Wednesday, January 28, 2009

So what does God do?

As I worked with the lesson today I noticed how often God is speaking and what He is saying. Here are some of those: I have loved thee, I have drawn thee, I am with thee, I am thy God, I will strengthen thee, I will help thee, I will uphold thee, I will forgive your mistakes, I will remember your sins no more, I will hold thy right hand, I will comfort you. Quite a list. If you are feeling alone or sad or ill or fearful, read this list over and know that God, divine Love is talking directly to you. I know that will help. It has helped me many times.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

accused and accusers

This week's Bible Lesson about God as Love has several themes running through it. When I first found Christian Science one of its strongest appeals was that it matched up with my instinctive belief that God is a loving Parent. To me, He was always the Good Shepherd of the 23rd Psalm. It was such a thrill to discover Mrs. Eddy's spiritual interpretation of that Psalm in Science and Health. God loves me as His own cherished child, unconditionally, with kindness and great tenderness. I certainly love Him back.

God forgives. This Lesson gives three examples from the Gospels of God's forgiveness. We should obey His laws not from a fear of punishment but because we understand that they are good and right. Sometimes, many times, this calls for a change of heart, a re-formation of behavior and belief. It isn't enough to be genuinely sorry for wrong doing, you must not repeat the offense. Jesus forgives when he heals but he makes that point very clear.

When the scribes and Pharisees thrust a woman caught in the act of adultery before him and demand that he pass judgement on her, they are hoping to have something they can use against him. So in this case Jesus is not only dealing with the woman who has been accused, but with himself as being accused. The accusers had no legal right to condemn either of them. Jesus found the perfect way to challenge their right to condemn her and claim his own right not to do so. Brilliant. May we all find such a peaceful and blessed answer to turn away wrath. They not only left off their attempt, their eyes were opened to their own behavior. Jesus told the woman her sin had been forgiven - giving in to a desire that should have waited until she and her betrothed were married - but told her she was not to do this again.

In the second story, Jesus is a guest of Simon the Pharisee. During dinner, held in a public place, a woman approaches the couch where he is reclining and begins to wash his feet with her tears, dry them with her hair, and anoint them with costly oil. Jesus must have seen into her heart and understood what was behind this very public action. Simon only saw a sinner and chose to continue to condemn her as such. Jesus shows him by a simple story how the one who is forgiven much is the one who has loved God much. This woman showed her love and gratitiude by those humble acts, common courtesies Simon had neglected to provide. He assures the woman that her sins have in fact been forgiven.

A third story is about an incident where four friends brought a man to Jesus for healing. The man was paralyzed as a result of the life style he had chosen. He was a sinner and felt he deserved what happened to him. But his friends obviously loved this man enough to let his cot down through the roof tiles so Jesus could heal him. And he did. He addresses him as Son, surely not his own son, so he must have been identifying him as God's son. He, too, is told that his sins are forgiven. Had Jesus seen into this man's heart the way he had seen into the Magdelene's? Was there true repentance and a willingness to reform? The man was healed, released from that paralyzed state and free to go home. A place he probably had been denied by his family for his actions.

Later this week I will write about another instance of forgiveness in the Lesson, Ananaias and Paul. Do you believe there is an unforgiveable sin or sinner? Holding that thought can only harm you. Choose instead to see as Jesus saw, the man of God's creating. Each of us has to work out our own salvation but we do not want to be dragging around condemnation and hardness of heart. Then it is up to the one who has committed the wrong to find their own reformation and renewel. But we have purified our thought and caught a clearer glimpse of divine Love.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A funny thought

Years ago, when I was living in the Boston area, I got into watching professional hockey. I loved the game and marveled at how those players could do what they did on ice. Several members of that team became favorites, including the amazing Bobby Orr. One of the players was pretty feisty and loved to stir things up. As a result, he seemed to be a target for every team that came to town, and their teams 'enforcer' would go after him.

There was also an awesome defenseman for the Bruins named Teddy Green, who resembled someone I knew, someone totally unlike a hockey player, so it was funny to watch this guy do his thing. NOBODY wanted to mess with him. He watched the new kid get slammed each game and one night, when things were getting pretty rough, he intervened, telling the other defenseman...if you want to get to the kid, you have to go through me. And the other guy backed off.

This morning I was reading a devotional, a book with daily Bible verses and comments and a reference was made to how God, divine Love, is always going before us. And it struck me funny to picture Him telling any form of error, disease, or lack....if you want to get to her, you have to go through Me. Actually, that's a pretty comforting thought. God is there for me and no one and nothing is going to get past Him. And He is there for you too.

Monday, January 12, 2009

New Lesson - new ideas

The Bible Lessons will now go through some of the synonyms Mrs. Eddy uses for God. This week it is Life and the theme revolves around 'new': a new song, a new understanding, seeing how God, Life, makes all things new. I look forward to digging in to that.

This morning, I worked mostly with the fourth section which tells of Elijah being sustained during a long drought. He is sent by God, Life, to stay at the brook in Cherith, which continues to flow despite no rain. There he is miraculously fed by ravens. Some Bible commentaries believe that it was not actual birds but Arabs. In either case, it would have been something arranged by a higher power. Let's go with the birds today. Those animlas were able to provide him with food to sustain him and he drank from the brook. Eventually, as the drought dragged on, even that brook dried up. Sometimes we seem to be in a long period of drought, when all our sources are running out. We may be miraculously able to stay alive but we do not see that end of the lack happening any time soon, in fact, it seems to get worse. In the glossary of Science and Health Mrs. Eddy defines miracle as something which is divinely natural, but must be learned humanly.

God, Life, then speaks to Elijah again. The first word spoken is a command to arise. Do you think he was just sitting there, taking what was given but making no spiritual progress toward seeing true supply? He needed to elevate his thought. So he obeys and goes to Zaraphath where God has arranged for a widow woman to sustain him. Here is a higher sense of life, from wild birds to a human being. She can not only offer him food, but she has some oil. In the glossary Mrs. Eddy defines oil as consecration; charity; gentleness; prayer; heavenly inspiration. That is what is about to happen as the widow believes that if she shares the little that is left, she and her son will starve. But she is willing to do it. Elijah assures her, with his deeper understanding of Life, that the supply will not run out, it will be new every day. And that is exactly what happens.

The Fourth Section ends with the first line of Science and Health: "To those leaning on the sustaining Infinite, today is big with blessings". Let's rejoice if we find ourselves in a Cherith-like experience where we see signs of Good providing for us but don't stay there! Move on to a Zaraphath-like state of mind where you understand that you do not need to fear using up what seems to be the last of your finances, or your strength, or your patience, or your love. See that those things have a spiritual source that can never be depleted or run out. Today most definitely is big with blessings.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


There were a couple of movies that were standouts in our household in 2008. We all loved KungFu Panda and its simple message that there is no secret ingredient, it's you. If you haven't seen this movie, I highly recommend that you order Chinese take out and watch it.

The other movie that we watched a bazillion times and no doubt will continue to watch was Wall-E. The movie is sweet and funny and very well done. Everyone found a special character they liked. So what does this have to do with spirituality? I'll tell you.

This morning I was reading the Bible Lesson and got to Second Three. I noticed that it begins with a question that basically asks who is God that we should serve Him and what will we profit if we pray to Him. Good question. The next citation gives a wonderful answer about prayer and what it can accomplish. It can save the sick because God will raise him up and if mistakes and errors are the problem, God will forgive. Mrs. Eddy sums it up like this: "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avialeth much".

The Lesson goes on to Jesus as what he accomplished as he went around preaching and teaching. Then...and this is the part I wanted to share with you...he calls his disciples to him and gives them their mission. In the movie Wall-e both of the robots are intent on doing what they have been created to do...fulfill their directive. Wall-E scoops up and condenses trash that is covering the city and uses the blocks to build. Eva has been sent out to find signs of life to show that the Earth can be repopulated. Both are dedicated to doing what they have been created and designed to do. Now, how would you define your 'directive'? What have you been created and designed to do by God? How much time and effort are you spending on fulfilling your directive? A great deal depends on it. We all have our part in the grand design.

It is a very childlike movie and one should be in an open frame of mind. Just as we should be ever open to learning as we study the Lesson each day, read the Bible and Mrs. Eddy's writings, and put them into practice. I will be thinking about my directive today and hope you are cherishing yours.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Caller ID

My grandchildren do not remember a time when they could answer the phone and not see who was calling. In our house, it even shows up on the tv! A recent metaphysical article in the Christian Science Monitor posed the question: wouldn't it be wonderful to have a similar ID check of the thoughts that come throughout our day? If it's better 'pick up the phone'! Actually, He is always sending up angel messengers and messages. But those ideas that come that do not originate with Him don't need to be listened to or obeyed. Now that's a comforting thought.

Each of us has a spiritual sense that guides us to see the difference between right and wrong, good and evil. Mrs. Eddy describes it as 'the constant, conscious capacity to understand God'. Success comes with practice.

One example of this in the Bible occured when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness. In each case, he recognized that it was not God, good, speaking to him, tempting him to worship and obey matter. He refused to get into a discussion with it and the temptations stopped.

AS we begin a new year, with new opportunties and an expectancy of good, we can be alert and aware of just who it is that is 'calling'. We can watch our thinking. If you need help or inspiration, turn to the Bible. All the answers you need are there. For dedicated growth, take some time with the weekly Bible lessons. Over the years I have gained quite a bit of knowledge adn familiarity with the Bible and its characters from reading these lessons. Many times, those stories have uplifted me and led to healings.

One thing I want to be better about this year is not to give in to impulse buying, making poor choices for the wrong reasons. If it is a right purchase, I need to walk around the store a bit and really think it through. I have already discovered in the past year how much better it is to try and find a book at the library first, instead of just ordering a copy off the internet. Once I've read it, I can always get my own copy later. I am doing the same things with DVDs. Too many times, I bought one on some recommendation or another and been disappointed. Now, I try to borrow it from someone first. A small thing, but an attempt not to be influenced erroneously. A sort of checking out that Caller ID first.

The Monitor article concluded with this thought: "There's no situation so complicated, no pit so deep, no problem so long-standing that can't be redeemed through understanding God's supreme control of our lives."

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year...and a new last name

We all love new beginnings. I had an interesting insight this morning, as I read this week's Bible Lesson about God. It centers around the Ten Commandments. These are very familiar and the temptation is to just gloss over them, but that is when it is most important to remain teachable and look for new levels of meaning.

As I read the Third Commandment, you will not take God's name in vain, an angel message came so clearly. "Candace, when you identify yourself as God's child, when you spiritually see that you are Candace Bar Abba or the beloved child of your Father in heaven, you claim all the rights and benefits that go with being a member of His family."

How differently my day might go if all day long I chose to think of myself as Candace Bar Abba, in effect taking on that name and all it includes. I would also be seperating myself from the identity of someone who is connected with human inheritances and tendencies. No hereditary flaws or characteristics have ever attached themselves to me. I am not that person. I am not that child. All my true relatives are also God's family and reflect only good qualities and behaviors. We all love one another in the highest sense of family.

Should you decide to accept this Truth, you cannot 'take God's name' as your own name in vain. Divine Love loves you completely and unconditionally. You will always have all you need and every human need will be provided and met. From your Father Mother God.

Now, I have no plans to go down to the DMV and change the name on my driver's license but as I go through this day I believe I will remind myself often of who I really am and what that means. And this is information imparted to me from God Himself in the form of one of His commandments. I just hadn't thought about that way before.