Author Archive

The Golden Rule and Peace on Earth   Leave a comment

by Lynne Buckley-Quirk

Recently I have been feeling deep gratitude for the multitudes who are praying for peace and harmony in the world. Even though cultures, faiths, and traditions may differ, this universal acknowledgment of the effectiveness of praying for peace gives me hope that unity among people and nations is a present possibility, even in the midst of what appears to be chaos, hostility, and polarization. 

My hope that this universal prayer can bring about harmony and unity comes from something I learned years ago—that there is broad agreement about the observation and practice of what is known as the Golden Rule. Today, according to several internet sources, this “rule” is at the core of over ten religions that span the globe. In other words, a very large part of the global community understands that if we want to be treated with fairness, compassion, and equality, we ourselves should treat others that way. 

As a follower of Christianity, I strive to practice the rule as Christ Jesus taught it in his Sermon on the Mount: “Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets” (Matthew 7:12, Revised Standard Version).

Lynne goes on to explain how she demonstrated that unity among people and nations is a present possibility. Click here to read the full article in the Christian Science Sentinel.

Our Prayers Are Still Needed   Leave a comment

Recent events in the United States call on all of us to reach deeper with our hearts to find the power of infinite Love. The world needs all of us right now—needs every prayer that acknowledges the all-power of divine goodness and genuinely desires what is best for all. Evil is not power. It falls in the face of Christlike, spiritual goodness that embraces enemy and friend alike.

Thank you for all you’re doing through your prayers on the frontlines of facing down anything opposed to honor, respect, and dignity of all people. Click below to read a response to this week’s events, “Counteracting chaos and disorder” from the Editors of the Christian Science Sentinel.

Counteracting Chaos and Disorder by Larissa Snorek.

What Still Governs – Right Now   Leave a comment

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A Daily Lift from Roger Whiteway CS

In this 3 minute talk Roger explains how government based on spiritual law underlies all good human government and is the basis for harmony.

A Promise for the New Year   Leave a comment

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A Daily Lift from Deborah Huebsch CSB

In this uplifting 3 minute talk Deborah talks about why she is hopeful about the new year. She shares the reasons her hope is not just wishful thinking but is based on Biblical promises.

A new 3 minute inspirational talk is shared each day Monday-Friday. To listen to more click on the Daily Lift tab in the menu above.

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The Reason for Existing   Leave a comment

by Allison W. Phinney

Good wins every time.  
Overcome evil with good. 
Together we are strong.

You might be asking, where did those statements come from? Was it from some new, contemporary translation of the Bible? The answer is that these comments just poured out from the hearts of ordinary people. They were written on cards, marked on store windows, printed on caps and T-shirts by people in Boston at the time of the Marathon bombing. 

Similar phenomena are occurring in response to terrorist attacks, shootings, and other dangerous situations around the world. In the United States, a high school teacher without a weapon tackles a shooter in the classroom as he reloads. In Paris, a twenty-two-year-old Malian immigrant spies a four-year-old child dangling from an apartment balcony five floors up. He scales the outside of the building with bare hands and saves the child while onlookers cheer. He says, “I didn’t think about it. I climbed up and God helped me.” 

Passionate solidarity, love for good, and care about each other are rising up again and again in the midst of mindless evil and danger.

Why is that? Because people, at bottom, are good? But then why is that the case? 

What if, instead of writing off these spurts of wondrous and inspiring good, we see something deeper about them—see that they could even be said to point to a scientific fact, the evidence of a universal principle? What if that principle is more significant than even what seems the basic impression of life—more capable of lifting us up out of our supposed mental and physical limits as human beings? 

Well, in fact, that Principle is always there, always at work in us and everyone else, but we’re so preoccupied with a self and its history and likely future prospects, we often don’t notice until something truer gets our attention and takes over.  It’s then we realize that we’re part of something much larger—that whatever good we’re expressing isn’t our own possession, so to speak.  Therefore it’s not something we can lose through long, preoccupied periods of business-as-usual attitudes or spoil through persistent unworthiness. It may get temporarily obscured, but in fact it never goes away because behind it is universal Principle. 

This was made apparent in the experience of a friend, who was overwhelmed by the passing of several people he worked with in his industry. They had died of drug overdoses. He then obtained a handgun with which to end his own life. He felt he couldn’t believe in God anymore because of what had happened. But nevertheless, he asked a Christian Science practitioner for treatment through prayer. Day by day he found himself going forward in spite of what seemed his own despair and loss of reason for living. He’d also fallen into taking the same drugs that had caused the death of his friends. But finally, he threw the gun into the ocean. 

It was a new beginning, in a more radical sense than he at first realized. He changed careers, excelled in learning new skills, completely lost any drug dependence. And a new, powerful, and lasting sense of purpose in serving the Cause of Christian Science showed up in his life. 

That sense of purpose was far greater than some psychologically recognized shift of mood or an attempt at positive thinking. It was, in fact, “finding himself,” as is sometimes said. Even more than that, it was finding his actual identity and that identity’s natural part in something larger—in the expression of the universal, divine Principle that is the source of good.

Expressing a love that isn’t just unselfish but is also unhampered by a mistaken personal sense of identity leads us to the real nature of humanity.

A passage in The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany by Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, spells it out: “As an active portion of one stupendous whole, goodness identifies man with universal good. Thus may each member of this church rise above the oft-repeated inquiry, What am I? to the scientific response: I am able to impart truth, health, and happiness, and this is my rock of salvation and my reason for existing” (p. 165).

Simply put, expressing a love that isn’t just unselfish but is also unhampered by a mistaken personal sense of identity leads us to the real nature of humanity, and of individual identity, too. The Bible’s been saying that for centuries, of course. 

Job, in the Bible, after running into the disasters and evils of human experience, cried—and probably pretty literally—“My days are past, my purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of my heart” (Job 17:11). But he was finally, through persistent obedience to God, able not just to hear words about God but to “see,” or feel, the presence and comforting of God, good.

You could say Job felt what the prophet Isaiah wrote down: “The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand…. This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth” (Isaiah 14:24, 26).

Recognizing this all-encompassing purpose of good, which we’ve glimpsed in the worst of human circumstances, we’re more apt to respond to the divine purpose that takes us forward, despite all the vivid “reasons” of a negative human outlook. With the help of Christian Science, we discover the untruth of the material sense of existence, and instead begin to get the true idea of God and His spiritual creation that Christ Jesus promised sets human beings free of all sorts of troubles, whether despair or sin or disease. 

We find that not only do we naturally feel a greater love for others, but we’re also impelled by more joy and a sense of definite purpose beyond anything we might have thought we had. Each experience of healing makes this divine Principle, the Love that is God, more readily apparent. And it brings an eye-opening new understanding of what life is truly all about.

This article, by Allison (Skip) Phinney, was originally published in the Christian Science Sentinel. Click here to read it directly from the Sentinel or to listen to the spoken version.

Think New Thoughts   Leave a comment

by Amy Richmond

Q: How can I deal with old memories that keep popping randomly into my thoughts?

A: “That’s the restaurant where my ex and I had that fight.” 

“There’s the shopping mall I went to with my family.”

“That’s where we had the big lunch after the funeral.” 

The things I remembered from this particular stretch of roadway weren’t all bad, but every time my car made its way past the various stores and restaurants, I’d routinely go over some of the memories I had from the area. What was silly about this was that either the memories were so mundane it was pointless to think about them, or I’d already dealt with the emotions from the incidents I remembered—I’d forgiven what needed forgiving and moved past any resentments. In other words, these memories were actually pretty pointless; but still, back they came.

It didn’t seem like a big deal. But one day, as I was driving along ticking off the same old recollections, what I heard felt like God talking to me. The message came out of nowhere and grabbed my attention—in a good way. 

“Think new thoughts.”

As I thought about what this meant, it occurred to me that most of these memories involved things that had been healed as I’d understood more about God’s love and care for me and everyone. So now I could move on even more fully and accept complete healing. The message “Think new thoughts” indicated that I could build on what I’d learned about God and let the past go.

What’s great about these kinds of messages from God is that God never gives us something to do without the ability to do it, because God is good. So in that moment, I knew I didn’t have to be sucked into thinking about stuff that wasn’t contributing anything to my life today. Each moment is fresh and new, so my thoughts could be, too.

My study and practice of Christian Science have shown me that the ability to hear God’s thoughts comes from God and brings blessings. As I’ve learned to live more in the present with these good thoughts instead of the past—or the future!—I’ve experienced quicker healings and had a more satisfying life all around. It may seem like we don’t have power over the thoughts that come to us—especially ones that repeat themselves! But I’ve learned that anything that God wouldn’t and didn’t create, like repetitive, unproductive thoughts, can be seen for what it is—useless and powerless—and we can be free from it. For the first time, I realized I had a choice: I didn’t have to allow my thoughts to go on in a mindless loop that would prevent me from listening to productive thoughts from God and experiencing the benefits of learning more about what God is.

I’m going to be honest: I didn’t immediately abandon the old thoughts. I had a few drives when those memories came flooding back. But now that I was aware of them, whenever the old, boring thoughts presented themselves, I made an effort to listen instead to new ideas from God. And what I heard was really great. Sometimes I heard expansive spiritual ideas that opened up my concept of God in big, beautiful, healing ways. Other times I could just move on to thinking productively. It wasn’t long before the repetitive thoughts stopped entirely, and I was blessed with a powerful awareness of all the divine goodness that was mine, right here in the present.

The new year often prompts us to think about change—about doing and thinking about things in new ways. But fresh thoughts from God are a beautiful gift to each of us that are available every single day, every moment. These fresh spiritual ideas bring healing, too! If there’s something in your life that you need to deal with that seems routine or detrimental, there’s a fresh, spiritual perspective available right now to help you do so. Why not embrace it?

Click here to listen to this article or to read it directly from the January 2, 2020 Christian Science Sentinel.

Is God Real? Seek and Find   Leave a comment

Some thoughts on renewal in the New Year.

by Barbara Vining

I can tell you that God is real to me, and that I regularly experience God’s care—but that won’t be convincing to you until you yourself search for God, find Truth, and experience proof of God’s reality and care.

The major problem, through the ages, is that the human mind tries to find God within a material frame of reference. But the real God can’t be found that way any more than the real substance of good can be found that way. Good exists to be seen, loved, and expressed by anyone in spiritual qualities such as kindness, gentleness, purity, justice, and mercy. And it is universally available for everyone.

That’s one way I know God—as good itself, which is here and everywhere, even where evil claims to be the reality. Christ Jesus said we could find God as the actual and ever-present reality—the saving, healing, and redeeming power—by seeking God and loving God with all our heart (see Matthew 6:31–33 and Mark 12:30).

It’s natural to love good. So, perhaps a good starting point for a new year would be to look for God by nurturing within ourselves the goodness of pure, spiritual qualities, and by looking for opportunities to express these qualities. Everyone wants to see good expressed by others—and it’s heartening when we do. But sometimes finding expressions of good in human experience can be a really big challenge. That’s when we may be hard pressed to think of God, good, as real. But here’s a biblical promise that helps: “You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13, New King James Version). With all our heart. Not halfheartedly, or with our eyes or our emotions or human will, and not out of fear, but with love.

It can help to start by searching for good in the ideas of goodness—the idea of justice, the idea of mercy, the idea of forgiveness, and so on—that you yearn to see expressed. These qualities are real. They have a creator, and they exist for you, and anyone, to love and express. I have found that in proportion as I love these qualities and strive to express them, I find God, good, to be real. And we all can set out on a heartfelt search for the unseen spiritual goodness that does exist in others, discern it, and love them on this basis. I’ve often been amazed and delighted when I’ve been cherishing the good discernible in another, and there is a spontaneous awakening within that one of an inherent goodness they previously had not felt or recognized. We can each love individuals this way day by day, in our home, our workplace or school, our community, and in our prayers for hungering human hearts throughout the world. 

This takes dedication, lots of it. But that’s how proof that God is real comes into human experience—in human needs being met, in hearts being comforted and encouraged, in physical healing, and in characters reformed. Mary Baker Eddy spoke from experience when she wrote in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “The divine Principle of healing is proved in the personal experience of any sincere seeker of Truth” (p. x). God, good, is that Principle.

There is a lifetime of learning about God to be found in the Bible and in Science and Health: that God is Love, Spirit, Life, and Truth. That we are made in God’s image, spiritual and perfect. That we consist of beautiful qualities inherent in us as God’s reflection. And this learning and proof come to each “sincere seeker of Truth” through moment-by-moment, sincere seeking and finding.

Let’s start today, then, to seek God through our spiritual sense—through the constant, God-given ability we all have to be aware of and feel God’s presence and love. Where spiritual good seems absent in any instance, we can find it by knowing that it is present to be found right here and now. We don’t find spiritual good simply through observation of the physical world; nor can what the physical senses observe prevent us from finding divine good and seeing the power of God to improve what is seen and experienced. 

Jesus proved the presence and reality of God, good, right where evil was claiming reality in the form of sickness, sin, and even death. By knowing and loving the spiritual good that is always present, he healed the sick, redeemed the sinner, and raised the dead. That’s how he proved that God is real. And that’s how we can prove it.

So, look for good right where you are right now. Look for it with your heart—through genuine prayerful searching, and through discovering and loving the good that is discernible in others and in yourself. With sincere and persistent effort you will find it. And this will prove to you—and others—that God, good, not evil, truly is the living reality and power. And what a happy year that will be—one day at a time!

Click here to listen to this article by Barbara Vining or to read it directly from the December 19, 2019 Christian Science Sentinel.

The Real Christmas Message   1 comment

by Allison Phinney

FOR SOME YEARS, just before Christmas holidays, I’d find myself working late at the office downtown. By the time I finally left, stores would be closing, crowds gone, and I’d emerge into a wide, bare urban plaza after dusk. Only a stray business executive or two, carrying home packages from some last-minute shopping, would be hurrying by in the cold.

Without people around, the standard decorations on lampposts and the lighted trees seemed less than cheery—bleak, even. And you couldn’t help feeling there wasn’t a lot in all those tall, grand buildings, now emptied, that could ultimately satisfy the spirit of their daily occupants. Busyness, fleeting prestige, a high income level, wouldn’t do it. Walking along in the darkness, I felt keenly the need all of us have to look elsewhere for the heart and soul of our lives.

Today’s array of holiday festivities offers a temporary sort of warm respite from bleakness. But, interestingly, it is the simple, original Christmas story that still holds the greatest practical promise for lifting the hearts of everyone.

Read the Christmas story as though you’ve come upon it for the first time—not just being swept along by the rhythm and beauty of the language through each of the familiar scenes—and you’ll find it can seem strikingly new. At the heart of the story, of course, are a birth and a baby, usually one of the most hopeful and unselfish of human moments. Who hasn’t felt a rush of pure love and hope for the newest addition to someone’s family! But in this case the child immediately becomes a sign of hope for the world.

From the beginning of the careful account in Luke’s Gospel, the story is clearly about real people, in a real time, in a real place. The journey to pay taxes in crowded Bethlehem has a factual basis. Herod the Great appears in history books. Mary, the mother-to-be, has recognizable concerns and doubts about the message she is hearing, even as she shows a transforming spiritual obedience and love for God. Joseph, her husband, isn’t a naive man, but he consciously loves and trusts Mary’s purity and goodness.

The baby Jesus is born in a stable (some say a cave, where the animals were kept). When the shepherds arrive and relate their amazing experience of God’s light and glory, they apparently already know of this birth. We realize they have been expecting the fulfillment of prophecy regarding a coming Messiah. Obviously, this tiny child is identified with a message of huge dimensions from the very beginning. The shepherds and the wise men and Mary were not mistaken. The child grew up to have meaning for an entire world.

Christ Jesus would teach—and make evident—that God is unlimited good, beyond all previous human conceiving. He would show again and again that this good is in fact never absent, or at some remove from human life, but is in the midst of it as a vital presence and power—literally, “God-with-us.” Through Jesus’ parables and beatitudes, and above all his own example and healings, he would fill people with a new, illumined understanding of life. He would describe himself as “the light of the world” (John 9:5). He would tell others they, too, were light in a dark world—if they received and understood his message that their actual nature is the very expression of God, whom, the Bible describes as Love and Spirit (see Matt. 5:14).

If we yearn for the answer to the bleakness arising out of a material sense of existence, here’s where it’s found—in this light of Christ that outshines all the gloom. And this answer infuses Christmas with a meaning and joy that nothing else can. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered the nature of Jesus’ original Christianity to be scientific in the most profound sense, wrote of Christmas: “I celebrate Christmas with my soul, my spiritual sense, and so commemorate the entrance into human understanding of the Christ conceived of Spirit, of God and not of a woman—as the birth of Truth, the dawn of divine Love breaking upon the gloom of matter and evil with the glory of infinite being” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 262).

After a major healing experience, which came spiritually, Mrs. Eddy felt her eyes being opened to the true dimensions of Jesus’ life. She began to see how perpetually thinking that matter and its constraints were more definitive, more real in her life, than God, had severely circumscribed her own understanding of Him. After that healing, she gave three years of her life almost exclusively to intensive study of the Bible and to prayer, looking for answers as to how she had been healed. She wasn’t satisfied to believe this was a rare instance of blind faith having an effect on the body. And it hadn’t been. She realized that she was being shown practically that no one’s life has ever been locked into the material existence that seems so real, but that life is actually in and of God, Spirit, regardless of appearances.

Mrs. Eddy linked Christian healing closely to Christmas. She wrote, for example, in her article “The Cry of Christmas-tide”: “In different ages the divine idea assumes different forms, according to humanity’s needs. In this age it assumes, more intelligently than ever before, the form of Christian healing. This is the babe we are to cherish. This is the babe that twines its loving arms about the neck of omnipotence, and calls forth infinite care from His loving heart” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896, p. 370).

Each of Jesus’ so-called healing “miracles”—such as the healing of Lazarus, of an epileptic boy, of lepers, and of blind, deaf, and paralyzed people—broke all the so-called rules and laws of a material universe. If these events were merely mysterious exceptions, they couldn’t be repeated. Jesus wouldn’t have taught his disciples the healing power of understanding the God who is infinitely good. He wouldn’t have told them, “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give” (Matt. 10:8).

These departures from material laws actually uncovered the consistent laws underlying existence, which were spiritual, not material. These Christianly scientific laws of being had never changed, Mrs. Eddy realized. They still existed, and on their basis Christian healing could be restored. As she herself came to understand the true nature of prayer, she saw healing after healing take place for those she prayed for.

Mrs. Eddy saw that the most effective prayer excludes fear. Instead, it opens thought to the immense goodness of God, to the perfect divine Principle, Love, rather than asking God to change something. Thousands of students to whom she taught Christian Science learned to heal through prayer and spiritual understanding. Today the same kind of healing flows from this larger view of God.

Healing that comes exclusively through prayer is still widely disbelieved in an intensively materially minded and skeptical society. This atmosphere of human thought acts to distance anyone from the spiritual experience of knowing God. It tends to limit even devoted Christianity. The good news is that even a little unselfish love reopens the door of thought to more of the love and goodness that are at the center of life. But the greater good news is that the entire spiritual universe of God’s goodness, what Jesus referred to as the kingdom of heaven within (see Luke 17:21), is already here—and we are each included in it.

We do need awareness of God in our everyday living—we need to keep growing into the understanding that God is All-in-all, is our Life, now—if we are to feel the naturalness of Christian healing. As Jesus practiced healing, it was more than compassion for humanity, even more than an impressive sign that he’d been given divine authority. It was the actual presence of God and God’s love for His creation—a very new sense of Life—becoming apparent. As the bleak clouds of a material sense of existence, with its sickness, evil, and sadness, break apart, the light of Christ, the true idea of God, pours through. We, too, become more conscious of the good already present. This irresistible effect is what characterizes true healing.

Even though I’m involved daily in the practice of Christian Science healing, I was recently surprised simply to see how many healings I’d been hearing about over a period of only a few months. These were coming along in e-mails, letters, phone calls, and by word of mouth. They came from friends, acquaintances, students whom I had taught in Christian Science classes, and fellow Christian Science practitioners. I realized I’d heard of healings of medically diagnosed cancer presumed to be terminal, of a broken toe, and of a shortened leg. Healings of a long-standing hernia, severe heart problems, concussion, symptoms of cystic fibrosis and of multiple sclerosis, hemorrhaging, psychological problems, and a child’s diagnosed deafness.

Christmas in its true light can’t possibly be overwhelmed by the bleakness of a material existence. The real Christmas message—the healing “Cry of Christmastide”—is telling us of unlimited good, of endless spiritual meaning and love to be learned, giving a new and infinite dimension to the good we have far too tentatively assigned to God. Christmas is, after all, God’s own message to humanity.

Click here to listen to this article or to read it directly from the December 25, 2006 edition of the Christian Science Sentinel.

Allison “Skip” Phinney is a Christian Science practitioner and teacher. He lives in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.

All Perfect Gifts are from God   Leave a comment

by Yvonne Prinsloo

At Christmastime I love to recall a Bible verse that is close to my heart: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17).

These words so beautifully express what I’ve learned from Christian Science about the Christly spirit of giving and receiving. When a gift is inspired by unselfish love that stems from an understanding that God is the true source of all good, it brings joy to both the giver and the receiver. 

But not every gift is a good one with pure motives behind it. Sometimes gifts are used as a means of controlling others, and they bring to the receiver not joy but a sense of oppression. 

Before my marriage, I found that my mother-in-law-to-be had a tendency to dominate, and I often sensed there were strings attached to the gifts she gave. For instance, my future in-laws told me that, as a wedding gift, they would like to furnish the one-bedroom flat my husband and I would be moving into. They made a date to join us at the shops to choose the furniture. 

On the surface this seemed to be a generous gift, but instead of feeling grateful, I felt imposed upon. I had been looking forward to furnishing our first home, and I worried that our freedom of expression would be encroached upon. Fear crept in as I thought of how different my mother-in-law’s taste was from mine. She always chose items that were elaborate and pretty, while I preferred things that were plain and tailored.

Yearning to find peace from the turmoil I was in, I turned to God with all my heart. What came to mind was the thought of two trees, an oak and a willow. Because the oak tree has only oak leaves growing on it, and the willow tree only willow leaves, it would be impossible to find even one willow leaf growing on an oak tree or one oak leaf growing on a willow. There is a law that maintains the individuality of each tree.

That made me think of a statement in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy: “The divine Mind maintains all identities, from a blade of grass to a star, as distinct and eternal” (p. 70). 

This calmed my fear. Just as I was certain that trees are individual and distinct, I could trust that God gives His children identities that are individual and distinct. This meant that my mother-in-law and I could not impose on one another’s identity. I realized with joy that our individual expression of God’s qualities is governed by divine Mind and is always safe from interference.

The next day we set out to buy the wedding present. I felt such peace, knowing that God was in control of everything and was maintaining the individuality of each of us. As we looked around the shops, I fell in love with a lounge suite—and to my joy, my mother-in-law liked it as well. We all did! Receiving the gift ended up being a happy experience. 

But soon, I again found myself harboring feelings of indignation at further offerings of gifts from my mother-in-law. They felt like an intrusion in my life and an attempt at control. 

Then one day I read this instruction in Mrs. Eddy’s Message to The Mother Church for 1902: “The Christian Scientist cherishes no resentment; he knows that that would harm him more than all the malice of his foes” (p. 19). 

I had to admit that cherishing resentment was exactly what I was doing, and it was only making things worse. I realized that to find my freedom, I had to let go of this negative attitude. But how? 

Again I turned to God for an answer. I thought about the perfection of God’s creation as described in the first chapter of the Bible, which tells us, “God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). Since there is nothing “very good” in being a victim or feeling annoyed, I had to conclude that this attitude did not truly belong to me as God’s child, and I prayed to be free of it. I also saw that God did not make an overbearing person, so I needed to correct my view of my mother-in-law and see her as God’s child, too.

I began to watch my thoughts and actions to make sure I wasn’t trying to manipulate or control others myself. For example, I decided to take each of my three little boys shopping individually when they needed new clothes, and let them choose their own outfits rather than me choosing for them. It was a wonderful experience, as each child picked clothes that suited his individuality. How happy and free we all felt! And how blessed I felt being led and governed by God.

My freedom from resentment toward my mother-in-law came one day when she arrived at our home to celebrate Christmas with us. I started to feel overwhelmed as the gifts being unloaded from the car never seemed to stop coming. They filled the fridges, the shelves, and the cake tins, and it wasn’t long before all my good intentions to watch my thoughts fell by the wayside. Again, I felt imposed upon. 

With a deep desire to be free from the feeling of oppression, I reached out to God for inspiration. Quick as a flash, a question came to me: “What is your mother-in-law’s motive for bringing you all these gifts?” 

Instead of attributing a selfish, controlling motive to her, I reasoned that as the spiritual expression of God, she could be motivated only by love. God was supplying every good thing to her, including right purpose and activity. Therefore, her gifts could bring only blessings. And I certainly did see that she loved us all and loved giving.

At that point, I recognized that these gifts she’d brought would free me from a lot of extra work and enable me to enjoy the holiday with the family. I felt humbled. All resentment faded and was replaced with love and gratitude. What a happy Christmas we celebrated together, just filled with love and joy!

However, there was another lesson I still had to learn. Eventually, instead of buying me gifts, my mother-in-law began giving me money to spend on a present for myself—but she would put a qualification on the gift. “You must buy something that you will remember me by,” she would say.

“Why can’t I buy something without a condition attached to it?” I thought. As I again prayed to find the truth that would free me, I gave deeper consideration to James 1:17: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

Then I saw my mistake. I had been personalizing gifts—seeing them as things coming from a person. But now I saw that in reality, gifts are not material but spiritual—such as love, joy, peace, harmony—and that the true source of these gifts is God. Since God is good, His gifts could not include one iota of that which is not good, and they could bring with them “no variableness” nor “shadow of turning.” 

With deep gratitude, I understood that my mother-in-law could reflect only Love’s impartial goodness, which supplies all our needs. I felt so released from the false belief that I was reliant on a person rather than divine Principle for what I needed. 

The next Christmas, I took my mother-in-law Christmas shopping, and you will not be surprised to hear that we had a lovely day together, filled with happiness and companionship. As we walked past a carpet auction, I noticed a lovely carpet being auctioned. 

“Isn’t that beautiful!” I remarked. 

“Let’s just watch here for a bit” was her response. 

The next thing I heard was “Gone to the lady at the back!” My mother-in-law had bought me something that I loved. Later she told me it would not have been her first choice, but she was happy that I liked it. Truly, it was God’s gift, and I felt nothing but joy at receiving it.

Now I am a mother-in-law, and I have found freedom when giving gifts by knowing that my husband and I are not the source of supply, the source of good. “All perfect gifts are from above,” as a hymn by L. L. Randall says (Christian Science Hymnal, No. 342). 

How comforting it is to know that the one who gives is not personally responsible for another’s good, nor can the one who gives be depleted as a result of giving. Since all true gifts are from God’s abundant goodness, they bless both the giver and the receiver. And nothing can stop us from receiving what is rightfully ours as the children of God.

Click here to listen to this article or to read it directly from the December 14, 2020 Christian Science Sentinel.

Hear the Angels Sing   Leave a comment

by Janel Clements

As an early Christmas gift, my mom gave me a figurine of a peaceful-looking angel dressed in white with a music box inside that played the Christmas carol “Silent Night.” It’s a beautiful piece, and yet I know that real angels are not winged beings, as artists have long rendered them. Rather, they are inspiring, spiritual intuitions from God. 

In the Bible, angels are messengers from God, ministering to people’s needs, announcing, enlightening, and guiding. Those who were receptive to angels, and subsequently obeyed their mandates, were blessed, and these blessings reached many others as well.

As I set the figurine on the table, I began pondering the role the angels of God’s presence played in the unfoldment of the Christmas story. From just one to a multitude, angels surrounded the glorious appearing of the holy infant. How could those events have been fulfilled without angels?

The angel Gabriel told Mary her role in the events that would unfold. The angel further assured her that the holy birth would be accomplished through the power of the Highest and the activity of the Holy Ghost, transcending material law and revealing God as the Father (see Luke 1:26–35). Joseph’s concerns were alleviated, too, as the angel of the Lord assured him of the divine plan (see Matthew 1:18–25). 

To the watchful shepherds, first the angel of the Lord appeared, and then “a multitude of the heavenly host praising God,” rejoicing in the appearing of the Messiah and proclaiming peace and goodwill to all. The shepherds responded to the angel message and went to Bethlehem to see the Christ child (see Luke 2:8–16). After Jesus’ birth, an angel guided Joseph to take the new babe to Egypt for safety, and later directed him when to return home to Israel (see Matthew 2:13, 20). Throughout the Christmas story, we see angels informing, explaining, comforting, announcing, and guiding all involved.

The day after I’d opened my mom’s gift, I continued to be inspired with thoughts about angels. I was finishing a project, painting hundreds of Christmas ornaments for one of my clients. The ornaments were scattered over my work room on the lower level of our split-level home, including on a large drafting table just beneath a window facing the front of the house. As I sat at the table, a little “angel thought” instructed me to pack up all the finished ornaments, which I did. As I sat down again, I heard yet another angel message to go upstairs and listen to the angel music box play “Silent Night.” No sooner had I hurried upstairs to turn on the sweet music than I felt the house being forcefully moved. It was so powerful that I wondered if it was an earthquake or an explosion.

But in fact, our neighbor across the street, while backing her car out of her driveway, had gotten her foot stuck on the gas pedal, causing the car to back up uncontrollably across the street and up the hill of our front yard, and to crash right through the window above my drafting table—the very window I had left just moments before. Both my neighbor and I were unhurt, and the three hundred ornaments I had felt led to pack away were untouched. I was in awe of God’s angel messages!

When pondering these events later, I realized that angels are an aspect of heaven—the kingdom that Jesus said was “at hand” (Matthew 4:17) and “within you” (Luke 17:21). They reveal to us the immediate accessibility of all the good of the kingdom of heaven here and now. As we entertain—welcome and embrace—angels in our thought, we rise above physical perceptions to realize the presence of God’s kingdom. So, angels are not preventing untoward events from happening so much as revealing that we are all in the kingdom of heaven, in which no discord can happen.

And we can listen for angel thoughts not just at Christmas but always. Our true consciousness is spiritual, and is the dwelling place of angels that reveal health and harmony, the kingdom of heaven, within and all around us. 

Every spiritual intuition is an angel, a divine idea from God communicating divine Truth. A beloved psalm assures us: “Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways” (Psalms 91:9–11).

As we see that our habitation, the place in which we live and move and have our being, is the Most High, the kingdom of heaven, we know that the angels of His presence are with us, revealing that there is no evil, no disease, no pain—no harm at all. Angels are like mighty beams of light, dispersing the mist of discord and fear. They enlighten and acquaint each of us with limitless supply, fresh opportunities, and the constant flow of infinite good, leading our thoughts onward and upward. 

The Christmas story brings to light the fact that angels sing to our consciousness the presence of the Christ, the glorious peace and harmony of the kingdom of heaven, right here. We can always hear angels singing for joy in our hearts, opening our thought to perceive the presence of infinite good for all, always!

Click here to listen to this article or to read it directly from the December 14, 2020 Christian Science Sentinel.

Posted December 20, 2020 by cscanberra in Angels, Christmas, Safety, Spiritual Comfort

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