2017 Association: Our Open Secret: the power of spiritual sense 

Post 2016 letter

July 12, 2016

Dear People, 

I received this in an email from one of the new teachers who just went through Normal class:

I wanted you to know that divine Mind’s present and constant imparting, - and the necessity of listening for THAT, came out very clearly in Normal class. 

And of course, no sense of formulae!

I'm glad for Mrs. Eddy's argument way, - and, "techniques" -  when only in context

of one's oneness with divine MIND's leadings, with the support they may give in lifting thought to the Christ.

Direct listening for Truth, like Jesus, is of course, the best!

I share that both because of it’s timely appearance right after our Association meeting and because it is such a pithy summing of what we said about prayer and treatment - it’s never about what we think humanly, it’s always about what God is and what God is doing. 

“Many imagine that the phenomena of physical healing in Christian Science present only a phase of the action of the human mind, which action in some unexplained way results in the cure of disease. on the contrary, Christian Science rationally explains that all other pathological methods are the fruits of human faith in matter, - faith in the workings, not of Spirit, but of the fleshly mind which must yield to Science”. (SH xi:1)

Mrs. Eddy gives us many guides to prayer and treatment. We have been emphasizing, over the past few years, the necessity of starting with God. Without that First Commandment foundation, prayer remains petition and treatment gets stuck in the shallows of mortal mind - hunting for causes in brain, psychology, personality, human history, etc. 

Some of you have been sharing fruitage since Association - wonderful evidences of what happens when you turn more consistently to Spirit and trust it more fully. I’ve posted some of this on the website for us all to share, and I’ll be sending incoming contributions in a separate “newsletter,” email. I hope this will inspire more of you to share, with large and small evidences and experiences of your at-one-ment with God. 

Some years ago, in response to a chronic claim of students thinking they did not know how to pray and treat, a teacher included in his Association address a short catalogue of things that typically are included in the process of treatment. He sent it to students after Association as a reminder. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the list turned into a kind of formula, with students either slavishly following it in a rote kind of way (“Cast out fear, check”) or people becoming concerned about doing it in the right order or accidentally leaving items out. 

Mortal mind takes all divine instruction and attempts to reduce it to ritual, formula, protocols of human effort. 

For the past few Associations, we’ve been repeating and reiterating what our Leader and Christ Jesus made clear what must come first in our practice. This emphasis on what God is doing and our identity as His ideas has brought much good fruit. It seemed to me at our recent meeting that we were all growing closer to a daily walk that is more aware and responsive to Spirit good. 

This, of course, is exactly the basis for practice that Mrs. Eddy taught: humility and love of good, such as Mary Magdalene expressed when she came to Jesus. She stresses and underlines this in the first pages of the chapter on Practice and we find it in Jesus’ teaching throughout the Sermon on the Mount.

As we said in May, if you want a postcard guide to prayer and treatment, review the step-by-step that comes at the end of class instruction, on page 495:

“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.”

When do we cling to God and His idea? Whenever the illusion of sickness or sin tempts us!

You can’t treat if you think you are the one doing the work. Since you are the treatment, wondering how to deal with mortal mind’s drama is a very bad treatment indeed - it leaves God out.

The only “doing” to be done, is to get the false sense of self out of the way and listen and follow the leadings of Truth.  What you must “do” is be like Mary Magdalene, throwing herself at divine good, which brings you back to the position of the humble servant of Mind.

Though it is early in out Association year, I have an assignment for us: please review the chapter Atonement and Eucharist in Science and Health. Make this your “summer reading” - read it more than once, make some notes for yourself on what it means to you and how it informs your daily practice. And share the process with us!

We look forward to hearing from you all.

with love,    Caryl

FALL 2016 LETTER

Dear People,
Fall has arrived in the Southwest. The aspens in the Santa Fe ski basin are shimmering gold, days are sunny, the air is scented with roasting green chiles, nights are cool with a hint of burning pinon logs in the air. It’s easy to look out the window on these clear blue-sky days and feel blessed.

Opening the online news, one finds a view less cheering. Look out a window in Aleppo, Syria, or Kirkuk, Iraq, or Norcia, Italy, and the image would most likely be of destruction and human want. A short video attached to a story about the recent hurricane in Haiti included whipping winds and rain, flooding landscape, collapsing houses, and a woman crying, “Pray for us!”

Though beholding the perfect man and fielding such a request for prayer should be straightforward for a Christian Scientist, we sometimes find our selves confused as to how to deal with what is presented to us. These images portray themselves as, “the way things are,” suggesting that they come first and most be reckoned with on their own terms.

The demand for spiritual sense startles thought accustomed to the rationale of the carnal mind. What, we wonder, can we possibly do in the face of so much that is wrong? How do we reconcile our own relatively blessed situations with the horrors others seem to be suffering. But more to the point: How do we avoid getting mired in mortal mind’s reaction that leaves God completely off the radar? And how do we best handle the fears, frustrations, and sorrows in our own lives which claim full justification as “reality”.

The New Testament assures us that God is, “without variableness, neither shadow of turning”. God does not single out some for good and allow others to be afflicted. “God sends His rain on the just and the unjust” and, “In Christ there is no east or west, bond or free, Greek or Jew, male or female, ”God is “of purer eyes than to behold evil”. No seeming wrong that confronts us is authorized by our Father-Mother or is a living, true, intelligent, or actually substantial part of God’s creation.

And yet we get up in the morning, check the news, check our bodies, check in with friends and family and co-workers and attempt to grapple with reports of clamoring discord. Perhaps we woke up with the Bible Lesson Sermon, but by mid-morning find ourselves feeling tapped out of spiritual sense.

It’s certainly not Christianly Scientific, but if you find yourself blandly accepting the premise of pervasive injustice, condemnation, and the blind chaos of material conditions as your starting point, you have a lot of company and plenty of support. It seems as if you are working with “the way things are,” but actually thought has merely slipped into the flow of mortal mind that simulates reality. Carried along by the current of the carnal mind omnipotent Love and infinite divine Mind seem distant and the communion of prayer unlikely.

The story I keep coming back to in my practice is Jesus’ encounter with ten lepers at the entrance of a village (Luke 17:12-15). He would have seen the pathetic sufferers coming toward him, heard them begging him for mercy. Some by-stander might well have said to him, “This is just the way things are”. But moments later, that same on-looker would have found that his assessment of disease and condemnation were not the way things were at all. Jesus sent the ten to show themselves to the priests and on their way, their leprosy disappeared.

Where did it go? Mrs. Eddy tells us: “When we put off the false sense for the true, and see that sin and mortality have neither Principle nor permanency, we shall learn that sin and mortality are without actual origin or rightful existence. They are native nothingness, out of which error would simulate creation through a man formed from dust.” (S&H 281:20) Putting off the false sense for the true is what the mind of Christ does. That mind is our birthright as sons and daughters of God.

When confronted with the evidence of the material senses only divine Love can meet and redeem our thoughts and guide our actions rightly. At this time, in which it seems that so much that we relied on materially is challenged, we have an opportunity to build on the rock - to start from spiritual Truth and continue as the representative and expression of Life.

These words were never truer than they are right now for us: “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!”
(Mis 109:4)

Remember who you are - the temple of the living God. Remember what you’re made for - the reflection of divine Truth, Life, and Love. Start your day with spiritual sense and meet the challenges to the consciousness of Love with the mind of Christ, as disciples of Christ Jesus.

with love,
Caryl

2017 ASSOCIATION ASSIGNMENT

January 13, 2017

Dear People,

It’s the perfect time for a Christmas letter!

On New Year’s Day, my daughter’s Shakespeare group performed Elizabethan carols and songs at the local botanical garden. Some in the audience found their program inappropriately “Christmasy”. 

“Christmas is over,” muttered one person who had dropped in to the pavilion for hot chocolate. “Hey,” remarked another, “it’s fine with me if Christmas is every day!”

Technically, Christmas was not over. Elizabethans celebrated Twelfth Night in early January as a time of topsy turvy when servants and masters exchanged places for one day. The Christian calendar ends the season on January 6th, marking the Epiphany, or visit of the three kings. So the kids’ performance was actually accurate historically.

But I was intrigued by the exchange between the cocoa drinkers. Both by the notion that it was high time to stop with the holiday spirit, as well as with the sentiment that Christmas might be a desirable daily celebration. I had the feeling that speaker wasn’t talking about perpetuating decorated tress or seasonal music so much as the spirit of “on earth peace, good will toward men,” - something that had certainly been in evidence during the kids’ performance. 

Mary Baker Eddy wrote in her message, What Christmas Means to Me: “Christmas to me is the reminder of God's great gift, — His spiritual idea, man and the universe, — a gift which so transcends mortal, material, sensual giving that the merriment, mad ambition, rivalry, and ritual of our common Christmas seem a human mockery in mimicry of the real worship in commemoration of Christ's coming.

I think it is that “common Christmas’ that wears us out, and the very real reminder of God’s great gift that makes us want it never to end.

During those few weeks in December we do allow ourselves to focus on giving and bringing joy to others. We may struggle with the commercial hi-jacking of the season, but in proportion as we  are touched by Silent Night, the personal note in a card from a distant friend, the impulse to give in ways that truly make a difference, and the example of man who began life as that babe in a manger, we connect with our faith in divine good. 

While many become (quite rightly) fed up with the barrage of “mortal, material, sensual,” conventional Christmas, and can’t wait to get back-to-business-as-usual in January, there is a sweet concord underpinning the season that we would do well to cling to after the lights are taken down.

“The splendor of this nativity of Christ reveals infinite meanings and gives manifold blessings.” 

Think back over this past Christmas and find those moments that expressed the understanding of Christ, not in the flesh, but as constantly coming to the flesh to make clear our true identity as children of Our Father. The moments when we saw each other clearly - not as mortals engaged in a ritual or harried by the material demands of the season but embraced in the light of Love, one in that light.

And now that we are halfway through January, it is a perfect time to remember to observe the perpetual “open secret” of Christmas. “Jesus, the Galilean Prophet, was born of the Virgin Mary's spiritual thoughts of Life and its manifestation.” And as we cherish such spiritual thoughts in our daily walk and keep ourselves ready and willing to see Life and its manifestation in contradiction to material images of lack and injustice, we will get to have Christmas every day. 

Our Leader gave us a model: “I love to observe Christmas in quietude, humility, benevolence, charity, letting good will towards man, eloquent silence, prayer, and praise express my conception of Truth's appearing.” These qualities and actions are how to get to the heart of Christmas and how to go forward with “the dawn of divine Love breaking upon the gloom of matter and evil with the glory of infinite being.”

Our Association this year is titled, “Our Open Secret: the power of spiritual sense”. To begin preparation for the address, please read Mrs. Eddy’s illustrated poem, Christ and Christmas. It may seem, at first glance, a quaint, very 19th century little book. But her contention was that it is an exposition of the dawning of Christian Science on human thought. And at this time, when the Christ Science is so needed by the world, and a merely personal, human sense of our church simply cannot profit, it is helpful to return to the “Star of Boston,” and esteem both what draws us to Science, what it means at its core, and what demands it makes on us.

Read it more than once and think about what James Gilman’s illustrations, which he created with Mrs. Eddy’s guidance, signify in conjunction with the text. And after you’ve imbibed the book’s message, please share with us what demand you perceived in it and what you intend to do to further meet that demand.

Association is a group activity that is meant to be shared. Your contribution doesn’t merely matter, it constitutes Association!

Our 2017 meeting will be at 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 3 at the Christian Science Student Organization at 315 N. Mills Street, Madison, Wisconsin. Contact Louise Krueger with questions about staying at the CSO (480-353-8149, louise@core.com)

Association 2017 citations

“Human theories weighed in the balances of God are found wanting; and their highest endeavors are to Science what a child’s love of pictures is to art. The school whose schoolmaster is not Christ, gets things wrong, and is ignorant thereof.

If Christian Science lacked the proof of its goodness and utility, it would destroy itself; for it rests alone on demonstration. Its genius is right thinking and right acting, physical and moral harmony; and the secret of its success lies in supplying the universal need of better health and better men.” (Mis 365:5-15)

Hymn 370.
We are hid with Christ forever In the Father’s holy plan.
In this pure eternal union
We behold the perfect man;
And we know that sin can never Overthrow the sacred rod
Of dominion over evil:
We are hid with Christ in God.

Hid with Christ in God, O gladness: O the meekness and the might, When the risen Christ has lifted
All our thoughts into the light, Light of Truth wherein no sadness Dims the radiant peace we find,

As we set our whole affection
On the beauteous things of Mind.

“It is well to know, dear reader, that our material, mortal history is but the record of dreams, not of man’s real existence, and the dream has no place in the Science of being. It is “as a tale that is told,” and “as the shadow when it declineth.” ... Mere historic incidents and personal events are frivolous and of no moment, unless they illustrate the ethics of Truth. To this end, but only to this end, such narrations may be admissible and advisable; but if spiritual conclusions are separated from their premises, the nexus is lost, and the argument, with its rightful conclusions, becomes correspondingly obscure. The human history needs to be revised, and the material record expunged. (Ret 22:13-17, 25)

“When apparently near the confines of mortal existence, standing already within the shadow of the death-valley, I learned these truths in divine Science: that all real being is in God, the divine Mind, and that Life, Truth, and Love are all-powerful and ever- present; that the opposite of Truth, — called error, sin, sickness, disease, death, — is the false testimony of false material sense, of mind in matter; that this false sense evolves, in belief, a subjective state of mortal mind which this same so-called mind names matter, thereby shutting out the true sense of Spirit.” (S&H 108:19)

“We are sometimes led to believe that darkness is as real as light; but Science affirms darkness to be only a mortal sense of the absence of light, at the coming of which darkness loses the appearance of reality. So sin and sorrow, disease and death, are the suppositional absence of Life, God, and flee as phantoms of error before truth and love.” (S&H 215:15)

“..the good that I would, I do not, and the evil that I would not, that I do. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7: 19,24,25 to first .)

Hymn 338
Theories, which thousands cherish, Pass like clouds that sweep the sky; Creeds and dogmas all may perish; Truth Herself can never die.

Worldlings blindly may refuse Her, Close their eyes and call it night; Learned scoffers may abuse Her, But they cannot quench Her light.

Thrones may totter, empires crumble, All their glories cease to be; While She, Christlike, crowns the humble, And from bondage sets them free.

“To the awakened consciousness, the Bethlehem babe has left his swaddling-clothes (material environments) for the form and comeliness of the divine ideal, which has passed from a corporeal to the spiritual sense of Christ and is winning the heart of humanity with ineffable tenderness. (My 257:6-11)

Hymn 23

Blest Christmas morn, though murky clouds Pursue thy way,
Thy light was born where storm enshrouds Nor dawn nor day!

Dear Christ, forever here and near, No cradle song,
No natal hour and mother’s tear, To thee belong.

Thou God-idea, Life-encrowned,
The Bethlehem babe—
Beloved, replete, by flesh embound— Was but thy shade!

Thou gentle beam of living Love, And deathless Life!
Truth infinite,—so far above
All mortal strife,

Or cruel creed, or earth-born taint: Fill us today
With all thou art—be thou our saint, Our stay, alway.

We acknowledge Jesus’ atonement as the evidence of divine, efficacious Love, unfolding man’s unity with God through Christ Jesus the Way-shower; and we acknowledge that man is saved through Christ, through Truth, Life, and Love as demonstrated by the Galilean Prophet in healing the sick and overcoming sin and death.

We acknowledge that the crucifixion of Jesus and his resurrection served to uplift faith to understand eternal Life, even the allness of Soul, Spirit, and the nothingness of matter. (S&H 497:13-23)

¶ And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.
Luke (17:11-19)

“Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Savior saw God’s own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick. (S&H 476:32-4)

“Always begin your treatment by allaying the fear of patients.” (S&H 411:27-28)

“When these two little ones arrived in front of Mrs. Eddy, they stopped the whole procession and stood looking up into her face smiling joyously. Mrs. Eddy looked at them and then looked at the mother, and smiled back at the children, as someone told them to pass along. This is the mother’s account:

‘I wish I could make the world know what I saw when Mrs. Eddy looked at those children. It was a revelation to me. I saw for the first time the real Mother-Love, and I knew that I did not have it. I had a strange agonized sense of being absolutely cut off from the children. It is impossible to put into words what the uncovering of my own lack of real Mother-Love meant to me.

As I turned in the procession and walked toward the line of trees in the front of the yard, there was a bird sitting on the limb of a tree, and I saw the same love, poured out on that bird that I had seen flow from Mrs. Eddy to my children. I looked down at the grass and the flowers and there was the same Love resting on them. It is difficult for me to put into words what I saw. This Love was everywhere, lis the light, but it was divine, not mere human affection.

I looked at the people milling around on the lawn and I saw it poured out on them. I thought of the various discords in this field, and I saw, for the first time, the absolute unreality of every but this infinite Love. It was not only everywhere present, like the light, but it was an intelligent presence that spoke and I found myself weeping as I walked back and forth under the trees and saying out loud, ‘Why did I never know you before? Why have I not known you always?” (Twelve Years with Mary Baker Eddy)

“the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” (Isa 40:5)

“Our system of Mind-healing rests on the apprehension of the nature and essence of all being, — on the divine Mind and Love’s essential qualities.” (S&H 460:5-8)

“The divine hand led me into a new world of light and Life, a fresh universe — old to God, but new to His “little one.” It became evident that the divine Mind alone must answer, and be found as the Life, or Principle, of all being; and that one must acquaint himself with God, if he would be at peace. He must be ours practically, guiding our every thought and action; else we cannot understand 6the omnipresence of good sufficiently to demonstrate, even in part, the Science of the perfect Mind and divine healing.

I had learned that thought must be spiritualized, in order to apprehend Spirit. It must become honest, unselfish, and pure, in order to have the least understanding of God in divine Science. The first must become last.

Our reliance upon material things must be transferred to a perception of and dependence on spiritual things. For Spirit to be supreme in demonstration, it must be supreme in our affections, and we must be clad with divine power. Purity, self-renunciation, faith, and understanding must reduce all things real to their own mental denomination, Mind, which divides, subdivides, increases, diminishes, constitutes, and sustains, according to the law of God.” (Ret 27:29-27)

“Understanding is a quality of God, a quality which separates Christian Science from supposition and makes Truth final.” (S&H 506:5-7)

Hymn 161
It matters not what be thy lot,
So Love doth guide;
For storm or shine, pure peace is thine, Whate’er betide.

And of these stones, or tyrants’ thrones, God able is
To raise up seed—in thought and deed— To faithful His.

Aye, darkling sense, arise, go hence! Our God is good.
False fears are foes—truth tatters those, When understood.

Love looseth thee, and lifteth me, Ayont hate’s thrall:
There Life is light, and wisdom might, And God is All.

The centuries break, the earth-bound wake, God’s glorified!
Who doth His will—His likeness still—
Is satisfied.

“Pray without ceasing”. (Thess 5:17)

“Asking God to be God is a vain repetition. God is “the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever;” and He who is immutably right will do right without being reminded of His province. The wisdom of man is not sufficient to warrant him in advising God. (S&H 2:31)

“According to Christian Science, the only real senses of man are spiritual, emanating from divine Mind. Thought passes from God to man, but neither sensation nor report goes from material body to Mind. The intercommunication is always from God to His idea, man.” (S&H 284:28-32)

“Being in sympathy with matter, the worldly man is at the beck and call of error, and will be attracted thitherward. He is like a traveller going westward for a pleasure-trip. The company is alluring and the pleasures exciting. After following the sun for six days, he turns east on the seventh, satisfied if he can only imagine himself drifting in the right direction. By-and-by, ashamed of his zigzag course, he would borrow the passport of some wiser pilgrim, thinking with the aid of this to find and follow the right road. (S&H 20:25)

“My Christmas poem and its illustrations are not a textbook. Scientists sometimes take things too intensely. Let them soberly adhere to the Bible and Science and Health, which contain all and much more than they have yet learned. We should prohibit ourselves the childish pleasure of studying Truth through the senses, for this is neither the intent of my works nor possible in Science. (Mis 310:1)

Advanced scientific students are ready for “Christ and Christmas;” but those are a minority of its readers, and even they know its practicality only by healing the sick on its divine Principle. (Mis 308: 12-15)

“We ought to weary of the fleeting and false and to cherish nothing which hinders our highest selfhood.” (S&H 67:6)

What hinders man’s progress is his vain conceit, the Phariseeism of the times, also his effort to steal from others and avoid hard work; errors which can never find a place in Science. (Mis 234:12-15)

Hymn 269
Our God is Love, unchanging Love, And can we ask for more?
Our prayer for Love’s increase is vain; ’Twas infinite before.
Ask not the Lord with breath of praise For more than we accept;
The open fount is free to all,
God’s promises are kept.

Our God is Mind, the perfect Mind, Intelligence divine;
Shall mortal man ask Him to change His infinite design?

The heart that yearns for righteousness, With longing unalloyed,
In such desire sends up a prayer
That ne’er returneth void.

O loving Father, well we know
That words alone are vain,
That those who seek Thy will to do, The true communion gain.
Then may our deeds our pure desire For growth in grace express,
That we may know how Love divine Forever waits to bless.

Hymn 237
O may we be still and seek Him, Seek with consecration whole, Listening thus to hear the message, Far from sense and hid in Soul.

He hath promised we shall find Him, Love divine its promise keeps;
God is watching with the watchful, God is Life that never sleeps.

If we pray to Him in secret,
Lift to Him the heart’s desire,
We shall find our earthly longings All made pure by Love’s pure fire.

Then upon the precious metal God’s own image will appear, Faithfully to Him reflected, One with Him forever near.

“The tender word and Christian encouragement of an invalid, pitiful patience with his fears and the removal of them, are better than hecatombs of gushing theories, stereotyped borrowed speeches, and the doling of arguments, which are but so many parodies on legitimate Christian Science, aflame with divine Love. (S&H 367:3)

What would you do if you had been troubled by something for quite a while, and the calm, gentle thought came to you: Go to church tomorrow and be healed.

For many, that unexpected message might cut through discouragement and doubt with the sunshine of hope, perhaps the first spiritual light felt in a long time. God’s love often speaks to us in these quiet, reassuring ways, and the opportunity to attend the next church service would be filled with great anticipation.

Or you might respond to it as I did—with great indignation. “What’s so special about being at church?!” I had protested mentally. “Why can’t I be healed right here, right now?!”

I went to church the next morning, not putting much weight in the singular message from the night before. On the way in, a friend casually reminded me to support the service.

Support? That caught my attention. The service needed ... me?

This was just the reverse of how I had been thinking. Wasn’t the service there to meet my need for healing?

Not long after I had settled into a back pew, I found myself absorbed in what was being read. The words were all familiar, but that particular Sunday one sentence gleamed with new light: “We acknowledge that the crucifixion of Jesus and his resurrection served to uplift faith to understand eternal Life, even the allness of Soul, Spirit, and the nothingness of matter” (Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 497).

I suddenly saw the Easter story as the cornerstone of a radical, new understanding of God and of the entirely spiritual nature of being. It was a risen Christ moment that filled me with deep reverence and awe. And then I realized that the physical problem I had been coping with for so long was simply gone. No incremental improvement or recovery. Just instantaneous freedom. Life entirely in and of Spirit had become a fact so real and irrefutable to me that there was nothing left that needed healing.

A healing Church is not a passive experience. It requires our active participation. Church had an essential role to play in that experience years ago, just as the prescient spiritual message had promised. It started with my fellow members around me whose own study and everyday practice of Christian Science were a silent but powerful affirmation of the truth of the words being read. And I felt it. Attentive and engaged, they were faithfully witnessing to this healing message, just as Mary Magdalene and the other women who went to the tomb first learned of Jesus’ resurrection and ran to share the news with the rest of the disciples (see Luke 24:1–10). What they had seen and believed began to tell a new story!

Mary Baker Eddy expected a natural connection between Church and healing. One of her students recalled her saying that she “longed for the day to come when no one could enter a Christian Science church, no matter how sick or how sorrowing that one might be, without being healed, and that this day can come only when every member of the church studies and demonstrates the truth contained in the Lesson-Sermon, and takes with him to the service the consciousness thus prepared” (Florence Clerihew Boyd, “Healing the multitudes,” Christian Science Sentinel, July 1, 1916, pp. 866–867).

(Present-day resurrection—the powerful connection between Church and healing by Robin Hoagland, April 10, 2017 Sentinel)

Hymn 64

From sense to Soul my pathway lies before me, From mist and shadow into Truth’s clear day; The dawn of all things real is breaking o’er me, My heart is singing: I have found the way.

I reach Mind’s open door, and at its portal I know that where I stand is holy ground; I feel the calm and joy of things immortal, The loveliness of Love is all around.

The way leads upward and its goal draws nearer, Thought soars enraptured, fetterless and free; The vision infinite to me grows clearer,
I touch the fringes of eternity.

Friends, strangers, and Christian Scientists, I thank you, each and all, for your liberal patronage and scholarly, artistic, and scientific notices of my book. This little messenger has done its work, fulfilled its mission, retired with honor (and mayhap taught me more than it has others), only to reappear in due season. The knowledge that I have gleaned from its fruitage is, that intensely contemplating personality impedes spiritual growth; even as holding in mind the consciousness of disease prevents the recovery of the sick. (Mis 308:18)

Hymn 306

Shepherd, show me how to go O’er the hillside steep,
How to gather, how to sow,— How to feed Thy sheep;

I will listen for Thy voice, Lest my footsteps stray; I will follow and rejoice All the rugged way.

Thou wilt bind the stubborn will, Wound the callous breast,
Make self-righteousness be still, Break earth’s stupid rest. Strangers on a barren shore, Lab’ring long and lone,

We would enter by the door, And Thou know’st Thine own;

So, when day grows dark and cold, Tear or triumph harms,
Lead Thy lambkins to the fold, Take them in Thine arms;

Feed the hungry, heal the heart, Till the morning’s beam;
White as wool, ere they depart, Shepherd, wash them clean.

Mortals move onward towards good or evil as time glides on. If mortals are not progressive, past failures will be repeated until all wrong work is effaced or rectified. If at present satisfied with wrong- doing, we must learn to loathe it. If at present content with idleness, we must become dissatisfied with it. Remember that mankind must sooner or later, either by suffering or by Science, be convinced of the error that is to be overcome.

In trying to undo the errors of sense one must pay fully and fairly the utmost farthing, until all error is finally brought into subjection to Truth. The divine method of paying sin’s wages involves unwinding one’s snarls, and learning from experience how to divide between sense and Soul.(S&H 240: 18-32)

We end today where we began class. With Isaiah’s advice to the drunken court: “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:” (Isa 28:10)

“Either here or hereafter, suffering or Science must destroy all illusions regarding life and mind, and regenerate material sense and self.” (S&H 296:7-9)

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”(S&H 444:10)

Hymn 371
We lift our hearts in praise,
O God of Life, to Thee,
And would reflect in all our ways Thy purity.
Thy thoughts our lives enfold,
And free us from all fear;
All strife is stilled, all grief consoled, For Thou art here.

We lift our hearts in praise,
O God of Truth, to Thee,
And find within Thy perfect law Our liberty.

We bless Thy mighty name
In this exalted hour,
And to the world in faith proclaim Thy healing power.

We lift our hearts in praise,
O God of Love, to Thee,
With joy to find through darkened days

Thy harmony.
O Father-Mother Love,
We triumph ’neath Thy rod,
We glory in Thy light, and prove That Thou art God.

2017 Letter from the Christian Science board of directors

January 2017

Dear fellow Christian healers,

It was Christ Jesus who insisted on it, a teaching quite extraordinary in his time and as profoundly so in ours. “A new commandment I give unto you,” he said, “That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another” (John 13:34).

Jesus’ disciples saw what inspired spiritual love for another could do. They watched him break through the boundaries of race, the bondage of disease, the impositions of personal sense, the hardship of poverty, the misery of sin, and even the supposed finality of death.

And they saw the undeniable healings, all inspired by unselfed spiritual love.

This God-impelled affection taught and demonstrated by Jesus, was then practiced by his disciples, as they went out by twos to heal. After his ascension, his followers were ready to continue this work. And they loved and cared for each other like family, as they continued the healing and saving mission of the Master.

Mary Baker Eddy explained the manifestation of human affection, not as random acts of kindness, but as the evidence of divine Love, the very Principle of Jesus’ teaching. And this natural expression of healing love and care is at the core of Christian Science teaching: “The vital part, the heart and soul of Christian Science, is Love.” (113:5-6)

As class-taught members of Christian Science associations, you are each carrying forward this love-impelled mission of healing! Every effort you make to come together for your yearly association meeting is a gift to the world. You could say it’s coming home to a kind of family reunion, where we all have the opportunity to unite as an association family--and as part of a worldwide family of associations!

Although associations come together only once a year, the spiritual activity and impact of caring for each other and for humanity continues throughout the year. We heard recently from one teacher, for instance, who invited his students to write a treatment to defend spiritually not only their own association, but Christian Science students’ associations everywhere. Here’s an excerpt from what one student wrote:

“Through the Manual-directed activity of Christian Science students’ associations,

we are mutually supporting each other’s spiritual growth. Each member and guest of this association is an individual ray ‘of infinite Truth’ (Science and Health, page 504). We’ve gathered--come together--to focus on healing--on transforming, renewing, spiritual truths that will bless the world.”

This kind of earnest, humble prayer has the power to transform and unify the world around

us. What practical spiritual care the Christian Science associations of the world can give, for instance, to people desperately seeking safety, security, and home! Like Jesus’ faithful followers meeting in the “upper room” centuries ago, students of Christian Science can feel impelled to come together yearly, daily and hourly in healing love--in humble prayer for our Cause, our worldwide family of associations, our church, and our world. This is how we strengthen each other for the mission Jesus expected his disciples to fulfill.

Thanks to the revelation of the Comforter to humanity, class-taught students of Christian Science are uniquely equipped to embrace the world in healing prayer. From your ranks come the practitioners, lecturers, teachers, Readers, Sunday School teachers, Reading Room workers, and church members that provide the nurturing spiritual care that alone will heal poverty, prejudice, hatred, and violence. This is the proven power of your association. This is the power of God-impelled spiritual love. “Spiritual love makes man conscious that God is his Father,” Mrs. Eddy wrote to her Church, “and the consciousness of God as Love gives man power with untold furtherance” (Message for 1902, 8:29-2).

With endless affection and gratitude,
The Christian Science Board of Directors and Board of Education

Robin Hoagland, A.W. Phinney, Scott Preller, Margaret Rogers, Lyle Young, Mary Trammell, Lois Herr

2017 Association assignment

January 13, 2017

Dear People,

It’s the perfect time for a Christmas letter!

On New Year’s Day, my daughter’s Shakespeare group performed Elizabethan carols and songs at the local botanical garden. Some in the audience found their program inappropriately “Christmasy”. 

“Christmas is over,” muttered one person who had dropped in to the pavilion for hot chocolate. “Hey,” remarked another, “it’s fine with me if Christmas is every day!”

Technically, Christmas was not over. Elizabethans celebrated Twelfth Night in early January as a time of topsy turvy when servants and masters exchanged places for one day. The Christian calendar ends the season on January 6th, marking the Epiphany, or visit of the three kings. So the kids’ performance was actually accurate historically.

But I was intrigued by the exchange between the cocoa drinkers. Both by the notion that it was high time to stop with the holiday spirit, as well as with the sentiment that Christmas might be a desirable daily celebration. I had the feeling that speaker wasn’t talking about perpetuating decorated tress or seasonal music so much as the spirit of “on earth peace, good will toward men,” - something that had certainly been in evidence during the kids’ performance. 

Mary Baker Eddy wrote in her message, What Christmas Means to Me: “Christmas to me is the reminder of God's great gift, — His spiritual idea, man and the universe, — a gift which so transcends mortal, material, sensual giving that the merriment, mad ambition, rivalry, and ritual of our common Christmas seem a human mockery in mimicry of the real worship in commemoration of Christ's coming.

I think it is that “common Christmas’ that wears us out, and the very real reminder of God’s great gift that makes us want it never to end.

During those few weeks in December we do allow ourselves to focus on giving and bringing joy to others. We may struggle with the commercial hi-jacking of the season, but in proportion as we  are touched by Silent Night, the personal note in a card from a distant friend, the impulse to give in ways that truly make a difference, and the example of man who began life as that babe in a manger, we connect with our faith in divine good. 

While many become (quite rightly) fed up with the barrage of “mortal, material, sensual,” conventional Christmas, and can’t wait to get back-to-business-as-usual in January, there is a sweet concord underpinning the season that we would do well to cling to after the lights are taken down.

“The splendor of this nativity of Christ reveals infinite meanings and gives manifold blessings.” 

Think back over this past Christmas and find those moments that expressed the understanding of Christ, not in the flesh, but as constantly coming to the flesh to make clear our true identity as children of Our Father. The moments when we saw each other clearly - not as mortals engaged in a ritual or harried by the material demands of the season but embraced in the light of Love, one in that light.

And now that we are halfway through January, it is a perfect time to remember to observe the perpetual “open secret” of Christmas. “Jesus, the Galilean Prophet, was born of the Virgin Mary's spiritual thoughts of Life and its manifestation.” And as we cherish such spiritual thoughts in our daily walk and keep ourselves ready and willing to see Life and its manifestation in contradiction to material images of lack and injustice, we will get to have Christmas every day. 

Our Leader gave us a model: “I love to observe Christmas in quietude, humility, benevolence, charity, letting good will towards man, eloquent silence, prayer, and praise express my conception of Truth's appearing.” These qualities and actions are how to get to the heart of Christmas and how to go forward with “the dawn of divine Love breaking upon the gloom of matter and evil with the glory of infinite being.”

Our Association this year is titled, “Our Open Secret: the power of spiritual sense”. To begin preparation for the address, please read Mrs. Eddy’s illustrated poem, Christ and Christmas. It may seem, at first glance, a quaint, very 19th century little book. But her contention was that it is an exposition of the dawning of Christian Science on human thought. And at this time, when the Christ Science is so needed by the world, and a merely personal, human sense of our church simply cannot profit, it is helpful to return to the “Star of Boston,” and esteem both what draws us to Science, what it means at its core, and what demands it makes on us.

Read it more than once and think about what James Gilman’s illustrations, which he created with Mrs. Eddy’s guidance, signify in conjunction with the text. And after you’ve imbibed the book’s message, please share with us what demand you perceived in it and what you intend to do to further meet that demand.

Association is a group activity that is meant to be shared. Your contribution doesn’t merely matter, it constitutes Association!

Our 2017 meeting will be at 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 3 at the Christian Science Student Organization at 315 N. Mills Street, Madison, Wisconsin. Contact Louise Krueger with questions about staying at the CSO (480-353-8149, louise@core.com)

 

 

Powered by Squarespace