Association 2008: "The Readiness is All"
post-class 2007 letter
Dear People (and you are, very dear),
As we said on our last day of class, Association is a year round activity, not just a day in May. Our new website will be one way to cherish the ongoing unfoldment of the class experience and Mrs. Eddy's provision for us as students of Christian Science.
The freshness of Christian Science theology that we uncovered in class together never wears off. The living God could never become a mere memory and we can never be less than Mind's own ideas. Class awakens us to "God's creation,- all the glories of earth and heaven and man. (S&H 264:30) Some of you have already shared healings that have occurred since class. Please do write them down and send them in. This fruitage inspires and encourages the reinstatement of primitive Christianity that our Leader intended. It keeps us awake to what is actually normal to us as God's children. It also makes it abundantly clear that we are not on our own, trying to make do with personal understanding. Rather, we are part of something much bigger - we are what God is doing - His "working together for good".
We covered a lot of ground in class. Now begins the task of making the completeness of the revelation your own. We do this exactly the way we learned in class, step by step, by "eating up the book": going deeply into the world behind the words.
The way is sometimes "rugged" - Mrs. Eddy reminds us to "murmur not over Truth, if you find its digestion bitter." (S&H 559: 23-24) Not that there is anything truly bitter in incorporeal, supreme, divine, infinite Love. But personal, material sense argues that we don't know enough, aren't good enough to demonstrate Christian Science, or that Science is a human achievement and then Love seems distant and the digestion process bitter indeed. Mortal mind would run to fear or anger or sorrow and claim that this is an appropriate response, but it is a mistaken appraisal of where you are and what is going on.
Don't let yourself be dissuaded from what is written in your heart. Take things to the absolute. Don't stop with mortal mind's label or a metaphysical catch phrase, but go deeply into reality. If things seem difficult, know that the real demand is to get real. Our real work is the Christ mission. "Let that mind be in you which was in also in Christ Jesus," with all the humility and desire to know God's will that Jesus expressed and the way will grow brighter and the burden lighter.
These words from Miscellaneous Writing call us to our rightful place and the work ahead, "Beloved children, the world has need of you,--and more as children than as men and women: it needs your innocence, unselfishness, faithful affection, uncontaminated lives. You need also to watch, and pray that you preserve these virtues unstained, and lose them not through contact with the world. What grander ambition is there than to maintain in yourselves what Jesus loved, and to know that your example, more than words, makes morals for mankind!
The momentum we feel in class is God-impelled; it starts with Him and is unfolded by Him. Our part is to move forward with it. Because it is an expression of Mind it cannot be lost but is inviolable and undiminished - always fresh, always right where we are.
Caryl Emra Farkas, C.S.B.
christmas 2007 letter
Where is thought at this time of year? There is much to be busy with. The malls are crowded, advertisements for "the perfect gift" come from every side and it would be easy to fill the December page of our calendars with seasonal parties and community events. As out of control as the "holiday season" can get, at the heart of it is something very basic and simple: the human yearning for divine Love and the hope of Love's presence. The true impetus of all this activity is actually and essentially spiritual. The promise of the season is when we uncover in our hearts the "heart of Christmas" - the Christ awareness that we are all the sons and daughters of God - we find ourselves more transparent to the love of God and the blessings Love has for us all. In thinking about the meaning of Christmas, I find, as usual, that our Leader has the perfect words for our Association. This extract from a Christmas letter to her own students (Miscellaneous Writings pg. 159) illumines the sense of gratitude we feel for the unfoldment of Christian Science in our lives:
" Beloved Students: --My heart has many rooms: one of these is sacred to the memory of my students. Into this upper chamber, where all things are pure and of good report,--into this sanctuary of love,--I often retreat, sit silently, and ponder. In this chamber is memory's wardrobe, where I deposit certain recollections and rare grand collections once in each year. This is my Christmas storehouse. Its goods commemorate, --not so much the Bethlehem babe, as the man of God, the risen Christ, and the adult Jesus. Here I deposit the gifts that my dear students offer at the shrine of Christian Science, and to their lone Leader..."
We all have gifts to offer this year; gifts of gratitude for God's good realized and received. These offerings bring us home to ourselves, help us understand ourselves more completely as God's children. At this time last year I was in Boston going through Normal Class. I recall hearing a Christmas carol being played in the hotel I was staying in; "God rest ye merry gentlemen, let nothing you dismay, Remember Christ, our Savior was born on Christmas day..." The Christ salvation that class had brought into focus was so palpable to me that evening that I marveled to hear the words being sung aloud - the great open secret of this time of year. What an amazing thing to realize that this is simply what is written in all our hearts, that we all acknowledge and naturally rise to the spiritual sense of life that Jesus revealed and demonstrated.
So, as the mortal sense of Christmas swirls about, let nothing you dismay. Remember the Christ, the truth of being, has come and is with us here and now. It is more than sufficient to meet our needs and the needs of the world. Whatever may seem to be a trial is only a test of what we really know; an occasion to uncover the Christ identity. As Hymn 342 says, "Be glad, give thanks, rejoice".
Mrs. Eddy's message to her students ended this way: "Thus may our lives flow on in the same sweet rhythm of head and heart, till they meet and mingle in bliss supernal. There is a special joy in knowing that one is gaining constantly in the knowledge of Truth and divine Love. Your progress, the past year, has been marked. It satisfies my present hope. Of this we rest assured, that every trial of our faith in God makes us stronger and firmer in understanding and obedience."
You will find on our website an offering to the "Christmas storehouse". As we receive these gifts, we will post them and cherish together the fact that Christmas is an every day occurrence! with love, Caryl Emra Farkas, C.S.B.
association topic letter
February 15, 2008
In our Christmas letter, we talked about progress; the naturalness of faith deepening as we meet life's challenges with the Christ understanding of God's power and love. Some of the fruitage, your proofs of progress, shared with us at that time is on the Association website. Progress, as Mary Baker Eddy says, "is the law of God". Step by step, with "precept upon precept, line upon line," we inevitably come home to the spiritual fact: divine Love and our place in it.
Beautiful and natural as our progress in Truth is, there are times when we don't seem to be making much ground. We look around us at the news of home and abroad and wonder how we could imagine that there is a momentum of good carrying us all forward. We look at ourselves and may echo Paul when he wrote, "The good that I would do, I do not, but the evil which I would not, that I do." It's not a pretty picture, but are we really seeing all that is there to be seen?
The fact is, the apparent lack of good, either globally or in our own experience, is not an objective description of what is going on. It is the trade of what Mrs. Eddy called mortal mind, trafficking in hearsay and labels which invite us to despair and give up hope. Such responses are rooted in a fundamentally material estimation of life that is far from true. As the textbook puts it, "Delusion, sin, disease, and death arise from the false testimony of material sense, which, from a supposed standpoint outside the focal distance of infinite Spirit, presents an inverted image of Mind and substance with everything turned upside down. " (S&H 301:24)
It is the Christ mission to reveal the Science of being; to heal and correct the "inverted image" of matter-based life with the spiritual truth of divine Life. Our lives are embraced by this mission. We can and will find our part in it.
Our confrontations with mortal mind, which point to "false landmarks", make up the field conditions of demonstration. We usually don't go into detail about them in our Wednesday evening meetings or find them rehearsed in the Journal or Sentinel; in the light of Christ, Truth they are reduced to their native nothingness. However, Scripture makes it clear that we must learn to "try the spirits" and distinguish between the aggressive suggestions of the carnal mind and the healing leadings of Mind, Soul. While personality, strong emotion, fear, and being impressed by what we see and hear are not inevitable on the journey from sense to Soul, most of us are familiar with them as adversaries in our efforts to follow the Christ.
Christian Science teaches us that resistance to Truth, Life and Love goes down before man in God's image. As we get glimpses of what God is and who we really are we find that our experience changes. We leave the mortal consciousness (in which those "unfavorable conditions" stand between us and the spiritual ideal we hold dear) and come home to the divinely based understanding in which we find there are no conditions unfavorable to God. Then we can say, with Paul, "...we glory in tribulations." Rom 5:3
During class, we are led "line upon line" through this process. We uncover our true position, founded on the Rock - the Christ understanding that nothing can ever separate us or anyone from the Love and goodness of God. With each succeeding year, we have the opportunity to actually walk the walk of the talk we love so well. Taking our inspiration from Mrs. Eddy's favorite poet, William Shakespeare, this year's Association address is titled, "The Readiness is All". Join us on May 24th at the Student Organization Center on UW Campus as we explore how God has made us ready and fully able to express our part in the Science of Christ.
with much affection,
Caryl Emra Farkas, C.S.B.
P.S. Please continue to send your experiences, thoughts, fruitage, by whatever means is most convenient for you-e-mail to me or letter. We very much need what you have to share! And those of you who have faithfully written, please don't stop now! Like the gratitude expressed on a Wednesday evening, these demonstrations shine much needed light for us all.
association assignment letter
March 29, 2008
Since I last wrote to you, I have had the joy of digging into what the Bible and our Leader's writings have to say about the topic of this year's address. It's quite a lot!
As with any question that I bring to the books, as my study progresses, I find myself in awe of the way the Scriptures and Mrs. Eddy have already been there before us, having already negotiated all the turns in thought and challenges of the carnal mind. The more deeply we look into the inspired Word, the more we find divine Mind's leading for us - timely, inspiring, specifically and completely just-right to meet our need.
A friend once remarked that we would do better to pray "Help me uncover the good" (as opposed to "Help me uncover what the real problem is, so that I can see what has gone wrong, fix it, and qualify for a blessing"). God's very real and tangible good is always with us, always intact and always immanently capable of providing solutions.
But, you might wonder, don't we sometimes think and do things that have the effect of limiting and distancing spiritual good?
The answer is an unqualified "No!" This scientific, demonstrably true conclusion is reached by seeing through the accusation and condemnation of material thinking that focuses on what is believed to be humanly possible, leaving God out.
While it is true that human ignorance, sin and willfulness are not conducive to prayer, it is not true that they can actually diminish or obscure the reality of God's omipotence and Love. Divine good and man's inseparabilitiy from it can't be limited or held off.
One of our study citations from Science and Health tells us, "The hypotheses of mortals are antagonistic to Science and cannot mix with it. This is clear to those who heal the sick on the basis of Science." The statement doesn't mean that we are doomed by mortal hypotheses to fail at demonstrating the Science of being, but rather that the utterly substantial reality of absolute Science overcomes all that is unlike its sheer goodness and blessedness.
Our practice of Christian Science progresses as we learn to begin from the right basis; using reason and revelation, looking to the right place for help and trusting what God has written in our hearts. Every time we turn to God in need, we find the practicality of this spiritual basis, banishing the false sense of material identity and personality and revealing man as Paul described when he said, "ye are the temple of the living God".
Beginning our preparation and study for Association day on this basis is a huge help in realizing the spiritual gifts divine Mind has for us. Read the study citations from the standpoint they were written from - the revelation of God's here and now power and presence. Study with an importunate, heartfelt desire to know and do good, and you will uncover the spiritual fact that nothing can honestly claim to stand between you and the divine idea.
As our opening hymn says, "A voice from heaven we have heard, the call to rise from earth". Wholehearted preparation will make those words echo back to us on May 24 with familiar and fresh gratitude for what we have learned so far and what more God has in store for His children.
As we work toward our meeting, mortal mind's labels and false stereotypes will fall, exposed for what they are - powerless and without authority. The challenges of material conditions, human circumstances, at home, in church and in all our relationships will be seen less as things that would keep us from the perfection of spiritual identity and we will experience anew that there are no conditions unfavorable to God. Truly, "The Readiness is all". with love,
Caryl Emra Farkas, C.S.B.
p.s. Please do send your fruitage, questions on the topic or readings (or questions about anything else pertaining to your practice of Christian Science) for inclusion on Association day. These will play an important role in completing the address.
Choose a Scriptural account of healing or God's saving power and write an explanation how the readiness of the chief character or characters determined the outcome of the story. Briefly consider how animal magnetism may have been handled, describe the prayer that may have been involved, and include such background as theology and spiritual understanding to show how the work was done. In addition to this, please send in testimonies or remarks on your understanding of the relationship of your readiness and willingness to lean on God and healing.
association study citations
"The Readiness is All"
Introduction: A voice from heaven calls...
Heb 4:12 the
Prov 2:6 the
Section 1: Being ready to respond
Rom 8:16,17 (to 2nd ;)
Matt 5:13 -15
Gen 1: 3 God,4
Pul 4:9-11, 23
Gen 1:26 God,27
Section 2: The heart's sincere desire
S&H 1:11 (to ;)
Prov 13:12 when
I Kings 3:5-12
Matt 13:44-46 the
Matt 6:20 lay,21
S&H 9:32 (to .)
Luke 18:10-14(to :)
Matt 18:2-4 Jesus
Luke 19:2-9 there
S&H 2:4 Yes
Mis 110:4 Beloved
Section 3: praying as Jesus taught us (never leaves us where it finds us)
I Kings 19:1-12 Ahab
S&H 2:31 2nd God is
John 12:44,45,49 I have,50
Matt 6: 6 thou,7
Section 4: The Christ example: readiness through prayer
John 14:16 I will
Mis 362:22-26 revelation
John 6:63 (to :)
S&H 360:15-17 You (to 2nd .)
Luke 23:1,24,33,34 (to 1st .),39,44-46 (to :)
In thinking about questions and fruitage, I have been working steadily with the idea of womanhood; how that idea was honored by Jesus in the Bible, how Mrs. Eddy embodied the idea. It seems like I hear a lot about infertility these days - in my own thought and in the voices of friends and acquaintances. Why does it sometimes seem as though families with lower incomes and less than desirable living arrangements have an overabundance of children? At the same time, families who have comfortable homes and every desire to share their lives with a child seem unable to have any! Why does it seem as though the very act of having a child is necessary to the good health of a woman. It seems like mortal mind has such a stronghold over womankind in this.
Jer 8: 15,19 (to people),19 Is (to 2nd ?)
Ps 13:1,2(to 1st ?),5,6
Gen 1:27 God,28 (to 5th ,),31 (to 1st .)
S&H 551:24-26 Darkness
As I was studying some upcoming Bible lessons, I noticed that the Golden Text and Responsive Reading in at least 4 different lessons are taken from "new" bible translations other than the King James Version. The word of Truth seems diluted, when presented in such a manner.
Do you have any thoughts or insights?
Zeph 3:8 wait (to 2nd ,)
Mis 8:13 Can
What do you say when you hear someone talk about Jesus as God and seem to worship the man and not the Christ idea?
I Cor 3:3 whereas
I Cor 1:12,13 (to 1st ?),17 Christ,20,22-24 the
S&H 341:11 (only)
Section 5: Ready for the morning meal?
I Cor 15:1 brethren
I Cor 15:3-6 (to ;)
John 21:15-17,20 (to ;),21,22