What is the spiritual meaning?

Have you ever read the story of the woman of Canaan who comes to Jesus to ask him to heal her daughter? Matthew 15:21-28. Last semester in one of my classes at theology school we went over this passage, and there were many conflicting opinions about what it means. And sure enough, at first glance it seems like Jesus is awfully harsh on this Canaanite woman, saying that he wasn’t sent for her and that “It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.” (15:26) Why is this his response to her request for healing?

I think this story makes a little more sense when taken in context and when thinking about its deeper, spiritual meaning. Going back through the Hebrew Scriptures (not to mention other ancient texts) it becomes apparent that Canaanites worshiped other gods than Israel’s one God. There was a longstanding tradition of Israel’s prophets and leaders warning against association with Canaanites for fear of the people falling into idolatry. And the passage where Jesus meets a Canaanite woman comes right after an interaction between Jesus and some scribes and Pharisees who accuse him of breaking with tradition.

So what does all this mean? Well, what if Jesus’ words were really a challenge to idolatry? And going further, what if this interaction is an example of Jesus’ challenge to take the Gospel of Love to every creature and not to let tradition keep us in a mindset that others who aren’t like us don’t deserve healing and salvation, that they can’t enter the kingdom of God? After all, the story ends with Jesus calling the woman’s faith “great” and a wonderful healing of her daughter. Jesus spoke to and healed people who were commonly outsiders to his society, and maybe his harsh words in this case were aimed more at the mindset of those around him than at this woman who so clearly recognized Jesus and his spiritual ministry.

Please join us Wednesday evening at the bank (see address below) for more readings involving this story and time to share testimonies of healing, love, and gratitude!

Also: first time to a Christian Science church service?  Find out what to expect by checking out our “Services” page: https://jpchurch.com/services/

@ Eastern Bank Community Room. 687 Centre St, Jamaica Plain (map). 10:35-11:35 AM, EST, on Sunday and 7:35-8:35 PM, EST, on Wednesday.
-Or by phone (605) 475-4000, code: 636128#

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Hey there.

Today, my prayers are all about brotherhood. With the protests currently going on in Ferguson, MO, over the shooting of Michael Brown, it feels like there’s a powerful need for this country to understand & practice strong, true, impartial brotherhood more clearly.

In the past several days, I’ve been deeply inspired (and also saddened) by reading some of the related stories circulating online. Many of them are from people who are sharing, very honestly, their own experiences of encountering hate and racial bias. Most everything I’ve read has also clearly spoken about the need for the evil of prejudice to end. It feels like the act of raising awareness about the problem has been, and continues to be, an important step.

It feels like the more we identify that a) this is a problem, and b) it has been happening on this plane of existence – often in hidden or subtle ways – the more we will intuitively take a stand against it. Really, humanity is good. Nobody wants something evil to continue, once they genuinely & empathetically understand that it is evil. And, as a result, our views of God (a purely good God) and of man (the result of a purely good God) will, very naturally, become clearer. To this end, I’m encouraged by something Mary Baker Eddy wrote:

Error found out is two-thirds destroyed, and the last third pierces itself, for the remainder only stimulates and gives scope to higher demonstration. To strike out right and left against the mist, never clears the vision; but to lift your head above it, is a sovereign panacea. Mental darkness is senseless error, neither intelligence nor power, and its victim is responsible for its supposititious presence. “Cast the beam out of thine own eye.” Learn what in thine own mentality is unlike “the anointed,” and cast it out; then thou wilt discern the error in thy patient’s mind that makes his body sick, and remove it, and rest like the dove from the deluge.

-“The Way,” Miscellaneous Writings, p. 355

We can always be “casting the beam out of our own eye” more.  (I know I can, anyway.) We’re also learning to practice true love more, every single day. Even through the littlest of details or daily interactions, every one of us can find ways to love more, to see & understand the people around us. And each time we do that, every time the veil is lifted a bit farther from our eyes, we’re having a healing impact on the world.

So keep going, sweet ones. Keep going.

Relatedly, our Sunday service will be happening tomorrow. The topic is Mind – and there’s so much love to be had in considering how one God, one unified Mind, is the basis of all our relationships and actions. Hope to see you in “the park” (Johnson Park, in JP, across from the Green St T stop – map), or hear you on “the phone” (605-475-4000 x 636128) at 10:35am, EDT!

-Christa, on behalf of the C.S. Society of JP

a place to support & be supported

In thinking in general about church services, I’ve appreciated that they’re a great place to go and get to know God a little bit better.  Of course, God isn’t confined to a space – being a presence, or, as Jesus puts it, spirit – so you can be getting to know this presence of good anywhere.  But churchtime is a unique arena for this, since people come together in church with this same goal.  We all want to know more about love, completeness, order, effect & cause, intelligence, safety… and church is a time when we can all hunker down together, to support each other in prayer and feel supported ourselves.

Taking it a step further, Mary Baker Eddy’s got a rad definition of “church” in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.  You might already know about it.  It’s the next level of church – beyond the level of church activities, and at the level of ideas.  Part of it says that church is “the structure of Truth and Love; whatever rests upon and proceeds from divine Principle.”  There’s so much strength and universality in her statement, and, to me, it means that the strength of church goes with us wherever we are.

(You can read Eddy’s full definition of church here.  Lots of good food for thought.)

As always, one of our services is happening tonight, from 7:35-8:35 pm EDT.  You’re welcome to stop by – either virtually (on the phone @ 605-475-4000 x. 636128) or in person at the Eastern Bank community room (at 687 Centre St, Jamaica Plain).

Love!

Christa & the C.S. Society of JP

Fraternity this Wednesday

OK, challenge: think of somebody that scares you.  Maybe someone with power, maybe a hypothetical criminal, maybe someone directly involved in your life, whoever comes up for you.  Now realize that God, infinite Love, made that someone, the same way She made you — as a manifestation of loving intelligence.  This is your sibling, who shares your loving Father-Mother.  Anything that claims otherwise is not a legitimate part of your or their identity, and can be dropped.

Does this claim seem outlandish?  Realizing it and understanding why it’s true can have profound healing transformation in your (and their!) life.  Do you have questions about this?  Bring ’em!  Leave them in the comments, or better yet bring them to our little get-together this Wednesday evening. A bunch of your brothers and sisters will be circling up to talk about how realizing our (and everybody’s) nature as a loved child of God brings harmony to situations that initially seemed otherwise.  We’ll also read, pray, and sing a bit about these things.  Party’s at 7:35pm @ 687 Centre St. in Jamaica Plain, MA, but is open to folks all over the world via telephone (605) 475-4000 x636128# (or Skype, upon request).

Love to have ya,

jpchurch

One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the Scripture, “Love thy neighbor as thyself;” annihilates pagan and Christian idolatry,—whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes; equalizes the sexes; annuls the curse on man, and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed.

A call to love.

[revised]

As I think about this date and the challenge it represents to me, I feel compelled to challenge myself.  And why not pose the challenge to you, too?  The challenge: Love more.

Love is unconditional.

We all love the Boston Police Department when they’re restoring order amidst the confusion of violence.  We respect their commands, we party in the street with their victory.  What about when they pull us over?

Would you be able to love a popular, soft-spoken, religious, teenage lifeguard who’s a Best Buddy, a student, and a little brother?  What if he was involved in a bombing or a police murder?

What about Putin or Assad?  Someone in Boko Haram?  How about Obama or Cruz?  That kid from high school?  The beggar outside the coffee shop?  The driver that cut you off?  Your ex?

Yourself?

God loves you, just like She loves Sean Collier and the Tsarnaevs.  And Putin, your ex, everyone in Boston, everyone everywhere.  These are not mere platitudes.  They’re based on Principle (that God made you good and recognizes it) and understanding it can radically improve our situation.

When his reliance on God brought him (peaceful) victory over a whole army that had been sent to kill him, Elisha fed and freed them, thereby earning peace with their king.

Jesus forgave his murderers.

Love doesn’t mean enabling bad behavior — Jesus’ famous “turn the other cheek” is a triumph over violence, a command to demonstrate that violence is powerless against Love.  And he didn’t just talk the talk on that point, either.

Sure, but that’s Jesus Christ.  We can’t all be Jesus…  But we have one God; we’re emanations of one Mind.  We can therefore work to do as Paul asked: let that mind which was in Christ Jesus be in us.

I’m not saying I succeed in my effort at Christ-ian (we really should have a word for that… 😉 ) love all the time.  But I’m working on it, and I invite you to work with me.  I have to admit, I have trouble with people who walk inconsiderately.  And Bashar al-Assad.  But I’m taking it a day, a step, at a time, and I’m committed to loving in a more principled way.  To learning that we all have the same Father-Mother, Good.  To letting go of my claims against them.  To refusing the claims of fault in my siblings.  To demanding that I see the good in their individuality.  I still have more ease with some folks than with others, but I’m working at it.

For instance, I’ve lived in urban areas for awhile, and I’ve often been unsure of how to interact with folks asking me for money, aware that sometimes giving them what they ask for could be enabling destructive behavior, and sometimes honestly taking it personally when I detect attempts at deception.  Lately I’ve taken this question to God (Mind, Love), and have received more opportunities to interact with these brothers and sisters of ours.  I’ve begun learning who some of them are, how they express Good, and how I can effectively express love to them.  I’ve learned to listen, to share, to respect…  And, unsurprisingly, they’ve given me more than I’ve given them.  They’ve taught me about gratitude, grace, humility, strength, and more.  I’m really grateful for them.  (PS: if you want to better love this segment of your family, I recommend the Sermon on the Mount, being a pal, and learning what’s useful to them.)

I spent this time last year asking God to show me how to love the Tsarnaevs.  I think of myself, of those I love, and think of bad things I/they’ve done and people who don’t like me/them, and why I love them anyway.  Why the good in them inherently is more important than the bad, more identified with who they are, more lasting.  I don’t know the Tsarnaevs personally, but I know God loves them, and I know God’s not dumb.  Please join me in loving them and everyone who feels the same conflicts they do.


Some of us are getting together this Wednesday evening to talk about divine Love and how we put into practice our understanding of it, how it makes our lives better and lets us love more.  There’ll also be some readings, singing, and prayer.  We’d be thrilled if you;d join us at 687 Centre St. in JP (or via (605) 475-4000 x636128#) @7:35 (EDT).

I’m … still working on people who walk on the left side of the sidewalk.

<3,

Grant and jpchurch

“One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the Scripture, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself;’ annihilates pagan and Christian idolatry, — whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes; equalizes the sexes; annuls the curse on man, and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed.”

Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p.340

1

Sometimes I feel like I’m being pulled in multiple directions.

Sometimes it looks like there are personalities conflicting in my personal life, at work, in government, at war with each other.

Sometimes it feels like I have base wants competing with higher aspirations.

Any of that ever a challenge for you?  Well, when asked the one central thing that was most important to abide by, the most scientific man ever quoted from Scripture:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.

There’s no note of compromise, nothing half-assed about it.  Science is science; it’s not wishy-washy.  As Moses proclaimed, “The Lord our God is one Lord [the only Lord].”  God being Love, that makes man, who is ruled by that Principle, directed harmoniously, in concord, not dissonance.  As Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer and founder of Christian Science, put it in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, understanding this “unfold[s] the foundation of fellowship, in which one mind is not at war with another, but all have one Spirit, God, one intelligent source… If God is admitted to be the only Mind and Life, there ceases to be any opportunity for sin and death,” (p. 276).  She goes on to write about how this understanding enables radical healing.

So, keep this rule.  Insist on unity in the government of the universe.  Don’t accept lies about many conflicting forces or the discord that follows therefrom.  Just recognize and affirm the harmony of one Principle in charge, one Mind directing.

You can apply this to political squabbles, to armed conflict, to social inequity, to love triangles, to multiple sclerosis, to job hunts, to cancer, to health care.  There aren’t conflicting political agendas, conflicting personalities, conflicting needs of different peoples, wants, confused agents of health, many minds seeking finite resources from other personalities, many sources of “life” competing, …

All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation.

Science and Health, p. 468

Our pastor’s going to give a sermon tomorrow morning on this doctrine of at-one-ment.  Party’s at 687 Centre St. in Jamaica Plain, at 10:35 Sunday mornin’.  Bring your healing, and/or bring what needs to be healed.  Love.

PS: Callers in, as usual: phone (605) 475-4000 x636128, and a handy link for collection.

Come together

Come join with your brethren and sistren in praising Good.  It’s natural.  This week we’re joining hands with our neighbors at Third Church of Christ Scientist in Boston.  We’ll be meeting at their current home, Spontaneous Celebrations, on 45 Danforth St. in JP, starting at 9:45 Sunday morning.  (Call in at (605) 475-4000 x636128.)  We’ll have readings regarding the question: “Are sin, disease, and death real?”, as well as music and prayer.  And so much love backing it all.

Peace.

“Let us …

abide by the rule of perpetual harmony, — God’s law.”

-Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures

We all have one Father-Mother.  We are all brethren, and we all, deep down, love each other, because we all reflect that one Mother, Love.  (And Love is the Principle of the universe.)

Meanwhile, divine justice protects the innocent.  None of us can really be victims; there is nothing of substance to falsely accuse us, either.  We are innocent, and we are protected, by Love.

Let us come together and celebrate our unity, and the efficacy of true justice.

We are hosting a church meeting Wednesday evening 7/17 that will include readings about divine justice, as well as testimonies about the efficacy of divine Love in our lives.  (And singing!)  See you there at 7:35pm at 687 Centre St. in JP.

Love always.

 

Let us rejoice that we are subject to the divine “powers that be.”

Ibid.

 

PS: There’s a prayer watch in effect re: the Zimmerman acquittal and its ripples in our communities; please consider prayerfully addressing the issues in your thought.  Thank you so much.