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Gone fishin’

July 9, 2017

That’s the sign the disciples put up after Jesus’ crucifixion.  It was the only way they could think of to cope with the fear, sorrow, and confusion of that awful event. They were soon to learn that Jesus had already equipped them with what they needed to turn those sad feelings around.

They’d fished all night and caught nothing.  Then a stranger on the shore suggested they move their nets to the other side of the boat.  Doing so, there were so many fish their net was in danger of breaking.  Had the fish been there all along and they just weren’t paying attention?

That same “stranger” had, several years earlier, turned several fishes into enough to feed five thousand.  Was that the case now?  They were struggling to remember what they had learned: “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you.” (John 6:27)

Jumping from the boat, they swam to shore to greet the stranger.  It was Jesus, whom they thought was long gone.  But he had earlier said of himself, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” (ibid v. 36) They had forgotten his promise.  They had forgotten his commitment to them.

But it all came flooding back that morning on that shore.  Everything he had taught them about God’s infinite Fatherhood and the necessity of worshipping Him in spirit and truth; of eternal life and the kingdom of heaven on earth; of doing to one’s neighbor as one hoped to receive; and of loving each other as he had loved them: it was all fresh and new and finally real.

During Jesus’ brief ministry he had been as a shepherd to all that yearned for salvation.  He had preached and healed and loved.  Now it was the disciples’ turn.  With this brief command, “feed my sheep,” he put his precious followers into their care. They finally understood what that meant.

That historical morning is worth celebrating, don’t you think?

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.

Love alone is Life

December 7, 2016

That’s a phrase from a poem by Mary Baker Eddy.  (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 387) It’s not only a powerful statement about God, who is both Love and Life, but about existence – life itself – that is most effective and useful when it’s powered by love.

Love makes the best relationships.  It satisfies the most needs.  It redeems even the most awful conditions.  And it lifts its giver and receiver high above fear and hate and loss.  Not just when the sun shines, but in all kinds of weather.

The life that is filled with love is happy and safe and progressive.  And it is also the most necessary kind of life.

Live in love.  Let every moment of your life be love expressed.

The final phrase of that poem mentioned above says that life most sweet, as heart to heart speaks kindly when we meet and part.

That’s the kind of love worth living.  That’s the kind of life worth loving.

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.

You won’t find it in the various doctrines or creeds of the various sects of religious Christianity: those won’t really hold up against all that the world throws at them.  So, I’m not going there.  I’m talking about the Christianity of Christ Jesus himself.  The guarantee he gave is universal and impartial, though very personal.

Jesus was at odds theologically, with those who crucified him, but he still prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”  (Luke 23:34)  And his closest followers bickered amongst themselves who would be the greatest. (Mark 9:34)  Yet he tenderly reminded them, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”  (John 13:34)  And he said of himself, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”  (John 10:10)  As The Way, Jesus made plain what his expectations were and how to meet them.  He delivered on every promise.

And he made this highest promise of all, “I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.”  (John 16:7)  He was reassuring those whom he would soon leave, that they would have all they needed, all the time.  He predicted that the Comforter or Holy Ghost “shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”  (John 14:26)

Have you ever felt that comforting presence?  Have you ever reached out in prayer and been lifted and helped, healed even?  Have you ever needed a miracle – and got one?  Do you think that’s all coincidence?  No, it’s the guarantee of Christianity.  It’s what Jesus promised and God delivered.  And it’s now.

Let your Easter be filled with the guarantee of Christianity – let yourself be comforted.

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.

Where do you live?

February 6, 2014

If someone asks you that question, the typical response is to give a location: this part of town, or on that street.  The Apostle Paul took a completely different approach when he said, “in him we live…”  He was referring to God: in God we live.  God who is infinite and fills all space.  Wow!  Paul went on to explain that we move and have our being in God, as well.  Live, move, being.  Isn’t that everything?  (Acts 17:28)

Think about that.  Paul didn’t say we will live, or we used to live.  Just, we live.  Now.  Here.

What does that mean for you and me? To really answer that means getting a better sense of who God is because you can’t know much about where you live if you don’t know the neighborhood!  Or as the Psalmist put it, “Lord, thou has been our dwelling place in all generations.”  (Ps 90:1)

The Bible tells us a lot about God: that He is Love; (1 John 4:8) and that He is Spirit; ((John 4:24) and that He is perfect; (Matt 5:48) and that He is invariable (James 1:17) just to name a very few.

So if we live, move and have our being in Love that leaves no room for unloveliness, no room for anything that is not Love.  Hatred, greed, fear, disease, whatever is not like or of Love, is not like or of us.  Living, moving, and being in Spirit means that we are spiritual, not material: in and of Spirit but not in or of matter.  Having a perfect God as our dwelling place means we don’t exist or act or express in imperfection: instead perfect God, perfect creation.  Unchanging Deity means that life, movement, and “isness” must be equally consistent and good, without harmful change.

The first chapter of Genesis tells us as much: that God made man (you, me, all) in His image and likeness – as His reflection.  (1:26,27)  In other words, as God is, so is that which lives, moves, and has its being within Him.  It’s a very direct correlation, don’t you think?

So, if you want to know more about where you live and how you live, look to the Almighty within Whom you safely and harmoniously abide.  It’s all good, inside and out.

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, not death.

October 31, 2013

The three-days of Halloween/All Saints’ Day/All Souls’ Day are a celebration of death.  Okay, so that’s a simplification.  But if death is removed from the mix, there’s nothing to commemorate – either liturgically or in scary costumes.

Jesus said “let the dead bury their dead.”  (Matt 8:22)  And also, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”  (John 10:10)

When Jesus was crucified his own disciples thought his ministry was over.  They knew he was gone for good and that all his – and their – hard work, was for naught.  Even though he had warned them of both his crucifixion and his resurrection, they simply didn’t comprehend what had just happened.  But Jesus returned to comfort them, admonish them, and direct them to a higher viewpoint.  And they got it.  With his ascension, they shared the good news with the whole world.

The apostle Paul writes in Romans, “to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”  (8:6)  Let us take his words to heart and celebrate the abundant and eternal life that our dear Master explained and exemplified.  Let these next three days – and every day – be about life, not death.

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

Life is eternal but…

October 24, 2013

…you have to die first.  What?!  That doesn’t really make any sense, does it?  Jesus actually said, “whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.”  (John 11:12)  And again, “If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.”  (John 8:51)

There’s a principle called Occam’s Razor which states that the hypothesis with the fewest assumptions should be selected: in essence, pick the simplest answer.

The simplest answer here is that Jesus meant what he said.  Just because it appears that everybody dies let’s not assume that Jesus was kidding.

The Master gave some very clear instructions: 1) live and believe in me and 2) keep my saying.  If we’re seeing death, if we’re dying, maybe we need to do a better job of obeying those instructions.  Maybe we need to stop judging the veracity of his words by whether or not they fit our viewpoint.  Maybe we just need to do what he said.  All the way, all the time.

  • Love your neighbor as yourself
  • Cast the beam out of your own eye
  • Be reconciled to your brother
  • Seek God’s righteousness first
  • Don’t worry about food or clothing
  • Savor the things of God, rather than the things of men
  • Go and do thou likewise
  • Heal the sick
  • Raise the dead

These are just a few of the things he directed us to do.  And then he said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”  (John 14:15)

Let’s not make the words convenient for our lifestyles.  Let’s live the message so clearly that we can say with him, “Life is eternal.”  And know why.

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 love the Bible.  I love its promise and lessons, its correction and encouragement.  I especially love the expectation of its writers and characters that as I mold my own life – as much as possible – after its redeeming example, I’ll receive the benefits they did.

One of the tenets of my religion is that “as adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, page 497)  Sufficient guide covers all the bases, doesn’t it?

As long as their hearts were stayed on God (see Is. 26:3), individuals in the Bible were kept from harm.  That’s my story too: loving God with all my heart, all my soul, all my might – and having no other Gods before Him, as the First Commandment says – I can expect to be blessed in untold ways.  And that blessing brings progress: improved health, stronger relationships, spiritual growth, even life eternal.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

What’s your 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.