With the Easter season upon us, as a Christian Scientist I have been giving extra thought to why I love Jesus.
And with that in mind, I’d like to share here, for my readers, this thoughtful piece by a colleague of mine – Tim Mitchinson from Naperville, Illinois – who expressed it so well, sharing how he has found his love for Jesus to be very practical.
Writing in the Peoria Journal Star, he says succinctly – and knowing Tim, sincerely – “I love Jesus.”
He continues, “…I stand in wonderment of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection as actual events that have great meaning for all of us today.”
He shares how he has found meaning from this in personal growth and in service, becoming more forgiving, with healing bringing a return to health.
His last paragraph summarizes it all very nicely, and his article is a wonderful “read” at this Easter season, which I heartily recommend.
My latest article on how I, as a Christian Scientist, find Christ Jesus relevant today — and not just on Christmas, but every day — published in the Dearborn Press and Guide. Here’s the link: Is Christ Jesus relevant today?
By: Richard Evans, Manager, Christian Science Committees on Publication
Boston, MA — When Christian Scientists convened in Boston, Massachusetts, Monday, June 6, for the annual meeting of their denomination, they faced a question that many mainline Christian churches also confront: can church be relevant today?
Their perspective on this question—as on just about everything else—runs counter to the popular narrative. “There’s a universal hunger for the heartfelt experience of God’s saving power,” said Margaret Rogers, chairwoman of the five-member lay board of directors of the Church of Christ, Scientist, which has its worldwide headquarters in Boston. “The demand,” she said, is for a church “that is vibrant with unselfed love and actively engaged in authentic Christian healing for humanity.”
For most Christian Scientists, this doesn’t seem to mean better outreach or new ministries and programs. It means drilling down on the thing they feel they bring to the world: spiritual healing, based on the teachings of Christ Jesus, that is expected to be both humane in spirit and effective in results. “We pray,” explained another director, Allison W. Phinney, “because prayer aligns us with how things really work. It lets us see and feel more of the immense good and the divine Love that’s actually here for us and for humanity.”
Founded 137 years ago by religious leader Mary Baker Eddy, the Christian Science Church is a Christian denomination based on the Bible. While relatively small in numbers, the denomination has branch churches in more than 60 countries and has had an outsized impact on Christian thought by its insistence that God’s goodness brings not only salvation from sin, but healing of illness and suffering.
The group’s diversity is seen among some of the new officers announced at the meeting. The new church president is Annu Matthai of Bangalore, India. The new First Reader—who conducts Sunday worship and Wednesday testimony meetings at The Mother Church in Boston—is Louis E. Benjamin of Hillcrest, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The new Second Reader is Diane Uttley Marrapodi of Forest Hill, Maryland, USA. Many church members travelled to Boston for Monday’s proceedings, while more followed the meetings live online.
The theme of this year’s meeting—“Church: ‘healing and saving the world’”—comes from Mary Baker Eddy’s view that Christ Jesus’ original Christianity has deep relevance for the world and its future, and that church must be a practical force for good in daily lives, bringing hope and spiritual progress for humanity. One small symbol of this is the planned renewal of the Christian Science plaza in Boston’s Back Bay. The outdoor spaces surrounding The Mother Church will be updated to better benefit the community as an environmentally sustainable oasis in the midst of the city. A longer-term commitment of the denomination has been publication of The Christian Science Monitor, an international news outlet providing daily and weekly news, online and in print—news that is intended to bring light, rather than heat, to the important issues of the day.
Members at the meeting reported on activities in their regions, as well as provided examples of healing from around the world.
Karla Hackney, writing in Hillsboro Patch in Oregon, probes how treks in green spaces can be more deeply healing.
The author really caught my attention when she referred to a friend’s pilgrimage in Spain on the Camino de Santiago trail.
Recently, I enjoyed watching a movie entitled, “The Way“, in which the main character, played by Martin Sheen, hikes this trail when he goes to Spain to claim the body of his estranged son, who was killed while hiking the same trail.
On this trail, Hackney’s friend finds deeper meaning in favorite Bible verses and with this comes freedom from infection and pain. Hackney includes a link to a 7 minute audio account by her friend.
Another friend reached out “for a connection with God’s infinite love” while summiting Mount Washington.
Hackney says, “In hiking, the important part is to ‘summit,’ to get to that place where, in our heart, we rise above everyday challenges and we don’t allow information from the five physical senses to cloud the pinnacle of God’s beautiful, spiritual creation. We don’t have to locate ourselves in a forest before we can find spiritual peace!”
Hieroglyphs, those pictorial characters that the Egyptians used for language, were the way Mary Baker Eddy, 19th century pioneer in spirituality and health, described flowers. She said, “The floral apostles are hieroglyphs of Deity.”
What an interesting connection. Flowers communicate – or picture – to us something about Deity. In their beauty, color and symmetry we see something of Deity’s expertise as Creator. In the tenderness of their petals, each in its place, we may see Deity’s tender care for creation.
Similarly, other pictures found in nature or portrayed in artwork may draw thought to the nature of Deity and His creation.
And it turns out that this is beneficial to our health.
Eddy explains, “…the right understanding of Him restores harmony.” And the Bible puts it this way: “Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace.”
Now picture this. Years ago, I was visiting my childhood home to help care for my mother who was ill and immobile. Once, while others cared for her, I walked down to the nearby lake, walked out on the dock and sat down on a bench there. Winter was yielding to spring. I was alone. It was mid-day but the water was perfectly still with a stillness usually reserved for the early morning or evening hours.
Looking around the lake, I was struck by how everything on land above the shoreline was perfectly reflected in the water. Hold on to this, and I’ll come back to it in a moment.
This summer, I visited the Healing Arts Gallery at MidMichigan Health in Midland while it was displaying artwork by Jennifer Cook of Herron, Michigan. Her abstract paintings and terracotta pots are full of bright and warm colors that encourage, inspire, and comfort.
It’s interesting to me how her artwork communicates something about Deity, as in her painting entitled, “God Heals and is the God of Restoration.”
Also interesting is how the very process of painting the artwork involved learning more of spiritual things. According to the Gallery’s flyer, Cook found that as she allowed God “to guide each stroke and choose each color” she gained “insight to greater freedom and spirituality.”
Painting #001 in the Gallery especially piqued my interest. It is entitled, “God loves you! He made you. You have a purpose!!! Embrace it!” It is a painting of a person standing on the shore of a small lake out in the woods, surrounded by trees, with sunshine coming through, and the trees – and the clouds above them – reflected in the lake.
Naturally, it reminded me of my earlier experience. The reflection I saw in the lake moved me to ponder the connection that I have – that we all have – with the Divine, with Deity. I thought of the Biblical statement that God made man in His own image and likeness – or, in other words, as His reflection. All around the lake, with each house and each tree, I could see the exact likeness that the reflection in the lake had to its original on land.
It was clear to me that there is a similar relationship between Deity and all of His reflection – all of us. Each of us is really an individual exact likeness expressing His qualities, such as beauty, tenderness, goodness, life, and health.
This reflection in the lake acted as a hieroglyph that conveyed to me a deeper understanding of Deity. This reduced stress and anxiety, enabling me to better care for my mother. And my mother, who was receiving prayer-based spiritual treatment and learning more of Deity herself, improved and was able to get about on her own again.
It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. If hieroglyphs such as these lead to better health, then perhaps they warrant our attention.
Note: this article was first published in print in The Midland Daily News August 3, 2014.
There’s a reason they’re called man’s best friend.
If you’ve ever had a dog, then you already know something about dogs’ unconditional love. This warrants considering more deeply the divine source and nature of love and its healing power.
Health blogger Linda Ross in Connecticut shares a touching account on LinkedIn of a dog’s unconditional love reaching a soldier suffering with PTSD. It gives a glimpse into unconditional love’s ability to reach below the surface and melt away “difficult memories”. We might also consider how we all have a “divine friendship” with divine Love.
She “was no ordinary woman. Behind her Victorian-era velvet and lace dress was a 21st century power suit.”
March is Women’s History Month. And so, appropriately, Ingrid Peschke, a regular health blogger on the Huffington Post, “highlights an often overlooked 19th century woman for her significant contributions to religion and health.” Peschke continues, “Her strength of character, courage and commitment are evident in the body of work she accomplished.”
What is this woman’s name and what is her remarkable story?
How did she test her conclusions?
Why did a doctor ask her to write a book about her findings in achieving health?
Recently, a report with recommendations of a working group of the National Cancer Institute was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The report advocates changing the definition of cancer and eliminating the word from medical diagnoses in cases where it is deemed unwarranted resulting in over-diagnosis and over-treatment to the detriment of the patient.
Rich Evans, a colleague of mine in Arizona who grew up in Michigan, shares insightful thoughts about this in a recent blog post.
Here’s an excerpt:
“The lesson here is that the name of a disease is not the truth about anyone. It is a point of view, the accuracy and consequences of which can vary considerably. It is bold for this report to break from historical labeling patterns. The direction of the report is encouraging in the elimination of unnecessary fear and treatment and in its acknowledgement that perhaps mitigation of disease starts by avoiding names that alarm, for what we hold in consciousness about disease may play a large role in outcomes.”