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Season of Gratitude

November 19, 2017

What do you have to be grateful for?  It may appear to be a routine question, but taking the time to make note of and give thanks for blessings large and little is at the heart of this season of gratitude.  Being thankful is life-changing!

Why? For one thing, it expands thought by taking it off of oneself.  When that happens, thought shifts and healing occurs. A new perspective brings progress.

Being grateful also helps us to see people and things in ways that are closer to their true spiritual character.  The more we strive to be thankful for even the smallest of deeds or simplest of stuff, the more we find of value in those near and far.

It’s especially important – and completely natural – to give gratitude to God as the source of those blessings, and of all that is good. He pours forth affection and purpose, provision and health, happiness and holiness to one and all, regardless of faith or no faith.  And none of it returns to Him without accomplishing all that He intends.  The author of Colossians writes, “…cultivate thankfulness…And sing, sing your hearts out to God! ” (3:15.16)

It seems, when we neglect that heart-filled singing step, thought reverts inward. Instead of rejoicing in expansive views, all seems finite and limited. Author, educator, and mentor Mary Baker Eddy put it this way: “While the heart is far from divine Truth and Love, we cannot conceal the ingratitude of barren lives.” (see Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, bottom of page 3)

But the solution doesn’t need to take a long time.  A simple thank you to divine Truth and Love, another name for God, gets the ball rolling to higher and clearer vistas that reveal the normalcy of goodness, the naturalness of health, and the reliability of harmony. With that new outlook, life is a little lighter, and freedom a little closer.

Try it.  Be grateful.  Start with one thing, and watch your list grow to dozens or even hundreds. You’ll feel better and the world will look sweeter.

Thank God.

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

Fear Not

November 5, 2017

There’s nothing more comforting than the reassurance you don’t have to be afraid.  Especially in the uncertainty of our everyday lives, having an available reminder to “fear not” is a precious resource. For me, it’s the word and works of Christ Jesus. His tender and persistent message of “be not afraid” was based on an unbreakable relationship with his heavenly Father, divine Love.

He taught his followers that the same relationship with God was theirs as well.  He showed them throughout his ministry that the saving power of God, Love, was ever present and ever responsive.  His Father was their Father.

Even before this passage in First John was written (4:18) – there is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear – Jesus was proving it through healing and saving countless individuals from sin, disease, and even death.  And when bad things did occur, that law of Love was still at work comforting and lifting.

Jesus never agreed that there was ever a reason to be frightened.  And he never encouraged his followers to be afraid or to act out of fear.  On the contrary, he steadfastly refused to give any power to any scary situation, even when it appeared to be life threatening.

That same strong trust can be ours today by relying on the same strong Christ which Jesus depended on, giving us all the strength and courage we need to stand up to fear or terror or any horrible situation.  The power of the Christ, which Jesus manifested throughout his career, is at work right here counteracting whatever would frighten us.  It has all the power of God behind it, overthrowing fear through the omnipotence of divine Love.

Love is another name for God.  It’s not just about being loving or loved, although those help when we’re afraid.  It’s about the all-power of God Himself destroying what is unlike Him.  Love can cast out fear because Love is not afraid.

This is what Jesus knew when he fearlessly faced murderous crowds, when he patiently fed multitudes, when he compassionately raised the dead, and when he unselfishly rose from the grave.  He was simply expressing his heavenly Father’s infinite Love.

We can do that too.  We can give the power to Love by taking it away from fear.  Remembering the example Christ Jesus set for us, enables us to follow that example a little more closely, a little more quickly.  Then we see fear cast out too, and healing solutions follow.

Fear not isn’t just wishful thinking.  It’s a proven and reliable standpoint that anyone can practice.

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

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.

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.

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.