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.

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.

Does it ever feel sometimes, that God doesn’t see you?  You’ve prayed and prayed, and still there’s no response?  Maybe He’s busy, or you’re too far down His list?  Or worse, you’re just not worth His time?

Let me reassure that you are not hidden from God.  Sometimes though, our views of God – or of ourselves – obscure Him from us, so that we can’t see what He is already doing on our behalf.  Mary Baker Eddy says about that “It is our ignorance of God, the divine Principle, which produces apparent discord, and the right understanding of Him restores harmony.”  (Science and Health page 390)

You see, God is Love: the New Testament is filled with confirmations of that fact.  Not just loving, or loveable, although He is both.  But Love itself, filling all space.  So the more we know about that awesome infinite Love, Love that is omnipotent, the more we realize that we couldn’t possibly be overlooked by God.  Coincidentally, the more we know about divine Love, the more does our problem simply dissolve away.  Because we can’t hold on to a view of ourselves that no longer fits with what we’re learning about God.  There is a direct correlation between knowing God/knowing ourselves as His image and likeness, and healing.

Again, Mary Baker Eddy says, “We know no more of man as the true divine image and likeness, than we know of God.”  (ibid p.258)  So if your view of God is limited and small, your view of yourself falls into the same definition.

The Apostle Paul tenderly reminded the Colossians, “…your life is hid with Christ in God.”  (3:3)  Don’t you think that’s the absolutely safest place to be?  And about as close to God as you can get?  You’re definitely not out of His field of focus there!

God, divine Love, infinite Spirit, knows you inside and out.  He made you, He cares for you, He directs you.  And as we lift up our thoughts, hearts, and lives to Him we are healed.  Because we see Him as He really is – which means we see us as we really are.

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.

Rewriting the past

November 8, 2012

I’m not talking about pretending that something didn’t happen while still suffering the effects or consequences of it, or as a means for not dealing with it.  And I’m also not talking about what sometimes happens during a regime change when the national history is rewritten to better reflect the views of the new government.  I am suggesting revising our views of the past and the influence they have on the present as a means of healing them.

In her autobiography, Mary Baker Eddy wrote, “The human history needs to be revised, and the material record expunged.”  (See Ret. page 21)  She recognized that if she allowed her past as an always ill, divorced, and helpless woman to determine her future, she would never rise beyond those limitations.  Instead, she looked to the Bible’s God-inspired view of a holy creation untouched by human conditions (see Genesis 1:1-31 for example) as her basis for a future free from the condemnation of the past.  As a result, she overcame every illness (her own and others), had a very happy and prosperous new marriage, and went on to found a church and movement, not only unthinkable to other women of her time, but beyond even what men were able to accomplish.

These remarkable effects were also found in Jesus’ ministry.  Wasn’t every healing an undoing of some awful event of the past?  Whether the improvement was of a sinful or diseased condition, Jesus always indicated that the individual was now free to go about his or her life in a normal and natural manner.  In fact it was these works of Jesus – along with his word – that showed Mary Baker Eddy that this kind of thorough and redemptive healing was still possible today.

That’s right.  Healings of mind and body, past and present, are possible today, here and now.  This is Christianity made practical!

The “how to” requires persistently examining thought – not to use it as a bludgeon to condemn yourself or others – but to align it with the viewpoint God Himself has of you.  The God who said “I see everything and everything is good” was looking at you when He said that.

This mental alignment may involve cleaning up some messes, but the capacity and wherewithal to do so are as much a part of your progress as correctly identifying yourself as God’s own likeness.  And often, when we humbly and persistently seek God’s solution to redeeming the past, those messes simply fade away.

Okay, so this isn’t necessarily an overnight process.  That’s not to say that healing can’t occur overnight!  But being persistently willing to give up our attachment to our own or others harmful actions, or to stop attributing cause or effect to unhappy events and circumstances really helps us to keep thought in tune with God’s outlook.

Be patient with yourself as you take this on – but do take it on.  It will lift you and all of those in your sphere of influence above the downward spiral of the past.  And that makes the now much more enjoyable.

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.


May 24, 2012

I recently got my teeth cleaned and had to update my health history.  However, the only questions they asked me were about my body.  They didn’t ask about the health of my marriage, or the health of my finances, or the health of my job, or the health of my relationships, or… you get the picture. Maybe they thought that all of those other things were of no effect.  Actually, every one of those things has a huge impact on health!

The mistake is in thinking that health is just a physical thing, that it’s just about the condition of a hunk of flesh.  Health is so interconnected with everything else we do that it can’t be compartmentalized into just one thing: matter.  The condition of thought has the biggest influence on health.  What you think determines how you feel!

But usually, we imagine that what we feel determines how we think. It seems like our thoughts are just responses to sensations or circumstances.

Try this.  Slump down in your chair.  Let your arms hang limply at your side.  Droop your head.  In this position, it seems hard to feel much enthusiasm.

Now, start declaring in thought “I am filled with joy.  I am grateful for all things.  I am happy to be alive.”  Think it with as much vigor and sincerity as you can.   Isn’t your body starting to respond?  Isn’t there an impulse to sit up a little straighter and to lift your head?  And maybe even to smile?

What if the thoughts you are thinking have a spiritual focus?  Like “I am the child of God.  I am a pure and loved reflection of infinite Spirit.  I am made in the image and likeness of divine Love.”  Not only are you filling consciousness with more positive viewpoints, you are actually calling on your ever present connection with a higher power – a power that provides solid guidance, care, and protection.

On page 370 of Science and Health, author Mary Baker Eddy says, “The moral and spiritual facts of health, whispered into thought, produce very direct and marked effects on the body.”

So take a minute to consider your health from more than just a physical perspective.  Take a look at it through God’s eyes and see if it doesn’t revitalize your whole body, in fact your whole experience.

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.