Last night, our region experienced a horrendous thunder/lightning storm. It poured rain, much to the glee of the thirsty ground and vegetation. After getting up this morning, the timing felt right to finish up the garden I started a few weeks ago.
I built a raised bed with the rocks we have so plentifully here in upstate New York. Then, at nine o’clock this morning, I asked our neighbor for some dirt mixed with manure. He scooped and dumped two loads of this high-in-demand commodity, dirt, into the back of our truck and I drove home to shovel it into the garden bed.
Our neighbor’s wife offered to give me some perennial plants. I took her up on the generous offer. She has a lovely and prolific garden and so always has plenty to share. By noon, I was done. While eating lunch, thunder began to roar and another lightning storm moved through our area, watering all the plants I transplanted.
I think about the fact that we are not trained to believe plants have feelings, yet. So, transplanting vegetation is simple. But, I push the issue. I ponder the spiritual truth that all physical bodies lack permanent feelings.
So, can I turn to feel divine Spirit, the presence of Love, instead of what the nerves are telling me? Can I be transplanted simply from one place to the next and learn to thrive?
From 21st Century Science and Health, “Divine Science defines the sensory and motor systems as human beliefs or inventions. If we were humanly programmed to believe it, we would believe the veins in a plant could feel stimuli like nerves.
“The pains of the body can be salutary, if they force the mind to dig itself out of false beliefs and transplant its affections in Soul, where the creations of God are good, “giving joy to the heart.”
 Ps. 19:8
Spring is finally springing here in upstate New York. I took some pictures while on my walk yesterday. Springtime has always perked up my confidence with the fact, that life is unstoppable, and we can feel renewal. We read in, 21st Century Science and Health, “Consciousness constructs a better body when faith in matter has been conquered. Correct the human mortal convictions by spiritual understanding and Spirit will form you anew.”
Wow, if you want to read a mind-boggling book, pick up Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea, by Barbara Demick. The tome speaks of extraterrestrial courage and stamina in the midst of dark ages thinking. Barbara Demick offers a stark view of North Korea, a country and society largely unknown to the rest of the world.
The Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea has been a Communist regime since 1945, and is a sheer clear example of totalitarianism in a modern world. The well-researched story line follows a hand full of people who escaped North Korea.
The book shows the power of propaganda, and the subtly of human reasoning assuming it is divine. It is a case of falsehood claiming to be truth. Ironically, I can see traces of this oppressive framework within countries that vend freedom of expression.
Freedom of expression isn’t generally associated with the freedom to express restriction, starvation, conformity, or pain. Freedom of expression means we want freely to express life, creativity, joy, and wellbeing.
In North Korea, past leaders, Kim II-sun and Kim Jong-il, and present day leader, Kim Jong-un, hold to ideals that cause isolation, disconnect, and fear. Is this any different from a disease invading our body? Do we accept the command of a disease, in the same way the people of North Korea accept the demands of their leader?
North Koreans are told they have it better than everyone else in the world. The way of communism is superior. They are superior.
I ponder, have I heard this “superior” crack before, from within the fields of science or religion?
Escaping North Korea was not an easy task. Moreover, the escapees had to learn to adapt to a fast-paced society full of modern inventions and novel ideas. Many loved it and would never return to their homeland. Others felt the new world was so dramatically different, that they held a preference to return to North Korea.
The human psyche is indeed an enigma, an alien of sorts. Therefore, it is no wonder I feel a draw to study spirituality.
The earth’s terrain and climates vary tremendously. When driving my motorcycle across the United States five years ago, I watched the unfoldment of a contiguous wasteland, mountains, high desert, and woods. Driving Highway 2 in a rain suit, I was protected somewhat from the high winds, cold, and rain. When the sunshine came out, the rain suit came off. Needless to say, the adventure left an impression on me, mixed with amazement and humility.
The terrain of the earth’s landscape depicts the terrain of human minds. Due to our varied backgrounds and experiences, we each have very different needs. When searching for what we need, we can find exactly what we need, not what someone else needs. If I live in the desert, I don’t need to acquire a rain suit. There are other things more needful.
When searching for spirituality, we can be assured that spirituality is fitted for our particular situation. We can discover the spirit that best fits our need.
Our spiritual practices will be unique to our mental terrain and climate. I believe, that as I pursue love and truth, the Holy Spirit will meet my human need.
Many of you have already entered the spring season. Here in upstate New York, the snow finally melted last week. Needless to say, we all are pretty antsy about the slowly emerging flowers and leaves.
To be able to put a shovel in unfrozen ground, and to open the windows, and to clean the house is always a favorite springtime activity. It also becomes a time to wash the heavy blankets and put away the winter clothes.
While packing or unpacking seasonal clothing, I separate out the clothes that received little attention. The clothes are then donated to a local cause, or taken to a consignment shop.
When in that thought frame, I go through the house and select kitchenware, toys, and knick-knacks that I’ve outgrown and add them to the donation box. Some people have a garage sale.
It makes for lighter work when I contemplate a Bible verse such as, “Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness form the God of his salvation.” (Ps. 24, ESV)
I honestly ask myself when going through my stuff, do I really need this? Or, will it be better used by someone else?
An invasion is usually associated with armed forces, or the infiltration of a large number of people or things.
When we hear the word, “invasion,” our brains are quick to picture armed forces, or an infiltration of a large number of people or things.
We read in the news, or remember typical headlines such as:
January, 2013, France deploys thousands of ground troops to Mali, a former colony in Africa, to reinforce aerial strikes, in an attempt to quell a coalition of disparate extremist groups.
Ten years ago, President Bush announced military operations to disarm Iraq.
In 1935, venomous cane toads were released into the Australian ecology with the hope they’d control the destructive can beetle population. A total failure. There are now millions of poisonous toads hopping around northeastern Australia. When visiting Australia in year 2007, I remember walking at night on the sidewalk, trying not to step on the pests.
Then of course, there are stories galore in the Bible relating to invasions. A few examples are, grasshoppers, bands of Moabites, or the Israelites invading the land of Canaan.
Invasions generally assume there is an outside force, however, do we ever self-invade?
Do we ever self-assault our humility with pride?
Does hate raid and occupy our love?
Does revenge infect our forgiveness?
Do we ever self-attack our divine purpose in life?
Invasions are real to the human mind. The determination to let go of the human mind’s reality and take on a new spiritual reality, causes us to think along new lines. Here is a statement from 21st Century Science and Health worth contemplating, “Computer software can’t inform the programmer. The stomach, heart, colon, and lymph nodes don’t inform us that they are nauseous, diseased, cancerous, or invaded by malignant tumors. If this information is conveyed, human mind conveys it. Negative information certainly doesn’t come from immortal Mind and it can’t come from inanimate matter/energy. God’s “eyes are too pure to look on evil,” and physicality has neither intelligence nor sensation.”
 Hab. 1:13
So, the method of determining Easter Day has been modified over the millennium. In the third century, the Council of Nicea directed the celebration to occur the Sunday immediately following the first full moon after the spring (vernal) equinox. But, times and thoughts have changed, and Easter now occurs the fourteenth day of a lunar month occurring on or next after March 21, without regard to the real moon. Basically, Easter is determined according to a fixed set of ecclesiastical calendar rules.
But, I’ve been watching the moon at night. It is very full right now. It lights up the night. And, because we still have snow on the ground here in upstate New York, the night is not dark. Curiously, all the light is reflected light, since there is no sun to be seen.
The moon reflects the sun light to earth. The snow reflects the light upward.
We are the reflection of God, Love, Life.
Christ Jesus proved eternal life is ours by means of reflection. It isn’t something we own or need “to get.” God is Life and we reflect life.
The medicine of divine Mind is divine Mind. The nature and the character of Mind, Truth, is the remedy for error of every kind. The medicine of divine Mind is unlike the temporal medicines of human minds and their inventions. In divine science, the human mind yields to divine Mind and relies on God for healing.
My part-time reporting job presents scenes that inevitably give me something to think about. I gather local news. Last Saturday evening, I went to an Open Mic night at an Art Gallery. The performers were older and to give you a quick idea of what type of characters they were, we called them “Hoods” when I was in high school. No biggie, I got along with the hoods in school and it was easy for me to interview the Gallery owner and the musicians, who by the way, were quite talented.
As I sat there listening to the variety of music, I almost broke out in a laugh. I thought, “These people should move to Washington State (my hometown where marijuana was legalized)” because the smell of marijuana was thick. I soon wrapped up the interview and returned home.
The next day, I covered the Community Chorale of the Catskills, presenting a Holiday Concert at the fabulous Jay Gould Church in Roxbury, New York. Sitting there, again I wanted to laugh. Yes, I thought, I definitely fit in this place better than the Gallery of last night.
But, that is all the further I went with that thought. There was no other comparison made other than the fact that gratitude, joy, and friendliness were expressed in both places. No group of people was better or more holy than the other.
Humanity habitually classifies people as, the hoods, the jocks, the church goers but in reality we are all children of God. Oddly, we can’t count on some human lifestyle to get us to a quicker understanding of heaven on earth.
Recall the story of Jesus’ crucifixion. Jesus is hanging next to 2 criminals. One of the criminals railed Jesus, “Hey save yourself. Save us.” But, the other criminal told [the first criminal] to be quiet. The sentence was earned by them but not Jesus, who did nothing wrong.
Jesus looked at the second honest humble criminal and said, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43, ESV) The only thing Jesus said to the church people was, “forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.”
Criminals come in many forms. There are the typical criminals found smoking pot (in New York anyway), however isn’t it a form of crime to be judging others as if they are not as good as we are? And, then demand them to do what we want, instead of God’s will?