November 27, 2003
Gladness to leave the false landmarks and joy to see them disappear,--this disposition helps to precipitate the ultimate harmony.
We spent two weeks on Thanksgiving this year and read aloud the Lesson on this subject from the Christian Science Quarterly at our second meeting. Readings posted with these notes include a couple of citations from that lesson, together with other quotations brought in by members.
After years of considering the phenomenon of thankfulness or gratitude, several members have concluded it's a transitional human feeling associated with an expanded consciousness of good. To use a very Mary Baker Eddy-type word — it's a chrysalis state.
One member pointed out that there's a trend among the prayerful to use gratitude as a tool to hasten results. "And sometimes it works — giving us a faith healing."
Is it always bogus to express gratitude in the midst of pain and difficulty? "Not at all. If we truly see the spiritual opportunity offered by such conditions, we've got the proper sense of gratitude."
Another member said he sees nothing bogus with thanking God loudly in the throes of a problem as a means of refocusing attention away from the senses towards Soul.
Then another member reminded us that in the facts of Science — the basis for true healing — there's no gratitude because one is then seeing himself and others as the pure reflection of God and not as mortals placating Deity or trying to reach Him. At that point we're beyond crucifixion and resurrection and into ascension.
At our second meeting we reviewed Mrs. Eddy's article "Thanksgiving Dinner"from Miscellaneous Writings (it's fully reproduced in our Readings). While the picture is superficially warm and fuzzy, there's an undertone of heaviness and futility — based we thought on the apparent worshipping of matter — e.g., family roles and ages, excessive food and a manic avoidance of any unpleasantness regarding the needs of those less fortunate. "All you'd need to update this obscenity is a few TV sets spewing football games,"said one member. "And don't forget the video games."
Two members do not observe this holiday in a traditional sense. One's a recovering food addict who doesn't buy into any officially sanctioned "pig-outs". The other sees Thanksgiving as a celebration of the white man's betrayal of Native Americans who kindly "came forward to help early settlers survive and were slaughtered in return."
Testimonies of gratitude for enlightenment and healing were a big part of both meetings.
Most members were thankful for recent rulings by the US Supreme Court and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court freeing up Gay sex and marriage. There's a backlash as shown in public opinion polls. One non-Gay member couldn't understand this: "I mean look at television — we have Will and Grace and Queer Eye — the polls must be wrong."A Gay member said, "We'll look at these some day the way African Americans look at Amos and Andy."Perhaps the new It's All Relative is our All In The Family. Is there a Jeffersons somewhere in the planning stages? Our chairperson added, "Minstrel shows are fine but what we really need is work in Science to land these breakthroughs properly."Another member asked, "Do we really understand the Science of Gay sex and marriage well enough to pray helpfully about them?"Digging for the Truth and practicing it are required. The quote in our Readings from Science and Health, page 340, might be a good jumping off place.
A recent editorial in the Christian Science Monitor, November 21, 2003, was discussed. We found it incomprehensible in part (was this by design?) but its conclusion was clear enough: Gay marriage should be left up to legislators, not determined in "the private chambers of a few judges."We wondered whether there could be any progress in minority rights if they were left to popular vote. Yes, eventually the court of public opinion has to be engaged — but let that come in due course after we have some experience resting on and flowing from our constitutional documents.
Here are some individual testimonies.
1) An out of town visitor was grateful for progress by The Mother Church in welcoming Gay people into membership, class instruction, the ranks of Christian Science teachers (and presumably practitioners and nurses). There's still much work to be done. For instance, wealthy homophobic contributors need help in overcoming their sin and LGBT students have to be able — and willing — to tell their stories in the periodicals.
2) A member expressed gratitude that the animosity she used to feel towards Christian Science has been lifted. It was based on the shunning her mother experienced from her branch church when she sought medical help for a terminal illness. Today our member has been able to keep her Science an individual practice, unaffected by the malpractice of others.
3) Another member expressed gratitude for help she received from a Christian Science practitioner when she faced first pneumonia and then food poisoning this year. She has still been unable to find a practitioner who is able to help her address depression and anxiety but managed through her own work to keep herself afloat at least for special occasions like Thanksgiving. Indeed she reported her day unfolded in a most harmonious way — with epiphanies strewn throughout.
4) Another member is thankful for his rapid bounce-back from what looked like a slide into death when he got into nursing home, was drugged and became hallucinatory to the point of trying to jump out of a window. There came a moment of mental clarity — from where he does not know, but surely it was Mind! — and he got his lawyer to spring him. He's now much stronger and more alert than he was before his confinement.
5) We had two dental testimonies. One member faced with an extremely painful tooth kept applying salt water and acupressure with increasingly bad results. Finally he became quite fearful and it was only then that he remembered Christian Science. He went within. First he found and rested in his divine substance. This lessened the fear. He then discovered how much animosity he bore towards his dentist. This had to go! And it did as he understood that they both were eternal divine idea — "interpenetrating throughout infinity and eternity."While he was seeing this he discovered "about 10 or 15 other people"he was harboring ill-will, anger or fear, towards. He released these too by the same process. He then went about his business and within minutes the pain and apparently underlying problem — if any — was gone.
Our other member had a bad reaction to novocaine administered during deep cleaning and asked the dentist not to use it. The dentist warned him he was in for unbearable pain but our member came through without a twinge. How? "I didn't think about the dental procedure — I just rejoiced in the abundance of God's love."
Our topic for next week will be Finding Your Bliss.
Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.
For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.
Not materially but spiritually we know Him as divine Mind, as Life, Truth, and Love. We shall obey and adore in proportion as we apprehend the divine nature and love Him understandingly, warring no more over the corporeality, but rejoicing in the affluence of our God.
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.
If we would heal by the Spirit, we must not hide the talent of spiritual healing under the napkin of its form, nor bury the morale of Christian Science in the grave-clothes of its letter. The tender word and Christian encouragement of an invalid, pitiful patience with his fears and the removal of them, are better than hecatombs of gushing theories, stereotyped borrowed speeches, and the doling of arguments, which are but so many parodies on legitimate Christian Science, aflame with divine Love.
This is what is meant by seeking Truth, Christ, not "for the loaves and fishes," nor, like the Pharisee, with the arrogance of rank and display of scholarship, but like Mary Magdalene, from the summit of devout consecration, with the oil of gladness and the perfume of gratitude, with tears of repentance and with those hairs all numbered by the Father.
Is man's spiritual sonship a personal gift to man, or is it the reality of his being, in divine Science? Man's knowledge of this grand verity gives him power to demonstrate his divine Principle, which in turn is requisite in order to understand his sonship, or unity with God, good.
Mortals will lose their sense of mortality—disease, sickness, sin, and death—in the proportion that they gain the sense of man's spiritual preexistence as God's child; as the offspring of good, and not of God's opposite,—evil, or a fallen man.