Archive for the ‘Easter’ Category

Easter – An Ecumenical Gift to Humanity   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?One of the most beautiful and unique gifts Christians bring to the world is the joy of Easter.

At first, Mary Magdalene, who loved Jesus so much, didn’t recognize him when he stood outside the tomb.  Two other disciples, walking with him to the town of Emmaus after he was risen also didn’t recognize him for a while.  Thomas couldn’t imagine the idea of resurrection without physical contact with him.  His crucifixion was indeed jarring to all of them, probably leaving them feeling defeated and heartbroken.  But he had taught them all how to look again – how to reconsider what was going on – in order to find the living, timeless Christ among them.  (See the final seven chapters in the Gospel of John.)

Regardless of their individual struggles, Jesus helped each one deal with the meaning of this resurrection and to re-think the meaning of life and the relevance of God’s kingdom on earth.  He was their evidence of victory and hope, a sign that all the sorrows of the world – sin, pain, and even death – would ultimately yield to this Easter joy.

But interestingly Mary, the two unnamed disciples walking to Emmaus, Thomas, and the others all saw the situation from different points of view.  Their approach to the startling news of resurrection was ‘ecumenical,’ in that they witnessed the same Christ in resurrection, and yet they understood it from their unique points of view.  They were united in one Christ, as each one found just what he or she needed to experience resurrection in some fashion for themselves.

We are still witnessing the resurrection today from many different points of view.  …

Click here to read the full text of this article, Easter – An Ecumenical Gift to All Humanity, by Shirley Paulson. 

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

 

Easter Lecture: Prayer, Healing and Resurrection   Leave a comment

An online lecture by Nate Frederick, CS, a member of the Christian Science Board of Lectureship

Nate’s talk will be exploring how to resurrect good for all that is unrewarding in our lives.

Time:  live in New York, USA 7.30 pm Friday 14 April

this translates to 9.30 am Saturday 15 April in Canberra (Australian eastern standard time).

Click here to listen.

A recording of this lecture is now available via this same link.

Can we really forgive our deadliest enemies?   Leave a comment

DSCN3472Father, forgive them; … for they know not what they do.

It never ceases to amaze me that in the midst of the physical and emotional agony of the cross, Jesus was able to look at the very people crucifying him and say — and, of course, mean — the hallowed words above.

So how did he do it?

According to Christian Science founder Mary Baker Eddy, a key aspect of Jesus’ Christian practice was his absolute consistency in rising above the surface view of what others were thinking and doing to what God was knowing of them spiritually.

She wrote: “Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 476)

He “beheld” in this way even those who so unjustly nailed him to that cross.

So what about us? What if we are feeling aghast and fearful at what we rightly see as the barbaric actions of terrorists around the world — from Brussels to Istanbul to Iskanderiyah to Grand-Bassam to Lahore?

Can we actually take up the challenge of accepting that Jesus’ forgiving love on the cross was an example to strive to follow, rather than a show of spiritual strength from another time and place, to be admired from a distance?

Surely, it would be a powerful, healing thing for us to do in the light of the fear and hatred manifesting themselves in such wanton acts of violence, and in some of the public and political reactions to them.

Could the stand Jesus took inspire us, too, to pray to the point where we can glimpse that “perfect man” — the spiritual selfhood that underlies even those driven by mortal hatred to commit such deadly acts of terror?

That’s by no means an easy demand. But it can be done.

A fellow church member took up the challenge to do this during a year of violent confrontation between two political factions in her country. It had led to several fatalities. One night, she saw the political figure she most despised on the news, but this time she glimpsed her profound need to pray until she rose above her hatred and saw him from a more spiritual perspective. And she committed herself to doing just that — however long it took — before she went to sleep that night.

After two hours of humbly and prayerfully seeking a diviner view, she got to the point where she actually felt God’s love for the true individuality of the person she had previously classified as Public Enemy Number One.

Interestingly, the year-long stand-off ended later that same week.

Coincidence?

Perhaps. But then again, perhaps not. Jesus’ forgiveness of his persecutors on the cross was certainly not the end of the crucifixion story. It was a crucial factor in his subsequent victory over death and the grave which is the joy at the heart of the Easter story. It enabled him to maintain that consciousness of divine Love’s infinite allness which was able to achieve the resurrection and lift him still further, beyond the perception of the material senses, in his final ascension that has inspired generations since.

Many of us who follow his teachings today would affirm that we, too, have seen our own more modest victories through yielding to Love’s divine view of ourselves and our neighbours. Doing so has proved powerful enough to heal discord in our families, workplaces and communities.

Is that enough? Or can we contribute something of value to the wider and more lethal manifestations of divisiveness?

That’s not to say society should ignore the crimes committed. Nor does it suggest that justice shouldn’t take it’s course or that we can afford to lessen our efforts at tightening up security.

But the world is also in need of the healing power of Christly forgiveness, to bear on the deeper roots of the divisions within our nations and across borders — divisions that would shred the very fabric of unity and civility which evidence the underlying spiritual oneness of humanity as the sons and daughters of God.

Can we take up the challenge laid down by the Easter example?

This article was contributed by Tony Lobl.  Tony is a full-time Christian Science healer, international speaker and freelance writer.  He has a deep interest in the role spirituality can play in restoring and sustaining health and he writes from that perspective.  You can find more of his articles on his blog, Connecting the Dots Between Spirituality and Well-Being.

The photo above is of sunrise over the Sea of Galilee.

Infinite Possibilities – Lecture Replay   Leave a comment

338749403[1]Unlock the power of resurrection in your life:  an on-line lecture by Chet Manchester

What does resurrection mean to you?  For many, it is a Biblical event that is celebrated once each year, yet we know its significance is far greater.  A deeper understanding of the resurrection can bring transformation and healing to our lives and the world.

Listen to a replay of this lecture on-line now at:

http://thirdchurchnyc.com/blog/infinite-possibilities-unlock-the-power-of-resurrection-in-your-life/

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.
%d bloggers like this: