Tag Archives: prayer

Christian Scientists gather in Boston at denomination’s annual meeting; ponder the relevance of church

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?

CS church edifice with attribution

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.

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Helpful spiritual perspectives for the new class of graduates

(©Glowimages/stock photo - models used for illustrative purposes only)
(©Glowimages/stock photo – models used for illustrative purposes only)

A new class of graduates is heading into summer and then very likely college or career. Here are two articles with some helpful ideas applying spiritual perspectives to this exciting time in their lives.

Do our graduates know how to love?

By Eric Nelson on Communities Digital News

Excerpts:

“In an era in which so many people slip off the rails during adolescence, we don’t have the luxury of ignoring a resource that, if cultivated, could see them through,” says columnist David Brooks. “Ignoring spiritual development in the public square is like ignoring intellectual, physical or social development.

Obviously the various facets of love described by Paul—patience, unselfishness, humility, courtesy and so on—aren’t restricted to a particular religious practice but can and should be utilized in every avenue of life, including academics, athletics, social situations, throughout college and even into the business world.

Are 2015 Grads Spiritually Prepared to Pass Life’s Tests?

By Ingrid Peschke on MetroWest Daily News

Excerpts:

When a graduation speech in rural Alabama produced a spontaneous prayer to a healing God I wanted to stand up and clap, too.

As graduates walk the stage and accept their diplomas, I hope they will consider their spiritual ability to be “right thinkers” by helping their neighbor, choosing honesty and integrity in their daily interactions, and looking to a Higher Power for truthful answers on life’s toughest tests.

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Hieroglyphs and The Reflection in the Lake

(©Glowimages/stock photo)
(©Glowimages/stock photo)

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.

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Need a Ben Bosinger moment?

Sharon Frey McElroy (Picture courtesy of Sharon Frey McElroy)
Sharon Frey McElroy (Picture courtesy of Sharon Frey McElroy)

Writing in the Huffington Post ‘Healthy Living’ Blog, Sharon Frey McElroy examines how abuse victim Ben Bosinger learned to let go of years of resentment toward his father. And she shares how she was able to forgive a couple of fellows at a cafe that upset her by talking about women in a derogatory way.

McElroy then shares some ideas that can help anyone find peace through forgiveness. She writes, “…heading down the path of forgiveness can be as simple as knowing we each have this spiritual sense that can identify the good that’s present even where it seems far from obvious.”

Want a more peaceful day? Need a “Ben Bosinger moment”?

I heartily recommend this Huffington Post article, originally published in PlainViews, a publication of the HealthCare Chaplaincy Network: Want Peace? Try Forgiveness.

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Patient choice in healthcare

Joel Magnes (picture courtesy of Joel Magnes)
Joel Magnes (picture courtesy of Joel Magnes)

Health blogger Joel Magnes, writing in The Eden Prairie News in Minnesota, draws lessons from the documentary, “Escape Fire – the fight to rescue American healthcare” in discussing patient choice.

He shares how he once made a choice that at the time was a very different one for him – a spiritual approach involving prayer. It helped, and he says he still makes that choice today.

He concludes: “My hope is that patients will speak out, be heard, and be able to choose what works best for them.”

Read his article here: The future of healthcare: Patient Choice.

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Ridiculously small steps

Keith Wommack (picture courtesy of Keith Wommack)
Keith Wommack (picture courtesy of Keith Wommack)

Remember in the movie, “What About Bob?” how Bob’s Psychiatrist recommended “baby steps”?

Writing in his regular health column on Chron.com (Houston Chronicle), Keith Wommack took a look recently at how “ridiculously small steps” can be utilized to achieve a healthier lifestyle.

He writes:

  • “Motivation and willpower fail us…”
  •  “Frustration and discouragement set in.”
  • “Spirituality is the power that directs thought patterns that are mentally and physically beneficial.”

Recommended reading: Ridiculously small steps lead to a healthier lifestyle.

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An increasing desire to explore rather than ignore?

Eric Nelson (photo courtesy of Eric Nelson)
Eric Nelson (photo courtesy of Eric Nelson)

What connection, if any, is there between prayer, healing, Albert Einstein and William Randolph Hearst? What is the current trend in the level of research on prayer? Is there an increasing desire to “explore rather than to ignore” the relationship between prayer and healing? And is there a “potential measurable health benefit associated with prayer or spiritual interventions?”

Eric Nelson in Los Altos, California takes a look at these questions in a recent article in his Communities Digital News health column.

An interesting read indeed:
What happened when Albert Einstein and William Randolph Hearst prayed?

 

(Note: edited same day as posted to fix link.)
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3 Olympics-inspired articles about achieving better health

(©Glowimages/Stock photo)
(©Glowimages/Stock photo)

The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia are drawing to a close.

Here are three articles by colleagues of mine that look at achieving better health through the lens of Olympic ideals, athletes and their remarkable efforts.

There’s a common thread running throughout these articles. See if you can identify what that is.

 

1. Can inspiration learned from athletes – Olympic or not – offer us all better health?

By Wendy Margolese, Ontario, Canada, Durham Region 2-20-14

Synopsis: Olympic inspiration = gold medal ideas for your health.

Margolese quotes spiritual thinker and author, Mary Baker Eddy, who wrote: “The devotion of thought to an honest achievement makes the achievement possible.”

2. Olympic mindset contributes to feeling youthful

By Steven Salt, Ohio, Cleveland Plain Dealer 2-17-14

Salt asks, “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?”

Excerpt: “The Olympic motto, ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger’ is a high ideal that speaks more to mental acuity than physical prowess.”

3. My time with an Olympic coach

By Linda Ross, Connecticut, Hartford Faith & Values 2-03-14

Her running club hired an Olympic coach for one day.  Upon learning that she had no injuries to deal with, he asked her, “What are you thinking when you run?” Read her article to find out.

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Health effects of spirituality: placebo effect?

Wendy Margolese (Picture courtesy of Wendy Margolese)
Wendy Margolese (Picture courtesy of Wendy Margolese)

“No placebo effect going on there.”

Much attention has been given to the placebo effect. The placebo effect shows that what we believe – what we think – matters when it comes to health.

Some wonder if the positive effects on health of spirituality are simply a variant of the placebo effect. Wendy Margolese, Health Blogger in Ontario, Canada, takes up this question in a recent article in York Media.

Here’s an excerpt:

“One of my favorite Biblical accounts of Jesus’ approach to healing is the story of a man who, for thirty-some years, sat by a pool waiting for a stirring of the water – as this was believed to be done by an angel and thus have healing power. Is this not similar to the belief of health associated with a sugar pill?  Jesus did not sugarcoat his words when he commanded the man to take up his bed and go home – back to an active and productive life.  The man was healed immediately and gladly complied. And, he did not even expect to be healed by this passing stranger – no placebo effect going on there.”

In an honest assessment, Margolese acknowledges our need to “better understand the role spirituality, prayer and religious practices have on a person’s health.”

Read her article here: Are positive health impacts of spirituality simply a placebo effect?

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3 Health Articles For Christmas That Will Make Your Day

(©Glowimages/stock photo)
(©Glowimages/stock photo)

Here are three articles in the news recently with Christmas in mind that focus on the intersection of spirituality and health.

In the first article, Scrooge’s life lessons are adapted to health,  the second includes a personal account of gaining freedom from depression, and the third has a surprise ending that will make you smile.

1. Transforming a bah-humbug attitude into a healthier you

By Steven Salt, in Kent Patch (Ohio)

Excerpt: “An infestation of bah-humbug thinking pesters all of us from time to time. Helplessness, hopelessness, poverty, despair, and a host of pesky doubts can swarm us and even compromise our health. It turns out generosity can snap us out of the humbug funk and improve our well-being.”

He cites a book entitled, “The Heart of Religion: Spiritual empowerment, benevolence, and the experience of God’s love”. It reports: over 80% of respondents acknowledge they “experience God’s love as the greatest power in the universe.”

2. Debra Chew: Beating Holiday Depression – Mind, Heart, Body And Spirit

By Debra Chew, in the Chattanoogan (Tennessee)

Chew quotes Dr. Kenneth Porter, who, in his article ‘Healing Holiday Blues,’ states that, “the healing of depression, like the healing of any emotional or physical disturbance, occurs best on four levels of our being–mind, heart, body, and spirit.” She relates a personal experience: “About 10 years ago, I experienced a healing of depression that did include all four of these levels. … We made some changes … more important was the time I spent in prayer.”

3. A Christmas Eve Brings A Holy Gift

By Ingrid Peschke, in The MetroWest Daily News (Massachusetts)

Peschke shares how her family set aside their usual Christmas Eve traditions one year to accept an invitation from friends, and experienced more than one surprise. See how many gifts you can count in this one.

Have a healthy, happy Christmas!

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