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Life, not death.

October 31, 2013

The three-days of Halloween/All Saints’ Day/All Souls’ Day are a celebration of death.  Okay, so that’s a simplification.  But if death is removed from the mix, there’s nothing to commemorate – either liturgically or in scary costumes.

Jesus said “let the dead bury their dead.”  (Matt 8:22)  And also, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”  (John 10:10)

When Jesus was crucified his own disciples thought his ministry was over.  They knew he was gone for good and that all his – and their – hard work, was for naught.  Even though he had warned them of both his crucifixion and his resurrection, they simply didn’t comprehend what had just happened.  But Jesus returned to comfort them, admonish them, and direct them to a higher viewpoint.  And they got it.  With his ascension, they shared the good news with the whole world.

The apostle Paul writes in Romans, “to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”  (8:6)  Let us take his words to heart and celebrate the abundant and eternal life that our dear Master explained and exemplified.  Let these next three days – and every day – be about life, not death.

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

Life is eternal but…

October 24, 2013

…you have to die first.  What?!  That doesn’t really make any sense, does it?  Jesus actually said, “whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.”  (John 11:12)  And again, “If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.”  (John 8:51)

There’s a principle called Occam’s Razor which states that the hypothesis with the fewest assumptions should be selected: in essence, pick the simplest answer.

The simplest answer here is that Jesus meant what he said.  Just because it appears that everybody dies let’s not assume that Jesus was kidding.

The Master gave some very clear instructions: 1) live and believe in me and 2) keep my saying.  If we’re seeing death, if we’re dying, maybe we need to do a better job of obeying those instructions.  Maybe we need to stop judging the veracity of his words by whether or not they fit our viewpoint.  Maybe we just need to do what he said.  All the way, all the time.

  • Love your neighbor as yourself
  • Cast the beam out of your own eye
  • Be reconciled to your brother
  • Seek God’s righteousness first
  • Don’t worry about food or clothing
  • Savor the things of God, rather than the things of men
  • Go and do thou likewise
  • Heal the sick
  • Raise the dead

These are just a few of the things he directed us to do.  And then he said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”  (John 14:15)

Let’s not make the words convenient for our lifestyles.  Let’s live the message so clearly that we can say with him, “Life is eternal.”  And know why.

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.

Humanitarian

October 18, 2013

Dictionary.com defines humanitarian this way: “having concern for or helping to improve the welfare and happiness of people.” There are many wonderful organizations in the world working hard to do just that: take care of their fellow-man through humanitarian efforts.  Countless volunteers, hundreds of thousands of hours, millions of dollars put forth to meet the needs of those who are struggling.  They reach out here, and around the world.  I am both a participant and a financial contributor to several such organizations and greatly appreciate their selfless work.

But more than the time and the money I put into those programs, I’m striving to gain deeper insight into – and thus better emulate – the Great Humanitarian, Jesus the Christ.  His organization was small, though its impact is now worldwide.  His budget was non-existent, but he and the vast multitudes who followed him, never did without.  His pool of volunteers was scant, but they accomplished a great deal under his leadership, and even more once he was gone.  The amount of time he spent was constant, with no vacation, no break.

Yet, the biggest contribution The Master put into all of this was not so much the doing, but the knowing.  Jesus knew who God was.  And he therefore knew that nothing was impossible to, for, or with his heavenly Father.  (see Mark 10:27 for example)  This enabled him to be absolutely certain that 5 loaves and 2 fishes would feed more than 5000 people – and with leftovers, or to safely assure a ruler of the synagogue that the life of his dead daughter would be fully restored, or to easily lift up a man waiting for swimming angels to walk after 38 years of invalidism.  His “brand” of humanitarian aid was Christianity itself!

Jesus told his followers, essentially, “I’ve done all this as an expression of God’s love.  God loves you too, and expects you to do the same things – and even greater things.”  (see John 14:12)  I can’t explain all that that means, but I’m sure it’s greater than the monthly donations I’m currently making and the regular volunteering I do.

There is a little statement in a little book that gives me some wonderful insights : “A Christian Scientist is a humanitarian; he is benevolent, forgiving, long-suffering, and seeks to overcome evil with good.”  (Manual of The Mother Church page 46)  Just as it was with Jesus whose knowing guided his doing, this directive guides my doing, too.  More than that though, it also guides my knowing!  Because those adjectives aren’t just about my actions but my thoughts!

You see, if I can actually control my thoughts so that they “help to improve the welfare and happiness of people” according to the Dictionary.com definition stated earlier, I’m a lot closer to obeying Jesus’ command to do greater works than he.

Wouldn’t that kind of humanitarian aid revolutionize the world!

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.

Not long ago, I made an early morning run to the airport.  It was very dark and VERY foggy.  I imagined I would be the only one on the road at that hour (4 a.m.) and might find it to be slow going, or maybe even no going.  There were, amazingly, a smattering of fellow travelers headed in the same direction.  I could consistently see two or four red tail lights in the murkiness ahead of me and about the same number of obscured headlights barely visible in my rearview mirror. Reassured by them both fore and aft, I made good progress towards my destination.  If one or the other faded away, very quickly a new bright spot appeared.  I was never left alone.

So, here’s the point: There will always be someone who’s light you can see ahead of you, pointing the way.  They’re not driving your car, they’re not governing your choices, but they’ve travelled some of the road you’re on and can be a beacon of sorts.  And if they leave your route, another guide will be made plain.

And there will always be someone behind you trusting your light.  You’re not driving their car, you’re not governing their choices, but you can shine a bit of light on the path they’re about to travel on.  And if they choose another way, your progress is not hindered.

Jesus explained it this way.  He said (John 8:12) “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”  But he didn’t leave it there.  He made plain to those who heard his word, “Ye are the light of the world.”  (Matt 5:14)

It doesn’t matter how foggy your life is right now, or how encased in darkness.  There is always a light to guide you. That light is the eternal Christ, forever shining, forever true.   And even in your blackest hour, you still have something to offer that will help to clear the mist for someone else.

Mary Baker Eddy offers this sweet reminder: “Remember, thou canst be brought into no condition, be it ever so severe, where Love has not been before thee and where its tender lesson is not awaiting thee.”  (Miscellany page 149)

It’s always darkest before the dawn.  You can see the light, you can be the light.

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

The Signs of the Times

October 4, 2013

Here’s a link to a podcast for the series “What is a sentinel?” on JSH-Online.  Hope you enjoy this diversion from the usual blog post.

http://sentinel.christianscience.com/shared/view/2kc692zo?s=e

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