James – The Work of Faith

November 25, 2015


     This week’s National Bible Week encourages everyone to read their Bibles, and this Wednesday, we will be reading from one specific book of the Bible.  The Book of James is only five short chapters, yet Mrs. Eddy quoted more than 30 times in her published writings from this short letter generally attributed to Jesus’ brother. It is amazing how this one easy-to-read letter covers so many contemporary issues, such as the power of prayer, patience, and the virtue of holding your tongue!
     During our Wednesday service, we will be singing some new Thanksgiving hymns from the 2016 Christian Science Hymnal Supplement. This Supplement has not been printed yet, but the hymns are available online; and so there are links to these hymns on the readings page.
     National Bible Week has been observed from Sunday until Sunday during the week of Thanksgiving every year since the beginning of World War II.  In the Message to The Mother Church for 1902, Mary Baker Eddy wrote, ““Our thoughts of the Bible utter our lives” (p. 4), and the first important point or religious tenet of Christian Science states, “As adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life” (SH 497).  Mrs. Eddy used an extensive collection of Bibles, and according to the Mary Baker Eddy Library, she had 39 different Bibles in her home at Chestnut Hill.
     In observance of National Bible Week, our church is displaying some different translations and modern paraphrases of the Bible downstairs in the Sunday School. This Bible collection will be there until next Sunday, and you are welcome to browse through these many Bibles ranging from the Jewish Tanakh Translation to the New New Testament for the 21st Century.
     Don’t forget that tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day, is our special Thanksgiving Service.  It lasts an hour, and it will be held upstairs beginning at 10:30 am. It would be great to see you at these services!

Veterans Day – Defending Our Home

November 11, 2015


     Our readings this Wednesday are in honor of our servicemen and women in recognition of Veterans Day which is today. May we all pray to support our military qualities of watchfulness, courage, obedience, strength, and sacrifice.
     Many events in the Bible cannot be pinpointed historically, but the Old Testament battle in today’s readings is not one of them.  Sennacherib’s siege of Jerusalem occurred in 701 BCE, and stone carvings and descriptions of this battle appear on the fortified walls of ancient Ninevah, the capital of ancient Assyria. This battle is also the subject of classic paintings (for example, included is an image of Peter Paul Rubens’ “The Defeat of Sennacherib”) and of poetry (included is a link to Lord Bryon’s “The Destruction of Sennacherib”).
     Sadly, ancient Ninevah is near modern-day Mosul in northern Iraq, and many of its antiquities were destroyed in February 2015 by ISIS.
     I just wanted you to be aware that this Old Testament battle is very much apart of our world news today!

The Practical Nurse

November 4, 2015


     These readings are dedicated to all the caregivers and nurturers, the comforters who nurture the Christ in us.
     Here is a lovely poem from the Christian Science Sentinel on the subject of Christian Science Nursing:
Let us be quiet together, you and I,
Gently affirm the truth and nail the lie,
Know we are in God’s spiritual likeness made—
Nothing can harm us, nothing make afraid.
Yes…but until we glow in this true light,
I will sit up with you, my friend, tonight.
God fills all space. Around, below, above,
There reigns the sweet compassion of His love;
But till the fear has gone, the pain has fled,
Here is a downy pillow for your head,
A sheet pressed smooth, a supper on a tray.
Till false illusions fade and drift away
And as the sons of God we take our stand,
Let there be soothing word and helping hand,
Let the intrinsic prayer have outward sign,
Coincidence of human with divine. (Virginia Thesiger, May 23, 1977)
     You’ll notice that the Bible readings reference the term “antichrist,” and so I’ve included some articles defining antichrist as a claim that we are not entitled to make the Christly presence practical.  “No healing yet? Silence the antichrist!” by Nathan Talbot is a particular favorite.
     You could think of these readings as a continuation of the earlier readings on The Skillful Surgeon.  If you think of the “sword of Truth” as the Christ, then you could also think of The Practical Nurse as the Comforter; these are the Truth and Love delivering us from the depths (SH 567).
And for history buffs, there is also a great “MBE Mentioned Sylvester Graham” podcast about Mrs. Eddy’s reference in Science and Health to the dietary reformer whom we now remember for his graham crackers.