“I shall not die”

First of all – church tonight is in the bank, as per usual!  Find us at 687 Centre St in JP, or on the phone at (605) 475-4000 x.636128.  I’d recommend calling in a few minutes before the service, which starts at 7:35pm Eastern time.

Second of all… a resource for your day:

(but first, a bit of lead-in…)

I was scanning news headlines recently, and it struck me how many of them make some connection to death.  It seems like this isn’t an uncommon occurrence, too… any time we take a minute to check out the news, it’s not long before we come across a story involving death in some way – from accidental death, to shootings, to suicides, to a scary new disease with no cure.

Frankly… it seems like death, or the fear of it, is right at the center of a whole lot of problems.

In a quote from Mary Baker Eddy (the founder of Christian Science), she notes a similar point about the need to conquer the fear of death at the root – or, as she also points out, the “faith in death”:

The relinquishment of all faith in death and also of the fear of its sting would raise the standard of health and morals far beyond its present elevation, and would enable us to hold the banner of Christianity aloft with unflinching faith in God, in Life eternal.

– Mary Baker Eddy (from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures – in context here)

So, what if it were possible to actually tackle the challenge of death – and win?  What if the ultimate bad thing wasn’t such an impenetrable wall, after all?

The notion that this is really possible was the topic of a live audio chat that took place yesterday.  For considering the topic of death, and in response to the types of headlines I mentioned, I found this to be an awesome resource.  I hope you’ll enjoy it, too.

Listen to a replay of the chat here: “I shall not die, but live…”

Con cariño,

the JP Church clerk 🙂

Wake up.

Recently, I had a dream that my best friend had died.  I woke up pretty upset.  This guy’s basically my brother, so I felt I should call his mom to express my condolences or maybe grieve with her.  As I contemplating dialing the number I’d dialed so many times as a kid to find out if Kyle could come over, I knew, theoretically, that since it had been a dream, he should still be alive, somewhere, and this call wasn’t logically necessary.  The response in my head was “Come on, are you going to not call a grieving mother because of some theory?”  Pretty soon, the absurdity sank in, and I began to feel better.  Turns out, Kyle was okay the whole time, unaffected by my dream, unaware of how vivid it was.  Huh.

Of course, the unreality of dreams is no mere theory or doctrine; it’s simple truth.  Believing it or not doesn’t change the truth.  But understanding reality sure can lift the shade of gloom imposed by a fleeting dream.

And if you’re familiar with this blog, you probably know where I’m going with this.  Jesus revealed that the kingdom of heaven is here and now.  And indeed,

Our Master taught no mere theory, doctrine, or belief.  It was the divine Principle of all real being which he taught and practised.  His proof of Christianity was … Science…”

Mary Baker EddyScience and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 26

Christ’s teachings are demonstrated fact.  All the things overcome by Jesus (storms, sickness, sin, death) need affect us no more than my dream, for dreams they must be, contradicting the Principle that is Love.

And Kyle’s still smiling.


So, any day is a good day for retelling the story of Jesus’ ultimate triumph, his proof of the insubstantiality of even the most vivid dreams (abandonment, scourging, and crucifixion).  Including this Sunday.

So, on Sunday we’ll be hosting a church service, including singing, prayer, and a sermon given by our pastor on Jesus’ doctrine of atonement.  We’ll start at 10:35am (EDT) @687 Centre St. in JP.  Please come by or call in via (605) 475-4000 x636128#.  We’d love to share our Sunday mornin’ with ya.

 

Abrazos grandes,

Grant and jpchurch

PS: a little ditty about the end of (the dream of) death, by a band called Gungor, having entirely too much fun:

Freedom sermon this Sunday

“the truth shall make you free.”

Jesus, John 8:32

“Truth brings the elements of liberty.”

Mary Baker EddyScience and Health with Key to the Scriptures p.224

 


Freedom’s pretty important to us.

We’ve fought many wars in its name, written countless books about it, sung songs, and made movies (including the #1 movie right now).  We’ve come a long way, but we’ve got our work cut out for us – there’s a lot of bonds out there to be torn away: sensualism shackles its practitioner to a false master, as well as fueling the horrors of sex slavery; the idea that somebody is not my brother bars me from the natural expression of brotherly love to him, but is also what allows discriminatory (literal) imprisonment of way too many young men in my country and others; selfishness constricts anybody that harbors it, and can motivate leaders to take away the people’s rights.  We can see infringements of freedom in our own lives or in world events on the news.

When tyranny, literal or metaphorical, in our own lives or the world abroad, seems beyond us to rise above… where do we turn?  Well, liberty is also a constant theme in the Bible: from Egypt to Rome, from false idols to plagues, there was always some bondage to be overcome.  And the savior can always throw off that bondage.  In her seminal work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy explained that the Christ, this message of Truth come to destroy error, best exemplified by Jesus, is what enabled folks from Moses to Paul, as well as herself, her students, and anyone, to cast off their bonds, by understanding their transience, by understanding the allness of God good.  Indeed, she writes that the person trying to understand Christ

“has enlisted to lessen evil, disease, and death; and he will overcome them by understanding their nothingness and the allness of God, or good.”

Any and all apparent lack of freedom boils down to the simplest lie: that there is another power than God, divine Love.  Uncovering this truth is liberation.  This corrects sin, unshackling the sinner.  It heals disease, unbinding her whom Satan hath bound.  One big tyrannical lie is death, and the always-truth that Life is eternal overcomes that, too.  Truth overcomes these things so efficaciously because they’re not real — they have no claim in our story of harmony and growth.

I say that like it’s easy — I’m still working on it… sure seems like I’m bound with some of these irons right now, in fact.  But the scientific pursuit of this truth has liberated me from physiological and emotional manacles before, and I know that as I continue to grow in grace, more will drop away.  And all the while I can help my brothers and sisters see the truth, and see healing in their lives.  That experience is pretty great, and I highly recommend it.

So, this Sunday morning, we’ll be hearing a sermon from these two books — the Bible and Science and Health — about the unreality of sin, sickness, and death, and the freedom that is the corresponding reality of righteousness, health, life.  There’ll also be a bit of lovely prayer and song accompanying it.  We’ll be meeting at 687 Centre St. in Jamaica Plain @10:35am; won’t you join us?  (We can be joined by phone at (605) 475-4000 x636128#.)

Always love,

grant + jpchurch

 

PS: Here’s a cute little song that talks about how to see this freedom in your life:

Do you ever wrestle with doing the wrong thing?  Do you get sick?  Have you grappled with your impending mortality?  From the standpoint of a human body composed of matter, it’s inevitable that brute urges, disease, and decay will come, and will be struggled with.

What if we change that standpoint?

687 Centre St., JP @ 10:35 Sunday mornin’. (650) 475-4000 x636128

Called! to a testimony meeting Wednesday

Jacob was a cheater, Peter had a temper, David had an affair, Noah got drunk, Jonah ran from God, Paul was a murderer, Gideon was insecure, Miriam was a gossiper, Martha was a worrier, Thomas was a doubter, Sarah was impatient, Elijah was depressed, Moses stuttered, Zaccheus was short, Abraham was old, Lazarus was dead

God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the CALLED!

-Anonymous

Have you done good, experienced good, or grown, despite something in your life saying there’s bad?  That’s how Love rolls, bud.  Come share it with us.  Our pastor and we will be sharing similarly.  7:35pm Wednesday, @ 687 Centre St. or 1.605.475.4000 x636128.  (Skypers, email one of us.)