Home

Do you think Jesus did what he did just for those who believed in him? At the time of the crucifixion, he had a very small group of followers.  Doesn’t it seem more likely that he taught and healed and rose from the dead for all mankind?  Whether they call themselves Christian or not?

The likelihood that any one of us will ever have to go through what Jesus did in the crucifixion is extremely small.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from him about humility and resolve – and tremendous affection for our fellow man.  It is practical Christianity to live in keeping with the powerful example he set. Yet, those qualities can be found in every corner of the globe, even in those who’ve never heard of Jesus.

Perhaps then, it’s not about the man himself, but the Christ he represented and demonstrated. Jesus was indeed unique, and there will never be another like him.  But it is the Christ, Immanuel – God with us – that is in fact universal and impartial, and is the basis of the relationship between God and His dear creation.  That relationship is as solid and enduring as the Christ is, and has nothing to do with religion.

Jesus’ prayer was so big and so inclusive that it still touches us today. (See John 17: 20,21)  It makes no boundaries as to doctrine or sect but simply yearns that we all be one, one in the biggest idea of all: the Love of God.

Jesus knew that Love intimately and shared it with anyone who would listen.  His healing work – raising the dead, transforming sinners, destroying disease – was a direct result of his understanding of the consistent and truly loving nature of God.  And he taught his followers that they could count on that same nature in their healing work.  And we can count on it in our healing work.

Neither God nor Christ has changed since that time, although the man Jesus has left the scene.  And we certainly can use Jesus as a model for Christian behavior.  But the power of the Christ touches lives everywhere now as before, instilling goodness, lifting from despair, overcoming tragedy, and healing simply as an expression of God’s love for creation – all creation.

That prayer of oneness is still valid today, regardless of any of the conditions that define us – and seem to separate us.  Let’s expect that prayer to soften our hearts, enable us to set aside our differences, find common ground, and a reason to love one another.

You don’t have to be a believer to do 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.

Life goes on.

December 17, 2016

Even though the temperature is 26 degrees, the hummingbirds are coming in twos and threes to the feeder outside my window.  Even though the pond is covered in ice, the red wing blackbirds are eating the cattails that ring its edge. Even though there are 4 inches of snow on the ground, the deer are pawing through it and finding tender shoots beneath.  On the surface, it appears that life has stopped, frozen in its tracks.  But a closer look reveals that life goes on.

Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)  This is not just some future reality; a closer look reveals that this is now and here.

Even though the days are short and darkness dominates, even though the cold brings everything to a standstill, this really is the season of life and of light. The advent of the eternal Christ, made plain in the birth of Jesus, is the assurance of eternal life.  A closer look is required, but it reveals that the promise of light and life is kept.  The yearned for renewal is tenderly revealed, even in the dark and cold.

In a much loved poem, author and theologian Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Life is light, and wisdom might, and God is All.”  (Poems, pg.79)  That Life-light reveals how close, how present are hope and happiness.

Look around.  Look closely.  Don’t let circumstances dictate what you know. Let the light of Life tell you.  It will reveal, Life goes on.

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.

That is my prayer every day.  It’s not to find more reasons to love, but more occasions to love.  And without condition. I’ll admit I’m not always successful. Still, making the effort keeps me pointed in the right direction.

Jesus said that anyone can love those that love them – that’s easy.  (Luke 6:32) But he asked us to love everyone.  And that would be how others would know we were his followers – because of our willingness and followthrough on loving all.  (John 13:35)

The Master saw his fellow man as beloved and necessary parts of God’s creation.  They weren’t good and bad, deserving and unworthy, keepers and tossers.  Instead, Jesus understood that all, every man, woman, and child, were created in his heavenly Father’s image and likeness, in the likeness of divine Love.  It was this understanding that enabled him to heal the sick, cast out sin, and raise the dead.

Looking for more opportunities to love – especially those who are different than us, or who disagree with us – ultimately opens the door to finding things that we have in common.  And there are so many when we take the time to look for them.  And that’s the point.

Is it easy?  No.  My prayer often includes asking for help in doing it: help to be willing, help to be consistent, help to be sincere, and to be effective.  Because love at its most effective is selfless.  That kind of love blesses all without regard to circumstances or participants.

Mary Baker Eddy wrote a wonderful treatise on love (Miscellaneous Writings, page 249).  I’ve excerpted a part here: “Love is not something put upon a shelf, to be taken down on rare occasions with sugar-tongs and laid on a rose-leaf. I make strong demands on love, call for active witnesses to prove it, and noble sacrifices and grand achievements as its results. Unless these appear, I cast aside the word as a sham and counterfeit, having no ring of the true metal. Love cannot be a mere abstraction, or goodness without activity and power. As a human quality, the glorious significance of affection is more than words: it is the tender, unselfish deed done in secret; the silent, ceaseless prayer; the self-forgetful heart that overflows; the veiled form stealing on an errand of mercy, out of a side door; the little feet tripping along the sidewalk; the gentle hand opening the door that turns toward want and woe, sickness and sorrow, and thus lighting the dark places of earth.”

May your day be filled with giving – and receiving – love in all directions.

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.

I believe in a God who is all powerful good, who doesn’t do evil or know evil.  I believe in a God who loves – whose very being IS love.  I believe in a God who comforts and strengthens and uplifts so that we can stand together and overcome evil – and reach out and comfort and strengthen and uplift those who need it.

The Apostle Paul says “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” (2nd Cor 1:3,4)

I believe this about God.  And I believe what Jesus said, when sharing what he knew about God with the world “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.”  Jesus knew that God is pure good – of “purer eyes than to behold evil” as the prophet Habakkuk said. (Hab 1:13)  He knew that this goodness is provable and active.  He knew we must refuse to accept evil or act evilly or turn a blind eye to evil.  If we were to do that, we would perpetuate the power of evil.

Let us stand together to break the power of evil.  Let us, with all our hearts and minds and souls, resist evil and do good.  Let us rise above evil and bless and comfort and hold dear all who would do evil or suffer from evil.

Let us be better than evil and prove that evil can be overcome and cast down.

We can.  We must.

Let us start by comforting and strengthening and uplifting those who need it.

And let us forgive.

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.

Facebook?  Media?  Friends?  Church?  Gut?

With the election season in full swing there are lots of sources for “truth” but how do you know what’s actually true?

Jesus famously said, “ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)  He wasn’t speaking at a political rally, but his words helped shape history nonetheless.  Jesus knew that the seeming truth of circumstances and events, of human ways and means, would ultimately pass away.  Yes, it was important to be well informed.  But he was speaking of truth that was larger than just the conditions of his day.  He was speaking of Truth itself, God, that would break the bonds of ignorance, illness, sin, and even death.

Our Master’s simple statement put forth a universal fact: Look to God and strive to know Him.  Doing so will help you sort through all the confusion and find a useful solution for moving forward.

Whether it’s who to vote for in this or any election cycle, or how to overcome fear, or even when seeking renewed health and vigor, turning to God, divine Truth, will reveal how to think deeply and with hope on these and all topics.

To be clear, God is not manipulating human circumstances to get a specific outcome.  But He is bringing forth order, harmony, safety, satisfaction, and usefulness as right components of His creation.  Endowed with those qualities of thought, we – His beloved children – can rightly determine and bring resolution to, any issue that comes to our attention.

This kind of spiritual thinking is the truth that makes you free – free from anger and apathy, or free from illness.

The Bible explains, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”  (Proverbs 3:5,6)

Mary Baker Eddy lived this, and encouraged others to “Pray for the prosperity of our country, and for her victory under arms; that justice, mercy, and peace continue to characterize her government, and that they shall rule all nations. Pray that the divine presence may still guide and bless our chief magistrate, those associated with his executive trust, and our national judiciary; give to our congress wisdom, and uphold our nation with the right arm of His righteousness.”  (Prayer for Country and Church, Pan p.14)

The wisdom you need to find your way through today’s issues is yours.  God is pouring it forth and it won’t return unto Him void.  (See Is 55:11)

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.