next post will address Jesus' instructions on what to do if the case seems entrenched and requires persistence in prayer. Stay tuned! And if you have had an experience of resolving a conflict through following step one of the Matthew code, would you share it with us in the comments below?
When I was a little girl in Chester, Virginia, there was a little country store on the corner that we called the "Heinz." I don't know if that was its real name, but it had a Heinz 57 Ketchup sign that hung over the door. Now to a little kid, 57 is a pretty big number and I assumed the store was so named on account of the wide variety of candies and icecream available for sale.
Why am I telling you this? I suppose because I have a stack of goodies to catch you up on - recent articles published on JSH online, a few Daily Lifts, an upcoming podcast, and several engagements in England this month. So please hold on while I catch you up on the news!
Four recent blog posts turned into articles for JSH-online:
Four Daily Lifts:
Watch for a 7-minute podcast scheduled to be posted on JSH-online the week of April 24. If you are not yet a subscriber to this amazing resource of writings and recordings on spiritual topics, I encourage you to subscribe.
Dates and locations of my "Finding God" lecture in the United Kingdom this month:
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20 Apr 2013
3:00pm St Chad's Parish Centre
Otley Road, Far Headingley
21 Apr 2013
3:00pm Glendower Hotel (Best Western)
Lytham St Annes
25 Apr 2013
7:30pm Novotel Hotel (Greenwich Rail & DLR Station)
173-185 Greenwich High Rd
27 Apr 2013
2:30pm Bournemouth University, Coyne Lecture Theatre
Talbot Campus, Wallisdown
28 Apr 2013
3:00pm First Church of Christ, Scientist
70 Oatlands Dr
"O gentle presence
." How many times I've thought of those words. They open a poem written by Mary Baker Eddy, Mother's Evening Prayer, which begins:
O gentle presence, peace and joy and power;
O Life divine, that owns each waiting hour,
Thou Love that guards the nestling's faltering flight!
Keep Thou my child on upward wing tonight. (Poems, 4)
“O gentle presence” are words that affirm that God is with us. Now. Forever.
I experienced this presence in a powerful way
last year. It was the evening before a Memorial service for my husband who had passed on the week before. There were last minute decisions to be made. Some of our extended family had decided views that conflicted with mine. Sitting alone in the family room, I was mulling over the issues thinking I didn't need this problem.
I heard my daughter in the next room gathering pictures from photo albums, making plans to frame them. This was one item of minor contention – whether, and which, photos should be displayed. After a short period of ruminating, a tender quietness suddenly settled over me and enveloped the room. I felt a palpable presence
that could only be divine. I knew it was God's gentle presence making me calm. Peace reigned in my heart. I felt it. I sat very still in wonder.
Suddenly, all the preparations and decisions were irrelevant to me. All I wanted was to hold onto this divine presence. All that mattered was this feeling of God with me. I encouraged my daughter to go ahead with her plans, assuring her that everything would be fine
This peace stayed with me
throughout the service the next day. And, of course, the display of family pictures was perfect, pleasing and comforting to everyone.
The peace, joy and power of God’s presence is the Christ, God's action of revealing Himself in unmistakeable ways we can understand, giving us just what we need, bringing healing. This divine presence doesn’t come and go. The Christ is always here
with us all, all the time bringing peace and joy and power.
In the Bible, a proverb counsels, “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly.” (Proverbs 18:24) This I love to do. I love all my friends. I love to support, care, and show them they are special to me. I have always had good friends – not just friends
, but best friends - those who don’t cling; who are secure in the knowledge that they are loved even if long periods of time pass between contact; those who live their lives and let me live mine; those who come and go over the years, leaving a sweet trail of encouragement, support and kindness in their wake.
With all this rich friendship in my life, I hadn’t given much thought to what it would be like to be friendless
. But when a close friend “broke up” with me, I felt isolated and alone. It wasn’t that I didn’t have other friends. I was simply confused as to why I couldn’t have that
one in my life.
I had had breakups before, but none that rocked me like this one. For several months after, I avoided even thinking about my friend, not wanting to hear in my mind those stomach-socking words, “I don’t want to have any more contact with you.” Although her reasons made no sense to me, I respected her directness. I had to let her go. And I learned a few lessons about friendship
along the way.
Mary Baker Eddy
asked in her textbook on Christian Science
, “Would existence without personal friends be to you a blank? Then the time will come when you will be solitary, left without sympathy; but this seeming vacuum is already filled with divine Love. When this hour of development comes, even if you cling to a sense of personal joys, spiritual Love will force you to accept what best promotes your growth.” Further on, she wrote, “Universal Love is the divine way in Christian Science.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures
My lessons on friendship came from prayer
about Love, from prayer centered on getting to know the universal Love that is God as my best and ever Friend. The first chapter of Science and Health
, titled Prayer, emphasizes God’s nature as Love – not simply as having a loving aspect, but as Love, divine Love itself – the impartial, always available Love that never puts conditions on His expression of love - “I’ll love you this much if…” Or, “I’ll be your Friend when…” Love loves like the sun shines
. No one is left out of the Love-light. Divine Love is not conditional or arbitrary. It is universal, unlimited and freely given.
Love can do nothing but express love to everyone, everywhere. Love is all, and we all live in God’s love. Divine Love never quits, never changes, never stops. God is the everpresent Friend that never abandons His creation. As I got to know God as my Friend, I saw that I could trust this Friend to never drop me. In this enormous sense of Love’s friendship, I saw God as my constant Companion and my most faithful Friend.
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O Lord, I would delight in Thee, And on Thy care depend;
To Thee in every trouble flee, My best, my ever Friend.
When all material streams are dried, Thy fullness is the same;
May I with this be satisfied, And glory in Thy name.
(Adapted from a poem by John Ryland, HYMN 224, Christian Science Hymnal)
Love loves. Love’s friendship blesses in all circumstances no matter what. No one is left out. Nothing is left behind. Our divine Friend is always present no matter where we may find ourselves. Our connection to this Friend, our security in the divine friendship
, is not dependent on another person.
Knowing God to be Friend
helped me lift up my expectations in my human friendships to look for, in myself and in those around me, the permanence, fidelity and other spiritual qualities inherent in God’s creation as His image and likeness.
In her autobiography, Mary Baker Eddy once wrote, “There are no greater miracles known to earth than perfection and an unbroken friendship
. We love our friends, but ofttimes we lose them in proportion to our affection.“ (Retrospection and Introspection,
p. 80) Jesus called Judas “friend”
even after knowing that he betrayed him. Jesus knew his true and perfect Friend to be God, and could only see God’s likeness in those he loved. Jesus always loved Judas. While Judas' behavior may have separated him from Jesus, it was a onesided break-up. Even betrayal couldn’t separate Jesus from his friend.
In the case of my friend, I had gone quiet for a period before the break up, slipping away during a tumultuous period of my life. My intention was to protect her from worrying about me, but it was misunderstood and seen as neglect. I am deeply sorry about that misunderstanding, but I would not have handled it differently. I did what I did out of love for my friend, to the best of my understanding at that time. And I cherish the lessons I have since learned about friendship. I now know that it can only be broken if I allow it to be. And I don’t. I will always love her
as my friend.
No child of God can truly unfriend another. Friendship is an expression of Life as much as an expression of Love. It is not optional. If it should occur that we disconnect and go our separate ways, we are all still linked eternally in life and love
by divine Love. And only
in love. Not in pain, dishonesty, hate, sadness or fear.
I think a line from Shakespeare’s Sonnet No. 30 sums up perfectly what a spiritual perspective can bring to our friendships: “But if the while I think on thee, dear friend, All losses are restored, and sorrows end.” My anguish over that relationship stopped as I realized that nothing has the power to deprive me of true friendship, a divine attribute that God expresses constantly in my life. Since no one can be Godless, no one can be friendless. Now when I think of that friend, instead of pain and loss, I feel love. And loved. We are both loved, moving forward and progressing in Love
. No one is left out or put out of Love's circle of friends. No one.
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O, sometimes gleams upon our sight, Through present wrong, th' eternal right;
And step by step, since time began, We see the steady gain of man...
Through the harsh noises of our day, A low sweet prelude finds its way;
Through clouds of doubt and creeds of fear A light is breaking, calm and clear.
Henceforth my heart shall sigh no more For olden time and holier shore:
God's love and blessing, then and there, Are now and here and everywhere.
(John Greenleaf Whittier, HYMN 238, Christian Science Hymnal)
Today's Daily Lift, "Resistance isn't personal" is based on a popular blog post.
I will say, this one was helpful to me today. I am heading off to London to give my lecture, "Finding God". The lift helped me focus on the joy and momentum of forward movement under the direction of the divine Life that is God, rather than be fixated on weather and travel advisories.
- LISTEN to "Resistance isn't personal"
For those of you in the area of London, I hope to see you at the lecture tomorrow evening. It lasts about an hour, and I will be available to answer your questions afterward. Scroll down to find the full invitation with directions and feel free to download and share with your friends, colleagues, and other interested parties.
- READ corresponding blog post
Last week a story popped up several times on my Facebook page. It involved the variable weight of a glass of water, depending on how long you hold it, and illustrated the importance of dropping burdensome ruminating and old fears. After doing an internet search to track down the source, I came across a slightly different version of the same story used in an essay by Prakash Iyer, Managing Director at Kimberly Clark Lever and an Executive Coach, on the website www.Careers360.com.
I am not one to reinvent the wheel. I really want to share the glass of water analogy with you and Mr. Iyer handled both the story and the message it teaches really well. In requesting permission to repost his essay here in full, I happily agreed to link to his website and to mention his recent book, "The Habit of Winning, - full of inspiring stories to help you change the way you think, work and live. Judging from this essay, I think his book is worth a serious look.
Prakash Iyer: Life lessons from a glass of water!
Not worrying too much about the problem is the first step to solve it.
by Prakash Iyer
A chemistry professor decided to teach his students a different lesson one day. Holding a glass of water in his hand, he asked the students,
“How much do you think this glass of water weighs?” “500 grams!” came a voice from the back. “600,” said another student. “I don’t really know!” said the professor, holding the glass up to make sure everyone could see it. “And unless we weigh it, we won’t know.” With the glass still in his outstretched hand, the professor continued, “What will happen if I hold it like this for a few minutes?”
“Nothing!” came the reply. “Right, and if I hold it for an hour like this, what might happen?” “Your hand will begin to hurt,” said a student. “Indeed. And what would happen if I held the glass in my hand like this for 24 hours?”
“You would be in tremendous pain,” said one student.
“Your hand will probably go numb,” said another.
“Your arm will be paralysed and we’ll need to rush you to the hospital!” said a student on the last bench.
“True,” said the professor. “But notice that through all this, the weight of the glass did not change. What then causes the pain?”
The class went quiet. The students seemed puzzled.
“What should I do to avoid the pain?” asked the professor.
“Put the glass down!” said a student.
“Well said!” exclaimed the professor. “And that’s a lesson I want you to remember. The problems and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. But think about it a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralysed – incapable of doing anything. It’s important to remember to let go of your problems. Remember to put the glass down!”
We may not have been in that classroom that day, but it’s a lesson we would all do well to remember. Put the glass down! Always.
It’s not just problems and worries. Sometimes, we feel hurt and betrayed by a friend. And we carry that grudge through our lives. It grows and causes us anguish and pain. Learning to forgive – and forget – is not just good for the other people, it’s great for you. Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in jail and when he was finally freed, you can understand how angry and vengeful he must have felt. But guess what? When he became President, he invited his jailers to be present at the inauguration – in the VIP seats! If he could forgive after 27 years of suffering, surely we can, too.
It is the same with our fears, too. A failure or an incident in early childhood becomes a deeply entrenched fear over time. Fear of public speaking, fear of Maths, fear of rejection. You name it, and chances are, we have it. Someone gave us that glass to hold when we were little kids – ‘you are clumsy, you are no good, you can’t do it’ - and we have faithfully held on to it all our lives. ‘I can’t’ - becomes a thought that stays in our mind and grows – leading us to complete paralysis. Time to put the glass down!
The story goes that there was a hardworking man who lived a contented life with his wife and children. Every evening when he returned from work, he’d follow a ritual. Outside the door to his house were three nails. On the first one, he’d put his hat. On the second he’d hang his coat. And on the third nail, he’d unwrap an imaginary turban from his head and ‘put’ it there. A friend happened to see this and enquired what he was putting on the third nail every day.
“Those are my problems, my worries and my anger,” said the man. “I have lots of that at work, but when I come home, I remember to take it off – and leave them outside. I don’t take them home with me.” Maybe you should learn to do that too. Starting today. Put the glass down. And see the difference!
This essay first appeared on www.Careers360.com on May 6, 2011. Prakash Iyer is Managing Director at Kimberly Clark Lever and an Executive Coach. For more inspiring life lessons, read Mr Iyer's new book The Habit of Winning.
A French friend often says to me, “You Americans love to say, ‘I sink.’” That’s her accented version of I think. The French language, rich in vocabulary, doesn’t just settle for “thinking.” In France, we reflect, consider, admit, cogitate, conceive, believe, deliberate, envision, reckon, estimate, imagine, meditate, presume, reason, dream, ruminate, propose, speculate and suppose – but we certainly don’t just “sink”!
And wherever we may find ourselves in the world, not every thought is just a thought. It all depends on it’s point of origin. The Mind that is God, thinks; and nothing else does. All real thought is reflected from Mind. Anything else is suggestion.
In Scripture, Job spoke of God as the singular source of all thought and action. “He is of one mind, and who can turn Him? and what His soul desires, even that He does. For He performs the thing that is appointed for me.” (Job 23:13,14 King James 2000)
God is Mind and holy thought is sending; Man, His image, hears His voice.
Every heart may understand His message, In His kindness may rejoice.
Lo, He speaks, all condemnation ending, Every true desire with Love's will blending;
Losing self, in Him we find Joy, Health, Hope for all mankind. (Hymn 73, Christian Science Hymnal)
Divine Mind is one of seven synonyms for God used in Christian Science to explain the source of real thought. Others are Soul, Spirit, Life, Love, Principle and Truth. Concepts, ideas, inspirations, intelligence, judgment, proverbs, reason, reflections and loving sentiments originate in this Mind, in God, and are reflected in us, Mind’s ideas or creation. Christian Science Discoverer, Mary Baker Eddy explained, "Man and his Maker are correlated in divine Science, and real consciousness is cognizant only of the things of God." (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, 276)
Mind is the Thinker and we are His thought. God’s thoughts lift, inspire, promote, envision, advance, move, improve, develop, cheer, comfort, awaken, thrill, calm, and heal.
I am talking real-deal thought.
We have all heard the adage, “You are what you think.” But that can open a real can of worms, can’t it? “I think I am worthless.” “I think I am scared.” “I think I am sick.” “I think I am a victim.” In my friend’s accent: That isn’t thinking. It’s sinking!
Seeded in Mind, true thought expresses intelligence and produces positive results. Mind’s thoughts are invaluable. Mind opens and reveals good and good and more of good, never thwarting or crippling the flow of inspiration, comfort, security and joy. Mind-thoughts are Love-thoughts. They are supported, uplifted, embraced. God’s thoughts are good and they feel good. They don’t hurt, cripple, paralyze or torment. The intrinsic thought of God never wears out, breaks down or quits. And God’s thought, expressed in us, is permanent.
So what about all that negative stuff that is often called thinking?
The counterfeit notions of daymares and nightmares, the thinking-posers that have no true claim as thought, are the disposable, changeable, weighted speculations of limitation and fear. They are un-sourced, that is, there is no real mind to think them. They are not God’s. Consequently, since we are God's reflection, they are not mine, or yours, or anyone else’s. Their only claim to place and power is in the realm of suggestion – the fabled dreamland of doubt, darkness and confusion.
But they are not legitimate thought.
It’s pretty simple. Sinking thinking isn’t your thought. It doesn’t have a real hold on you. Divine Mind does. And Mind’s thought of you is a stabilizing reflection of permanent good. The divine Mind that conceives you, guards and keeps you. It will never let you go.
I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. (I Corinthians 13:12 New American Standard Bible)
Connie Coddington, CSB
, is a Christian Science
practitioner and teacher. She has launched a new website, including a blog titled, "Powerful Prayer." If you haven't yet visited Connie's site and blog
, you will find a wealth of information on healing prayer
I have linked below to five hour-long interviews that she recorded sometime ago, and has since made available on her blog, with experienced Christian Science healers on the subject of their powerful prayers. Whether you listen in for a few minutes, or treat yourself to the full interviews, I am sure you will find loads of insight and inspiration to nourish your prayers. Be sure to check back often to Connie's blog. She is posting new interviews every week or two. She has about 55 hours of material saved up for us! So expect a bounty of good to follow.
Also, click on each interviewees name to link through to their website, blog or biographical information. Lot's more good to find in these links.
"Powerful Prayer" - Connie Coddington interviews Christian Science healers