November 28, 2013

On this day of Thanksgiving, let’s remember that there is plenty: plenty of good, plenty of love, plenty of grace, plenty of salvation.  The abundance of these “plentys” are guarantees that there will also be plenty of everything else we need.  Acknowledging – and being grateful for – the fullness of God’s creation helps us to see and experience that goodness and fullness, here and now – and forever.  It’s as close as our willingness to put God first and our thanks that He is indeed First.  That simple act reveals the already presence of all that we need.

This is the day which the Lord hath made.  We will rejoice and be glad in it.  Psalm 118

Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need.  Mary Baker Eddy

Have a blessed Thanksgiving.

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.

A better story

November 16, 2013

There’s an e-mail circulating now that tells a feel-good tale.  It’s inspiring, it causes one to look inward, and vow to do better.  But it’s not all there is.  I share it here in its entirety, and then tell a better story.

A few years ago a group of salesmen went to a regional sales convention in Chicago. They had assured their wives that they would be home in plenty of time for Friday night’s dinner. In their rush, with tickets and briefcases, one of these salesmen inadvertently kicked over a table which held a display of apples. Apples flew everywhere. Without stopping or looking back, they all managed to reach the plane in time for their nearly-missed boarding…

  ALL BUT ONE!!! He paused, took a deep breath, got in touch with his feelings and experienced a twinge of compassion for the girl whose apple stand had been overturned.

  He told his buddies to go on without him, waved good-bye, told one of them to call his wife when they arrived at their home destination and explain his taking a later flight. Then he returned to the terminal where the apples were all over the terminal floor.

  He was glad he did. The 16-year-old girl was totally blind! She was softly crying, tears running down her cheeks in frustration, and at the same time helplessly groping for her spilled produce as the crowd swirled about her; no one stopping and no one to care for her plight.

  The salesman knelt on the floor with her, gathered up the apples, put them back on the table and helped organize her display. As he did this, he noticed that many of them had become battered and bruised; these he set aside in another basket.

  When he had finished, he pulled out his wallet and said to the girl, “Here, please take this $40 for the damage we did. Are you okay?”  She nodded through her tears. He continued on with, “I hope we didn’t spoil your day too badly.”

  As the salesman started to walk away, the bewildered blind girl called out to him, “Mister….” He paused and turned to look back into those blind eyes. She continued, “Are you Jesus?”

 He stopped in mid-stride …. and he wondered. He gently went back and said, “No, I am nothing like Jesus – He is good, kind, caring, loving, and would never have bumped into your display in the first place.

  “The girl gently nodded: “I only asked because I prayed for Jesus to help me gather the apples. He sent you to help me, so you are like Him – only He knows who will do His will. Thank you for hearing His call, Mister.”

  Then slowly he made his way to catch the later flight with that question burning and bouncing about in his soul: “Are you Jesus?”

  Do people mistake you for Jesus?

  That’s our destiny, is it not? To be so much like Jesus that people cannot tell the difference as we live and interact with a world that is blind to His love, life and grace.

  If we claim to know Him, we should live, walk and act as He would. Knowing Him is more than simply quoting Scripture and going to church. It’s actually living the Word as life unfolds day to day.

If we really are to live our lives like Jesus – to live, walk, and act as he would – we must tell this story more accurately.  Jesus would have healed the girl of her blindness and not missed his plane!  Nor would any of the apples have been bruised, in fact passersby would have gladly bought them.  Isn’t that really what Jesus expected from us?  That we would do his works and even greater?  (see John 14:12)

Mary Baker Eddy explains how we can more consistently live up to that highest expectation.  She writes:

“The sculptor turns from the marble to his model in order to perfect his conception. We are all sculptors, working at various forms, moulding and chiseling thought. What is the model before mortal mind? Is it imperfection, joy, sorrow, sin, suffering? Have you accepted the mortal model? Are you reproducing it? Then you are haunted in your work by vicious sculptors and hideous forms. Do you not hear from all mankind of the imperfect model? The world is holding it before your gaze continually. The result is that you are liable to follow those lower patterns, limit your lifework, and adopt into your experience the angular outline and deformity of matter models.  To remedy this, we must first turn our gaze in the right direction, and then walk that way. We must form perfect models in thought and look at them continually, or we shall never carve them out in grand and noble lives. Let unselfishness, goodness, mercy, justice, health, holiness, love — the kingdom of heaven — reign within us, and sin, disease, and death will diminish until they finally disappear.”  (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures page 248)

Let’s tell the truth about what it means to live like Jesus.  Let’s tell a better story.

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.

The wrong God.

November 7, 2013

You’ll never believe the awful story I read this morning.  A parent – someone who should know better – put a very dangerous, but enticing, object in the middle of a playground, and told the kids “don’t touch it or you’ll die.”  Well, kids are kids.  And you can imagine what happened next!  Yep, the kids not only touched it, but sure enough they died.  The parents’ response?  “I warned them.  They got what they deserved.”  You can read it here: Genesis 2:17, Genesis 3

Okay, so if you went to the link you realize it’s a Bible story.  But it’s one that forms the basis for our views of God and man.  If a human parent were to do what God is said to have done in that story, he could very likely go to jail.  And should.  Yet we are willing to attribute some very awful qualities to the Almighty that we wouldn’t tolerate in ourselves.  Why is that?

Job asks, “Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker?”  (chapter 4:17)  If we truly believe that God is the cruel and arbitrary ruler portrayed in that Scriptural tale, what can our answer be to Job’s question?

The Apostle John tells us that God is love.  (I John 4:8)  And James describes “the Father of lights” as having “no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”  (chapter 1:17) Jesus assures his followers that his heavenly Father “maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”  (Matt 5:44)    James again declares, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.”  (chapter 1:13)

That story in Genesis (which is only an allegory, by the way) is not the only version of the creation of man.  In the very first chapter of Genesis is a more enlightened viewpoint.  One that presents both God and man as more in keeping with spiritual reality.  Here, man is said to be made in the image and likeness of a God that knows, sees, and creates only good.  That’s certainly not the case with the second story.  And both stories can’t be true.

When we look around at destruction and violence and ask “why would God allow that?” we’re thinking of the Adam and Eve God who punishes and condemns.  But the real God, the God that actually loves His creation and cares for it without variableness, the God Jesus knew and followed, is not the creator of evil nor the tempter of man.

Mary Baker Eddy explains in Science and Health “It is our ignorance of God, the divine Principle, which produces apparent discord, and the right understanding of Him restores harmony.”  (page 390)  This is a straightforward and doable means – a prayer-filled and heartfelt way – of redeeming both the situation and our viewpoint of the divine.  And it heals.

Don’t let the wrong God govern you.  There is only one God and He is good, infinitely good.  You are the image and likeness of invariable Love.

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.