August 26, 2015

     It is not the Easter season, but Resurrection is a topic in our thoughts with the approaching 10-year-anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.  In thinking specifically about the resurrection of church, I found Mrs. Eddy’s Dedicatory Sermon to The Mother Church to be very inspiring, “redolent with grief and gratitude.” (Pul. 1:6) I especially like this poem:
“What if the little rain should say,
‘So small a drop as I
Can ne’er refresh a drooping earth,
I’ll tarry in the sky.’”
A dewdrop reflects the sun. Each of Christ’s little ones reflects the infinite One, and therefore is the seer’s declaration true, that “one on God’s side is a
    A single drop of water may help to hide the stars, or crown the tree with blossoms. (Pul. 4:3, 14-19)
That is a lovely metaphor for all of us and for Fourth Church — that we were the little drop of rain that refreshed a devastated neighborhood after Katrina and didn’t “tarry in the sky.”
    The Christian Science Journal also has this September 2015 article, “The resurrection and your branch church,” which is provided in a link with the readings.
     The apostle Paul was the first to write about resurrection, so if you would like to know more about this subject, I’ve included links to two short podcasts by Shirley Paulson and Chet Manchester which you can also access on the reading link.

Call your lawyer!

August 19, 2015

     A few years ago, I was teaching Sunday School when the Bible Lesson had these two stories: the Good Samaritan in the Bible and the mental court case in Science and Health.  This was a new connection for me!
     Around the same time, a family friend had written a book, Flood of Lies, about his successful legal representation of a nursing home in St. Bernard Parish where the residents had drowned during Hurricane Katrina. His first defense action in this case was to have the trial moved away from the emotional turmoil of St. Bernard Parish to St. Francisville upriver where it did not flood, and where there could be a more impartial jury. I am mentioning this because when you read the mental court case in Science and Health, that is also the first action by the Christian Science defense attorney — to move the trial from the Court of Error to the Court of Spirit.  (There are also some great articles explaining the use of this strategy in your practice of Christian Science and which are included with the readings link.)
     The Bible readings include the word “Comforter” in the King James Version which is translated as “Advocate” in the New Revised Standard, New Living Translation, and New International Version.  Here are a few other translations for Comforter:
ESV, Philips, NKJV, Good News, Voice – Helper
Message – Friend
Amplified – Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener, Standby)
Common English – Companion

Protection from false foundations

August 12, 2015

     When I started preparing these readings on protection and decided to use the story of Rahab, I was going to connect Rahab/Joshua with the “Magdalene”/Jesus. Both women had the reputation of being prostitutes (although the Jewish historian Josephus politely describes Rahab’s profession as an innkeeper).  Rahab’s red cord hanging out the window  was even mentioned as an early practice of the “red-light” district (Wikipedia).
     But in reading Rahab’s story in the Bible, I was really impressed with the illusion of matter. Rahab was told to stay inside her house (located on Jericho’s wall) with her family for their protection, but why weren’t they crushed when the “wall fell down flat”? Perhaps Rahab learned something about the false foundation of matter (and sin) and the reality of God.  Interestingly, in referring back to this story, both Joshua and James call the men that Rahab hid “messengers” from which we get our word “angel.”
     At least Rahab didn’t look back (like Lot’s wife), because she had a wonderful story in front of her.  In the genealogy in Matthew, Rahab is the mother of Boaz who married Ruth.  What a connection — because of his mother, it was no wonder Boaz had such respect for foreign women!
     The name “Rahab” is also used in the Bible in reference to a “mythological sea monster who is defeated by God before creation” (The New Oxford Annotated Bible, page 1037).  How beautiful that the woman Rahab from the story of Joshua was able to defeat and disassociate her degrading past with the God-given purity of womanhood.
Later comment from a reader
Bible scholars clearly identify the Magdelene as a wealthy woman from Magdala. Mary Baker Eddy understood this as she says S&:H PAGE 362: “(Mary Magdalene, as she has since been called)”. While she may have been cured of ills, the Magdalene was not a prostitute. In Maupon’s talk on women in Mark, at no time did she indicate the Magdalene was a prostitute. I don’t think we should be perpetuating false information. It is likely this notion was inserted in order to discredit her and to remove a woman from Jesus’ inner circle of followers.

My reply –  I’ve also read that Mary Magdalene has gotten lots of bad press, and now thanks to The DaVinci Code book and movie, lots of  people think she was married to Jesus. I am aware that MBE uses her name parenthetically. Rahab’s profession is also debatable. But the purity of woman was the victor for both of them!

Actually I looked at my email again and only wrote that the Magdalene had the “reputation of being a prostitute.” I think that is how she is frequently portrayed (think Jesus Christ Superstar), even though she was truly (physically and metaphysically) pure.
Thanks for your interest!
Comment from another reader –
I am sure you are aware of my strong view about “Lord” verses “God.”  The OT Biblical Lord or Jehovah is not the same as God. The “god” Joshua  reference used as Lord, is a god of contradictions.  It is not the same as God who gave the Commandment: Thou shalt not kill.    The OT Biblical writers were very careful on who they blamed for destroying man.  Same with Moses, Noah, and with the tower of Babel and other stories where it was Lord not God who kills.  I am sure you see the contradiction.  From Genesis 2 onward, whatever destroyed in most instances was Lord or Lord God. 590:15
Just my take is different. Rahab might have concluded the powerful and victorious Children of Israel were guided by a higher power to be so successful, but I thought she just wanted to save herself and her family from being killed. But why kill in the first place?
 “And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword.”
 The  surrounding Israelites Army could have just starved the people of Jericho to a peaceful surrender. (Since they already wiped out two other kingdoms previously.) I don’t really know the logic of killing everyone all together.  If the “Lord” was so powerful, why did he need men to kill other men?  In a few Biblical accounts, the Lord killed off whole armies without the aid of the Israel army.  Just so many inconsistencies throughout the OT haunt me.
The S&H selections about rising above false foundations makes your point clear: heathen gods of mythology controlled war…”

“I saw that the law of mortal belief included all error, and that, even as oppressive laws are disputed and mortals are taught their right to freedom, so the claims of the enslaving senses must be denied and superseded.” 

“Angels are God’s representatives. These upward-soaring beings never lead towards self, sin, or materiality, but guide to the divine Principle of all good, whither every real individuality, image, or likeness of God, gathers.”

  “Truth (true Cause) and Love (true Effect) come nearer in the hour of woe, when strong faith or spiritual strength wrestles and prevails through the understanding of God. To infinite, ever-present Love, all is Love, and there is no error, no sin, sickness, nor death.


My reply – Thanks for the reminder. I’ll make sure and distinguish between “Lord God” and “God.”
By the way, our Book Club has also been reading Job. I talk about the OT concept of Satan in the first Job talk here:
I learned that to many in the OT, the Lord God was like “God, Inc.”  Yahweh included his good and bad angels including Satan. So it was Satan that sent the plagues etc although it was all under the Lord God umbrella.
There is a link to Biblehub under that recording with Strong’s lexicon so listeners can look up the times Elohim is used, yahweh is used, lord etc.  Yes, I do think it is important to know whether we are talking about Lord (thought to include the bad) or God (all good).

Colossians – You are hid with Christ in God

August 5, 2015

We are finishing our summer travels with Paul with his letter to the Colossians, a city in southern Asia Minor (present-day Turkey).  The authorship is uncertain. It was either written in Paul’s name by one of his disciples, or it was written by Paul himself while imprisoned in Rome near the end of his life. (The New Oxford Annotated Bible, p. 2067)
In Colossians 3:3, Paul writes, “Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”  That verse makes me think of being a transparency for Truth, as Mrs. Eddy wrote in Miscellaneous Writings:
That individual is the best healer who asserts himself the least, and thus becomes a transparency for the divine Mind, who is the only physician; the divine Mind is the scientific healer. (Mis. 59:26)
I also love Colossians 3:23, 24:
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. (English Standard Version)
That certainly puts our employment in proper perspective!

Comment from a reader – Thanks for your citations.  Your email citations point to patience and humility.

Thanks also for going out of the way for others. At times i cannot make it to my own areas Church Services, so, it is a comfort to read and study yours.
Have you considered posting on Thursdays, some testimonies?  I am sure you must have since you are keen to such things.  But maybe Your plate is full.
You guys have a great website page!

My reply – When I first started the website, the church committee felt that I should only use testimonies that have appeared from TMC. So, when someone local has a MC published testimony, then I do link to it. Many of our members are still hesitant about being on social media, but we are becoming more comfortable every day!