Home

No regrets

January 8, 2017

Especially at the start of a new year, the tendency can be to look back and feel bad about something that happened – or didn’t happen; something you wished you’d said or done, or perhaps wished you hadn’t said or done.  It’s natural to review one’s decisions and circumstances for the purpose of making them better.  Dwelling on them, however, tends to impede progress.

A desire for improvement can certainly be fueled by not wanting to make the same mistakes, and an examination of “what went wrong” is useful if its purpose is to bring about a better future.  Wishful or wistful thinking and regret, however, often tend to have the opposite effect: keeping one unproductively stuck in the past.

A good example is of Christ Jesus following the resurrection.  He appropriately chastised his disciples for being afraid and doubting what he had told them. But he didn’t rebuke them for not saving his life.  Instead, he encouraged them to come out from hiding and share the good news of life eternal – news he had equipped them to tell. (See Mark 16)

While our own missed opportunities may not be so dramatic, they certainly can be as consuming as they were for the disciples before Jesus opened their eyes to the wonderful possibilities the future held.  And it’s likely that we may have some wrongs to right somewhere in our past.  But the best way to do it is to look forward and upward.

The author of Hebrews writes “…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us…”  (12:1)  In other words, we all have things that would distract or even waylay us, but instead of giving in to them, let us be ready to tackle what lies ahead, knowing that we are capable and willing.  This certainly doesn’t mean we should ignore unresolved difficulties.  But it does mean that we should face them with the expectancy of healing, and hope for a brighter tomorrow.

Jesus never told any of his followers, “sorry, you’re just stuck with it until you get to heaven.”  What he did say was, “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt 3:2).  We can expect that our regrets and sorrows, our shames and unfinished business can be made right, right here because the remedy is at hand.  That holier viewpoint of our past is a guarantee that whatever appears to hold us back or down will dissolve as it comes in contact with the light of Christ.

This sweet and tender assurance of hope and health and harmony is the natural consequence of knowing that “all things work together for good to them that love God…”  (Rom 8:28)  And though it seems that loving God may be a caveat for this progressive outcome, the fact is, loving God is what you and I are designed to do.  Acknowledging it, giving it more attention than our unhappy past, simply reveals the goodness of the kingdom of heaven that’s already at work on our behalf.

And that’s a pretty good reason for no regrets.

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.

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.

Give a fish or teach to fish

September 6, 2015

You’ve heard the adage: give a person a fish and they eat today; teach them to fish and they’ll eat every day.  It’s a good plan most of the time.  But you’ll recall that there are stories in the Bible of Jesus doing both, and both are important.

There are several instances in which Jesus fed thousands of people with just a few fishes.  Most of the people gathered probably already knew how to fish, and maybe even made their living doing so.  But they were hungry then and there, and Jesus, through understanding his heavenly Father’s abundant provision, fed each one of them.  And not just fish but bread too.  There were even leftovers.

Jesus was always meeting the need of the moment whether it was healing the sick, feeding the hungry, raising the dead, or encouraging the downtrodden.  And he expected nothing in return, not even gratitude.  He simply gave, and gave graciously.  It was his way of sharing the good news of Immanuel, or God with us, promised by Isaiah several centuries earlier (7:14).

At the end of his ministry, after his resurrection, he directed his disciples to shift their nets from one side of the boat to the other after they had fished all night in vain.  It was actually counter intuitive for these trained fishermen to do this, but they obeyed and found their nets overflowing.  This was the kind of teaching Jesus had provided to his closest followers throughout his time with them.  He challenged them to look at the things they thought they knew and perhaps took for granted in a different and deeper way.

Just as Jesus didn’t accept the outward appearance of things as the final verdict, neither did his disciples once they learned that God’s power was available to all, for good.  After Jesus’ ascension, they each had extensive healing ministries, touching the lives of thousands through their words and works.

The Science behind that early Christianity is still active today, still requiring its followers to look deeply beneath the human circumstances, to the safe and holy truth naturally abiding there.  Jesus promised his works would be done by us today, tomorrow, and forever.  And to the extent that we practice his Christianity will we accomplish those works, and greater works.

Give a fish or teach to fish: both are part of meeting the need.

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.

Pharisee or Christlike?

August 26, 2015

There’s a wonderful story in the book of Luke in the Bible (Chapter 7:25-50) about an interaction between Christ Jesus, a local prostitute, and Simon the Pharisee.  Simon had invited Jesus to dine with him, and the prostitute had come to show her gratitude for his healing of her.  Simon was aghast that Jesus would allow such a thing, since it flew in the face of all the rules.  But Jesus overturned all those human rules and operated at a more spiritual level.

So the question is, do we look at the world like Simon did, saying “here are the rules and if you don’t follow them you’re wrong?”  Or do we see the world through the eyes of grace as Jesus did, letting compassion be our guide?  Do we ask ourselves, “what would be the most progressive and helpful thing to do at this moment?” or do we simply say “no room for that kind of thing here.”

The Pharisees had a very rigid and harsh system of rules that maintained a sense of order but excluded spiritual insight and regeneration.  To their viewpoint, any deviation from their structure was sinful and to be punished. This closed the door on innovation, insight, and healing.  And it rejected the very Messiah they had been waiting centuries for, because it didn’t fit there confining model.

How are we doing the same thing?  How narrow and proscriptive are our views of ourselves and fellowman?  With that kind of outlook, there is no option but to fail since no one can measure up to those harsh restrictions.  But Jesus came to throw off those limitations.  He came to set the imprisoned thought free.  He encouraged his followers to be thinkers, not just automatons.  Isn’t the Golden Rule a perfect example?  And the rest of the Sermon on the Mount?

Jesus loved the Ten Commandments and encouraged obedience to them.  But his ministry disrupted the officious regulations of the Pharisees. He accused them of hypocrisy because they only strove to appear to be law-abiding.   He said, “ye tithe mint and rue and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”  (Luke 11:42)

Although it’s not clear if the Judaic sect of the Pharisees still survives today, certainly legalistic pharisaism is alive and well!  But it’s not too late to purge it from our churches and governments. our communities and our homes.  Jesus’ model of love, compassion, forgiveness, and expectation of reform all stemmed from his understanding of God’s unyielding love for him, and for us.

That kind of love heals.  Then, and now.

For a great exegesis of the story in Luke referred to above, click here.

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.

Lulu is a matheist

July 18, 2015

Lulu was reeling.  For the second time in as many years her faith had been shaken.  The first time was when she realized that the story problems in her math textbook were not true.  Sure, they effectively showed how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide.  But there really wasn’t a Maria going 76 miles per hour in a train heading west on Tuesday, while George cut half a pie into 7 pieces on a train going east.  She was terribly disappointed to find out they didn’t actually meet in the middle to divide the ice cream before it melted. These stories had been her friends and she had strived to duplicate their outcomes in her own life.

But this recent revelation was even worse.  The author of her favorite math book, the one she read from every morning, never balanced her checkbook. She was even overdrawn.  That just seemed so hypocritical.

What was she to think?  The numbers seemed so real.  The solutions appeared to be correct.  But it was apparently all a lie, a lie used to control others through math.

Lulu would have none of it.  She was through with math and the charlatans that “explained” it but didn’t live it.  No more numbers for her.

Poor Lulu.  She completely misunderstood the impersonal nature of the science of Math.

The Science of Christianity, like math, is actually provable and repeatable and understandable too.  And just as you would never blame math for someone’s misunderstanding or misinterpretation of numbers, it doesn’t make sense to blame Christianity for someone’s misunderstanding or misinterpretation of God.

You don’t have to take someone’s word that 2 + 2 = 4.  You can prove it yourself time and time again.  And you can use what you learned in that simple equation to tackle bigger math projects.  The same is true of Christianity.  You don’t have to take someone’s word for it.  You can prove it, with scientific certainty, time and time again when you have an accurate understanding of its teachings.

Here’s a link to a book that helps you do that.  In fact the author says, “You can prove for yourself, dear reader, the Science of healing, and so ascertain if the author has given you the correct interpretation of Scripture.” (p. 546)

What have you got to lose – except a false concept?

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.