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Yes, you can help

October 2, 2017

So many awful things in so many different directions: but yesterday, it was a shooting. What can one person do to help? A lot! Certainly you can volunteer or donate.  But you can also pray.  Even a single prayer, seeking God’s allness and reassurance, lifts your own thought off of the fear and anger.  And more deeply knowing that they who mourn are comforted, brings a bigger blessing. Yearning for the safety of all, no matter the circumstances, and trusting that safety to divine Love is the biggest prayer of all, for it goes out in concentric circles, embracing one after another after another.

Then, commit to living in sincerity with that prayer.  Be kinder.  Be more patient.  Be generous.  Be available. Be how you want others to be, and see others the way you want to be seen.  This kind of living prayer is the best way to overcome – and yes, to prevent – the awful events of yesterday.

Most of all, refuse to be afraid.  Fear keeps you in hiding, when it’s really important right now to come out and let the light of your prayer, your hope, and your willingness, shine into the darkness of fear.  And be persistent.  Not just today or tomorrow.  But everyday.

Love destroys fear.  Truth destroys falsehood.  Light destroys darkness.  You can help.  Be what you want to see.

Supremacy…

August 19, 2017

…has come to mean the subjugation of one people by another for reasons no greater than color or creed.  It doesn’t take into account any kind of character or intellect, but simply places value on specific human origin.

Real supremacy though is about qualities of thought, such as the strength of truth over error, the power of love over hate, and the control of good over evil.  These highest standards of consciousness and behavior, when practiced assiduously and without rancor, lift all mankind regardless of physical and mental characteristics.

The Golden Rule is an example of putting another’s welfare above one’s own as a way of saying “this is how I’d like you to treat me.”  And it consistently improves relations and conversations when regularly applied.

The Prophet Malachi asked, “have we not all one father?” meaning, haven’t we all really come from the same source?  (2:10) Don’t we all really have the same beginning?  And whether you think that beginning is primordial or spiritual, there were not separate “them” and “us” creations way back then.

Uniting together through principles of decency, kindness, hope, and liberty regardless of what one looks like, or where one comes from is the only way to make true progress, blessing one and all.  The Apostle Paul said, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”  (Galations 5:22,23)

And Mary Baker Eddy wrote in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the  Scripture, “Love thy neighbor as thyself;” annihilates  pagan and Christian idolatry, — whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes;  equalizes the sexes; annuls the curse on man, and leaves  nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed.”  (pg. 340)

Separation due to skin color or hate is not true identity. By striving to overcome all that would pit us against each other, including devious negative mental qualities, we begin to see who we truly are as the image and likeness of God.  And of that God said that it was very good. (Genesis 1:31)

Let us practice the true supremacy of equality, based on the law of God’s universal and impartial goodness. Then, nothing can keep us apart.

Melissa Hayden is a Christian Science practitioner in Salem, OR. You can find more information and additional articles at this link.  If you like what you’re reading, click the “add me” button.

Keep forgiving

July 23, 2017

Peter once asked Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother.  He suggested seven times, since that seemed fairly generous according to Jewish law, which only required three times.  But Jesus said seven times was not nearly enough.  The Master put forth seventy times seven as a more appropriate number. (Matt 18:21,22)

Was Jesus meaning that we stop forgiving when we reach the magic number of 490?  Not likely.

The Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5 – 7) is filled with his teachings that correlate, such as removing first the beam from our own eye before we even comment on the beam in our brother’s eye.  Wouldn’t that compel us to be more forgiving?

And what about leaving our gift on the alter while we explore with our brother what he has against us.  Doesn’t it seem like forgiveness in both directions might be the outcome?

Jesus’ example of forgiveness was astounding.  He introduced the concept of reciprocal forgiveness into the Lord’s prayer, which Mary Baker Eddy interprets spiritually to mean “and Love is reflected in love.” (See Science and Health p. 17)  And there is a profound story in Luke (7:36 to 50) about deep forgiveness going hand in hand with deep humility and affection.

But the ultimate teaching on forgiveness came when Jesus was on the cross. Speaking to his dear Father he said, “forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:24)

How can we imagine our own hurts and annoyances are greater than what he experienced?  He said, “…the works that I do shall you do also; and greater works than these shall you do…” (John 14:12)

That includes forgiving 490 times.

And forgetting that many times too.

Melissa Hayden is a Christian Science practitioner in Salem, OR. You can find more information and additional articles at this link.  If you like what you’re reading, click the “add me” button.

Gone fishin’

July 9, 2017

That’s the sign the disciples put up after Jesus’ crucifixion.  It was the only way they could think of to cope with the fear, sorrow, and confusion of that awful event. They were soon to learn that Jesus had already equipped them with what they needed to turn those sad feelings around.

They’d fished all night and caught nothing.  Then a stranger on the shore suggested they move their nets to the other side of the boat.  Doing so, there were so many fish their net was in danger of breaking.  Had the fish been there all along and they just weren’t paying attention?

That same “stranger” had, several years earlier, turned several fishes into enough to feed five thousand.  Was that the case now?  They were struggling to remember what they had learned: “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you.” (John 6:27)

Jumping from the boat, they swam to shore to greet the stranger.  It was Jesus, whom they thought was long gone.  But he had earlier said of himself, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” (ibid v. 36) They had forgotten his promise.  They had forgotten his commitment to them.

But it all came flooding back that morning on that shore.  Everything he had taught them about God’s infinite Fatherhood and the necessity of worshipping Him in spirit and truth; of eternal life and the kingdom of heaven on earth; of doing to one’s neighbor as one hoped to receive; and of loving each other as he had loved them: it was all fresh and new and finally real.

During Jesus’ brief ministry he had been as a shepherd to all that yearned for salvation.  He had preached and healed and loved.  Now it was the disciples’ turn.  With this brief command, “feed my sheep,” he put his precious followers into their care. They finally understood what that meant.

That historical morning is worth celebrating, don’t you think?

Melissa Hayden is a Christian Science practitioner in Salem, OR. You can find more information and additional articles at this link.  If you like what you’re reading, click the “add me” button.

You’re kidding, right?

June 30, 2017

That’s what the Chaldeans and astrologers said to King Nebuchadnezzar. He’d had a dream and wanted it to be interpreted.  But the catch was that he couldn’t remember the dream.  He thought his court smart guys should not only be able to tell him what the dream meant, but what he’d dreamt in the first place.  And they said, it can’t be done, nobody can do it, so you don’t have the right to ask.  (see Daniel 2:1-45)

But Daniel had a different viewpoint.  He humbly knew that his own sense of things wasn’t up to the task but he was quite clear that God could determine both the dream and its meaning.  And he told King Nebuchadnezzar so.  Sure enough, God not only revealed the dream but its explanation as well.  Daniel rejoiced: “Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his.”

The Bible is full of those kinds of stories.

Naaman came to Elisha to be healed of leprosy.  Expecting to receive royal treatment, he was instead told to dip himself in Jordan seven times. Storming off in a rage, he said, “you’re kidding, right?” However, his lieutenant encouraged him to go to the river, and sure enough “his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.” (2nd Kings 5: 1-15)

When walking through a huge crowd, a woman seeking healing reached out for Jesus’ robe.  Jesus asked his disciples, “who touched me?”  Their response was “you’re kidding, right?  The multitude is thronging you and you are asking about one touch?”  But Jesus knew that healing had occurred and the woman stood forth and explained how her hemorrhage simply stopped after her contact with him. (Mark 5: 25-34)

One time Jesus asked his disciples to feed all of those who had come to hear him preach – more than 5000 – rather than sending them back to their own homes hungry.  Their response? “you’re kidding, right?”  No, he wasn’t kidding. So he proceeded to do what he had asked them to do. Not only was everyone filled, they even had twelve baskets of leftovers. (Matt 14: 15-21)

On his way to the bed of a very sick little girl, Jesus was told that she had died, so there was no need to come. His response was that she was only sleeping, and he would come to awaken her.  The mourners said, “you’re kidding, right?” and they laughed him to scorn.  But the Master was true to his word. He restored her life and returned her to her delighted parents. (Luke 8: 41, 42, 49-56)

You never need to fear that health and holiness and salvation are too far out of your reach.  Jesus wasn’t kidding when he healed and saved and resurrected.  His power – the Christ – came from God.  It was ever present then, and it is still present now.  And you can count on it.

No kidding!

Read here for more examples.

Melissa Hayden is a Christian Science practitioner in Salem, OR. You can find more information and additional articles at this link.  If you like what you’re reading, click the “add me” button.

7000 Reasons

June 23, 2017

Elijah was suicidal.  He’d just had a big showdown with a group that opposed the God of Israel.  Even though he’d been the victor in that event, he felt tired, overwhelmed, and alone.  Especially alone.  He saw no reason to go on living if he was the only one who believed in God.

But that very God of Israel had other plans.  He did several wonderful things to get Elijah’s attention.  But none of them worked until God said, “You are not the only one.  There are 7000 more just like you, who are totally devoted to Me.”  (see 1 Kings chapters 18 and 19)  Elijah was roused from his fear and went on to do more great things to honor the God who had saved him.

How often do we feel like we’re the only one; that we’re alone in accomplishing some great thing – or even a small thing: that everyone else has abandoned us – or the ideals we used to share?

The same God that delivered Elijah from his despondence, that saved Moses from the Egyptians, that resurrected Jesus from the tomb, that promised a Comforter: that same God of love and goodness will give you as many reasons as you need – even 7000 – to keep going.

The fact is, it’s always better than circumstances would seem to suggest.  Our own small viewpoint sees barely to the horizon of our limited experience. God – our dear heavenly Father – has the big picture, along with infinite resources with which to bless mankind, at His command.  There is nothing too hard for God (Jer. 32: 17).  So not only can He bring to bear all of the help that you need right where you are, He can also make you aware of it.  You need not fear that you will miss God’s great provision.

Jesus proved the abundance of God’s fullness of supply by feeding the multitude, healing the sick, and raising the dead.  Even when it seemed that those options were not only not available, but not even possible.  Yet he reassured his followers that “with God all things are possible.”  (Matt. 19: 26)

That same reassurance is here for you too, as many times as you need to be reminded – tenderly and persistently – that you are not alone, you are valuable, you have what you need.

And it’s enough.

Melissa Hayden is a Christian Science practitioner in Salem, OR. You can find more information and additional articles at this link.  If you like what you’re reading, click the “add me” button.

Invisible light

June 17, 2017

Scientists tell us that only a small spectrum of light is visible to the human eye – what we know as the colors of the rainbow.  Although that seems infinite to us, there are many other kinds of light, like microwaves, and radio waves, and ultra violet, that are not visible but are very present and very active. (click here for an explanation)

The Bible says that “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” (1st John 1:5)  When we’re struggling with things like sin or sickness, it may seem that God’s light is invisible, that it’s not reaching the darkness of our problems. Yet, just like those unseen waves mentioned above, the light of Love is ever active bringing comfort and healing.  The Apostle James explains it this way, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (Chapter 1, verse 17)  Those good and perfect gifts are freely given to all, and bring to light whatever needs to be resolved, along with the ability to do it.

Mary Baker Eddy wrote in Science and Health that “as mortals gain more correct views of God and man, multitudinous objects of creation, which before were invisible, will become visible.” (Page 264)  Getting to know God better, learning more about His perfect nature, is the light that reveals the perfect nature of His creation, including man.

Speaking to his followers, Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:16)  He knew that generosity, kindness, and honesty – and many other noble acts – were the reflected light of God’s own goodness.  Although his Heavenly Father may have been invisible, the effect of His love was – and is – always present in many visible ways.

The Psalmist summed it up this way: “In thy light shall we see light.”  (Psalm 36:9)

Melissa Hayden is a Christian Science practitioner in Salem, OR. You can find more information and additional articles at this link.  If you like what you’re reading, click the “add me” button.