Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mark 16: 17, 18

I am always happy when these citations come up in our Bible lesson. Especially when the subject of the lesson is Christian Science. Pairing Christian Science and these directives makes for a powerful combination. It is very practical because you can apply these to whatever challenges come your way.

Jesus is speaking to his disciples and the gathered multitude. This tells me that what he is saying was not just restricted to those in the 'full time practice' of Christian Science, but to all who believe in him and want to live their life reflecting man as presented in the first acccount of creation in Genesis, man made in the image and likeness of God, a beloved cherished child. He assures them that such thoughts and prayers will result in these things happening -

1. they will cast out devils. We all have false beliefs that seem to sap our joy, our strength, our faith, our health. They can take so many forms, but none of them come from God or reflect His perfect, harmonious universe. Yet, they claim to have power over us to harm, frighten, limit, depress. Jesus says we will have the power to cast these out of thought and out of body.
2. they shall speak with new tongues. I loved this many years ago when I struggled with both a short temper and a tendency to be critical. As I learned more and more about Christian Science and saw it at work in my life, it was as if I had a 'new tongue', a gentler tone, a kinder response, and certainly, later on, the right words needed for healing.
3.they shall take up serpents. When I think about this one, I remember Moses' experience when God had him throw down his shepherd's rod and it suddenly transformed into a deadly viper. Moses was terrified and ran from it, but God instructed him to go back and pick it up. By the tail, no less! Moses obeyed and the 'serpent' transformed back into the rod. He learned a lesson in handling his fear of something and he also recognized an illusion for the lie that it was. Poison or threats can come to us in many forms and all of them trying to cause panic and fear. Jesus says we will be able to see right through the illusion and handle it with confidence.
4.if we drink any deadly thing it will not harm us. This too handles poisonous beliefs, but it can mean taking in anything that would alter or cause deterioration to our mind or body or human experience. It is alerting us to the company we choose to keep, the ideals we decided to follow, and the model we hold in thought. People make mistakes. That is not the problem, the problem is feeling that you must suffer the consequences. Learn the lesson and it will not have to be repeated.
5. we will lay hands on the sick and they will recover. It is not a physical thing. Although there were instances when Jesus reached out with great compassion to console someone lost in depression or pain. His touch gave strength and assurance. It caused them to look up. It was a special boon to the lepers, who by law were not allowed within 10' of another person. Jesus understood God's all-inclusive love and he showed it to everyone who came into his life. We can do the same. You have no idea how healing a smile or kind word can be. The ripples go out when we do some act of kindness and healing is the result.

Think on these messages from the Master today. He was talking to you.

Monday, June 23, 2008

We're all here now

As I prayed for inspiration today, the answer, as usual, was a surprise. I was thinking about an upcoming talk, one that would be several hours. I wanted to bring everyone's attention back after they take a short break. So I was praying about how to do that. That is when this sentence spoke aloud in my head. "I am grateful that we are all here now."

I wanted to understand it and listened for more guidance. "This is how you begin," the voice said. With gratitude. So adapting that to you who are reading this blog, I am grateful that we are making contact this way. The Bible says when two or more are gathered in his name, the Christ is right there with them. So as you read this blog, the Christ, the activity of God's love for you, is present and operating in your life.

But what really excites me is the use of the rest of the message....all here now. All here. You and I are complete ideas of divine Mind. As complete ideas we are 'all here'. That means that nothing is missing or lacking. If you have a challenge with your hearing or your sight, you can rejoice and know that you are 'all here', those faculties are intact and operating without problems. All here. If you are missing something that has been misplaced, you can rejoice and know that every thing has a spiritual identity held permanently in divine Mind. Since God knows where it is, you can as well, and it will be 'all here'. Maybe the challenge right now is supply. You can rejoice in supply as a spiritual idea that is already included in your identity. What you need is 'all here'. Now.

The number four is a spiritual concept. If you are called upon to use a 'four' today, you couldn't possibly use up the last one. Each time 'four' is used, it is immediately replenished. There is an infinite supply available. It doesn't matter if it is a small amount needed or a large amount, the fours never run out or get used up. And your access to them cannot be limited. It is 'all here'. God tells us that all that He has is ours as His beloved children. The perfect Father Mother is not withholding anything good from us.

It is 'all here now'.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Welcoming prophets

This week's Bible lesson has a long, challenging title, "Is the Universe, Including Man, Evolved by Atomic Force?". I believe Mrs. Eddy prayed and listened for the 26 topics that make up our lesson sermons. As I continue my study of 'daily', I am reminded that I must not forget my duty to our Leader. I see that as a call to honor her revelation and not question things like this title.

And as I began studying it, I was amazed at the wealth of ideas it contains. The first four sections focus on some of Elisha's experiences. He had been Elijah's assistant and took over the mantle of national prophet when Elijah was taken up into heaven. Mrs. Eddy defines prophet as a spiritual seer; disappearance of material sense before the conscious facts of spiritual Truth. So I decided to watch for that in each story.

The Golden Text of the lesson sets us up by declaring that nothing is too hard for God. As the calls come in this week, I will have the joyous opportuntity to see the truth of that. Elisha was present and welcomed into each of these situations. First, he is there when a drought threatened. When called upon to help, he promises them that even though they do not see evidence of rain, the dry ditches will fill, enough for them to drink and to water their cattle. The next morning, water poured through and filled the country. Drought can come in many forms, all of them claiming lack is present with no relief in sight. God, divine Love, can provide for all human needs right where no source seems to be.

In another story, a wealthy woman recognized Elisha as a true holy man and has a small loft prepared for his use whenever he passes by her house. He wishes to do something for her in return. He offers to put in a good word for her at court but she graciously refuses. She does not ask for that which is most precious, a child, as she has been barren for many years. But Elisha tells her that she will soon embrace a son. This comes to pass. So many people feel they are living barren lives without purpose or satisfying career or companionship. Money is not the answer. That woman was wealthy but it could not give her what she wanted most. God could and did.

Elisha travels to another part of the land where there is famine. He is welcomed with a gathering. One man brings 20 loaves of bread to share and some corn. But he fears it is not enough to feed the 100 men present. Elisha knows better. He says to go ahead and serve it out and that there would be left overs. This too comes to pass. Haven't you had the experience where you had a small something to give and it more than met the need? I have. Both as the giver and as one of those recieving of the gift. Mind is the multiplier. Only human perception divides what appears into little portions. Try multiplying your understanding of supply by seeing its infinite source in God, good. God's good never runs out, nor does it leave anyone out.

On another trip, Elisha is present when a man, cutting down trees, loses the axe head in the water. He is dismayed as it wasn't his, but borrowed. Elisha knows that nothing is too hard for God. The axe head floats to the surface and the man is able to retrieve it. Not even the laws of physics can stop good.

In each case, the prophet was welcomed, solutions appeared, good overcame fear or doubt. As you go through the day today, be on the lookout for prophets. Be one yourself. Be a spritual seer, see only good unfolding or evolving in your life. Expect solutions. Trust God. There is nothing too hard for Him. Stand still and watch it happen.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Fire - destructive or purifying?

This week's Bible lesson includes several stories where angels have appeared. Each of those appearances came in some form of fire. Mrs. Eddy defines 'fire' in the glossary of Science and Health (page 586) in part as 'affliction purifying and elevating man.' So today I am looking at those instances with greater interest.

Moses turns aside to see a curious sight, a bush that is on fire but not being consumed. I wrote about this yesterday. His encounter with God that day changed the course of his life. He was elevated from humble shepherd to leader of a nation. It is as he is leading the children of Israel out of Egyptian slavery that God appears as a pillar of fire, going before them to lead the way. That must have been a powerful symbol for the changes taking place in thought as they moved from servants to free people. This symbol of deific power must have also had an effect on the pursuing army of Egypt. It moved between the children of Israel and those soldiers. It showed that God was with them.

We all would like to see such visible evidence of the support and power of divine Love working for us. I had a healing recently that involved an encounter with hot oil. The pain was healed quickly, for which I was very grateful, but the visible effects over the next few days were alarming. I prayed with many ideas, one being that although it looked like my face had been touched by heat, it was not consumed. Within a week what appeared to be an area that would be covered with scars was instead fresh clean skin. No marks remained. All that remains of the incident is gratitude for the 'elevating and purifying' that took place.

I like to think of the 'pillar of fire' as being an idea that can appear just when needed, shining so bright and clear that you know it is divinely inspired. Something that was puzzling or confusing or depressing is suddenly bright and clear and brings peace and joy. Our little Katie Rose is almost a year old. She is usually in her highchair when I come into the kitchen for breakfast. Her face absolutley lights up when any family member appears. And ours light up in return. It is irresistable. A smile can be a 'pillar of light' at any time and under all circumstances.

Those angels, Mrs. Eddy says, are 'our guardians in the gloom.' Should any sense of gloom or doom settle around you today, just stand still and listen for them. My prayer for you is that you feel them supporting you, bringing comfort and reassurance of God's tender care. Welcome the gift.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Stand still...and go forward

Having just gotten back from a trip I am noticing how several journeys Moses took in this week's Bible lesson. The story picks up with Moses taking his father-in-laws flock up into the mountains. His mind must have been on spiritual things so that he was drawn to look more closely at the burning bush. That in itself was not an unusual sight, but what arrested thought was that the bush was not consumed by the fire. There must have times in the forty year period when he went from Prince of Egypt to lowly shepherd that it may have seemed that his life had gone up in flames. But God was showing him a new way to look at things. Once he was willing to turn aside and look, he was given pretty clear instructions. What he was about to do would not only redeem his own life, he would take all of the children of Israel with him.

Having accomplished Part One, with the whole nation following him, he walked away from civilization and into the wilderness. And I thought these luggage restrictions were a new thing. They basically could only take what they could carry as well. Moses even had the most advanced GPS system ever, a serious pillar of fire right in front of them leading the way. Just try and get lost. Isn't it typical that whenever we venture out on some new thing that a whole army of negative thoughts pursue us, some trying to make us change our mind, some predicting disaster, all wanting to force us to stay where we were. Moses was given the answer for that as well. All they had to do was stand still, unafraid, and watch God do His thing. They would be able to pass through on dry ground...but they also had to be willing to go forward! He opened the way through the Red Sea but He didn't push them along, they had to go, step by step, in faith. Pretty scary stuff. What if the walls didn't hold? What is the Egyptians caught up with them? Maybe it was better not to try this.

But on they went and the journey continued. Now it became a question of supply. No one had brought much with them and money would have been useless anyway. No shopping malls for clothes, no grocery stores, no place to plug into the internet, no entertainment. Can't you just picture the teenagers complaining? they were given the gift of time to focus on God, to get reaquainted with Him and their own religion. They learned to shed all the 'stuff' from Egypt, to slowly forget that life and those gods. Meanwhile God provided daily meat, bread and water. But it was quail and manna. Gourmet fare. Their clothing did not wear out, even their shoes held up after 40 years of walking. At the age of 120, Moses could see without glasses and was strong and vigorous. We can surely get through our own vacation this summer with grace and without exhaustion.

God is with us every step of our journey. No matter where it takes us. No matter how long it takes. Right beside us, a tangible guide. Wonderful things can be revealed in a wilderness experience. Those were highlights for Jesus and for Paul. As you make plans to go across the country or across the street, look deeply into this week's lesson and see some of the steps it shows. Stand still...and go forward.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Angel messages and messengers

There is so much packed into this week's Bible lesson I hardly know where to start. It surely won't fit in one blog so I will spread it out over the week. I am studying the 'angels' that appeared to Elisha and to Moses and to the children of Israel. Many times these came in the form of fire, but never in a destructive way. Often in the lesson we are shown how divine Love directs our way. How encouraging to know that whenever we seem to be at a crossroads, physically or mentally, divine Mind is showing us exactly which way to turn. And if you are struggling with feelings of depression or seem to be in a dark place, these 'angels', sent to us by Our Father, are our 'guardians in the gloom'. Mrs. Eddy gives us an interesting defintion of 'wilderness'. We can choose which way we view such times, as being filled with loneliness and doubt, or as the place where we overcome the material sense of things and the reality of our onesness with God, good, appears clearly. I will be paying attention to the directions given in each Bible section as they are faced with an adversity. These are the same steps I can use in my own experience. I even found a reference to something that happens 'daily', to support my on-going spiritual study of 'daily' this year. Whew! And then there was the amazing fact that during their forty year trek in the wilderness their clothes, even their shoes, did not wear out. That was the outward. Their sight did not dim, nor their vitality abate. How cool to know that forty years from now I can be demonstrating the same sight and strength. And can 'pass over on dry ground' through any flood of challenges that present themselves. All this with the help of those busy angels that God has given charge to protect and preserve me. In all my ways. And yours. No lapses or returns to harmony. Constantly at one with Him.

We are just back from a week in Colorado Springs. Much to do today. So will pick up on some of these ideas tomorrow and through the week. Gotta take my 'angels' and go forward.