March 4, 2004
The field waves its white ensign, the reapers are strong, the rich sheaves are ripe, the storehouse is ready: pray ye therefore the God of harvest to send forth more laborers of the excellent sort, and garner the supplies for a world.
If a discernible theme emerged from our week without a topic, it was the dedication required of spiritual workers to further individual and world salvation.
Opening readings were brief (see the citations from Science and Health in Readings) but reference was made often to the textbooks as the meeting progressed. We'll show shorter quotes in the body of these notes and lengthier ones in the Readings.
Here's what came up.
1) Same-sex marriage was once again a major concern. Civil disobedience is occurring in several jurisdictions, but we noted that New York law appears to permit same-sex marriage. Indeed, county clerks who refuse to issue licenses may be in contravention of the law.
Rosa Parks may have broken the law when she sat in the front of the bus, but thereby affirmed a higher Law. Some members worked with the following from Science and Health: "Union of the masculine and feminine qualities constitutes completeness. The masculine mind reaches a higher tone through certain elements of the feminine, while the feminine mind gains courage and strength through masculine qualities. These different elements conjoin naturally with each other, and their true harmony is in spiritual oneness."(pg. 57:4)
2) A member read from an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times of February 29, 2004, "A New Topic For An Old Argument". The author, Joseph Ellis, anchors Gay rights in Jefferson's Declaration of Independence and John Adams' Massachusetts Constitution, both of which give us "an open-ended mandate for individual rights... inscribed in the DNA of the body politic."We saw such DNA as an enlightened human understanding of God's law of the equality of all His ideas.
3) This reminded another member of a lecture he recently attended. It was given by Mary Conrow Coelho who has just published a book called Awakening Universe, Emerging Personhood. It unveils the universe as a mandala of expanding consciousness. Our member sees all get-togethers, including cross-sex and same-sex intimate unions — or celibacy — as part of expanding consciousness. "This book is a stab at a Grand Theory of Everything. We've already got it in Christian Science — but do we know it and practice it? When the physical sciences finally catch up, will we have long since been relegated to the side-lines, spouting mumbo jumbo and casting spells?"
Members brought up some recent experiences.
1) One was scheduled to sing at a venue attended by a number of famous performers. He was worried about the state of his voice and an undercurrent of self-consciousness. He turned to prayer, trying earnestly to get beyond his ego and its worries, to let God take over so that his participation in the show could be a blessing for all.
It worked! His performance went very well. "I even got out some A's below high C — something I haven't done in years."He sang and danced with ease and was then able to comfort a famous singer who was having a bad night. There were of course loving cheers and cascades of applause from the audience.
Another member mentioned the work done by Christ Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (see Readings from Matthew) to get beyond personal sense and let God take over. "He kept checking to see whether he was irritated by the sleeping disciples. Finally he wasn't — and the drama could now roll on."
2) A member is having trouble securing and keeping friendly and/or romantic companionship. The problem resonated with several others. One talked of seeing God as his constant companion: "Whether I'm with another or in the middle of Times Square or totally alone."He sometimes calls God "Abba", meaning "Daddy".
Another said, "That's good. I like to see God as very close, even cuddly. So Abba would work for me."
Another said, "I picked up some flirting tips from the new show Straight Plan For The Gay Man"on Comedy Central. You check out the one you're interested in and give them an approving, if muted smile or nod. I tried it twice during the week and got a response. But I couldn't take it any further. Lesson 2 please!"
"There's a Science of companionship. I'd study these quotes: "[Man] is the compound idea of God, including all right ideas;"(Science and Health, pg. 475:14) and "The material body and mind are temporal, but the real man is spiritual and eternal. The identity of the real man is not lost, but found through this explanation; for the conscious infinitude of existence and of all identity is thereby discerned and remains unchanged."(Ibid., pg. 302:3)
We next turned to "Bush hatred". (We were talking about the President.) "I'm conflicted about this; I see how destructive his leadership is, but our faith tells us we must love him nonetheless."
We worked with Mrs. Eddy's article, "Love Your Enemies"in Miscellaneous Writings (see the Readings for quotes).
One member said, "I was really moved when I saw him cry on TV after 9/11."
"I think he's human, if incompetent."
"Well — would we say that of an airline pilot who's just taken off with us on board or would we work to see him controlled by God?"
"I must admit I want him to fail — but the problem is we'll all go down with him."
"We have to impersonalize this. I've used the burning bush story in Exodus to do it in the past. (See the Readings from Exodus). Moses was looking at God through the bush. Can't we see God through this Bush?"
"Has anyone here ever been so deeply insulted or hurt by someone, that they needed the most radical Science possible to get free of the personal sense?"
Several members froze like deer caught in the head lights.
"Well, an almost unbelievable healing is reported in the Christian Science Monitor religious article of March 2, 2004, "Unemployed? Think Freedom". The author is awakened at 2 AM to be fired but is then asked to please go ahead and conduct some seminars the next day!
A member briefed us on the quarterly meeting of the Faith In Action (FIA) initiative he'd just come from at SAGE (Senior Action In A Gay Environment, www.sageusa.org). Our group is working with other LGBT religious groups to provide friendly visits to elderly home-bound LGBT people.
We found that the groups have valuable expertise in various areas. For instance, Metropolitan Community Church is a source of information and speakers on transgender issues while the Unitarians are experts on helping local churches become welcoming and affirming. ("Didn't I hear that Christian Science churches are now welcoming and affirming?"Oh, no. I can think of one here in New York that's not overtly rejecting.")
SAGE's FIA director will attend the national Faith In Action conference, May 19-21. "I have no idea what I'll run into there."(A number of conservative churches are participants). SAGE itself will host a conference June 18 and 19 at New York University.
For next week we'll work on a question submitted to us by a reader: Is Christian Science A Cult? We've offered an answer on our [#page=qa#] but will now open it up for group consideration.
Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.
Instead of blind and calm submission to the incipient or advanced stages of disease, rise in rebellion against them. Banish the belief that you can possibly entertain a single intruding pain which cannot be ruled out by the might of Mind, and in this way you can prevent the development of pain in the body. No law of God hinders this result. It is error to suffer for aught but your own sins. Christ, or Truth, will destroy all other supposed suffering, and real suffering for your own sins will cease in proportion as the sin ceases.
We cannot deny that Life is self-sustained, and we should never deny the everlasting harmony of Soul, simply because, to the mortal senses, there is seeming discord. It is our ignorance of God, the divine Principle, which produces apparent discord, and the right understanding of Him restores harmony. Truth will at length compel us all to exchange the pleasures and pains of sense for the joys of Soul.
LOVE YOUR ENEMIES
Who is thine enemy that thou shouldst love him? Is it a creature or a thing outside thine own creation?
Can you see an enemy, except you first formulate this enemy and then look upon the object of your own conception? What is it that harms you? Can height, or depth, or any other creature separate you from the Love that is omnipresent good,—that blesses infinitely one and all?
Simply count your enemy to be that which defiles, defaces, and dethrones the Christ-image that you should reflect. Whatever purifies, sanctifies, and consecrates human life, is not an enemy, however much we suffer in the process.
"Love thine enemies" is identical with "Thou hast no enemies." Wherein is this conclusion relative to those who have hated thee without a cause? Simply, in that those unfortunate individuals are virtually thy best friends. Primarily and ultimately, they are doing thee good far beyond the present sense which thou canst enter-tain of good.