Category Archives: Bible
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.
This was originally posted online at the Community of Christ, Scientist
By Cheryl Petersen
The Christmas Company celebrates Christ’s birth, December 25th.
Listed below is the cast of characters, with backstage embellishments.
Herod (37—4 B.C.). Eldest son of Antipater, a civil servant appointed by Julius Caesar, the emperor of Rome. Under his father’s influence, Herod grows up with an intense loyalty to the emperor and is appointed governor of Judea at the age of twenty-eight. Herod displays a capacity to fight brutal battles and cleverly uses diplomacy to climb the ladder of power. He is appointed king of Judea and gains the title, Herod the Great, protecting his territories from enemies and promoting economic and cultural growth in his region, ruled by a central bureaucracy. To guarantee his kingly position, Herod kills his male heirs and his wife, Marianne. Mid-life, personal and domestic problems begin compounding as Herod’s fear outrivals his future ability to help the people. When visited from the east, by Magi, looking for the king of the Jews, Herod, stoked by jealousy, orders all males under the age of two, killed. After his own death, Herod’s will was disputed in Rome and his territory was divided among other leaders.
Joseph. A widowed carpenter who repairs a gate at King Herod’s palace and thinks, “I’m too old to work for uppity-ups with so much drama. I miss having a wife and family.” Being a devote man of God, Joseph visits the temple and breathes in the smell of incense, burned earlier by, Zechariah, a good friend who sits down, listens to Joseph, and writes on a piece of papyrus, “My wife’s cousin, Mary, needs a husband.” Joseph meets Mary, likes her, but feels discombobulated over the fact that Mary is pregnant. But when hand-drilling a peg hole in a future pillar, the world around him fades and Joseph feels wrapped in a dreamy love. He hears a voice that says, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” That night, Joseph tells an understanding Zechariah that he will wed Mary and plans for a quiet ceremony begin.
Zechariah. A descendant of Aaron and priest of the Abijah division, serving in the temple during King Herod’s rule. The elderly couple, Zechariah and Elizabeth, are childless. When burning incense alone, six months prior to Joseph’s mid-life crisis visit to the temple, an angel appears and promises Zechariah, “Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John.” (Luke 1:13) Zechariah snarks at the idea of impregnating his wife and looses his ability to speak. Nonetheless, Elizabeth gets pregnant and six months later, Elizabeth’s cousin, Mary, pregnant herself, comes to live with them. Eight days after Elizabeth delivers their child, Zechariah writes on a piece of papyrus, “His name is John.” With those written words, speech returns to Zechariah, and he prophesies audibly that John “Will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins,because of the tender mercy of our God.” (Luke 1:76-78)
John. The son of Zechariah and Elizabeth. John is raised in the wilderness with sobriety and in his late twenties, he begins baptizing others and preaching repentance, earning the title, John the Baptist.
Elizabeth. A descendant of Aaron and barren of child until her pregnancy with John. Six months into her pregnancy, her cousin, Mary, pregnant herself, comes to live behind the temple with her and Zechariah. The women discuss breast feeding, potty training, and God’s promises. Elizabeth blesses Mary’s faith in God to fulfill His promise of a Messiah. After delivering the infant, though elderly, Elizabeth and Zechariah remain spiritually committed to raising John in a sheltered environment.
Mary. The daughter of a peasant and hard worker. A virgin who realizes that there is more to life than toil and flitting joys. When milking the cow, Mary entertains a message from God via the angel Gabriel, who says, “You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.” Not quite understanding this message, Mary asks, “How?” Further prayer reveals that the Holy Spirit is the source of the child. Mary answers, “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:38) Mary goes to live with her cousin, Elizabeth, and becomes betrothed to wed the aged but financially stable Joseph. When big with child, Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem to pay taxes. The town is crowded and noisy. The no-nonsense, farm-girl Mary tells Joseph to find an animal stall for lodging. They settle down. Birth contractions start. Water breaks. Mary yells at Joseph to get her dry clothing and breathes erratically until she gets on her hands and knees and a baby drops from between her legs. She wraps the baby Jesus in cloth (Joseph pulled through by repurposing corn seed sacks) and lays the baby in the empty water trough. She cleans up, helps Joseph prepare a clean bed of straw and they settle down for the coming days. The infant Jesus latches on hungrily and Mary’s nipples callous up. They stay on-site another twelve days, take in visitors, present the helpless baby Jesus in the temple, then obey an angel message to go to Egypt to live for a couple of years. Joseph introduces the toddler Jesus to a hammer and Mary encourages Jesus as a governing manifestation of the Child of a God, fulfilling God’s promised Messiah.
Angel Gabriel. Messenger from God, declaring God’s favor and spiritual sense of life and truth.
Shepherds. Caretakers of sheep, living in the fields, staying awake at night to protect the flock from accidently following each other over a cliff or getting eaten by bears. On the night of Jesus’ birth, the shepherds stop to admire the stars, but the sky becomes luminous, and the stars disappear. The shepherds’ eyes get big as frisbees, but they say nothing until after hearing an angel say, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:12) The sky darkens, stars re-appear and sure enough, one star is bigger than all the rest. The shepherd with the longest beard says, “I bet that star is leading us to the baby.” They find Mary, Joseph, and Jesus, give them some bread and sheep’s milk, talk for a while about herding flocks and carpentry, then return to the fields, but tell everyone they meet about the baby, a Saviour.
Simeon. A devout Jew who, when sweeping the porch of the Temple, saw Mary carrying the baby Jesus toward him. And he knew. Simeon knew that an earlier prayer was being answered. The living prayer was presence of the Holy Spirit, promising him that he would not die before seeing the long-awaited Messiah. He followed Mary and Joseph into the temple court and approached to bless Jesus, saying, “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace,” bewildering and bedazzling Joseph and Mary.
Anna. The daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher; a widow for fifty-two years and woman who didn’t leave the temple. She watched Simeon follow Joseph and Mary into the temple and put it together what was going on. Anna approached and “gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.” (Luke 2:38)
Magi. Members of a priestly caste of ancient eastern Persia who were inspired to search for the king of the Jews. They stopped in Jerusalem first and asked around, even asking King Herod, “Where is the king of the Jews?” Getting no answers and feeling as though the people didn’t want to consider new ideas and governing body, the Magi walked on, following a bright star, to find the baby Jesus in the manger. They gave the child, “Gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:11) But didn’t stay long because the animal stall was small and smelly.
Jesus. A representative of life, truth, and love. Born to magnify Christ, the true idea of God as divine Spirit, as presence and power itself. Jesus spent the first few years in Egypt then moved with his family to Nazareth. He became a carpenter but at the age of thirty, transitioned into preaching and teaching about God. Jesus’ ability to live and behold the child of God, the image of God, brought about restorations of hope and health.
From the middle of the state of Washington, I practiced violin, worked on a historical fiction book, and we drove south to visit family.
Everyone tried not to talk about covid to the extreme.
The epidemic sure made me realize the value of taking into consideration, even when praying, the current world circumstances. Just as the great depression affected my grandparents for life, this epidemic too is shaping and reshaping our views. This is where my belief in God helps me. Because of a good God, I can lean on Love and Truth to make sure the “view-shaping” goes toward more spirituality, rather than fear or hopelessness.
Although, I was vaccinated against covid, I still wore a mask when it felt appropriate in certain public areas. No biggie, even if I have bad breath. I survive.
And the discomfort is piddly next to being able to talk, plant cantaloupe seeds, and goof off with children, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, sis’s, and bro’s. It was a fabulous reminder that life goes on, life is real, love is real.
During the next month, I learned to play my violin without “cheat lines” and I finished my historical fiction. Now with an editor.
Doug drove home in the car and a few weeks later, I flew home. Yep. Another confirmation in the goodness of humanity. While a few bad airport/airplane situations make the news headlines, millions of people wait patiently, social distance, smile under masks, obey the hard workers who get us where we want to go.
“I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge—” I Cor. 1:4-5 ESV
Have you ever seen a herd of 66 elk?
In your back yard?
I did a herd of elk, at my sisters house, in Washington, where we stayed after driving across the United States from New York.
My sister has a garden, which the elk are pros are getting into. The nine foot fence is a joke to the elk. So, I installed a solar-panel energized rope, wrapped twice around the fence.
I had to wait a few nights to see the results. At nightfall, the herd moseyed around the house and, sure enough, just the feel of moving electricity made the elk shy back away from the fence. A few elk were so interested in the garden on the other side of the fence, that their noses actually touched the rope, bringing about a startled response.
I thought, good.
To my chagrin, the next morning, I noticed that while I watched elk on the south side of the house, the herd had eaten the rose bush in the west side of the house. Well, I’m not going to wrap a rope around the house. And neither is my sister.
When she arrived, and I was back in New York, she snickered and said, the deer realized that the electric fence I put up around the garden, wasn’t very terrifying, so they broke a panel and ate the tops of the orchard trees. She is used to sharing her garden with the wildlife.
From Psalms, in The Message:
“What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations. Oh, look—the deep, wide sea, brimming with fish past counting, sardines and sharks and salmon. Ships plow those waters, and Leviathan, your pet dragon, romps in them. All the creatures look expectantly to you to give them their meals on time.”
Christian Science Weekly Bible Lessons are now in audio, released every Wednesday at…
Christian Science weekly Bible study, read from the Bible. With a spiritual interpretation from 21st Century Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, a contemporary version of Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health, read by Cheryl Petersen, author and copyright owner.