Prayer beyond words   Leave a comment

P1050983 (1)True prayer isn’t just asking for goodness, love, and peace. It is letting God show us how to live them.

Recently I learned of a strong example of what it means to live consistently with our prayers. Hiroshima, Japan, the first city that experienced having a nuclear bomb dropped on it, flourishes today, beautiful and vibrant. While hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city every year offer prayers, many of its citizens also pray for and are devoted to the elimination of nuclear weapons. In 1949 at Hiroshima’s request the Japanese parliament declared it a City of Peace, which makes it a natural location for the many peace conferences it hosts.

Without a doubt, true prayer involves not just words but the practical expression of goodness, kindness, and love – qualities that prove the sincerity of our prayer. Prayer finds its expression in a change of one’s own heart and in one’s life. It becomes practical when it brings about a change of thought for the better; it’s inseparable from the action that flows from and illustrates that change of thought.

So true prayer doesn’t just remain at the mental or verbal level – it is lived! This may mean that we simply express more patience and goodwill toward others as a result of our prayer, or, as in Hiroshima, prayer may result in taking action that stimulates progress and positive change on a wider scale. In “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, pinpoints the natural relationship between prayer and working for change. She writes: “In public prayer we often go beyond our convictions, beyond the honest standpoint of fervent desire. If we are not secretly yearning and openly striving for the accomplishment of all we ask, our prayers are ‘vain repetitions,’ such as the heathen use. If our petitions are sincere, we labor for what we ask; and our Father, who seeth in secret, will reward us openly” (p. 13).

 Sometimes we may be tricked into thinking of prayer and action as being on two sides of a room – prayer on one side and action on the other. But prayer and the genuine expression of that prayer – taking form in a greater expression of compassion leading to inspired human actions – are inseparable and stand as one.

As we understand and grow in the expression of God’s goodness in our own lives, our prayers go beyond words to being an effective and powerful force for good.

This article from The Christian Science Monitor by Lyle Young can be  read here

Mothered on Mother’s Day   Leave a comment

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A Daily Lift

Elizabeth Beall, CS, is sharing how she found herself being mothered by strangers in a foreign country when struggling with illness and the grief of losing her mother. She discovered an ever-lasting parenting and a universal motherhood.

click here to listen

Posted May 12, 2018 by cscanberra in Daily Lift, Love, Parenting

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‘Refugee is not a profession’   Leave a comment


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For a number of weeks this message was displayed on big posters hanging in many places here in Berlin. I think it was meant to draw people’s attention to the fact that becoming a refugee is not something people choose, or look forward to;………

 

We became refugees in our own country in March 1945, during the last days of World War II. …..

At dawn, having crossed the front line of fighting, we reached a small harbor where we hoped to be picked up by the last boat that was to pass through. I am sure that my mother was praying every step of our journey, and I know it was because of her faithfulness to God and unwavering trust in Him that we continued to be protected and guided, then and in the months that followed.

Finally, a small boat came. Although it was already filled with women and many children, we were able to get on board. The weather that day was extremely stormy and the waves very high. Sea mines had already sunk two large ships, and there was much fear. I remember at one point my mother standing on the deck of the boat singing,

And o’er earth’s troubled, angry sea
I see Christ walk,
And come to me, and tenderly,
Divinely talk.
(Mary Baker Eddy, Hymnal, No. 253)

As I was just a child, the thought of Christ walking on the stormy sea impressed me very much. I looked at my mother and then back toward the Baltic Sea, where she was looking, and I wondered where she was seeing Christ. And I realized that she was seeing something I couldn’t see.

I always love singing that hymn. How very fitting that it should be called “Christ My Refuge,” as refuge is what our family was seeking and finding.

Our boat made its way safely through the stormy sea and anchored in the harbor of Ueckermünde, Germany…..

Today, in my prayers for the world, I am holding to the truth that our brothers and sisters everywhere are safe in the eternal and ever-present arms of divine Love. Will you, dear reader, do the same? Will you join me in knowing that the Christ comes to everyone over life’s “angry sea”—over whatever hardships they may be facing—speaks to them of God’s unending gentleness and care, and guides them to liberty, peace, and security? Let us include them in our daily prayers, affirming God’s love for His entire creation, as we are all the beloved daughters and sons of God.

Read the entire article by Anni Ulich from the Christian Science Sentinel here

Posted May 7, 2018 by cscanberra in Brotherhood, Refugee

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It’s never too late to experience healing   Leave a comment

Otama cliff top +When my daughter was still very young, joint problems developed in one of my hands. As the condition worsened and my knuckles became disfigured, I feared that perhaps it was too late to stop the degenerating process that seemed to have taken root.

As this problem emerged, I became very conscious of a spiritual hunger in me that I had been putting to one side for some years in the face of day-to-day life with school, a career, and then family. But I knew the Bible to be a source of healing, so I turned to the words of the prophet Isaiah and found a comforting message of God’s power to meet our need even when a situation seems beyond hope. Isaiah wrote: “He will not break off a damaged cattail. He will not even put out a smoking wick” (42:3, God’s Word Translation).

I thought of a flower blowing in the breeze until its stem is so weakened that the blossom head droops. And I considered a candlewick burnt until only a single plume of smoke remains to indicate the flame that once had been. These metaphors illustrate what would seem to be past saving. And the tendency may be to hasten the seemingly inevitable – to snap off the head of the flower or to quench the last ember.

But renewal is a reasonable expectation when we understand the healing and saving nature of the divine Spirit, God. ……..

At one point I looked down at the disfigurement and said aloud to myself, “That has nothing to do with me.” Nothing had changed physically, but my understanding of my nature had shifted from a material to a spiritual base. When I looked at my hand, it was as if I were looking at a dark shadow made by “a declining sun.” Unafraid, I knew the shadow was without substance or power to harm and would pass off me.

When I woke the next day, my knuckles were perfectly normal, smooth, supple, and painless, restored to normal color and function – in a word, perfect. And in the many decades since, no such symptoms have ever recurred.

The yearning to understand God, the immortal Spirit, as the source and maintainer of us all reveals what it means to be truly and fully spiritual as God’s creation – including experiencing the beauty, grandeur, and fullness of life that we at all times have every right to enjoy.

In order to read the full article by Michelle Boccanfuso Nanouche from the Christian Science Monitor’s A Christian Science Perspective and follow the transformation of the writer’s thought, click here

Photo credit: Maggie Johnson

Earth Day   Leave a comment

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My Earth Day prayer

Recently I came across the 2015 film “Dare to Be Wild,” which shares the inspiring and unique story of Mary Reynolds. ….. There’s a scene in the film where Reynolds looks out over a desert landscape in Ethiopia that was once green and thriving, and she suddenly imagines it completely filled in again with lush trees and plants. As the scene shifts to reflect her vision, I was reminded of a prophecy in the Bible, in the book of Isaiah. It says: “Thirsty deserts will be glad; barren lands will celebrate and blossom with flowers. Deserts will bloom everywhere and sing joyful songs.… Everyone will see the wonderful splendor of the Lord our God” (Isaiah 35:1, 2, Contemporary English Version).

Read literally, the imagery presented in Isaiah’s prophecy is something I’m sure most of us would love to see fully actualized. And the beautiful words might inspire us to wonder if the flourishing of our Earth in this way is really a possibility………

I’ve found it helpful to remember that the natural beauty of our planet has its source in the infinite and enduring design of our creator, God, and this design cannot truly be lost or obscured since the divine Mind and its ideas are eternal. “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy illustrates it this way: “Arctic regions, sunny tropics, giant hills, winged winds, mighty billows, verdant vales, festive flowers, and glorious heavens, – all point to Mind, the spiritual intelligence they reflect” (p. 240). Caring for our planet and preserving its natural beauty can seem overwhelming if we simply get caught up in the problems of desertification, pollution, waste management, etc. Fresh possibilities open up as we look to the reality of Spirit and the harmony, beauty, and balance that constitute spiritual creation.

The focus of this year’s Earth Day is to mobilize the world to end plastic pollution. We can each do our part in very practical ways to forward that goal. But we can also mobilize our thought, through prayer, to more clearly see how we all reflect our intelligent creator. Such a clear view of our relation to God can definitely improve human action.

As Isaiah promises, “You will live in joy and peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands!” (55:12, New Living Translation).

This article from The Christian Science Monitor by Ingrid Peschke can be read in its entirety here

Children and self-government   Leave a comment

 

shutterstock_85436266“God has endowed man with inalienable rights, among which are self-government, reason, and conscience. Man is properly self-governed only when he is guided rightly and governed by his Maker, divine Truth and Love”

Mary Baker Eddy: Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures

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There is no better way to raise a child than to help the child to think for himself or herself—in other words, to be a truly independent thinker.

And there is no better way to be a truly independent thinker than to be a spiritually minded thinker.

Does this surprise you? Do you think, well, perhaps this applies to teenagers, but does it apply to children, too, whatever their age? Mary Baker Eddy gives this specific advice: “Teach the children early self-government, and teach them nothing that is wrong” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 240).

Self-government, reason, and conscience are rights that are spiritually based, and they are ours because we are in truth the spiritual sons and daughters of God.

These “inalienable rights” are everyone’s birthright. They stem from the supreme intelligence, from the one parent Mind (see Science and Health,p. 336), and they promote our freedom and support unending progress. In daily life this is beautifully expressed in independent thought and constructive action.

This article by Annette Kreutziger-Herr from the November 14, 2016 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel can be found here.

Seeds of Love   Leave a comment

Loving All, Healing Hatred

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Expressing Christly love can begin humbly with a small, tender seed of spiritual perception that we all have the same Father, or origin, the one divine Spirit.

Each of us has the God-given ability to let the seeds of divine Love take root and flourish in our heart – and to help water them in the deserving hearts of others.

 

It’s certainly fulfilling to express love – to give generously, be supportive, and do unselfish things for family and friends. But it can be especially challenging – and especially important – to care for those who are struggling most to feel loved: the unlawful, the unruly, those who are dishonest or cruel. It can be tempting to think such individuals are not deserving of love.

I truly feel, though, that the genuine expression of heartfelt love – love that is derived from the Divine – has the power to permanently heal hatred in whatever form, whether it’s bullying on the playground or some other manifestation of harmful behavior on the larger world stage. “God is love,” the Bible states (I John 4:8)

When faced with evil deeds, we can strive to water the seeds of Christly love in our hearts – neutralizing any sense of revenge or indifference – so that we may more effectively reach out in prayer and compassion to those on whom evil appears to have made its mark. Right there God is seeing His children in their original, spiritual, sinless nature. And we can, too…..

Jesus lived this love with breathtaking boldness. He reached out to the destitute, the social outcasts, and the morally straying to heal them and restore hope and spirituality to their lives. Articulating a new precedent for humanity, he said, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:44, 45).

In speaking of the capacity of good to triumph over evil, the Bible gives this promise: “The desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose” (Isaiah 35:1). Each of us has the God-given ability to let the seeds of divine Love take root and flourish in our heart – and to help water them in the deserving hearts of others.

 

These excerpts come from the article by Laura Clayton in  The Christian Science Monitor’s  A Christian Scientist’s Perspective and you can read or listen to the entire article here.

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