Who do you love?

February 27, 2015

Spouse, kids, perhaps extended family. Maybe a few close friends.  Pretty easy to put a list together.

Okay.  What about enemies?  What about strangers?  What about people of other religions or of no religion?  Or people of the other political party?  Or those who don’t look or sound like you?  Or don’t live where or how you live?

What about that person who offended you?  Or whose parents offended your parents?  Or whose country offended your country?

The reasons to not love someone are pretty extensive, aren’t they?

Jesus said, “If you love those who love you, is that some big deal?  Even sinners do that.”  (Luke 6:32)  He demanded something more, something fuller, something like how God loved him, and he loved us.

What does it mean to love everybody and why is it important?  After all, there are over 7 billion people.  Must we love them all?

In a word, yes.  This is a love that is unconditional.  It loves regardless of circumstances.  It loves whether one is loved back.  It loves even in the face of hatred, violence, and death. This is the kind of love God had for the world when He sent His beloved son.  (John 3:16) And it’s the kind of love Jesus had for the world when he went to the cross.  It’s the kind of love that’s expected of us.

Tall order.

But we can make a lot of progress if we start now.  Be kinder.  Be more forgiving.  Be more helpful.  Pray more.  But more than that, challenge all of the thoughts that tell you someone is not lovable – for any reason.   And then love them anyway.

Don’t you think this will go a long way to making a more lovely and loving world?  And who doesn’t want that?

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.

Lulu’s dream

February 16, 2015

She was tired and fell into an uneasy sleep.  Tossing and turning, she awoke with a start and realized she was late. With no time to go over her equations or review her math book, Lulu flew out the door.

The drive-thru at her favorite espresso stand was jammed so she parked, ran inside, and got in line.  She could hear the cashier three customers ahead of her: “that will be $5.  Out of $20.  $5’s your change.”


Next customer: “that will be $5. Out of $5.  $20’s your change.”

What? again…

Now it was her turn: “that will be $5.  Out of $10.  You owe me $5.”  “Wait a minute,” Lulu said, “you owe me $5.”  “That’s not what it says here,” the cashier said.  “The register generates the numbers, I just collect the cash.  Next.”

Pulling out of the driveway, she puzzled over this odd occurrence.  She accelerated – or tried to – but the car sputtered and died.  Out of gas.  She had just filled up, and should be getting at least 25 miles per gallon.  But this was more like 1/2 mile per tank.  What?

The auto-club driver gave her 5 gallons to make it to the gas station.  He told her it was $2.50 per gallon.  She owed him $1000.  “That’s too many zeros,” she said.  “Pay, or walk,” he said.

She walked into work perplexed.  Lulu’s co-worker was nodding her head at some numbers on the board.  She read them aloud, “7,4,1,9,6,3,2,8,4.  They’re in perfect order, but I have this 10 left over… ”  Lulu rolled her eyes and said under her breath, “there is no math.”

There was a sharp ringing sound – Lulu’s alarm clock.  Oh, thank goodness, it was only a dream.  Lulu made sure she reviewed her equations before she got out of bed: 0 x 0 = 0, 1 x 0 = 0 all the way up to 12 x 12 = 144.  Then she spent time reading in her math book.  She certainly wasn’t going to be the cause of the collapse of math today, no sirree.

Aren’t you grateful that’s not the way it really works?

Lulu is no more responsible for the operation of the laws of math than you or I are.  Nor could not having time to review those laws, in any way impinge upon their usefulness or activity.

On the contrary, the laws of mathematics are consistent and demonstrable regardless of who knows them or uses them – or doesn’t know them or doesn’t use them.

The laws of God are the same way.  They are consistently universal and impartial in their operation and availability.  Nothing you do – or don’t do – effects any aspect of their eternal action.

Jesus raised the dead, fed the multitudes, healed the sick, and walked on the water, all through the ever present laws of God.  He included everyone in their operation when he said, “Our Father which art in heaven…”  (Matt 6:9)  And then he promised those laws would always operate (John 14:12).

Today, take as much time as you need to affirm your own place in God’s universe.  Let your prayers embrace God’s allness and your relationship with Him; the unchanging power of good and your expression of it.  But remember that your prayers don’t design your day – only God can do that.  Your prayers reveal your day, the reliably harmonious day of God’s creating.  Just like math and numbers never change regardless of our attention to them – or lack thereof.  And that’s not a dream.

This is part 2 of the Lulu saga.  To see part 1, click 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’re reading, click the “add me” button.

O ye of little faith.

February 8, 2015

Jesus only said that to his disciples, not the multitudes in general.  They were his students, his dear friends and closest companions.  They knew him the best, and even could do some of the works that he did.  They had the deepest understanding of his theology of anyone.  And yet, he knew – of all people – they should have more faith.

Sometimes though, much of what Jesus taught them seemed like theory.  He talked of things, and did things they simply couldn’t comprehend.  And, since he was there to do everything for them, they just didn’t quite connect the dots the way he’d like them to.  He was going to be around forever, right?  They had plenty of time!

All too soon, he was taken from them.  And it felt very permanent.  The disciples even feared for their own lives.  Going back to fishing seemed like a practical – and perhaps the only – option.  Yet, when Jesus presented himself to them, risen and alive, after the crucifixion, his teachings were no longer theory but demonstrable Christianity.  And he expected them to go into all the world and do as he had done.  (Mark 16:15)  Talk about a job requiring a lot of faith!

Mary Baker Eddy explains it this way, in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. She writes, “His resurrection was also their resurrection. It helped them to raise themselves and others from spiritual dulness and blind belief in God into the perception of infinite possibilities.”  p.34

Is our faith too little?  Jesus’ resurrection was not just for his disciples but for all mankind, and for all time.  The very fact that he overcame the last enemy (see 1 Cor. 15:26) and expected us to do the same (see John 14:12) indicates that our spiritual dullness and blind belief in God can melt away too.  The Apostle Paul was convinced that Jesus’ resurrection was real and repeatable and it was a major piece of his preaching.  You’ll find it throughout many of his letters.

How are you understanding and practicing the resurrection in your life?  How are you overcoming and transforming your lack of faith in Jesus’ word and works?  How are you growing beyond reading the words to proving their principle?

When Jesus said “O ye of little faith” to his disciples, it wasn’t so much a criticism as a means of waking them up to accept the possibility of what Jesus was doing.  Let that same wake-up call be like a resurrection to you, helping you to shake off the routine and rise into the heavenly fresh; to look away from the fear-induced impossibility, lifting your eyes to the all-things-are-possible-to-Love reality.

O ye of little faith is for those who do not know the risen Christ.  Get to know him and let your life be filled with his salvation.  Let your faith make you whole.

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.