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:

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Sunday Service: is the universe run by atomic forces?

The Matrix… has … basic rules like gravity.  … Some of them can be bent; others can be broken.  Understand?

-Morpheus, “The Matrix”

A fun movie (if you’re into action, philosophy, special effects, or wearing leather), and a great thought-provoker.  Its insights are profound (though ultimately limited).  This character’s got a point: in an apparent reality largely determined by thought and beliefs, there may seem to be rules, but they’re ultimately prone to warp and waver.  Yet, if it even makes sense to talk about reality there must be some principle that’s actually consistent behind it.  The “beloved student” of the most scientific man that ever trod the globe said that it’s Love.

The idea that it is the Principle, Love, that runs our world, rather than, say, the forces between atoms, is pretty radical.  It would lead to radical conclusions about health, about where life comes from, about where supply and sustenance comes from, about safety amid storms, even, as Morpheus suggested, gravity.  Of course, radical ideas demand extraordinary proof.  Let’s hear what that extraordinary scientist mentioned above might have demonstrated about these radical claims, and how we can apply his results scientifically.  Let’s say… Sunday at 10:35am at 687 Centre St. in Jamaica Plain.  (Also available by phone (605) 475-4000 x636128, or Skype at christian.science.jp.church )

See you there!

Science! @ church (different location)

Merriam Webster’s Word of the Year is “science, because people looked it up a lot this year.  It has relevance to so many stories this year: what’s happening to our world, what are we learning about, what are we discovering?

The English word science comes from the Latin for “knowledge”, and the Koine Greek γνώσιν (“sci-” in Latin and “σι” in Greek share a Proto-Indo-European root) is sometimes translated as “science” and sometimes “knowledge” — it comes up 29x in the New Testament of the Bible, like the end of Luke 1 where it talks about preparing the way for the Lord’s “science of salvation.”

Humans have attempted science for a long time, and we’re getting really good at our version.  We’ve mastered the atom, crawled all over Mars, and occasionally get the weather right.  Scientific endeavor has translated many things into thoughts, thereby augmenting understanding and enabling technological prowess that seems like magic.  And this science can explain so very much about the wondrous heavens, from the forging of the elements in the big bang to the life cycles of stars, and what currently confuses astronomers about the heavens will likely be figured out in the future.  But this understanding will always be finite.

On the other hand, God, infinite Mind, is the One that set them there, and

His understanding is inexhaustible and boundless.

Psalm 147:5 (AMP)

proverb says it is by this understanding that He established the heavens.  (Sidebar: It’s not mainstream, but self-consistent Truth inducing actual creation has certain renowned proponents among philosophers and physicists.)

Can our human attempts at science explain the ultimate “why”‘s?  Sometimes we’ll try, and you hear mutterings about string theory and eternal inflation, but then “science” begins to exceed its boundary of testability.  And in other directions: Can we explain the forgiveness of misdeeds?  Can we reproduce the radical healing practiced routinely by Jesus and others?  There seems to be a science there – Jesus taught students, he encouraged empiricism, and he promised that anyone could reproduce his works:

believe what you see—these works. The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things

John 14:11-12 (MSG)

Hmm.

The reason human science can’t compete with this divine Science (at least in these questions) is subtle (at least, to me).  In her book about scienceScience and Health with Key to the Scriptures (S & H), Mary Baker Eddy consistently echoes the theme of the Bible that God, divine Mind, Principle, is the only cause.  I was skeptical of this claim for a long time.  In particular, it denies validity to material causation.  That book says:

starting from a material sense … seeks cause in effect, Principle in its idea, and life and intelligence in matter.

In the infinitude of Mind, matter must be unknown.

S & H, p.279

Just beforehand, it says:

     That matter is substantial … exists only in a supposititious mortal consciousness.

Every system of human philosophy, doctrine, and medicine is more or less infected with the pantheistic belief that there is mind in matter…  A logical and scientific conclusion is reached only though the knowledge that there are not two bases of being, matter and mind, but one alone, — Mind.

Ibid, pp.278-279

That passage on its own might not convince you — it wouldn’t convince me on its own.  But beauty and order point to Mind.  And I know it’s written deep in your heart, as I’ve been slowly discovering it is in mine.  But if you don’t think you can read that right now, how about this: The folks who do acknowledge and adore one infinite Mind are capable of doing what we asked about in the beginning of this post: undoing sin, healing disease, and raising the dead.  Jesus did it (see the Gospels).  His apostles did it (see the book of Acts).  Mrs. Eddy did it (see, for instance, Christian Healer).  Her students did it and do it today: overcome lust and sickness and raise the (seemingly) dead.  I’ve experienced the first two, and have met some who have gone through the lattermost.  (Come by any Wednesday evening meeting to hear more stories!)  They do it by knowing the “basis of being” in the way Mrs. Eddy described above: “The Christian Scientist, understanding scientifically that all is Mind, commences with mental causation, the truth of being, to destroy the” (apparent) sin, sickness, or death (S & H, p.423).  I’m learning that it’s actually a simple and sure process.

Scientifically acknowledging the omnipresence and limitless good of God, our Mind, and thereby healing, is true praise.  Science and Health says, “Christian Science does honor God … in the way of his appointing, by doing many wonderful works though the divine … nature,” (p.483).  God causes this righteous praise to spring forth.  He gives you the desire to do good and the power to succeed at it.  It is God’s light by which we see light.

This Sunday morning, our pastor will give a sermon on God the only cause and creator, touching on some of these topics and more, in churches all over the world.  We’d love for you to join us in hearing it, and in singing and praying a bit.  Our local service is at 10:35, and it’s not (!) at our regular location — it’s at 66 Williams St., Apt. #2, Jamaica Plain, MA.  You can also phone in at 1.605.475.4000 x636128#, or Skype-message  christian.science.jp.church (audio only so far).

Much much love!  And thanks for reading the longest post yet.  🙂

-Grant

PS: Unlike physical science, the Science of Mind does give satisfying understanding of love.  So we conclude with this poetic prose from a section labelled “Love imparts beauty” that touches on much of the above:

God fashions all things, after His own likeness.  Life is reflected in existence, Truth in truthfulness, God in goodness, which impart their own peace and permanence.  Love, redolent with unselfishness, bathes all in beauty and light.  The grass beneath our feet silently exclaims, “The meek shall inherit the earth.”  The modest arbutus sends her sweet breath to heaven.  The great rock gives shadow and shelter.  The sunlight glints from the church-dome, glances into the prison-cell, glides into the sick-chamber, brightens the flower, beautifies the landscape, blesses the earth.  Man, made in His likeness, possesses and reflects God’s dominion over all the earth.  Man and woman as coexistent and eternal with God forever reflect, in glorified quality, the infinite Father-Mother God.

S & H, p.516

Look deep

look deep into realism instead of accepting only the outward sense of things.

Mary Baker Eddy

or, as the Master put it,

Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

Jesus

Cold?  Lonely?  Struggling?  Come explore with us and our pastor how to look deeper and judge righteously.  Or, as Elihu put it, “let us discern for ourselves what is right; let us learn together what is good.”  As we look deeper, we’ll find the warmth, the love, and the help we need.

Also, there will be a bit of singing.

Come join us Sunday morning at 10:35 in the park bank!  (Or call in: (605) 475-4000 x636128.)