Author Archive

Freed from the past   Leave a comment

shutterstock_173792090When I graduated from college, I felt like everything I had known was completely uprooted. The daily structure of school was over. I moved to a new city and started a new job, and many meaningful relationships in my life changed.

 

During this time, I often went running on the beach. I loved the opportunity to appreciate my beautiful coastal surroundings, clear my thoughts, and think about God. But one day while running, instead of feeling inspired, I was hopelessly missing the past. I pitied myself for having to go through such a big change, and wished intensely that everything could’ve just stayed the same.

When I reached the end of the beach, I turned to start running back and saw the prints of my sneakers in the soft sand. That’s cool, I thought. What if, as I run back, I put each step in my previous footprint? It seemed like a fun little game.

To my surprise, I found that doing this was incredibly hard. Running while trying to place each step exactly where it had been on my initial run—well, I could barely do it! I ran awkwardly, my movement uneven and my freedom limited.

That’s when I realized: This was exactly what was happening in my life. Instead of embracing a new path, I was trying to “run” each day in the “footsteps” of the past.

At this moment, a passage from the Gospel of Matthew popped into my thoughts. It’s the one where Jesus says, “Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved” (9:17).

No wonder everything felt challenging and uncomfortable! I was desperately trying to “put new wine into old bottles.” Instead, I had to be willing to make new footprints—create a fresh path and welcome unfamiliar experiences.

Yet, with each step forward, I’ve remembered how important it is to face newness unafraid and with joyful expectation—and that we can do this because of what we know about the continuity of God’s goodness.

Listen to this Daily Lift by Karina Olsen here

or read the entire article Beating the graduation blues

Posted June 16, 2018 by cscanberra in Daily Lift, Renewal

Tagged with , ,

Value that’s not contingent on circumstance   Leave a comment

shutterstock_169062386A woman I know spent her early years wishing she’d never been born. She knew she wasn’t wanted from day one. In fact, even before she was born she was referred to as “Calamity Jane.” Her family situation included mental illness, physical abuse, and alcoholism. As an adult, she still felt trapped by the circumstances of her birth……

Imagine her enormous relief when she read these words in the Bible and glimpsed that they were true: “Ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15). This shows that we are all actually children of God. As such, we inherit the characteristics of our divine Parent: we are spiritual, valued, and whole.

The woman came to realize that God, who is good, loves us unconditionally and that our worth isn’t determined by genes or early childhood experiences. And she saw how recognizing these spiritual facts of our existence enables us to live them. Her life turned around, and instead of falling into the same destructive patterns her parents had, she became productive and successful.

The first line of the Lord’s Prayer shows us that God is “our Father.” In Science and Health, there is a spiritual interpretation of this line: “Our Father-Mother God, all-harmonious” (p. 16). A life that expresses harmony because our divine Parent is all-harmonious? Wow! Is such a thing possible? Absolutely!

This article by Deborah Huebsch can be listened to or read in The Christian Science Monitor

 

Use your ‘superpower’   Leave a comment

P6020477.JPG

Every teen sitting around the table had a story to share. Situations in which a “sixth sense” had guided them to an unexpected outcome, connected them to a key piece of information, even protected them in scary circumstances. All the teens also agreed on something: This “sixth sense” was more than some kind of human intuition. It was so “not of this world” in its clarity and wisdom that they felt it was proof of a divine intelligence—divine Mind, or God—caring for them and loving them in a way that had practical effects in their lives…..

The kind of perception we’re talking about—perception that goes beyond what we see or hear, or what seem to be the facts of a situation—might sound like a superpower. How else could you know to not step off a curb because a truck that you couldn’t see was about to come barreling around the corner? And yet, the ability to perceive something beyond the details and limitations of any particular moment isn’t a magical power.

We all have spiritual sense. It’s innate. When we experience things like love, mercy, kindness, and so on, that’s spiritual sense, because we can’t perceive those qualities through the five physical senses.

What does spiritual sense feel like?

In my life, spiritual sense doesn’t have one particular “shape.” It’s come, for me, as a specific message to do something—or not to do it. Sometimes (like in the case of being protected from getting hit by a truck) it feels almost like an invisible hand holding me back. Or, in the case of a job I was once considering applying for, it was like having the wind at my back; I felt propelled forward by a power that I knew wasn’t my own.

One thing that’s been common to all my experiences with spiritual sense, though, is that it has defied lists of pros and cons, self-justification, and logic based on what could be observed through the five senses. If the message you’re hearing doesn’t make sense through human reasoning, but a feeling of peace and safety comes with it, that’s a good indication that spiritual sense is at work—and that makes more sense than anything else.

Spiritual sense allows us to see what’s really going on, based on an understanding of God’s supremacy and love, even in the face of something challenging.

For Jenny Sawyer’s article about the power of spiritual sense click here

Posted June 2, 2018 by cscanberra in Spirituality

Tagged with , ,

Trusting God, finding home   Leave a comment

P1000710 Our little condo sold before we had found another place to live. While we were able to make temporary living arrangements and borrow a car, the resulting nomadic and uncertain lifestyle felt deeply unsettling to me. As there were no suitable homes in the city available in our price range, an air of hopelessness began to creep in. Discouraged and a bit frightened, I turned earnestly to God in prayer – something I’d found helpful many times before.

I spent hours carefully reading the Bible, pondering what I read, listening for the mental nudge of God’s direction, and acknowledging His loving care for my family and for everyone. These lines from a favorite hymn in the “Christian Science Hymnal brought me great comfort:

Home is the consciousness of good
That holds us in its wide embrace;
The steady light that comforts us
In every path our footsteps trace.

(Rosemary C. Cobham, alt., No. 497)

 

If consciousness is the true expression of home, as the hymn says so beautifully, I saw that my role was to continue to listen for inspiration and trust God’s goodness, and keep that focus in my consciousness. If my thoughts were filled with qualities such as love and gratitude, I wouldn’t have enough mental space left for worry, which is a form of fear. I’ve found many times in my life that the active expression of love, gratitude, and other spiritual qualities results in transformation both of my mental outlook and of whatever experience I’m going through.

As we continued to pray with these ideas, we felt inspired to put in an offer on a particular home, even though we’d previously made an offer on it that had been rejected. This time, however, the offer was accepted and the sale terms were resolved within just a few days; a month later, we moved in. I was touched by how quickly all this happened and felt it was an affirmation of the power of prayer.

To read the full article from The Christian Science Monitor’s A Christian Science Perspective by Jennifer McLaughlin or to listen to it, click here

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

P8090239.JPG

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

Tagged with

‘Refugee is not a profession’   Leave a comment


shutterstock_111768758

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

Tagged with

%d bloggers like this: