information sheet on Islam, an anecdote is presented of a visiting holy man who
taught the community of a city a profound lesson. He asked a black man who was
also a slave to enter with him into the most holy shrine of the city. There he
asked the black man to climb onto the roof, onto the very top of it, and from
there utter the call for prayer.
He may have
caused quite an uproar with this. Not only did he invite black man into the most
holy place, and a slave at that, but placed him on top of it so that he had the
entire shrine under his feet, and to add insult to injury, he asked the black
slave to call the faithful to prayer.
It is said
that the holy man explained to the people of the city the principle behind the
deed that he later put it into the form of a verse to be added to the Koran.
information sheet stated that this episode changed the people's relationship to
one another in the city, and may have changed the face of Islam itself. No one
was excluded anymore. The were all challenged to regard one another as equal.
that the holy person had taught the people was essentially the same that Christ
Jesus taught with the Lord's Prayer.
Prayer opens with the phrase, "Our Father." - He didn't say 'my'
Father, but 'our' Father. There is a world of difference between "my"
Father, and "our" Father. The "my" excludes the whole of
humanity from the divine unity, while the term "our" is all inclusive.
The sense of "Our Father" is threaded through the entire Lord's
Prayer, such as with the phrase, "Give US OUR daily bread;"
"Forgive OUR debts;" "Deliver US from evil;" and so on.
may have said, "Don't forget this, this is important."
's great spiritual pioneer, Mary Baker Eddy, evidently understood what he had
said. She made it an item of discipline in the Church Manual for every member of
her Church to pray each day: "Thy kingdom come." The phrase is one of
the corner stones of the Lord's Prayer. It is built on the phrase "Our
Father." It reflects it. The phrase, "Thy Kingdom come" projects
a recognition of universal good manifest in concrete expressions that no one is,
or can be, excluded from. The holy person of Islam who selected a black slave to
stand on top of a mosque to utter the call for prayer was evidently aware of
Eddy added two more parts to the mandatory daily prayer. One of these is,
"Let the reign of divine Truth, Life, and Love be established in me, and
rule out of me all sin." This part heightens the universal sense of OUR
Father. Mary Baker Eddy capitalized the terms Life, Truth, and Love. This means
that the terms represent exclusively the absolute sense, which is the universal
sense by reflection, the sense of the phase "Our Father." All aspects
of God that Mary Baker Eddy presents as synonymous terms in capitalized form:
"Principle, Mind, Soul, Spirit, Life, Truth, and Love," are in the
scientific sense absolute in nature, and being absolute they are necessarily
singular, and being absolute and singular, they are necessarily universal in
expression, without exclusion in any form.
It means that God is
the universal source and resource of life, truth, and love reflected in all
without exception. Since this is a tall task to implement in the wide world of
human living, she asks us to desire daily, and by implication constantly, that
this sense of divine good - being universal expressed - become evermore
established in our thinking and living, individually, so much that this swilling
out of consciousness anything contrary and anything less.
Mary Baker Eddy didn't leave it with this either, because in the third part of
the daily prayer she requests us to expect in prayer that God's promise, the
Word of God, results evermore in enriched affections across all mankind,
and that these will govern mankind.
a tall basic requirement for Church Members to fulfill, but a necessary one.
And so, perhaps to make the task easier, Mary Baker Eddy added another
bylaw for "Discipline" to the Church Manual, right behind the one for
the Daily Prayer. This additional bylaw says, "The prayers in Christian
Science churches shall be offered for the congregation collectively and
exclusively." The requirement for collectively reflects again the opening
of the Lord's Prayer: "OUR Father." The door to the notion of "MY
Father" is closed, since it is scientifically impossible.
principle of God is One. This, One, is universally reflected. God is the
universal source and resource for all mankind, from which no one is excluded or
ever can be excluded. By us offering our prayers for the congregation, we begin
to learn what prayer really is; that it cannot be anything small, or isolating,
or self-isolating, or be a one-way street of getting.
Mary Baker Eddy also gives us the substance for those prayers in the form of the
lesson sermons. Every aspect of the lesson sermons is a resource to facilitate
the universal prayers.
additional aspect of discipline that requires the collective prayer for the congregation
to be made also
exclusively for the congregation, brings to light the essential nature of
prayer. Since God is manifest as universal good, the divine good can only be
found on the universal platform, exclusively. "Blessed is the man who finds
his good in another's good," because then he enters the platform where good
unfolds. If one aims to harvest apples, one needs to look for them on apple
trees exclusively. It is foolish to look for them anywhere else.
universal platform where the light of good unfolds, a bond of dedication and
purpose unfolds with it, a growing bond in good, for which the congregation has gathered in
the place that is a church, which, when it operates on the universal platform,
is a Church of Christ Scientists.
This universal purpose, to honour the universal good that expresses God, is nicely expressed in the words of the hymn that
opens with these words:
Thy children gathered in Thy name,
From hearts made whole, from lips redeemed from woe,
Thy praise, O Father, shall forever flow.
It should be
noted that the discipline that requires the prayers in church to be offered for
the congregation collectively and exclusively is a universal requirement in
Christian Science churches. It is not limited to the church membership only, or
membership. It is universal and applies to anyone who steps through the door.
these bylaw are has come to light in a personal experience some time ago. I was
invited to view a movie some time ago. I felt obliged to accept the invitation.
The movie consisted primarily of scenes of a famous guru of a religion that was
foreign to me, addressing an extremely large crowd that filled a major stadium.
I recall that the crowd was constantly cheering the guru, who actually said very
little. It was as if the people felt that the louder they cheered, the greater
their blessing would be. They came there to be blessed by the guru. Later the
movie showed scenes of many people lining up to receive a personal blessing. It
was around this stage in the movie that I felt physically ill. I felt that
needed to get out of the house were the movie was shown.
breathing the free air again, I soon felt well again. But I also felt puzzled. I
knew that I had learned a lesson of something, though I couldn't quite figure
out what it was. The answer didn't come to mind until I was working extensively
with the Lord's Prayer, especially the opening phrase: "OUR Father." I
recognized that the people in the stadium and at the reception afterwards were
all saying, "give me", "give me!" That's when it dawned on
me that the whole world was saying the same thing. The "give me" song
has become the song of the stock market, the financial market, the commodity
market, even in much of the world of business, investment, including building.
The universal song of commerce and finance has become "my money,"
endlessly repeated, instead of a song of "our money," standing as a
financial resource to be applied for the collective welfare of society, meeting
the human need.
It is fairly
evident by the economic collapse around the world that the "my money"
song, the 'prayer song' to god of money has made the world poor and civilization fragile. And for some, money has
indeed become God, MY God. The people in the stadium were evidently chanting, "my
blessing," "my blessing," "give me my blessing." Those
trapped in the financial market, and this to some degree includes much of
humanity pray to the god of money that offers nothing, bowing with they hands
held out. While money is a useful tool to support creative and productive
economics, if it is deployed in the service of universal good for the development
of humanity. On this platform it reflects the divine principle of universal
good, the OUR Father platform. Outside of this sphere it is a thief that is
choking civilization, which humanity needs to gain its freedom from.
I began to
wonder what would have happened if the people in the stadium who had come to be
blessed by the guru had recognized that
the resources for the blessings they thought are universal, located in God, and
are thereby universally at hand to be accepted and expressed, so that it is
each one's task to project this resource onto one-another and thereby to help
assure that all human needs are met. With this in mind I began to wonder what a beautiful
human world we would create if the same discipline that Mary Baker Eddy called
for in Christian Science churches had been applied evermore fully, and had been applied in business,
finance, and all other forms of economics.
And as I
ponder these things, I hear Mary Baker Eddy saying to me through the Church Manual,
"isn't this what I had asked you already in 1895, to achieve in the world? - Isn't
the discipline that I require - the platform, OUR Father - the
heart of the Lord's Prayer, and the Daily Prayer, and the discipline I have
requested for the prayers in the churches?"
Oh, it is
easy to answer this pondering with all kinds of excuses, why we have not yet succeeded, but
even as we answer thus, we
cannot escape the recognition that each case where we failed is fundamentally a
case where we said no to God.
Eddy's discipline requirements are for our healing to help us to reduce the
number of such cases to zero, and thereby uplift civilization.
of the Lord's Prayer
and Christmas --
Marriage on the Infinite
Is Prayer Effective on the World
the Glass Steagall law.
Lord of the Rings
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