Wednesday, October 30, 2013

This week's Bible Lesson includes Jesus' parable about the lost sheep. I am looking at it with fresh eyes to find something new and wonderful. To set it in context, he is addressing a crowd that included publicans and sinners who gathered close to hear him.

The publicans were despised and considered traitors who for financial gain had sided with the Romans and collected tribute for their treasury. Any money they gained would not be accepted as alms, they were not allowed to testify in court, and they were considered heathens. Sinners were those who were notorious transgressors. Jesus received both graciously and lived side by side with them in peace. This behavior greatly offended the Scribes and Pharisees. They were self-righteous and had neither love nor hope for them. Their murmurings lead Jesus to share this parable to warn them that there will be more joy in heaven over one of these penitents than over ninety-nine such as themselves.

They were to be as Shepherds of their religious flock. He came to seek and save that which was lost and so must they. And He seeks until he finds them. Or as with those who came to hear him, they found him. Then he gently carries them home, brings them back into the fold. And their is much rejoicing at their return.

We claim to be his followers, we study the Lesson each week, we attend services and participate in church. How are we seeking and saving those among us who are struggling? Do we leave them in their wilderness or do we seek to see their true identity and know they can never be separated from their Shepherd. When they start coming back to church do we welcome them with open arms with no reference to the wandering, audibly or held in thought?

Soul can never be lost. Man, who is the reflection of Soul, cannot be lost either. I will examine my thinking today and be sure I am on the side with Christ, obeying the Rule for Motives and Acts and not condemning or judging another's journey.

Show me, Shepherd, how to gather and how to sow and how to feed your sheep.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The parable of the talents explained in a new way

I am so very grateful for an posting I read this morning that helped me see Jesus' parable of the talents in a whole new light. It always seemed like an odd story, one that cast the Master in a bad light. My sympathy was with the man who did not increase his talent but returned it unspent.  Over the years I have come to see a more spiritual way of  looking at that description of the kingdom of heaven but what I read today took it to a whole new level.

Think of the man 'travelling into a far country' as the Christ. Before he goes, he calls his servants, or those who choose to follow the Christ, and gives them shares of his 'goods'. In Jesus' time a talent was a sizable amount of money, more than a man could earn in twenty years. So this was no small responsibility. It was not an outright gift, but he was leaving it in their care until he returned. Think of that as our having received Christian Science, to the level of our present understanding.

While he was 'away' the wise servants improved those talents, grew spiritually, used that time of probation for progress in understanding more about God and themselves as His image and likeness. But one servant misunderstood Christ. He falsely believed him to be 'hard man', perhaps thought of God as punishing and formidable. Many religions view God that way expecting wrath and cruelty. This man was afraid of that God and he did not use the time to correct his wrong beliefs but hid them 'in the earth', saw himself as the man in Genesis Two, created from the dust of the ground and eventually banished from the kingdom of heaven. He hands back the gift of Christian Science unused and remains as he was when it came to him.

The Master chastised him for not seeking help, he could have called a practitioner or a Christian Science friend who would have gladly helped  and encouraged him to use that talent. We may all have had opportunities to seek and strive for a clearer understanding of some situation. We might have chosen to live with some challenge rather than use Christian Science to heal it. That option is there.

Mrs. Eddy writes much about our salvation resting on 'progression and probation' as we come to see that 'heaven is not a locality, but a divine state of Mind'. We can choose or accept the belief of ignorance but ignoring a situation never leads to healing. No matter how long you nurse a grudge, it will never get better. No matter how long you accept and live with error, it will not just go away.

Our 'work' is to improve our experience, use the talents, put into practice what we already know, even if that seems like just a little bit, and work daily to gain more. God works with us. Use your 'one' talent and watch it grow. Then the Christ will compliment you, well done, as you are faithful over the little things. They are preparing you to overcome and have dominion over the rest.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Today I must be a guest in your house

Yesterday I opened the Sentinel for the week of September 30th and read the lead article...God's children - responsive, not Glory Holzworth. The whole article is wonderful and I recommend reading it, but, I was blown away by her insight about Jesus' words to Zacchaeus. The tax collector was known for his ruthless and obsessive dealings with others and they considered him a sinner. But when he heard that Jesus was passing nearby, this little man dropped his dignity and climbed a tree to see over the crowd. When Jesus came to that place he looked up and saw him.

Now, let's take a moment with this week's Golden Text from John 7:24. "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment". Do not look on the outward appearance. Use your spiritual sense to bear witness only to truth. Jesus did this constantly, and he obviously saw something more to Zacchaeus.

Jesus was the center of attention and everyone wanted to be near him. He could have had dinner with anyone. But Luke records these beautiful words...Zacchaeus, make haste and come down for today I must abide at thy house. Imagine how that must have made Zacchaeus feel, to be so singled out for this honor. They have dinner together and Zacchaeus is so moved by the words of this great teacher that he changes his whole lifestyle and vows to make amends to those he has cheated in the past.

I thought about those words all day. Today I must abide at thy house. I imagined all day that the Christ was choosing to spend the day with me. Mrs. Eddy defines 'house' as 'spiritual consciousness'. The Christ is right there with me in my thinking all day. He doesn't just drop by for a few minutes, he abides. 

And with the Christ-consciousness we can always 'judge righteous judgment', we can be the spiritual see-ers mentioned in last week's Lesson. What an opportunity to go through the day seeing everyone as the Christ sees them. How quickly we sometimes judge a person or a situation and miss the blessing of Truth knowing.

So I had an especially sweet day, welcoming the Christ to my 'house'. I think I will continue affirming the presence of the Christ today.