Jesus. Christ. Why are they important?

Come hear a lesson-sermon and service tomorrow totally devoted to thinking about this question.

Or call in to listen – 605-475-4000, 636128# – starting at 10:35am EST.

P.S. It’s supposed to be a glorious day for meeting in the park, so we’ll see you there @ 10:35am. That’s Johnson Park, the park in J.P. that’s closest to the Green St. T stop on the Orange line. You’ll find us in the grass, close to the corner of Green and Lamartine Streets. Bring your own lawn chairs if you’d like!

P.P.S. This may be our last Sunday-in-the-park this year. Starting next Sunday and for two months, we’ll be holding our service at 351 Centre St, a.k.a. our jointly-maintained Reading Room. We’re pumped to get to share some joint church services with our wonderful friends at 3rd Church of Christ, Scientist, during the months of September and October.

**NOTE: For all of September, our Sunday services will be held at 9:30am – an important time shift! You can’t say we didn’t warn you  😉  but don’t worry, we’ll be sure to keep the reminders coming as we go.

See you soon!

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:

@ 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#

The beauty of creation

Today I felt inspired by the Daily Lift, which was all about how beauty is a quality of God’s creation. Right now I’m at an Air Force base for a “drill weekend” where all the Reservists who work here are gathering together for their work weekend this month. People are greeting each other, shaking hands, asking about the past month, and talking about family, friends, and loved ones. Everyone is expressing a lot of love for each other, just as God is pouring out love for all of us! The beauty in this community gathering together and loving one another is not only amazing, but I’m praying to affirm that it is also a permanent quality of creation that can rise above anything that might try to drag it down or tarnish it. And I hope you’ll find some inspirational beauty this weekend as well, perhaps through the Daily Lift, a community of your own, or in recognizing the beauty and love from God that fills all of creation (a macro-community, if you will!).

Please join our joyful community this Sunday!

@ Eastern Bank Community Room. 687 Centre St, Jamaica Plain (map).
7:35-8:35 PM, EST.
-In person, or by phone (605) 475-4000, code: 636128#
what: An hour of singing, contemplative prayer, readings from the Bible and Science and Health, testimony sharing, and pure Love.

from the love that is Spirit

…Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness.

(The Message, Galatians 5:16)

The “compulsions of selfishness”… the” desires of the flesh” (NIV)… Either way, in both translations, neither of those is desirable.  Worth it to dip our toes into spiritual life, to explore the possibility that reality is a wee bit (or a way bit!) deeper than we know.

Keep digging, friends!

And in the morning, a sermon on Spirit.  Come and dine. ❤ (metaphorically, that is!)


Details about this morning’s church service:
@ Eastern Bank Community Room. 687 Centre St, Jamaica Plain (map).
(605) 475-4000 x.636128 – for remote attendees
10:35am-11:35am-ish, EST
-An hour of singing, contemplative prayer, readings from the Bible and Science and Health, and pure Love.

“We Shall Overcome.”

–> Details of the service location/time/call-in number are at the end of this post. <–

The Library of Congress says, “It was the most powerful song of the 20th century.”

Jesus said, “be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” In Romans we read, “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” And in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Innocence and Truth overcome guilt and error.”

On Wednesday evening, after a rousing rendition of this hymn, we will consider how these statements intersect. We will pray and listen for what they mean to us today and tomorrow and how we can live in accord with what we hear. Everyone’s welcome to come be a part of the service.

Jef and the C.S. Society of JP

Details about tomorrow’s service:

@ Eastern Bank Community Room. 687 Centre St, Jamaica Plain (map).
7:35-8:35 PM, EST.
-In person, or by phone (605) 475-4000 x 636128
what: An hour of singing, contemplative prayer, readings from the Bible and Science and Health, testimony sharing, and pure Love.

Ask without hidden motive —> be surrounded by your answer

–> Details of the service location/time/call-in number are at the bottom of this post. <–

Today, here’s a simple, useful message… just made to be basked in.

John 16:23-24 (from the Aramaic English New Testament)
[to dive deep & compare translations, Bible Hub & Bible Gateway are good resources.]

All things that you ask straightly, directly, that you desire –
like an arrow to its mark,
like birds to their watering place —
from the Breathing Life of All, Father-Mother of the Cosmos,

with my shem
my experience,
my Light and Sound,
my Atmosphere, my Word:
from inside my Name –

you will be given.

So far you haven’t done this.

So ask without hidden motive and
be surrounded by your answer –
be enveloped by what you desire –
that your gladness be full –
that the joy of goals met here
may continue its story to perfection in Unity –
that the [fullness of] life in you
find its lover in the Cosmos.

You and all are welcome to join in the service this evening (details below) to consider this concept some more, and to feel the healing it brings.

But wherever you are today, may you feel even closer than before to the goodness & healing we have every right to expect from God.

Much love,

Your pals at JP Church

Details about tonight’s service:

@ Eastern Bank Community Room. 687 Centre St, Jamaica Plain (map).
7:35-8:35 PM, EDT.
how: In person, or by phone (605) 475-4000 x 636128
what: An hour of singing, contemplative prayer, readings from the Bible and Science and Health, testimony sharing, and pure love.

PLEASE NOTE!  This Sunday and the following Wednesday, we will be in different locations than usual.  Be sure to keep an eye on this website for details; it will tell all.  ❤

Chilly-er church in the park

[Update as of 9 am Sept. 14: Church is moving inside – to 687 Centre St.. See you (or hear you) at the bank!]

Okay – so we’re going to be meeting in the park again for church tomorrow morning.  BUT the weather’s supposed to be in the high-50s-low-60s, though bright and sunny.  Do what you gotta do to stay comfortable as the weather gets a little more “autumn” on us.  (We’ll start meeting inside once outdoor-church becomes srsly unreasonable…)

For the faint-of-heart, or the far-away, you can call in at 605-475-4000 x. 636128.  We’ll start around 10:35am, Eastern time (EDT).

The topic of the service tomorrow: substance.

…one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”  If not, then what?

This service will help us explore the depths of what’s really substantial in our lives – including the substance of us.  If  you’re in search of more meaning, more freedom, less materialism, in your own life, then this is the place to be.  

Come, celebrate spiritual reality with us.  ❤

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).


Christa & the C.S. Society of JP

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:

A call to love.


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?


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.


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