Thanksgiving and Salvation

When I think about “salvation” I think about deliverance from all the things I don’t like, sickness, worry, and hate. It seems as if salvation is the activity of voiding out negatives from my life. But, when I expand my thinking on salvation or deliverance, I realize that when the negative is gone, there must be something in its place.

There is no absence of anything in the world. So if my hate is gone, then I must have love. If my worry is gone, I must have peace. If I’m delivered from sickness, I must have health.

The definition for the Hebrew word, “salvation” is indeed, something saved, or deliverance, aid, victory, prosperity, health, welfare.

We have the story of “Jonah and the Whale” in the Bible. It’s a new way for me to look at not only salvation, but also thanksgiving. With the Thanksgiving holiday nigh, I’ve enjoyed prayerful time pondering how salvation is a time for thanksgiving for all the good already established by God, that is in place. I can keep letting go of the negatives, but need to remember to super acknowledge the spiritual and tangible good already in place.

Read below, Jonah 2:1-2, 7-10

Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish, saying,

“I called out to the Lord, out of my distress,
and he answered me;

When my life was fainting away,
I remembered the Lord,
and my prayer came to you,
into your holy temple.
Those who pay regard to vain idols
forsake their hope of steadfast love.
But I with the voice of thanksgiving
will sacrifice to you;
what I have vowed I will pay.
Salvation belongs to the Lord!”

10 And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land.

puddly josie looking down

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Inborn gift

I know we have choices and can choose to entertain happy, courageous mental experiences, but sometimes it doesn’t feel like an easy thing to do, choose. The physical experience keeps nabbing, or jabbing me mentally and pulls me away from self-control.

But, there is a part of me that resonates with this verse from II Timothy, “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

The term “gift,” in the Greek, means gratuity, deliverance (from danger), spiritual endowment and qualification. We “fan into flame the gift of God,” mentally. It’s a mental experience. It’s inborn, not received.

The gift isn’t a physical thing, but a power, a right, as God’s image. Self-control is ours by God’s nature of infinitely imaging forth, us.

stainglass women cross

Shredding butter

We had some leftover butternut squash in the fridge and a couple of ripe bananas sitting on the kitchen counter. My husband was looking at them… thinking.

I came into the kitchen, stood next to my husband and said, “Make pumpkin banana pie filling and put it on a butter crust.”

We can read each others minds a lot of the time. I knew he wanted to bake something using those ingredients, but I also knew he isn’t one to stray from old standbys. He was battling between making pumpkin cookies or banana bread, or both.

Neither of us wanted too much food in the house, so the idea of blending the ingredients made sense.

We had a can of evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, and flour, to get the job done.

I reminded my husband, “You won’t need much sugar. When ripe bananas are used in cooking, the bananas have plenty of natural sugar already.”

“How do I make a butter crust?” Husband asked me.

“Oh, well, ya, you cut butter into small pieces and put it in flour. But the butter is cold and hard from being in the fridge, so you’ll need to wait until it softens,” I answered, before leaving to go into the office to type.

Within two minutes, my husband came into the office. I roll my eyes, not even having time to get into my typing project before being disturbed, but turn to see he is standing there holding a plate with a pile of stuff on it.

The picture clicks in my brain. I smile and say, “That was a brilliant idea, now just mix it with the flour and a little confectioner sugar and press it on the bottom of the pan to bake for 10 minutes.”

I laughed. I’ve been cooking and baking for 40 years and when I needed softened butter, I waited or used the microwave.

My husband got out the carrot shredder and shredded the cold hard butter into the perfect sized pieces to add to flour and make a crust.

We all get good ideas. They come from divine Mind when we need them. Some people get ideas that earn them Nobel Prizes, but a good idea is a good idea, even if it is to use a shredder to cut butter.

I may not be the person who can stand on a beach of sand and think, “Hey, I know, I’ll just get some of this sand and remove the silicon from it to make a transistor.”

But, I do get good ideas. I don’t own those ideas and I’m not the only person those good ideas come to. I believe we are all connected to a divine infinite Mind, outpouring good ideas. I’ve learned to be grateful for good ideas, to share them, and to expect more.

From 21st Century Science and Health

“When human beings realize they no longer want to believe in physical suffering, they turn from the body to Spirit and call on divine sources outside of themselves.

“Soul has infinite resources with which to bless humankind, and happiness is more readily responded to and more secure in our keeping, if found in Soul.”

Light can be reflected

What would it feel like if we didn’t have any artificial light?

We’d only be able to see during the daytime, or when the moon was brightly reflecting the sun, or occasionally when lightning would flash.

It could be a bit, well, dark. Especially during the short winter days here in the north. I’d want to hibernate with the bears if I didn’t have artificial lighting.

I recently heard a talk on the history of lighting. The Historian spoke on the first light humankind made, fire. “Some people were good at it and some weren’t good at making a fire,” said the Historian.

I’d be the person who went to my neighbor to borrow some fire.

Then candles, oil, fuel, lamps, and electricity came along, revolutionizing the world. My refrigerator light puts out more light than my grandmother had in her bedroom when a child.

But, grandma never said it was terrible. The history of light was an evolution in consciousness. They understood each step of progress. As lighting evolved, people were actually brilliant. They’d put a candle in a holder, near reflective material to brighten the light. Or, they put the lite candle near a bulb of blown glass filled with water. That too would brighten the light. Or, both, see picture below.

The reflective material and the water amplified the light.

I wonder.

I’ve met people who are like lights in the room. They express joy, honesty, and integrity. Even if I’m not feeling particularly enlightened, can I at least serve as reflective material for that light? I think so.

Quotes from an abridged version of Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health, titled, From Science & Religion to God:

“Darkness is not turned into light. Light shines and the darkness is naturally displaced.

“Spirituality allows us to read the human situation correctly, with healing intent and power. The light of spiritual truth exposes and displaces erroneous human thoughts, and demonstrates healing.

“We can watch the brightening light of Truth, harmony, and the entireness of God.”

candle light mirror water in bulb

Difference between truths and truth

The truths attached to science or religion are incomplete, modifiable, fallible, and sometimes useless. The fact my body is made up of the same atoms that make up stars is of no help when I want to have a loving, honest relationship. The fact compassion and good deeds are heavenly becomes fairly pathetic when I want to know why my cellphone is dropping reception.

Truths come in many forms. They are fluid. They have only the power that science and religion gives them. Truth, on the other hand, is whole, constant, universal, formless, infinite, a power that gives power.

To keep it straight, I call truth, God. It’s my habit. God isn’t the evolving truths found through science and religion. God is the truth that interprets what is usefully true, now.

Taking it apart

The noise was annoying. The noise was coming from one of the old fashioned cassette tapes in a stereo system. I clicked the OFF button, but the noise kept coming. I got a screw-driver and took apart the player. The noise kept coming.

I finally woke up enough to realize I was dreaming.

I have an iPOD near my bed that I use to listen to recorded books when I can’t sleep. Apparently, the book I was listening to put me sleep alright.

I think back on life and some of my experiences seem like dreams. Even the bad experiences feel like dreams. Why didn’t they at the time? I wouldn’t have gotten so stressed out. I wouldn’t have tried to take everything apart to fix it. I would have agreed that harmony would prevail, because I do believe in a God that produces harmony.


Fact or Fiction?

A sermon I delivered at the Unitarian Universalist Society in Oneonta, New York. Fun time.


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