Sunday, January 6, 2019

THE CHAPLAIN









As I pulled up in front of the building, I prepared myself for a busy day. As a volunteer Christian Science Chaplain at a state mental hospital, I knew this—like so many before—would be a challenging but rewarding visit.

Over the preceding months I had established a regular route through the hospital, greeting psychiatrists and medical doctors on my way to meet with patients who were interested in talking to me. Sometimes they just wanted a copy of The Christian Science Monitor, or an issue of the Christian Science Sentinel or The Christian Science Journal. Others wanted to pray together, eager to uplift the veil of mental illness, with which they’d been diagnosed. 

During this priceless experience I learned—even through the fog of the aggressive suggestions of incapacity, the inability to think, reason, or act logically or in conformity with what we consider “normal” behavior—to see that the true “base line” of sanity is the evidence of God’s love and intelligence at work. 

As a pioneer in religious thought, spiritual healer Mary Baker Eddy revealed how Jesus was so successful in his healing work. She states: “Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God’s own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, pp. 476–477). 

 I love Jesus’ assertion—his correct view—of man’s perfection when he said, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). That’s a pretty firm statement. And it surely worked—as he went through his human experience healing the multitudes. 

In my duty as a chaplain, I was there to comfort others with the universal laws of God, good; but when I look back on that experience, I remember a meaningful insight that has truly comforted me over the years.   No matter how heavy the weight that tries to hypnotize spiritual seekers across the globe, how much greater is the call for us to heal “by prayer and fasting” 

Before I left the hospital on that particular day, I was standing in a stairwell, when tears suddenly began to well up. I was momentarily overcome by what some of these patients, who had become my friends, seemed to be going through. I stopped right there on the stairs and prayed to our Father-Mother God to show me why my prayers hadn’t lifted up all the patients out of this mesmerism, this lie of separation from God’s Love—His intelligence and stability. 

It was then that God’s angel message came to me. The message was in the form of something I remembered from Sunday School, when I was a boy, from John 11:35, just two simple words: “Jesus wept.” 

For the very first time, I understood that Jesus wept, too— overtaken with despair over the passing of his dear friend Lazarus. It seemed to me that in that fleeting moment, the sheer weight of the human scene tried to pull Jesus down and sadden him—that persistent mortal material thinking that would attempt to convince one to accept sin, disease, or death as reality. But as I stood there in the stairwell, something else occurred to me. Jesus quickly recovered. He knew the absolute truth—the perfection of God’s man. And in demonstration of the unreality of that triad of evil, he raised Lazarus from the tomb. 

Those words “Jesus wept” had new meaning for me. They were no longer just a memory from a long-ago time in Sunday School. I understood the pull of despair in seeing the world’s resistance to the healing truth that Jesus taught. Deep within me I felt a strong conviction of how much more consistently—how much more joyfully—I needed to work and pray to uplift myself and others.

No matter how heavy the weight that tries to hypnotize spiritual seekers across the globe, how much greater is the call for us to heal “by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:21).

The reminder of Jesus’ momentary tears, his deep love for his friend Lazarus, and the raising of that friend from the tomb, has had an ongoing influence on my own experience. One doesn’t have to be a Christian Science Chaplain to see through the claim of suffering. In our daily rounds we can welcome the opportunity to acknowledge that the Father compels us to “take ye away the stone” (John 11:39) whenever we are tempted to see a mortal, material view of life, where the image of sin, disease, or death confronts us. 

With honest and fearless hearts we can go forward, led by God—as this verse from one of my favorite hymns promises:

The Great Physician liveth yet

Thy friend and guide to be;

The Healer by Gennesaret

Shall walk the rounds with thee.

(John Greenleaf Whittier, Christian Science Hymnal, (No. 96)




By holding in thought that precious example of the Master, healing all who came to him for help, we can all “walk the rounds” knowing that God, the great Physician, is with us every step of the way.  Even as He promised in a favorite Bible verse:
  
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)








Saturday, December 15, 2018

LUCY... AND LESSONS I LEARNED FROM HER

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Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like the following. Dogs seem to naturally know and do these things:

• When your loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
• Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
• Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.
• Take naps.
• Stretch before rising.
• Run, romp, and play daily.
• Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
• Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
• On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
• On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
• When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
• Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
• Be faithful.
• Never pretend to be something you’re not.
• If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
• When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.

I miss you dear Miss Lucy....



Wednesday, November 7, 2018

BE LIKE THE BEES!


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 been 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 strong desire  to follow the appeal of Micah  the Morasthite quoted 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."     Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy   21:25

If our Mission and Purpose is to be Christian Healers and to  uplift the lives of others, this hymn in the Christian Science Hymnal (#5) gives direction:


            A voice from heaven we have heard,
            The call to rise from earth;
            Put armor on, the sword now gird,
            And for the fight go forth.

           The foe in ambush claims our prize,
           Then heed high heaven’s call.
           Obey the voice of Truth, arise,
           And let not fear enthrall.

          The cause requires unswerving might:
          With God alone agree.
          Then have no other aim than right;
          End bondage, O be free.

          Depart from sin, awake to love:
          Your mission is to heal.
          Then all of Truth you must approve,
           And only know the real.


 When we keep our mission and purpose foremost in thought, we can silence the world's distractions with that buzzing activity we witness in the Bee World.    

 Thanks Bees and Nehemiah for being good role models. 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

KEEPING LIFE BEAUTIFUL


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I saw this and was so touched it made me rethink my recent attitude and actions. I confess to having been pulled down into the maelstrom of political bitterness, to have been nearly overwhelmed with distress over the direction of our nation. 

During my long lifetime the United States has been a SELFLESS defender of freedom for others, a strong tower and champion of good causes across the world, mostly a kind and gentle nation that demonstrated  "speak softly but carry a big stick" as Roosevelt counseled.

Maybe I am a hopeless romantic that thought things would always be that way!! 

This little poster jolted me back to a better place. TODAY I will try my best to follow the guidance of this simple lessons that Jesus of Nazareth taught.  I will try to overlook the many distressing signals and be a gentle, more loving, less critical follower of the Master Christian. 

This hymn from the Christian Science Hymnal is a mainstay for 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.

I know that as I put my limited, mortal critical view of life on hold, and speak gently and think gently,  I will see the beauty of loving gently and living a more joyous experience. 

My little friend below is a great example of the peace and joy that comes with a more simple life!!






Friday, February 16, 2018

LOVE AND LOVELINESS!!!



When I saw this picture, my heart went out to her in love.  How often we may overlook the goodness and genuine beauty of those we meet by looking at the outward appearance instead of the inner person.

In her Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy wrote about “real beauty”, in these words: 

"The embellishments of the person are poor substitutes for the charms of being, shining resplendent and eternal over age and decay."

“The recipe for beauty is to have less illusion and more Soul, to retreat from the belief of pain or pleasure in the body into the unchanging calm and glorious freedom of spiritual harmony."

"Love never loses sight of loveliness. Its halo rests upon its object. One marvels that a friend can ever seem less than beautiful." 

"Men and women of riper years and larger lessons ought to ripen into health and immortality, instead of lapsing into darkness or gloom."

"Immortal Mind feeds the body with supernal freshness and fairness, supplying it with beautiful images of thought and destroying the woes of sense which each day brings to a nearer tomb.“ (SH 247:28–11)


What a beautiful lesson you have given us dear friend.  You are Lovely!!!!   Now may we all see in ourselves and others that "inner beauty" that is ours as God's dear children. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

AND THE LITTLE ANIMALS SHALL LEAD THEM....




While the world often seems to be in turmoil there is another side.

We constantly hear of political wrangling, nation against nation and rattling swords, personal and family squabbles, corporate battles, even school ground fights and discord. The Bible, that chronicle of the past and predictor of the future, promises a time when, after the people of the world reach a level of maturity, there will be a time of peace.
                 


In the Book of Isaiah, we read of a time when:

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.

And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. “ Isaiah 11

But, for those whose eyes are open, we can even now see signs in our own time when that sense of peace and acceptance are “here and now.”

I love the promise depicted in these two pictures and I pray to be ever more alert to recognize the signs of peace and love all around us.

Can we each do our best to emulate this promised “coming together in love and acceptance” demonstrated by our little "role models" pictured here?

Saturday, December 23, 2017

ANIMAL PHOTO OF THE DAY... Waiting on Angels




This picture of this sad little doggie touched my heart. I saw worry in his eyes, not a picture of lively joy and spontaneous happiness that we love to see in puppies.

Sometimes we may all feel that sense of worry, fear and doubt. We may wonder… are we in this big world alone? Can we handle the challenges that come to us today? Are we loved? Are we loving?

Maybe, like many of us, this dog is waiting on his “Angel.”

Mary Baker Eddy, in her Bible companion book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, describes Angels this way:

“Angels. God’s thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect; the inspiration of goodness, purity, and immortality, counteracting all evil, sensuality, and mortality. " p 581


These angel thoughts come to us when we are quiet. When we shut out the noise of the world which is shouting fear, mortality, illness, sin, and doubt... in that stillness… God’s thoughts come to us to heal and bless. Our job is to trust, and listen for their message.

As a favorite hymn proclaims:

“O longing hearts that wait on God
Through all the world so wide;
He knows the angels that you need,
And sends them to your side,
To comfort, guard and guide.

O wake and hear the angel-song
That bids all discord cease,
From pain and sorrow, doubt and fear,
It brings us sweet release;
And so our hearts find peace.” **


Take heart little friend. God cares for each of His ideas and you are loved and protected. Cheer Up and listen for the Angels!!!!!


** Christian Science Hymnal #9

Friday, December 22, 2017

ANIMAL PHOTO OF THE DAY... SWEET LAND OF LIBERTY



Sometimes in modern day United States of America, a country characterized in the song, America the Beautiful  as “Sweet Land of Liberty” we seem to fall from the high standard and promise of LIBERTY. 

We often appear to have strayed far from the wonders of that true land of Liberty and have become slaves to anger, held in the bondage of personal opinion and intolerance and even engage in selfishness, bitter political wrangling and hatefulness towards one another.  

The Holy Bible contains the recipe for true freedom and liberty… it is called “brotherly love”.  The main ingredient in the recipe that loosens the shackles and frees us from bondage is Love, as in:  “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; * (I John 4:7)

 And the recipe instructions are:
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”   (Galations 5)

The Grizzly Bears pictured here seem to have the right idea.  If Bears can love one another… CERTAINLY we can too!!! 


Let’s CLAIM our personal Sweet Land of LIBERTY and Love One Another!!!!    

Thursday, December 14, 2017

ANIMAL PHOTO OF THE DAY.... ETERNAL BEAUTY OF LOVE

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It may come as no surprise that I LOVE dogs... BIG DOGS, small dogs... every size, shape and breed. Dogs are always beautiful to me!!

The doggies shown here may not be "Show Quality" beauties but I would love them to pieces. I can see the beauty in their eyes and in their spirit!!

My favorite author, Mary Baker Eddy describes true beauty as Spiritual. We see it with the heart. In her "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures", she writes:

"Comeliness and grace are independent of matter. Being possesses its qualities before they are perceived humanly."

"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." **SH 247

I see the eternal beauty in each of you wonderful dogs!!! Maybe mankind can eventually see that inate loveliness in all of earth's people too.

Monday, November 13, 2017

PHOTO OF THE DAY.... SIMPLY LOVE


Image may contain: plant, outdoor and nature


This morning on my morning “dog walk”, I saw these little yellow flowers peeking out.

While the material world seems to be churning around us, reports of violence, hatred and cruelty, political instability and corruption garnering the headlines,  how wonderful it is when something comes to view to  remind us of what is important.

In the midst of the weeds and underbrush, these  humble little ”yellow Love reminders” made me think of God’s loving tenderness, gentleness and kindness.  No "horn blowing", no boasting, bragging or loud attention getting, they just reflect loveliness and let the observer feel the love.  

This hymn came to thought, one of my favorite “reminders”!!

How gentle God’s commands,
How kind His precepts are;
Come, cast your burdens on the Lord,
And trust His constant care.

Beneath His watchful eye
His saints securely dwell;
That hand which bears creation up
Shall guard His children well.

His goodness stands approved,
Unchanged from day to day:
I drop my burden at His feet,
And bear a song away. **


And I did!!   I dropped my troubles and a song sprung up in my heart and thanked God for  the lovely gift!!

**Christian Science Hymnal #124