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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.

What cannot Love do?

August 16, 2015

Love is another name for God that comes straight from the Bible (1 John 4:8). It’s not just a facet of His being or something that He does.  It’s who He is. And I could just as easily say it’s who She is too, since Love is no more a gender based idea than God is.  God is all and includes all, but not in a pantheistic way.  God, Love, simply is.

What does that mean to you and me?  We can expect to be comforted by Love, tenderly and persistently.  We can hope for and have consistent protection and direction, right from Love.  We can receive and be blessed by an unending abundance of helpful ideas leading to useful solutions, poured forth by Love. We can even reflect that infinite Love in caring for each other in meaningful and harmonious ways.

The Apostle Paul talked about that kind of caring in his magnificent first letter to the Corinthians (13th chapter).  He explained that we could be totally awesome, but if it was without love it would be hollow and ultimately in vain. His portrayal of love included these qualities: steadfast, unselfish, untiring, faithful, true, perpetual, fair, unyielding, immediate, continual, quiet, and so on.

Jesus knew how to love so deeply that it healed.  But the Master’s love wasn’t just human goodness amplified.  It was God’s love made manifest in him as the Christ.  And that Christ-love is still active today.  Didn’t Jesus remind his followers, and therefore us, that “the works I am doing you will do too.  And even greater works will you do…”  (John 14:12)  He was making plain that the infinite love of Love is as active and powerful and ever present today as it was then.

Divine Love is loving us and saving us and giving to us and helping us and guarding us and sustaining us and delivering us and lifting us and whatever else we need whenever else we need it.  This is how Love operates.

We don’t have to earn this love, but we do have to expect it.  We don’t have to deserve it, but we do have to make room for it.  We don’t have to wait for it, but we do have to watch for it.  And more and more as we attune our thoughts to infinite Love filling all space, will our space be filled with love too.  We will find it because Love will have already found us.

The Apostle Paul asked his readers to let this profound observation – this mind of Christ – be in them.  (Phil 2:5)  In other words, let this understanding of divine Love that Christ Jesus lived and taught be what you live and teach through your example.  What better way is there to do the works he did, than to start with love?

Love is loving you.  Let yourself be loved.

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.

2014, I mean 2015

January 8, 2015

Recently, I’d made the date on several important documents January 2014 instead of January 2015.  You see, 2014 was an established habit – I didn’t have to think about it, it just flowed from my fingers through the pen or keyboard.  It was legitimate for so long, surely I could make continued use of it.  I mean, what difference would it make?

And why should I have to remember the new date anyway?  It required of me to actually pay attention to what I was doing.  But alas, using the old wrong date created too many problems.  Important information was lost, or misfiled.  Documents had to be redone – sometimes from scratch.  Holding to the incorrect date, regardless of how big a habit it had become, was painful, and rather ridiculous.

Sometimes that’s the way it is with things that need to change.  We know we really should – and frankly, we probably want to anyway.  But the old way is so ingrained, so much a part of our behavior that we just can’t seem to catch ourselves until after the fact.  Then we fuss and fret and imagine that the bad habit is simply to be endured – and suffered for.  The Apostle Paul explains it this way, “the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. O wretched man that I am.”  (Rom 7:19,24)

Just as we eventually begin to write the correct date – with a bit of conscientious care – we can also shift from repeating some other bad habit to forming a new and better one, in the same way: conscientious care.  The key is in watching our thought, because behavior stems from our thinking. Mary Baker Eddy once wrote, “Stand porter at the door of thought. Admitting only such conclusions as you wish realized in bodily results, you will control yourself harmoniously.”  (Science and Health p. 392)

Yes, you can actually identify a thought before you accept it as your own – you can decide whether it will bless you or harm you.  If that thought is the basis of an unwanted behavior, nip it in the bud.  Don’t think it, then you won’t be compelled to act upon it.

Following the Apostle Paul’s painful confession, quoted above, he asked how to be delivered from repeating the problem.  The answer? “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”   Paul knew that the Christ is that quality of thought which acknowledges that “with God all things are possible” as Jesus himself said and proved.  (Matt 19:26)

That means that watching thought  – choosing the better ones and rejecting the worse – is not simply an activity of human will.  It is a spiritual ability animated by God.  Jesus put it this way: “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)

While exchanging 2014 for 2015 is not terribly dramatic, it is indicative of one’s capacity to improve.  And knowing you can – especially when you must – makes the transition more hopeful.  And isn’t that the best part of the Christ?  To instill hope?

Welcome to 2015!

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.

As much as this season is about the brightness of Jesus’ birth, for many it is a dark and lonely time, filled with stress and sorrow, want and woe.  The appearance of God’s “only begotten son” (John 3:16) centuries ago, was a gift of the highest love for all mankind, and it continues to give to hungering hearts today.  The good Jesus did then, still shines across time and space to meet the needs of all, here and now.

Mary Baker Eddy, Christian theologian and author, once wrote, “It is not well to imagine that Jesus demonstrated the divine power to heal only for a select number or for a limited period of time, since to all mankind and in every hour, divine Love supplies all good.”  (Science and Health, p. 494)  That powerful good is available to each one of us so that we can reflect the light of the world into the darkest of places.

Our neighbors, our family, even the strangers amongst us, need the deep affection that comes from the great heart of God.  Let us strive to set aside our own troubles and use the power of the season – the power of Love – to lift one another.  An outstretched hand of kindness, a sweet smile, gentleness instead of anger, gratitude, crumble walls of fear, prejudice, loneliness, and sorrow.  Whatever would say “there is no Christmas” is wiped away by the very spirit of Christmas that imbues us all.

Isaiah prophesied, “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” (9:2)  This promise of life and joy and salvation is ours to delight in and prove today.  We can bless and be blessed.  We can love and be loved.  We can be about our Father’s business.

The title comes from a spiritual insight Mary Baker Eddy had about this line of the Lord’s Prayer: give us this day our daily bread.  She wrote: give us grace for today; feed the famished affections. (Science and Health, p. 17)

Grace, light, affection.  For everyone.

Who do you know that could use a little light?

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.

Rejoice!

November 26, 2014

Today and everyday, let your heart be filled with gratitude for the power and presence of God “who daily loadeth us with benefits.”  (Ps 68:19)  For “this is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”  (Ps 118:24)  Indeed!

Enjoy this poem by Ethel Wasgatt Dennis

A grateful heart a garden is,
Where there is always room
For every lovely, Godlike grace
To come to perfect bloom.

A grateful heart a fortress is,
A staunch and rugged tower,
Where God’s omnipotence, revealed,
Girds man with mighty power.

A grateful heart a temple is,
A shrine so pure and white,
Where angels of His presence keep
Calm watch by day or night.

Grant then, dear Father-Mother, God,
Whatever else befall,
This largess of a grateful heart
That loves and blesses all.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my dear followers and friends.  May your day be filled with rejoicing.  Here are some other wonderful articles too:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20141124173621-14383197-nurture-a-gratitude-attitude-say-entrepreneur

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ingrid-peschke/gratitudechallenge-from-t_b_6185256.html

http://gettingbalance.com/does-gratitude-impact-our-health-and-happiness/

http://www.healthycal.org/archives/17068

http://toledofavs.com/2014/11/25/lincolns-thanksgiving-day-proclamation-gratitude-in-hardship/

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.

Burden? or Blessing!

October 11, 2014

It’s all in the way you look at it.  Sometimes things that seem unbearable are lifted when we expect them to bless us.

In Genesis, in the Bible, (32:24-30) we read of Jacob returning to his home after becoming very wealthy working for his uncle.  He had fled, after wronging his brother many years before and was in terror of Esau’s revenge.  During the night prior to their encounter, “there wrestled a man with him.”  But actually, Jacob was wrestling with himself: with guilt, with shame, but mostly with fear.  Did he deserve to perish at the hands of his brother?  Was depriving Esau of not only his birthright but of his father’s blessing reason to die?

These questions were not easily answered.  Jacob had put off even considering them all the years he worked for his wife’s father.  But God told him to return to the land of his family, and he was being obedient.  He hoped that counted for something.

He struggled.  With rocks as pillows and stars as witnesses, he finally refused to ignore it any longer.  If this was his last night on earth, at least he would face up to the wrongs he had done.  He would take responsibility for his actions.

But something happened.  In coming to terms with his deceit and cowardice, he saw an aspect of himself previously unknown.  This recognition transformed him and he felt blessed.  As morning light dawned, Jacob was a new man.  No longer afraid of his brother, he wished to share his good fortune with him.

And so it was.  Jacob embraced Esau and said “I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me.”  They parted as friends – and equals.

When we see ourselves and others in that light, our burdens become blessings.

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.

Whack-a-mole

September 5, 2014

You know the arcade game, where mechanical moles pop their heads out of a number of different openings.  The object of the game is to whack as many of them as you can before they disappear back into their holes.  The bobbing insectivores increase their tempo as the game proceeds, all but making it impossible to succeed.

Does it sometimes feel like you’re playing Whack-a-mole with all the problems in your life, and there’s just no way to keep up?  No matter how many you whack, there are more and more waiting right behind?

I don’t think Jesus played Whack-a-mole.  And it’s not because he didn’t have a lot going on.  There was always a need to be met: healing, saving, feeding, raising the dead, teaching, preaching.  Day in and day out.  But he was the epitome of grace and truth.  He even said to his followers to “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  (Matt. 11:28)  How was he able to be so productive, so compassionate, so effective under all that pressure?

Jesus explained it this way: “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.”  (John 5:19)  He knew that his heavenly Father was the do-er.

Do you have that view of your relationship with God?  Is He the chief do-er and you are His obedient and humble servant?  Do you do only as He does?

In the first chapter of Genesis, we are told that God created His children in His image, as His likeness.  Jesus knew that, and he mirrored forth God’s power and presence in all ways.  He was so convinced that he could only do what His heavenly Father did, that he said “I and my Father are one.”  (John 10:30)

This revolutionary view of his relationship with God was not just for his own benefit however.  He proclaimed, “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do.”  (John 14:12)  Jesus knew that his followers were one with God, just as he was.  And he told them so: “as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us.”  (John 17:21)

That oneness is right at hand, already operating.  Your relationship with God is intact, and He is ready and willing to do what needs to be done, no matter how long the list is.  As soon as you give up the false responsibility of having to do it yourself, that list begins to evaporate.  God’s will is done, His kingdom come, as Jesus promised.  (Matt. 6:10)  This is what Immanuel is – God with us, here and now.

So, no more Whack-a-mole.  You and your Father are one.

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.