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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

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.

You may recognize that as a line from the old hymn, Onward Christian Soldiers by S. Baring-Gould.  It’s not sung much anymore but that sentiment is still valid.  Especially today.  Especially every day.  Because every day, we live side by side.

As the same hymn also says, we are “one in charity.”

That’s the assignment for all of us today: to be united in finding a way to be charitable towards one another, to extend courtesy, to give grace.  Regardless of who won the election, regardless of the color of your skin or the neighborhood you live in, regardless of the church you go to or don’t go to, regardless of your education or your income, let us remember that we’re all neighbors and that united we stand.

Show your charity today, show your kindness today.  Don’t let today be about the election, but let it be about neighborliness.  Let it be about compassion. Let it be about the fact that administrations come and go, but we will always be one.

I don’t care about who you voted for.  I care about you.  Today and every day.

Join me.

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.

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.

We all know it when we see it: parents and children, spouses, friends, even strangers caring for, reaching out to, and helping one another.  This is love in action.  It has many different expressions: tenderness, assistance, listening, protecting, cherishing, comforting, aiding, lifting.  The list is long and we each could add many words to it.

And because we know what it looks like, we know when it’s missing too.

What can be done about that?

Is it really missing?  If God is Love as the Bible says (1st John 4:8), and God fills all space (Deut 4:39), also as the Bible says, how could love really be missing?  What is actually missing is our recognition of it.

If our premise is that Love is everywhere, we will expect to see it, expect to know it, right where it seems to be missing.  When it seems impossible to see love – in a disaster, or a sick room, or a political rally – close your eyes to the picture and open your heart to the reality of Love’s ever presence.  Don’t let go of Love until you are convinced that even right there in the thick of unloveliness, Love is at work.  Quietly.  Safely.  Permanently.

This is what Jesus did.  His conviction of the power and presence of Love enabled him to pass through an angry crowd unharmed (Luke 4:29,30); to raise to life the daughter of parents engulfed in sorrow (Mark 5:42); to feed a multitude too hungry and tired to fend for themselves (Matt 14:20); and the greatest example of Love at work, to resurrect himself from the grave (John 20:17) to prove that even there Love prevails.

These were not just isolated instances.  The Gospels are filled with stories of Love overcoming misery and despair.  And even after Jesus’ ascension, his disciples, and their disciples, and their disciples after that, continued to prove the healing and saving power of love right where love seemed to be missing.

And we can do the same today.

It doesn’t require any special power or even any religious affiliation.  It simply is a matter of holding in thought that love is stronger than hate, that it casts out fear, that it soothes and comforts.  Even in the face of that which is definitely not love.

Doing so introduces a new possibility into the mix, one not so convinced of the ugliness or sadness or terror.  That little glimmer of hope actually begins to reveal how love has been at work, quietly under the surface – but there all along.

When you look for it, you see it.  And rather than being aghast at its absence you will see its curative power gently dissolving every unloveliness.

Yes, it requires effort.  Yes, it requires consistency.  Yes, it even requires faith – faith that one person can make a difference.  But isn’t that better than the alternatives of hopelessness or indifference?

Divine Love is here.  Hold your ground in expectation that you can see it at work.  And then look for evidence of your conviction.

I guarantee that you will not be disappointed.  For Love is loving you 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.

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.