Setting the Table of Your Life with Gratitude

From Tim Mitchinson's blog post of Nov. 21, 2015. Tim is the media spokesman for Christian Science in Illinois and a Christian Science practitioner.

My mom took such joy in Thanksgiving.  She especially enjoyed setting the table – laying out the china, flatware, goblets and cloth napkins that were used only on special occasions.  And there was always a beautiful centerpiece.
I remember a political commentator using the phrase “set the table” to refer to political campaigns establishing their strategy as they get ready for the upcoming primaries.  It’s a good phrase for all of us to think about.  How do you prepare for special occasions, your workday, or just every day?  How do you “set the table” of your life?
Gratitude is a great way to “set the table”… click here to read the whole post.

Finding a Recipe for Beauty

Tim Mitchinson, the spokesperson for Christian Science in Illinois, wrote this blog on October 1, 2015.

The quest to look good can be a creative thing.  It may include discovery and exploration of different clothes, hairstyles, etc. that express your uniqueness. But unfortunately, it can also become a dangerous obsession – using extreme measures to feel beautiful.

These measures may range from cosmetic and plastic surgeries, to extreme dieting and the overuse of tanning facilities.  More and more physicians are advising individuals to think very seriously about the health risks of these measures.

A survey by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS,) notes that complications from inferior surgeons are so widespread that, of the more than 150,000 cosmetic nose jobs done each year, nearly 21% are corrective procedures.

Have you ever done anything extreme in order to improve your looks?  I have, and learned a lot in the process.

According to the Social Issues Research Center in Oxford, England, “We are all more obsessed with our appearance than we like to admit.  According to the SIRC, “We have become accustomed to extremely rigid and uniform standards of beauty…that have become harder and harder to attain…”

So how can we have a healthy image of ourselves?  Please click here to read the entire post.

Are moments of prayer beneficial to our health?

From Tim Mitchinson's blog of September 16, 2015. Tim is the spokesperson for Christian Science in Illinois.

"Have you ever watched an orchestra?  There are times when everyone is playing, but also times when various musicians are given the opportunity to rest.  A music director I knew used to say, “The rests are the hardest notes to play”.
Sometimes taking a rest from our normal, busy lives may seem the hardest thing to do..." Click to read more from this post.

Don't Stress – Express!

When olive oil is pressed out of the olives it involves the exertion of force. But the expression of Spirit in man comes by rest – the very opposite of force! It's a little more like letting Spirit rest on us than forcing it to come out.

"Identity is the reflection of Spirit, the reflection in multifarious forms of the living Principle, Love. Soul is the substance, Life and intelligence of man, which is individualized, but not in matter. Soul can never reflect anything inferior to Spirit.  Man is the expression of Soul." So writes Mary Baker Eddy in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures on page 477.

One week, not long ago, I was becoming stressed about all I had to get done. Things were beginning to weigh heavily on me during the work day. When I saw a friend at lunch she immediately said: "What's the matter, you're upset!" I had been oblivious to the state of my thought being outwardly projected, but she saw it instantly, painted in my body language. I had to wonder how I could have been so unaware of what was being painted, by thought, all over this canvas, so to speak, called the body.

Gratefully, this alert stopped me in my tracks and I reached out to God to learn more from this situation. I wanted to let Spirit, the great Animator, rest upon me. I also like thinking of Spirit as the divine painter or, as Mary Baker Eddy refers to Spirit as "the great architect". Spirit brings out everything that is needed in His spiritual ideas – including me! 

Sometime we shall learn how Spirit, the great architect, has created men and women in Science. We ought to weary of the fleeting and false and to cherish nothing which hinders our highest selfhood.

(page 67 of Science and Health)

Only good and harmonious thoughts, originating in the divine Mind, can really appear in our true identity. I needed to let that identity, the masterpiece of the divine Creator, be naturally expressed in me.

All infinite Soul's good ideas and capacities are imaginatively expressed in a way that delights! This other counterfeit painting – the image produced by material thinking – was not the genuine work of art. By accepting both good and bad as a natural occurance I was not recognizing my real God-made individuality.

I'm happy to say that my work day resolved into a very peaceful conclusion when I gave up the stress and let the Spirit rest on my thoughts.

The Movie "Two Days, One Night" as a Modern Parable

Unselfed actions can lead to truly satisfying conclusions. In our modern society, where competition can be fierce, it's easy to forget this Biblical precept and more common to look out for one's own interests. The Belgian movie "Two Days, One Night", which I saw last week, was a modern parable on loving your neighbor as yourself.

It's not an easy ride as we go along with Sandra (portrayed by French actress Marion Cotillard) from house to house asking her co-workers to vote for her to stay on the job, rather than receive their yearly bonus. She has been away on sick leave and her supervisor has discovered that they can get along very well without her if the others will just work a little overtime. The boss agrees to put it to a vote of the employees.

"Let no man seek his own, but each his neighbour's good." (I Corinthians 10:24 American Standard Version) The movie gets down to probing how hard it is to give up your own needs and benefits to help another. But being unafraid to practice this kindness points to a growing understanding of our spiritual substance – the most satisfying wealth we can possess. Each person in the movie struggles with this question and the outcome is surprising.

The Bible Lesson on "Substance", from the Christian Science Quarterly, helps us place our prosperity and security in God, rather than in material things or people. When we let our actions reflect God, divine Love, we are ready to recognize the blessings pouring out impartially from this infinite source.

A New Year's Health Resolution: Love More

Tim Mitchinson, spokesperson for Christian Science in Illinois, posted this January 3 on patch.com.

"Author and Christian healer Mary Baker Eddy once gave her students this advice when it comes to healing themselves and others, 'I will tell you the way to do it. It is to love! Just live love – be it – love, love, love. Do not know anything but Love. There is nothing else. That will do the work. It will heal everything;…Be nothing but love.'
Over a hundred years later, author and physician Larry Dossey wrote, 'If scientists suddenly discovered a drug that was as powerful as love in creating health, it would be heralded as a medical breakthrough and marketed overnight – especially if it had as few side effects and was as inexpensive as love.”

Click to read entire post.

Dissolving Self-Interest

A while back, in Chicago, we saw the play Both Your Houses, by Maxwell Anderson, at Remy Bumppo theater. This play was written in 1933 and presented scenes of a congressional committee hard at work – at work churning out legislation to benefit its own self-interest, that is! Performed today, this play still captures much of what the public says it dislikes about congress.

"Generally speaking, voters believe that Congress as a body is lower than the ocean floor. It is the least-trusted public institution in the United States, according to most surveys. Just look at this astounding Gallup poll from June: Only 7 percent of respondents said they had a great deal or a lot of confidence in Congress. That’s so few that the Gallup editors don’t even have room to write the number on the bar graph – they just sort of draw a green smudge down at the bottom and leave it at that."  (Peter Grier, Most US voters now dislike own congressmen. Will they vote them out? Christian Science Monitor, Aug. 5, 2014)
U.S. Capitol Building

U.S. Capitol Building

We don't have to believe that this state of affairs is unresolvable. We can pray about it and expect good results. There was one new congressional upstart in the play who worked to dissolve self-interest. On our part, instead of angry or vengeful thoughts launched toward the other side, we have the silent, spiritual means of love and prayer to impersonalize and defeat partisan shenanigans.

In the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy defines atonement this way: "Atonement is the exemplification of man’s unity with God, whereby man reflects divine Truth, Life, and Love." She breaks down the word "atonement" into three words: at-one-ment. This captures both the truth and the goal for living a good life – that we can never be separated from God, good, and that we need to strive to live in a way that echos this oneness with God.

The play Both Your Houses pointed out the less than spectacular way some human laws fully bring about true change in human behavior. Commitment to following God and the inspiration to do it – the Christ – are needed to fully change action to be at-one with God.

Jesus taught the ultimate dissolving of self-interest when he laid down all self-will in facing crucifixion. "Lo, I come to do thy will, O God." (Hebrews 10: 9) He knew God's plan for him was entirely good. The only real reforming power of Spirit comes when all demands of self-interest, that seem to rule the heart, are replaced by readiness to accept God's direction and let divine will motivate our thought and action. This expresses true loving – even of one's so-called enemies!

Jesus healed Zacchaeus, a tax collector, who was motivated by self-interest. (Luke 19:1-10) The healing caused Zacchaeus to see his corrupt ways and commit to restitution and moving in accord with God's goodness. Jesus had uncovered his true, God-created identity. It was good, selfless and honest. That's a model for our lives today!