Friday, May 16, 2014

Spring cleaning or clearing out was isn't useful or beautiful

This morning I was reading an entry in Sarah Ban Breathnach's devotional, Simple Abundance. She was talking about taking time to look around your home, being grateful for it just as it is, but also asking yourself if your possessions are useful or beautiful. This time of year, when I can open the windows and let in fresh spring air and give everything a good cleaning, I take a good look at just what I have accumulated around me. This usually prompts a deep look in thought as well. What have I accumulated that should really be discarded?

The passage in Simple Abundance turned this to a more spiritual outlook as well. She writes: "There is an ancient metaphysical law that says if we desire more abundance in our lives we must create a vacuum to allow ourselves to receive the good we seek. How can more good come into our lives if there is no room for it"?  A fair question but as a student of Christian Science I can see another way to work with this, from the standpoint of God's ever-present love that is constantly pouring out good and blessings for each of His children.

Part of my daily work for myself is to take the time to pause and look around my 'house'. Mrs. Eddy gives a spiritual interpretation for 'house' as 'spiritual consciousness'. So I strive to start each day with a little bit of mental housecleaning. Have I truly let go of any false thinking from the days or weeks before or am I carrying wrong opinion about myself or others into this new day? We should expect spiritual progress as we study our Bible Lesson, read Science and Health, and appreciate the articles and testimonies in our periodicals. We should expect healing to be occurring at church and at home. We should be on the alert to see and appreciate the good happening all around us. I want the things around me to reflect who I am, what I love, and that is a direct effect of how I am thinking about God and my relationship with Him.

Today I focused on the last section of this week's Bible Lesson. What am I learning? How to turn thought into new and healthy channels. Sounds like a breath of fresh air. How, as God's beloved daughter, I am always beautiful and grand. What fun to think of myself that way. How to see each successive stage of my experience with new views of divine goodness and love. How to feel the joy of all that and go through each day with a smile. I will make it a goal to be sure I am clearing out of thought what is not useful or beautiful. I will be alert to ask myself, 'is this a useful thought, is this a beautiful thought'?

The spring flowers are fading here in Elsah but outside my sliding glass door is a small circular garden of peonies, with big round buds ready to burst out in shades of pink. I anticipate bringing some of those inside for the whole family to enjoy. They are both useful and beautiful. As are the things I am learning as I continue my study of Christian Science.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Broken cisterns or limitless good?

Once again we have a Bible Lesson filled with thought-provoking questions. Once again we are provided with answers that will promote spiritual growth.

"Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not?" This is Proverbs 23:5.  Just what are we choosing to see when we look at ourselves, someone else, or a challenging situation. This first section of the Lesson continues with more questions about why a nation or its people would turn away from our Father Mother God. The answer provided is one to think about. They committed two errors; they chose to forsake God and instead built cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water. To forsake is to leave altogether, to abandon. Sounds pretty dramatic, but there are times when we choose to abandon what we know to be true about God's wonderful creation and totally accept a material, flawed creation as the reality. We do not look to Him for comfort and healing, we choose another path. Maybe we think this particular claim can't or won't yield through prayer. Maybe we have given it our best effort but there has not been improvement. You have made your request of God, but the answer does not come. This is where the cisterns come in.

Dummelow's Bible Commentary explains, "God's blessing, under the figure of fresh water as supplied by a spring or rivulet, is contrasted with the vanity of serving idols, which is as devoid of profit as is a cracked reservoir (dug to collect rain water) for that which it is intended to supply". The Prophet is cautioning the people who have turned away from God to worship idols. Have we turned away from God to worship the material body, ours or someone else's? Have we decided to depend on other sources for supply? That will not provide what we need. Trusting in matter just doesn't hold water.

So the first section speaks to me about being true to the model God has created and maintained. My spiritual identity as His perfect image and likeness. Do you still use bar soap in the shower? Pick up a bar of Dial soap to be a daily reminder; Divine Image And Likeness.

I like Mrs. Eddy's description of a sculptor, molding and chiseling thought. What model are we holding up before ourselves and have we accepted a false model? Are we doing that about someone else? That only leads to following a downward path, limiting our capabilities, accepting a bad outline. The answer lies in changing our point of view, turning our gaze in the right direction and then holding to the true model in thought so we can live a good life.

Don't waste your life trusting in broken cisterns. Whatever they seem to offer just runs out, leaks away, fails to supply or satisfy. Choose instead to rely on the ever-present goodness of God who pours out blessings all the time. See the good in yourself and others. See it because that is what God has done and He saw it as very good. That has not changed, only our focus can make it seem like it has. Adjust our focus for a clearer, truer picture. What comes into focus is worth the effort.