Archive for the ‘Easter’ Category

More precious than Bunnies & Eggs – The real meaning of Easter   Leave a comment

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The true meaning of Easter is wondrous! Its message promises such blessings to each one of us and to our world. To hide it behind bunnies and eggs, secularism and skepticism, is heart breaking.

Jesus was crucified by the materialistic world’s hatred of his divinity. His grace and power to bring peace and healing to the world was unsurpassed and something human power could not control. It tried to silence his holy message by crucifying him. But how he reacted to such evil intent was an example to us all. He responded with the lovingkindness, calmness and confidence that could only come from the deepest understanding that evil cannot conquer goodness any more than the darkness can conquer the light.

For three days it seemed like evil had won. Then, when even the disciples had given up hope, Jesus emerged from the tomb alive.

Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Christian Science church, described this surprising re-appearance, when she said, ‘The lonely precincts of the tomb gave Jesus a refuge from his foes, a place in which to solve the great problems of being… He proved Life to be deathless and Love to be the master of hate.’

In the resurrection, Jesus proved that there is life beyond what we see, like someone journeying on after they have sailed out of our sight. I think of it like writing a sum on a page, say 2+2=4. If we destroy the page, is the truth that sum represents also destroyed, or is it eternally true and untouched? Jesus showed us that each one of us has just such an eternally true identity, something that the outward appearance only hints at, something that never dies. What a glorious message.

He also showed that to react with love instead of hate or anger, disempowers evil. This love, however, is more than human love or kindness. It is a love that has its source in God, a God that the Bible tells us is Love itself. Hatred and evil, being a lack of love, can no more stand in the face of divine Love than the darkest night can stand in the presence of the light of the dawn. Not reacting stops evil from spreading. That’s why Jesus counteracted the old thought of ‘eye for an eye’ with ‘turn the other cheek’ – don’t ever react to evil, stop it in its tracks. Is this not a message the world needs to remember and live by much more consistently? Is this not a message that could bring peace to our world? Is this not the ‘Golden Rule’ – ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’?

The true meaning of Easter is of the utmost importance to our own lives and to the world. If we remember it in our hearts and live it in our lives, then that precious sacrifice made by Jesus is not lost but still as relevant today as it was 2000 years ago.

by Beth Packer, CS,

Practitioner of Christian Science Healing, listed in the world-wide Journal of healers and Member of the Christian Science Board of Lectureship

You are so welcome to attend the Easter Service this Sunday at First Church of Christ Scientist, Canberra which is located on the corner of Macquarie and Bligh Streets in Barton from 10.00-11.00 am.

 

 

 

Easter Reminds Us that Religious Values Can Benefit Society in More Ways than Have Yet Been Explored   Leave a comment

Dramatic sky scenery with a mountain cross and a thinking person. A symbol of heavy inner struggles. Where to go? What do you say?We love to celebrate Easter.  And it’s not just the chocolate eggs, feasting and four-day weekend many of us enjoy.  There’s a national feeling of entitlement about this holiday.  Taking quality time to enjoy our “promised land” is as much a part of our collective psyche as is our propensity to forthrightness and our “she’ll be right” attitude.

Quaint as this may sound, the sense of being part of this wonderful country, which has historically upheld democracy, law and order, freedom of speech and religion, and equal access to opportunity, is integral to who we are.  Although we’re currently experiencing challenging repercussions from the overturning of some outdated attitudes about ourselves and our environment, these guiding principles continue to be borne out in our acceptance and mutual respect for people of every race, culture and religion.

To illustrate how this is evolving, a few weeks ago I sat at a table between an old friend, who is a Buddhist nun, and a Muslim Imam, who became a new friend.  Around the table were also Christians of several denominations, and men and women from the Jewish, Hindu and Baha’i faith communities.  We had come together at Parliament House, Sydney, under the auspices of APRO (the Australian Partnership of Religious Organisations), which comprises national representatives from the various faith communities in Australia, to discuss the benefits of religion and its key values to secular society.

We’d been set the task to identify shared values or ideals embraced by our own faith traditions, which, if employed more widely by individuals, groups and governments to tackle issues, could have a real bearing on the progress of society in measurable ways and help heal its divisions.

We discussed how these spiritual values profoundly influence and enter the minutiae of the lives of people of faith.

For instance, participants told of how they feel compelled to practise honesty and equity over seeking unfair business or personal profits as they obey the Golden Rule, doing unto others as they would want others to do to them.  They shared how religious values teach non-partisanship rather than taking sides; how their beliefs give them strength to more often choose spirituality over sensuality, brotherly love over self-interest, and humility over self-promotion.  We found we each had experienced more peace in our lives as an open-minded approach that trusts in a higher power was adopted, rather than letting fear or outrage manipulate our actions.  And we collectively acknowledged that when we cherish the value of forgiveness, we promote healing.

While these values can’t be co-opted by any one group, religious or not, there is tremendous consequence in championing their utilisation by society in general.

Consider how these kinds of spiritual values could practically assist construction of the budget, social services policy or our asylum-seeker program.

The forum identified the need for increased interfaith dialogue and willingness to engage with secular society and institutions.  Many of us went away with a deep desire to examine our own faith traditions and practices, and to root out evidence of intolerance, discrimination or prejudice.

My Christian faith reveals that the overarching need for individuals and for societies is “the fruit of the Spirit” found in “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance,” as St Paul discovered.  When we seek these first, ideas that meet our current need will be revealed, as my recent experience illustrates.

After weeks of searching, I’d settled on the perfect new home; it ticked all the boxes.  The thing was, it would cost every dollar we had and much more, so my husband was not keen to proceed.  Tension was escalating between us, as circumstances dictated that a decision be made over the upcoming weekend.  Taking a moment to acknowledge a higher power as governing, it struck me that a solution that benefitted us both equally could only appear as I ditched the general belief in conflicting minds and personal agendas.

In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Christian reformer, Mary Baker Eddy, explains the science of this changed perspective: “When we realize that there is one Mind, the divine law of loving our neighbor as ourselves is unfolded; whereas a belief in many ruling minds hinders man’s normal drift towards the one Mind, one God, and leads human thought into opposite channels where selfishness reigns.”

Previous experiences I’d had where solutions resulted from a similar spiritual approach meant that I was not really surprised when a new home came on the market that day in the right area and at the right price. The agent met us there within the hour.  My husband and I were both moved – as if we had one Mind – to decide there and then to purchase it.  I was in awe of the power of humility and patience.

As a Christian Scientist, Easter speaks to me of Jesus, our great example; of a life that expresses God and enfolds everyone in honesty, love, humility, patience, healing.

This article was contributed by Kay Stroud who writes about the connection between consciousness, spirituality and health, and trends in that field.  She practices Christian Science healing www.health4thinkers.com

 

What Does Easter Mean to You?   Leave a comment

shutterstock_175048484What does Easter mean to you?

This question was put to shoppers by a local television reporter. Most people said that Easter means a public holiday, an extended weekend, time off work to go camping. Others said it means Easter eggs and hot cross buns. Others spoke of its religious significance, and one woman said that for her Easter means sadness, a period of mourning. Christ Jesus had been crucified. Her Lord had suffered and died. For her, it was a tragedy.

I used to think that way, too, until I realized that to focus thought only on the crucifixion is to lose sight of the real meaning of Easter. The cross was only part of Jesus’ experience, and it was not the end of the story. … Read more …

This article, What Does Easter Mean to You? by Beverly Goldsmith, was originally published in the Christian Science Sentinel.  It is now available through JHS-online.  Beverly is a freelance writer from Melbourne.  She writes on the connection between spirituality and health.

 

Easter Readings   Leave a comment

DSCN3880The Easter Story – Readings from the Bible and the textbook of Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.

The Bible readings give an account of the Easter story as recorded in the Book of John.

Every Wednesday at 6.00 pm a Testimony Meeting is held at the Christian Science Church in Canberra.  Each meeting begins with readings selected from the two books designated as the Pastor of Christian Science: The Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.  A new topic for the readings is selected each week.

At the conclusion of the short readings the congregation is invited to share thoughts on this topic and relate how they have used the principles of Christian Science to solve life’s problems and bring physical healing.

If you are in Canberra on any Wednesday please join us. Everyone is welcome.

This recording represents the readings on the topic:  The Easter Story.

The photo is of the Garden of Gethsemane taken in 2012.  The olive trees are thought to be about 2000 years old.

The Easter Message   Leave a comment

Dramatic sky scenery with a mountain cross and a thinking person. A symbol of heavy inner struggles. Where to go? What do you say?You probably know this story: A few discouraged followers of a beloved rabbi went to his tomb at first light to tend to his remains and discovered the stone at the entrance rolled away. Instead of his body, they found two angels, who, according to the Biblical account of St. Luke, said to them, “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen:”

Yes, the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection is familiar to most of us. What is not so well known is that the Easter story predates Christianity and has appeared in many cultures in many forms throughout history. (Even the name “Easter”, which derives from the name of a dawn goddess, Eastre, and the vernal festival celebrated in her honour, is a relic pointing to its primordial roots.) What this tells us is that the Easter message resonates deeply in the human consciousness, and it speaks to us now as it has for millennia—of light dispelling darkness, of despair turned to hope, and ultimately of life overcoming death.

Reflecting on the symbolic meaning of this story, Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer and founder of Christian Science, wrote, “My angels are exalted thoughts, appearing at the door of some sepulchre, in which human belief has buried its fondest earthly hopes. With white fingers they point upward to a new and glorified trust, to higher ideals of life and its joys.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 299).

Perhaps this Easter we should ask ourselves, what hope have we buried that needs resurrecting. Is it a relationship we have given up on? A friendship? A marriage? Or is it something we believe beyond our reach? A better education? A meaningful job? A home? And what sort of stone must be moved out of the way? Weariness? Pride? Fear? Something outside our own thinking?

Easter reminds us that countless generations have struggled with life’s questions before us and have found comfort in its message. The wisdom they have gleaned is that we won’t find anything by fixating on the tomb. “Why seek ye the living among the dead?” But by gaining a deeper sense of and trust in life—by looking upwards to its higher ideals and, most of all, to its joys—we can find renewal.

This article was contributed by GG of Canberra.

Easter – A Lesson in Spiritual Renewal   2 comments

New SH (2)And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. (Paul: The Bible – Galatians 5: 24)

Does erudite theology regard the crucifixion of Jesus chiefly as providing a ready pardon for all sinners who ask for it and are willing to be forgiven? Does spiritualism find Jesus’ death necessary only for the presentation, after death, of the material Jesus, as a proof that spirits can return to earth? Then we must differ from them both. (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures p24)

Jesus of Nazareth taught and demonstrated man’s oneness with the Father, and for this we owe him endless homage. His mission was both individual and collective. He did life’s work aright not only in justice to himself, but in mercy to mortals, — to show them how to do theirs, but not to do it for them nor to relieve them of a single responsibility. (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures p18)

Every pang of repentance and suffering, every effort for reform, every good thought and deed, will help us to understand Jesus’ atonement for sin and aid its efficacy; but if the sinner continues to pray and repent, sin and be sorry, he has little part in the atonement, — in the at-one-ment with God, — for he lacks the practical repentance, which reforms the heart and enables man to do the will of wisdom. Those who cannot demonstrate, at least in part, the divine Principle of the teachings and practice of our Master have no part in God. If living in disobedience to Him, we ought to feel no security, although God is good. (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures p19)

If Truth is overcoming error in your daily walk and conversation, you can finally say, “I have fought a good fight . . . I have kept the faith,” because you are a better man. This is having our part in the at-one-ment with Truth and Love. Christians do not continue to labor and pray, expecting because of another’s goodness, suffering, and triumph, that they shall reach his harmony and reward.

If the disciple is advancing spiritually, he is striving to enter in. He constantly turns away from material sense, and looks towards the imperishable things of Spirit. If honest, he will be in earnest from the start, and gain a little each day in the right direction, till at last he finishes his course with joy. (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures p21)

If all who ever partook of the sacrament had really commemorated the sufferings of Jesus and drunk of his cup, they would have revolutionized the world. If all who seek his commemoration through material symbols will take up the cross, heal the sick, cast out evils, and preach Christ, or Truth, to the poor, — the receptive thought, — they will bring in the millennium. (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures p34)

Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, can be accessed on-line at christianscience.com, can be borrowed from your local library or purchased from any Christian Science Reading Room. The Reading Room and Bookshop in Canberra is located on the corner of Macquarie and Bligh Streets, Barton.  The staff at the bookshop welcome your questions.

Understanding Easter is Significant to our Health!   Leave a comment

@Glowimages 171110.Feeling privileged to have time to amble through the cemetery on one of those picture perfect mornings recently, I became intrigued with the headstones, the groupings of graves by religion or none, and the lawn cemetery that has gained in popularity recently.

In the early days people believed that our wealth needed to be displayed on tombstones or in pyramids, and believed that a man-like god would decide where we fitted into a matter-based heaven.

Growing numbers of thinkers have a much better understanding of our relation to the divine these days …. that we are spiritual beings, all equal(-ly loved) and unfettered by religious differences. That 55% of people now have no fear to cremate speaks volumes about how we view ourselves as not just a material organism, but (for many) as very much a spiritual, eternal being.

Consider Easter and Jesus’ resurrection from the dead after his crucifixion. This event in history is a beacon of hope that we need not fear the change called death and that there really is such a thing as life after death … maybe even life instead of death.

A 19th century thought-leader and researcher into how our thoughts affect our health, Mary Baker Eddy, stated in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “The universal belief in death is of no advantage.” She suggests that our expectation about our ultimate future has a very real impact on what’s happening here and now in terms of both mind and body.

The evidence today is adding weight to her stance that our beliefs about death influence our health. Fear of the future can affect everything from blood pressure, to heart rate, to mental stability. By some estimates, the stress underlying these conditions accounts for more than 60% of all doctor visits.

Jesus said and significantly demonstrated that it was love and forgiveness that brought peace, health and joy in societies and individuals, and that led to change for the better, both here and hereafter. He also showed us the way to think and act, and he demonstrated the illusory nature of death.

If considering the possibilities of eternal life challenges your common assumptions about Easter’s significance, the potential payoff of better mental and physical health will be profound and enduring.

This article was shared by Kay Stroud who writes about consciousness, health and spirituality and practices Christian Science healing.  Her blog can be found at www.health4thinkers.com.

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