A blog reader sent me the link to this 10 minute sermon given last Sunday by Nadia Bolz-Weber at her church, House for All Sinners and Saints, in Denver, Colorado, where she is the founding pastor. She makes some really helpful points, so I am passing it along to you as the Prayer MOJO post for this week. I recommend that you listen to, rather than read, her message, because preaching is a spoken art form.
To hear her sermon, be sure your speakers are on, and click the button:
If you prefer to read the sermon, the following is the intro. A link at the end will take you to her full text.
"A couple hours ago on Facebook, Catherine posted that she had just seen a snake on her hike. As her pastor I thought it best to reply, “If it starts talking, don’t listen.”
"This likely came to mind since I was editing this very sermon about Adam and Eve. The story of the Garden of Eden is what is called an origin story and every culture has theirs. Origin stories tell us how the world came about and where we came from and other important things like why snakes don’t have legs. We think we might know our origin story really well, but in the Genesis account of the Garden of Eden, there actually is no mention of sin, or a fall, or Satan, or temptation, and I hate to break it to you but there wasn’t even an apple involved. Which means the cultural understanding of the story of the Garden of Eden is slightly corrupted. This is due in part to the countless paintings throughout the history of Western art which for some reason portray a tree and a snake and an extremely white Adam and Eve holding a Red Delicious.
"See, for generations folks have called the tale of Adam and Eve and the serpent and the forbidden fruit “The Fall from grace” or “The story of Original Sin."
"That's a little weird to me. Like, God created the heavens and the Earth and animals and it was like, this awesome all-inclusive primeval club-med for Adam and Eve – they ran naked through the warm sunlight of an idyllic paradise and everything was theirs for the taking – except for that one tree that they were told to steer clear of. And this absolute paradise in the garden between God and Humanity lasted approximately 20 minutes. Until Eve had a chat with a talking snake and then disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit. And because Eve, ate some fruit she was told not to, now all of humanity is cursed and this so-called original sin of Eve’s became sort of like a sexually transmitted disease.
"Because now, according to this version of what the story is about, every person born after that inherited original sin from Eve. That’s right. Eve messed it up for everyone by eating some piece of fruit God told her not to. Which feels kinda unfair to her and kinda unfair to us. But this is what we are told the story is about.
"See, religion has taught many of us that the story of Adam and Eve is a story primarily about their disobedience. And that the fracture in the relationship between God and humanity is caused by us breaking God’s arbitrary little rules. So it feels like maybe religion was established just so we could be certain about what rules we need to follow in order for our relationship with God to be a loving, peaceful one.
"But this week, after reflecting on several conversations I’ve had with many of you about your lives and identities and the struggles we all have to hear the truth of who we are, well, I started to wonder if the real damage to the relationship between Adam and Eve and God wasn’t the rule breaking nearly as much as it was in allowing themselves to believe lies about themselves and God. See, the serpent lied to them about who they were and who God was and like all the most dangerous lies, these lies the serpent told were just close enough to the truth to be really destructive...." Find full sermon.
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Stirring the pot is good when the goal is a delicious soup or stew. Sometimes the best stuff tends to sink to the bottom. It needs to be brought up from time to time and mixed in well to bring out the yummy flavor.
Lively discussions are good when they stir deep thinking about prayer, bring up spiritual facts, and result in a greater expectation of healing.
Yesterday's post - Q&A on the professional side of Christian Science practice - produced some lively conversation. I responded to further questions on Facebook and in direct emails.
One question started out with "So how do u suggest handling..." To that I respond, I can't suggest. I wouldn't presume to. I am just answering the questions posed to me as a practitioner. Every practitioner prays to discern how to handle his cases in order to do what is best for his patients.
The majority of readers of this blog are those learning about Christian Science for the first time. Quite naturally, questions arise about my practice and how it works. These often reflect the questioner's experience with only one model of care - medical. Hence, I take every opportunity to touch on the point that symptoms of disease do not dictate the prayer, nor do they have to influence the length of time for treatment of a case. A spiritual understanding of God and man is always the subject of healing prayer. Spirituality, never time, is the condition for healing.
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 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