Tuesday, May 28, 2013

necromancy - is it only in the past?

Our Bible Lessons are based on 26 topics Mrs. Eddy has given us, presented in order and repeated twice a year. But the content of the Lessons is always fresh, a new set of citations put together from the Bible and Science and Health. Some topics are simple and easy to work with. Others seem a bit strange, and some are in the form of questions. This week's Lesson is one I used to think odd. Ancient and Modern Necromancy, alias Mesmerism and Hypnotism, Denounced. But as my study of Christian Science continues and deepens I see the wisdom is providing this study.

There are examples in the Bible of Ancient Necromancy. Necromancy is defined in the Merriam-
Webster online dictionary as conjuring the spirits of the dead to reveal the future or course of events. It is black magic based on a belief in evil. How relevant is that today? Very. Is it a term people know? Apparently. On Monday as I browsed through the news I spotted this...."The media necromancy of the web has resurrected yet another dead and decaying television show." The writer was familiar with the word necromancy and assumed readers would be as well.

That got me thinking. What other ways might one be using necromancy today? Do we sometimes wish we could summon up a loved one who has passed on to give us advice? Do we look at some character trait we seem to have and believe that it has been passed along to us by a relative? Do we dredge us memories of an unpleasant past event and continue to dwell over it wishing we could change what happened? Do we look to things in the past and believe they are having an adverse effect on the present, or the future?

Mrs. Eddy put necromancy on equal footing with mesmerism or hypnotism. Both of those terms were very much in the news in her day. Are they today? How about those commercials that attempt subtly and not so subtly to mesmerize you into wanting and purchasing things? I took the 'grands' grocery shopping yesterday and it was quite startling how many things they identified on the shelves. They wanted those products because they had seen commercials designed to brand them into their minds so they would have a favorable reaction when they saw them. Have you ever gotten so attached to a television series that everything else must be put aside to watch it? Do the characters and events provoke a reaction? Is it hard to wait for the next episode? Careful, you are being used.

This week's outstanding Lesson includes the story of Nehemiah rebuilding the destroyed walls and gates of Jerusalem and the attempts of his enemies to keep that from happening. I look forward each morning to finding more and more spiritual inspiration. This seems like the exact opposite of necromancy. It is turning to the Word of God for light and blessing. It is all about how not to be fooled or influenced erroneously. It's going to be a great week!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Watching for the questions

One of our recent Bible Lessons was filled with questions....and provided answers. That alerted me to something new I could be doing with our weekly lessons, look for questions and their answers in the text. This week we get the first question in the Responsive Reading, "Is there a God beside Me?"  It is easy to just say, "No, of course not" but how many times a day are we challenged with a suggestion that there is some other power present or at work in our lives? (another question) Today I am paying attention to the questions in the Lesson and may even write them out to use in my prayerful work.

Is there a God beside Me?
What are body and soul?
O Lord my God, hast Thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, to slay her son?
Does God send sickness, giving the mother her child for a brief span of years and then taking it away by death?
Can there be any birth or death for man, the spiritual image and likeness of God?
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me?
Who touched my clothes?
And now, Lord, what wait I for?

I am sure these questions and their answers, found in the Bible and Science and Health will prompt a deeper study of Christian Science today and a clearer application of Truth. I can be expecting healing all day long. Please let me know if this was a helpful idea for you. Was it helpful?

That's another question. :)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Master Architect and His perfect blueprint

This week's Bible Lesson, Soul and Body, is packed with great ideas. I love having this Lesson ready and waiting each week. It has helped me be a better student of the Bible as we read and study different citations and get to  know many of the Biblical characters. The full-text edition is a wonderful way to share Christian Science with others but I still mark my books as well. There's so much pleasure in turning to the different citations and being able to see what comes before and after them for deeper study. The ideas in Science and Health continue to provide fresh inspiration although that book was written in the 1890's. As part of my spiritual journey I am continually reading it. When I get to the end I just go back to the beginning and start over. There is always more to learn and I am in a new place every time as my understanding grows.

This week we have three stories that illustrate the Golden Text, ...ye are God's building. We are like a house built to His plan, His blue print and God is the Master Architect.

During an extended drought the prophet Elijah gets a message from God telling him to go to a certain city where a widow woman will sustain him. Elijah stays in her home and that is when the cruise of oil does not fail, in fact, it provides enough to sell the extra. the drought ends and another crisis occurs when her son falls ill and dies. Elijah takes the child from his grieving mother's arms and carries him up to the loft. There he prays and the child is restored to life. Elijah brings the child to his mother. It is not in the Lesson but her response is "Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in thy mouth is truth."  It seems like she should have been convinced of his connection with God by the demonstration of the oil. When he arrived she was preparing a final meal for herself and the child and then fully expected to starve to death. I believe that drought had been in effect some time before Elijah arrived and it is not clear how long it continued but the biblical account says 'many day'.

Maybe she felt the supply was to save Elijah and she got the benefit of it by hosting him. But when they survived that challenge only to have the child die from illness she must have been sorely tested. She refers to some past sin and thinks that having Elijah there has brought her to God's attention. The restoration of her son, her only son, was a turning point.

What I am learning from studying this lesson is how important it is to daily affirm our true heritage as the child of God. God is our parent, our Father Mother, our creator. We exist as an idea in divine Mind. We have a spiritual identity. We did not have a birth, will not pass through stages of life, and then end with death. No birth process into matter at all.  God is Spirit and 'man is not material, he is spiritual.' God is Soul and Soul is never found in a limited mind or a limited body. Much to ponder today.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Talked with any serpents lately?

This week's Bible Lesson on Adam and Fallen Man begins with the spiritual account of creation given in Genesis One. Lots of nice animals in that one. The lesson continues with the second account of creation given in Genesis Two, where the Lord God makes man from the dust of the ground and woman from Adam's rib. Another change is the appearance of the Tree of the knowlege of good and evil. Adam and Eve are forbidden to eat the fruit from that tree. Along comes a talking serpent. That was certainly not in the spiritual account. And what does he want to talk about? Rules. Restrictions. Is God being fair? Is He misleading you, keeping something back you might enjoy? Do you really have to obey Him? Notice that he goes after Eve, not Adam.

She should have just turned and walked away.

But she didn't. She listened.

Don't get sucked into those conversations initiated by evil with the intent to undermine your faith, your confidence in God's protection and loving care. You know the things you should actively avoid. Don't argue...get out of there.

Evil will try to put it in attractive packaging, promising all kind so benefits. Why would we ever choose to know about evil! Are you tempted to read those magazines filled with gossip and inuendos about the rich and famous? Why? Are they telling the truth? Are they offering prayer and healing?

What was presented to Eve was something that appeared to be good to eat, good to take in, good to swallow. Run your eye over the magazine stand and see how every issue has some new diet plan based on eating or not eating certain foods. Eat this or don't eat this and you will be beautiful. How did that work out for Eve? How does it work out for anyone who bases happiness on food or diet?

What was presented came in an attractive package. It was pleasant to the eye. Temptation usuallly is. Do you think it might be good because it is attractive? Think again. Just in case she was still not convinced there was a further lie.

What was presented would make her wise. Who says she wasn't wise already? Are we made wise by learning something evil wants to show us? Be sure you watch and pray not to be pursuaded, not to be influenced erroneously by the 'talking serpent' appearing on your tv, computer screen, or other device.Or in casual conversations at work.  It's trying to sell you something as if God is not already meeting your every need.

I'm glad we read this account side-by-side with Genesis One. How brilliant of Mrs. Eddy to make this so clear. Which version are you going to believe in today? They teach you a jingle in Sunday school that goes something like this, "Which of these version is all about you, Genesis One or Genesis Two?"  Don't listen to the talking serpent, listen to your Father Mother God. He will not make empty promises or tempt you with evil.

Friday, May 3, 2013

5 favorite words

This week's Bible Lesson on Everlasting Punishment contains a phrase of five words. The phrase is 'the accuser is not there'. It is from Science and Health, by Mary Baker Eddy, and is found on page 568. Discussing the 'paean of jubilee' that will rise to heaven for the victory over all sin, Mrs. Eddy describes 'a louder song, sweeter than has ever before reached heaven'. The reason for this rejoicing is that 'the accuser is not there'.

The accuser. That which is not a person, place or thing but just a lie, a suggestion, a false idea trying to pass itself off as real. It has no authority, no power behind it to enforce its claims. It can only attempt to trick us with illusions. Pay no attention to that man behind the screen! Just as the man who is creating the illusion of Oz, the Great and Powerful, is unmasked by Dorothy, exposed as a humbug, so we can awaken to find that 'the accuser is not there'.

That which accuses us of being sick or depressed or helpless or hopeless. That which claims to have dominion over our body or our home or work place or relatioships or branch church. That which whispers nothing but negative thoughts to frighten or enrage or discourage. That very accuser is nothing but emptiness posing as something-ness. Open your eyes! That accuser is not really there.

With that realization will come a throng of angel messages, straight from divine Love. Messages of comfort and assurance. You are not sick. You are not alone. You are not burdened. You are innocent. You are loved. You are inseperable from your Father-Mother God. You have all you need. You are blessed. You are a blessing to others.

The accuser is not there. God is. God, the source of all goodness, is right there. Give thanks and magnify Him with all your heart. Tell Him you love Him and listen for His assurance, "I love you back".

How do we know this really works? Look at the last 100 pages of Science and Health and read documented healings of those who were healed of 'all manner of sickness' just by reading this remarkable book. Pick up this week's Christian Science Sentinel or this month's Christian Science Journal and read more healings from all over the world, healings happening in our time. Visit a Christian Science Wednesday service and listen to your neighbors tell of their own healings. Sit down with a friend who is a Christian Scientist and ask them about their healings. Call a Christian Science practitioner and ask for prayer and treatment.  "A change in human belief changes  all the physical symptoms, and determines a case for better or for worse. When one's false belief is corrected, Truth sends a report of health over the body". (S&H p.10) Want to know more? Pick up a copy from your local Christian Science reading room or on line.

You'll see. The accuser is not there!