By Marcia Hufstader, Member of Third Church of Christ, Scientist Recently I heard a report on the origin of philanthropy. Spurred by this to learn more on the subject, I found that Webster’s 1828 Dictionary definition of philanthropy includes this: “The love of mankind; benevolence towards the whole human family; universal good will.” It struck me that this definition is not anchored in the sharing of monetary wealth. And I realized that everyone can be a philanthropists – including me! So, I asked myself, “Do I feel love for mankind?” I realized that it really is both important and natural for me to love all mankind. The Bible says (1 John 4:19), “And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” I have learned to love God more over the last few years by being more aware and grateful for every evidence of good I see during my day. And I reasoned that it’s natural, then, for me to extend this love to His creation. Following the Bible directive, more and more I earnestly and honestly feel love for my fellow man. And this love, being an expression of divine love which is universal, it naturally extends to the whole human family. Benevolence includes so much more than the giving of large sums of money. It can be a simple act of kindness. When I actively love my neighbor in everyday life – by recognizing a need and responding to it, for example – I’m being benevolent. This could involve giving them something they need or simply listening to something they need to share. It could be expressed by giving encouragement or praise. My benevolence is shared more broadly by including the whole human family in my prayers each day. Often, that daily prayer includes acknowledging God’s unconditional and complete love for all mankind and knowing that everyone can feel that love and be blessed by it. Mary Baker Eddy, who founded the Christian Science church, was known for her philanthropy and her love for mankind. In her book First Church of Christ, Scientist and Miscellany, she said, “… philanthropy is loving, ameliorative, revolutionary … Love for mankind is the elevator of the human race; it demonstrates Truth […]
Third Church of Christ Scientist
Staying on course—paddle! by MARCIA HUFSTADER Member, Third Church of Christ, Scientist Yesterday some friends and I were kayaking in a big lake. The waves weren’t huge, but significant, and the wind was blowing. In order to stay on our course we had to keep paddling. If we stopped paddling we’d get blown off course, lose ground and be broadside to the waves. There was no urgency to what we were doing and no danger; we were having a great time, but it definitely reinforced a metaphor for life for me. Sometimes it seems when goals are set there are obstacles in the way, “outside forces” that distract, and problems that arise and slow the process down. If those are the waves and the wind, what do you do? You keep paddling! The “paddling” of life comes in many forms. For me it’s prayer—a deep recognition and contemplation of God being good and being all and directing each of my steps. Recognizing that God is all good, that He is so loving that we can think of “Love” as a name for Him, and understanding that He is the governing divine Principle of the universe including all of his children, helps me let go of human will and trust His direction. Because God, who is good, is an infinite intelligence or divine Mind, why would I look to another source for intelligence or direction? I have found human will to be one of the biggest winds and waves of life that slows down my growth. Human will and preconceived notions of what is right are obstacles that keep me from seeing God’s purpose and direction for me. When I change my thought and look to Him for help I find the paddling is without fear and safe, joyful and fulfilling. The paddling (praying) takes work, diligence and perseverance and the obstacles sometimes seem to never end, but eventually I do get better at negotiating them. Referring to Jesus’ struggles, Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Yet he swerved not, well knowing that to obey the divine order and trust God, saves retracing and traversing anew the path from sin to holiness.” Christ Jesus stuck to his course with humble prayers and unconditional love through the assurance of […]
An Effective Healthcare Option by NINA BROWN Member, Third Church of Christ, Scientist Healthcare is a subject described by multiple opinions, but it is a personal choice. Today there are many healthcare options available. I grew up in a family where spiritual healing through prayer was consistently, effectively and lovingly practiced. It had proven to be the most effective healing method in my parents’ lives before my sister and I were born. Here is one example, from among many experienced by my family, of effective spiritual healing through prayer: My sister and I often rode our bikes through the subdivision with our friends. One Saturday morning Erika was in hurry to go on a ride with her friends and she left her shoes in the house. A few minutes after she went out, Dad and I heard a very loud scream followed by a crash. Dad knew it was my sister, so he raced out to the street and scooped her up in his arms and moved her bike out of the street. She had gotten her foot tangled in the spokes and it looked pretty bad. Dad cleaned the wound and wrapped it with cloth as he spoke to her of God’s tender love for her. Dad prayed for her and continued to reassure her of God’s goodness and love. In less than an hour my sister was running up the stairs to head back outside and the cloth fell off, revealing her foot with no sign of injury. Dad helped her put her shoes on and she headed out to play. This showed me the practical and immediate effectiveness of spiritual healing through prayer and is an example of why I am grateful that this system of healing was available for our family’s use. Even today I find this system of spiritual healing effective in my life. I enjoy reading the Bible to find inspiration and examples of spiritual healing where people turned to God in prayer and found immediate help. Jesus healed many people and taught that the healings he did his followers could do also. This healing of my sister’s foot showed me this was true and agrees with another book I study, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” […]
Angel Messages by MARCIA HUFSTADER member, Third Church of Christ, Scientist “Angels we have heard on high,” the words from a well-known traditional French carol, are words we can all claim today and every day when we are hopeful, faithful and listening for God’s messages. In the carol, the angels were telling the shepherds about “Christ the Lord, the newborn King.” This newborn King showed us the way to heal. We can hear that message, too, ultimately the message about the healing power of the Christ that Jesus so clearly taught throughout his ministry. “Angels: God’s thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect; the inspiration of goodness, purity, and immortality, counteracting all evil, sensuality, and mortality.” This definition Mary Baker Eddy gives in her primary book, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” has been so helpful to me as I listen for guidance in relationships, employment, direction—in everything. Because we are all God’s children we are spiritual, so those “spiritual intuitions” are natural and specific to what our needs are at every moment. We can feel the inspiration of goodness and follow it. The inspiration of purity, as a result of God’s love for us, naturally counteracts any action that could be harmful to anyone, including ourselves. These angel messages, of the healing power of the Christ, continue to be with us here today. What Jesus taught us is timeless. We can’t be separated from the lessons that he so unselfishly gave the world. It’s the divine Principle that underlies the function of the universe, including man. We can utilize this Principle as surely as we can utilize the principle of mathematics. The laws that Jesus taught, starting with loving God with all our heart and our neighbor as thyself, lead us all in the right direction. God’s angel messages will speak to all of us and lead to the same healing power that Jesus taught. We just need to be willing and expectant.
Struggles—good or bad? by MARCIA HUFSTADER Third Church of Christ, Scientist One answer to the question “Good or bad?” could be: It’s all in how you handle it. While mowing the lawn the other day, I found myself singing a song I danced to when I was six years old. Part of the lyrics go like this: “Though April showers may come your way, they bring the flowers that bloom in May; and if it’s raining, have no regrets; because, it isn’t raining rain, you know, it’s raining violets.” Analogies can only be taken so far, but this made me think about how we interpret our experiences, our struggles. In this song the rain could symbolize our challenges and struggles. Sometimes struggles get the better of us, especially ones that have gone on and on. We might find ourselves focusing on the struggles and how to get out of them, how to manage them, or how to avoid them. In the midst of it all, maybe we need to look for the blessings instead of the pain, the flowers instead of the rain. Just knowing that there is a good side to every challenge or struggle can be helpful and hopeful; it can give us a reason to go on and proceed with even an ounce of joy. That ounce of joy does wonders. Maybe that’s the type of leaven that Paul refers to in the Bible (Galatians 5:9): “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” Sometimes all that’s needed is to add even one little part of joy, hope, forgiveness or perspective to our thinking process so that we can start seeing that the situation isn’t as bad as we thought. I read and study another book along with the Bible, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy. I have found comfort and assurance in its pages as I have faced challenges and struggles. One of the statements I have found helpful is, “The very circumstance, which your suffering sense deems wrathful and afflictive, Love can make an angel entertained unawares.” This is especially assuring when we think of another statement from the Bible (1John 4:16), “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. […]