There are no embryonic creations of the Soul that is God. Soul's creation is mature, complete and strong. And innocent. Innocence is an attribute of Soul. Entirely spiritual, innocence is a strength, a force of good, that we all include as part of our spiritual identity.
Because innocence is inherent, it can't be lost. True innocence is tangible and spiritual and powerful. It is a state of purity that draws one naturally to appreciate - to love and to do - good.
Innocence includes obedience to good - an intelligent , intuitive obedience that shouldn't be confused with naiveté. Innocence is never naive.
Godfrey John, a beloved practitioner, teacher and lecturer of Christian Science once published a poem that was based on a true story of a little girl in South Africa. ("Nice Snake", October 23,1991, Christian Science Monitor) The child sat on her porch eating a bowl of cereal for breakfast when a boa constrictor coiled itself around the chair and the child. She innocently offered the snake a spoonful of her cereal and called him a nice snake.
He ate, and then patiently let her feed herself and the snake in turns. Suddenly, the snake shoved his face into the bowl. The girl tapped his head with the spoon, saying, "Naughty, naughty! Wait your turn." The snake pulled up and placed his face against her cheek. Then they continued to alternate sipping their cereal and milk until the bowl was empty. At last - satiated, content, loved - the boa uncoiled from the child and the chair and went on his way. (NB - Many years ago Mr. John gave me permission to share the story in my lecture work which I still do from time to time.)
Innocence is strong. It carries the full weight and authority of goodness, of pure affection. Innocence is bravely brave. It is "eyes wide open" to the real and good. It protects from aggression, reforms the perpetrator, turns an enemy into a breakfast companion. Innocence is fearless and calm. It yields to good as the all, the only power.
The child in this story was innocent, but not naive. Naiveté is the opposite of innocence. While innocence yields all control to good, and only good, naiveté gives up control to whatever influence may haphazardly pass by - good or bad. Innocence is stable, naiveté is unstable. Innocence is alert and aware, naiveté is blind. Naiveté is a type of ignorance of present good, while innocence is a force for good springing from natural intelligence.
Christian Science discoverer Mary Baker Eddy wrote, "Honesty is spiritual power. Dishonesty is human weakness which forfeits divine help." (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, 416) We can equally say that innocence is spiritual power. Naiveté is human weakness which forfeits the divine help.
Understanding the control which Love held over all, Daniel felt safe in the lions’ den, and Paul proved the viper to be harmless. All of God’s creatures, moving in the harmony of Science, are harmless, useful, indestructible. A realization of this grand verity was a source of strength to the ancient worthies. It supports Christian healing, and enables its possessor to emulate the example of Jesus. “And God saw that it was good.” EDDY, Science and Health, 514
Soul is the Father and Mother of the universe. We are never separated from the spiritual attributes of Soul that our Creator reflects in us. Not even for an instant. Soul's creation never loses his spirituality, his authority over evil - his innocence.
Innocence is spiritual power. It is expressed by the conscious intelligence that will tap on the head of a serpent and demand that good, and only good, be represented in him. Innocence is invulnerable because he who is innocent understands that good, and only good, is in control.
Reclaim your innocence and the innocence of those around you. Reject naiveté as an influence on you or the children of the world. There is no embryonic creation of the Soul that is God. Every one of God's children is mature, complete, strong and innocent.
The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra. And another child will put his hand in the hole of a snake whose bite is poison. They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain. For the earth will be as full of much learning from the Lord as the seas are full of water. ISAIAH 11
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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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_Great news! This blog is now adapted for wider distribution through the Christian Science Monitor. It appears on csmonitor.com November 18-20, 2011. You will be able to link to it in the archives after that.
Please find the links to spirituality.com articles that appeared in the original blog post.
yesterday's blog post
have been abused
indelible black mark
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