Scroll down through this year’s letters…
May 30, 2019
In the spirit of Association as something that continues throughout the year, here’s a bit of post-meeting fruitage from one of our members.
Always feel free to write or call.
I am so grateful for Association! It always motivates me to focus on what’s really important. It’s a demonstration each year just to get here, but so worth it! I feel like I’m surrounded by people who are very supportive, and accept and respect each other’s individual journeys in our study of Christian Science.
And, I always make progress!
I had a wonderful breakthrough this time while reading the address Sunday. Ever since Mom passed, I’ve had people tell me how the qualities she expressed, the love she expressed, can’t go away. They are God’s qualities. I cannot be deprived of them. Those blessings will come from new places, I just need to be aware of that, and look for them.
That’s a nice thought, I know it’s correct, and I’ve tried to do that. But it just hasn’t seemed to work very well.
At one point in my read, I suddenly had a realization: the love I felt from Mom was ALWAYS God’s. It NEVER originated from a person! So of course I can’t be deprived of it. Even though Mom was the person who expressed it best in my life, it was never tied to her. It’s always with me.
That was a real turning point. I feel much better.
Last year I was able to spend the night with my great aunt in Indianapolis on my way home, as well as some other people; but she moved to Boston (which felt like yet another loss). But I realized I dreaded going home, knowing Mom wasn’t there. I really didn’t want to go back to that “reality.” This year I didn’t end up visiting anyone I’d hoped to (except those I stayed with), but that was okay. It just didn’t work out, so I let it go. And I didn’t feel that dread about getting home. Instead, I felt good about getting back to work on things in my life. And, I felt better than I ever have getting home from my long trip!
I still have a ways to go, but that realization gave me a major boost. I’m so grateful for our Association, and each and every person involved with it!
More Association inspiration from a guest:
April 27, 2019
Each year as Association time draws near, I can’t help but have a sense of reverence for my teacher and our Association, as this is such a special day and I know what a blessing it will be.
In earlier years, it was sometimes a challenge to pay for the expenses involved in attending, including air fare, hotel and meals. Nevertheless, I was always able to make that demonstration. Each time I would remember how honored and moved I was by the whole experience--hearing my teacher give an address to his students that he had worked to prepare for a whole year, a divine message from God himself to my teacher, to be revealed to us! It would be something to be cherished forever.
I remember that during the flight there I would be so moved by the thought of how privileged and grateful I was to attend such an important event. I always paid close attention to choosing a nice outfit to wear, wanting to represent my teacher, classmates and the Association by honoring a gathering that deserved respect.
One particular year, when I was still living in Florida, the threat of a hurricane presented itself. The day before I was to leave, that hurricane was headed in the direction of our city. I was at work that day and we were all urged to go home and prepare for it. I could not and would not accept the idea of missing my Association. I was very adamant about being in my right place on Association day, and I just knew wholeheartedly that God would open the way. I called my teacher and he said he would get to work on it immediately. There was a trust and confidence that God was in control.
The weather reports continued to get worse as the hurricane approached, and we heard that the bridge that I would need to cross to get to the airport would soon be closed. A dear friend drove me to the airport very early the following morning. Within hours that bridge was closed as the hurricane approached.
It turned out to be a severe hurricane and I was incredibly grateful that I made my flight and was so protected. When I saw my teacher, I hugged him and thanked him for his support. He assured me that I was in my right place and that nothing could stop a right idea. That experience made a great impact on me, reminding me that divine Truth is available to meet every need for all who claim the power of a right idea. And the privilege of being at one’s Association each year is certainly a right idea that continues to bless me.
March 29, 2019
I received this a couple of weeks ago from one of our guests - I thought it made a helpful addition to thought as we work together toward Association day on May 18.
Early in January, one of my students won a competition which requires him to play a solo with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra in May. Normally, the schedule for this performance is set far in advance. However, this time we were informed that there was some difficulty, and there would be a delay of several weeks in determining the date of the concert. In past years, the concert has fallen on the weekend of Association. So I was concerned that I would have to attend a rehearsal to support my student at the Overture Center on Saturday morning.
I realized that the delay in setting up the schedule was an opportunity to pray about the situation. Every time it came into my thought, I remembered the statement, “What blesses one blesses all.” However, in the back of my mind I was still concerned.
During the time I waited for information, which lasted longer than expected, I began to think about not attending Association at all. My student won yet another competition which required more rehearsals and a concert earlier in May in Milwaukee. I thought about the physical difficulties in trying to do so much during that month, and began to dwell on all the limitations, both physical and emotional, the time constraints involved, and the doubt that going to Association would be of enough benefit to me to make the effort worth it. I couldn’t bring myself to start the assignment. Then I realized I could just do the assignment for my Association in California, which I can’t personally attend. I could spend that Saturday studying an old Association address and get just as much out of it.
Two weeks ago, the concert schedule was published. It was as though the Red Sea had parted, and the Association Saturday was completely free. In fact, the concert at the Overture Center is on a weekday, which has never happened in the past. It also turned out that the Milwaukee concert is on a Thursday.
But rather than feel relieved, the doubt and concern remained in my thought. There were various scenarios for why I should still not attend. At the same time, I knew that I had to examine and challenge what was going on in my thought. Was this guidance or animal magnetism? I asked myself what my teacher would tell me to do, what Caryl would tell me to do, what my closest Christian Science friends would say. I spoke to my daughter about it, and when I heard myself verbalize my thoughts, they began to sound absurd. I considered the most profound desire I hold for myself, which is a deeper understanding of the Truth of being, and things began to be very clear. These suggestions were indeed a bald imposition on the truth.
After decades of attending Association meetings, I know fundamentally, and without any doubt, that each Association day has given me a deeper understanding of another aspect of the Science of Being. Regardless of the difficulty and expense in attending each year, the fruits have been immeasurable. Every time I attended my own Association, my teacher would begin by saying that perhaps the most important part of the day was the demonstration we had made to be in our seat.
I began to challenge each and every suggestion of limitation that would prevent me from attending this year‘s Association. The resistance quickly faded, as did physical symptoms that had begun to appear during this mental struggle. Pain which had arisen, especially during the last few days, had initially been seen as a an indication as to why I shouldn’t attend. But it came to me that if I was thinking that it would be physically difficult to do all of these things in May, and that it might be to my detriment, then why would I have to wait until May to suffer? I could go ahead and start suffering right now, and give that fear substance. This is the insidious result of accepting a limitation of good. The pain rapidly diminished as I made a commitment to attend Association this year. I have already begun to receive inspiration from working on the assignment. And I am still free to do the assignment for my own Association and study an address that day, as I always do.
I hope that sharing this experience will help someone clarify the importance of attending Association this year. I look forward to seeing you there.
February 14, 2019
The weather is still wintry, but we’re making plans for our Spring meeting.
Just a reminder: we will hold Association on Saturday, May 18 at the Christian Science Student Organization at 315 N. Mills Street in Madison, Wisconsin. There will be a brief business meeting for Association members at 9:00 a.m. and then guests may join us for the address at 9:15 a.m.
Your presence is crucial to vigor of our Association and an indispensable part of individual spiritual growth. Please be alert to the spurious suggestions of animal magnetism to the contrary and treat them accordingly!
The assignment was to read the entire Sermon on the Mount (Matthew, chapters 5-7)
Then choose one part of the Sermon to practice (study, devote thought to, act on) and report your experience to us.
We will be very pleased to receive your initial thoughts or questions on the assignment and expect to receive fruitage by early May.
Here are my initial thoughts on the assignment:
I’ve been working with the first statement in the Beatitudes, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”.
Over the years, and largely inspired by the experience of translating the Sermon from the original Greek, I’ve come to feel that each of the eight blessings that Jesus lists are related; that they build on each other. For example, without humility there can be no repentance. Without repentance, how is meekness not just weakness or cowardice? What is a hunger and thirst for righteousness without the preceding?
The firmer our understanding or each blessing, the greater our progress in following Christ. Though we may not be done with the earlier ones as we begin to work on the later, it seems clear that you can’t successfully practice mercy, purity, and peace without humility, inner righteousness and meekness.
Coming back to the first of the blessings, it seems at first counter-intuitive: how can one be blessed or “happy” as some translations have it, if one is poor in spirit, or, literally, “a beggar,” "one who crouches or cringes”. J.B. Phillips renders “poor in spirit” as “humble-minded,” which is a bit easier to understand. But there is definitely a sense of one coming, cap in hand, to life, not alleging personal wisdom, not claiming to have it all figured out, but confessing, abjectly, that most truly, of our own selves, we can do nothing.
It makes sense to me that this must be the starting point for our practice. That we would be unable to obey the First Commandment if we thought we were sufficient to ourselves, or that God was our “co-pilot” - the intelligence there to back us up if we should need a hand.
What looks at first paradoxical turns out to be a straightforward description of how things work: when we are willing and able (usually because we have failed to create and maintain harmony, health, and happiness through our human efforts) to put aside pride, self-will, self-love, and self-justification, we discover a treasure of spiritual resources. Knowing that we can, of our own selves do nothing, we find that we are not helpless, but witnesses to God’s doing, knowing; testifiers to His Love.
I’ve found ample, daily opportunities to reflect on this and to remember it before rushing off to act like an all-too-human deity in an effort to meet the challenges of life. It has been invaluable at church board meetings, family dinners, in the healing practice, and everyday interactions. I was also able to apply it to a physical claim - but more on that in May!
Do work with the assignment and let us know how that’s going.
November 17, 2018
Just a quick note to remind you of our Association plans for 2019.
Next year’s Association meeting will take place on Saturday, May 18, 2019, 9 a.m. at the Christian Science Student Organization at 315 N. Mills St. We will have our business meeting at 9 a.m. and guests will join us at 9:15 a.m.
At a recent teacher conference with the Christian Science Board of Directors and Board of Education, there was much discussion about the teacher corps' role in preparing practitioners (which is the purpose of class). Mrs. Eddy told her students, "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 topic for the 2019 Association meeting is: The Knowledge of God. I’ll be sending the assignment with our Christmas letter.
Meanwhile, please think about our Leader’s charge and your work as practitioners in a world that yearns for Truth.
Association Christmas Letter 2018
December 25, 2018
The last verse of Hymn 222 seems perfect for this moment;
"How silently, how silently,
The wondrous gift is given;
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven."
This is what we celebrate at Christmas: the coming of the Christ, the knowledge of God’s presence and Love, more powerful than any claim to the contrary.
“This is life eternal,” says Jesus, — is, not shall be; and then he defines everlasting life as a present knowledge of his Father and of himself, — the knowledge of Love, Truth, and Life.” (SH 410:4-7). This knowledge of God is not an intellectual accomplishment, or a matter of mere belief (accepting what we are told without the understanding that comes of scientific testing). We experience the knowledge of God in proportion to our practice of entertaining the right idea of His creation and love our neighbor as ourselves.
Mrs. Eddy goes on, "The Scriptures say, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God,” showing that Truth is the actual life of man; but mankind objects to making this teaching practical.”
At Christmas time our objections weaken. We remember the power of Love, we pause and praise the quiet Truth that contradicts the noisy clamor of mortal mind’s narrative of discord, pain, and fear, we turn our gaze to that silent, holy night of Jesus’ birth and the fact that God gave us His messenger of grace to point the way. Christmas is a time of respite from the world’s drumbeat of material cause and effect.
Of course, as Christian Scientists, we know that, "In Christian Science, Christmas stands for the real, the absolute and eternal, — for the things of Spirit, not of matter.” (My. 260:9-11) Christmas is a daily event, not just a December moment. We have Christmas whenever our thoughts and actions are in accord with the divine Truth of God’s unconditional Love poured out on all creation.
Take a moment today and listen (or re-listen) to Phillip Hockley’s testimony on Sentinel Radio from 2002:
Guests: Phillip Hockley
September 8, 2007 - Sentinel Radio 2007
Click here to view:' https://sentinel.christianscience.com/shared/view/t5ldt4z9jq?s=e
JSH-Online is the official website of The Christian Science Journal, Sentinel, and Herald.
It’s an inspiring account of the wideness of God’s grace, the power of divine Love, and the true meaning of Christmas.
As usual, I’m including in our Christmas letter the assignment for our upcoming Association (we meet on Saturday, May 18, 2019, 9 a.m. at the Christian Science Student Organization at 315 N. Mills St.):
Please read the entire Sermon on the Mount (Matthew, chapters 5-7)
Then choose one part of the Sermon to practice (study, devote thought to, act on) and report your experience to us.
We’ll have more to say about that between now and May. Meanwhile:
Where charity stands watching
And faith holds wide the door,
The dark night wakes, the glory breaks,
And Christmas comes once more.