We can use words to describe what Good, God, means to us. We can speak about it and write about it. Yes, that is possible and valid. But what really I makes me so grateful and happy is a feeling. That there is a God, Good, filling all space, being all power, knowing everything there is to know. A God that is on our side, a benign, most intense Love that is quietly present around us, in everyone, in us - being us (now here is a thought!). We are one with this Love. How does this feel?
Recently I was invited to present Christian Science in a large Association facilitating and encouraging multicultural and multireligious progress. This organisation is around for several decades, and part of it is the "Studio of Religions and Worldviews", facilitating the dialogue between representatives of religions on a biographical basis, hosting a public conference for teachers in schools every year and showing forth the enriching and peacebuilding effect of communication between religions and civic society. The members come from a wide variety of backgrounds, from Buddhism, Christianity - several denominations including the Bulgarian Orthodoxy, Protestantism -, Jewish denominations, Ba'hai, Hinduism, old religions, humanism. Every year has a distinct topic. This year it is: "Revenge, Forgiveness, Reconciliation".
I had prepared well - in my briefcase was a Bible with all the markers, a copy of the current Christian Science Bible lesson, a book about a Holocaust survivor in which a chapter is dedicated to a Christian Scientist. I also had with me a box with cards which I have at hand in my practice, on my desk, always. The definition of "Good" from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy (p.587): "Good.God; Spirit; omnipotence; omniscience; omnipresence; omni-action." And of course my copy of the textbook of Christian Science itself. And then examples of forgiveness in action. I had planned to speak about the oneness of theory and practice, study and action in Christian Science, about Christian Science as a Science of Being and the textbook of Christian Science as a Bible commentary written for humanity, written for everyone no matter the background. I also had planned to represent the healing practice of Christian Science based on the allness and onliness of Good and man as the idea or concept or expression of the one and only Good. And to present the practice as a, well, practical way to stand by everyone seeking inner peace, healing, a perspective out of a mental prison, solutions, a new view of God and a new view of health. After all the practice was founded as a profession by Mary Baker Eddy much earlier than other professions who today are linked to support and care, an individual relationship one on one.
When I was motioned to start, I felt impelled to change my concept and start with a feeling. We can speak about God, yes, we can speak about our lives, our motives and aims, our loves and likes --- but as many words we might find, at the bottom is a feeling. We can also speak about understanding, but Biblical wisdom knows already that understanding is linked to the heart, the traditional seat of feelings in many cultures. Understanding, if you really go to the bottom of it, means to be. And nothing is more honest and revealing true being, in whatever way, as a feeling. There are divine affections and feelings - and prayer reveals these fresh feelings as ours to start with.
As I spoke about God as Love being more a feeling for me than words, I could see in the eyes of my listeners and team members of the Studio of Religions that everyone knew what I was talking about. When the clamor of the ego is quieted we discover the invitation of a feeling. Something like this, from a Christian Science hymn:
"I look to Thee in every need, And never look in vain; I feel Thy touch, eternal Love, And all is well again." (Hymn 134:1)
The question what God feels like instead of what God is like, opened our hearts and thoughts to the most meaningful sharing in all honesty and joy. When I spoke about the conviction of Christian Scientists, that loving our neighbor as ourselves means in essence, that this is so because our neighbor is like us, and when I unfolded to the group as well as to myself the glorious fact that there is only one consciousness and one source of all being, and that the only way to really demonstrate this would be to forgive under all circumstances, we were in one place at the same time. Forgiveness is not a contract, it is a gift, the expression of divine Love in the form of love, trust, and the willingness not to count transgressions of others. We spoke about forgiving 70 times seven, as Christ Jesus taught, and about the constancy of divine Love. God is a feel thing - everything is too superficial. We can turn from resentment and "the hard feelings" we struggle with to find Love, not as a theory, but as a feeling - a real thing.
Later when I contemplated this most insightful evening I could see how Christian Science always brings people together, always. I also saw more clearly that we all can feel and accept divine Love, because in the true consciousness of man, as God's image and likeness, is nothing but love present. We will feel what Love feels. By standing porter at the door of thought we can spiritually control our thought and ensure that our consciousness is ours, and ours alone. We truly exist in a state of authority over our feelings because we have been granted dominion by God, Good. The only place we are exercising this dominion is consciousness, and nothing can prevent our utilization of it. Nothing can block the experience of harmony and balance, benevolence and forgiveness in our hearts, which are the accompanying feelings and effects from a consciousness under the control of divine Love, and not a human ego.
Mary Baker Eddy writes: "God has endowed man with inalienable rights, among which are self-government, reason, and conscience." (S+H, p. 106). And this quote which I mentioned during my presentation has more to do with feeling than with the brain. After all, spiritual sense, which links us to Spirit, is not an activity of the brain, but belongs to the whole man - the man of God's creating. It is a sense for good, an experience of good. Spiritual living is a feel thing - and we all can feel it.
All the purists stop reading now. For all the others enjoy the wonderful lightheartedness of Justin Timberlake's 2016 mega hit with its glorious richness, colorful oomph and mix of work and dance and song. There is "a time to dance" (Eccl. 3:4), and whether your feet dance or your heart feels the goodness of life, or at least that something is good - both great. Where there is Life, there is joy, a heart beating in synchronicity with Soul --- all good. After all, it is a feel thing. The real thing.
Most often, the beginning and the ending tell you a lot about the scope and intent of everything in between. This is true for literature, art, and music, it is true for projects, endeavors, your days. The first words - or actions - set the tone whereas the last words - or actions - shape the memory and outline the legacy and impact.
When studying in depth the gospel of John, I took note of the first and the last words, Christ Jesus is speaking. I was being aware of the opening lines as the first moments in his public ministry, his appearance on the scene of the human condition and his last words.
The very first words we hear from Jesus are "Come and see". (John 1: 39). It is a reply to two men how have heard from John the Baptist that Jesus is the Messiah, the promised Savior of the world. And what a Savior! I find it humbling that the first words are a response, not the initiative. Jesus, I am reading in these last words, was foremost an outstanding listener, and the beginning of this gospel hints at this important quality. It is meeting a need - and even the need to understand where he is staying - right from the outset.
The entire gospel of John is unlike the other - its focus is a look into the soul and heart of the Christ. Compared to the other gospels, only a few healings are reported, all in all seven reports of what the Bible calls miracles - including turning water into wine - but they are reported in so much detail, explanation and depth that one learns so much about the Christ, God's communication of power and love with humanity. The gospel of John gives for each opposing narrative to the true status of man as God's dignified and valued man an example, in such a way, that we find ourselves in these reports and move forward. I wonder whether "come and see" echoes Jesus' first hand knowledge of the Psalms telling us to "Come and see the works of God." (Psalms 66: 5)
What a simple invitation to simply get moving and see for ourselves, too. "Come and see" has morphed into something like a daily reminder to not stay where I seem to be at a certain point but to move and see for myself, that is to experience for myself, where the Christ is - this power of God active in our life and experience, ready to stand by us, with us, for us.
When you read through the gospel of John and finally reach the final chapter to catch Jesus' last words, you will find them equally to the point. They are a call, an assignment, and an invitation at the same time. The words are "follow thou me." (John 21: 22) I am hearing the echo of the famous 23rd Psalm here: "Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." (Psalm 23: 6) We follow the lead of goodness, fairness, peace and we are being followed by goodness and mercy every day. "Follow thou me."
Someone said that Jesus spent his entire life making people happy. We all can certainly know how special a day of "come and see" feels and plays out in our experience. A day of expressing Christlike qualities, of "coming and seeing" for ourselves and caring deeply about humanity's needs, so much so, that our own needs pale in comparison and are being met abundantly by divine Love itself. Love applauds unselfishness without exception. So between "come and see" and "follow thou me" is enough space for a whole life to unfold, and this life is here today - with a safe, beautiful frame to embrace infinite good.
Here is a report about the practical application of the healing laws this blog post is speaking about.
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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