No Topic!

November 5, 2009

As an active portion of one stupendous whole, goodness identifies man with universal good. Thus may each member of this church rise above the oft-repeated inquiry, What am I? to the scientific response: I am able to impart truth, health, and happiness, and this is my rock of salvation and my reason for existing.

Miscellany, by Mary Baker Eddy

"Well — how was it?"

"Just great — maybe the best ever. Less people showed up this year, but we were able to sit around a big table and share freely."

"I wish I'd had the money to go."

"It should be cheaper next year in Phoenix. The hotel's less and breakfast is included."

"I love Key West. It's so beautiful and relaxed. And all those grand homes!"

"I liked getting a last touch of summer after the gathering gloom here. We ate at some wonderful restaurants and even went on a sunset cruise on a schooner..."

"Oh man!"

"What about the presentations?"

"There were just three, but they were powerful. And as usual there were passionate conversations in between."

"Give us some details."

"Well, Doug from Philly kicked off with a paper on happiness — ' Our Innate Happiness'. I had no idea how often Mrs. Eddy brings it up in her writings. I think he'll post his talk on the Emergence site, but here are a few quotes I marked down:

'For true happiness, man must harmonize with his Principle, divine Love; the Son must be in accord with the Father, in conformity with Christ. Christ.' (S&H 337: 7-10)

'If you wish to be happy, argue with yourself on the side of happiness; take the side you wish to carry, and be careful not to talk on both sides, or to argue stronger for sorrow than for joy.' (Hea: 10: 20-23)

' Look away from the body into Truth and Love, the Principle of all happiness, harmony, and immortality.' (S&H 261: 2-4)

'Happiness is spiritual, born of Truth and Love. It is unselfish; therefore it cannot exist alone, but requires all mankind to share it' (S&H 57:18-21)."

"We could spend two weeks on happiness."

"Yes — we could work on all the themes that came up in Key West."

"What was next?"

"Hugh quoted Mrs. Eddy from page 577 of Science and Health 'Spiritual teaching must always be by symbols.' and launched us in teams to look at the symbols of the dove and the lamb in the Bible and the writings of Mrs. Eddy."


"There were two teams — we went to opposite corners of the room and came up with everything we could think of about our assigned symbol. And it was a lot!"

"What'd you get for the dove?"

"It's a symbol for the Holy Spirit. Like when Jesus is baptized by John, the Spirit descends on him visibly as a dove."

"I think it's interesting that Jesus disrupted the sale of doves in the temple. Do you suppose he was offended at the materialization and commercialization of the dove symbol?"

"Mrs. Eddy's definition in the Glossary reads 'DOVE. A symbol of divine Science; purity and peace;hope and faith' (S%H 584: 26-27)."

"It's the soft winged dove of angelic thought that transmutes problems into harmony. Look at this: 'Think of this, dear reader, for it will lift the sack-cloth from your eyes, and you will behold the soft winged dove descending upon you. The very circumstance, which your suffering sense deems wrathful and afflictive, Love can make an angel entertained unawares. Then thought gently whispers: "Come hither! Arise from your false consciousness into the true sense of Love, and behold the Lamb's wife, — Love wedded to its own spiritual idea."Then cometh the marriage feast, for this revelation will destroy forever the physical plagues imposed by material sense' (S&H 574 25-6)."

"Did you all get into what’s meant by the 'Lamb's Wife'?"

"It's a mystery of the church! But seriously I guess Mrs. Eddy got the essence of it by saying it's 'Love wedded to its own spiritual idea.' Right after it comes up, we're ushered into the Holy City where God and the Lamb are the central, powerful figures. This New Jerusalem is in the form of a Mandela representing our divine Selfhood."

"Isn't the Lamb Jesus? All the way back to earliest times lambs were sacrificial animals. I mean think of Abraham and Isaac. Jesus just ratcheted up the symbol to human scale."

"A lamb is about innocence, gentleness, inoffensiveness. Mrs. Eddy described the position of man as reflection. In other words, non-assertive being — just reflecting the one Being."

"John the Baptist saw Jesus as the Lamb of God when he came to be baptized. Also there's the Spirit descending like a dove from heaven upon him. So you've got the integration of an earthly symbol and a heavenly symbol. To me that's the essential Christ Jesus message to humanity: God appears as man and the universe."

"So wake up! This is it!"

"I suppose adding a wife to the lamb symbol is an attempt to indicate a contrasexual bridge to the Self. Jung called it the anima for men and the animus for women."

"Or maybe it's just about getting some feminine element in the mix. The Catholics did it in 1871 with the Assumption of the Virgin and Mrs. Eddy did it about the same time with Father-Mother God."

"The Holy City is, as you say, in the form of a mandala, which Jung said is a symbol for the Self, the centralizing and controlling power at the deepest level of the psyche. It's God. If you study how Mrs. Eddy handles it in the last few pages of the Textbook, we're getting way beyond any personal sense of psyche. There's literally one Mind only. Anything less is states and stages of belief."

"What about the keynote?"

"Mary Jane Chaignot gave it in the form of a seminar. So we were all sitting around the table asking questions and sharing. She went into the Sermon on the Mount, particularly the Beatitudes."

"Really! I usually get nothing out of them."

"I'm the same. Just pretty words to be rattled through quickly, but Mary Jane got us some fresh insights and inspiration, many times by going back to the original Hebrew or Greek word and placing everything in the culture of the time. For instance, to be poor in spirit means being really destitute, totally dependent on God for help. If you're there and do look to God, you get it all — the Kingdom of Heaven."

"What about meek — are we back to the lamb?"

"Not exactly. Apparently the original word means being ready to act in a God-directed way. Oh, and pure in heart means non-dualistic—not mixing."

"For us, maybe not mixing matter or beliefs with Science."

"There'll always be some material belief floating around a spiritual fact. I think the key is not to lean on it — and we'll get to see God. We'll get to see Him as the only cause and effect."

"That sounds right."

"She also talked about Mary Magdalene visiting Simon's house and washing Jesus' feet with her tears. Simon's perfunctory treatment of Jesus, his arrogance and pride give us a perfect symbol to contrast with Mary's abject craving for the Christ. So we can ask ourselves in any situation 'Am I being a Mary or a Simon?"."

"That same Mary is the sister of Lazarus."

"Does anyone else feel the woman taken in adultery was also this Mary? Her healing would then have been a progressive unfoldment, first being seized by the Mosaic law and cast before the Christ, then seeking him out at Simon's house and finally appearing fully healed and holy at the feet of the Master."

"You could apply Mary's odyssey to the situation of Gay people in the church and in the world. We've been seized by Levitical law, tossed around like a football by priestly castes — our own Christian Science version included — and by politicians, but we've kept on keeping on, seeking and finding the Truth about ourselves in relation to the whole."

"We have to close, but let me read something from practically the last page of the Textbook. It's her final discernment of the Lamb's wife, setting out the spiritual fact everyone, Gay and non-Gay, has to deal with. 'The Lamb's wife presents the unity of male and female as no longer two wedded individuals, but as two individual natures in one; and this compounded spiritual individuality reflects God as Father-Mother, not as a corporeal being. In this divinely united spiritual consciousness, there is no impediment to eternal bliss, — to the perfectibility of God's creation' (S&H 577: 4-11)."

"Okay! We need a four week topic, what with Thanksgiving and everyone's travel schedules."

"We could do gratitude — but I think we've done it lots."

"Yes — take a look at the archives!"

"What about all this shooting going on?"

"So the topic would be gun control?"

"No, no. Let's not turn off Christians who might visit our site."

"A lot of what we've circled around this time is how one Mind, God, is really in control. Why don't we take this as the topic and see what comes up as we practice it?"

"I like it! I'm going to use the last pages of Science and Health as my study text. You know about the Holy City."

"Okay everyone? What's the exact topic?"

"One Mind."

"Okay? Then One Mind."

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