Sunday, April 23, 2017

I WONDER...

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I am just an ape and I have heard that some humans believe that man evolved from my species whose members are known as Great Apes or Hominids. 

Supposedly humans represent an advancement in Evolution over my ancestors.

I guess that means when we apes and chimpanzees advance to the point of having guns, bombs, weapons of mass destruction, when we murder and discriminate against each other and have endless conflicts, we will be more advanced.

I am not real eager for that advancement. I confess that what humans have become makes me frightened. Maybe someday they will find out the "God is Love" and that they should..." Love One Another" as one of their prophets advised long ago.

I would be happy just to have a banana.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

ANIMAL PICTURE OF THE DAY







Gentleness, a quality of a loving God, is reflected in all Creation.

In a world that sometimes seems so harsh, cruel and unloving, a world where LOVE often takes a back seat to selfish interests, human opinion, will power and the daily challenges of this world, sometimes a simple photo showing Gentleness and what Life is really all about can awaken us to a higher view.

I love this little innocent angel gently cradling a baby with tenderness. It reminds me of a favorite hymn. The words of this ancient hymn from The Sarum Gradual, date back to 1527 AD, and are now contained in the Christian Science Hymnal as hymn #316.

The poem helped me so much as a Dad years ago when I sometimes got upset with one of my rascally children!! I guess gentleness was a good thing even way back then and the words still mean a lot to me.


"Speak gently, it is better far
To rule by love than fear;
Speak gently, let no harsh word mar
The good we may do here.

Speak gently to the erring ones,
They must have toiled in vain;
Perchance unkindness made them so;
O win them back again.

Speak gently, ’tis a little thing,
Dropped in the heart’s deep well;
The good, the joy that it may bring,
Eternity shall tell."


This is a suitable "prayer" for today. May we all "speak gently" and listen for Divine Love's tender message of "gentleness".

Thursday, April 13, 2017

WHAT IS BEAUTY?



When I first saw this lovely doggie, I wanted to squeeze him. This boy could be considered beautiful by some, maybe not so pretty by others, I expect. It made me think about what real beauty is. AND, where do we look for it... within or without?

Mary Baker Eddy defines beauty this way in her book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures", a companion to The Holy Bible:

"Beauty, as well as truth, is eternal; but the beauty of material things passes away, fading and fleeting as mortal belief." Immortality, exempt from age or decay, has a glory of its own, — the radiance of Soul. 

Immortal men and women are models of spiritual sense, drawn by perfect Mind and reflecting those higher conceptions of loveliness which transcend all material sense."

"Comeliness and grace are independent of matter. Beauty is a thing of life, which dwells forever in the eternal Mind and reflects the charms of His goodness in expression, form, outline, and color. It is Love which paints the petal with myriad hues, glances in the warm sunbeam, arches the cloud with the bow of beauty, blazons the night with starry gems, and covers earth with loveliness."

"The embellishments of the person are poor substitutes for the charms of being, shining resplendent and eternal over age and decay." (S&H page 248)


In an age when physical beauty, glamour, sculptured bodies, flawless skin, luxurious hair, petite body size and all of the other mortal measurements are "siren songs", alluring the unwary to worship the external, we sometimes glimpse where real beauty, lasting beauty, resides.

I love you "Wrinkled Doggie" and thank you for reminding us where to look for real beauty!!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

GIVEN UP? GIVEN IN? OR GIVING?


"If a dog barks his head off in the forest and there is no human to hear him, is he still a "bad dog?"



I love dogs. I have found dogs can teach us wonderful lessons in love, obedience, gentleness, and on occasion, the not so wonderful traits of stubbornness and senseless barking!!!

Thinking about this cute picture and the idea of a doggie barking in the forest, unheeded, made me think of my life over the past year. .

For various reasons, reasons disturbing to me, including my deep concern over the contentious political situation in my country, the threat of terrorism, the plight of immigrants in America, the continuing warfare, extreme poverty and hunger in a number of countries, and on and on, I realized that amidst all of these problems I have been complaining, arguing, blaming, becoming a noisy combatant like that bad doggie barking in a forest where there is no one to hear or care. I had begun to feel like that “bad dog”. All bark and no solutions! I prayed to be freed from the “barking”.

Recently, as prayer and deep desire often bring, a totally strange and unexpected thought came to me. I didn’t really know what it meant.



It was: Do I Give Up? Give In? Or Give? 


Here’s some background. My wife and I volunteer at a weekly “Food Pantry” in a nearby community and at two “Free Meal” venues close to our town in eastern Florida. We supply canned goods, vegetables, meat, bread products and other food items supplied by generous grocery stores and restaurants at the Food Pantry. Then, we feed hot meals to the hungry, homeless, downtrodden, poor, unemployed and other sad cases at the Free Meal locations. 

As I have served there and talked to some of the wonderful folks passing through the line,
Hungry People Grateful for A Hot Meal
learning their names and finding out a little about their lives, I found we could almost see three categories, the three categories that had come to my thought earlier! Although seemingly totally unrelated to my personal struggle with the complaining, criticizing and barking in the forest, it started to become clear. 


Given Up, Given In and Givers.


Some of our “clients” seem to have “Given Up.” Their blank, expressionless faces reflect defeat and sadness, they don’t seem to have any fight left in them. These men and women of different ages, races and nationalities shuffle along as if life were such a disappointment. Some may have drug addiction, no employment, no prospects, no inspiration, no families, no smiles. They do often “light up” as we talk and as they feel the respect that we have for them. I have found that sometimes the lack of being loved is a more acute problem than their lack of food. Perhaps they don’t get much respect in their daily lives.

Others seem to have “Given In”. They appear to be accepting the idea that they are supposed to be in this somewhat dismal state, that they almost deserve to be homeless, or helpless. They are somewhat more open than the “Given Up” folks and we converse more, but most apparently don’t see much of a future and appear to be resigned to their situation as being normal for them.

But then there are “Givers”. Those of us who are Volunteering to prepare and serve the Daily Hot Lunch on our appointed days or distribute the food each week at the Food Pantry are now joined by some of those who actually receive food and meals but want to Give as well as receive. These people, apparently nearly Given Up or Given In when we first joined the ranks of the volunteers are now busily setting up tables, unloading food donations and getting prepared for when the rest of the people come to pick up food for their families.

What a delight it is to see them going from the state of receiving to active giving. I’m sure their financial situation may not be much different than it was earlier but they have responded to the love and care of the Volunteer Group and they are now Givers!

Interesting to me is that these wonderful folks are more outgoing, happy and seem to glow from their own efforts to Give. They jump at the opportunity to help in any way that they can, serving in the line, washing pots and pans, cleaning tables, setting up tables and anything needed. They may not have food to give but they have the willingness to give what they have. In their current state of need, they don’t fume or fuss but accept gratefully the good that is coming their way.

And, the active Giving by these dear ones has helped me see the way to get out of the forest of concern and disappointment with the current world situation, to do less complaining, and to do more listening, praying and expressing more gratitude... and more Giving.


Oh, it was very easy for me to get distracted, to be dragged down by a sense of injustice, riled up and barking my head off like the little puppy. But, the Great Physician, Jesus of Nazareth demonstrated every day what living according to his teaching involves.

He was a GIVER.

He said: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

He certainly didn’t Give Up or Give In. He faced life’s challenges, and there were plenty for him, he overcame by Giving.

He didn’t GIVE as the world viewed Giving. While he did do some great “Food Pantry” and “Food Kitchen” things like Feeding the Multitudes and getting tax money from the mouth of a fish, his giving was sharing the key to eternal life. He fed the world with wisdom. He shared his wisdom in the form of the Beatitudes and simple parables describing the way in which we should live and conduct ourselves. He counseled, taught and healed.

He didn’t complain about taxes.

His advice in politics was Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.

His gentle counsel included no senseless human arguments, distress, disappointment or the equivalent of  “barking in the forest”.

When confronted by hate or threats, He remained
calm and composed. In one instance, when he was teaching, many of the listeners became upset at him. According to the Bible, they: “rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. But he passing through the midst of them, went his way.”
(Luke 4:29-30)

As a lasting reminder he told his disciples, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father."
(John 14:12)

So, with all due love and respect for my little doggie friend in the picture, I thank him for the Lesson Learned and hope to set a good example for him.

No more senseless barking. We have work to do.


Good Doggie









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