Saturday, December 28, 2013

Pick up that 'couch' and carry it yourself

I noticed something in this week's Bible Lesson that I had not thought about before. It was in the story of Jesus healing the man who was palsied or paralyzed. That man apparently had lead quite a sinful life and was suffering from his actions. But he had friends who dearly loved him - unlike the Prodigal Son whose so-called friends abandoned him. These four guys cared so much, were so determined that their friend get his healing, that they refused to be shut out from the source of that healing, Jesus.

So this man had been carried, who could not walk on his own, and set down before the Master, in front of the huge crowd gathered to listen to Jesus preach. The crowd included scribes and Pharisees who did not believe Jesus was the promised Messiah. They were further incensed when Jesus addresses this man, this sinner that they probably were familiar with, and tells him his sins are forgiven. We are told earlier in the Lesson that Jesus came, not to judge, but to save, and this is exactly what he was doing for this man and for his faithful friends.

He tells the man to 'arise'. Lift up that thought of the person you thought you were. Discover your true identity as the beloved and pure son of God. Come up out of the paralyzing thought that you have made poor choices, turned away from God and your loved ones, and must remain in this condition. One wonders how many others may have looked upon that man and thought or even said, 'serves you right, now lie there and deal with it'.

Jesus continues. Take up thy couch.  You who have had to carried by your friends, pick up that stretcher and you carry it away from here. You won't need physical therapy to reverse the palsy, you don't need time to recover from this. Get up right now and pick up that couch. Take control of your choices and actions. Lean only on God.

And he finishes with the directive 'go into thine house'. Go home. Now that may have been a further proof that all was forgiven and he who had been staying with his friends after choosing to be apart from his family could now return, as had the Prodigal Son. Or in an even higher sense, home could be consciousness, our spiritual awareness of who we really are as the very image and likeness of God, good. Change your thought about your status.

The man does as he is told and Luke tells us that he went his way rejoicing, glorifying God. One would like to believe that he will now live a better life and sin no more.

How encouraging to think that no matter what it is that might try to hold us captive or make it seem that we are unable to make any progress, divine Love can lift us up and set us on our way healed. Christian Science shows us how to heal both mind and body, as we understand the Principle in action on our behalf. God is with us. Always. Under all circumstances. The Christ is present and accessable, not to judge and punish, but to heal and save. That should send you on your way rejoicing.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Cradled obscurity

As we move closer to the start of a new year what are you anticipating, what unfolding of good do you expect to see, and what fruition of your prayers? How are you nurturing the 'new ideas' in your life, your family, your career, your church activities?

We all saw the world's view of the arrival of Jesus as told in the Nativity story. Many homes and places of worship set up scenes of the holy family welcoming the Christ child in the stable and later the arrival of the Magi who had travelled far to honor the new king. It may have been a gift of grace that there was no room at that crowded inn so the birth could take place in privacy in a quiet setting. Is that how you are nurturing the things you have been praying about? Have you set a new cherished idea in 'cradled obscurity' where it can be lovingly cared for and protected? Many of our demonstrations have humble beginnings as we pray for a clearer understanding of God and our relationship with Him as He very image and likeness.

As you look ahead to 2014 are you embracing a new thought about yourself, your family, your marriage, your job, a relationship, an opportunity to serve church? This may be a time for that 'cradled obscurity' as you quietly protect and nourish that spiritual growth. Let it have a humble beginning with your daily commitment to see it come into  being. Let's have a spiritual concept about it, a spiritual conception of what it stands for in your life.

As things move forward with this new idea, pray daily to see it 'grow and wax strong in spirit, filled with wisdom and grace. Let it 'emerge gently',  not necessarily slowly, but gently. There is no need to force growth. Let those roots go deep to support it.

Considering all Mrs. Eddy struggled with and overcame to write Science and Health and see it published, all she did to establish her church, giving us the Manual for guidance, and launching a world wide movement she named Christian Science, think about the humility she had to say that God had been 'graciously preparing her' for her accomplishments. She always put her hand in His and trusting His guidance and direction.

May each of us move forward in 2014 in our own spiritual growth, welcoming and nurturing the new ideas that come to live with us. May we cradle them and watch them grow strong in spirit and grace. May we feel graciously prepared for what lies ahead. And may we express gratitude in our thoughts and actions with joy and gladness.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Is your 'inn' full?

One of the most telling sentences in the New Testament, one that has always resonated with me during the busy holiday season is...there was  no rom for them in the inn. This couple, the wife heavy with child, has just completed an arduous trek from their home in Nazareth to the city of Bethlehem in accordance with a decree from Caesar that everyone was to be taxed. They travelled slowly because of her condition and by the time they arrived, all available rooms had already been taken. How did they end up in the stable? Perhaps the harried inn keeper took pity on them and offered the only place he could. In retrospect, it might have given them the most privacy at this most precious of times. At any rate, I suspect his was not the only inn that they had approached and perhaps they just couldn't go any farther.

What tugs at my heartstrings is that question...have I made room in my 'inn', my home, my consciousness, for the needs of others at this holiday season? Am I remembering why this is such a sacred time? Amid all the shopping, baking, wrapping, sending of Christmas cards, attending the 'grands' Christmas programs, keeping the radio on the station playing only Christmas music...all of those things a valued part of the holiday...have I paused often enough to listen so that I might hear the angels singing?

I have always  loved the details of the Nativity. It is interesting that Mrs. Eddy wrote in Miscellaneous Writings on page 374, "It is most fitting that Christian Scientists memorize the nativity of Jesus." She loved Christmas and wrote about it often. In one Christmas Sermon, beginning on page 164 of that same book, she says, "The vision of the Wisemen, this spiritual idea of the Principle of man or the universe, appeared as a star."  Our Bible Lesson this week is filled with references to light.

I shared with someone another way to work with the Bible Lesson and its references to 'light'. Not only is our thought illumined and uplifted as we grow in our understanding of God and our relationship to Him as beloved children, but our whole outlook is more 'light' and cheerful, not at all dark or depressed or anxious. We move through the holidays with a light and joyous step.

Christmas time is a reminder for me to make sure I am always putting God first, choosing to see good all around me and in everyone I meet. Making room, pausing, listening to angels sing, and looking up to see the star. All the rest will fall into line, the gifts purchased and wrapped, mailed off in time to those far away. The baking will be fun, writing the cards a time to reflect on friends and friendship. The moments at school and in church sacred. I don't ever want to lose the joy of the Nativity story amid all the hustle and bustle and preparations. My 'inn' should always have room for prayer,  one more quiet moment with God to express my deep love for Him and for His son.

Merry and blessed Christmas to you and yours.