Thursday, January 16, 2014

Agree to disagree

Matthew 5:25 - Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him;

The English Standard Version of the Bible says - come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court.

The New Living Translation says - When you are on the way to court with your adversary, settle your differences quickly.

The Message Bible says - Or say you're out in the street and an old enemy accosts you. Don't lose a minute. Make the first move, make things right with him.

In Science and Health -- Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him. Suffer no claim of sin or of sickness to grow upon the thought. (S&H 390)

Our Bible Lesson this week includes a continuation of the above quote - "Agree to disagree" with approaching symptoms of chronic or acute disease, whether it is cancer, consumption, or smallpox."

Agree to disagree. Make up your mind, control your own thinking, and know that you can and must disagree with anything idea that suggests or insists that there is something other than God, good, present and operating in your life. Don't allow any lie take hold and grow. Disagree! You have divine authority to do so and God's full backing to demonstrate your dominion over any claim of inharmony.

So as you go through your day and find yourself faced with some type of adversary, some claim or suggestion of illness or lack or inharmony of any kind, for yourself or for anyone else, come to terms quickly with it. If it is a claim of an aggressive nature, stand fast and firm, knowing God is right there beside you. If it is a claim of a personality clash, or some misunderstanding, settle it quickly. Don't let it settle in and build up to some big confrontation. Make the first move. Speak gently and calmly. Make things right. If it a claim of sickness, deny that any such thing could possibly exist in the kingdom of heaven. That is where you dwell and nothing bad can enter into that kingdom because good already fills all space.

I was putting the groceries in my car in the parking lot a few days ago. A woman got out of the car next to me, holding a cloth to her mouth, and obviously in great distress. I asked her if she needed help. She shook her head but she appeared to be in great pain. I asked her if she would like me to pray for her. She seemed surprised but then with a look of gratitude, she nodded her head. So I stood still and prayed silently for a minute or so. Then she got back in her car and they drove away. I used the drive home as a time for continued prayer and gratitude, knowing that her need had been met. I do not know who she was nor did I need to know. I did  not know what the problem was supposed to have been nor did I need to know. Jesus never asked for a name or for details about the challenge, he just healed it. And that is what we are supposed to do as well. Agree to disagree with any picture of imperfection or distress or inharmony. Keep your mind filled with Truth and Love. Truth does the work from there.

Friday, January 10, 2014

First Responders

Are you a spiritual first responder?

I have kept a clipping cut from a newspaper shortly after September 11th. This is what it says.

Many of us have been touched by the story of the firefighter's chaplain who died as he gave last rites to a trapped comrade. Mychal Judge had been an inspirational leader to Manhattan's Fire Brigade #7. This was his prayer for the firefighters.

Lord, lead me to where You want me to go.
Let me meet who You want me to meet.
Teach me what I am to say.
Keep me out of Your way.

First Responders are individuals who learn how to respond in an emergency, the proper way to handle others who may be injured, how to clear blocked areas, basic first aid. Usually they are local police, fire and emergency workers. They are trained to help during these incidents.

I have been thinking about being a spiritual first responder today. Those of us who have had class instruction with a Christian Science teacher should always have a spiritual response first. Any one who studies the writings of Mary Baker Eddy can see how to do this. It is an instant turning to God, the source of all good, for direction and guidance.

What is my first response when faced with an injury myself or to someone around me? Mrs. Eddy writes on page 397 of Science and Health, ""When an accident happens, you think or exclaim, "I am hurt! Your thought is more powerful than your words, more powerful than the accident itself, to make the injury real. Now reverse the process. Declare that you are not hurt and understand the reason why, and you will find the ensuing good effects to be in exact proportion to your disbelief in physics, and your fidelity to divine metaphysics, confidence in God as All, which the Scriptures declare Him to be."

When there appears to be a blockage, physical or mental, what is my first response? Mrs. Eddy addresses this as well on page 283. "Mind is the source of all movement, and there is no inertia to retard or check its perpetual and harmonious action". Or this on page 447, "The recuperative action of the system, when mentally sustained by Truth, goes on naturally."

Christian Science teaches us how to be spiritual first responders. We understand that we can turn immediately to God at all times and under all circumstances and find comfort and healing. God will supply the wisdom needed and the result will be blessing.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Shall = not optional, nothing can stop it.

As I worked with this week's Bible Lesson, I noticed how often the word 'shall' appears, starting with our Golden Text, "...God, even our own God, shall bless us".  Shall means not optional, nothing can stop it. So now I can read this Golden Text as a promise that God will absolutely bless us, it's not optional, nothing can stop that.

There it is again in the Responsive Reading...'we shall be satisfied with the goodness of Thy house'...the people who know the joyful sound 'shall walk, O Lord, in the light of Thy countenance'. These things will happen, we shall be satisfied, all our need met, nothing lacking or missing, everything up to expectations. We shall walk with God because we are always in His presence.

Section One assures us 'we shall eat the good of the land'. January is typically a month bombarded with the latest diet and/or exercise plan. One is told how delicious this is going to be but it rarely is, when one restricts food. Nothing wrong with making good choices or altering excessive behavior but God wants only the best for us.

A few years ago I started looking at the Ten Commandments as a promise that we will not do the wrong thing, not so much as a condemnation but as Love's expression always making the right choice. Now I can look at the Beatitudes, included in the third section, paying special attention to the use of 'shall'. We will be blessed, it is inevitable.  We shall inherit the earth. We shall be filled. We shall obtain mercy. And the most wonderful of all... we shall see God.

When I work with 'Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God' I like to use all the synonyms. They shall see Principle, God's law of ever-present good. They shall see Mind, understand that there is only one Mind doing all the knowing and what God knows is perfection. They shall see Truth, honesty being expressed, Truth overcoming error and lies. And so on with Soul, Spirit, Life, and Love. Especially Love. They shall see Love filling all space at all times under all circumstances.

 Today I will keep my thoughts in line with 'shall', knowing that God's promises are kept, His love for me (and everyone else) is ever present. It is not optional and nothing can stop it. I can expect a day filled with blessings.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Are you feeling blessed today?

This week's Bible Lesson is a good reminder to be alert to all of God's blessings. Are you feeling blessed today? Did you wake up grateful and expectant of blessings....or did you wake up dreading something or someone? Will you stop midday and thank God for the morning's blessings...or will you tune out at lunch time? Can you look back at the end of the day and see the good that poured out for you and others?

In her daily devotional, Simple Abundance, Sarah Ban Breathnach writes as part of today's entry, "The revelation that we have everything we need in life to make us happy but simply lack the conscious awareness to appreciate it can be as refreshing as lemonade on a hot afternoon. Or it can be as startling as cold water being thrown in our face. How many of us go through our day parched and empty, thirsting after happiness, when we're really standing knee-deep in a river of abundance? Yet make no mistake about it. The Universe will get our attention one way or another - with a sip or a splash".

A sip or a splash. In what is known as the Sermon on the Mount Jesus spoke about that state of being blessed. Some like to substitute the word 'happy' in those Beatitudes. Be-attitudes. The attitude of being happy as we see that we are 'the man whom Thou hast chosen, and causeth to approach unto Thee'. God has chosen each of us and draws us to Him like a parent wrapping a child in a hug. Happy are the ones who 'know the joyful sound'. (Hello, My darling child. I love you.) Is your day filled with joyful sounds and compliments...or complaints and arguments and criticisms?

We are blessed and happy when we understand that God forgives all our mistakes, heals all our diseases, comforts the sorrowing, and redeems our life from destruction, crowning us with love and tenderness. Mrs. Eddy tells us, "It is our ignorance of God, the divine Principle, which produces apparent discord, and the right understanding of Him restores harmony. Blessings.

Happy are those who are pure in heart for they shall see God. (Principle) (Mind) (Soul) (Spirit) (Life) (Truth) (Love). That certainly makes me happy. Blessed

Go through the day today basking in God's love and appreciating all the blessings that He is pouring out on you and yours and everyone. Look for blessings. See how many you can become aware of. Make a list. Add to it all day. Read it over before you go to sleep tonight.

How can you not feel blessed?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

To Bilbo, Frodo and Sam with love

I do not remember the first time I read The Lord of the Rings trilogy, or how many times I have read it since or watched the movies. A lot. My favorite character is Sam, who quietly supports and loves Frodo unconditionally and faithfully, always seeing a bright side to their situation. Fantasy is my favorite genre and I've read lots and lots of it and always love the dwarves, the elves and the Hobbits.

But I would not choose to be dwarfish in my approach to life. They live in the caves and deep underground, content not to see the sun or climb the mountains. Valleys can be beautiful but I would like to think I am always walking through them, onward and upward, in my spiritual journey. It can be very depressing to stay in darkness when one could be high above the clouds. So I remind myself daily to go up higher for the best view of Jerusalem. Rouse myself from the list of chores waiting. There will be time for reading the latest fantasy novel but first things first. Today we woke to a 4" blanket of snow. Just beautiful. The 'grands' are still on winter break but the parents went back to work today. So I will be keeping them busy as I also straighten up the house, put away a bit more of Christmas, put together a big pot of vegetable soup, make this week's batch of bread, etc.. Each task offers an opportunity to uplift thought about what I am doing. To commune with God. To express patience and gratitude.

The dwarves are industrious, producing quality craftsmanship. The elves are skilled hunters, weavers, defenders of their territory. Those Hobbits are just home bodies content to nurture their gardens and fill their larders for the many meals they enjoy daily. There is something fun about all of them and they have enriched my life over the years, bringing me much happiness as I read about them. But it does not compare to what I have gained by my study of the Scriptures and the writings of Mary Baker Eddy. My whole life has changed since I started that journey and I believe I am a better person for it.

So today I will take care of the house (very Hobbit-like). I will enjoy preparing the soup and bread as I find ways to encourage the kiddos to play with their new toys and stay away from electronic screens (very dwarf-like).  And I will find time to just stop and admire the beautiful views of our snow-covered neighborhood, and especially the wild bird gathered around our feeder (very elf-like).

I will strive for more mountain-top time, and bask in the warmth of my Father Mother God's love. I will life well and not be afraid to climb higher as I do the work my Father has given me, knowing I am fully supported. Good always wins. And sometimes it is the smallest and least likely one who gets the victory for all.