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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.

“Oh come on, the Sabbath’s my day off.  Tell them to come back tomorrow.”

“Don’t overdo it.  Forgive once or twice, and then nail them.”

“Did you see the way that Pharisee looked at me?  And when he leaned over to the scribe next to him I was outta there.”

“There were only five and I was hungry too.  What am I supposed to do?  Share?”

“Hey guys, take your swords and hold off Judas and his gang while I sneak out the back gate and get away.”

“Look, I’m happy to come and heal your son.  Don’t get me wrong.  But does it have to be right now?”

“That man at the pool was extremely ungrateful.  It just wasn’t worth my time.”

“People, stop crowding me.  I am too busy and important for you to be this close.”

“Sure, I can jump from this pinnacle.  There’re angels down there to catch me, right?”

“I’m not going to leave these ninety-nine sheep just to go find one careless one that wandered off.”

Anybody who knows the teachings of Christ Jesus knows that he would never say any of these things.  His words, and especially his works, were intended to bless and heal.  And they did, in countless ways.    Even today, they still do.

Here are some things he actually said:

  • Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  (Matt 11:28)
  • Love one another.  (John 13:35)
  • I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.  (John 10:10)
  • Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.  (Luke 6:20)
  • Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.  (Mark 2:11)

The Christly power behind Jesus’ words and works is still active today.  And if we catch ourselves being unkind in word or deed, or thinking only of our own needs and not more inclusively of others, we can simply turn to his example.  Every effort to bless others blesses us too.  And that’s a good thing.

Ask yourself: what would Jesus say?  You can say it too, and mean it!  (John 14:12)

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.

The Yes of God

November 22, 2014

According to the Bible, God is

  • Good (Ps 143:10),
  • Life (Deut 30:20),
  • Love (1 John 4:8) ,
  • Father/Mother (1 Chron 29:10/Is 66:13)
  • Spirit (John 4:24),
  • Truth (Deut 32:4),
  • Omnipotent (Rev 19:6).

In addition to these all-encompassing facets of His character, the Scriptures imply that our Heavenly Father is intelligent, merciful, just, tender, strong, kind, and so on.

The very nature of God then, is a big NO to its opposite.  Good is no to evil.  Life is no to death.  Love is no to fear and hate.  Spirit is no to matter.  Truth is no to error. Omnipotence is no to power sharing.  This last one, especially, explains the reality of the rest of them.  How so?

Omnipotence is from the Latin meaning all power.  Not some power.  Not shared power.  Not occasional power.  But all power.  Therefore, Love must have all power leaving no room or place for its opposite.  Good’s all power excludes anything unlike good.  All powerful Truth doesn’t compete with any kind of error.

Jesus knew this and taught it, shifting his listeners away from believing in an arbitrary or vengeful deity.  The Master raised the dead, walked on the water, fed the multitudes, and healed the sick through relying on the Omnipotent Yes of God.  Isn’t that what the Lord’s Prayer makes plain?  “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”  (Matt 6:10)  Mary Baker Eddy added this explanatory postscript to that line when she wrote “Enable us to know, – as in heaven, so on earth, – God is omnipotent, supreme.”  (Science and Health page 17)

That Yes is still at work today although we seem to have lost site of it.  But God’s power hasn’t changed or diminished (otherwise omnipotence would be the wrong word, don’t you think?).  So let us regain our rightful understanding of the supremacy of the Almighty.  Looking for and expecting to see the reality of the divine enables us to recognize it.  And if we know He’s there we can safely and consistently rely on Him to meet all our needs.

The Yes of God is here and now and all.

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.

All four of the Bible’s Gospels tell the story of Jesus feeding the multitude.  It’s an amazing story, one which continues to inspire, even today.  The lesson it teaches of absolute faith in God’s provision, as well as gratitude in advance of that provision, is one well worth learning.  And it’s applicable to more than simply having enough to eat.

For just a moment though, I’m changing the details of the story to make a point.  Consider with me this scenario: Jesus and his disciples are on their way to present the Sermon on the Mount.  Realizing it will probably be an all-day-thing, Jesus asks the guys to scrounge up some lunch.  One of them finds a boy who is willing to contribute his five barley loves and two small fishes.  So Jesus, realizing that it won’t be enough to feed them all, let alone the crowd, asks what they think should be done.  The disciples come up with the idea of a lottery.  They’ll position themselves equidistant around the Mount giving numbered tickets to all those gathering to hear Jesus speak.  Every so often Jesus will draw a number out of a hat and the winner will get a loaf or a fish.  Naturally, everyone will stick around until the very end, hoping to gain a prize.

Aren’t you glad that worldly approach didn’t win out?

Nothing Jesus did was left to chance.  No part of his loving care or his healing ministry or his clear understanding of God’s infinite provision was according to limited human standards.  He knew that there was enough good to go around, just like the loaves and fishes.  And just as he didn’t accomplish feeding the multitudes through guesswork, neither did he heal through conjecture.  Jesus was convinced of his Father’s capacity and willingness to heal EVERYTHING.  And so he proved!

We can learn something from watching how Jesus practiced Christianity.  Just as he was sure of the overflowing presence of good – enough to meet every need, regardless of what the need was – we today can count on that same Christianity to provide for us.  The saving Christ is not stuck in some distant time or place, but is active here and now; “to all mankind and in every hour” as Mary Baker Eddy explains it. (Science and Health p. 494)  And the laws of God that were operating then are still in operation today, because God hasn’t changed: nor has His love for you and me and all.

There is no longer any need to imagine that good is dwindling, or harmony is missing, or health is in decline.  Instead, remember Jesus’ own example and his expectation that we repeat it.  There is always enough – and then some.

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 may recognize that phrase from the 91st Psalm.  It’s not just a nice saying – it’s a law of God.  And one that we must gain a deeper understanding of, in order to effectively stop, and even reverse, the Ebola outbreak in Africa.  A recent newspaper update addresses the rising concerns there, as well as the need for calm.

The promise of the 91st Psalm is that the recognition of and reliance on God – or “the Lord, which is my refuge” – will guarantee that “no evil shall befall thee.”  Guarantee is a strong word, but the author of that ancient poem was convinced that anyone who hid himself “under the shadow of the Almighty” would find comfort and safety there.

Although scholars are not sure who actually authored this historic verse – David, Moses, or some other early composer – the writer surely had a clear sense of the willingness and ability of God to actively care for his children.  And even though it’s in a book of Hebrew poetry, its lesson is available to all regardless of faith – or no faith.

As a model for healing and protecting prayer, the 91st Psalm directs us to start with the all-power of the divine, placing ourselves – and those we pray for – in the shelter of God’s mighty presence.  Then, defining Him as our protector and foundation, we can realize all the ways in which His care sustains and maintains us.  The promise is that “he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.”  That watchfulness is so complete that we can’t even stub a toe, let alone catch a disease.

Applying the message of this powerful Psalm to the events in Africa is an effective means of confronting the argument that Ebola is out of the control of man and God.  Yet for centuries, people have turned to the promises in the Bible, including the omnipotence of God, to heal all kinds of disease, contagious or otherwise.  Jesus’ many healings are especially inspiring and particularly instructional in their correlation between turning to our heavenly Father and being well.

What can you do?  The first step, and one which the 91st Psalm strongly promotes, is to put down fear.  It says, “Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.”  And 1 John concurs by stating that “perfect love casteth out fear.”  (4:18)  Turning to God who is perfect Love, restores a sense of peace and normalcy, enabling you to overcome any anxious sense for your own health, or that of others.

If you’re wondering whether your own small prayer wherever you are located, can be of benefit for those who are suffering someplace else, be assured that “to all mankind and in every hour, divine Love supplies all good.”  (Science and Health, p. 494)  It’s not your own power that heals, it’s God’s.  Prayer acknowledges the infinitude and ever presence of divinity, and humbly expects good results.

As a member of the community of earth, those in other parts of the world are your neighbors.  Your prayerful outreach on their behalf blesses all mankind.  And we surely need that blessing now.

Here’s a great podcast about healing contagion.  You might find some useful ideas to supplement your prayers.

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.

Leave your list outside

July 17, 2014

When asked to teach them how to pray, Jesus gave to his followers this first step: “enter into thy closet, and…shut thy door.”  He pointed out that there was no need for “much speaking…for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” Jesus seemed to indicate that an attitude of humble listening, communing with God one on one, was most useful.  For “thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” (Matt 6:6-8)  Nowhere does the Master suggest that giving God a list of to-dos or complaints is prayer.

The Psalmist says, “Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving. ”  Ps 94:2  Gratitude is an especially wonderful prayer because it opens our hearts and minds to all the good that God is already pouring forth.  In fact, we often see that those things we thought were missing, are even now being provided.  In this case, a list of those things we’re grateful for is most appropriate!

In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy there’s a whole chapter devoted to Prayer.  And the author mentions several kinds of useful communion.  She says, “consistent prayer is the desire to do right.”  (p. 9)  Or that “the habitual desire to be always good is unceasing prayer.”  (p. 4)  Or “self-forgetfulness, purity, and affection are constant prayers.”  (p. 15)  These qualities of good and right, of purity and affection are important when we’re in the holy space with our heavenly Father.  And they supersede any list we might take with us of things we feel we’re lacking.

Instead, live in sincerity with your prayer, live as if you mean what you said in the quietness of your closet.  Then, Jesus promises that “all these things shall be added unto you;” (Matt 6:33) everything you need will be made plain before you.

Leave your list outside the closet, take your meekness in.  Then, watch God work!

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.

There’s a story in the 7th chapter of Luke in the Bible, in which Jesus is invited to dine at the house of Simon the Pharisee.  At the same time, an uninvited woman joins them, and begins to wash Jesus’ feet with her tears, and dry them with her long hair.  Simon the Pharisee is incensed and thinks to himself, “This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.”  (vs. 39)  Simon had identified the woman as a sinner, and assumed that, since Jesus was not responding the way he would have, that Jesus was no prophet.  Simon was right about the whole situation, and he knew it.  And he was troubled that Jesus didn’t know it too.

How often do we do that to ourselves and each other?  How often are we so convinced about what we know and why we know it, that we can’t believe that others don’t agree with us?  Judging from my own experience, a lot!  Simon saw the woman through his pharisaical viewpoint, one which had very clear cut legal and moral regulations.  Then he took what appeared to be the next obvious step to assume that because Jesus missed this egregious violation, he must not be nearly as smart as everyone said he was.

Jesus caused Simon to see his own self-righteousness, with a poignant parable about the power of love.  And then he rebuked him for neglecting the common courtesy of water to wash his feet, showing the difference between Simon’s actions which were nothing more than legal rightness, and the woman’s ministrations which came from a deep and sincere affection.

Instead of seeing only the human picture – the physical circumstances – Jesus saw both Simon and the woman from a spiritual perspective.  And loving them both, he delivered very different cures which their respective situations required.  To Simon, he pointed out both his faulty reasoning and flawed conclusion.  But to the woman, Jesus simply told her that her sins were forgiven.  Undoubtedly, both of them learned something from the encounter: the woman left in peace, perhaps ready for a fresh start.  We hope that Simon also gained a more generous outlook.

Of course there are things that we really want to be right about, but our opinions should not fall into that category.  Like our dear Master, we should view ourselves and others through the eyes of love, not law.  In fact, as much love as possible, since none of us can expect to be mistake-free.  A gracious and affectionate nature will bring about a more ready and willing forgiveness, should there ever be a need.  And it will enable us to extend that same level of compassion to others whose trespasses may confront us.

If we’re going to be right about our views of others, then let’s be sure those views are shaped by God who sees only His own dear image and likeness.  That’s the model Jesus accepted, and the example he set for us.

And isn’t that as right as it gets?

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.