Hezekiah’s lesson

Hezekiah was a pretty cool king.  The previous king, having powerful allies, had incorporated the religion of his allies into Jerusalem’s Temple, including idol worship, and eventually closed the Temple.  Upon becoming king, Hezekiah’s first acts included restoring the Temple and cleansing his country of idol worship.

Then he got deathly sick.  And Isaiah, a big-deal man of god for the last four kings, came to check it out and reported, “Sorry pal, get your house in order, ’cause you’re not sticking around.” [Isa. 38:1, heavily paraphrased—I encourage you to go read the real version.]  Hezekiah was, understandably, upset, and now had no recourse but to confront his mortality honestly.  But while open-heartedly bewailing his pain and tragedy, he had two realizations: (1) that God doesn’t sustain sin [Ibid 17], and (2)

“The dead don’t thank you [God],
    and choirs don’t sing praises from the morgue.
Those buried six feet under
    don’t witness to your faithful ways.
It’s the living—live men, live women—who thank you,
    just as I’m doing right now.” [Ibid 18-19]

These realizations: that sin is transitory, and that life is what expresses God’s glory, may have fueled his protest against his death-sentence, knowing what God preserves and what He doesn’t:

“Remember how I’ve lived my life. I’ve lived faithfully in your presence, lived out of a heart that was totally yours.” [Ibid 3]

Isaiah was already on his way out, but God didn’t even let Isaiah leave the room [II Kings 20:4] before having him turn around and promise recovery, health, and life to Hezekiah!

Now Hezekiah’s inner sense had been keen enough to protest that this apparent story of sickness and death of a righteous life didn’t fit how God ran the show, but at this point, having received conflicting diagnoses, he felt like he could use some assurance, so he asked Isaiah for some.  Isaiah said sure: God can move the time on the sundial by 10 minutes as a sign, a promise.  Hezekiah pointed out that the time on the sundial was always moving forward, so God’d better move it back 10 minutes, just to make it clear it was Him.  And, indeed, so it happened [Ibid 11].

Three days letter, Hezekiah was not dead but well.  He went on to build up Jerusalem, defeat (through reliance on God, without touching a weapon) a huge invading Assyrian army, and oversee great economic growth in his kingdom.

So next time it seems like everything’s (or anything) is going downhill, think of Hezekiah.  His keen sense of God’s truth can be yours, too.  Take a moment to honestly confront your situation.  Know God isn’t behind your fleeting faults, but that God’s glory is (and must be) expressed in your immortal goodness.

And, if need be, ask Him to prove it.

He will.

He loves you.

 

This story, a scientific explanation of it, as well as a few others, make up a Bible sermon on “mortals and immortals” that will be given at our church this Sunday morning, at 10:35 (EDT).  We’ll also sing some praises and pray a bit together.  It may be too damp out, so we’re going to meet inside at 687 Centre St. in JP, but feel free to call in at (605) 475-4000 x636128# if that’s a little far.

yours,

Grant and jpchurch

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:

Sharing Scientific progress

It’s an exciting time.

I’m into this stuff, so I can’t help but spill about it: this last week or so, physicists have been beside themselves with a possible epic discovery.  There’s a lot physics explains well, but there is a time that it doesn’t understand, which happened some 13 billion years ago.  Most of that 13 billion years it covers pretty well, way back into an early age before our periodic table, when the first elements were being forged.  But the current model of physics gets confused about one second before that story started… if you look it up, you’ll hear lots of stories about high temperatures, singularities, quantum gravity, and eternity, but the main message is one of confusion (and possibility!).  Well, last week, a discovery was made: a faint pattern within a faint glow in the sky was detected, and it seems to be a relic of quantum gravity waves.  That would make it a picture of the universe a billion billion times closer to that mysterious point of confusion, answering a lot of questions, and raising more.   Wanna see it?  It won’t mean much without a lot more context, but here it is:

BICEP2 B-modes

The Christian Science Monitor has a couple good articles if you want to hear more.  Or ask questions in the comments below!

An immense discovery like this sparks a huge scientific debate over its veracity, its implications, its mysteries.  As it should — that’s how science works.  It’s part of the famous “scientific method”:

scientific method

A dear friend of mine recently shared how he sees the scientific method as most relevant to his life:

“1. Purpose – Love God and love your neighbor as yourself.
2. Research – Get to know God and your neighbors by spending time with them.
3. Hypothesis – ‘God is Love’ (I John 4:16)
4. Experiment: Take actions throughout your day that show what Love looks like.
5. Analysis – Record these actions and ask whether they made you feel love and others feel loved.
6. Conclusion: Ask yourself, ‘Did the choices I made today show that my God is Love?’ 

Regardless of the answer, give thanks, adjust accordingly, and get ready to do it again!!!”

Like cosmology, this application of the scientific method can teach us a lot about where we’ve come from and what the nature of the universe is.  Unlike cosmology, it’s practical!  (Don’t tell any of my cosmologist friends I said that! 😉 )

One feature a high-school version of the scientific method usually omits is the social component of science: the collaboration, debate, discussion, sharing, helping that is integral to advancement of understanding.  Just as the cosmologists are currently debating their new discovery, a lot of us are engaged in this Scientific endeavor to apply Jesus’ teachings to live more lovingly and experience radical healing, and we regularly share our discoveries, progress, challenges, and successes with each other, both formally and informally.  One form this takes is our weekly meeting on Wednesday evenings.  We’re having one tomorrow (Wednesday) evening: won’t you join us?  7:35 (EDT) @ 687 Centre St. in Jamaica Plain, MA, or via 1.605.475.4000 x636128.  See you there!

Towards Truth,

Grant and jpchurch

Wednesday sharing meeting: fresh thought

If you look back it this blogs’ posts, articles, and blog-friends, you might notice that we really like the Bible and this book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, which helps us understand and apply the Science underpinning the Bible. For an open thought, reading these books begins (or continues) a spiritual and practical journey of uplift, healing, love, and understanding.  For some, just reading Science and Health has resulted in profound healing.  So, we regularly read topically-selected passages from these books at our church services and Wednesday meetings.

But if these books are so great, why do we take time weekly to open up the floor to whoever wants to speak?  Well, the books are great and we do read from them regularly, but it’s so important to keep thought fresh, diverse, and vivid.  The books have all those qualities, but there’s really something special about sharing in person how I, you, we apply these spiritual concepts in our individual walks of life, from pacifying family squabbles, to overcoming cancer or depression, to praying about hurricanes or war, to bicycling, rollerblading, running, or sky-diving safely and beautifully.  It’s touching, useful, beautiful, and affirming.  Combined with a bit of readings, singing, fellowship, and occasional discussion, it can make for a great Wednesday night.

This Wednesday, as most Wednesdays, we are meeting at 7:35pm at the community room on 687 Centre St. in Jamaica Plain, MA, with a phone-in line at (605) 475-4000 x636128.  We’d be thrilled if you joined us!

Much love,
jpchurch

greater than church

So most of these blog posts are a bunch of words.  Maybe heartfelt, maybe conveying depth, emotion, truth, but words nonetheless.

Similarly, reading this blog, you might think our church is all about church services, meetings, events, a couple of amazing books, song, and getting word out.

We do love those things (dearly), but ain’t none of ’em what we’re about or why we’re here.

We’re about healing: our community, our movement, our world, our bodies, our hearts, our thoughts, our neighbors.  We love it, we’re working on doing it more consistently, and we want to share it.  The other things above are (ideally) all ripples flowing out from that, expressing that.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of this Science of Christianity, once said,

“The true Science—divine Science—will be lost sight of again unless we arouse ourselves.  The building up of churches, the writing of articles, and the speaking in public is the old way of building up a cause. The way I brought this Cause into sight was through healing; and now these other things would come in and hide it…

We must show the difference between the healing of Christian Science and quackery.”

(Lida Fitzpatrick, We Knew Mary Baker Eddy, Expanded Edition, Volume II, pp. 111–112)

Come by any Wednesday night at 7:35pm to discuss how we’ve seen this Science applied in healing in our individual lives, or call in (605) 475-4000 x636128.  We usually meet at 687 Centre St. in Jamaica Plain, MA (and that’s where we are this week — check this website for future meetings).  These meetings aren’t what we’re about, but they’re a sweet and natural outgrowth of the healing we practice, sharing it gratefully.

Warmest wishes,

jpchurch

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!

Scientific Discovery! Share some this Wednesday evening

Today I made a discovery!  During the winter, this website has mysterious snow.  I discovered what determines the direction of the “wind”: wherever your mouse is, the wind blows in/from* that direction.

Have you made any discoveries lately?  This Wednesday evening, like every Wednesday, folks will be gathering to share discoveries they’ve made in a field a bit more significant than webpage meteorology: how to apply Christian Science to their daily lives.  Come hear, share, sing, and apply this science with us.  687 Centre St. in Jamaica Plain, MA, starting @ 7:35pm.

Love.

*sometimes one, sometimes the other — can you figure out when it’s which?

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

Healing service with testimonies

So, if you haven’t caught on, we meet every Wednesday, and an important part of that meeting is sharing “experiences, testimonies, and remarks” with each other.  It’s so beautiful to share how we’ve experienced healing in bodily health, emotional health, career, romance, other relationships… or even all of those at once, as a dear writer published in a periodical called the Christian Science Sentinel this week.  Her account details a simultaneous healing of her eye, anxiety, a childrearing issue, a troubled business, and a rocky marriage.  Her testimony begins, “I found myself in a dark place,” but ends:

Christian Science gives us dominion and freedom and teaches us how to face every challenge—by seeing harmony in our lives right now! I am most grateful.

If you’ve experienced healing in your life, please share it with us!  Ideally by attending or phoning in, but if you can’t make it, why not leave it in the comments?

If you’d like to hear more about such healings, come on by and we’ll be so glad to share with you.  Or browse around the website linked above.  Or contact us.  God’s love is truly palpable, and we’d love to share that experience with you.

To join us this Wednesday evening, drop by 687 Centre St. in JP.  We’ll begin the meeting at 7:35pm.  You’re also invited to phone in at (605) 475-4000 x636128.

Love and health are yours.

Christianity, Science, Church, and Society

As always, we’re having a meeting this Wednesday evening, wherein we’ll have some readings from our pastor, some singing, and some sharing of testimonies of Christian Science.  Can’t wait to hear what you have to offer, and/or share with you 🙂  The service is at 687 Centre St. in JP, and starts at 7:35pm.  (If you want to phone in, the number is 1.605.475.4000 x636128.)

 Also, some of us are (informally) having dinner beforehand @ Same Old Place, just up Centre St., at 6:30 pm – we’d love to have you join us!  We’ll be the smiley bunch.

 

PS: We could use a hand over the coming weeks – please contact us if you’d like to usher, sing, or read (the last requires membership in The Mother Church).