Invisible light

June 17, 2017

Scientists tell us that only a small spectrum of light is visible to the human eye – what we know as the colors of the rainbow.  Although that seems infinite to us, there are many other kinds of light, like microwaves, and radio waves, and ultra violet, that are not visible but are very present and very active. (click here for an explanation)

The Bible says that “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” (1st John 1:5)  When we’re struggling with things like sin or sickness, it may seem that God’s light is invisible, that it’s not reaching the darkness of our problems. Yet, just like those unseen waves mentioned above, the light of Love is ever active bringing comfort and healing.  The Apostle James explains it this way, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (Chapter 1, verse 17)  Those good and perfect gifts are freely given to all, and bring to light whatever needs to be resolved, along with the ability to do it.

Mary Baker Eddy wrote in Science and Health that “as mortals gain more correct views of God and man, multitudinous objects of creation, which before were invisible, will become visible.” (Page 264)  Getting to know God better, learning more about His perfect nature, is the light that reveals the perfect nature of His creation, including man.

Speaking to his followers, Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:16)  He knew that generosity, kindness, and honesty – and many other noble acts – were the reflected light of God’s own goodness.  Although his Heavenly Father may have been invisible, the effect of His love was – and is – always present in many visible ways.

The Psalmist summed it up this way: “In thy light shall we see light.”  (Psalm 36:9)

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’ve heard the joke: a policeman pulls a driver over and takes them into custody.  After a few hours at the jailhouse, the officer releases the individual with an apology and an explanation: “when I heard you lean on the horn, and saw you flip that other driver off and curse them, and then saw the fish emblem and Jesus is Lord bumper stickers, I thought you must have stolen the car.”

Do we justify that kind of behavior by saying, “I’m not perfect, but I’m forgiven,” and then make no effort to live more perfectly, just doing things that need to be forgiven instead?

Christians have an example before them of the kind of behavior that is expected, in Christ Jesus himself.  He set the standard, and he set it very high. And he accepted no excuses for not measuring up.  How many times did he chastise his disciples and the Pharisees, both who should have known better, for not “getting” it?  And yet, he tenderly, patiently, and persistently encouraged his disciples to measure up.  His encouragement of the Pharisees was of a different sort, but no less persistent, even compassionate: if he could only awaken them to their hypocrisy he could show them the Kingdom of Heaven.  And he wanted everyone to know the Kingdom of Heaven.

As Christians, we want everyone to know the Kingdom of Heaven too.  That’s why it’s so important to be an example of it, to point the way as tenderly and patiently and persistently as he did, through kindness and affection and humility.  And healing.  What better way is there to let others know how awesome it is?

Here’s a step you can take right now.  Ask yourself if the things you post on Facebook actually reflect your Christianity.  Are they demeaning of anyone? Of a political party, politician, or celebrity?  Or race or gender or culture?  Are you willing to give them up in order to more rightly influence the world?  That doesn’t mean you have to flood Facebook with Scripture.  Just don’t flood it with unkindness.

Jesus said, “You will know my disciples because they love one another.”  (John 13:35) Let’s show the world that we know what that means and then live as if we agree with it.

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.

Help thou mine unbelief.

October 30, 2014

This is what the frightened father said to Jesus regarding his epileptic son, after the Master had reassured him that all things are possible to him who believes.  The disciples had not been able to heal the boy.  Was Jesus now suggesting that it was the father’s unbelief that was the problem?  No, of course not.  Jesus didn’t respond with a reprimand, or doctrine, or even encouragement.  He simply healed the child and returned him to his grateful father.  (Mark 9:17-29)

Doesn’t it seem that we sometimes find ourselves in a similar situation?  We yearn to trust.  We hope our faith will be firm.  Yet doubt fills our hearts.  We can’t seem to get beyond our own unbelief.  But there is a way to move forward, to find peace and healing.

It’s important to note Jesus’ response to his disciples’ query as to why they could not heal the boy.  He replied, “This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.” Since John the Baptist’s disciples commented that Jesus didn’t fast (see Luke 5:33 for example) it’s not likely he would consider not eating a solution.  And he said as much in the Sermon on the Mount, admonishing, “take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink…”  (Matt 6:25)

Perhaps the Master was suggesting a kind of fast from fearful and negative thoughts and behaviors, much like Isaiah reports God as saying: “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?”  (Chapter 58, verse 6)  Could it be that refusing to mentally and spiritually consider any enslaving thought, coupled with heartfelt prayer, was the necessary preparation for the kind of healing Jesus expected?

Mary Baker Eddy, in her discussion of this Bible story, offers this definition of fasting: “refraining from admitting the claims of the senses.”  (Miscellany p. 222)  And she called the prayers of Jesus “deep and conscientious protests of truth.”  (Science and Health p. 12) These two explanations show the Christly altitude of Jesus’ outlook as well as what he was striving to impart to his students.  They would eventually learn this lesson and successfully heal and save others as he did.

We can benefit from this scriptural teaching as well.  We can recognize the sensational stories of fear and pain and resist them.  We can rely on the comforting presence of the Christ to shift thought to a more divine perspective, where healing can occur safely and naturally.  Unbelief doesn’t stand a chance once thought begins to move.

And rest assured.  The love of God is big enough and full enough and close enough to help you do this.  For with God all things are possible.

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.

Was Jesus a scientist?

April 10, 2014

Okay, so he didn’t wear a white lab coat and use a microscope.  Oh, wait, I guess he did.  Well, not the lab coat, but he did use something like a microscope.  He examined – very closely – the thoughts of those around him!

It wasn’t really a microscope though; it was something even more powerful!  The Apostle Paul explains it this way in his letter to the Hebrews: “…the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”  (4:12)  The W0rd of God was what Jesus used to understand and heal those around him.  He used it consistently and repeatedly.

And like any good scientist, he taught others how to use God’s Word consistently and repeatedly.  And they taught others.  And on and on.  Jesus even predicted it.  He knew his results were consistent and repeatable.  He said “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)

Although Jesus himself didn’t keep a scientific record of all that he did, there is a whole New Testament that lays out how consistent and repeatable – and scientific – his works were.  And the works of those who followed him.

And still follow him.

Was Jesus a scientist?  Read the gospels.  Read the book of Acts.  Read Paul’s and Peter’s and James’ and John’s letters.

You decide.  And go and do thou likewise.

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.

The Power of Two

June 27, 2013

I could just have easily said “the power of four,” or “the power of nine.”  That’s because this particular post is not about quantity but quality – specifically, the quality of ever presence.

Have you ever doubted that two would be there when you needed it?  When you sat down to balance your checkbook, did you wonder if you could only go so far because there might not be an available two?  Of course not.  Everybody knows that numbers are not things but thoughts, concepts.  And no matter what you’re doing, or where you’re doing it, or who you’re doing it with, every number is available all the time.  No questions asked.  And what’s more, the processes by which numbers are made use of mathematically are also always available.  Just because you don’t know how to do trigonometry doesn’t mean those rules for doing it are not present or valid.

Do you have to feel the presence of two before you can take advantage of it?  Does not feeling two limit your day?  Again, of course not!  Two just is.  At all times and under all circumstances.  It’s never not quite two.  It’s always dependably, consistently two.  And we expect it to remain so for eternity.

So, all of this is pretty rudimental.  But I wanted to start with something that we all can agree on, and then correlate it to something that seems harder to grasp.

That would be Love: divine Love, another name for God.

Every one of the facts concerning two listed above also applies to Love: always available, always the same, always active, no matter what.  And just like you don’t have to “feel” two in order to effectively make use of it, neither do you need to feel God’s love in order to be assured that it is indeed present and operational.

Why is it then, that not feeling divine Love seems so demoralizing?  The Apostle Paul explained it this way: “the carnal mind is enmity against God.”  (Rom 8:7)  In other words, the tendency of the carnal or fleshly, human mind is to be convinced that God is distant, or worse, missing.  And to the extent that we agree with that terrible false premise, does our life, health, and happiness suffer.  Would could be more disheartening than believing that infinite Love doesn’t actually exist?

However, just like two is always two-ing, Love is always loving.  Just like two is always available no matter how complex the problem, nor how many need to use it at any given time, divine Love is also universally and impartially available, ever acting, ever helping, ever loving – you, me, all.

The bottom line is, don’t trust your human sense of where and what God is.  Trust the spiritual facts as explained in the Bible and as especially lived by Jesus.  His entire career and ministry successfully exemplified the ever present, ever saving, ever loving power of God as Love.

So remember: if two is not missing, neither is Love.  Let yourself be twoed!  I mean 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.


May 23, 2013

For the most part, you and I can’t just drop everything and go to Moore, OK to help comfort, clear, and rebuild.   But we can sure pray.  We can see the power of God made manifest in the first and continuous responders, the loving hands and hearts reaching out, the strength growing out of sorrow.  Good is more powerful than evil because it always ultimately prevails.

The Psalmist writes, “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?  If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.  If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.”  (Ps 139:7-10)

Let us hold fast to that vision of God as ever ready, ever willing, and ever present to save, so that we may bless our brothers and sisters whose lives have been disrupted and dismantled.

But more than that, let us take responsibility for our own part in the bluster and hot air that leads to destruction.  Hosea puts it this way, referring to the incorrigible ways of his people: “Look at them! Planting wind seeds, they’ll harvest tornadoes.”  (The Message Hos 8:7)  Make no mistake: this is not a condemnation of the dear people who live in Tornado Alley.  It’s a recognition that we all contribute to the atmosphere of thought which surrounds us.

For you Trekkies out there, you may remember The Day of the Dove, an episode pitting the Klingons against the Enterprise.  Spock realized that the anger and hatred expressed between the two factions was feeding the violence.  As an antidote, he suggested they began to laugh and enjoy one another’s company. They did so, and the evil dissipated releasing everyone from harm.

Monsters Inc. tells a similar story, about the discovery that joy and affection are a more powerful, safer, and easier to obtain, fuel than fear and anger.

The swirling maelstrom of human emotions like anger, hate, fear, willfulness, etc, leads to more of the same.  And as it billows and expands it seems to envelop us in its churning.  We must temper that tempest.

The Bible has a number of great solutions, not the least of which is the Golden Rule: “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.”  (Matt 7:12)  Or this from Proverbs: “A soft answer turneth away wrath.” (15:1)

The fact is, it really makes a difference.  You surely can recall times where a sense of calm interrupted and offset a harmful situation.  If it works on a smaller scale, don’t you think it can work on a grander scale as well, if we all pitch in?

When Jesus said “peace, be still,” he could have been speaking as readily to the agitated disciples as to the storm.  Either way, the result was the same.  (Mark 4:39)  The wind ceased.

Let us take to heart our own part in the solution: prayer and goodwill towards all.  It certainly can’t hurt and will more likely do a very great good!

Melissa Hayden is a Christian Science practitioner in Salem, OR. You can find more information and additional articles at this link.

In Ephesians (see chapter 6) the Apostle Paul says “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”  He goes on to say that in doing so, “ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.”  Paul is talking about defending yourself against both evil acts and evil thoughts, but especially against evil thoughts.  He tells us that we’re not wrestling against flesh and blood – that means it’s not people we’re defending ourselves against.  It’s all the thoughts, motives, and intents that are swirling around in the collective consciousness.

Mary Baker Eddy confirms this when she writes: “Evil thoughts and aims reach no farther and do no more harm than one’s belief permits. Evil thoughts, lusts, and malicious purposes cannot go forth, like wandering pollen, from one human mind to another, finding unsuspected lodgment, if virtue and truth build a strong defence.”  (see Science and Health, page 234)  Virtue and truth are thought choices that serve as armor.  The more these and similar conclusions fill thought, the more defended you are.

The Psalmist (see 7:10) agreed when he wrote: “My defence is of God, which saveth the upright in heart.”  But God doesn’t stop there.  Not only does He defend those who have already chosen more healthy and holy thoughts, He actually provides those higher, holier mental viewpoints.  Proverbs 16 says, “Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.”

The bottom line is that the best armor comes directly from God and nothing harmful can penetrate it.

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.

Offences vs. stumbles

July 7, 2012

There’s a wonderful passage in Psalms (see 119:165): “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.”  At least that’s how the King James Version puts it.  The New King James Version states it just a little differently: “Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble.”

I love how it shifts the viewpoint.  The first one seems to indicate a state of serenity where, regardless of what’s going on around you, you will remain unflappable.

The second one points to a more active – albeit peaceful – contact with the world, moving through it, obstacle free.

The first one seems to talk about the quality of thought that doesn’t react to the mistakes (offences) being made by others.  The second one is also a quality of thought, but it is directed at preventing our own mistakes (stumbles).

Both attitudes are useful and both are based on the straightforward and simple premise of loving God’s law.  That holy viewpoint brings about the necessary peace that simply lifts us above the stumbling blocks and out of harm’s way.

Either way, it’s good advice.

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.


June 25, 2012

I’ve heard it said that if you’re constantly being disappointed it’s because your expectations are too high.  I think the opposite is true: you’re disappointed because your expectations are too low, especially of yourself.  Disappointment is our reaction to someone else so it’s not really about them, it’s about us.  Our reaction – our problem.

Here’s the solution. Change your expectations of yourself.  Spiritualize them.

If you expect always to behold yourself as the image and likeness of God and hold yourself accountable to that expectation through prayer, what’s the likelihood you’ll be disappointed?  Very small.  Why?  Because your thought drives your experience.  Manage thought, manage experience.

There’s a great statement in Science and Health that explains it this way: “Admitting only such conclusions as you wish realized in bodily results, you will control yourself harmoniously.” (See page 392)  Wow.

That means though, that you need to take a look at your thoughts – your expectations and conclusions – before you think them.  Yes, you can do that.  You can choose your thoughts through prayerful watching.

Once you get the hang of it you can begin to choose kinder thoughts, healthier thoughts, holier thoughts.  Wouldn’t it be great to experience more of those things?  It’s as simple as praying about it.  And then expecting your prayer to be answered.

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.


June 7, 2012

My cousin is in town taking care of some difficult family business.  And as wearing and even painful as it all is, or could be, she is nothing but light and joy.  Don’t get me wrong: she’s not a Pollyanna.  But she made a decision at some point in her life – a very tough life in many ways – to only be positive.  She always finds the silver lining.

This quality of living – to be joyful regardless of circumstances – was something Jesus was very good at.  Just think of what the Bible tells us about him upon learning of John the Baptist’s death.  He wanted to get away to a “desert place” to perhaps pray and collect himself.  But the multitudes gave him no quiet time.  Mark says that he “was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.”  (see Chapter 6)  He even went on to feed them with 5 loaves and 2 fishes.  And then to walk on the water.  (See Matthew 14)

How do we cultivate this sense of persistent and effective joy – the joy that Jesus says no one can take from you ? (see John 16:22)  How do we maintain a standard of equanimity in the face of an ever-changing world?  How do we get outside of our own viewpoint to find a purer and sweeter consistency?

Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the church I belong to, once wrote, “It is our ignorance of God, the divine Principle, which produces apparent discord, and the right understanding of Him restores harmony.”  (See Science and Health page 390)  In other words, the better you know God, the less likely you are to be fooled by the sights and sounds of mortal existence.

These are wise words to live by, and doing so is a pretty good guarantee of lifelong joy.

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.