Today: God!

Happy New Year!  Check out the bottom of the post for details on location/time/call-in #.

A quick note about this morning’s Lesson-Sermon: it’s broadly on the topic of God.

More specifically, there’s a lot about praising God.  From a Christian Science perspective, it’s helpful to think about what’s being praised here.  What does Christian Science mean when it says “God”?

A few useful ways to think about God—actually, what Mary Baker Eddy (who founded the Christian Science church) names as terms synonymous of God—are these:

Principle
Mind
Soul
Spirit
Life
Truth
Love

That is… not a dude in the sky someplace.  Not an opinionated overseer.  But Life itself.  Love itself.  Spirit itself.

Just a quick little bit of food for thought!

All love, and happiest of New Years,

the JP Church clerk


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.

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:

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

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.