What is the spiritual meaning?

Have you ever read the story of the woman of Canaan who comes to Jesus to ask him to heal her daughter? Matthew 15:21-28. Last semester in one of my classes at theology school we went over this passage, and there were many conflicting opinions about what it means. And sure enough, at first glance it seems like Jesus is awfully harsh on this Canaanite woman, saying that he wasn’t sent for her and that “It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.” (15:26) Why is this his response to her request for healing?

I think this story makes a little more sense when taken in context and when thinking about its deeper, spiritual meaning. Going back through the Hebrew Scriptures (not to mention other ancient texts) it becomes apparent that Canaanites worshiped other gods than Israel’s one God. There was a longstanding tradition of Israel’s prophets and leaders warning against association with Canaanites for fear of the people falling into idolatry. And the passage where Jesus meets a Canaanite woman comes right after an interaction between Jesus and some scribes and Pharisees who accuse him of breaking with tradition.

So what does all this mean? Well, what if Jesus’ words were really a challenge to idolatry? And going further, what if this interaction is an example of Jesus’ challenge to take the Gospel of Love to every creature and not to let tradition keep us in a mindset that others who aren’t like us don’t deserve healing and salvation, that they can’t enter the kingdom of God? After all, the story ends with Jesus calling the woman’s faith “great” and a wonderful healing of her daughter. Jesus spoke to and healed people who were commonly outsiders to his society, and maybe his harsh words in this case were aimed more at the mindset of those around him than at this woman who so clearly recognized Jesus and his spiritual ministry.

Please join us Wednesday evening at the bank (see address below) for more readings involving this story and time to share testimonies of healing, love, and gratitude!

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#

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Wednesday Welcome

Hey!  You!  You signed up to follow us or you’ve found your way to our website; in either case, you’re groovy.  Being such a cool individual, you’re very much welcome to join us this Wednesday evening.  We’ll be meeting at 687 Centre St. in JP @7:35 to talk about the Science of the Christ and how we use it in our lives, as well as to sing and pray a bit.  Our door’s always wide open.  Or call in at (605) 475-4000 x636128#.  The open door before you cannot be shut.

<3,

jpchurch

Fraternity this Wednesday

OK, challenge: think of somebody that scares you.  Maybe someone with power, maybe a hypothetical criminal, maybe someone directly involved in your life, whoever comes up for you.  Now realize that God, infinite Love, made that someone, the same way She made you — as a manifestation of loving intelligence.  This is your sibling, who shares your loving Father-Mother.  Anything that claims otherwise is not a legitimate part of your or their identity, and can be dropped.

Does this claim seem outlandish?  Realizing it and understanding why it’s true can have profound healing transformation in your (and their!) life.  Do you have questions about this?  Bring ’em!  Leave them in the comments, or better yet bring them to our little get-together this Wednesday evening. A bunch of your brothers and sisters will be circling up to talk about how realizing our (and everybody’s) nature as a loved child of God brings harmony to situations that initially seemed otherwise.  We’ll also read, pray, and sing a bit about these things.  Party’s at 7:35pm @ 687 Centre St. in Jamaica Plain, MA, but is open to folks all over the world via telephone (605) 475-4000 x636128# (or Skype, upon request).

Love to have ya,

jpchurch

One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the Scripture, “Love thy neighbor as thyself;” annihilates pagan and Christian idolatry,—whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes; equalizes the sexes; annuls the curse on man, and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed.

Singing about the simple gifts tonight

Hey there!

Our first hymn for the meeting tonight’s gonna be a different one than usual.  It’s not found in our usual church hymnals, although it’s a pretty well-loved hymn.  Here’s some music + lyrics for it:

Simple Gifts music

1. ‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

[refrain]:
When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.

2. ‘Tis the gift to be loved and that love to return,
‘Tis the gift to be taught and a richer gift to learn,
And when we expect of others what we try to live each day,
Then we’ll all live together and we’ll all learn to say,

(refrain)

3. ‘Tis the gift to have friends and a true friend to be,
‘Tis the gift to think of others not to only think of “me”,
And when we hear what others really think and really feel,
Then we’ll all live together with a love that is real.

(refrain)

4. Tis the gift to be loving, tis the best gift of all
Like a quiet rain it blesses where it falls
And with it we will truly believe
Tis better to give than it is to receive

And in the same vein as our post from yesterday… I hope you enjoy nesting inside these thoughts today.  And maybe even singing them with your life a little bit.

-jpchurch

PS: we’re still meeting @7:35 (EDT) at 687 Centre St. and (605) 475-4000 x636128

“Fill your minds with beauty and truth”

This blog has produced perhaps too many words to read of late.  So today, we’re just gonna marinate in some good thought at the behest of Paul:

Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy.

Do that, not because it’s nice, but because it’s what substance is, and what we’ll learn the most from.

We’ll be sharing some of the beauty and truth we’ve experience this Wednesday evening at 7:35 (EDT), @ 687 Centre St. in JP, reachable via (605) 475-4000 x636128#.  We’d so love to have you join us!

<3,

jpchurch

A call to love.

[revised]

As I think about this date and the challenge it represents to me, I feel compelled to challenge myself.  And why not pose the challenge to you, too?  The challenge: Love more.

Love is unconditional.

We all love the Boston Police Department when they’re restoring order amidst the confusion of violence.  We respect their commands, we party in the street with their victory.  What about when they pull us over?

Would you be able to love a popular, soft-spoken, religious, teenage lifeguard who’s a Best Buddy, a student, and a little brother?  What if he was involved in a bombing or a police murder?

What about Putin or Assad?  Someone in Boko Haram?  How about Obama or Cruz?  That kid from high school?  The beggar outside the coffee shop?  The driver that cut you off?  Your ex?

Yourself?

God loves you, just like She loves Sean Collier and the Tsarnaevs.  And Putin, your ex, everyone in Boston, everyone everywhere.  These are not mere platitudes.  They’re based on Principle (that God made you good and recognizes it) and understanding it can radically improve our situation.

When his reliance on God brought him (peaceful) victory over a whole army that had been sent to kill him, Elisha fed and freed them, thereby earning peace with their king.

Jesus forgave his murderers.

Love doesn’t mean enabling bad behavior — Jesus’ famous “turn the other cheek” is a triumph over violence, a command to demonstrate that violence is powerless against Love.  And he didn’t just talk the talk on that point, either.

Sure, but that’s Jesus Christ.  We can’t all be Jesus…  But we have one God; we’re emanations of one Mind.  We can therefore work to do as Paul asked: let that mind which was in Christ Jesus be in us.

I’m not saying I succeed in my effort at Christ-ian (we really should have a word for that… 😉 ) love all the time.  But I’m working on it, and I invite you to work with me.  I have to admit, I have trouble with people who walk inconsiderately.  And Bashar al-Assad.  But I’m taking it a day, a step, at a time, and I’m committed to loving in a more principled way.  To learning that we all have the same Father-Mother, Good.  To letting go of my claims against them.  To refusing the claims of fault in my siblings.  To demanding that I see the good in their individuality.  I still have more ease with some folks than with others, but I’m working at it.

For instance, I’ve lived in urban areas for awhile, and I’ve often been unsure of how to interact with folks asking me for money, aware that sometimes giving them what they ask for could be enabling destructive behavior, and sometimes honestly taking it personally when I detect attempts at deception.  Lately I’ve taken this question to God (Mind, Love), and have received more opportunities to interact with these brothers and sisters of ours.  I’ve begun learning who some of them are, how they express Good, and how I can effectively express love to them.  I’ve learned to listen, to share, to respect…  And, unsurprisingly, they’ve given me more than I’ve given them.  They’ve taught me about gratitude, grace, humility, strength, and more.  I’m really grateful for them.  (PS: if you want to better love this segment of your family, I recommend the Sermon on the Mount, being a pal, and learning what’s useful to them.)

I spent this time last year asking God to show me how to love the Tsarnaevs.  I think of myself, of those I love, and think of bad things I/they’ve done and people who don’t like me/them, and why I love them anyway.  Why the good in them inherently is more important than the bad, more identified with who they are, more lasting.  I don’t know the Tsarnaevs personally, but I know God loves them, and I know God’s not dumb.  Please join me in loving them and everyone who feels the same conflicts they do.


Some of us are getting together this Wednesday evening to talk about divine Love and how we put into practice our understanding of it, how it makes our lives better and lets us love more.  There’ll also be some readings, singing, and prayer.  We’d be thrilled if you;d join us at 687 Centre St. in JP (or via (605) 475-4000 x636128#) @7:35 (EDT).

I’m … still working on people who walk on the left side of the sidewalk.

<3,

Grant and jpchurch

“One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the Scripture, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself;’ annihilates pagan and Christian idolatry, — whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes; equalizes the sexes; annuls the curse on man, and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed.”

Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p.340

The Word on Wednesday

You know how awesome it is that we get to hear God’s word?  The communication of the all-knowing, omnipotent, divine Love?  She must like us.

This Wednesday, like all Wednesdays, we at JP Church will be having a little get together, where we’ll have some readings from scriptures and our textbook explaining their spiritual message and application.  Then we’ll share how we experience and apply God’s word in our lives.  There’ll be a little singing, some praying, and a lot of good.  We’d love for you to join us @ 687 Centre St. in JP or on the phone @ (605) 475-4000 x636128#, starting at 7:35pm (EDT).

PS: An article I liked about the power of the word in church

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

Holdin’ each other up this Wednesday

Is life a struggle right now?  A string of victories?  Drudgery?  Some of each?  Whether what you need is comfort, solutions, radical turnaround, energy, perspective, or making the most of your progress, Love (which is a divine Principle) has got what you need, and we’ll hold you up and help you see it.  I know I’ve got my struggles and my successes, and so could use a little of all of those things, and I bet it’s not a stretch to guess that I’m not alone in that.  So let’s get together again this Wednesday evening and help each other to realize God’s magnificent love for us.  A good spot is 687 Centre St. in JP (or by phone at 1.605.475.4000 x636128), and let’s say 7:35pm EDT.  We’ll share some readings from some great books of wisdom, share some song, and share a bunch of testimonies about Love at work in our lives, peppered with questions, remarks, and prayer.  All are welcome, especially newcomers.  It’ll do you good, do me good, do everyone else there good… and then our uplifted thought won’t be able to hold back from doing good to our communities.  Sounds all fluffy-happy, but it works in amazing ways… come by and see 😉

Best to you,

jpchurch

Warm welcome: Wednesday with one-time whereabouts

Hiya,

We’d love to welcome you to our Wednesday night meeting this week, the centerpiece of which is sharing experiences of applying understanding of God’s love in our lives.  We’re at a different location this time: 66 Williams St., Apt. 2, in JP.  And you can always call in at (605) 475-4000 x636128.  Time’s 7:35pm (EDT).

🙂 ,

jpchurch