Saturday, August 15, 2015


Your dearly loved one has gone.  Just slipped away with a calm, quiet departure.   Words can’t express the feeling of emptiness.
Just minutes after  my wife passed away some time ago,  I went into the next room where the radio was playing softly  what HAD been one of my favorite pieces, entitled   “Time to Say Goodbye.(1.    What horrible timing… a poignant, melancholy piece that kicked off a flood of tears.  I had never wanted to say Goodbye.   It gave a sense of finality to what had just happened.

Many of us have faced this situation,  the loss of a spouse, a child, a dearly loved friend or family member.  The sky seems dark and foreboding and it seems hard to envision Joy and Happiness ever reappearing  on the horizon.   

And then, ironically, the words of another favorite song tried to reach through my sadness. 

               “Blue Skies, smiling at me, nothing but Blue Skies, do I see” (2. 

That seemed so far from where I was. Those Blue Skies I had flown through for years  in countless aircraft were suddenly gray and dismal.

             “Nothing but Blue Skies from now on”.

 Those Blue Skies now a hollow promise.  

I felt a horrible sense of loss myself, but even more, I felt such a sadness for my dear lovely wife, life cut short, how could someone that wonderful be cheated out of a longer span of human experience. 

As a student of the Bible, a historical record of the impact of the Mind of the Creator on human thought going back centuries,  I sought in it's pages solace, comfort, a sense of peace.

As I  read on, and inspiring thoughts started to come to me, I found examples of how reaching out for a higher understanding of Life and the Truth of existence had brought comfort to the early Christians, and then to many others down through the years.  While there are many stories of death and disaster, illness and sin in it’s pages, the fact that the problems could not shake man’s confidence in God and the fact that they then found inspiration and comfort was reassuring.

 I read there in the Bible that even Jesus of Nazareth was brought down momentarily by the heaviness of the death of his friend, Lazarus.   But quickly he recovered and revived his friend through an understanding that spiritual life is truly eternal, as he had previously taught and demonstrated.

At that moment of despair, Jesus  … lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.   And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.”   (3.

 I read story after story of how, through turning to that spiritual voice within each of us,  the “still small voice” (4.  that speaks louder than “the earthquake, wind and fire”, thoughts were uplifted, sorrow was healed.   I started to understand more that Life is eternal  and that this illusion of life in matter is a temporary experience.  I liken it to a night dream that seems so real but when we awaken, we find it was never true.   In the book of Ephesians I found that awakening encouragement to awake from the material dream:  Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.

 In her Bible companion book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, 19th-20th  Century religious pioneer  Mary Baker Eddy, understanding how Jesus saw through the material view of life and saw the deeper spiritual meaning, said: Nothing we can say or believe regarding matter is immortal, for matter is temporal and is therefore a mortal phenomenon, a human concept, sometimes beautiful, always erroneous.  (5.

 I started to see Joy dispelling the clouds a little.

Then, true to what I knew the Father would do, that he would speak to me in that still small voice, that  He would deliver as the Bible promises in Malachi:   “ unto you that fear (respect) my name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings;, (6.

And the “wings of healing”  it came on were the words of one of my very favorite poems, “High Flight”  which popped into thought.    As an Air Force veteran, one who has spent years  flying and enjoying the accompanying sense of joy and freedom, I could see “Spirituality” described in human terms, in terms of an Airman.  I felt uplifted, I could see above and beyond the belief in the passing of a loved wife.  I could feel the freedom of eternal life and Love.  

What was it that happened to my thinking?   Eddy has it this way: It was the gospel of healing, on its divinely appointed human mission, bearing on its white wings, to my apprehension, “the beauty of holiness,” — even the possibilities of spiritual insight, knowledge, and being.” (7.

I share that delightful uplifting poem with you here,  and pray that each of you feels the soaring sense of Spirit that has buoyed me up ever since that sad day.   God is still speaking to us all in the quiet times and invites your spirit to soar!!!

 High Flight

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings; 

Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds,-and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of

-wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence.

Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.... 

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark nor ever eagle flew- 

And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God 
Poem   John Gillespie Magee, Jr.
And an excerpt from one of my favorite hymns joined in to reassure me that God loves us and gives us Wings of Healing!!!!

Though storm or discord cross my path
Thy power is still my stay,
Though human will and woe would check
My upward-soaring way;
All unafraid I wait, the while
Thy angels bring release,
For still Thy presence is with me,
And Thou dost give me peace.

I climb, with joy, the heights of Mind,
To soar o’er time and space;
I yet shall know as I am known
And see Thee face to face.
Till time and space and fear are naught
My quest shall never cease,
Thy presence ever goes with me
And Thou dost give me peace.

(1. Time to Say Goodbye composer Francesco Sartori
(2. Blue Skies composer Irving Berlin
(3. The Bible – John 11:42-43
(4. I Kings 19:4
(5. Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures - Mary Baker Eddy p 227:29
(6. Malachai 4:2
(7. Retrospection and Introspection – Mary Baker Eddy p 32
(8.  Christian Science Hymnal     Partial Hymn -  Hymn 136

High Flight was written by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

     Magee, an American who became a Pilot Officer with the Royal Canadian Air Force was killed at the age of 19, while flying Spitfire coded VZ-H,
    Magee's posthumous fame rests mainly on his sonnet High Flight, which he started on 18 August 1941, just a few months before his death, whilst he was based at an air base in England. In his seventh flight in a Spitfire Mk I, he had flown up to 33,000 feet. As he orbited and climbed upward, he was struck by words he had read in another poem — "To touch the face of God." He completed his verse soon after landing.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Put Up the Sword – Replace the Ear


Driving down the interstate, perhaps the speed was a little above the limit, but car after car was passing at high speed. Then out of nowhere the state patrol vehicle with lights flashing pulled up behind the car and pulled it over.

The driver, Lee,  a dear family member was told that he had been stopped for speeding.   When he explained to the officer that every car on the road had been passing him at high speed and asked why he was being singled out,  the officer smiled wryly and said, “You were easier to catch.”  OUCH!!!

The very injustice of this made Lee’s blood boil.  It just wasn’t fair.

Maybe many of us have been faced with similar instances of  injustice on the human scene.  We often hear that “life isn’t fair”, but when it hits us personally,  witty sayings go out the window.   We just don’t understand why we are being singled out or punished!!

I have begun to see that the seemingly unfair, unjust act can actually be an opportunity to heal wrong thinking and bring us to a higher level of peace,  patience and loving thought.  

In an article called “Taking Offence,”  religious pioneer Mary Baker Eddy relates:     “There is immense wisdom in the old proverb,  He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty.”*     Hannah More, an English religious writer and philanthropist in the 1800s said,  “If I wished to punish my enemy, I should make him hate somebody.”  WOW. Hatred, harsh judgement, ill will are truly harmful to the “holder”!

A  great example of failing to react to injustice involves an incident from years ago.  A group of authorities and soldiers came to a small group of men  for the purpose of arresting one of them. One of the friends of the man to be arrested pulled out a sword and cut off the ear of  a member of the approaching mob.    The man to be arrested immediately told his friend to put up his sword, then he touched the severed ear and healed the man.  

Now the most  miraculous part of this is not that this man’s ear was replaced  without sutures or medical treatment, as amazing as that was, but the display of a very humble, fearless and  loving demeanor by the man to be arrested that resulted in a more peaceful confrontation  for all concerned, quelling  anger and retribution.

Of course, the Holy Bible contains that story. *   The man being arrested was Jesus of Nazareth and his friend with the sword was his disciple, Peter.  How unjust was this action by the High Priests against Jesus, a man of peace and goodness,  and certainly understandable was the anger and desire for retribution exhibited by Peter.   The desire to strike back, to “get even” and settle the score.   But as is so characteristic of Jesus of Nazareth, he explained to Peter that “people like us don’t do that”!!!

In that profound lesson that lives through time, Jesus showed how to replace a sense of injustice with healing kindness,  showing that evil and a sense of unfairness and  injustice does not deserve a violent  reaction, but only makes love and understanding more imperative.

Well, that was easy to understand!!
Guess I am outta here!
One occasion in my own experience stands out in my thought as a similar lesson.   I held a fairly high position in a large corporation and had a lot of responsibility. One day the Vice President called me in and told me I  was being terminated. Somehow we just had not seemed to click together as a management team and it had become obvious that something had to change. I wasn’t actually shocked, but felt such of sense of disappointment.  Certainly I wasn’t the problem, I thought,  and the temptation to strike out against my boss was very strong. I had worked very diligently  and effectively and the injustice of it all hit me hard.

As a student of the Bible and its lessons, which are still so appropriate centuries later, I reached out for help.    The story of replacing the ear was like guidance direct from Heaven!!!    In the Bible companion book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, the author wrote:  "Evil has no reality. It is neither person, place, nor thing, but is simply a belief, an illusion of material sense.” ***   Jesus demonstrated this.  He saw evil as separate from person, as when he healed the man who was possessed by “devils”, mental illness and healed all manner of disease and sin.   He saw that the problem was evil and had no real part in the man.   

I saw that I could separate my manager from the problem and that I need not be incensed, embarrassed or hurt by the illusion of the human sense of life and his actions.

Another helpful thought from the Eddy article was: 
To punish ourselves for others’ faults, is superlative folly. The mental arrow shot from another’s bow is  practically harmless, unless our own thought barbs it.   It is our pride that makes another’s criticism rankle, our self-will that makes another’s deed offensive, our egotism that feels hurt by another’s self-assertion. Well may we feel wounded by our own faults; but we can hardly afford to be miserable for the faults of others. ****

 I felt a peace and calm come over me.
      The arrow that doth wound the dove  
        Darts not from those who watch and love.******

When we begin to understand the deep love and humility that Jesus displayed, and become true followers, we may be able to " put up the sword" and to “replace the ear” and love one another.    

*           Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures - Mary Baker Eddy p 71
 **        Taking Offence,”  Miscellaneous Writings -Mary Baker Eddy  p 224
***        Luke 22
****      Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures p22
*****    Miscellaneous Writings  p 24  
******  Hymn 30 Christian Science Hymnal  

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The media shouts out to us that the world today is an arena where there is strife, and trouble... where much help and comfort is needed, and wanted!!

Perhaps if you, like me, have often been tempted to be a "silent student"  of Christ Jesus'teachings and practice, to hide our light under a bushel,  the words of the Bible contained in Paul's Letter to Timothy, (II Timothy 4) are a wake up call... "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine."  We are not here to hide what we understand of God, Love, Life!!! 

A message I read on the internet recently  prodded me to see that  "the season has started, the  game is underway", we are on the field and it's time to "get our game on", and to recognize the importance of always being ready to "Preach the word; be instant in season,".. as written in the text quoted above. And doing this, not as a self righteous, boasting hypocrite but as a humble sharer of the good news, tenderly and gently uplifting and comforting.

The message below was from Neale Donald Walsch who has a daily inspirational message titled "I Believe God Wants You to Know".    As I remembered our challenge to become  "fishers of men" the words of the message were particularly appropriate:  

 " ... you should always have your hook baited. In the pool you least think,    there will be a fish. “    "Ovid, the Roman poet, said that, and he was right. You  never know when and where your next miracle will appear. So be ready. Be open. Be cheerful, receptive, even expectant."

"And do not limit the shape and size in which your miracle can come. Sometimes the smallest keys turn the biggest locks."   "So be on the lookout today. Be ready."

I loved that quote. We never know when a friend, a stranger, or even someone with whom we have differed or are at odds for some reason, may need a tender word, Christian encouragement, a shoulder to lean on or someone to wipe away the tears.  

This is the day the Lord has made... let's participate in it fully!!!!    God has given us the light of Love, let it shine!!!