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abundance, blessings, Love

Awe and Humility

This morning the following Bible passage was in my email, and when I read it I was awe struck…

Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all.[

I Chronicles 29:11

After reading this I felt just in awe of God’s greatness and power and felt so utterly humbled before God. All sense of ego on my part just dissolved, and I as I began my morning prayers I felt like I was truly on my knees, mentally.  I pondered what does it mean to be a humble servant of the Lord?  Does that mean that we have or are nothing?  I then remembered part of the Golden Text, or theme, of this week’s Christian Science Bible Lesson on the subject of Substance, from the book of Luke: 

. . . it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. . . .

Luke 12:32 it

I was recently asked “what does it mean to have the kingdom?  Now that we’ve been given the kingdom, now what?”.  Well, we get to have the confidence that God is providing all that we need, and there is never any lack or limitation when we put God first.  We live out from that kingdom and have dominion over temptations to doubt or fear. In fact, the first part of that passage states: Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

If we have the kingdom, we have all the richness and good that it comes with, and we can proceed in life knowing that Love, another word for God (according to 1 John), is providing for every need – including health and wholeness, belonging and community, steady supply.  So we don’t need to fear, and we can live completely unselfishly knowing that there is an endless supply of good, not only for ourselves but for each and every one of us.  There is no “us and them” in the kingdom.  We are all given equally and abundantly.  

 If we have the kingdom, we have all the richness and good that it comes with, and we can proceed in life knowing that Love, another word for God (according to 1 John), is providing for every need – including health and wholeness, belonging and community, steady supply.  So we can live completely unselfishly knowing that there is an endless supply of good, not only for ourselves but for each and every one of us.  There is no “us and them” in the kingdom.  We are all given equally and abundantly.  

As the next verse of the first text I shared states:

Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.[

I Chronicles 29:12

So we can have it all, when we humbly acknowledge our true source of all good.  But you may say, wait a minute, that’s not what the world looks like… there are some that seem to have it all and some that seem to have nothing or very little.  Well, when we align our thought with Love’s divine provision, we will find that it is there for us, even in the toughest circumstances.  I find that in those moments when I give gratitude for what I do have, and lean into Divine Love, and trust, humbly acknowledge Love, God as the true source of all good, all harmony, all strength and provision, and get self out of the way, that the way opens up to answering each and every need. 

And then I get to sing – How Great Thou Art…  a song that always makes me feel a sense of God’s greatness and a deep sense of humility and awe.  I love this version especially because of the beautiful, awe inspiring setting where they are singing.  


grace

How many different ways can we be tricked?

Recently I was out walking the dog around the pond by apartment.  It had been very cold, and just the night before we had a light dusting of snow.  It was a beautiful morning, but the snow covered some icy patches on the path making them hard to see.  My dog started to slide around, and noticing this, I thought I would be safe by walking in the grass.  However, for some reason there was a huge sheet of ice that not only covered the path but the grass around it.  Next thing I know, I was on the ground.  

At this point, I’d love to say that my first thought was turning to God to know that I was safe, as ever, in Love’s warm embrace.  But that’s not what happened.  First I stood up, frustrate, even angry and check to see if I was hurt.  Nothing seemed to be too sore, other than my ego. But then my thought went to self-righteous anger at the apartment management company for not salting the path.  I thought about how I should march right into the office to tell them I had fallen and was hurt… but was I?  I checked again… not really.  Well, I could have gotten hurt, that’s what I’d say… but could I?  

Well, some might say, yes, of course you could have been seriously hurt, that’s so dangerous, they should do better.  But when I think about this through the lens of Divine Science, I know that the truth of my being as God’s perfect creation is perfection, wholeness.  Right then I started to check my thought and recognize that from God’s point of view, I could never fall from grace.  I could never lack grace – both in the sense of being graceful, and in the sense of abundant goodness, kindness and blessing poured forth from the Divine.  

In one of my favorite books, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy puts it this way, “When speaking of God’s children, not the children of men, Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is within you;” that is, Truth and Love reign in the real man, showing that man in God’s image is unfallen and eternal.”  (SH 476:28–32) She also speaks of man as “unfallen, upright, pure, and free”.  (SH 171:4) So, I knew I could see my self as unfallen and free.  

I started, however, to get back to my thinking about the management company and how I should give them a piece of my mind… if not for myself, for others.  What if someone else fell and got injured?  But, if God’s man can never fall from grace, doesn’t that also cover my neighbors?  It’s not to say that it’s not right to take actions that are practical and wise to keep people safe, but I had to check my motives here.  Because really, it seemed like I was looking for any excuse to justify my anger and frustration.  And the more I got angry, and rehearsed what I might tell the management company the more my shoulder began to ache.  

Well, that’s ridiculous I thought.  Why am I letting my thought get so spun up here?  I know the truth about my being and I began to hold more closely to that idea that if I couldn’t fall from grace, my thought couldn’t be filled with anything but grace.  

Later that evening, my friend came over for dinner.  I had been still dealing with some soreness in my shoulder and was feeling a bit sorry for myself.  I told my friend I had fallen on the ice.  His response… “Cool!” 

Well, here comes that anger and frustration again…  How could he say that?   But this time, I caught myself more quickly. What did I really want his response to be?  Was I looking for pity?  That’s not me!  I’m not pitiful… 

I recognized this thought was just another trick to get me to give into this story that I could fall from grace.  But no! Not a fall, not self-righteous indignation, not self-pity could keep me from experiencing God’s unending, ever-present, abundance grace and goodness!!  Enough was enough!  I would not be tricked…    And recognizing this, I felt the power behind Mrs. Eddy’s statement, “Grace and Truth are potent beyond all other means and methods.” (SH 67:23)  

That night I went to bed feeling at peace and woke up perfectly well.  

abundance, Reality

Empty gas tank?…Not really!

While visiting friends in another city, I borrowed their car to get around.  After a few days of driving, I needed to get more gas (petrol), and so I filled the tank.  However the next evening when I was using the car to get back to my friends’ house after some meetings downtown, I was putting the car into reverse to pull out of my parking spot, the gas gauge went from full to empty, and the light came on indicating I needed to get gas right before my eyes.  That’s strange, I thought… and I turned the car off and hopped out to look where I put the gas in the car and checked that the gas cap was secure.  I got back in the car and restarted it, and the same thing happened.  I was very confused because I knew I had just filled it the night before, so there was no way it could be utterly empty.  I called my friend, who told me that it happens sometimes, when the tank is filled all the way, the computer “freaks out” and shows empty when it is really full.  I certainly trust my friend, and yet I still asked if he was sure.  He said yes, it has happened to his wife before and he assured me that I would be just fine and I would be able to make the hour drive back home to their place.  I decided to 1) trust my friend, and 2) pray to calm my thought and feel a sense of Divine assurance.  And sure enough, I made it to their house with no problems.  

I was thinking about how this is a helpful analogy and was able to turn to it in the weeks following. It was tempting to believe the illusion of an empty gas tank because the was what the car was telling me, even though I knew with total certainty that I had filled the tank just the day before. Just like it was tempting to believe that my own “tank” was pretty empty after hosting a big holiday family feast and spending days preparing – cleaning, shopping, cooking – and then hosting. It was also tempting to buy into the illusion of sickness and contagion when supporting a friend both metaphysically and practically with visits and meals the following week who seemed to be suffering from in sickness.  But each time before going in to visit, I would assert my freedom as an idea of God. And I really dove into this oft repeated passage from Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures –

“When the illusion of sickness or sin tempts you, cling steadfastly to God and His idea. Allow nothing but His likeness to abide in your thought. Let neither fear nor doubt overshadow your clear sense and calm trust…” (p. 495).  

I have heard this passage so often, I had almost become numb to its meaning and power. But I realized the picture before me of sickness or fatigue was an illusion, much like the gas tank.  And when I cling to or turn whole-heartedly to God, the source of my life, health, wholeness and love, and understand my identity as God’s spiritual reflection and expression…and feel the allness and ever-presence of God’s love for me and everyone, including my friend, I was able to keep out fear and doubt and remain clear, calm and trusting in the truth and power of God’s love for us.

I thought about how an illusion is like mist or fog, clouding our clear view, but that is all that it is.  

And when the light of truth shines, the fog dissipates and we can see more clearly the true picture before us. 

 I understood this passage in a deeper way and could see how it clearly applied to this situation supporting my friend.  This seeming sense of sickness was not any more true about him, as Love’s perfect, divine creation, than the gas tank being empty.  I could trust completely that neither of our tanks could ever be empty when our life is supplied and maintained by God who is our Life.  With that I was so unimpressed with the symptoms that I could see right through them and was never susceptible to contagion. My friend also improved rapidly and had a complete healing shortly thereafter.  

How are you seeing through the false picture or mirage of an empty gas tank, and trusting the truth of your being?