May 13, 2004
The spiritual sense of Life and its grand pursuits is of itself a bliss, health-giving and joy-inspiring.
"There's no beginning or ending in infinity."
"Yes, but in belief we have beginnings and endings all the time."
"Mary Baker Eddy says, 'in the beginning' can be interpreted as 'in the only'."
"Maybe it just means 'to begin with' or 'for openers'."
"Well, whatever the words mean, it's certainly a powerful thought that we exist in infinity and eternity. Beginnings and endings are undergirded by the belief in time and space. These are the theatrical conventions which structure the play we're appearing in — it's called Mortality."
"I like that. I was working with the idea of rebirth — of being born again. But we're always here, in the heaven that we call earth. As we just heard in the readings from John (3:13) we're not really descending or ascending but just being in heaven now and always."
"OK. That's the fact, but in our everyday human life we need harmonious unfoldment of activity and that necessarily means closings and openings. And we get there by prayer, or to use the theater analogy, by appealing to the Author (God) for expression of His Life and Love as our lives."
"And if things are going badly?"
"We pray to uncover what the sticking point is. It's always some deficiency in understanding the nature of God as reflected by man."
"That's good. We could summarize Christian Science in two words — Christ Jesus. It's the divine human coincidence that's important. With only one and not the other, it's like trying to fly a plane on one wing."
"Ok. How about some practical applications?"
"How's this? A practitioner I've been talking to said to cut the theory and just do what's in front of me."
"That's Zen — Zen Christian Science! When a student asked his Zen teacher about God, he told him to go wash his dinner plate. I suppose that meant you'll find God in the doing, not in words."
"I've been working on forgiveness as a means of moving on to new beginnings. Here are two articles I found in the IONS Noetic Sciences Review of September-November 2003 — one by Mantak Chia on the organic benefits from forgiving; the other by Archbishop Tutu on how important the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was to South Africa's forging 'one family, bound together in a delicate net work of interdependence.'"
"Forgiveness in Science is based on a thing never having occurred."
"Right. It's hard to see that if I'm locked into the belief level, but if I get a glimpse of God's view of things where all is harmony, the belief has to yield up its poison and I go free."
"I worked with the Nicodemus story (see Readings from John, chapter 3) to break the grip concrete fantasies have on me. I'm constantly sizing guys up as sex partners. Jesus' responses to Nicodemus help me get a sense of the infinities blocked by such seeing."
"Well, it's not just the belief in sex partners that needs uplifting to spiritual understanding. What about everyone's obsession with money or politics or the war?"
"Good point. As I noted earlier I particularly like Jesus' statement about being in heaven now (Readings, John 3: 13). An understanding of that released me to see that I, and all others, are in a state of unfolding bliss already, sex or no sex. Then I uncovered something I was only dimly aware of before. There's a late-night cable station with naked dancers. An ad asks, 'What kind of a man are you in the mood for tonight?' Well I laughed — but as I thought about it, I realized I have many different, not exactly moods, but maybe druthers. Some men arouse my homosexuality, some my transsexuality. Others appeal to my Greek, senex-puer, needs (both ways), while some girlish men — not the bizarre, self-hating ones, but the sweet loving types — bring out my raging het! So what do I do with all that?"
"Just enjoy. Maybe take an ad yourself."
"Looks like you're the man you and many others are in the mood for tonight."
"Let me ask about a problem I'm having. What would you do if you're still in love with someone who died two years ago?"
"That's tough. Many people I've read about in the Christian Science periodicals say they've been healed of grief. The basis seems to be the fact that Life, God, is ongoing and the so-called living are still in touch with the so-called dead through divine Mind."
"All I can say is I cried and screamed for months after someone I was in love with died. Time healed the wound in a way, but I'd be very unlikely ever again to become that heavily invested in another person."
"Is that a loss or a gain?"
"Both, I guess."
"When my cat died four months ago I was a wreck, but I've realized I'd made her my Higher Power. I want to get another cat, but not until I'm really straight that God is the only God."
"I like what you're saying. I think it's the key to any relationship — to lean on the sustaining infinite and let that support the love arrangements or new job or whatever."
"Now, I'd like some help on something that's haunting me. It's the notion of cutting back on activities and feeling restricted because of my age."
"I feel that sometimes too. But I try to live in the now, without reference to the past or the future."
"I do see myself living to 110."
"Oh, I thought you were there already."
"I don't limit myself that way — there's nothing magic about 110 or any other age. When I live in the now. I find it easier to think and feel scientifically. If I should die, I'd still be alive in what I'd be calling the here and the now."
"We haven't talked about the prisoner abuse or beheading of the American contractor in Iraq."
"Well, I knew we couldn't resist spiraling down into the sink hole of current events."
"OK. Let's agree to keep our Science heads on straight as we proceed."
"The thing that interested me is that many of the abuses we see in the photos from Iraq occur all the time here in prisons in the US. This can be a wake-up call for us all about prisons. As for the metaphysical underpinnings, we can work with all the imagery in the Bible about being imprisoned and freed."
"Abuse in prison settings is a natural thing. I saw clips on TV from an experiment in the 70's, using college student volunteers. They were divided into two groups, prisoners and guards, placed in prison type surroundings and left alone, with the camera running. Within a few minutes abuse started — the prisoners were screamed at, stripped, beaten and put in solitary."
"That makes sense. We have to face in ourselves and others what horrendous things we're capable of if we don't keep our reptilian urges in check."
"Those kids in Iraq acting as prison guards needed the most stringent supervision by mature professionals."
"I'm very worried about the whole Iraq situation. Even Bush's right-wing groupies are howling with pain now."
"I heard a testimony at church yesterday about the war. The testifier said we all must work in Science to heal the situation and quoted a question Jesus asked when he appeared to some students on the way to Emmaus. They were sad and Jesus asked why. They referred to 'the things which are come to pass recently in Jerusalem.' Jesus asks, 'What things?' (See Readings from Luke). The testifier will use this simple question to get at the reality always going on — God's as Love and Life."
"That's like Mrs. Eddy asking 'What war?' when the wife of a Civil War invalid was trying to inform her of the man's injuries. She kept repeating the question until the woman got her metaphysical drift, and the man was instantaneously healed."
"I'd like to report on a play I saw this week. It's Match with Frank Langella, Ray Liotta and Jane Adams. It's about a man's search for his father who may be a retired Gay choreographer. My first reaction was that it was a rather thin vehicle for Langella's campiness, but later some archetypes emerged. An out-of-control ego is brought into alignment with the androgyne Self through the mediation of the anima. The title refers to whether there'll be a match between DNA samples, confirming the father-son relationship. It may also refer to the incendiary potential of a new beginning."
"Thanks! Now we have to come up with a two week topic. Our scribe informed me before the meeting that he'll be away next week."
"You know there'll be legalized same sex marriage in Massachusetts on Monday."
"Also there's the ongoing war story."
"How about covering it all with something like God Is All?"
"I like it. But let's keep notes to see what turns up."
"Fine with me."
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? And he said unto them, What things?
Genesis i. 1. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
The infinite has no beginning. This word beginning is employed to signify the only,—that is, the eternal verity and unity of God and man, including the universe.
"Now," cried the apostle, "is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation,"—meaning, not that now men must prepare for a future-world salvation, or safety, but that now is the time in which to experience that salvation in spirit and in life. Now is the time for so-called material pains and material pleasures to pass away, for both are unreal, because impossible in Science. To break this earthly spell, mortals must get the true idea and divine Principle of all that really exists and governs the universe harmoniously. This thought is apprehended slowly, and the interval before its attainment is attended with doubts and defeats as well as triumphs.
We cannot fathom the nature and quality of God's creation by diving into the shallows of mortal belief. We must reverse our feeble flutterings—our efforts to find life and truth in matter—and rise above the testimony of the material senses, above the mortal to the immortal idea of God. These clearer, higher views inspire the Godlike man to reach the absolute centre and circumference of his being.
Christ presents the indestructible man, whom Spirit creates, constitutes, and governs. Christ illustrates that blending with God, his divine Principle, which gives man dominion over all the earth.
As a material, theoretical life-basis is found to be a misapprehension of existence, the spiritual and divine Principle of man dawns upon human thought, and leads it to "where the young child was," —even to the birth of a new-old idea, to the spiritual sense of being and of what Life includes. Thus the whole earth will be transformed by Truth on its pinions of light, chasing away the darkness of error.
With the spiritual birth, man's primitive, sinless, spiritual existence dawns on human thought,—through the travail of mortal mind, hope deferred, the perishing pleasure and accumulating pains of sense,—by which one loses himself as matter, and gains a truer sense of Spirit and spiritual man.
The prominent laws which forward birth in the divine order of Science, are these: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me;" "Love thy neighbor as thyself." These commands of infinite wisdom, translated into the new tongue, their spiritual meaning, signify: Thou shalt love Spirit only, not its opposite, in every God-quality, even in substance; thou shalt recognize thyself as God's spiritual child only, and the true man and true woman, the all-harmonious "male and female," as of spiritual origin, God's reflection, — thus as children of one common Parent, — wherein and whereby Father, Mother, and child are the divine Principle and divine idea, even the divine "Us" — one in good, and good in One.
Sooner or later the whole human race will learn that, in proportion as the spotless selfhood of God is understood, human nature will be renovated, and man will receive a higher selfhood, derived from God, and the redemption of mortals from sin, sickness, and death be established on everlasting foundations.