Knowing that it was my day to send in a prayer in support of the Christian Science Eco Summit, this favorite old hymn (#218) came to thought, but with a new twist:
"O Life that maketh all things new,
The blooming earth...."
All right, I thought, these lines are about celebrating the renewal of affections, possibilities, resurrection - all this is regularly played out in the natural world. All of nature affirms our link to our Creator.
And then came the rest of the line "- the thoughts of men."
I had never thought of this before ....
Life is the impulse behind the thoughts of men (this term including all of mankind). Life demonstrates life. And so all the thoughts of all individuals are receptive to all that is Life-giving, Life- affirming.
The intelligence, balance, continuity, nourishment, shelter and self-regulating nature of Life is reflecting in all God's creation. And we are led toward an intelligent, balanced, and nourishing and self-sustaining solutions.
We are all blessed by and benefit by the ideas in the last part of this hymn:
"The freer step, the fuller breath,
The wide horizon’s grander view;
The sense of Life that knows no death,
—The Life that maketh all things new."
"Mind, God, sends forth the aroma of Spirit, the atmosphere of intelligence.*"
The natural world reflects intelligence - a balanced order of things. Divine Mind, another name for God, creates in a way that is sustainable, accessible, reliable. Mankind is an expression of this intelligence, and we can hold up a standard of sustainability, responsibility and dignity to all our actions.
Years ago, I worked with a friend to help develop his outdoor adventure business. The main activity was whitewater rafting and kayaking on a river where a large paper processing plant was situated. For years, the river was polluted and abused. But intelligent legislation and cooperation from the paper company led to the total renewal of the river.
As a result, the river had purified itself ( the self-renewing quality of Mind!) and was deemed safe for public recreation. What resulted was an increase of use on the river, which led to more people coming to the area, which improved the economic conditions and strengthened the protection of the river, as it was now seen as a valuable resource for the entire state.
Soon, that same area was attracting whitewater kayakers and racers from all over the world and became the site of several World Cup races.
Praying to see that the river was created and governed by the one Mind, the atmosphere of intelligence, removed any discouragement that the river was beyond hope. The negative buildup and pollution were literally flushed out with the caring and thoughtful actions of others, which led to bigger blessings to the river and to all who played on it and near it. I learned that we all thrive under "the atmosphere of intelligence."
*From Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy p. 191
The back story:
"The designation of Browns Canyon National Monument signals a renewed commitment for an area respected and loved by tens of thousands of people” …...said Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. "This land is more than worthy of special designation. This truly is a monument for all."
Browns Canyon harbors a wealth of scientifically significant geological, ecological, cultural, and historical resources, and is an important area for studies of paleoecology, mineralogy, archaeology, and climate change. The area's unusual geology and roughly 3,000-foot range in elevation have given rise to a diversity of plants and wildlife, including a significant herd of bighorn sheep, golden eagles, and Rocky Mountain bristlecone pine. (See http://1.usa.gov/19R5RRy for full article)
I'd like to add to this list of resources – its wealth of life lessons that spiritually enrich and empower those who play in the Canyon's whitewater. My four years of being a raft guide on the Arkansas River, taking hundreds of campers through Brown's Canyon, taught me my most important life lessons and started me on a decade of whitewater paddling. Here's a blog post I wrote last summer:
"I find that risk toward expansive and creditable goals is essential." So starts a newspaper article that I have kept with me since my first out of country adventure in Guatemala in the 70s. Now it's all yellow and dog-eared. But it gave me three words that have become the measuring rod for all I do. The full sentence reads: "In any risk situation, I try to maintain a willingness to let go of things that are not working out in a natural and spontaneous way. There must be freedom, flow and growth. But a new talent or skill, a new friend, a fresh perspective on my life - these are well worth the soul-searching that risk usually provokes."*
Enter RIVERS. This is one of the things that makes me feel grounded. It gives me all three: freedom, flow and growth.
Rivers were a big part of my life for about ten years as a raft guide and whitewater kayaker and racer. Next to the the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, I probably learned more life lessons from this one natural resource than all others.
With whitewater rafting, I learned about connection: how to get a group of novices to work together quickly to play in the rapids and have fun. With kayaking, I learned about dominion: much about overcoming fear and being able to trust, With racing, I learned excellence: how to sharpen my skills and get stronger, faster and more accurate with each race I took on.
But the most important lesson learned in rivers was HUMILITY. Whenever I got to the river, got in my boat, and stuck my paddle in the first current, I noticed how unimpressed the river would be with all of my past accomplishments. Nothing from my past mattered except what I could put to use that day, that moment on the river. Now - was the only currency. If I got heady and approached the river to "conquer it" - it never worked. I usually tipped over, swamped or made a fool of myself. But when I approached the river, open, alert, and wisely assessing the currents against my strength and skill, I had the exhilarating joy of wrestling and playing in the strong currents of the whitewater.
In all my runs, whether it was with a group in a raft, or on my own in my kayak, I was successful when I was clean - free of fear and bravado - and committed to the moment. And by successful I mean that I could experience the full joy of dominion over fear, and of blending my strength with the power of the river.
So, how does this translate?
I have an appetite for new things. And the world is wide. When I have sought out a new experience or some new element or a new person has come into my experience, I find these lessons of connection, overcoming fear and humility very helpful.
When the pride of experience tempts me to plow through another’s obstruction, I remember that a river flows around the rocks, and I am careful not to get caught in the eddy of turbulent water behind the rock. I can be gentle, yielding, and not get caught up on my own or another's stubbornness.
When another challenges how I do things, I remember to not stand on the things I did in the past, but on what wisdom directs me to do now. I follow a higher current. Progress is a law of God and so progress is constantly working and moving forward. I can listen to those currents of prayer and move forward.
The river is constant; constantly moving. Rivers will find their own levels with the least resistance. They will get you where you want to go. Likewise, God is constant, and as children of God, we are constantly moving and expressing all of God’s qualities. We will all find our own level of expression that is full and satisfying, -- strong, enduring and joy-full. We are where we need to be and we will get to where we need to go.
Mary Baker Eddy shares these ideas from an article from Miscellaneous Writings (p. 224) and brings it all home for me:
We should remember that the world is wide; that there are a thousand million different human wills, opinions, ambitions, tastes, and loves; that each person has a different history, constitution, culture, character, from all the rest; that human life is the work, the play, the ceaseless action and reaction upon each other of these different atoms.
Then, we should go forth into life with the smallest expectations, but with the largest patience; with a keen relish for and appreciation of everything beautiful, great, and good, but with a temper so genial that the friction of the world shall not wear upon our sensibilities; with an equanimity so settled that no passing breath nor accidental disturbance shall agitate or ruffle it; with a charity broad enough to cover the whole world's evil, and sweet enough to neutralize what is bitter in it.....
*This came from an article "Stepping Forward" written by essayist Alex Noble in 1974 in The Christian Science Monitor. I couldn't find him ( or her?) online, but I did come across this piece that is equally as inspiring.
All photos from stock.
In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, (page 258), Mary Baker Eddy writes, “God expresses in man the infinite idea forever developing itself, broadening and rising higher and higher from a boundless basis.” And further on down the page “We know no more of man as the true divine image and likeness, than we know of God.”
So if we are to understand ourselves and our friends and families spiritually, as God sees us, how can we understand God better?
Let's take the synonyms for God: Mind, Spirit, Soul, Life, Truth, Love and Principle (See Science and Health, page 465). Then, get out your dictionary, thesaurus, turn on your computer, or call up your crossword puzzle-loving uncle and come up with more synonyms for these synonyms, and then fill in your own matrix listing a row of synonyms on the top and a row of synonyms in a column on the left. And then ask: What is the Principle of Love? What is the Soul of Mind? What is the Spirit of Truth? You can come up with even more qualities that help explain the full spectrum of God’s qualities, and discover for example, just how creative God’s goodness is, how intelligent His beauty is and how powerful Her tenderness is – all these qualities are about God.
Knowing more about God, we know more about ourselves. As a child of our Father-Mother God, we reflect all His qualities, all of Her attributes. When we see ourselves as God sees us, and understand ourselves as spiritual, it is easier to see others spiritually as well. Then, we can see our own creative goodness, our friend's intelligent beauty and a family member’s powerful tenderness.
There is no end to this infinite exercise that helps us to understand the infinite qualities of God, qualities that each of us express in unique and individual ways.
For articles on a similar theme, click on the pictures below:
Last night's Wednesday testimony meeting was a powerhouse. The readings from the desk were decisive and authoritative. “Rise in the conscious strength of the Spirit of Truth” “Be firm and be faithful.”
The testimonies were not hopeful wishes for a better world, but were spoken with the voice of experience. Each person gave witness to the power of God to protect, to heal, to guide and to comfort.
Prayer warriors that we are, our collective stories brought us to a higher realization of the transforming nature of Truth and Love.
“A right understanding of God restores harmony.” If that principle helps to restore harmony in a single relationship, it can restore it on a global scale. “What cannot God do?”
The testimonies brought out what each person had proved for themselves and extended their proofs to include our community and all efforts underway to alleviate violence. These truths and proofs were extended to include the girls in Nigeria recently abducted by a terrorist group. Purity is power. Innocence is their protection.
We speak from experience. It is true for these beautiful girls as it is true for us. The meeting ended with another person reminding us about the angels Michael and Gabriel – angels ( or God's thoughts passing to man) who are as present with the Nigerian girls as we have known them to be with us.
SH 566:30 Michael’s characteristic is spiritual strength. He leads the hosts of heaven against the power of sin, Satan, and fights the holy wars. Gabriel has the more quiet task of imparting a sense of the ever-presence of ministering Love. These angels deliver us from the depths. ….The Gabriel of His presence has no contests.
Late that same night I got a call from a church member. “We have to remember to include those in the terrorist group,” he said. “They cannot be controlled by hatred. We can see Love breaking down the mesmerism of fear for them, too.”
Here are some closing prayers with the power to pierce whatever form evil tries to take:
I had just spent about six years in a work environment that was thrilling in its scope as well as demanding long hours and lots of travel. After I was laid off and had time to pursue another line of work, I felt that it took me a long time to catch up on my rest.
And to make matters worse, when I was able to get more sleep and have more quiet time, I started feeling guilty for having this time to myself. Then, something inside me cried out "Stop! It is all right to have a time of rest!"
As I pursued this idea, I came across a quote from Mary Baker Eddy that helped put this into perspective.
Christianity ... was the demonstration of divine Love casting out error and healing the sick, not merely in the name of Christ, or Truth, but in demonstration of Truth, as must be the case in the cycles of divine light. (from Science and Health, p. 135)
What are the cycles of divine light and what do they do?
The cycles of divine Light are about movement, they move things forward – much like the wheels on a bike. In order for the bike to move forward, the wheels keep turning. As the cycles of light continue, it propels thought forward.
Light is revelation and healing is demonstration. Both are necessary for the other. So revelation feeds into demonstration; our times of reflection support the times for expression; and prayer opens our eyes to the revealing of Truth, that leads us to revealing the proof.
Even in the language of Genesis, we see this cycle of divine light expressed as evening and morning: evening and morning represent rest and satisfaction which leads to the dawn of new ideas.
Because light is perpetual, progress is perpetual. Because light is inevitable, progress is inevitable.
These ideas encouraged me to take care of myself and see that the times for rest and rejuvenation are as valuable and necessary for my work as Jesus' times on the mountaintop were necessary for his works in the marketplace.
The good we do and the love we express continue on uninterrupted in the cycles of divine light. Nothing can stop the progress of Love. And whether we find ourselves in a place of holy prayer and stillness or we are in a place of active joy and demanding energy and intelligence, we are in our right place, always progressing.
To hallow is "to make holy or sacred, to sanctify or consecrate, to venerate". The adjective form hallowed, as used in The Lord's Prayer, means holy, consecrated, sacred, or revered.
Hallowed be Thy name.
How much room do I make for that which is holy and sacred? I asked myself one sunny and cool day. After six months of winter, this question crept up on me with the subtlety and long awaited appearance of spring. I was longing to feel a deeper purity and purpose.
What is sacred?
It must be a confident, unflappable knowing of God's omnipotence; a reverent acknowledgement of the power of Truth, or purity. I can feel this walking in our Northwoods or through our second neighborhood's city streets.
I am thinking of those in extreme situations whose calmness and confidence led them through severe challenges. I am thinking of those who, in comfortable material surroundings, struggle with silent, unseen fears, and emerge victorious.
What is behind this triumph? It is knowing one's inseparability with what is sacred, with the One, adored and adorable. This feeds the soul with a sacred trust that all is well. It comes from a deep reverence and understanding of the power of God. The only real and substantial thing going on is Truth and its activity.
Holy is the very nature of God - of Truth, of Life and of Love. This is what we are drawn to and connect with. This is what fills us with purity and purpose.
It makes sense when you think of it. A person who loves and values herself, takes care of herself. So it isn't a stretch to see that if we have an appreciation for the earth and truly love and value the earth, we take care of it.
Taking this idea higher, how can we pray about the earth in a way that leads to its protection?
MBEddy offers a keen insight to the spiritual definition of earth:
EARTH. A sphere; a type of eternity and immortality, which are likewise without beginning or end. To material sense, earth is matter; to spiritual sense, it is a compound idea.
Her definition of man includes the "compound idea" just as in the definition of earth.
MAN.The compound idea of infinite Spirit; the spiritual image and likeness of God; the full representation of Mind.
If we interchange the idea of man for earth, we get another insight:
Man (earth) is idea, the image, of Love; he is not physique. He is the compound idea of God, including all right ideas.
This way of praying - interchanging myself for the earth and the earth for myself - helps me to see the intimate connection we all have with the infinite. The strength of the mountains, is strength I can draw on myself. I can recognize the beauty and grandeur of the northern lights, simply because I can recognize beauty. And I can claim that beauty for myself. The same Creator that created me created all the wonders of the earth. We are inseparable.
Prayer becomes an affirmation of the power of God and that inseparable relationship, just as it sings out in this Psalm:
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and
wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works;
and that my soul knoweth right well.
The prayer can end with an affirmation that we each have the intelligence, the ability to recognize what is beautiful and grand, and the strength to persist and protect that which we love. We are not overwhelmed, but find that we can relate to the infinite nature of the sky as well as we can accept the infinite possibilities for right solutions that will restore balance in our environment.
"So in a word, what did you think your son learned from his trip abroad?" asked my cousin. I love questions like this, when you have to distill all kinds of experiences and ideas into a word. "I think that he became a traveler," was my almost automatic response.
Let me explain.
A tourist is one who brings all of what they know into a new experience. Each new experience is compared to what they expected from back home; perspectives and prejudices are confirmed, and if not, the experience is usually held at fault.
A traveler leaves themselves open. They know that they don't know what they don't know and so they enter each new experience unconditionally, with an expectation to learn and with a willingness to step out of their comfort zone.
Mark Twain, rascal that he is, has some great things to say about travel and what a true traveler is:
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.-Innocents Abroad
...nothing so liberalizes a man and expands the kindly instincts that nature put in him as travel and contact with many kinds of people.- Letter to San Francisco Alta California, dated May 18th, 1867; published June 23, 1867
Mary Baker Eddy, a much less rascally person, wrote, "Meekness and charity have divine authority." I think that's what my son experienced.
He fit comfortably into the family he stayed with for a year in Germany. He listened. He appreciated things. He let go of pre-conceived ideas. He saw his own country in a new light; he was able to see that there are many ways to do things: zip a zipper, travel in a car, eat chocolate, as well as understand politics, experience new uses of space, success, and time. He felt the presence of history in the castles and architecture. He saw how much in common we all have and the differences enlarged his understanding of all that is possible in the world.
And best of all, it stirred in him a desire to become multi-lingual and to continue to explore more broadly, learn more deeply, and find one's place among humanity. And in my book, that's a traveler.
(Micah now shares his home in South Korea where he teaches English in the Fulbright program.)
Following up on my "God is big" post, I keep trying to wrap my head around God as omni: onmipresent, omnipotent, omni-acting, etc.
"Don't outline good, because you can't outline good enough!" This advice came to me from a dear and wise healer many years ago. And certainly, if we accept God as infinite and as the one Principle or law that governs all things, our own limited views and opinions might not open us up to the horizon-opening things that can and do happen when we trust God.
How does this play out in real life? Well, when my job ended years ago, the whole family felt very good about moving back to the Midwest. Although I loved my job that entailed travel and working with teams all over the world, I thought that that aspect of my work would never show up in the place where we moved - a rural area of Wisconsin known for its natural beauty and tourism.
But we trusted God "with all our hearts" and didn't limit any possibilities. This was a vigorous trusting, mind you. It involved:
This is amazing to me. And God continues to amaze me. Life is full of horizon-opening things when we trust God with all our hearts.
Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered. Psalms 40:5
Okay, walk with me on this one. No, skip with me because that's how this fun little musing felt. I kept thinking of ways to answer the question "Why do I love God?" As I kept thinking about this and how I would answer, I kept bumping into different bits of songs from the book of Psalms.
I love God because.....
God is big. Really, really big. God includes everything that I love and everything that is worth loving. God is about abundance, joy, triumph, satisfaction. Everything that I love has its source in God and in what is infinite, eternal, substantial and real.
"I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being." Psalms 104
I love God because....
I can relate to God. I relate to Love and God is Love. I relate to harmony and balance. I love those qualities. I love structure and improvisation - evidence of Love's order and spontaneity. I love these ideas because I am made of these ideas. I can relate to God because I am the very evidence of God -an idea of God - a child of God! In the most basic way, then, God has made me.
"I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well." Psalm 139
I love God because....
God is always more. There is no end in discovering how far-reaching and all-encompassing God is. There is no end to knowing how intimate and exacting God's care is and how infinite and available God's resources are. Knowing God even in a small way, I recognize God's love when in a new place, I recognize God's provision in the midst of seeming lack, and God's guidance when there once was doubt.
"The Lord, the Mighty One, is God, and he has spoken; he has summoned all humanity from where the sun rises to where it sets. From Mount Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines in glorious radiance." Psalm 50
So it follows on this path, that I should ask you, Why do you love God?
Today I just want to understand God. Climb a little higher, see a little more broadly.
There is something new and refreshing about this.
Gone is my list of issues to bring to the table for healing.
Gone is my framework of thought, my ego, full of trying.
Today, this moment, is all about God.
God is unending life. A force of creation, a mighty all-inclusive and enveloping affirmation of goodness and all that goodness is. Life is not breathed into us, Life flows through us, enlivening, energizing, revitalizing us. God is our breath.
God is immortal. Remembered and recognized, enduring and deathless. The substance of all being. God is permanent and perpetual. God is not subject to the limitations our words, denominations and cultures may bring. Beyond what the human mind can conceive, God is.
Fundamental, original, primitive and pure, God is the substance of all being – of all consciousness. All that we experience comes from this foundational element of true being. Its perfect Principle establishes the life-giving harmony that governs all being.
Perfect. In all parts whole. Logical and ever surprising Whole and entire. God perfects being with an exacting Love. Rising from a boundless basis*, God's activity is unending: the seed within itself, creation ever appearing from the nature of its inexhaustible source#. Without flaw, crack, lack or vulnerability.
We can join in the ageless, sacred psalms of praise^ where we are filled with the unutterable confidence that we are loved, because Love is supreme. There is no power that can stand against the omnipotence of God.
Consider these ideas:
* SH 258:13-258:15 God expresses in man the infinite idea forever developing itself, broadening and rising higher and higher from a boundless basis.
# SH 507:28-507:29 Creation is ever appearing, and must ever continue to appear from the nature of its inexhaustible source.
^ Ps 105:2 Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works. ( and all the rest of the Psalms!)
Good reads:"Totally, absolutely perfect"
The Promise of a Vibrant Healing Atmosphere
Every time I fold laundry, I think about the vibrant healing atmosphere of home. Does that seem strange? Well there is a reason behind it.
Click here to read more on this topic and other similar topics on the blog of Beacon Haven, a Christian Science nursing organization in the heart of Minnesota.
Inspired by this week's news report on Saudi women making a stand for their rights to drive cars, I started to pray about all human rights: Women's rights. Gay rights. The rights of the elderly. Rights of the disabled. Children's rights. Immigrant's rights. The right to drive. The right to pray.
In looking to pray about this, I found a series of ideas from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy helped to resolve this issue with healing.
In all these cases, what is the protest?
“The heavenly law is broken by trespassing upon man’s individual right of self-government. “ SH 447: 1
Therein lies the protest to many human rights issues. How do we find healing here?
"God has built a higher platform of human rights, and He has built it on diviner claims." SH 226:14
What are these claims?
" ...Christian Science ...claims God as the only absolute Life and Soul, and man to be His idea, — that is, His image.
It should be added that this is claimed to represent the normal, healthful, and sinless condition of man in divine Science, and that this claim is made because the Scriptures say that God has created man in His own image and after His likeness." SH 226:14
How does this all add up to healing?
Every individual – regardless of category – has the right of self-government. Every individual is an expression of his and her Creator. As that becomes clearer in our thought, we find our way to a greater freedom from prejudice --- from sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia.
Have you noticed that in the effort to curtail the rights of some classification of mankind, that the argument is made for that classification's moral inferiority. And so, the argument continues that those making the argument are morally superior.
The argument is flawed and based on opinion. It tries to make divisions where there is no divine authority for doing so.
We are all made in God's image and likeness. The Old Testament in Genesis gives us the platform where we begin to see ourselves as God created us.
"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.... And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good." Gen. 1:27, 31 (to 1st .)
The New Testament letter to the Galatians, develops the idea:
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." Gal 3:28
We are all one. We are all on the same team. Human rights can advance on that platform.
Now of course, if you already love God with your whole heart, your whole soul, you might find this blog title a bit odd. After all, why would need reasons to praise God? God is, after all, the One God.
But if you are not sure who God is, perhaps presenting some good reasons will help open the door to a breath-taking new view of your relationship to God.
We have all had moments that take our breath away – natural beauty of the dark night sky, the birth of a child, a rousing concert, a song sung from the heart, a victory over all odds. There is a sacredness to those moments, and digging deeper, we find strong and consistent currents of pure spirituality. The source behind all that we reverence and hold in awe is God.
I found a blog on Christian Broadcasting Network that spelled out some reasons for praising God that were so good, it just made sense to share them here. I've put their ideas in italics and mine without italics.
THE NATURE OF PRAISE
Praise, according to the Scriptures, is an act of our will that flows out of an awe and reverence for our Creator. Praise gives glory to God and opens us up to a deeper union with Him. It turns our attention off of our problems and on the nature and character of God Himself.
As we focus our minds on God and proclaim His goodness, we reflect His glory back to Him. The results can fill you with peace and contentment ( Isaiah 26:3) and transform your outlook on life.
REASONS TO PRAISE
God is worthy
Very simply, we praise God because He is worthy of our praise ( 1 Chron. 16:25; Rev. 5:11-14). He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the King of kings and Lord of lords. He is our Creator, Provider, Healer, Redeemer, Judge, Defender and much more.
Obedience to and love for God
Another foundational reason to praise God is simple obedience. The Bible says God is a "jealous" God who demands and desires our praise. "You shall have no other gods before Me," says the first commandment (Deut. 6:7). As the psalmist said, "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord" ( Psalm 150:6).
For all His Benefits
As we praise God, we will discover incredible benefits for our lives. That's because human beings were created by God to praise Him ( Isa. 43:7, Matt. 21:16). …..Praising God helps restore us to that right relationship, for God actually dwells in the praises of His people ( Psalm 22:3). As we draw near to the Father in praise, He draws near to us ( James 4:8).
In considering how often the word “praise” is used in the Bible - 246 times, most of which are in the book of Psalms, - I realized that the act of praise serves as a cleansing of and a preparation of the heart: it opens thought, it protects and purifies, but most importantly it lets us know where we stand. Praise establishes us in the understanding of God. We recognize what we know. And when we give God the glory, we also are affirming what is already inherent in us. We see Love because we know Love and therefore we praise God for all His love.
"Sing to the Lord, all the earth; Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day. Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples. For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; He also is to be feared above all gods" ( 1 Chron. 16:23-25).
Other thoughts on PRAISE
Psalm 33:1-4, Psalm 100:1-5, Isaiah 43:7 -- We are created for praise
1 Chronicles 16:7-36, Revelation 5:11-14 -- God is worthy of our praise
Psalm 34:1-9 -- Promised protection and praise
Hebrews 13:15-16 -- Perseverance in praise
Years ago I read this book and loved it from the first page! M. L. Rossi, author of the smart and sassy book, What Every American Should Know about the Rest of the World ^ writes “Just call me a cultural romantic. I love to explore other worlds. I love to live where the history is unfamiliar; the architecture thrills me; the language, the food, the rituals are altogether exotic. I love being immersed in the entirely foreign, being in a place where I have to learn about life there from scratch.” I could so relate!
Her book has pointed out simply and clearly what is needed to become a well-informed global citizen. She goes on to share two of the ways to do this:
1. To understand where you are in the world, you need a map
2. Life is a lot easier if you know the language.
Maps and vocabulary are going to be key ingredients to becoming a global citizen. But there may be more to it.
Prior to becoming very familiar with traveling to other countries, I did some coursework with intercultural communication at a university. It was interesting to know of different customs, cultural mores, the development of a people’s pride, etc. These were almost like mental exercises to test one’s level of credibility of other cultures and determined how static or flexible was one’s sense of values. I learned that the more unlimited the mindset, the more unlimited the life experience.
So maps, vocabulary, tolerance, credibility, flexibility and an open mindset are all part of being a global citizen. If we add to each of the qualities above a more spiritual view, I think we have it all. Here are some key spiritual qualities that I have exerised along my travels and stays:
Equality - To understand where you are in the world - you need to understand we all have an equal place in the world. It is knowing that there are other ways to think and to live. This means respect, humility and accepting that you will need to lean on a power higher than yourself to be able to truly love mankind.
Speaking love - Life is a lot easier if you know the language. To be able to speak another’s language is an act of humility and respect (especially if you can speak the language well!). However, it is even more important to actively love the individuals I
am coming into contact with for the first time whose ways and culture are quite different from mine. “When the heart speaks, however simple the words, its language is always heard from those who have hearts.” writes Mary Baker Eddy. Love is a universal language.
And “Love is the fulfilling of the law” as it says in the Bible. I have found when I nurture those qualities of humility, and love, and respect and wisdom, I am shown the appropriate ways of showing respect and care. I will be welcomed in to more people's experiences and experience a richness and depth to life that I have come to love.
Credibility – understanding that you can love, help, heal, receive gifts from others graciously gives you a humble authority to see and do good.
Tolerance – comes easily when you are open to learn, to not judge and to ask questions. There are other ways to see beauty, progress, success, fulfillment. There are an infinite number of ways to think and to be. Be firm in your understanding that we are all rooted in universal qualities such as Truth, intelligence. The expressions of these qualities are infinite, but we can be confident that these qualities are evident in every experience we encounter.
Discernment - The exciting thing I have found is that we DO have one Father and Mother - Everyone IS my brother and sister! Understanding cultures helps me to see what in my thought is original thought and what may be a result of my picking up influences around me. It also helps me protect my thought against prejudices and stereotyping.
Flexibility – always be ready to be surprised. Realize that you don’t know what you don’t know and be open to learning. In a world of infinite good and infinite possibilities, goodness blooms in many different ways. On the other hand, I enjoy other cultures, in that i enjoy seeing how diverse, how infinite is God's expression in His children. There are whole new ways of expressing marriage, family, education, commerce, leisure and more.
An open heart – let in the glory of Life. Life’s lessons are learned from everyone and everything. Seeing with an open heart puts infinity on the faces of strangers and places. It is also knowing that there is one heartbeat – a pulsating force of Love that flows through each of us. I have grown so much in the atmosphere of those who have grown up in cultures different than my own. The largest lesson is to learn to love and listen.
I have come to see that each one of us is
country, a continent, a compound idea of infinite Spirit.
Did you know that MBEddy defines both earth* and man** as a compound idea? My ability to have a little more compassion has grown, as I exercise my thought in contemplating others' perspectives. My relations with others have improved as I learn to listen more and be open to new ideas.
Two of my favorite citizens of the world are my mother and a former colleague. What they have in common was that they love people deeply and unconditionally. My mother has not yet traveled outside of her country, but every friend I have ever introduced to my parents, from Ethiopia, Iceland, Germany, Cameroon, Colombia, Brazil, Colorado, next door – it almost doesn’t matter where they are from – she just loves them. Likewise, a former colleague: She speaks nine languages and moves from one culture to the next with hardly a blip. They both know what it takes to be a global citizen. The best "global citizens" I know are those who love most unconditionally. They love beyond cultures and borders. It is to know that we are all God’s children and we are all welcomed and at home in the world.
Being a citizen of the world, we know each of us has a place and a purpose. Each nation has its own color and unique contribution to the world. With love, humility and respect, we can all find our way to bring more progress and peace to all mankind at the street level and on a global scale.
^ This was the first in a series of books she writes, including a recent one about the Middle East
(about stillness)photo by Gabe Korinek
I'd like to take a moment to write about moments and why it is hard to catch and keep them.
I'm remembering the time when my exchange student daughter and I visited her high school for the last time before she flew back home. "Wait," she said as she ran around the school taking pictures of her old classrooms, the hallways, her old locker. She took as many pictures as her camera would hold.
Like my son, who told me to wait as we drove off to the airport to see him off for Germany. And so I slowed down and made stops along the way as he took in a long look at our house, the well traveled roads that he walked, ran and biked, the cinema, the restaurant where he worked, as he wouldn't be seeing these again for a whole year.
I can relate. Tons of times I have wanted to capture a moment that I could take out and swim in again and again. But life is rich. It is full of moments and they just keep coming.
So what is in a moment and what makes it memorable? More than a place or a thing – a memorable moment tells us all of what is spiritually rich about our lives.
One of my favorite poets is Godfrey John who has this spiritual take on ‘moments’ in his poem:
This Moment of Your Living
You’re alive – not merely existing. You are: you’re not trying to be. Discover the life of the moment- this moment of your living.
Not you – as an amalgam of happenings, you-as-you-were a decade, a moment, ago: to ask What was I? is to be blind to the fact of presence. Man is not a chronology. Not you as a mosaic of hopes and fears: to ask What will I be? Is to stop discovering. Not you content with a status quo: a cup of years spilling satisfaction over the hour. Not even you-as-you-becoming --
BUT YOU BEING
You spiritually. You in the action of being you where being is the emanation of I AM. “I AM hath sent me unto you”: Being, God, impels man, breathes through him Love’s incentives. Soul’s expression now, you go as His fragrance in every place.
This is your felt unity with Him. Moment by moment.
Soul plants pure desires along your days. The innocence of what you are flares through the guilt of what you are not. Like cyclamen in the winter sun: not withholding, not seeking to hold- but giving out help simply by being what it is- moment by moment.
Not you in the moment. But this moment of you-- brilliantly, immaculately. Knowing is being. Infinitely. Mind’s allness, Mind’s oneness never stops being known. As man-idea, woman-idea--one idea-- in God’s thought, you are instantly
understood, always being known; you have Soul’s mobility within this hourless
knowing: the dance fulfilling the dancer without end, as in beauty in the unspoken, as rhythm in what is till.
To ask Who am I? is to be irrelevant. To ask What am I? is to be blind to substance, to the isness of Spirit where you are.
Ask, How am I being?
Man is what he’s being-- Love’s pure idea-- birthlessly real.
Love’s meaning is your meaning at each moment of new awakening- at the precision –timing of Principle. Here you are learning to be what you are.
Beautifully. Brilliantly. Preciously. Agelessly. Mightily. Deathlessly. Yes, as a psalm spills over you. Yes, in this fond discovering of you. You are what you are because I AM that I AM. NOW.
Moment by moment by moment by moment
a stop along my favorite hiking trail up north
Earth Day is every day for us. My family recycles, keeps informed about environmental issues, keeps on top of our carbon footprint and supports some green groups, but underlying these actions is prayer.
Thought determines experience, and when thought is aligned with God, who is infinite Mind/infinite intelligence, we are open to literally infinite possibilities. This is where prayer comes in.
God, the Creator of the earth, saw everything that He made and announced it completely good. (See Genesis 1:31.) To take a look at the material scene, though, it would appear that deterioration, neglect, greed and ignorance have altered this view and put us on a dangerous course of further deterioration.
So, then, does God get shoved out of the picture? Hardly. And are we helpless to stop this downward spiral? Not at all. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy writes, "Omnipotent Spirit ( another name for God) shares not its strength with matter or with human will." God, and all of God's attributes such as unconditional love, intelligent care, balanced systems-- all have divine authority. God is at the helm of thought. And God is supreme good. God will not be overwhelmed.
The mental environment we accept is the physical environment we live in. So it is important that we identify with what has divine authority and work out from that basis, and accept only a mental environment that is sustainable, harmonious and pure. This then will become our physical environment.
My prayer for today is to continue in the Love in which we were created, and to safeguard all the good, beauty and majesty around us.
As one cousin puts it, this is the first crowd-sourced sermon she's seen. Being called on to substitute and conduct the Wednesday church service at the last minute, I wrote a facebook plea for friends to send in quotes from the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy in light of the Boston bombings.
About a dozen people responded, plus a young friend's list of quotes from her friends. And now, on today's news, at MIT and Watertown, Massachusetts is still in our prayers, and these citations now formed into a sermon, are just as relevant.
Thank you everyone for getting involved, and staying involved.
Another friend wrote in "Cities all over the world appear to be blasted by the mesmerizing, “jarring testimony of the material senses.” In addition to the three people killed and many injured in the Boston marathon tragedy, other bombs also exploded in other cities around the world killing 55 people in Iraq; 30 people in Somalia and 30 children in Syria. Mental pictures from around the globe of fear, violence and helplessness, or anger and revenge, cannot disturb or blast away the spiritual evidence of our perfect unity with God and his reflection."
“No evidence before the material senses can close my eyes to the scientific proof that God, good, is supreme.” (Miscellaneous Writings by Mary Baker Eddy, p. 277:23-24)
I just got a quick email from my cousin letting us know her son who lives in Boston is alright. Confused, I went to the computer and heard about the bombs exploding near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
My immediate thought was relief for my cousin's son on the heels of despair for those who did not get such a report. I turned to prayer. It is my tool for fortification and engages my trust in all that is good - all that comes from God.
God is pure Love, immediate Truth, calming Spirit and orderly Principle. So where was God when this happened? God's law of harmony is still operating. This incident – by anyone's definition – is a mistake, a fatal and tragic mistake. It is not the defining moment for this race that celebrates all that is noble and enduring. It is not the turning point for mankind. It is not the end of all that is noble and enduring. It is cowardice, ignorance and arrogance. A mistake that needs correcting.
My prayer turns to affirm all that is progressive, productive, heroic and lasting. This prayer and others like it, will never be stopped. Those involved in the rescue efforts, those involved in comforting and healing those who have been injured and are grieving, and those who are, like me, affirming what stands strong in the face of such a display will never be stopped.
I continue to trust in the power of Mind, intelligence, to lead us into finding solutions for safety and in the power of Love, peace to find its way once again into broken hearts. Acts of violence will end. Prayer and affirmation of all that is good will not.
And so we run with patience and pray with conviction and put aside the fear and anger that would distract us from seeking true justice, finding effective security and embracing humanity with a healing and comforting love.
St. Paul wrote, “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us;” that is, let us put aside material self and sense, and seek the divine Principle and Science of all healing. (from SH 20:27)
"Thou art whole." (Or in other translations: You are healed/you are well/You look wonderful/Thou hast been strengthened.*)
That was what a master healer once claimed to an individual who had been healed after 38 years of invalidism. Jesus' further teachings instructed us all:
"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." (Or in other translations: Be shlemim (complete), even as is your Av Shomayim/ You must be good in every way, as your Father in heaven is good in every way. **)
What does it mean to be complete, whole, perfect?
It has a lot to do with understanding that we are the expression of God, aka the children of God.
Mary Baker Eddy writes, "Unless you fully perceive that you are the child of God, hence perfect, you have no Principle to demonstrate and no rule for its demonstration." (From The First Church of Christ, Scientist and Miscellany p. 242:8 )
Accepting this and the principle that we are made in the image and likeness of God ( ie perfect), our very being is based on a perfect principle of God, who is Truth and Love.
So what is the basis of perfection?
Perfect means: Having all parts present………
So this means: YOU ARE WHOLE
Perfect means: Having everything that is required…………
So this means: YOU HAVE EVERYTHING YOU NEED
Perfect means: Complete in moral excellencies…………….
So this means: YOU ARE NATURALLY KIND, GENEROUS, ACCURATE, HONEST, UPRIGHT
Perfect means: Perfect Love…………………………………
So this means: YOU ARE LOVED, LOVABLE, LOVELY and LOVING
Perfect means: Exactly fitting the need in every situation………….
So this means: YOU ARE IN YOUR RIGHT PLACE and SITUATION; YOU HAVE A MISSION AND A PURPOSE IN LIFE
Perfect means: Entirely without flaws or blemish……………
So this means: YOU ARE COMPLETE, CLEAN, CERTAIN, CONFIDENT, SURE, and PURE
From this basis of wholeness, we can meet any challenge with increased confidence. We have all we need to meet any discord, disease, or lack. And that is something for which we can be completely grateful!
For more background on Christian Science and how it heals, go to christianscience.com.
Me, going feet first into yet another project!
After a friend questioned why he wasn't getting my blog posts, I realized I had some explaining to do!
I am still here, and working diligently with my growing practice and with some special church projects that are now a main focus for my practice.
Please feel free to browse though old posts on this site. I'm also writing more for JSH-online. For those with a subscription, you can do a search for some of the new posts.
I'll be coming back from time to time with a new post here and there, kind of like coming home to a good friend after some time away. I am so very grateful that there is an abundance of inspiring posts about healing and prayer and Christian Science. Check out christianscience.com for more of them!
THINGS TO BE THOUGHT THROUGH: In my ongoing reading on the impact of spirituality and healing in science, technology, theology and medicine ( and other topics), I'd like to share some emerging views on ideas that Mary Baker Eddy presented decades ago. The ideas in her classic book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures continue to break new ground today.
What Mary Baker Eddy wrote in the late 1800's: "The belief that matter thinks, sees, or feels is not more real than the belief that matter enjoys and suffers. This mortal belief, misnamed man, is error, saying: 'Matter has intelligence and sensation. Nerves feel. Brain thinks and sins. The stomach can make a man cross. Injury can cripple and matter can kill man.' This verdict of the so-called material senses victimizes mortals, taught, as they are by physiology and pathology, to revere false testimony, even the errors that are destroyed by Truth through spiritual sense and Science." (from Science and Health, p. 294 and 295.)
"All that is called mortal thought is made up of error. The theoretical mind is matter, named brain, or material consciousness, the exact opposite of real Mind, or Spirit. Brainology teaches that mortals are created to suffer and die. It further teaches that when man is dead, his immortal soul is resurrected from death and mortality. Thus error theorizes that spirit is born of matter and returns to matter, and that man has a resurrection from dust; whereas Science unfolds the eternal verity, that man is the spiritual, eternal reflection of God."
From Dr. Larry Dossey's article on his book The Science of Premonitions released in 2009: "As physicist Chris Clarke, of the University of Southampton, says, “On one hand, Mind is inherently non-local (aka infinite). On the other, the world is governed by a quantum physics that is inherently non-local. This is no accident, but a precise correspondence ...[Mind and the world are] aspects of the same thing...The way ahead, I believe, has to place mind first as the key aspect of the universe...We have to start exploring how we can talk about mind in terms of a quantum picture...Only then will we be able to make a genuine bridge between physics and physiology.'
"Whatever their explanation proves to be, the experiments documenting premonitions are real. They must be reckoned with. And when scientists muster the courage to face this evidence unflinchingly, the greatest superstition of our age – the notion that the brain generates consciousness or is identical with it – will topple. In its place will arise a nonlocal picture of the mind. This view will affirm that consciousness is fundamental, omnipresent and eternal ....."
I need to remember to bring a note pad next time I see Sue and Gary. I have napkins and scraps of paper with notes written all over them from our last get-togethers. You see, Gary is a physicist and he and his wife and I just devour metaphysics.
Our last meeting, Gary summed up the relationship between science and religion. It is simply that science is able to answer the question how things work. But religion is able to answer the question why something works.
Cambridge University's John Polkinghorne agrees. Dr. John Polkinghorne is a physicist, theologian, and Anglican priest. In an interview, he shares:
'Science and religion are not mutually exclusive, Polkinghorne argues. In fact,
both are necessary to our understanding of the world. “Science asks how things
happen. But there are questions of meaning and value and purpose which science
does not address. Religion asks why. And it is my belief that we can and should
ask both questions about the same event.”'
And there is so much more to be said here.
He goes on to explain:
As a for-instance, Polkinghorne points to the homey phenomenon of a tea kettle boiling merrily on the stove.
“Science tells us that burning gas heats the water and makes the kettle boil,” he says.
But science doesn’t explain the “why” question. “The kettle is boiling because I want to make a cup of tea; would you like some?
“I don’t have to choose between the answers to those questions,” declares Polkinghorne. “In fact, in order to understand the mysterious event of the boiling kettle, I need both those kinds of answers to tell me what’s going on. So I need the insights of science and the insights of religion if I’m to
understand the rich and many-layered world in which we live.”
Kim C Korinek, CSB
banner photo (c) Micah Korinek; other photos by Gabe Korinek, Kim Korinek, Brad Crooks. Leslie Larsen (c) 2016