How to expect a good result? In Bible talk: "the harvest"? I am sometimes asked in the practice what our part is. Do we make the good things happen? How can we support something good "out there"? Does it matter? And then I had to think about carrots.
I know how carrot seeds look, I know how to sow them --- and I know what to do in order to harvest good carrots. I do because my sister Beate and I grew up in a lovely historic yellow house with a huge back yard including a vegetable garden.
Lets say, you want to plant carrots, you buy seeds and you realize at home that you grabbed by mistake seeds for forget-me-nots. What can you do in order to have carrots in your patch? Could you still plant the wrong seeds in the right way, water them and weed the patch properly in order to harvest carrots? Or tell the forget-me-nots, as they break through the soil, to better behave and become carrots? Nice try. So the true identity of the carrots is not in the soil, the rain, the sunshine, the patch, the person sowing the seed or the individual harvesting them. It is in the seed. It is in them, right?
This week was published the wonderful article Let goodness grow by Cali McClure. In it she relates a council by Mary Baker Eddy, from her book No and Yes:
"We can rejoice that every germ of goodness will at last struggle into freedom and greatness, and every sin will so punish itself that it will bow down to the commandments of Christ, — Truth and Love." (p. 8)
Although we use the term "germ" today in a slightly different way than Mary Baker Eddy did in the late 19th century, it is still "a tiny organism", "a living thing". Comparable to a seed in some ways. What is comparable is their bittiness, their identification and purpose. How small, how mighty.
Every little seed or corn contains the superpower of the All of good, God. If you honor one thing you already honor the whole. Like a good gardener you can treat well the tiny seeds of goodness. Already the hint of a good motive, an honest endeavor of a family member, authentic humility, the endeavor to overcome gripping fear, a healing process, a move towards reconciliation --- is a seed of good having in itself all the power of its own purpose. The gardener knows this by respecting the difference between carrots and forget-me-nots. Our pushing has its limits.
The power is not in us, but we do play a part in this. The gardener part. Someone on this planet must honor the power just enough to stop waiting for the good things to happen. In order to make them happen. Christ Jesus was like that - honoring the supreme power, honoring Life so much that he could safely step aside and trust goodness to develop out of its own innate power. He speaks about the tiny mustard seed turning eventually into a large plant.
It is really a short distance from discouragement to productive mental activity and to a harvest. The distance is between a good human intent and true humility. Step over and remember the carrots. Stop feeding the fears - water the seeds and respect the creator. And trust the power of good to multiply - and enjoy the rich orange harvest.
If you need the perfect words for your feelings, which often turn everything upside down, reach for the Psalms. Here you find the full range of feelings expressed, feelings like sorrow, frustration, guilt, exhaustion, rejection or feelings like joy, gratitude, peace, love. The Psalms have words for all your feelings, poetic words, strong words, true words, words you could possibly never come up with. Words for you and words by you, not just about you. What, you might think? Don't you know that a psalm is a prayer, originally really a song? That they have been written centuries ago, long before you were born? That they have been used by Jews and hermits and early Christians and Christians of all denominations for more than two thousand years? That they form the liturgy of the hours, being recited and prayed every week in many cloisters and convents still today? That already Martin Luther called the Psalms "the small Bible" - meaning that the Psalms are like a mini-version of the entire Biblical message?
Yes, the words are around for centuries. But the moment you open up to them and let them give words to your feelings, they are written by you. A colleague once told me: If ancient music means something today, it is not ancient anymore. Even more so the Psalms, tackling every challenge we might encounter, finding answers to every problem under the sun. The Psalms are not distant words behind glas. They speak to you, but even more so: You speak them, you feel them, you can write them into your own book of life. Like this: " I will be glad and full of joy in Your loving-kindness. For You have seen my suffering. You have known the troubles of my soul. You have not given me into the hand of those who hate me. You have set my feet in a large place." (from Psalm 31, NLV).
The Psalms meet the heart’s deepest longing to hear the creator, to commune with Love, God. It has made a huge difference when I started to discover the Bible as my book, especially the Psalms and the New Testament. Letting the Psalms get so close that the words could have been written by me, arouses them. They sure get under my skin. All the chords of our life are to be found in the psalms - and we draw out the deepest notes of our heart. Here our feelings find the right words, I find. The Psalms have never let me down.
Through the centuries the Psalms have been put to wonderful music and to exquisite art. Christian Scientists have put the Psalms to practice for more than 150 years. Continuing to write humanity's story with the Psalms, the Christian Science Sentinel has been inviting its readers to share the healing solace and spiritual strength that the Psalms are bringing to humanity. Here is my contribution to the Comfort from the Psalms section - in written form and as a podcast. Like in the illumination below in which you can see "anima" cupping her cheek in her hand, so sorrowful and sad - help is at hand. The Psalmist is listening and starting to play - and the healing message is under way.
Who is writing?
In my work as Christian Science practitioner and writer I draw on listening to God and listening to people.
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