Just Love With Mark Swinney, C.S.B. – The Christian Science Monitor

 

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Just love

Today’s column considers just how powerful the spirit of love can be.

July 11, 2018

  • By Mark Swinney

Nineteenth-century Scottish evangelist, biologist, writer, and lecturer Henry Drummond once said, “You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments that stand out, the moments when you have really lived, are the moments when you have done things in a spirit of love” (“The Greatest Thing in the World,” p. 56).

Many people today are happily discovering for themselves the truth of that insightful statement. It’s worth it to follow such a heartening trend and do the same. For me, this idea of loving has become even more meaningful in the light of what one of my most treasured books, the Bible, has to say about love: simply, that “God is love” (I John 4:8).

As a boy, I had determined God to be some sort of invisible entity who was silently watching and judging, rewarding and withholding. But when I began to consider God as all-encompassing and all-powerful Love itself, from that point forward nothing in my life was the same. Because divine Love is by its very nature limitless, it is with us wherever we go; it enlivens us, provides for us, and enables us to help others. This is the God who has “not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind,” as the Bible says (II Timothy 1:7).

Unselfish care for another that’s impelled by the concrete presence of the Divine is empowering, as Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, observes in her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.” She says: “Whatever holds human thought in line with unselfed love, receives directly the divine power” (p. 192). As we begin to recognize the allness and pure goodness of divine Love, our thought changes, and we reset our priorities for daily life. We let our actions, outlook, and inner thoughts express the loving nature of the God who created us in His spiritual image. This then enriches our interactions and experiences, sometimes far beyond our expectations. We discover that we can feel divine Love’s healing presence very tangibly.

When a friend of mine became absolutely overwhelmed with his workload, he had an unconventional response: Each day he prayed to feel and express more love for God, along with more love for the opportunities he was being given to serve others. He stayed very consistent with doing this. Before long, he discovered that not only had his sense of love expanded, he was also able to handle an even greater workload than he’d had before. This was noted and commended by management.

Christ Jesus often talked about the love of God. In fact, not just through his words, but in his acts, it was the leading theme in his healing ministry. From Jesus’ example we can begin to see that the divine Love that is God truly is so complete and all-encompassing that it leaves no room for anything unlike itself. Just Love. Love, and Love’s expression in us and the universe, is the entirety of true existence.

“He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him,” says the Bible (I John 4:16). Throughout any given day, we have numerous opportunities to demonstrate a growing awareness of God as Love, to joyfully strive to feel and express Love’s essence. The results will be seen in active, selfless love for others and a deepening love for God. God created us as the expression of His boundless love. So, as a result, what shall we do? Just love.

https://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/A-Christian-Science-Perspective/2018/0711/Just-love?

Romans 8:38 Inspirational Image

 

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A Proper Sense of Sin or Line in the Sand with Tony Lobl, J.K. Rowling & The Wizard of Oz

 

There are probably few readers of the Bible who have not paused, on reading the incident of Jesus and the sinful woman, to wonder as to what he wrote on the ground in reply to her accusers. A selected article that appeared in the Christian Science Sentinel of May 17, 1900, states that Professor Gregory of Leipzig has discovered in an old manuscript a different reading of this passage, in which the ninth verse is thus rendered: And they when they read it went out one by one, etc. As the professor interprets it. Jesus wrote on the sand the secret sins of those who would have had their fellow-sinner stoned in support of their own self-righteousness. Their assumption of innocence in bringing a less fortunate culprit to punishment could not hide from piercing purity of Jesus’ consciousness the sinfulness they had hidden from the world; and he turned upon them the sentence of their own moral distance from purity and goodness.

From the September 22, 1906 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

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Finding freedom from sin

The excerpt below is from the July 2018 issue of The Christian Science Journal

 

Traveling around the UK recently, I’ve noted certain self-proclaimed Christian spokespeople standing in town centers preaching the gospel. While I salute their willingness to stand up in public as followers of Christ, my heart sinks as I hear many of them shout at passersby that they are sinners destined to end up in hell.

To me, that seems a far cry from how Christ Jesus went about touching the lives of those struggling with thoughts or actions less than the best, whether in relationship choices, business practices, or being prone to negative traits like self-indulgence and even corruption. The term sin no longer enjoys popular usage, and is at times dismissed as irrelevant, but it is a helpful term. It indicates anything that would separate us from God, and that’s how Jesus responded to it. He interacted with corrupt tax collectors and sinners wherever he discerned a heart inwardly turning toward good, despite protests from religious leaders who tended to focus on maintaining an outward appearance of good. In addressing their concerns, he pinpointed God’s tender care for those needing reform through two parables. He spoke of a shepherd leaving 99 sheep to find one that had strayed and a woman sweeping her home to locate a single lost coin (see Luke 15:1–10). Both the shepherd and the woman, Jesus said, rejoiced at finding what had been lost and urged others to rejoice with them.

These word-pictures Jesus painted of God’s saving love were not only reassuring to those straying, but also rebuked the hypocrisy, self-righteousness, and pride that excluded itself from others in a mistaken sense of moral purity. Such self-satisfied superiority was far from the religion Jesus taught and lived. He evidenced the love he preached by healing the sick and helping those struggling with sin to turn their lives around. And that same power of God can still transform us today and free us from thoughts and behavior that miss the mark of expressing the goodness inherent in us all as God’s children. As the Bible says, “The Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if ye return unto him” (II Chronicles 30:9).

The thought Jesus held was the opposite of sinfulness, and this Christly thinking constitutes the true consciousness of us all as children of God, or reflections of divine Mind. This consciousness is the “perfect man” that Jesus beheld, which we can pray to see in ourselves. Clearly, that perfection doesn’t describe wrongdoing we might cling on to. But even in the midst of sin, if we sincerely yearn to be changed for the better, we can declare, in prayer, that we have a right to experience our God-reflecting freedom from sin.

Every victory over sin is reason for rejoicing, whether over a minor, unseen vice, or over an overt and destructive habit. Yet more than that, each sin overcome is precious evidence for all humanity of the foundational premise of Christian Science, that we are God’s sons and daughters, made in the spiritual likeness of God—pure and perfect, sinless and free.

Tony Lobl
Associate Editor

 

Note – Perhaps Ms. Gulch, the wicked witch of the west, in the clip below represents: “hypocrisy, self-righteousness, and pride that excluded itself from others in a mistaken sense of moral purity. Such self-satisfied superiority was far from the religion Jesus taught and lived”.   Perhaps this was uncovered regardless of her maintaining an outward appearance of good by being a so-called pillar of the community who had great possessions.  Perhaps she just got confused with being perfect to the human sense instead of the spiritual significance of the “perfect man” that Jesus referenced. Perhaps she was a teacher or mother who declared in the name of Mrs. Eddy: “We don’t want gays and lesbians in our churches or families”.   Perhaps Mrs. Eddy would say back at them, “Not in my name!” Perhaps?

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Fed by Love – the Christian Science Sentinel

 

Fed by Love

From the May 21, 1984 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel


Love is raining down, pouring out, pouring over . . . .
Hear this, drought and famine—
parched, dried-out affections/hardened, calloused hearts,
mortal minds that think they can abandon, isolate,
exclude with prejudice and hate
even one of God’s little loved ones.

Hungry? those who feel unloved.
Famished? those who will not feed with love.

But listen to the Sermon!
Look at the rain! falling on just and unjust.
Look at Love, seeing neither just nor unjust mortality.
Unloved/unloving, have-not or will-not—
both dissolve in transcendent spiritual innocence.

And Love is raining now on the hardened, calloused heart,
Love is planting deep in the loosening soil,
Love is feeding the famished affections,
And Christ is filling all of Love’s little ones with needed bread.

Abreast of the times – Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, the head of Scotland’s government

“I’m proud that Scotland is considered to be one of the most progressive countries in Europe regarding LGBTI equality and Pride Glasgow is a fantastic event that brings communities together and celebrates all that LGBTI people bring to Scottish life,” Sturgeon told STV News.
“As a society we must champion equality and fairness at all times and defend the progress that has been made.”
NOVEMBER 29, 2017 : Nicola Sturgeon attending a service for Dr Elsie Inglis's memorial in St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh.

Scottish leader will kick off Pride parade instead of meeting with Trump

 

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, the head of Scotland’s government, will not meet with President Donald Trump during his visit to the country. Instead, she’ll be marching in Glasgow’s pride parade as Grand Marshall.

“I’m proud that Scotland is considered to be one of the most progressive countries in Europe regarding LGBTI equality and Pride Glasgow is a fantastic event that brings communities together and celebrates all that LGBTI people bring to Scottish life,” Sturgeon told STV News.

“As a society we must champion equality and fairness at all times and defend the progress that has been made.”

She will be the first serving prime minister or first minister in the UK to march in a pride parade.

https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2018/07/scottish-leader-will-kick-off-pride-parade-instead-meeting-trump/?

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Love Must Triumph Over Death

 

 “I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:38, 39

 

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“Hooyah Hooyah Hooyah!”

 

Nothing like being reminded that heroes exist in the midst of chaos.

 

Amanda Luz Henning Santiago, Mashable 15 hours ago

The world continues to celebrate the triumphant rescue of a soccer team trapped inside a cave.

A photo of the four Thai Navy SEALs who stayed with the soccer team in the cave has gone viral after being shared on the SEALs’ Facebook page. The photo has been shared over 89,000 times at the time of writing, and has racked up a whopping 509,000 likes.

“All 4 Thai Navy SEALs came out safely,” said the Thai Navy SEALs caption.

The SEALs waited until every member of the soccer team was rescued from the cave before returning to safety and have since been hailed as heroes.

The photo’s caption also says, “Hooyah Hooyah Hooyah,” which, according to CBS News, is an expression of excitement popular among SEALs.

Nothing like being reminded that heroes exist in the midst of chaos.

Sadly, one former Navy SEAL died while attempting to rescue the 12 boys and their coach, who were trapped in the cave for over two weeks.

Thai rescue mission: All boys, soccer coach are out of Thai cave

 

ANSWERED PRAYER

 

Thai rescue mission: All boys, soccer coach are out of Thai cave

Loved ones sent letters to the 12 boys and their soccer coach who were trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand. The boys wrote back with messages of hope and plenty of “I love you’s.” USA TODAY
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The Thai navy SEALs announced the news on Facebook, saying the SEALs that stayed with the team in recent days were also working their way to the mouth of the cave.

“Twelve wild boars and coach are out of the cave. Everyone safe,” the post said. “Waiting to pick up 4 Frogs. Hooyah.”

 

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Home Unconfined

 

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Home, unconfined

From the March 12, 2018 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

 

Now and always, we can look to God, Spirit, as our unlimited and ever-present provider. If physical locations or buildings had any bearing on God’s presence, then that would mean divine Spirit wasn’t completely spiritual and could be confined to one place, or not even available in another—an impossibility for infinite Spirit. Understanding the infinitude of Spirit can remove fear of change, because it assures us that God, good, is unchanging and unchangeable.

As Paul wrote in his second letter to the Corinthians, “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (Second Corinthians 5:1). Qualities such as comfort, security, and stability are actually spiritual—not confined to physical locations or buildings and not dictated by familiarity, but originating with God, who is unchanging Love.

Psalm 90 declares: “Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God” (verses 1, 2). This statement helps me see both the timelessness and permanence of home, founded in and maintained by God. The more we acknowledge God as our true “dwelling place,” the more clearly we can see and experience the unchangeable, spiritual qualities of home, and discover their presence and permanence wherever we are. And these qualities can be manifested in very practical, tangible ways that meet our needs.

While we certainly cherish home and the comfort it provides, we can broaden our concept of home so that it becomes unencumbered by physical location or possessions. Understanding God as the true dwelling place, we find our home and everyone’s to be all-inclusive, ever present, and permanent.

 

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Ecuador Welcomes Marriage Equality + Best of Ellen DeGeneres Pride

Published on Jun 25, 2018

Kick off Ellen’s pride week with some of our most inspiring LGBTQ+ show moments featuring celebrities such as Ellen announcing her wedding, Sam Smith talking about wanting to be a spokesperson for the LGBTQ+ community, Laverne Cox as the first transgender person on Time
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Ecuador court rules in favor of marriage equality & weddings can start at any time

 

A court in Ecuador ruled in favor of marriage equality this week.

Two same-sex couples, whose identities have not been made public, tried to get married at the Civil Registry after the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled in favor of marriage equality in January. That ruling was binding on twenty Caribbean and Latin American countries, including Ecuador, as all of the countries agreed to abide by that court’s rulings.

The couples, though, were denied marriages. The Civil Registry claimed there was no procedure for them to get married.

With legal help from the Feminist Legal Collective of Cuenca, the couples took their case to court. The lack of a procedure “cannot serve as an excuse to violate a right,” said Catalina Mendoza, the couples’ lawyer.

The court agreed, with judges Cristina Álvarez and Iliana Vallejo ruling in favor of the couples, saying the Civil Registry should “immediately” allow the women to wed.

Ecuadorian legal analyst Sebastián López said that no further legislative action is necessary. “While the best outcome would be a reform to the Civil Code, the Constitution, or a new law, these are not necessary to perform a same-sex marriage.”

Mendoza said that her clients “are brave people. Both the judges and the couples who want to get married are making history.”

Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Uruguay and some states in Mexico already legalized marriage equality before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruling. Costa Rica initially said that it would abide by the ruling, but it has been denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples and said that it is waiting for a national court ruling or law before proceeding with marriage equality.

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