Judges – Trumpet the Truth (Gideon II)

September 30, 2015

http://www.christianscienceneworleans.org/ArchiveWedReadings2015.html

     The title of this Wednesday’s lesson, “Trumpet the Truth,” is from a poem by Barbara Kelly from the January 1985 issue of The Christian Science Journal:
Be A Gideonite
Like a God-chosen soldier of Gideon,
listen and obey.
Stand in your place
and break earth’s fetters.
Then lift up the light revealed.
Trumpet the truth
and see the hosts of error flee!
     In the Wednesday readings, did you spot some of the layers of meaning with the barley bread, such as the sword, the Christ, the Truth?  Here’s a Bible Hub commentary about it:
The soldier’s dream was just as a man would dream in such circumstances. A round loaf of barley {the commonest kind of bread} was dreamed of as rolling down from a height and upsetting ‘the tent.’ …The interpretation needed no Daniel, but the immediate explanation given, shows not only the transparency of the symbol, but the dread in the Midianite ranks of Gideon’s prowess. A nameless awe, which goes far to produce the defeat it dreads, was beginning to creep over them. It finds utterance both in the dream and in its translation. The tiny loaf worked effects disproportioned to its size. A rock thundering down the hillside might have mass and momentum enough to level a line of tents, but one poor loaf to do it! Some mightier than human hand must have set it going on its career. So the soldier interprets that God had delivered the army into Gideon’s hand.  MacLauren’s Expositions http://biblehub.com/commentaries/judges/7-13.htm
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Judges – Be Sure and Reverse (Gideon I)

September 23, 2015

http://www.christianscienceneworleans.org/ArchiveWedReadings2015.html

     Today we are starting a two-part lesson on Gideon.  In this week’s story, Gideon first asked God for some wool fleece to remain wet in the morning and the ground around it dry. Then Gideon asked for a second sign — that the fleece would be dry the next morning and the surrounding ground wet.
     I had to do some reading in the commentaries and in jsh-online to jump start my inspiration on this story! Many scholars commented that the dew was like God’s grace — first on the Israelites, and then on the world, and that each should help the other when their inspiration was lacking. Others reasoned that the story showed how God’s people were always different from the rest of the world.
     I learned that the first sign — the fleece wet and the ground dry — was naturally occurring — like the dew on grass while the sidewalk is dry. (Or perhaps you’ve noticed the condensation in the morning on the tops of the plastic garbage cans and the outside of the car.)  But then in the second sign, Gideon asked God to reverse what he usually saw and felt. Now that’s a good lesson — reversing what our senses tell us!  And definitely one that Gideon needed to learn before he faced an army much bigger than his own. But that’s next week!
     Included with this week’s readings are some Christian Science articles about Gideon.  There were many to choose from, and I really loved the article by Louise Knight Wheatley Cook discussing Gideon’s early discouragement.

Judges – Women Warriors – casting out the counterfeit for the real

September 16, 2015

http://www.christianscienceneworleans.org/ArchiveWedReadings2015.html

     For the next few Wednesday nights, we are going to be learning about some of the judges from the Book of Judges.  Bible scholar Christa Kreutz wrote:
The book of Judges is one of the often overlooked books of the Old Testament and is not always easy to understand. Perhaps the stories in Judges are too reminiscent of the evening news with its topics of war, weaponry, genocide, immigration debates, cultural and religious tension, and moral absenteeism. On the other hand, since the issues people deal with today are not so different, perhaps the book of Judges is worth investigating. (August 2010 issue of The Christian Science Journal).
     The military battles in the Book of Judges might remind you of a violent blockbuster movie which makes me think of Mrs. Eddy statement: “…God is all, therefore matter is nothing beyond an image in mortal mind.” (SH 116:18)
     Building upon that thought, these readings begin with a judge destroying matter (and there is lots of that activity in the Old Testament). Then there is a correlating story in the New Testament about God’s all-ness.  The connection for me was a similar statement made about a woman in the Old and New Testament stories. Did you spot the really familiar statement?  Hint – One woman destroyed the counterfeit man, and another conceived the true man.
     This week’s judge is Deborah, a multi-tasking military leader, prophet, and mother.  And then there is the immigrant Jael who used the tools she had in her tent to kill a tyrant.
     Links to some periodical articles about these women are included with the readings. If you don’t have a jsh-online subscription but want to read these articles, you can send me an email, and I can send them to you individually.

No t”error”ism in the kin-dom

September 9, 2015

http://www.christianscienceneworleans.org/ArchiveWedReadings2015.html

     Did you think today’s title was a typo? The reasoning behind today’s title is as follows:
I was reading a Circle of Faith blog by Maryl Walters who was participating in an ecumenical discussion. One of the participants commented that in today’s world, where “kingdoms” are few, we might choose a new term, “kin-dom”, to understand our relationships with each other and all of God’s creation.  Then in a Christian Science Sentinel article written shortly after 9/11, I read:
Terror is “error” with a t. Terrorism is evil and has no authority. Reduce the error of terrorism to nothingness in your thought, and it will destroy itself. Terrorism is not of God.  (September 19, 2005).
     Along with the readings, I’ve also included a Christian Science Journal article by Admiral Stansfield Turner, a former director of Central Intelligence under President Jimmy Carter, and certainly an authority on defusing evil energy.

“A house divided cannot stand.”

September 2, 2015

http://www.christianscienceneworleans.org/ArchiveWedReadings2015.html

     A few weeks ago I was listening to A. Lincoln, a thoughtful book detailing the moral and spiritual evolution of Abraham Lincoln’s stand on slavery. (Thanks to Christian Scientist Madelon Maupin for suggesting this book in one of her Bible talks.)
     Those in our Time for Thinkers Book Club know that this biography inspired me to do some research on the great impression Lincoln made on Mary Baker Eddy, and in time, the Lincoln family became great admirers of Christian Science. For example, did you know that the wife of Robert Lincoln, the only surviving child of Abraham Lincoln, became a Christian Scientist, as did her granddaughter? Did you know that their home in Vermont was bequeathed to The Mother Church in 1975 when the Lincoln family tree had no more living descendants? (Links to some of the research on the Lincoln – Eddy connection done by the Mary Baker Eddy Library are on the readings page. If you are in the Time for Thinkers Book Club, you already know how intriguing this was to me!)
     Lincoln’s famous “house divided” speech about how the “government cannot endure permanently half-slave and half-free” is rooted in the gospel story of Jesus casting out devils by the Spirit of God and not by Satan. There are many Christian Science testimonies also based on this story (as well as the story of Peter’s conversion of Cornelius — the Gentile Pentecost) for healings of grief, employment, church/community relations, and discrimination.
Comment from September 3, 2015
     Here is One Mind. The blog below (which appeared in my email this morning) was the same topic as last night’s readings, and the writer even made the Abe Lincoln connection!

http://www.christianunityministries.org/2015/09/03/gospel-centered-worldview-all-lives-matter/

I love it when this happens!