All-wise, God. Healthy Mind of all.
Knowing presence that I seek.
Relieving, restoring. Receiving, giving.
Forgiveness, honesty, and trust in good.
Bursting through the cold hard ground.
Flowers. Grass. Weeds.
Bursting through cold hard minds.
The living Mind. Us.
“Faithfulness springs forth from the earth,
and righteousness looks down from heaven.
The Lord will indeed give what is good,
and our land will yield its harvest.
Righteousness goes before him
and prepares the way for his steps.
“Don’t be startled at the brisk claims of evil. Evil is the belief that good is absent. Instead, think it natural to love good. Cultivate the reality of health and spiritual power.”—from science & religion to God: A narrative of Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health, by Cheryl Petersen
April is National Poetry Month.
After two years of limited public involvement because of covid, I attended two public events back-to-back. The annual conference for the Religion News Association (RNA) in Bethesda, Maryland, and the Broadway show, Hadestown, in New York City.
As a writer wanting to write more productively, the RNA speakers enlightened me on how the war in Ukraine is influencing the religious scene. Panel members also clarified why the word, cult, becomes an obstacle to spiritual solutions, and showed the importance of deep research as counter to repeating unresearched/shallow information.
Every speaker was on a panel of three or more speakers. Each giving their own perspective on a specific issue. In other words, they addressed more than the superficial aspects of religion that tend to divide, and addressed the deeper issues of religion that allows for the discovery of resolutions and meaning.
Panel members talked about how easily the human mind automatically stops discovering, just by hearing or reading, a word, such as Russian, woman, queer, Christian, atheist. Unfortunately, that is how the brain works. Too familiar of, or unfamiliar words, stop the brain, despite the brain’s self that believes it’s inspired or right.
Writers and readers want to discover. Most of us don’t want to write to justify an opinion. We don’t want to read to justify an opinion.
I interpreted what I heard as a reminder that writing and reading can be expansive, creative, profound, and inspiring because divine Mind is capable of imparting creativity, profoundness, and inspiration.
At this point, I was fortunate to be able to meet up with my sister. We drove to Manhattan together, where we met my daughters and attended the Broadway show, Hadestown.
Hadestown is a musical, with extraordinary choreography and acting. It proved creative, profound, and inspiring.
First of all, André De Shields was superb in his role of Hermes. The man is in his seventies! On stage. Singing, acting, standing, moving. For two-and-half hours. I sat on my bum the whole time, in awe but later forced my brain to discover, not a man with great genes but a man who apparently keeps discovering strength and power and joy.
The story-line of Hadestown follows the path of how mortal situations can bring us to hell on earth. And how imagination and trust-in-good brings us to heaven on earth.
The hubbub encircling Hadestown is that it is a sad story, but I see it as the story of mortality. Yes, mortality can be sad, but life/immortality goes on and compels us to discover the truth and love that explains a life of meaning.
Meaning and discovery require new stories, new words, new songs, and new choreography. But this newness is possible and it’s happening. Right before our eyes. We can’t stop the infinite from infinitely expressing truth. Otherwise, truth wouldn’t be infinite.
From Proverbs: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”
Mobilized to do something about current world events, I offer the following prayer/affirmation and strive to use their principles in the home, on the job, and on the road:
The substance of divine Spirit interprets elements of heartbreak and indignation as the universal intent, not to destroy, but to fight for, repair, build upon, and care for each manifestation of the wisdom and spirituality that governs humanity. A higher truth allows the courage to sacrifice intimate opinions that distract me from acknowledging the divine Love that exposes and heals fears. Soul-sense reveals a striking manifestation of the one cause and effect, Good and goodwill. Divine Mind is all-in-all, so powerful, it bends human knowledge to show the seriousness and peacefulness of our conscious understanding of the reality of life, alive to no hidden truth. The spiritual history of Good overcoming evil, is our future.
From the Bible, The Message, Proverbs 3:
“Good friend, don’t forget all I’ve taught you;
take to heart my commands.
They’ll help you live a long, long time,
a long life lived full and well.
3-4 Don’t lose your grip on Love and Loyalty.
Tie them around your neck; carve their initials on your heart.
Earn a reputation for living well
in God’s eyes and the eyes of the people.
5-12 Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all.
Run to God! Run from evil!
Your body will glow with health,
your very bones will vibrate with life!
Honor God with everything you own;
give him the first and the best.”
If an alien visited Earth and read the Bible, and words represented people, the aliens could believe that the human population from 4000 BC–100 AD, consisted of 1 female per every million males.
I get that figure from a count, made in year 2013, by the Rev. Lindsay Hardin Freeman, an Episcopal priest. She conducted a count and learned that out of the 1.1 million words in the Bible, only 1.1 per cent came from women.
We know there is a better balance between the sexes. And yes, humanity today, takes measures to correct that void of understanding by revisiting the reality of equality.
It was a hundred years in the making, but in 1987, the United States Congress instituted Women’s History Month to flesh out contributions made by women. We’re trying to write women back into history but this is the trick. We can’t just “tell” or “repeat” what they did or how men treated them as sex slaves or they were barren or had fifty-two children.
We must absorb the participations of women. What were they thinking, and how did it affect mass consciousness? We need to assess the viewpoints of women, their perceptions, the depth of their views.
So here goes, with a story from the Bible.
From the book of Judges, chapter 4, “Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, now that Ehud was dead. 2 So the Lord sold them into the hands of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor.
“Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time. 5 She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her to have their disputes decided.
“Barak said to her, “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.”
6 She sent and summoned Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh-naphtali and said to him, “Has not the Lord, the God of Israel, commanded you, ‘Go, gather your men at Mount Tabor, taking 10,000 from the people of Naphtali and the people of Zebulun. 7 And I will draw out Sisera, the general of Jabin’s army, to meet you by the river Kishon with his chariots and his troops, and I will give him into your hand’?”
“Certainly I will go with you,” said Deborah. “But because of the course you are taking, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.” So Deborah went with Barak to Kedesh. 10 There Barak summoned Zebulun and Naphtali, and ten thousand men went up under his command. Deborah also went up with him.”
Here’s a translation: The tribe of Israel is living their lives. They got distracted by worldliness, materialism, blaming others or themselves, whatever, and when they argued, they went to the Judge.
At the time, the one and only woman judge was Deborah, a prophetess. She strives to direct and redirect the Israelites to a God of love and a truth of self-control. “Come on people, get your act together.”
When we neglect our spirituality, we feel as though we’re losing control and Deborah was correcting that by fighting for the control of spirituality upon humanity.
Problem was, next door, King Jabin of Canaan, seeing their vulnerability, wanted to control the Israelites.
Deborah doesn’t ignore King Jabin but takes on the challenge. She calls on Barak, a man she could trust, and told him to gather 10,000 men, for an army, to defeat King Jabin’s army, which was led by Sisera.
Barak said, “I’ll only do this, if you come with me.” Deborah rolls her eyes and agrees to come and fight.
A huge rainstorm commences, and the fighting begins. Deborah and Barak’s men defeat the army, the whole army is dead except Sisera the leader, who escapes, and runs to the tent of Heber, one of his buddies, who, from a different nation or tribe, appeared neutral on the whole fighting between Canaan and Israel.
So we have the sight of bloody, weary, self-seeking Sisera, coming to Heber’s tent but its Heber’s wife, Jael, who courageously invites Sisera inside the tent, hides him under a blanket, gives him milk to drink, and waits until the army commander is snoring. Then she acts. Jael drives a tent peg through the man’s head. Defeating the last vestige of the army who attacked Israel.
What was Jael thinking?
Empathy for the Israelites?
Or distrust of those who oppress others?
Jael must not have thought there was a reason why King Jabin should bully the Israelites. She didn’t believe it possible to be neutral.
Jael probably knew that we either add to, or take from, ideas. And the idea of hurting others for a show of power, was not the side Jael stood on.
One question I ask? After Sisera’s army was destroyed, why worry about the lone leader?
But I look at the mind of Jael, through the lens of a wise, quick-acting, all-knowing, powerful divine Mind.
Yes, human beings get distracted away from the God of Love and feel vulnerable, stifled. We bicker. We get frustrated. And most of us try to do better. But every single thought must stand on the side of trying to do better, on the side of rationality, innocence, inner strength, respect, and wellbeing.
We have no idea if Jael knew Deborah or if this was a case of one woman standing up for another, but I doubt it. I think both women stood on the side of a God who created and maintains a sense of completeness. While life goes on, each success in our recognition of a meaningful life, is complete.
Deborah entertained and acted on thoughts of bravery, helping others, and justice. Jael inspired and acted on thoughts of purity, wholeness and the completeness of a job well done.