Thursday, February 2, 2017

Busy Bees and a Mission and Purpose


Image result for bees buzzing in a corn field


Walking through the 7 foot tall rows of sweet corn,  checking the ears for insects, corn worms and to see how close to harvest they were,  I loved the buzzing of the honeybees even though it was so loud it blocked out all other sounds.  Thousands of bees buzzing around my head,  darting here and there, skillfully pollinating,  painted a beautiful lively picture that  was  a joy  to witness.   They were such “Busy Bees”,  fulfilling their work,  that they didn't seem to notice me. They weren't distracted at all by this “intruder” in their midst.  

Recently, the remembrance of that “bee” experience of several years ago suddenly came to my thought as I realized how I had mesmerized by the political maelstrom  that had encompassed the country and distracted me from my “mission”.      I had fallen for the “bait” to engage… spouting  strong feelings, participating in sometimes hateful rhetoric,  self righteous  opinions, bitterness... being drawn away from what I had considered my life purpose.  

I was disappointed in myself but seemed drawn to get involved.   Remembering the bees hit me like a ton of bricks and it awakened me to what commitment to a mission means.  

As I pondered, feeling ashamed of myself for being pulled down once again, a story from the Bible came to thought.  Lessons from the Bible , though maybe thousands of years old, continue to provide a rich treasure of life lessons when we can see them as applied to our daily experience.

How easily I had been diverted from my ‘mission” , my strong desire  to follow the appeal of Micah  the Morasthite  contained in the Bible when he said of God: … “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”  No mention of being distracted, veering from the path, lowering our standard to the level of hateful conduct, criticism or losing touch with spirituality. 


Image result for bees in school
Bee-ing a Good Student
Then just a few days after thinking about the faithfulness of the bees to their mission, while reading from the book of Nehemiah in the Holy Bible, the realization came that this old “distraction” trick is not new.  The pull to separate us from Love, goodness, kindness and right thinking is as old as time itself.  I wondered if the bees had read that story in school and learned from it!!!!    

Nehemiah was a high official in the Persian court of King Artaxerxes I.   After hearing about the sad state of affairs in Judah, the home of his ancestors, Nehemiah acquired the king’s permission to return to Jerusalem and rebuild that city and its fortifications which had been destroyed by enemies.    That became his mission and purpose.

Nehemiah the Builder
There were many distractions, primarily from   Sanballat and Tobiah,   Regional Governors who resented his involvement and were trying to tempt him to come down from the work, to distract him and draw him away from the work he was doing.   This seemed to me like a parallel to the temptation I had experienced to engage in “conflict” over our own political process.

But Nehemiah stuck by his guns (well… a figure of speech actually as there were no guns in those days!!).  He stayed on the wall and , like the Busy Bees,  told the detractors  that he had a work to do and he was not going to be distracted. 

Seeing how easily we can be pulled away from our work, drawn into endless conflict,  it became important to me to “define” my mission and purpose.    A clue came from the master Christian, Jesus of Nazareth when he said:  

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, 
Because He has anointed Me

To preach the gospel to the poor;

He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,

To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
 Luke 4:17-19

Religious leader Mary Baker Eddy, whose Bible companion book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures is studied worldwide, offers this counsel as an alert to stay focused on spirituality:      “Being in sympathy with matter, the worldly man is at the beck and call of error, and will be attracted thitherward."     SH 21:25

    “When the illusion of sickness or sin tempts you, cling steadfastly to God and His idea. Allow nothing but His likeness to abide in your thought. Let neither fear nor doubt overshadow your clear sense and calm trust, that the recognition of life harmoniousas Life eternally iscan destroy any painful sense of, or belief in, that which Life is not.”   SH 495:14


 When we keep our mission and purpose foremost in thought, we can silence the distraction with that buzzing activity we witness in the Bee World.     Thanks Bees and Nehemiah for being good role models. 

Image result for bee on corn


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Lesson from the Sun Chimes



The gentle chime caught my attention. The pleasing tinkling sound roused me from deep thought. The past few days were spent deep in thought, not sleeping well, worrying and wondering. The world news had produced darkened thoughts, stories of irresponsible and depressing American political antics, terrorism in Europe, violence in the Middle East and Africa, domestic violence and other serious problems raining down on humankind, the world seeming to come apart.

Prayer is truly effective but recently the world seemed so threatened, I wondered "what could one individual possibly do to ameliorate this overwhelming plethora of problems facing the world?"

Then, a faint, gentle chime, a beautiful contrast against my troubled thought, gently singing its lovely tune in the background attracted my attention. Although it was not at all loud or forceful, more like the “still small voice” described in the Bible as the voice of Truth contrasted with the violence of earthquake, winds and fire, the music came through very clearly.

Click here to hear Sun Chime 



This “sun chime” was new to me and fascinating upon realization that the chime was powered, not by the wind nor batteries nor a hammer swung by a bell ringer, just the light of the sun streaming through the window.

In today's words we would say that the creation of that lovely sound “had no visible support”!!

This sunlight manifested an invisible force that was not just a passive glow giving light to the room, providing warmth and stimulus to growing things but a power that could produce sound, ring out a beautiful harmonious tone and lift my thought.

In a world where the forces of matter and mechanics, the push and pull of "human will",  seem to prevail, the tinkling chime gave me a better sense of the unseen power in the Universe.

Having just finished study of the wonderful guidance for living contained in the Sermon on the Mount in the Bible, my “User’s Guide” to finding peace and comfort, I was immediately reminded of Jesus’ encouragement for each of us: 
" Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid," (1.)  letting our light of spirituality shine, being a beacon to all mankind. Could our actions actually emulate the sun’s effect on that simple chime, and in similar fashion chime out inspiration, harmony, comfort and healing?

Christ Jesus promised: "I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. 2.)


This “light” that he reflected was not visible light rays but was “enlightenment”, the understanding that Life is Spiritual, that God is ever present, active, vital, the Truth of being. His light extinguished the darkness and depression of the mortal, material scene that would pull us downward by suggestions of doubt and fear, concerns that we are helpless, alone and “without God” or that we are separate from God, fearful even that God may be a myth.

Religious leader Mary Baker Eddy, author of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, describing the science of healing used by Christ Jesus, stresses the power of the “light”: "Christian Science brings to the body the sunlight of Truth, which invigorates and purifies. Christian Science as an alterative, neutralizing error with Truth. The effect of this Science is to stir the human mind to a change of base, on which it may yield to the harmony of the divine Mind."  3.) 


Image result for jesus healing sick
As Jesus proved, In the glow of his “light”, sin, disease and death could not stand. Without medicines, surgery, psychic or psychiatric treatment, with no mechanical forces or physics, just the light of Truth shining as God’s presence he and the disciples brought healing and changed the world!  There was the answer I sought.  Jesus, along with his disciples,  taught and demonstrated that each of us CAN bring help and healing to the world. In a reassuring statement he said:  "He that believeth on me, The works that I do shall ye do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." 4.)

Thank you my little Sun Chime for the reminder that we are not slaves to a material universe but, as the Apostle Paul proclaimed: “In Him, we live and move and have our being”.    

 Let the Light of God's Love shine forth from each of us to continue the work of the Master Christian.

Image result for sunlight

1.) The Bible - Matthew 5:14
2.)      ""         - John 12:46
3.)   Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures - Mary Baker Eddy     p 162
4.)  The Bible - John 14:12

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Are We There Yet?

Image result for 1960 VW bus





Well into a very slow automobile journey back home from a “trip to Grandma’s”, the inevitable cry goes out from the children in the back seat... "Are we there yet"? All parents will understand.

Some years ago while traveling with our four children on a long trip, well past sunset with the sky darkening,  a sleepy cry went out from the back seat as the car slowed down for traffic… Are We There Yet?  

 I admit that I smiled a patient smile, recalling my own whining of those same words MANY years before as we slowly navigated the two lane curvy, hilly roads of Kentucky and Tennessee driving south from Ohio in the 1940s,    Even though we were surrounded by Love, safe and comfortable right where we were, we wanted to be somewhere else!  Some things never change!

It seems today that our individual lives are rushed, forced to some degree, pressed on by a reaching out to the future and what it may bring.   While we may long for relaxation, peace, time to contemplate, to enjoy, our world seems to be:
Hurry, Scurry, Rush, and Worry,
Race Ahead to See What Comes Next!!

Why is it that where we ARE, even though we are surrounded by Love,  is often not where we WANT to be?  If at work, do we wish to be at home? If at home, do we wish to be somewhere else?   Do we frequently feel the need to be in some other “place”.   

 Is it that we believe that the call of some distant place is more fascinating, dreaming that if we were only THERE, we would be happy, excited, fulfilled, satisfied.   Maybe we entertain a sense of frustration or boredom feeling that our present location, our present time, our present situation is somehow not enough.

The lovely picture of “Mother Snail” with baby on board was a pleasant wake-up.  Gliding along slowly on her muscular foot, she seems serene and content with her progress, perhaps comforted by her little hitchhiker and carrying her portable home on her back, having everything she needs at this very moment.  

Often in business and other activities in which we are engaged we look to the future as “an escape” , a quick getaway from the work we are doing.   A favorite hymn has often served to comfort and slow down the temptation to rush ahead to the future, opening thought to the NOW of the present experience.   


The first verse asks: 

Why search the future and the past?
Why do ye look with tearful eyes
And seek far off for paradise?
Before your feet Life’s pearl is cast. (1)

The Bible, written centuries ago but still amazingly pertinent to today’s experience proclaims“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear,we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is"(2)  

(We can also add a little footnote to that verse as a reminder… We are Loved… NOW, HERE, In This Place at this Time, TODAY!! ) 

So often we are tempted to look just beyond where we are to the next human goal.   The Bible offers a clear view of how differently Jesus of Nazareth operated.   Expressing patience, love and understanding, he was “in the moment”, living out each step of his experience. Not rushing forward but healing in every moment, taking each opportunity to express love and patience right where he was.   Jesus often went to be alone in a quiet place where he could listen to the still  small voice of truth.  His best work was not in running feverishly from town to town, but done in the quiet of prayer and communication with his Father. 

 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. (3)

 From his example we can realize a better sense of our spiritual existence and present perfection and our reflection of God who is LOVE!!  Most important concern should not be where is our body but where is our thought!!  Love is a here and now!!

Image result for snail smelling flowers
If snails could smell fragrances, we can see a lovely picture of  “Mother Snail” setting a wonderful example for us,  stopping to smell the flowers on her leisurely trip forward.  Maybe that sweet Mother Snail knows the last verse of that comforting hymn and sings it as she slides along…

Then rise and greet the signs that prove
Unreal the ages’ long lament;
The “one far-off divine event” Is now,
and that event is Love.(4)


Safe travels Mrs. Snail

(1)   Christian Science Hymnal    Hymn 391
(2)   I John 3:2
(3)   Luke 17:20 – 21  
(4)   Christian Science Hymnal    Hymn 391

Monday, February 15, 2016

WHAT'S IN A HAT?



OK.  Probably most people wouldn’t get really excited about “still another” ball hat!   But I’m excited about mine.

Sure, I have hats.   Hats are not just a head cover; they tell the story, make a statement.  They often display the logo of a favorite baseball or football team.   Maybe the cap displays a corporate symbol, a motorcycle brand, a picture of a fisherman or deer hunter, a picture of an old man proclaiming “I’m a Grandpa”. 

 I wear a U.S. Air Force cap to show my pride in serving in the military.  I have a Liquid Nails and a Gorilla Glue hat to make people think I know what I’m doing when I go to Home Depot for repair materials. Those are called “cover up” caps because I am definitely NOT handy and have no idea what I am doing!!!


But my new hat is something different.  It doesn’t promote a team or a company, doesn’t boast or brag. It doesn’t mean anything to anyone except to ME.    It is a reminder:



STAND PORTER is part of the phrase “Stand porter at the door of thought” from the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy.

A dictionary definition shows Porter to be: “A person who has charge of a door or gate; doorkeeper.”   A Sentinel, if you will.  Standing porter means to stand as a sentinel at the door of thought to keep erroneous thoughts from sneaking in, affecting our attitude, distracting us from being the kind of person that we are striving to be.  We quickly learned while standing guard in the military to CHALLENGE and carefully check anyone who was attempting to pass by our station.  Intruders were sent to try to get by our post with false credentials or using fear of rank to intimidate.   Really good training to impress upon us the importance of "guarding" and recognizing un-Godlike thoughts trying to sneak into our thoughts. 

Eddy realized that today, just as in all recorded history, the influence of our human, mortal thoughts often seem inclined to pull us down from our high station as the “image and likeness” of God, our perfect Creator, the only Mind.    To fool us in an attempt to get by our "guard post".  

The Bible has Jesus, the great Teacher of Christian principles as saying: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”   1. )    What else could we be as the “image and likeness” of our Perfect Creator.

But, in practice, maybe others have shared my experience of being adversely influenced by a subtle, downward pulling negativity that creeps in and suggests that we are far from the Perfect Reflection of our Creator.  As Porters or Sentinels, we fall asleep at the switch!

Unless we faithfully Stand Porter our thoughts may be pulled down by the evening news, the contentious political campaigns in the United States,  the constant view presented to our thought of  terror and turmoil in the world and "every weight and the sin which so easily doth upset us" 2.)  Even Facebook and emails that constantly make the rounds contribute to a sense of injustice and evil in the world.


You may recall the cartoon character Charlie Brown being fooled
over and over.   His little friend Lucy would hold the football down, tempting Charlie to kick the ball. Just as Charlie ran up to kick Lucy pulled the ball away.   Like little Charlie, I have often reacted similarly, being fooled and  running towards that illusory football of fear, hurt, neglect, anger and injustice that I thought was confronting me, all the time believing the testimony of the human scene.  Somehow I lost my Standing Porter hat in the heat of battle!!   

I love the advice writer Mo Willem gives in his Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs,  "If you ever find yourself in the wrong story, leave.”  We aren't slaves to wrong thinking.

In her Miscellaneous Writings, Eddy says:     “Who hath not learned that when alone he has his own thoughts to guard, and when struggling with mankind his temper, and in society his tongue?”  3.)

Students of the Bible and the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth are awake and alert to the Charlie Brown temptations!!  They DO seem so real, BUT, Jesus showed how illusory are the suggestions that man is “the football of chance”.   He certainly stood porter at the door of thought, refusing to fall for the evil that appeared, whether it was physical illness like leprosy, hearing or vision loss, poverty and even death.   He even taught his disciples to turn away from what SEEMS to BE to what IS, spiritually.  He proved that “evil truly is in the eye of the beholder.

A most helpful example of Christliness, guarding his thought, was demonstrated when soldiers arrived in the Garden of Gethsemane to arrest Jesus.  Upon being approached by a group of soldiers his disciple Peter, defending Jesus, pulled out his sword and cut off the ear of one of the soldiers. 

Then said Jesus unto Peter, “Put up thy sword into the sheath:” 4.) and he reattached the ear. He was Standing Porter against fear and anger. 

Mary Baker Eddy summarized our role as Porter in this paragraph in her Bible companion book, When the illusion of sickness or sin tempts you, cling steadfastly to God and His idea. Allow nothing but His likeness to abide in your thought. Let neither fear nor doubt overshadow your clear sense and calm trust, that the recognition of life harmonious — as Life eternally is — can destroy any painful sense of, or belief in, that which Life is not. Let Christian Science, instead of corporeal sense, support your understanding of being, and this understanding will supplant error with Truth, replace mortality with immortality, and silence discord with harmony.  5.)


Who says Hats aren’t important??!!!

1.)  Matthew 5:48
2.)  Hebrews 12:1
3.)  Miscellaneous Writings - p126  Mary Baker Eddy
4.)  John 18:11
5.)  Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures  495:14  Mary Baker Eddy

Monday, January 18, 2016

A LESSON FROM THE ROSES



My assigned chore recently was pruning back the rose bushes surrounding our home.   How beautiful the roses are with their vibrant colors, their red and pink faces shining delicately out from the dark  green leaves, lovely to look at as they gently share their fragrance and loveliness. 
  
As I worked carefully among the branches an interesting  thought came to me. The roses display their beauty confidently and don't seem inclined to try to convince the other flowers to be just like them.  They grow alongside the other flowers around our home without comment, without competition, without criticism, without bragging or gloating.

I suppose these thoughts may have been triggered by a recent encounter where a gentleman was trying to convince me to embrace his  religious thought.   While there was no specific criticism of my own religious understanding or my view of God and Life, it was pretty obvious from the stern looks and rather harsh warnings about God’s wrath and my obvious unwillingness to understand that God punishes people like me, revealed a  contempt for my “obvious ignorance” and misguided faith and understanding.   

The experience sort of shocked me, made me wonder, Have  I done the same thing from time to time?  Surely not as harshly or pointedly,   accompanied by the stern looks and sense of judgement that I was receiving this day, but have I been so judgmental?   Being convinced of the truth and simple logic that Jesus revealed in his teachings and as taught in Christian Science,   and because of wanting to share the wonderful healing effects realized by my family and myself over the years through the application of those truths, I admit I may have been tempted to spend time convincing others of how wonderful it is.

But on this day, marveling at the beauty of the rose, I remembered Mary Baker Eddy's counsel that : " 
No reproof is so potent as the silent lesson of a good example. Works, more than words, should characterize Christian Scientists. Most people condemn evil-doing,evil-speaking; yet nothing circulates so rapidly: even gold is less current. " (1.)



  
I thought how silly it would be for that Rose to bend down to the beautiful Daylily to convince her to become a Rose, maybe something like this: 
“Well, yes Dear, you would have a few thorns but everyone would want to take you home and put you in a vase.  We roses are wonderful!!  We make lovely gifts for birthdays, anniversaries and are especially helpful to a young man courting a young lady!!   I expect we are responsible for many hugs!!  We are God's favorites!”  

No indeed, the roses seemed very content to glow their particular splendor in the midst of the variety of other fauna.  No conversion speeches needed!!  Just by being there, sharing their lovely fragrance and delicate beauty,  glorying in the sunshine, swaying in the gentle breeze, seemed to be quite enough to keep the Roses happy.  I could see and feel that simply by “Being” they were uplifting and demonstrating God’s presence as “all harmonious”.  

It is believed that roses have been around for over 35 million years, according to fossil evidence.   Maybe they have lasted that long by minding their own business, fulfilling their life purpose  just by being splendid and appealing.    

Matthew 5
That realization convinced me that it would be sufficient  for me, too,  to just do my very best to demonstrate the qualities that I am trying to live, those same qualities we find in the Beatitudes: humility,  love, mercy, purity, tenderness,  peace and righteous and  let the observer judge whether that is something worthy of emulating. I have found it is difficult enough to do that without also trying to drag reluctant others along.

The Bible tells us there are a diversity of gifts,  some teachers, some preachers, some prophets, some wise,  some interpreters, and so on.
 (2)    Apparently we can all do whatever we are called to do.   There may be others on the human scene that are better looking, wealthier, more talented, more spiritual, funnier , better educated.    But for each there is opportunity to be “the rose” in their own garden of life. 

In his rounds, Jesus of Nazareth walked through the countryside and was available to teach and preach. But the most fascinating thing about Jesus was that he demonstrated more than he talked.  He didn’t get on a platform and threaten people to listen, to change or to follow him.  He proclaimed that “ behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”  ( 3)

 His acts of healing, uplifting and supporting were so much more compelling than words could be. Although his Beatitudes contained in the Sermon on the Mount provided such wonderful inspiration, it would  have been all for naught  if he wasn't actually demonstrating the truth that he taught. In humility, meekness and purity, he gently demonstrated the healing effect of his understanding of God, and taught his disciples to do so as well.

In her Bible companion book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,  religious pioneer Mary Baker Eddy writes: 

“Love, redolent with unselfishness, bathes all in beauty and light. The grass beneath our feet silently exclaims, “The meek shall inherit the earth.” The modest arbutus sends her sweet breath to heaven. The great rock gives shadow and shelter. The sunlight glints from the church-dome, glances into the prison-cell, glides into the sick-chamber, brightens the flower, beautifies the landscape, blesses the earth.  Man,  made in His likeness, possesses and reflects God’s dominion over all the earth. Man and woman as coexistent and eternal with God forever reflect, in glorified quality, the infinite Father-Mother God.” 

As we follow the spirit of Jesus’ Beatitudes, we can trust others to God’s loving care.

Jesus said: “Follow me.”  


(1.)     Miscellaneous Writings .. page 126
(2.)     I Corinthians 12:
(3.)     Luke 17:12
(4.)     Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures 516