_The beloved 23rd Psalm wraps up with, "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever." (King James Bible)
Think of it. Goodness and mercy follow us like a tail follows a cat. They are built into our being.
Goodness can also be translated "being well" from the original Hebrew word AEH. While mercy includes the sense of God's perpetual "lovingkindness".
To me, goodness and mercy is Bible talk for health. Health is a God-given, built-in manifestation of God's goodness and mercy. Spirituality and health are synonymous terms, as are spiritual and healthy. You can't have one without the other, nor BE one without the other. The word health originates from Old English hǣlth, of Germanic origin, related to being whole.
How often do we fall into the trap of linking our problems in cause and effect fashion? For example, if we are unhappy at work do we assume it is the fault of the boss, our salary, the organization, or our own bad decision to take the job in the first place? Really, all that does is set us up to think there has to be some big change - and that it has to take a lot of time - before we can experience harmony and joy at work.
And that is a bunch of baloney.
In the psychology of Spirit, all true effect is linked to a divine omnipresent cause, to God. Knowing the one cause to be God, and the singular effect of this Cause to be good, opens the way to experience joy and balance and can lift burdens, without the need to wait for or to create a big change.
Head's up! - Diane Marrapodi, CSB's blog post this week, "What would you do if...?", is a don't miss!
_An Indiana Senate committee voted 8-2 on Wednesday in favor of a bill that would require public schools to teach creationism alongside evolution in science class. Is this progress? Or is the already murky water of the creation debate just getting an infusion of more mud?
On one hand, there is the materialist view of man's origin excluding Spirit from the equation altogether. This is found in the teaching that substance and life is 100 percent material and self-evolved.
On the other hand, there is a religious view of creation based on the Adam and Eve story, with man originating in divinely activated dust. Setting aside or perhaps unaware of Biblical scholarship that exposes the contrary, creationists teach that the 7 day explanation in Genesis, chapter 1, results in the hopelessly flawed Adam generation in Genesis, chapter 2, - as if these two accounts are one singular literal rendering of the origin of man.
_ I was pretty new to the study of Christian Science I had come to it out of a deep desire to understand God, but now I was faced with a need for healing.
My baby daughter was ill. She was feverish and stuffy. It was challenging for her to drink from her bottle. I cradled her in my arms until she was sleepy. Then, I put her in her crib and sat beside her in my rocking chair. Now what? The only things I could think of were the bottom-line spiritual facts that had brought me to this teaching: “God is All in all.” And, “God is Love.” I pondered these two all-encompassing ideas.
"The Bible is filled with beautiful imagery of the protective power of divine Love in emergencies. Perhaps one of the best-known is the 91st Psalm, which says, "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty... He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust." (Psalm 91:1-4)
One spring after a harsh winter we experienced a rapid thaw. The creek behind out house overflowed its banks and the backyard flooded. Our home began to fill with several inches of water.
In the backyard sat a little hen house that housed our three pet chickens. One of the hens had been sitting on two eggs for several weeks and her chicks were about ready to hatch. Concerned, I made my way across the yard to check on them. Although their house had a foot and a half of water in it, the chickens were safe in their roost. One egg had hatched and the chick was tucked safely under his mother's wing. The second egg had a tiny hole in it. Read the rest of this post in the Christian Science Journal online.
(The story in today's blog comes to me third-hand. It is the report of someone else who was told the story by someone directly involved, rather than from my own personal knowledge as a witness. But I have great confidence in the source.)
A mother asked for help through prayer for her baby who had been paralyzed from the waist down since birth. The mom prayed, too. But she became discouraged each day at bath time as her infant lay motionless in the tub.
Demoralized, she called the Christian Science practitioner and explained how she would pray all morning to see the perfection of God's creation expressed in this child. Then at bath time she would be so disappointed to see that nothing had changed.
_At the beginning of the month, I wrote a four-post series on W.O.W. (Walking on Water) for 2012. To me, walking on water means accepting the exceptional in my day-to-day experience and stepping out into the "Great Amazing" that is life.
The posts discussed the four steps I am taking each day to get up on the water:
1) To think bigger thoughts and to expand my understanding of God every day.
2) To let the Christ (God's message of good for me) mobilize me in new directions.
3) To express stability with each new step and conquer doubt and fear.
4) To celebrate each victory and recognize that a forward step for one blesses all.
Here is one recent victory.
_ Love is in my heart and on my mind today – love for those who love me, and even more for those who don’t, because they need it most.
Mary Baker Eddy once counseled, “We should measure our love for God by our love for man; and our sense of Science will be measured by our obedience to God, — fulfilling the law of Love, doing good to all; imparting, so far as we reflect them, Truth, Life, and Love to all within the radius of our atmosphere of thought.” (Miscellaneous Writings, p.12)
Paul sent tender greetings to the church at Philippi, when he wrote, “Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.” (Philippians 1:3 New Living Translation)
_ I had just walked into the kitchen with an armful of groceries when I noticed my husband hanging up the telephone. He looked serious. I put the groceries on the table and he turned to me with these words: “Your brother died. He had a heart attack.”
I sat down at the kitchen table and kept thinking, “I don’t believe this.”
Then, came a quiet thought: “Don’t believe it”.
I thought: “This can’t be true.”
Another gentle message came: “You’re right. It isn’t true.”
I stayed with these thoughts for some time. I took them deep into my heart. I lived with them during the next few days as my family and I made arrangements for my brother’s funeral.
Coined from three Greek words meaning "beauty", "visible form", and "to examine", Sir David Brewster came up with the word kaleidoscope to describe his new light-reflecting invention in 1817. Initially intended as a science tool, the kaleidoscope was later copied as a toy. It proved to be a massive success. When first manufactured, over two hundred thousand were sold in Paris and London in the first three months. Today kaleidoscopes are still mass produced as inexpensive toys for children, but as works of art, kaleidoscopes also can be found in craft galleries and specialty shops around the world.
What I love about a kaleidoscope is that no matter how often you look into one, the view is never the same. There is always some new combination of color and light exposed with just the slightest adjustment of the reflective mirrors' angle. I can't resist picking mine up and taking another look.
Yesterday's post talked about the Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount as being like a kaleidoscope. It's true that, every time we take them up for consideration in a fresh light, there are infinite views of blessedness to be discovered in Jesus' insights into God's goodness as it is reflected in us.
_ I collect unusual kaleidoscopes - that is, if two can be considered a collection. I admire them as an art form and love the way the mirrors reflect external light in infinite variety and color. The name kaleidoscope was first coined by its Scottish inventor in 1817, by pulling together three Greek words meaning beauty, visible form, to examine, to form a single word meaning "observer of beautiful forms".
To me, the Beatitudes in Christ Jesus' Sermon on the Mount are a kaleidoscope showing us how God's children are blessed to express good in unlimited spiritual form and quality.
Being good and having more good in our lives doesn't have to involve a bloody battle. When I seem most out of sync with good - when I am having trouble feeling it or seeing it in myself and around me - sometimes all I need is a fresh look at the Beatitudes to find the essential evidence of God's good that restores me.
My daughter, at 10 years old, was pushing boundaries. I resorted to a time- tested method to get her attention: I started counting to three. As I rounded two and was expecting a quick restoration of order, she piped up with, "You know, Mommy, my friends' parents count to ten."
Retorting quickly in all sincerity, I said, "Oh, Betsy, you don't realize what you are asking. Three is for your protection. If you made me count all the way to ten, I just don't know what I might do!"
A couple were witnesses to a curious and strange phenomenon. Every night a figure would enter their room and sit on their bed. Not only could they see a vague form, but they could feel a weight pulling the blankets tight. Upon turning on the light, they would find nobody there, but a perceivable bottom print would routinely be left on the covers near their feet.
Was it a ghost? They didn't want to believe that. In fact, they didn't think they believed that. But what they knew for sure was, they didn't want the appearance of a ghostly figure pestering them in their home at night.
I was a mother by choice. I knew my husband had been diagnosed as infertile when I married him. And up until the wedding ring was placed on my finger, I had always been OK with not ever having children. But shortly after the wedding, the day came when I wasn't fine with it anymore.
Science and Health explains, "Marriage is the legal and moral provision for generation among humankind." (p. 56)
Now, I have never read the word generation in the narrow "production of babies" sense that would cast men and women in the role of personal creators. To me, as it is used in this quote, the spiritual sense of generation speaks to the production of good in individuals, in families and in society, when a moral and legal promise is made, and a commitment fulfilled, to be a lifelong witness to spiritual growth in another person.
"Don't panic. I am here. I will see you out." That was the message that came to me when I found myself on the floor of my room curled up in a ball, panicking, crying, feeling like I had reached my wit's end over a problem that had persisted for three years and seemed suddenly worse than ever. I was at a total loss of how to go forward. The mental dialogue went like this:
"I (sob) can't (sob) do this (sob, sob) anymore. (Exhausted sob)"
"You don't have to."
"No (sob) really. I can't pray about this anymore, I don't have any more thoughts I can think to move forward. (sob) I quit."
"Don't think any more. I am your Mind. Let me think for you. Don't panic. I am here. I will see you out."
Over the centuries stepmothers have generally gotten a bad rap. Fairytales casting poor, beautiful children opposite nasty, vengeful step-parents, haven't much helped to break the negative stereotype. Pretty soon, we are going to see Julia Roberts, in an updated take on the story of Snow White, offering some new form of poisoned apple to her young charge.
Now I love Julia and will probably thoroughly enjoy seeing her in all her nasty glory on the big screen. But given a choice of which of her films best portrays the realities of step-parenting, I would mostly likely vote for "Stepmom" (1998). In this story, two women, played by Susan Sarandon and Julia, struggle with their respective parenting and step-parenting roles. Both learn painful, and sometimes funny, lessons and ultimately discover that what counts in parenting is an unselfed love.
That is something I am learning from blogging every day. A few days ago, I had a little time in the evening to get a jump start on the next blog post. I sat in front of the computer screen and... Nope... Nothing. But I didn't worry about it. It wasn't time to post. So I went to bed.
The next morning I awakened at "the blogging hour" - 4:30 - and thought, 'It's time to write!"
Then I thought, "Do I have a subject now? ... Hmmm... Not really... Nope... Nothing. But that's OK. The computer isn't on yet."
_ Most have heard the axiom: “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” I had heard it but didn’t pay too much attention to it until something happened that made it come alive for me. When I was a teenager, I was invited to a special dance by a young man who belonged to the church where I was a soprano soloist. I didn’t know him very well, but he was nice – and so handsome. So, I accepted the invitation. We arrived at the dance and immediately joined the others on the dance floor. I soon found out that my handsome partner was a terrible dancer!
As I sat on the sidelines during a time out, another young man from the same church made a beeline for me. I thought: “Oh, no. He’s going to ask me to dance!” He was definitely not high on the handsome scale. All I could think of was Ichabod Crane. Sure enough, he asked me. The music started up again, and off we went to dance. Was I in for a surprise! He waltzed me across the floor like I was Ginger Rogers. He was a fabulous dancer and made me feel fabulous, too. At the conclusion of the waltz, I decided he was actually pretty good looking!
_A blog reader recently asked, "Why can we only glimpse God through prayer?" Actually, we glimpse God in everything that expresses pure good. Prayer isn't key to glimpsing God. Prayer is key to moving on from glimpses, to really understanding and experiencing God's goodness (to enjoying it) in a larger way.
Prayer is a word loaded with different connotations for different people. When I speak of prayer, it involves a mental and spiritual looking up and turning away from a material sense of things. It means engaging one's spiritual sense to be open to an infinite God-perspective - a divine Love-perspective, a radiant Soul-perspective, an eternal Life-perspective - on reality.
As the football playoff games started up yesterday in the States, a Facebook friend said that when asked if she prays for football games, she responds, "Yes, I do! I pray for the home team!" I chuckled, because I had just had similar thoughts that morning about my church - I pray for the "home team" of spiritual seekers who attend.
Not everyone interested in spirituality is drawn to church. I, however, am an avid churchgoer. In fact, what keeps me coming back is a little rule in our church about prayer. Prayers in Christian Science churches are to be "offered for the congregations collectively and exclusively." (Church Manual 42:1)
Now one might say, wait a minute! Why a rule instructing who or what to pray for in church? Why wouldn't you pray for yourself, your sick pet, or for harmonious elections in the Congo? The answer relates to what we are up to the rest of the week.
There is a hymn that I love that says: "Take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from Thee." (#324, Christian Science Hymnal)
That's a lovely prayer. But seeing this photo, I think I would extend it a little to say, "And if, for any reason, some other messages try to eek out, God, send me an angel (or a true friend) to help me shut my beak!"
(If you are looking for some food for thought today, you may enjoy checking out Diane Marrapodi, CSB's new blog post entitled, "What are your politics?")
I made a deal with myself many years ago. When personal computers arrived on the scene I didn't know if I would be able to learn how to use one. I still had trouble doing basic things with a VCR. But when I received a computer as a gift from my husband as a show of support for my work, I decided to approach it on a "need to know" basis. That is, I consented to learning what I needed to know - like how to turn it on, type things and print them. I had no interest in learning the whys and wherefores of computing.
But then a problem arose that I seemed to have no control over. With my minimal skills, I was at a loss for how to overcome it and no one around me seemed to be any better clued-in than I was.
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 practice.
After impaling my foot
on a nail,
I prayed the way I had learned
in Sunday school.
the pain stopped
and healing began.
By the next morning the wound had disappeared completely.
the great potential
of Christian Science,
there would be no