Good Gifts

December 26, 2013

In Luke, Jesus tells his followers “If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone?  or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (10:11-13)

Building on that, Mary Baker Eddy adds, “When a hungry heart petitions the divine Father-Mother God for bread, it is not given a stone, — but more grace, obedience, and love.  If this heart, humble and trustful, faithfully asks divine Love to feed it with the bread of heaven, health, holiness, it will be conformed to a fitness to receive the answer to its desire; then will flow into it the ‘river of His pleasure,’ the tributary of divine Love, and great growth in Christian Science will follow, — even that joy which finds one’s own in another’s good.”  (Miscellaneous Writings p. 127)

Both statements show that God’s good gifts are ever present, and already bestowed upon us.  Let us accept them by opening our hearts to receive them – by redirecting thought distracted by discord – to see and recognize their immediate fruition.

These are the gifts that keep on giving.

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.

What child is this?

December 19, 2013

No, I’m not thinking of the song, but asking the question literally.  What child are we honoring at this season?  Certainly we all know the story of the birth of Jesus over two millennia ago, recounted in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.  Of him, John writes that “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son…” (see chapter 3, verse 16)

Many children were born at the same time.  But it is this one child, this harbinger of hope and peace, whose birth we celebrate.  We know nothing of the actual delivery of Jesus, only that it called wise men and shepherds and caused angels to announce its glorious promise.

And what is the promise of this child?  Certainly Jesus was not a warrior who came to deliver men then and now from dictators or occupiers.  Yet his power – the godliness which animated him, to quote Mary Baker Eddy – freed all mankind throughout all time from the oppression of sin, disease, and death, today included.  You and me included.  (Science and Health page 26)

Is that the child we are acknowledging?

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.  (2 Cor. 9:16)

Merry Christmas to you all.

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

My cat and the picture hook

December 12, 2013

I have a cat – several, actually – but this story is about one in particular.  I recently removed a picture from my office to a temporary new location.  The wall is now completely bare except for the picture hook.  My cat has been fascinated by the hook which – apparently – looks like a bug on the wall from her feline perspective.  She’s climbed on the chair close by to swat it and sniff it, not just once but multiple times.  Each time, it’s still just a picture hook.   But she is not deterred.

While this may appear to be a particularly cat-like idiosyncrasy, it’s also very much a part of human nature.   Look at this story from the Bible book of John: Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, has come to Jesus in secret.  He wants to have a conversation with The Master about spiritual things but is caught off-guard by Jesus’ statement “ye must be born again.”  Picturing a horrendous re-entry through the birth canal, he asks, “can [a man] enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?” (chapter 3:1-12)

That picture of the human process preoccupies Nicodemus such that he can’t grasp the larger significance of the profound message of spiritual new birth.  Jesus chides him with these words: “If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?”

How often do we focus – to our distinct disadvantage – on the human pictures and procedures, and completely miss the spiritual opportunities that are right in front of us?  How often are we riveted by whatever the issue may be, instead of lifting thought to a more godlike orientation? Salvation doesn’t come by mucking about in the problem, but by more consistently – and more humbly – turning to God for His direction and guidance.

That’s really in keeping with the First Commandment: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”  (Exodus 20:3)  A passage in Deuteronomy makes it even clearer: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”  (chapter 6:5)  It’s hard to love God that much if you’re looking away from Him at whatever is not Him.

Mary Baker Eddy offers this observation: “The sharp experiences of belief in the supposititious life of matter, as well as our disappointments and ceaseless woes, turn us like tired children to the arms of divine Love.”  (Science and Health page 322)

I am happy to say that, just like my cat, you will eventually learn that there is no fulfillment in continuing to believe that the picture hook is a bug.  Life, real life – God’s Life – is much more satisfying than anything else you can do.  Let’s start there!

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


December 5, 2013

Are you struggling with unfinished business?  Do you have relationship issues that don’t seem to have a solution?  Are your finances not quite secure?  What about health conditions that seem to linger?  Did you know that all of these (yes, every one) can be resolved here and now through prayer: the kind of prayer Jesus prayed!

Jesus’ prayer was not asking God if it was His will that the multitude should starve or eat, or that the ill should die or live.  The Master’s prayer was an affirmation that God’s power had already fed the multitude, already healed the sick, already raised the dead.  And then he showed that divine fact to be true in his ministrations – he lived his conviction.  The resolution was immediate and it was always good – always in mankind’s favor.

He said of himself, “I am the way…”  (John 14:6)  That’s not just the way once we die, but the way here and now.  And not just the way to live a life of goodness, but to live a healthy and happy one too.  In the same chapter of John, Jesus goes on to say, “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do.”  (vs. 12)

These two powerful statements show that believing in him and following him in the way means we can legitimately expect to see and do his healing works today.  We can expect to resolve all of those scary, painful, limiting scenarios today.  In fact, it’s already happening.  Countless people are being healed of countless conditions by trusting that Jesus actually meant what he said.

Everything can – must – be resolved in “the way” that our Savior told us to do it.  Although it may seem supernatural or miraculous, it’s actually a “very present help” as explained by the Psalmist. (Ps 46:1)

You don’t have to keep putting up with those problems.  You don’t have to wonder if you’ll ever be well, or out of debt, or happy.  Mary Baker Eddy points out, “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.” (Science and Health page 494)

All mankind is you and me and every hour is now.  Let’s resolve to trust God and seek healing – and let’s expect results – just as Jesus did!  Let’s see every issue resolved now.

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.