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Invisible light

June 17, 2017

Scientists tell us that only a small spectrum of light is visible to the human eye – what we know as the colors of the rainbow.  Although that seems infinite to us, there are many other kinds of light, like microwaves, and radio waves, and ultra violet, that are not visible but are very present and very active. (click here for an explanation)

The Bible says that “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” (1st John 1:5)  When we’re struggling with things like sin or sickness, it may seem that God’s light is invisible, that it’s not reaching the darkness of our problems. Yet, just like those unseen waves mentioned above, the light of Love is ever active bringing comfort and healing.  The Apostle James explains it this way, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (Chapter 1, verse 17)  Those good and perfect gifts are freely given to all, and bring to light whatever needs to be resolved, along with the ability to do it.

Mary Baker Eddy wrote in Science and Health that “as mortals gain more correct views of God and man, multitudinous objects of creation, which before were invisible, will become visible.” (Page 264)  Getting to know God better, learning more about His perfect nature, is the light that reveals the perfect nature of His creation, including man.

Speaking to his followers, Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:16)  He knew that generosity, kindness, and honesty – and many other noble acts – were the reflected light of God’s own goodness.  Although his Heavenly Father may have been invisible, the effect of His love was – and is – always present in many visible ways.

The Psalmist summed it up this way: “In thy light shall we see light.”  (Psalm 36:9)

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.

No regrets

January 8, 2017

Especially at the start of a new year, the tendency can be to look back and feel bad about something that happened – or didn’t happen; something you wished you’d said or done, or perhaps wished you hadn’t said or done.  It’s natural to review one’s decisions and circumstances for the purpose of making them better.  Dwelling on them, however, tends to impede progress.

A desire for improvement can certainly be fueled by not wanting to make the same mistakes, and an examination of “what went wrong” is useful if its purpose is to bring about a better future.  Wishful or wistful thinking and regret, however, often tend to have the opposite effect: keeping one unproductively stuck in the past.

A good example is of Christ Jesus following the resurrection.  He appropriately chastised his disciples for being afraid and doubting what he had told them. But he didn’t rebuke them for not saving his life.  Instead, he encouraged them to come out from hiding and share the good news of life eternal – news he had equipped them to tell. (See Mark 16)

While our own missed opportunities may not be so dramatic, they certainly can be as consuming as they were for the disciples before Jesus opened their eyes to the wonderful possibilities the future held.  And it’s likely that we may have some wrongs to right somewhere in our past.  But the best way to do it is to look forward and upward.

The author of Hebrews writes “…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us…”  (12:1)  In other words, we all have things that would distract or even waylay us, but instead of giving in to them, let us be ready to tackle what lies ahead, knowing that we are capable and willing.  This certainly doesn’t mean we should ignore unresolved difficulties.  But it does mean that we should face them with the expectancy of healing, and hope for a brighter tomorrow.

Jesus never told any of his followers, “sorry, you’re just stuck with it until you get to heaven.”  What he did say was, “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt 3:2).  We can expect that our regrets and sorrows, our shames and unfinished business can be made right, right here because the remedy is at hand.  That holier viewpoint of our past is a guarantee that whatever appears to hold us back or down will dissolve as it comes in contact with the light of Christ.

This sweet and tender assurance of hope and health and harmony is the natural consequence of knowing that “all things work together for good to them that love God…”  (Rom 8:28)  And though it seems that loving God may be a caveat for this progressive outcome, the fact is, loving God is what you and I are designed to do.  Acknowledging it, giving it more attention than our unhappy past, simply reveals the goodness of the kingdom of heaven that’s already at work on our behalf.

And that’s a pretty good reason for no regrets.

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.

At breakfast recently, a couple came and sat at the table next to ours.  They reviewed their menus, placed their order, and then the husband picked up his smartphone while his wife sat patiently watching him.  After a few minutes she gently tapped him on the arm and said, “don’t forget that I’m here.”  He looked up sheepishly, put the phone down, squeezed her hand, and they proceeded to chat happily about their plans for the day.

This is not a post about smartphones.

This is a post about God.

So often we get so involved in the details of our lives: our problems, our needs, our issues, our agendas, our aches and pains, and yes, our social media, that we forget that God is right here, right with us, ready to help.  We work so hard to try to figure it out ourselves, to fix it ourselves.  Yet divine Love, another name for God, has the perfect solution right at hand.

Worry, anxiety, stress – all names for fear – dissolve when we turn our troubles over to God.  Doing so makes even the good times more free, more happy.

Prayer that starts by affirming God’s ever present Love lifts troubled thought above the dismay.  There, new possibilities for solutions and progress present themselves naturally as inspired ideas, spiritual nudges, and healing.  Your receptivity is guaranteed when you refuse to be bullied by concern.

Personal issues, like your health, finances, or relationships, or more global issues, like politics, climate, or terrorism, all respond positively when you see them through Love’s eyes.  God has the broadest view possible of His beloved creation, and He sees only good, as the first chapter of Genesis explains in verse 31 (God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good).  When we take on this higher and holier view as our own – seeing God’s creation as entirely good – fear’s grasp upon us is loosened.  Conditions which seemed dire are transformed and healing occurs.

Jesus restored health and life to countless individuals in just this way.  Many of those instances are recorded in the Gospels.  When he turned to his heavenly Father in full trust, and full acknowledgement of God’s loving omnipotence, sin, sickness, and even death simply disappeared.  He explained, “I can of mine own self do nothing…because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.”  (John 5:30)  He knew that it was always God’s will to do good.

This same understanding of the ever ready power and influence of God is available today.  All we have to do is look up from our problems into the saving truth of divine Love.  There, we are shielded from harm, saved from sin, healed of sickness, and moved forward into joy and satisfaction.

That’s actually a pretty good description of the kingdom of heaven, which Jesus said is right here (Matt 10:7)  Which means that we don’t have to wait for all those blessings, we just have to see them more clearly than we see fear. Fear can’t change or diminish good, but it does seem to hide it when we’re preoccupied by it.  But God is always reminding us, “don’t forget that I’m here.”

Don’t forget that Love is here.

Don’t forget that good is here.

You don’t have to be afraid.

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.

Are you dismayed?

August 7, 2016

It seems as though there are so many disconcerting things going on in the world today: terrible violence; political negativity; famine; fire; fear.  And we may feel helpless to do anything about it, let alone make a contribution to any kind of improvement.

But there is something you can do.

If the situation seems hopeless, then bring to bear what you know about hope.

If you’re feeling helpless, then look for someone to be helpful to.

If the conditions are frightening, then introduce love into the mix.

If all seems lost, then share the good that you have found.

If you are only hearing lies, then tell the truth.

Does all of this seem counter-intuitive?  Jesus didn’t think so.  He fed the hungry, healed the sick, and raised the dead.  No situation was too far gone.  Not even his own crucifixion.  He overcame that too.  He told his followers (including us): “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33)  And this, he said, is why he could: “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”  (Matt 19:26)

We can remember that when it seems as though the human circumstances are overwhelming and the human solutions too feeble.  Our own resources may be limited or exhausted; our strength diminished or gone.  But God is infinite good, infinite help, infinite hope.  God’s power doesn’t yield to evil or fear or lack or even death.

Jesus promised that “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do.”  In other words, if Jesus could overcome all of those issues by trusting God, then so can we as we take to heart his teachings; not through human strength but by relying wholly on the divine.

There is something you can do.

This beloved hymn (361 from the Christian Science Hymnal) has a wonderful promise:

Trust all to God, the Father,
Confide thou in none other,
He is thy sole defense;
He cares for thee past measure,
Seek Him who has thy treasure,
Thy helper is omnipotence.

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.

…and not to leave the other undone.  You may recognize Jesus’ admonition to the Pharisees.  (Luke 11:42)  He was encouraging them to not just perfect their understanding of the letter of the law but to live and love the spirit of the law as well.  He wanted them to do both.  His own life was a great illustration of knowing the law inside and out, but tempering it with love, using it to bless, not punish, his fellow man.

For example, when the Pharisees brought a woman to him whom they’d caught having sex with a man who wasn’t her husband, they rightly told him she should be stoned.  Jesus didn’t contradict their verdict.  But he did ask them to examine their own hearts to see which one of them was pure enough to throw the first stone.  Their anger and self-righteousness dissolved and they left the woman unscathed.  Then, Jesus pardoned her, changing her life forever.  (John 8)

In another instance, when a lawyer hoped to ensnare him in some false teaching about eternal life, Jesus asked him to recount what the law said. (Luke 10:25-37) The lawyer rightly quoted the Old Testament: love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself.   Jesus praised him and reminded him that doing so was eternal life.  Still trying to trip him up, the lawyer asked how to identify one’s neighbor.  The Master told a poignant story that has come to be known as the parable of the Good Samaritan, making the point that one’s neighbor is anyone we come in contact with.  It was a startling but valid interpretation of the law that the lawyer couldn’t challenge.  Neither can we.

The Pharisees repeatedly chastised Jesus for healing on the Sabbath day.  And he repeatedly pointed out that freeing his fellow men and women from sin, disease, and death on the Sabbath was in keeping with God’s law of love.  In fact, he told them “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.”  (Mark 2:27)  Jesus powerfully challenged the letter of the law that enabled a man to save an animal from danger on the Sabbath, but not a person.  Surely a person was worth more than a beast, he said.  (Luke 13:11-17) The spirit of the law was freedom for all.

We too can understand the freedom that comes from knowing the law inside and out and practicing it for healing and helping, rather than condemning or belittling.  Only in this way are we actually following the teachings of Christ Jesus.  We can do both.

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 is a matheist

July 18, 2015

Lulu was reeling.  For the second time in as many years her faith had been shaken.  The first time was when she realized that the story problems in her math textbook were not true.  Sure, they effectively showed how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide.  But there really wasn’t a Maria going 76 miles per hour in a train heading west on Tuesday, while George cut half a pie into 7 pieces on a train going east.  She was terribly disappointed to find out they didn’t actually meet in the middle to divide the ice cream before it melted. These stories had been her friends and she had strived to duplicate their outcomes in her own life.

But this recent revelation was even worse.  The author of her favorite math book, the one she read from every morning, never balanced her checkbook. She was even overdrawn.  That just seemed so hypocritical.

What was she to think?  The numbers seemed so real.  The solutions appeared to be correct.  But it was apparently all a lie, a lie used to control others through math.

Lulu would have none of it.  She was through with math and the charlatans that “explained” it but didn’t live it.  No more numbers for her.

Poor Lulu.  She completely misunderstood the impersonal nature of the science of Math.

The Science of Christianity, like math, is actually provable and repeatable and understandable too.  And just as you would never blame math for someone’s misunderstanding or misinterpretation of numbers, it doesn’t make sense to blame Christianity for someone’s misunderstanding or misinterpretation of God.

You don’t have to take someone’s word that 2 + 2 = 4.  You can prove it yourself time and time again.  And you can use what you learned in that simple equation to tackle bigger math projects.  The same is true of Christianity.  You don’t have to take someone’s word for it.  You can prove it, with scientific certainty, time and time again when you have an accurate understanding of its teachings.

Here’s a link to a book that helps you do that.  In fact the author says, “You can prove for yourself, dear reader, the Science of healing, and so ascertain if the author has given you the correct interpretation of Scripture.” (p. 546)

What have you got to lose – except a false concept?

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.

Thank you and I love you

March 28, 2015

Gratitude and affection are two of the greatest cures for just about anything.  Especially when neither of them is our first choice.  Often we’d rather withhold them and be resentful or self-righteous or unhappy instead!

But those qualities of thought and their ensuing actions, only serve to extend the problem and alienate the participants.

What did Jesus do?  And why is it important to know?

First of all, Jesus was the Way. (John 14:6)  That means that his words and works were a way of redemption and salvation, a way of being one with his Father, just as he was.  (John 17:21)  But he also was a model, an example; a way of behavior for his followers.  (John 14:12)

Did Jesus practice or preach resentment or self-righteousness or any other of the numerous expressions of fear and hate?  No, of course not.  He was the master of love and compassion, under all circumstances.  That deep affection, for both God and man, brought health, calm, sustenance, and safety at all times.

And his gratitude to God for every healing transaction, large and small, determined a more holy outcome.  He never failed to be blessed by his heavenly Father, and to bless those around him as a result.

Think back to when you had a misunderstanding with someone that wasn’t resolved.  It’s easy to replay that event over and over, to imagine saying or doing something different. Often, we picture telling them what we really think.  But the truth is, the only cure is gratitude and affection.  In your mind’s eye, replay the event with you saying thank you and I love you.  And expecting nothing in return.

This is not a gimmick when based on the power of God, as Jesus based it.  It’s the natural outpouring of God’s own love for His creation.  Realizing your spiritual relationship with Him, and its effects, gives your gratitude and affection authenticity.  Then, regardless of the other’s response, you’ve moved the conversation in a new direction, one with a holier basis.

This takes practice and patience.  And in the face of occasional lack of improvement, it takes persistence.  But every effort to give in this way is a shift in the conversation.  And blessings will follow.

I wish to say to you – dear readers, known and unknown – thank you and I love you.

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.