Remember that Salt 'n' Pepa song from 1991, "Let's talk about sex"? The chorus says,
Let's talk about you and me
Let's talk about all the good things
And the bad things that may be
So, OK. Let's. Only, let's change things up, baby. Let's talk about sin.
Mention sin and some automatically think of sexual immorality or wrong-doing to a neighbor. But, Christian Science broadens the term to include any action or thought that tries to separate one from the divine source of all good, from God.
In that sense, sin is the ultimate distraction. It obscures one's ability to see, feel and experience the healing Christ. It shuts down inspiration. It depletes energy and zaps joy. Sin makes one feel unwilling and unable to understand and practice Christian healing. This makes sin an assassin, crushing joy, peace, effectiveness at healing, harmony and health. It kills and kills and keeps killing until it is exposed and stopped.
When it comes to sin, we have to be willing to look at it. Unmask it. Pop it out from under cover and eliminate its toxic and deadly influence on us. Over the centuries, sin has been discussed under seven so-called carnal or deadly categories - anger, lust, gluttony, sloth, envy, greed, and pride. Under these seven categories you can effectually list any negative trait or behavior that is anti-Christ. Christ Jesus’ Lord’s Prayer can provide a helpful springboard for addressing any category of sin. For example:
Our Father, which art in heaven addresses ENVY. No one is left out of “OUR” Father. No imbalance. No haves and have nots. Through our connection with the Father-Mother each one of us is linked directly to heaven. No one and nothing can limit our expression and experience of good. No exceptions. (Here is another blog post that illustrates a cool healing of envy.)
Hallowed be Thy name takes care of ANGER. It is God’s name and nature that is hallowed, that is honored and worshipped as holy. True worship involves not just appreciating but reflecting that holy nature. There is no reaction in reflection. Reflection is a response or a giving back to the original, but never a reaction to the original or to any other source.
You know what healed Jacob of his anger and fear at Peniel? He saw God face to face – that’s what Peniel means: "God face to face." Reflection. To see God, was to see himself. So what was that angel Jacob wrestled? A correct view of himself as Godlike. When he glimpsed his own real nature, he found no anger there. Hallowed be God’s nature. Hallowed be yours. (Check out another post on healing anger.)
Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven is a great one for SLOTH. God’s kingdom is the atmosphere of ideas in which we work. God’s will is our motivator and goal. Praying to know and yield to the divine will for good and only good eliminates stubbornness and self-will. This shift produces more order at home and at work. It redeems from procrastination, mental dullness, spiritual apathy and laziness. (Could you use some ideas on mastering self-will? Check out this post.)
Give us this day our daily bread can be really helpful in eliminating GLUTTONY. Hoarding and overindulgence in any form is handled when we drop the fear that what we love or what we need may not be here today. But God’s grace is here today. Everyday. It satisfies our needs and desires. He sends us spiritual ideas to feed our famished affections and meet our needs. Taking what he gives, accepting our daily bread, produces balance and satisfaction. No more overeating, overspending, overindulging, overreacting, over-saving, overstocking, and even oversleeping – all gluttonous behaviors. (Looking for that unlimited supply of grace and good? Check out this post.)
And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors is helpful against GREED. It is an equation of sorts with the word “AS” as the equal sign. And Love is reflected in love. God forgives and we forgive. God gives, and we give. The divine Principle, or God, of supply includes balance and generosity and abundance for all. (See another post on this one, too.)
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil offers a wit-sharpening, courage-inducing prayer to counter LUST. The book of Esther in the Bible tells the story of Vashti, Ahasuerus’ queen, who refused to cater to her husband’s deviant request that she parade herself naked before his friends. It took such moral courage at great personal risk to take that stand before her husband and king. Even though it cost her a human crown, later Scripture confirmed that her virtue was her real crown! Proverbs states, “A virtuous woman is a crown…:” Proverbs 12:4
Perhaps the issue with lust is not so much that the suggestions come, as it is that we have the power to choose, as Vashti did, to follow the leadings of good – that is, to acknowledge and act on the natural force, the powerful draw, to purity.
God doesn't lead us into temptation. Ever. Lust is not a natural propensity of man. The Lord’s Prayer helps us master and express our natural propensities for purity, moral courage, and goodness. (Yup, I have an interesting post on sex.)
For THINE is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever is a good line for flushing out PRIDE. I have an old cartoon clipping. Two monks are examining a list of the seven deadly sins. One monk said to the other, “After you’ve successfully resisted the other six deadly sins, its really hard not to be proud!”
What is real belongs to God. Acknowledging God’s kingdom, power and glory is an ultimate statement of humility, and humility counteracts pride – an inflated or deflated sense of one’s self. Pride can take the form of superiority or inferiority. We've got to root out both.
God is the kingdom in which you work, the power with which you work, and the glory for which you work – now and forever. That idea can take you far. (And here are a few more thoughts on the kingdom to nourish your prayers.)
During a class to train Christian Science teachers, a student named Mrs. Otis asked Mary Baker Eddy how she was to demonstrate over weak eyes. The response was, "Make yourself better every hour and don’t think of eyes.” (Joshua Bailey notes, Mary Baker Eddy Library)
Make yourself better every hour. Eliminating the influence of sin in our own lives brings the clearest discernment, deepest compassion, and strongest spiritual authority. It makes one an effective healer.
Jesus gave the parable of the prodigal son, as a lesson on the correcting and redeeming power of the divine Father's persistent love for all his children. Who's to say that the younger son in the tale was the only prodigal?
Prodigal has two definitions that could apply to the storyline. "Prodigal [ˈprɒdɪgəl] (adj.)1. Rashly or wastefully extravagant; recklessly wasteful, as in disposing of goods or money 2. Giving or given in abundance; lavish or profuse; lavish in giving or yielding."
A few weeks ago, I was studying a Bible Lesson that included the parable of the prodigal in the gospel of Luke. We are told that the father welcomed his repentant younger son back into the house and prepared a party to celebrate his return. Seeing the festivities, his eldest son became angry.
The father left the party to seek out his elder son in the field where he was hiding. He entreated him (that is, he earnestly dealt with him, treating his concerns). The son poured out the resentments that had built up over many years: of watching the younger brother fall short and yet seem to be favored. The father discerned his heart and lavished on him the one thing he needed most: To know that he, too, was greatly loved. He said "Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine." There would be no divided inheritance. All the father's love was available for each son.
Corresponding passages in the Bible Lesson included this statement from Mary Baker Eddy's Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, "Evil which obtains in the bodily senses, but which the heart condemns, has no foundation..." (448)
This caught my attention because I couldn't see how the elder son had had a change of heart before he received his father's blessing. Had his own heart condemned the evil of anger and envy? Was that a prerequisite to his progress? Apparently, no. It was the father's heart, not the son's, that condemned the envy as having no place. The father showed the son that his suffering was without foundation. The father condemned the lie so his son would not suffer.
The younger son may be generally viewed as the prodigal because of the way he squandered his resources. But I think the other sense of prodigal better points to the father, whose lavish, unstinting, unsparing, bounteous love towards each son spoke to their hearts and met their needs.
Father's Day lets us pause to honor the prodigious fathers who give unsparingly of their hearts to their kids. But every moment of every day, our heavenly Father is reminding each one of us, "Dear, dear child of mine, you are ever with me. All that I have is thine. I will always love you. Open your heart and you will find that all that I have and all that I am is already there."
Happy Father's Day!
Find two blog posts that honor good fathers and good fathering:
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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