Be still, and know that I am God

God’s instruction to be still and calm is found in many passages throughout the Bible, including a story found in this week’s Christian Science Bible Lesson. In 1 Kings 19, the prophet Elijah tries to impress everyone back into worshipping God by a spectacular miracle involving dueling altars (one to God and one to Baal). Although the miracle does in fact lead many to repentance, its overall effect is mixed and does not shield Elijah from Jezebel’s attack. After Elijah is driven into the wilderness, God shows him that God is not to be found in impressive, powerful demonstrations like fire, wind, and earthquake. God is in the calm…in the still, small voice. This reminds me of some advice I received once before giving my first sermon to a pluralistic audience who had mixed feelings about having me preach. My mentor told me, “You’re there to express the qualities God gave you, not to impress people.” What good advice that I still take to heart!

If you’d like to join us for a service all about God, we will meet tomorrow at 10:35am in Johnson Park, across from Green Street station. OR you can join us by phone (605) 475-4000 x636128#

 

Sunday Service

Get ready for an amazing service tomorrow! As always, where we are gathered together, God is there in our midst. 🙂

As a head’s up for tomorrow morning, the community room is currently without heat (as of Saturday afternoon, anyway) so sure to dress appropriately. We will have a space heater, but it is probably worth bringing an extra blanket or jacket. See you there!

@ 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#

 

Who do we believe?

Here are a couple of Bible passages found in this week’s amazing Christian Science Bible Lesson. For me they illustrate the need to challenge the premise of what kind of knowledge is presented to us continuously. Who do we believe? Advertisements, television, human history? Nope! We believe God and the power of Christ, God’s perfect idea, coming to heal and uplift humanity.

Genesis 3:1–6,

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

Revelation 12:7–10 (to 🙂

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ:

Please join us tomorrow morning for more Scripture and writings from the founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, in person or on the phone!

@ 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#

Reality

One of the best quotes from Mary Baker Eddy, and perhaps most loved in the Christian Science community, is as follows:

“We must look deep into realism instead of accepting only the outward sense of things.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, 129:22-24)

What a wonderful and yet challenging thought! What is real? What gives us true testimony versus false about God and creation? How do we find out what’s real? If you’re interested in learning more, please join us for our Sunday service tomorrow morning

@ 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#

“Every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters”

For our third hymn we will be singing Water hymn by Vaughan & Glass, the words can be found at the bottom of this post.

This week the lesson we have been studying, which we will read in our Sunday service is on the subject “Life” and has a focus on God’s sustaining power. One passage from our Leader Mary Baker Eddy included in the lesson reads:

Millions of unprejudiced minds — simple seekers for Truth, weary wanderers, athirst in the desert — are waiting and watching for rest and drink. Give them a cup of cold water in Christ’s name, and never fear the consequences. … Those ready for the blessing you impart will give thanks. 

(Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with key to the Scriptures, pg 570)

How are you giving this cup of cold water to receptive hearts today?

Water Hymn [Vaughan & Glass]

Like trees who never plead for water,
here to stand with branches opened wide,
we receive the Father’s rain of blessings.
When we trust, He will provide. When we trust, He will provide.
Like the fish living under water,
who can’t trip or tumble or fall down,
we live in our elements of Spirit.
Our support is all around. Our support is all around.
Like the birds high above the water,
soaring miles upon miles straight ahead,
We are free to soar beyond distractions.
God is here. We will be led. God is here. We will be led.
God is Lord of land and sky and water
He made all and called his work well done.
We are His, Love’s innocent reflection.
And we shine just like the sun. And we shine just like the sun.

We hope you’ll join us by the waters Sunday July 19th at 10:35 am. We will be meeting in Johnson Square park (across from the Green St. stop on the orange line) near the fountain. Or on the phone at (605) 475-4000, code: 636128#

Gravitating Godward

A great quote from theologian and founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, reads “Mortals must gravitate Godward, their affections and aims grow spiritual…” (Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures, 265:5-6). What a wonderful and worthy pursuit! I know that I hope to always be growing toward Spirit and spirituality. How does this happen? We do this by emulating the words and works of Christ Jesus, and by recognizing God as all powerful, all knowing, and always present. Our daily efforts to love God and love our neighbors bring us in accord with divine Spirit, Love, and Truth. Here’s to more love being expressed every day and to spiritual progress toward God!

This Sunday July 5th we’ll be meeting in Johnson Park across from Green St station on the orange line at 10:35AM.

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#

Food for thought

Two of my favorite passages from the Bible and the writings of Mary Baker Eddy are:

Ex 20:2-3, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures, 129:22, “We must look deep into realism instead of accepting only the outward sense of things.”

What is the premise of thought today? What are we accepting, what might we even be worshiping without realizing it? No judgment in this, just some food for productive thought!

@ 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.
-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, and pure Love.

 

Under the law, or under grace? (+ church tonight!)

(In-person church service at the bank tonight!  Location & details @ end of this post.)

Some thoughts on “the law” vs “grace” (Romans 6:14):

In Mary Baker Eddy’s book Miscellaneous Writings, 1883-1896, she includes a “Questions and Answers” section, including all kinds of Q&A about Christian Science.  One of the very first questions she answers deals not with ethereal spiritual concepts, but with a down-to-earth, almost nit-picky concerninternal to just her student base, so it seems at first:

How shall we demean ourselves towards the students of disloyal students?

Interesting, I think, that she found this specific question important enough to address right up front.  My guess at why, or at least partially why, she might’ve done this: she felt the response was actually very broadly universal:

“From this question, I infer that some of my students seem not to know in what manner they should act towards the students of false teachers…. In Mark, ninth chapter, commencing at the thirty-third verse, you will find my views on this subject; love alone is admissible towards friend and foe.”  (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 32)

Philip Yancey, the author of What’s So Amazing About Grace, poses a related question in his book.  Essentially, he’s explained throughout the whole book why he sees grace, i.e. the unearned love and acceptance from God, as “Christianity’s best gift to the world” (p. 30).

Then he asks: “How can Christians uphold moral values in a secular society while at the same time conveying a spirit of grace and love?” (p. 230)

It’s sort of what Mrs. Eddy’s students were asking her, right?  Behind their question—and, I think, for lots of Christians, students of Christian Science included—there may be a concern like this: “We know there’s something deeply special about the system that is Christianity.  We love what its guidelines have shown us about life & existence, so we’re doing our best to be faithful to them as we know how.  So what about when other people aren’t doing it the same way, or aren’t even trying?  How should we deal?  Is there a balance between judgment and love?”

Yancey makes the point in his book—and I feel Eddy does in her writings, too—that the balance… is actually just to love.  Without stopping to check whether particular rules of behavior are being applied.

(I should add, both of these Christian authors modeled this idea after Christ Jesus, rather than claiming to have come up with it themselves.  Jesus practices this point himself throughout the Gospels.)

It’s interesting that this feels humanly counter-intuitive.  After all, we should be standing up personally for things we feel are right!  Right?

Maybe… the idea works because God is Love itself.  And, also, is actually the one in charge (even if it seems like we are).  So, as we consciously reflect His grace & love, and let that be the overwhelming guide in our relations with people, we’ll see that He totally takes care of the details one-on-one with each person, as needed.  And that it’s not up to us to do that.  Maybe?

In any case, it seems worth a try to me.

There’s a lot of implied trust here, too, that God actually is all-powerful… enough to affect the lives of each of Her children without help from Her other children.  Which is pretty cool, and requires humility and faith on our part.

Sooo… that’s pretty darn great.

(This idea has been some good food for thought for me recently, so I wanted to share it where others can enjoy.  Still working on living these ideas, myself.)  🙂

“For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'” -Paul (Galatians 5:14)

-Christa

• • • • • • •

On a separate, but very important note: today is Wednesday.  We’re all growing in our practice of this understanding-eternal-Life business, and Wednesday means we get some consecrated time to come share our findings.  🙂  You can share, or just listen, this evening.  Details (+ our call-in number) below.

Love,

the C.S. Society of JP


Details about tonight’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, code: 636128#
what: An hour of singing, contemplative prayer, readings from the Bible and Science and Health, testimony sharing, and pure Love.

An indispensable question

The question, “What is Truth,” convulses the world.

-Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 223

It’s a question people are all learning more about – including the folks who call this church our home.  For our part, we’re coming together in the morning to consider it more.

Wherever you are, you’re welcome to attend this service & take part in this with us.  (We’ve got a call-in line, so this is literally possible from just about any location.)

Love,

the Christian Science Society of JP!  🙂


Details about today’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.

Darwin at the feet of Jesus?

Hi, sweet reader.

(If you’re here in search of the service location/time/phone#, please check the end of this post.)

Tomorrow, we’re delving into a mighty question in church (and Christian Scientists & others around the world have been sitting with this question all week in prayer): Is the universe, including man, evolved by atomic force?

Sooo for any who may happen across this blog post and think that the sermon topic is a challenge to Darwinism… well, it ultimately is, but it also sort of isn’t.  To cover the “sort of isn’t,” Christian Science doesn’t teach young earth creationism, though it does teach a God that is the creator of all.  Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, actually gives Darwin a couple of nods in her writing, including the place where she writes that “…Darwin’s theory of evolution from a material basis is more consistent than most theories” in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.

However, it still is a challenge to Darwinism, in that Christian Science explains thought, not matter, as the building-block of the reality that God derived.  In other words, there is a challenge posed to any theory that’s based around a material idea of the development of life—evolutionism and the various forms of creationism included.

Above, where I mentioned that God is the creator of all… really, this is a question of what “all” is.  And, really, of what “God” is.

The following paragraphs do a pretty great job of speaking to a Christian Science view of these concepts, much better than I could.  This is Eddy again, from an article “Science and Philosophy” in her collection Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896. (To help with thinking about the text, here’s a definition of “mortal mind” as she uses it below.)

From “Science and Philosophy”:

[[ When mortal mind is silenced by the “still, small voice” of Truth that regenerates philosophy and logic; and Jesus, as the true idea of Him, is heard as of yore saying to sensitive ears and dark disciples, “I came from the Father,” “Before Abraham was, I am,” coexistent and coeternal with God, — and this idea is understood, —  then will the earth be filled with the true knowledge of Christ. No advancing modes of human mind made Jesus; rather was it their subjugation, and the pure heart that sees God.

When the belief in material origin, mortal mind, sensual conception, dissolves through self-imposed suffering, and its substances are found substanceless, — then its miscalled life ends in death, and death itself is swallowed up in Life, — spiritual Life, whose myriad forms are neither material nor mortal.

When every form and mode of evil disappear to human thought, and mollusk and radiate are spiritual concepts testifying to one creator, — then, earth is full of His glory, and Christian Science has overshadowed all human philosophy, and being is understood in startling contradiction of human hypotheses; and Socrates, Plato, Kant, Locke, Berkeley, Tyndall, Darwin, and Spencer sit at the feet of Jesus. ]]

Obviously, these are huuuuuuge concepts.  And not one that a single blog post can do justice to.  Those of us who call this little church their home are delving into them as best we can and trying to understand them, and the nature of life itself (one way we do this is by putting Jesus’ teachings into practice as best as we understand them).  And any and all are welcome to join us in this quest, whether with us in a service, or just in your own individual prayers, consideration, and good works/love.

And if a church service is what you’re after, you can check below for more info, including a phone number that lets you dial in remotely to a service.

All love as the Christmas season continues.  Wishing you, me, and everyone: a clearer understanding than before of the knock-you-over-the-head power of Christ’s love.

Christa (on behalf of the C.S. Society of JP)


Details about today’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.