Alex Cook, Boston artist and of composer God-centered songs, visited in November. In addition to a well-received concert given at the Lafayette Library, he left a gift of soaring birds in a beautiful mural. The youngest ones get to see these “soaring aspirations” on the wall of their classroom in our Sunday School. You can hear some of his lively, soulful music here, and view more of his artwork. We are so grateful!
Two different people I interacted with recently noticed something unusual about me, with both using the phrase,”I see you have something going on here.” Well, maybe so, but the double comment made me stop at the beginning of the week and write down in my Christian Science Quarterly next to the subject, “Unreality”, What is going on? After that I wrote, Anger or peace? Hatred or love? Frustration or patience? Material bondage or spiritual freedom? Poor material vision or clarity of sight? Imprisoned in matter or completely free in Spirit? So, I pondered these contrasts all week long, but by Saturday morning I had come to accept that for a couple of days my left hip and leg were sore from a groin pull, and that morning my right hip indicated some issue. Early that Saturday morning I was replacing flowers in the church and had a few minutes to look at the Bible Lesson. I didn’t get much farther than the Golden Text, from 1 John: “God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. ” I reasoned that means:
God is Love and there is no hatred at all.
God is Spirit and there is no matter at all.
God is Life and there is no death at all.
God is Soul and there is no ugliness at all.
God is Truth and there is no inharmony at all.
God is Principle and there is no disorder at all.
I did write and think about other qualities, but this was the gist. It was 9:00 AM before I knew it, and time to head to a tennis game I was scheduled to play in. When it was over, I realized I had not felt so much as a tweak during the match and that my legs were moving in accord with God’s quality of grace in action.
I am so very grateful to God for His goodness, not just for restored harmony of leg movement, but restored harmony of thought-movement!
We were pleased to present a lecture entitled “Responding to God’s Sustaining Love” given by Brian Talcott C.S.B. on Sunday, May 20, 2012 in Orinda, CA.
Watch a recording of the lecture here:
One of the hymns at a Wednesday evening testimony meeting really resonated with me. I hadn’t sung/read it for some time and found the message inspirational. For several days following the service, I prayed with it each day. Christian Science Hymnal, #406:
O Love, our Mother, ever near,
To Thee we turn from doubt and fear!
In perfect peace our thoughts abide;
Our hearts now in this truth confide: Man is the child of God.
O Light, in Thy light we can see
That man is ever one with Thee.
In love our lives Thou dost enfold
And now our waiting hopes behold That man is God’s own child.
O joy that ever will remain,
Midst seeming sorrow, hate and pain,
Our hearts to fill with this glad song
That soars above the mists of wrong: Man is the loved of Love.
The following Saturday I enjoyed a lovely day hiking with friends. Shortly after returning home, I suddenly felt extremely ill. My entire body was painful. I turned immediately to this hymn and was comforted by Love’s tender care for me. I felt Love’s infinite presence that dissolves all unlike itself. I affirmed that peace is inherent in man as God’s reflection, the expression of Soul, another name for God, thus nothing can disturb nor disrupt that peace and normal functioning. After praying for about an hour, all pain left as quickly as it had come.
My gratitude to God for His omnipotence and omnipresence is unbounded.
One evening while I was preparing for bed I suddenly felt a lot of pain. I immediately turned to God for help and began praying with the ideas in the Scientific Statement of Being, one of my favorite paragraphs in Science and Health (p. 468). I then began to think about the answer to the question, “What is man?” also in Science and Health (p. 475). I began to feel calmer, but was still very uncomfortable. I asked God to help me and to tell me what I needed. I heard, “Be still.” This was quite a request because I was so uncomfortable that I couldn’t seem to sit still. But I made myself stop moving. I remembered the beautiful solo that was sung at my sister’s wedding, which is from a verse in Psalms, “Be still, and know that I am God.” As I was being comforted by the words in the solo, I heard, “I am able to impart….” I recognized this phrase as a statement in Mrs. Eddy’s writings but wasn’t exactly sure of the whole passage. I knew it said something like “I am able to impart health and happiness.” I realized that it is man’s purpose to impart (communicate, make public, proclaim, give, bestow) health and happiness. And man is able to do it because he reflects the ability to do it. I am not personally the source of the ability to impart. That was a relief. And why, I asked, do we have this purpose? And the answer came – to glorify God. Our whole reason for existing is to glorify Him in everything we think, in everything we say, and in everything we do. This increased understanding of man’s whole purpose for being, of my purpose, filled me with joy. I promised to begin to question and examine everything I did. Is this glorifying God? How is what I am doing glorifying God? I was so absorbed in promising God I would do this that when I checked back, I realized the pain had just turned off, as suddenly as it had started. I was so grateful! The next morning I looked up the statement that had come to me. It is from First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 165 and it reads, “Thus may each member of this church rise above the oft-repeated inquiry, What am I? to the scientific response: I am able to impart truth, health, and happiness and this is the rock of my salvation and my reason for existing.” My reason for existing. The very reason man exists is to impart – to make known, to exemplify what God is. And how do I do that? By making sure that I am living as close to Him in thought and action as I can. That day I questioned myself often, and identified the spiritual qualities in each activity I was doing. I even caught myself when I felt impatient with a boy in my son’s swim class. The question practically yelled in my thought, And how is this thinking glorifying God? Woops! Since then I have challenged myself to continue this, and I am happy to say I am catching thoughts that aren’t consistent with my purpose to glorify God. I am also more conscious of God and am in better touch with Him as I go about my day. What a wonderful healing! I am very grateful.
Recently while vacationing in the mountains where we do a lot of hiking, I awoke one morning with an extremely stiff knee after an extensive hike the previous day. As I attempted to go downstairs, the knee did not want to bend and was quite painful. I had never experienced this condition before. I immediately turned my thoughts to that week’s Bible lesson, which was on God. The lesson contained many powerful statements from the Bible and Science and Health as to the fact that God is all, that there is nothing else beside Him. God is the only power, is ever-present and was right there at that moment embracing me with His tender love and care. God is the only creator and had created me in His image and likeness. Since God is spiritual, my true identity is spiritual. I reflect the unchanging harmony of Soul, God, which includes the perfect functioning of every part of my body. I am tributary to God, Spirit, not to a mortal body, physical functions or to world belief of disability.
As the day wore on, the use of the knee progressively improved and the pain lessened. Whenever I was aware of any discomfort, I reaffirmed the facts of spiritual Truth I had turned to that morning. I realized that God’s perfection is invariable and so is mine. The following morning when I awoke and prepared for another extensive hike, the knee was completely restored to its normal functioning, with no discomfort at all and continues that way.
I am deeply grateful for Christian Science which gives us the spiritual understanding of our true identity as the child of God, reflecting all of His qualities. I am grateful for this quick healing and for a fuller realization of my oneness with God.
Prayer, Identity & You: Our community welcomed experienced Christian Science speaker Dave Stevens last year, speaking on this topic to a full house. It addresses how to identify oneself from God’s perspective, and the harmonizing side-effects of this identification.
I don’t know exactly how to pray for each and every situation, but I do know that prayer has a meaningful and beneficial impact on my life. Whenever I am unsure about how to proceed with prayer, even when I know that is the right step to be taking, I simply think, “It matters how I think right now.” This thought always humbles my thinking and allows me to be receptive to God.
During a recent road biking excursion I made a swift and unexpected dismount onto the pavement at the start of a climb. As I was lying in the road trying to piece together what had just happened I looked over at my arm and noticed a bone in my arm looking alarmingly out of place. Instead of praying immediately, I let the physical situation take hold of my thought—I was experiencing really forceful resistance to prayer which was completely contrary to my usual response of, “It matters how I think right now.” In a few minutes I was helped off the road and able to lie on the pavement in the sun. My fellow riders included three family members who also actively practice Christian Science, and for them I couldn’t be more grateful. As I struggled with resistance, these three people purposefully and vocally reminded me that I was in fact perfectly whole and able to claim dominion over the physical situation. Their conviction to see me as spiritually pure melted my resistance in a matter of moments.
The second I began to identify more with a spiritually whole vision of myself, rather than a fallen, injured physical person, the transformation from bone out of place and a great amount of physical pain to feeling perfectly normal was very quick. My brother, who was sitting with me and praying as I lay on the side of the road was himself impressed with the way improved thought and a willingness to simply be present with God directly corresponded to a restoration of my arm. The healing was in fact so swift, that I had a hard time trusting the results at first. In response to this tentative thinking, my brother and I worked with this idea from Mary Baker Eddy, “Whosoever understands the power of Spirit, has no doubt of God’s power, —even the might of Truth, —to heal, through divine Science, beyond all human means and methods” Miscellaneous Writings 52:7.
Half an hour later I was playing with my two-year-old niece whom I instinctively reached out to and picked up in my arms when she called my name and ran to me. I experienced no pain from this simple act of love. A week later I participated in a 100K bike race on the exact same road where the bike accident had happened a week before. I was able ride free of pain or apprehension both physically and mentally.
I pursue a lot of outdoor sports, from cycling and distance running to rock climbing and river running. Without a doubt, these experiences have been the most significant for me as a student of Christian Science. It’s in those moments of physical duress that I have come to know and understand my spiritual identity as the more accurate and complete description of me. I am so grateful for the insight that prayer gives us into life, making each opportunity to pray not just physically but mentally and spiritually transformative.
A few weeks ago there appeared in the weekly Bible Lesson (“God the Only Cause and Creator”) this passage from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, page 69: “… ‘Do you teach that Spirit creates materially, or do you declare that Spirit is infinite, therefore matter is out of the question?’ ” That question really grabbed my attention and stayed with me.
A few days later, I began to experience an annoying pain in my right arm. Since I was on vacation at a tennis resort and had several matches scheduled, I started thinking, “Oh no, maybe I won’t be able to play; maybe if I stretched, or soaked in a hot tub or applied ice packs or something, I’d get through the next few matches.” But right at that moment my thought returned to the above reference. I wanted to leave matter completely out of the picture! I turned to an article in the December 2010 Christian Science Journal entitled “Petition- an Important Element of Prayer” and started a prayer of petition. I asked God to just rid my thinking of all these matter-based suggestions of methods to deal with a painful arm. I pleaded for a purely spiritual recognition of my perfection at that very moment.
Soon the pain was gone. I played tennis every day for the next ten days with no ill effects. I was grateful for two reasons: I wanted to realize the blessing of “leaving matter out of the picture”… and I wanted to enjoy the rest of my vacation!
My husband and I drove to his university, about an hour and a half from home, for a 50th reunion weekend. Events filled both Friday and Saturday, ending quite late each night. I’m the designated driver after parties, and because of commitments, we had to drive back home each night. The Friday night drive went fine, but as we started the drive Saturday night, I was feeling quite ill. I had had little sleep in the days leading up to that weekend, and that lack of sleep, plus an active two days, hit me as dizziness, weakness and nausea. As I drove through a rainstorm along crowded, unfamiliar freeways (“with the drunks out in force” as my husband assured me), I struggled to stay focused on the task at hand, praying firmly about God’s control. Nevertheless, as we approached a long bridge over the bay, I seriously considered taking an exit and stopping somewhere until I could feel better. But I knew my husband would be very alarmed. And more importantly, I knew that God’s presence, strength and caring would not be any closer or stronger off the freeway than they were right where I was. So I kept on, literally praying myself across that bridge, singing silently the hymn that assures us that “everlasting arms of Love are beneath, around, above. He it is who leads us on; His the arm we lean upon.” My conviction of God’s control grew steadily and I knew that no material circumstance (lack of sleep, storm, high winds, dangerous roadways) could weaken that control or prevent us (and everyone on the road) from safely reaching our destination. When we arrived home, I was feeling so good that I was awake for two more hours, taking care of household things. What a comfort it is to know that we are never outside of God’s care and the harmony of the spiritual creation that we live in every moment — and that we can turn trustingly to that care when we need it most.