Basketball has been around since 1892 when a physical education teacher, Dr. James Naismith, originated it at the YMCA training school in Springfield Massachusetts. It all came about because the winter months were too cold for outside activities and Dr. Naismith thought the students needed exercise all year ‘round. So, he made up an indoor game using a ball and a Peach basket.
In 1893, a hammock style basket replaced the Peach basket. The ball was retrieved manually again – this time by using a pole to pop the ball out. Believe it or not, it took another decade before someone thought it would be a good idea to let the ball drop to the floor, as it does today!
I wonder if Dr. Naismith ever asked himself, “Why didn’t I see that before?”
I guess all of us have had times when we asked ourselves, Why didn’t I think of this ‘earlier in the game’? I think this is a good story to illustrate the progress when thought moves. It sure made for a less interrupted, faster, basketball game!
Just as thought-movement was good for the game, it is essential for spiritual progress, too.
At a workshop my church held for people wanting to grow spiritually, a woman asked, “Why is it that people, new to spiritual ideas, seem to progress rapidly and find healing, and I’ve been struggling for fifty years and have not?”
The answer given was, “A new-comer is receptive and quick to accept spiritual ideas - quick to drop old ways of thinking. The long time student can become fixed in his beliefs”.
Mary Baker Eddy reportedly said to a student, “Thought must move!”
Years ago, I began to dig more deeply into the Lord’s Prayer. I thought about how, as Christians, we pray this prayer a lot. It is included in most church services and is usually included in a Christian’s everyday prayer life. Does it ever happen that the prayer becomes “fixed”? Does thought really engage and move each time we pray it? I was thinking about this, wanting to be sure I was praying the prayer and not merely saying the prayer. I wanted my thought to be moved by the Christ, - God’s message of love and power - each time I prayed.
I wondered, Could I ever reach that state? Rise above all material sensuousness and sin? Could I reach the “heaven-born aspiration and spiritual consciousness, which is indicated in the Lord’s Prayer”?
Sometime during this period, I was suddenly troubled by a racing heartbeat. I realized that prayer could move my thought to accept a healing. So I prayed and then, although my heart was still racing, I decided to get in bed and rest. I soon fell asleep.
When I reached “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors," it was like I was seeing the words us, our, and we, shining just like a neon sign. In a flash I thought: “This prayer is for everyone. And, it’s for her, too.”
I thought of a long ago friend who had dropped our friendship with a thud, and who I had had trouble forgiving. I suddenly knew she was forgiven. And I felt forgiven, too. As I lay back on my pillow, I realized that my heart was beating normally.
Now why didn’t I think of this before? I knew those words.
I knew they meant that I would be forgiven when I forgave. But that night I gave myself entirely over to that prayer. I prayed those words with my whole heart and I was moved by the healing power of Christly compassion and forgiveness.
Thought can move. Thought must move. Thought does move. And when it does, there is healing.