Two new blog posts and a report on the recovery of a doctor caught my attention late this week. All three are special - quite worthy of a look.
Christian Science teacher Diane Marrapodi asks, "What are we left with when there are no words, or when words fail to meet the demand for comfort and healing, or when words are just, well…words?... When trials appear and 'there are no words', you can reliably trust the ever-presence of spiritual sense. It enables you to recognize and feel the love of God. You can know and see, with scientific certainty, that God is blessing you right now. "
Christian Science teacher Barbara Pettis asks, "Sometimes someone will ask us if we’re a pessimist or an optimist—do we see the glass half-empty or half-full? But a better question would be, are we materially minded, or are we spiritually minded?A materially minded individual tends to be one who thinks in terms of what is physically possible or impossible, whereas a spiritually minded individual will be more apt to think in terms of “with God, all things are possible.” What a difference these two perspectives can make! "
And People magazine has a health update on the doctor receiving care in an Atlanta hospital after returning to the US from Ebola-ravaged Liberia. I was touched by his plea: "As you continue to pray for Nancy and me, yes, please pray for our recovery. More importantly, pray that we would be faithful to God's call on our lives in these new circumstances."
All three will take you into a faith that goes deeper than a surface belief in God. They show a conviction and practice born of experience with God - of a growing spiritual understanding of Him and of unselfed love.
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Time4Thinkers.com has just launched an exciting summer project called "Radical Acts."
The focus is 18 of Jesus' toughest teachings, including CHALLENGE Pharisees, DO GOOD to those who hate you -- and of course Seek the kingdom first - don't worry about food and clothes and drink.
It is this last one that inspires today's guest post by Diane Marrapodi, CSB. How easy it can be to let prayer slip into a wishing/wanting session. But as Diane says, "There’s more than a hot dog for you" in the prayer that seeks to know God as the Love that is loving you in very practical ways.
Radical Acts is ecumenical. All are invited, regardless of religious (or no religious) affiliation. Click any link in this post to take you into the Radical Acts pages of Time4Thinkers.com and learn more about the project.
For many years our sons were year-round swimmers, which meant we attended swim meets almost every weekend on some part of the east coast of the US. Through that activity we met many wonderful swimmers and their parents.
To this day I am very fond of Linda, a mom who constantly displayed a marvelous sense of humor. Midway through a swim meet she’d say to her terrific husband, “Bob, I’d really like a hot dog”. And with a regal wave of her hand she'd add, “Make it so." Bob, with a chuckle, always got up from the bleachers, went to the concession stand, and brought back a hot dog.
Every once in a while in the public practice of Christian Science I hear just such requests. Oh, not for hotdogs, of course, but for other things: entrance into a certain college; the desire for a specific spouse, house, move, job, - all for the purpose of getting something thought to be essential to happiness. But is the most efficient prayer really to tell God what we want and then to ask God, with a wave of our hand, to “make it so?"
Don’t we all remember a time when we prayed for something specific and didn’t receive it? Perhaps some time later we saw the folly of our request and the wisdom of not receiving that for which we asked. The best motive for going to God in prayer may not be so much to get something that we think will complete us, as it is to awaken to our nature as His beloved child and to His perfect plans for us.
Just before the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew’s gospel, there appears this admonition with a promise: “When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly...when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking…your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” (6:6-8)
Those verses remind me that while I can always pray “on the run” - in the car, at the grocery store - consecrated prayer also requires something more. We need to "go apart" sometimes, - maybe not physically, but certainly mentally, - to completely set aside the wishes and desires and cares clamoring for our attention - to be still and watch for fresh views of what God is doing for His creation. This devout prayer is not so much an asking as a listening and yielding to God who loves us and has our best interests at heart.
God is Love. (I John 4:8) Divine Love made you, knows you, loves you, and maintains your every step. Can you even now imagine the effect of going deep in prayer on this fact and keeping it before thought throughout the day? Why, it would comfort you, eliminate fear, enable you to see yourselves and others as the child of God, and open the door to abundant good. Harmony, peace, well-being is spiritually natural and normal. The prophet Isaiah said, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” (26:3)
Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures begins with a brief 17-page chapter entitled, “Prayer”. It opens with this very powerful statement, “The prayer that reforms the sinner and heals the sick is an absolute faith that all things are possible to God, — a spiritual understanding of Him, an unselfed love.” (1)
Further on she writes, “Look away from the body into Truth and Love, the Principle of all happiness, harmony, and immortality. Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts.” (261)
A prayer of absolute faith in what is possible to God and that springs from an understanding of God as Love, doesn’t involve wishing and wondering what you’ll get. It involves becoming aware and acknowledging the ever-present Love that is loving you, and Love’s will of divine good for you and for each one of His children.
Will there be results? Trust me on this. There’s more than a hot dog for you in this kind of prayer.
DianeMarrapodi is a Christian Science practitioner, teacher, and blogger. You will find this and more wonderful posts on her blog at DianeMarrapodi.com. Thank you, Diane, for helping us practice the radical act of seeking the Kingdom before all else!
Head's up! - Diane Marrapodi, CSB's blog post this week, "What would you do if...?", is a don't miss!
_ I have enjoyed conversing with a dear friend on the subject of spirituality and Christian Science. She is a very spiritually-minded physician. I’ll never forget our first conversation.It began as we left a parking lot at the end of a shopping trip and went on for a total of three hours as we sat in the car in my driveway.
I wouldn’t say we’ve had many conversations on spirituality, but rather just one on-going conversation in many venues, - sitting side by side on the beach, via e-mail, or face to face across a table. We just pick up where we left off, sharing ideas and resources that inspire us and talking about how we’ve applied these ideas in our daily lives. I love it!
Recently we were discussing the subject of angels. She said that she only thinks of angels at Christmas time. Images of angels do especially fill the landscape at Christmas, don’t they? Heavenly, sweet-faced, ethereal individuals clothed in white flowing garments, with wings, wearing a halo, holding a harp. Realizing that in referring to angels perhaps we weren’t talking about the same thing, I told her that we needed to stop for a moment and define our terms... Read more
To read the rest, please visit Diane's new blog on her new website. This is her first official post!
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