Passion Week: Love of Christ Jesus

March 26, 2014

We are continuing with our Passion Week timeline, and now we are reading about the washing of the disciples feet after the Last Supper and Jesus’ prayer for unity.  Tonight’s Bible citations are all from the gospel of John.  This gospel author omits writing about  the communion of the bread/body and wine/blood which was recorded in the earlier gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and a reason for John’s emphasis on service to others is given in the first hymn we are singing Wednesday night.  The third stanza of Hymn 108 reads:
And as we rise, the symbols disappear;
The feast, though not the love, is past and gone;
The bread and wine remove, but Thou art here,
Nearer than ever, still my shield and sun.
According to The One Volume Bible Commentary by J. R. Dummelow, p. 803, the gospel of John, chapter 17, is “Christ’s great intercession for Himself, for the Apostles, and for the World.  . . .The veil is drawn back for a moment from the inner sanctuary of His mind, and we are enabled to contemplate with awe and reverence the nature of that close communion which He habitually maintained with His heavenly Father.”
Mary Baker Eddy wrote about intercessory prayer in No and Yes (p. 38), and that text appears at the end of this Wednesday’s readings.  It is certainly worth contemplating, especially when thinking about the value of silent prayer in churches. (Church Manual, page 42,  “Prayer in Church. Sect. 5 The prayers in Christian Science churches shall be offered for the congregations collectively and exclusively.”) I’ve included a May 2011 Christian Science Journal article which discusses this Manual Bylaw as church “we time” and not “me time.”

Passion Week: Being Watchful

March 19, 2014
We are continuing with our Passion Week timeline, and now we are reading about Jesus’ final parables through his final Passover meal which is referred to as the Last Supper.  Many of the parables in this section deal with being prepared, watchful, and ready.  How fitting and symbolic that this section ends with the Feast of Unleaven Bread, the Passover, which originally commemorated when the Hebrews had to be ready to quickly leave Egypt for the Promised Land, so they did not have time to wait for their bread to rise.
Along with the readings, I have also included another article by Annie Knott entitled the “Sheep and Goats” since this parable might seem strange to many of us.  The writings of Annie Knott, however, might be familiar to many since she wrote one of the reminiscences in We Knew Mary Baker Eddy volume I.  She was also a member of the Christian Science Board of Lectureship, editor of the periodicals, first woman on the Christian Science Board of Directors, and many other accomplishments.
As mentioned last week, it would be great to see everyone on Wednesday, but if not, here is another way to participate.

Passion Week: Humility and Resistance to the Truth — Its Meekness and Might

March 12, 2014

During the next six weeks, our Wednesday readings are focusing on Jesus Christ’s experience during what is termed the Passion Week — — his anointing by Mary “for the day of my burying,” followed by his triumphant procession into Jerusalem, cleansing the temple, his final parables and prayers, the Last Supper, feet-washing, Gethsemane, his trial, crucifixion, and resurrection.
These gospel accounts are considered the heart of the Christian message, and so these Wednesday readings are chronological AND contextual.  In other words, I put the overlapping stories from all four gospels on a timeline and picked what worked best for the readings from the overlapping accounts.  I also included the stories unique to one gospel (usually John), and I also included parts of the gospel story that do not usually appear in our weekly Bible lessons.  Then I divided the gospel story into six sections for the six Wednesdays and was delighted to discover that each section had a theme of its own. I used Science and Health to complement that theme, and naturally, many of these citations come from the chapter “Atonement and Eucharist.”
By reading whole chapters of the Bible, we are learning about parables that we don’t frequently read.  For example, the Parable of the 10 Virgins brings home the theme of being watchful — one of Mrs. Eddy’s favorite admonitions. We will also be reading some beautiful prayers, such as Jesus’ prayer at the close of the Last Supper. (This is John 17, the WHOLE chapter, and if you don’t have time to read anything else before Easter, just read all of that chapter. It is quite beautiful for us to be included in that prayer.)
The text for the Wednesday readings will be posted online on Wednesday mornings.  If you prefer to have the readings fresh for you on Wednesday night, then you may totally disregard the online citations.  However, if you can’t attend the service, perhaps you will be able to read the selections on your own time.  Or, if you are attending the service and want to skim through the readings during the day, then you have the option of bringing your earlier inspiration from the readings to the service.
If specific Bible passages from these gospel stories also appear in Prose Works, then those paragraphs appear at the end of that Wednesday’s readings.  For example, in the first week’s readings, there is the parable about the stone which the builders rejected, and so I’ve included Mrs. Eddy’s comments about this parable from Christian Healing.  It is part of the same Concord document and not on a separate link like the jsh-online articles.  So this Wednesday, for example, I have a separate link for Annie Knott’s “The stone which the builders rejected” from the 1916 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.    (If you know of articles in the periodicals that you would like to include, please let me know or share it at the Wednesday meeting in person.)
Since our Wednesday meetings are in the Sunday School, we will have plenty of Bibles handy if you want to follow along with the Reader.  There are more citations in Science and Health, but it is easy to follow along in the Bible since the readings will be from only a few chapters in two or three gospels each week. (I will have some citation lists on Wednesday night.)
It would be great to see everyone on Wednesday, but if not, here is another way to participate.

Beauty for Ashes

March 5, 2014

Many of our members and friends are unable to attend Wednesday evening church services due to work and family commitments.  Others cannot attend because they are traveling or they live too far away to make a Wednesday night commute, especially if the weather is not favorable.

To prepare the Wednesday readings, I am using Concord, an online concordance from The Christian Science Publishing Society, which enables me to organize the Bible and Science and Health citations so that the full text can be read online. The text for this Wednesday’s reading has been imported onto a special page of our website for our friends and members who cannot attend our Wednesday service in person.  Here is the link to the page with this Wednesday’s services on “Beauty for Ashes.”

If you click on “Beauty for Ashes,” you will go to the Concord printout.  I used the largest font available for you to read on your iPhones and iPads.  That does make the print a bit larger than usual for a PC screen, but I leaned in favor of our many church members and friends who are reading from their mobile devices.

You will notice that below the readings link is another link to a periodical article.  Sometimes in researching a Wednesday night topic, there is an article that I would like to share because it is so timely and appropriate.  With our current local emphasis on the beginning of the Lenten Season, I thought that the article “Fasting from Criticism” to be worth sharing!

You are also welcome to send an email if you would like to share an experience or remark on Christian Science, and we will read it at our Wednesday night service. Or, you can take advantage of the latest technology and send a voice memo, and I will play it back from my iPhone for our Wednesday night congregation.  If you don’t know what the voice memo icon looks like, here is an article with a picture of it and an explanatory video.  (My icon was actually next to FaceTime on the top of the screen; I had never noticed it before.)

If you want to record a testimony, you press the red button to record, and “Done” when you are finished.  Then you select what you recorded and choose the way to send it to me — either email or message. This is the box with an arrow facing up.  (If your phone is not set up to send emails, you can send the voice memo as a message.)

Of course, it would be wonderful if everyone could be in Lakeview at Fourth Church on Wednesdays, but I also realize that many people have time and travel conflicts.  I think we should employ some of the wonderful technology that is available to us, and so I encourage you to give this a try!