This blog was published in the Christian Science Monitor on Friday, June 7th.  You can read it here.

Melissa Hayden is a Christian Science practitioner in Salem, OR. You can find more information and additional articles at this link.


May 23, 2013

For the most part, you and I can’t just drop everything and go to Moore, OK to help comfort, clear, and rebuild.   But we can sure pray.  We can see the power of God made manifest in the first and continuous responders, the loving hands and hearts reaching out, the strength growing out of sorrow.  Good is more powerful than evil because it always ultimately prevails.

The Psalmist writes, “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?  If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.  If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.”  (Ps 139:7-10)

Let us hold fast to that vision of God as ever ready, ever willing, and ever present to save, so that we may bless our brothers and sisters whose lives have been disrupted and dismantled.

But more than that, let us take responsibility for our own part in the bluster and hot air that leads to destruction.  Hosea puts it this way, referring to the incorrigible ways of his people: “Look at them! Planting wind seeds, they’ll harvest tornadoes.”  (The Message Hos 8:7)  Make no mistake: this is not a condemnation of the dear people who live in Tornado Alley.  It’s a recognition that we all contribute to the atmosphere of thought which surrounds us.

For you Trekkies out there, you may remember The Day of the Dove, an episode pitting the Klingons against the Enterprise.  Spock realized that the anger and hatred expressed between the two factions was feeding the violence.  As an antidote, he suggested they began to laugh and enjoy one another’s company. They did so, and the evil dissipated releasing everyone from harm.

Monsters Inc. tells a similar story, about the discovery that joy and affection are a more powerful, safer, and easier to obtain, fuel than fear and anger.

The swirling maelstrom of human emotions like anger, hate, fear, willfulness, etc, leads to more of the same.  And as it billows and expands it seems to envelop us in its churning.  We must temper that tempest.

The Bible has a number of great solutions, not the least of which is the Golden Rule: “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.”  (Matt 7:12)  Or this from Proverbs: “A soft answer turneth away wrath.” (15:1)

The fact is, it really makes a difference.  You surely can recall times where a sense of calm interrupted and offset a harmful situation.  If it works on a smaller scale, don’t you think it can work on a grander scale as well, if we all pitch in?

When Jesus said “peace, be still,” he could have been speaking as readily to the agitated disciples as to the storm.  Either way, the result was the same.  (Mark 4:39)  The wind ceased.

Let us take to heart our own part in the solution: prayer and goodwill towards all.  It certainly can’t hurt and will more likely do a very great good!

Melissa Hayden is a Christian Science practitioner in Salem, OR. You can find more information and additional articles at this link.

5000 +

May 16, 2013

That’s the number of men the gospels report Jesus fed with just a few loaves and fishes.  (see Matt 14:21 for example)  The “+” are the additional women and children who were in attendance.  Nobody knows for sure how many people were there, but suffice it to say it was a whole lot!

Think about it.  Two of the gospels – Mark and Luke – indicate that Jesus suggested a little order by having them sit in groups of 50.  (see Mark 6:40 and Luke 9:14)  But other than that small reference, no indication is given as to how the food was distributed to this supersized crowd.  Yet, all four gospels tell us that everyone was satisfied and the leftovers were retrieved!

Doesn’t it follow that the same divine authority that provided enough food for all, also provided the means and method for seeing that it reached everyone in a timely and efficient manner?  Simply put, the human mind cannot conjure up meals for a multitude from so little, neither can it organize so vast a delivery with so few.  And Jesus knew that – which is why he didn’t rely on the human mind to pull it off: he relied on God, to whom all things are possible.  (see Matt 19:26 for example)

Isaiah says of God, “For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”  (chapter 55, verses 10 and 11)

Jesus knew that about his heavenly Father.  And he patiently strove to teach his disciples that stunning fact.  Their first response to the needs of the multitude was to suggest they be sent away to fend for themselves.  But the Master assured them every detail would be covered.  And it was.  How?

John’s Gospel says that Jesus gave thanks before having the disciples distribute the eats to the crowd.  (John 6:11)  That’s a pretty important clue as to why he was so successful: he thanked God before anything happened.  He thanked God knowing it would happen.  He thanked God knowing that God always provides, always cares for His beloved children.  As Mary Baker Eddy puts it, “Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need.”  (Science and Health 494:10)

That’s important for us to know too.  We don’t have to predetermine the unique individual aspects about how God will make it happen, but we do have to agree – and be grateful for – that fact that He will do it.  This is not a prayer of wishful thinking!  This is the joyful recognition that God’s love is ever active, ever-present, ever providing.  Here and now.  For me and you and all.

So, whether you’re feeding a multitude or just yourself, start with conscientiously and gratefully knowing that God’s in charge.  Then go about your business expecting it to be so.

Melissa Hayden is a Christian Science practitioner in Salem, OR. You can find more information and additional articles at this link.

Get over it.

May 9, 2013

You’ve heard that statement before: usually it’s a little bit derisive.  But it’s often also a wakeup call: hey!  It’s time to move on.

Jesus never spoke derisively to any of the people he healed – but his message was pretty clear: withered hand? Get over it.  Issue of blood?  Get over it.  Death?  Get over it.

The Master didn’t get caught up in the details of why that hand was withered, or why that person was dead.  Nor did he suggest any kind of therapy or recovery leading up to healing.  It was just “get over it.” And they did.  Every one of them.

And he taught his disciples that getting over it was a natural expression of God’s love.  In fact, after Jesus ascended, the disciples continued to spread that good news for decades.  The book of Acts is full of accounts of people getting over it at the hands of the followers of Jesus.

But that’s not a phenomenon associated with only that time in history.  Jesus made clear that we too could get over it through the same fundamental Christianity he preached and practiced.

19th century theologian, author, and healer, Mary Baker Eddy wrote: “It is not well to imagine that Jesus demonstrated the divine power to heal only for a select number or for a limited period of time, since to all mankind and in every hour, divine Love supplies all good.”  (see Science and Health, page 494)  All mankind is you and me.  Every hour is here and now.

We can get over whatever “it” is simply by trusting the presence of divine Love – a power that Jesus said is ever present.  (Luke 15:31)  So, let’s get over thinking our problems are too big for God, are too hard for Love, are too long-standing for Spirit.  Let’s get over not trusting Deity to tenderly, safely lift us up and out of fear, sin, and sickness.  Let’s get over looking everywhere else first and turn with our whole hearts to the same heavenly Father that Jesus loved and trusted.

As the Apostle Paul said, “Now is the accepted time…”  (2 Cor 6:2)

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.

There’s a story in the book of John, second chapter, that takes place very early in Jesus’ ministry.  The Master has just turned the water into wine, convincing his disciples that he’s the one to follow.  They all head to Jerusalem where Jesus finds the temple filled with salesmen, livestock, and bankers.  He runs them all out, thoroughly disrupting and displeasing them.  When asked what this was a sign of, Jesus responded obliquely – as was often the case.  He said, “destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.”  Unbeknownst to them, he was referring to his body, not the building in which they stood.

Is there a correlation between the action of removing the riff raff from the temple and his reference to his body?  Let me answer by telling another Bible story.

When Jesus arrived at Jairus’ house to heal his daughter – whom he’d been told was now dead – he was greeted by a great crowd wailing and weeping her demise.  (see Mark 5:38)  When he suggested she’s only sleeping, they laughed him to scorn.  He put them all out – and healed the little girl.

Again, is there a correlation between the dismissal of the noise makers and the restoration of Jairus’ daughter?  Okay, one more biblical reference!

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus admonished his followers to “take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on.”  (see Matt 6:25)  In essence, he was telling them, “don’t get preoccupied with all the details and drama of human existence – they only distract you from what’s really going on and who you really are.”  His solution was this:  “Instead, seek God’s righteousness and His kingdom, and everything you need will be lovingly and completely provided.”  (ibid v. 33)

So, yes!  There is a correlation!  St. Paul said, “know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost…therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

Now, to be clear, since Jesus said, “take no thought…what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink…” and “not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man…”  (Matt 15:11)  Doesn’t it follow that glorifying God in your body is not about diet but thought?  Not about food but attitude?

Removing the merchandising wailers from consciousness – gossip, whining, blame, fear, preoccupation with self, etc. – will so improve the condition of the body, the temple, that you can get on with your business of worshiping God which is, indeed, the best way to glorify Him.

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.