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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

Keep forgiving

July 23, 2017

Peter once asked Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother.  He suggested seven times, since that seemed fairly generous according to Jewish law, which only required three times.  But Jesus said seven times was not nearly enough.  The Master put forth seventy times seven as a more appropriate number. (Matt 18:21,22)

Was Jesus meaning that we stop forgiving when we reach the magic number of 490?  Not likely.

The Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5 – 7) is filled with his teachings that correlate, such as removing first the beam from our own eye before we even comment on the beam in our brother’s eye.  Wouldn’t that compel us to be more forgiving?

And what about leaving our gift on the alter while we explore with our brother what he has against us.  Doesn’t it seem like forgiveness in both directions might be the outcome?

Jesus’ example of forgiveness was astounding.  He introduced the concept of reciprocal forgiveness into the Lord’s prayer, which Mary Baker Eddy interprets spiritually to mean “and Love is reflected in love.” (See Science and Health p. 17)  And there is a profound story in Luke (7:36 to 50) about deep forgiveness going hand in hand with deep humility and affection.

But the ultimate teaching on forgiveness came when Jesus was on the cross. Speaking to his dear Father he said, “forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:24)

How can we imagine our own hurts and annoyances are greater than what he experienced?  He said, “…the works that I do shall you do also; and greater works than these shall you do…” (John 14:12)

That includes forgiving 490 times.

And forgetting that many times too.

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’re kidding, right?

June 30, 2017

That’s what the Chaldeans and astrologers said to King Nebuchadnezzar. He’d had a dream and wanted it to be interpreted.  But the catch was that he couldn’t remember the dream.  He thought his court smart guys should not only be able to tell him what the dream meant, but what he’d dreamt in the first place.  And they said, it can’t be done, nobody can do it, so you don’t have the right to ask.  (see Daniel 2:1-45)

But Daniel had a different viewpoint.  He humbly knew that his own sense of things wasn’t up to the task but he was quite clear that God could determine both the dream and its meaning.  And he told King Nebuchadnezzar so.  Sure enough, God not only revealed the dream but its explanation as well.  Daniel rejoiced: “Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his.”

The Bible is full of those kinds of stories.

Naaman came to Elisha to be healed of leprosy.  Expecting to receive royal treatment, he was instead told to dip himself in Jordan seven times. Storming off in a rage, he said, “you’re kidding, right?” However, his lieutenant encouraged him to go to the river, and sure enough “his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.” (2nd Kings 5: 1-15)

When walking through a huge crowd, a woman seeking healing reached out for Jesus’ robe.  Jesus asked his disciples, “who touched me?”  Their response was “you’re kidding, right?  The multitude is thronging you and you are asking about one touch?”  But Jesus knew that healing had occurred and the woman stood forth and explained how her hemorrhage simply stopped after her contact with him. (Mark 5: 25-34)

One time Jesus asked his disciples to feed all of those who had come to hear him preach – more than 5000 – rather than sending them back to their own homes hungry.  Their response? “you’re kidding, right?”  No, he wasn’t kidding. So he proceeded to do what he had asked them to do. Not only was everyone filled, they even had twelve baskets of leftovers. (Matt 14: 15-21)

On his way to the bed of a very sick little girl, Jesus was told that she had died, so there was no need to come. His response was that she was only sleeping, and he would come to awaken her.  The mourners said, “you’re kidding, right?” and they laughed him to scorn.  But the Master was true to his word. He restored her life and returned her to her delighted parents. (Luke 8: 41, 42, 49-56)

You never need to fear that health and holiness and salvation are too far out of your reach.  Jesus wasn’t kidding when he healed and saved and resurrected.  His power – the Christ – came from God.  It was ever present then, and it is still present now.  And you can count on it.

No kidding!

Read here for more examples.

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.

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.