The Power of Two

June 27, 2013

I could just have easily said “the power of four,” or “the power of nine.”  That’s because this particular post is not about quantity but quality – specifically, the quality of ever presence.

Have you ever doubted that two would be there when you needed it?  When you sat down to balance your checkbook, did you wonder if you could only go so far because there might not be an available two?  Of course not.  Everybody knows that numbers are not things but thoughts, concepts.  And no matter what you’re doing, or where you’re doing it, or who you’re doing it with, every number is available all the time.  No questions asked.  And what’s more, the processes by which numbers are made use of mathematically are also always available.  Just because you don’t know how to do trigonometry doesn’t mean those rules for doing it are not present or valid.

Do you have to feel the presence of two before you can take advantage of it?  Does not feeling two limit your day?  Again, of course not!  Two just is.  At all times and under all circumstances.  It’s never not quite two.  It’s always dependably, consistently two.  And we expect it to remain so for eternity.

So, all of this is pretty rudimental.  But I wanted to start with something that we all can agree on, and then correlate it to something that seems harder to grasp.

That would be Love: divine Love, another name for God.

Every one of the facts concerning two listed above also applies to Love: always available, always the same, always active, no matter what.  And just like you don’t have to “feel” two in order to effectively make use of it, neither do you need to feel God’s love in order to be assured that it is indeed present and operational.

Why is it then, that not feeling divine Love seems so demoralizing?  The Apostle Paul explained it this way: “the carnal mind is enmity against God.”  (Rom 8:7)  In other words, the tendency of the carnal or fleshly, human mind is to be convinced that God is distant, or worse, missing.  And to the extent that we agree with that terrible false premise, does our life, health, and happiness suffer.  Would could be more disheartening than believing that infinite Love doesn’t actually exist?

However, just like two is always two-ing, Love is always loving.  Just like two is always available no matter how complex the problem, nor how many need to use it at any given time, divine Love is also universally and impartially available, ever acting, ever helping, ever loving – you, me, all.

The bottom line is, don’t trust your human sense of where and what God is.  Trust the spiritual facts as explained in the Bible and as especially lived by Jesus.  His entire career and ministry successfully exemplified the ever present, ever saving, ever loving power of God as Love.

So remember: if two is not missing, neither is Love.  Let yourself be twoed!  I mean loved.

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 may recognize that as the words of the father to his elder child in Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son.  (Luke 15:11-32)  And although he didn’t use those words with the younger, his actions said as much: he gave him half his estate without question, and fully restored him with all the family perks when he returned.

It’s pretty commonly accepted that the father in this parable represents God. And between the two sons, many of the negative traits of humanity are clearly put forth: pride, greed, jealousy, sensuality, dishonesty, disrespect, anger, and on and on…  Yet the message is, it doesn’t matter what stupid or unkind things you have done, my kingdom and all its benefits are always yours.  You can’t leave it or be kicked out of it.  You don’t have to earn it or prove your way into it.  You just have to accept it and realize that you are an heir.  And then act like it!

What does that mean?  The elder son actually had some heir characteristics already: he was a good steward of his father’s land and was careful with its assets.  And after the Prodigal “came to himself” he took on the qualities of humility and persistence.  A true heir follows in the footsteps of his father: he emulates the consideration and authority, while also accepting the responsibility and requirements that go along with the job.

The Apostle Paul says, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.”  (Rom 8:16,17) Paul is proclaiming that each one of us is a an heir, even a joint-heir with Christ, of our dear heavenly Father.  That is an amazing position of stature, one which we must claim and then behave accordingly.

One last point: doesn’t this story of the Prodigal Son, in which both wayward children are dearly loved and included regardless of their actions, completely contradict the story of Adam and Eve getting kicked out of the garden?  Doesn’t the inclusive tenderness of the father in the parable totally reverse the arbitrary insistence of the Lord God in Eden?  Think about it: Jesus knew God so well – so intimately – that he called him Abba, daddy.  Would he have shared this parable with his followers – this story that gives a new view of God, if that new view was wrong?

Jesus presented his Father, your Father, my Father as the only Father, the only God.  The one who says to all of us all the time, “all that I have is thine.”  Isn’t it worth considering what that really means?

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.

Harmless as Doves

June 13, 2013

That is the attitude of thought Jesus commanded his disciples to put on as they went into the towns and villages ahead of him.  He prefaced that by acknowledging they would be as sheep among wolves, but he constrained them from being wolves themselves.  (Matt 10:16)  Instead, he told them to be wiser than serpents.

What a combination!  The Master was asking them to face intense opposition, possibly even physical danger, with wisdom and harmlessness.  Jesus’ own life was the epitome of those two qualities, so he knew it to be possible.  And he had thoroughly prepared his students to preach and heal in his name and nature.

He said to them, “He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.”  (v. 40)  In other words, God Himself is compelling and blessing this work.  Therefore, you can expect it to be successful, even under such daunting odds.

There is a corollary here.  When God directs you – when you are about your Father’s business – wisdom and harmlessness are sufficient to sustain and protect you.  That seems to run counter to how it works in the world.  And even Jesus’ crucifixion would seem to say otherwise.

Yet, what really was the outcome of that horrific event at Golgotha?  Resurrection, ascension, Pentecost, and Christianity.  Ultimately, had Jesus avoided his captors, or if he and his disciples had fought back, possibly injuring or even killing them, what would have happened to his ministry?  You and I probably wouldn’t have a clue about it today.

None of us will ever have to go through all that, but his example of wisdom and harmlessness can, nonetheless, serve as an effective and useful armor under all circumstances.

Joy and patience are natural dove-like qualities along with being inoffensive, and likewise not taking offense.  Wisdom is thoughtful consideration and right reasoning, knowing when to hold your ground, or when to shake the dust off your feet and move on!  Mary Baker Eddy adds, “The serpent of God’s creating is neither subtle nor poisonous, but is a wise idea, charming in its adroitness…”  (Science and Health, p. 515)  Good qualities to embrace!

Jesus’ disciples finally understood this directive and went on to forward his word and works “into all the world,” overcoming countless obstacles. The book of Acts is full of evidence of this.

Surely, you and I in our day-to-day activities can put on the attitudes of wisdom and harmlessness and bring about a revolution of peace, affection – and progress!  Don’t you think that will lead to better productivity and usefulness?

Here’s a verse from a great poem by Mary Baker Eddy called Love: “If thou the bending reed wouldst break by thought or word unkind, pray that his spirit you partake, who loved and healed mankind: Seek holy thoughts and heavenly strain, that make men one in love remain.”  You can read the rest of it here.

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 read today, considering clicking the “add me” button.

Lesser of two evils.

June 6, 2013

You’ve heard the saying.  It’s where you have to choose between two not very good options.  The decision is presumably fraught with pitfalls, but something must be done.  And the human condition seems to be full of such problems.  Or is it?

What if there is a third option that dismisses the whole issue?

When Jesus was in the synagogue one Sabbath, there was a man with a withered hand.  The options seemed to be: heal on the Sabbath and break the law or tell the man to come back some other time.  After all, he’d lived with it this long, what’s one more day?  Either one might have been okay, and he certainly wouldn’t have gotten into too much trouble.  But…

Jesus chose neither.  He healed the man, restoring his withered hand to normal usefulness, “like as the other.”  And he challenged th0se who condemned him for healing on the Sabbath to have at least as much kindness for a man as they did for their livestock. (see Matt 12:10-13 for example)

The Master knew that this dear man had a right to be whole NOW.  Why wait, when the power to make him well was immediately available?

Or what about that fainting multitude?  Better send ’em home since there’s not enough food here.  At least those were the two evils the disciples saw.  But Jesus had a third option.  Feed them.  What?  Yes, feed them.  All of them.  (see Mark 6:34-44)

The gospels are full of many such stories where Jesus simply dismissed all of the seemingly practical human circumstances and, instead, provided a divinely natural outcome.  He blessed when others condemned.  He lifted when others put down.  He healed when others said health was impossible.

What an example for us.  Instead of assuming that the pitiful and painful are the only possibilities, we can seek a higher and holier solution.  It requires that we lift our eyes – and our thought – to see what God sees.

Jesus, who worked as his Father worked (John 5:17), saw safety now.  Health now.  Life now.  Redemption now.  Harmony now.  And he said of his followers – you and me – we could and would do the same.  (John 14:12)  Now.

That means we don’t have to choose the lesser of two evils.  That we can find a solution that rises above the current events of human existence and do it now, here.  It involves trusting that your heavenly Father is watching out for you as tenderly as He was watching out for Jesus.  And providing you with the same consistent good.

Don’t think you’re stuck with limited and declining health or finances or happiness or anything.  Jesus certainly didn’t see it that way.  Why should we?

Mary Baker Eddy explained it this way, “Rise in the strength of Spirit to resist all that is unlike good.  God has made man capable of this, and nothing can vitiate the ability and power divinely bestowed on man.”  (Science and Health, page 393)

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