Sunday morning in the park

This Sunday morning (August 7th) we will be growing our spiritual understanding in Johnson park*. Join us at 10:35 am there or on the phone. Hope to see you then.

From Paul’s letter to the Corinthians:

And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power
* Johnson park is across from the Green St. T station, we can generally be found across the path from the fountain, in the grass under the trees, usually on blankets.
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Spiritual Substance

From the New King James Version of the Bible, Psalm 139:13-18:

For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;[b]
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.

How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
When I awake, I am still with You.

We hope you’ll join us for an inspiring church service all about spiritual substance!

When: 10:35-11:35 AM, EST, on Sunday.

Where: 687 Centre St, Jamaica Plain (map). Or by phone (605) 475-4000, code: 636128#

Role of spirituality in health

If a sign that said “free health care” was placed in the storefront window of a business, people would likely come to investigate the claim.

In the USA today, with its rigidly material concept of health and medicine, some might be offended if that storefront turned out to be the outlet of a religious denomination, including staff without medical degrees or modern medical equipment. “Hogwash”, they might insist, and “blasphemy,” maybe not appreciating that cultures outside of ours have had a strong spiritual component to medicine for millennia, and with important benefits to the human body.

Take for example some of the native cultures in North America and Australia entertaining a consciousness that all life is interconnected. In part, they treat the body as a life force capable of  being encouraged prayerfully to be in greater harmony with its surroundings. This type of healing work that operates at a spiritual level is still being done around the world today, and in some cases it has advanced and the teachings have become more systematized.

You might not think a spiritual teaching held a component important to your health, but dropping into a Christian Science Reading Room or church service near you might open some doors to exploring new ideas for the solutions you’re seeking.

And the best part is those solutions are available to everyone, free of charge, only requiring a better understanding of God and man and woman as they spiritually are.

Join a fun group of Christian Scientists and others (all are welcome!) tonight for an open sharing meeting on how people are applying their spiritual inspiration to health and life issues and seeing fruitage. There will be readings from our denominational texts, the Bible, and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy to kick off the meeting. 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#

Seeds that grow

January isn’t the best time to make a New Year’s resolution, they say. It isn’t the best time to plant a garden either. But now spring is here and the soil is ready for sowing. Similarly, you yourself might be feeling rejuvenated by the warmer weather and ready to plant some seeds in your life that will grow you closer to your goals.

Go for it!

Hit the gym, keep in better touch with old friends, learn a second (or third) language. And while you’re at it, nurture the seeds of progress in your life by honoring the qualities of God these pursuits represent.

Recognize that hard work at the gym is selfless discipline, an expression of your innate spiritual being, which gives you the energy and strength to reach your goals. Identify spiritual concepts that mean something to you and let them grow in your mental outlook. You’ll reap a flourishing mind of abundance and beauty.

Join us in JP tonight to explore Jesus’ seed-related parables and how spiritual ideas take root and grow in thought as we put them into practice in our lives.

Happy cultivating!

@ 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#

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!)

jpchurch


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.

SOUL subverting body.

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

In a conversation I had with a friend the other day, we found ourselves thinking about the value of art.  It began with curiosity: namely, of what makes the world value art less than, say, the work of a mechanic or an accountant.  Why does our culture know the stereotype of the “starving artist” so well?  Why does it happen, not too infrequently, that an artist will be asked to share their work for free, while that would very rarely be expected of someone who fixes a leaky shower faucet or does your taxes?

There are a lot of variables at play… but, breaking it down, the most basic answer I saw was that people find something more tangible in those things.  In response, my friend pointed out that art and its value can be sort of mysterious—for instance, explaining why a piece of art is worth something can be more complex than explaining why a fixed faucet is worth something.  (And never mind trying to understand the piece of art itself, or trying to know what caused it to exist in the first place!  There’s a lot of mystery in general that surrounds art.)

It then occurred to me that one big answer would naturally be found by looking at people’s view of life and vitality.  Simply put: if you’re seeing the (material) body as the principal part of your identity, then of course, it’s only natural that the things that go towards the preservation of the body—feeding it, giving it shelter, setting it up with reliable resources – are going to have the most obvious value.

If, on the other hand, you feel the less “tangible” element of soul as being a core part of your identity—i.e. if you feel a strong connection to the parts of you that the five senses can’t locate—then you’re probably very able to identify with the value of art.  Mainly because art is, by its nature, an excavation of deep identity—of soul… or Soul, if we’re to consider this essential quality as God-like, as holy.

The thing is, we all love art, and we innately feel connected to the art we like.  I do believe that’s because this holy Soulfulness is really the fabric of who we are.  We’re just not always entirely clear how it compares to the needs of the body.

My personal takeaway from the conversation was this: every time we awe at something that art does, every time we celebrate the (supposedly) intangible beauty that lies beyond material existence, we’re actually taking a stand for Soul.  We’re putting our arms around our deep spiritual identity.

And, at the same time, we’re taking a powerful whack at mortality… at the idea that our lives are stuck inside the breaths & heartbeats of a bodily lifespan.  We’re learning that we are actually endless.

So embrace Soul!  Let yourself feel connected to it, through beauty, art, what have you.  Consciously notice that you do this.  It’ll help you see more of your immortal nature.  It’ll point you away from the body and towards health—really, towards immortality.

(And to clarify the first part of this blog post, none of this is really about what people choose to lay down cash for.  Every situation is different, after all; there’s no judgment of those decisions.  🙂  More than this, I’m interested in how that concept helps us explore our definition of identity.)

* * * * * * *

In a fine example of good timing, we’ll be considering the topic “Soul and Body” during our church service tomorrow.  We’ll hear how every blade of grass and every star is “distinct and eternal.” (Mary Baker Eddy)  You’re invited to come and pray about this with everyone in attendance, or to defend this idea in your thought from wherever you are.

Christa & JP Church


Details about tomorrow’s 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.

Break EVERY yoke. (Plus, church in the *bank!*)

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

The Christian Science lesson-sermon for this week on the topic of unreality contains a particular central message: freedom.  It includes this passage from the book of Isaiah:

Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
To loose the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the heavy burdens,
To let the oppressed go free,
And that you break every yoke?”

-chapter 58, verse 6.  (Whole chapter here.)

That is:  The fasting, i.e. form of worship, that Love, Spirit, Mind, Truth has in mind for humankind is “to loose the chains of injustice” (as the NIV puts it) … to undo burdens… to let the oppressed go free.  Noteworthy that this isn’t just about individually finding freedom, either, but also helping others see their freedom.

Freedom from what?

Freedom from everything and anything not like God… every yoke!

The idea that this is possible is really just a profoundly wonderful thing.  I mean, think of all the varieties of “yokes” that seem to keep humanity in bondage: fear, selfishness, sensuality, lack, materialism, apathy, pain, limitation, incapability, bad history, mortality, etc. etc.

Think of actually being able to overcome all of those things, and helping other people to overcome them.  Every single one, and more.

No, seriously… wrap your mind around that for a sec.

If this doesn’t fill you with happiness, I don’t know what would.

(And, technically, all of those “varieties” are just variants on the same one evil… though that’s a topic for another post.  Or, better yet, you can read a bit about it here: Science and Health p.16)

Because of the nature of spiritual existence and of God, this one evil is truly and finally “defeatable.”  It’s what can’t help but happen.

Okay.  If you’d like a song that’ll get you thinking about freedom today, here’s a classic gospel song from around the Civil Rights era in the US.  This version of the song, “Oh Freedom,” is sung by the Golden Gospel Singers.

(note: this recording & video are not made by/copyrighted by JP Church!  For info about the video, click the YouTube icon in the bottom right of the screen.)

Details about today’s service:
Eastern Bank community room, 687 Centre St, JP
(605) 475-4000 x.636128 – for remote callers
10:35am to 11:35am-ish, EDT
-An hour of singing, contemplative prayer, readings from the Bible and Science and Health, and pure love.

<3, jpchurch

Church: rock.

Hey there.

If you’re anything like me, then you’ve spent considerable time “building” on the foundation of the material world.  Building a worldview from the foundation that physical science describes everything.  Building a life towards the goals enshrined by materialism.  Building yourself to best fit the ideals of that life.

But the ideals are limited, necessarily so in a finite world.  The rewards of their pursuits are sometimes enjoyable, but rarely reliable (and sometimes come at others’ expense).  It can seem like a zero-sum game.  Not to mention that this worldview can’t fully explain the most essential components of life: consciousness and love.  Nor can it explain the “miracles” of prophets like Jesus, or thousands recorded in the Christian Science periodicals.  (Incidentally, this week’s Sentinel shares healings of grief, a growth, and shingles; muscle strain; and chronic back pain.)

So… what foundation do we build on?  Various luminaries throughout history have given helpful answers to this question, and we’re exploring some of the best this week.  The apostle Paul said,

“no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ.”

And in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, we read on p.138,

“The supremacy of Spirit was the foundation on which Jesus built.”

From this foundation, Jesus, Peter (“rock”), Paul, Mrs. Eddy, the writers of those testimonies linked above, I, other members of jpchurch, and countless others have demonstrated morals uplifted, love, physical health, walking on water, finding purpose, raising the dead, achieving joy, and other beautiful illustrations of the reliability of building on this firm rock.

This week, our pastor has a wonderful sermon on the subject of matter for us, discussing these questions of foundations (and whether they belong in matter).  We’d love for you to join us in hearing it, along with a bit of lovely singing and powerful prayer, this Sunday morning at 10:35 (EDT), @ 687 Centre St. in JP for locals or (605) 475-4000 x636128 for everybody.

Build on Love.

jpchurch

Game night!

Hey friends!

We’re supporting The Mother Church’s event tomorrow night: There’ll be a game night, playing Radical Acts.  It’s fun but seriously challenging, and open to anyone (regardless of “denomination”).  It’s at Reflection Hall (formerly known as the Sunday School building) on the corner of Massachusetts and Huntington Avenues, Monday night starting at 7pm.  See you there!