The definition of “new” needs to be examined

To start off answering these questions, the definition of “new” needs to be examined.  One that seemed particularly appropriate was this, “Lately made, invented, produced or come into being; that has existed a short time only;”  In Christian Science, we are fortunate to have Mrs. Eddy’s writings in our library. Her deep and logical thoughts and explanations are at our fingertips, and most of us have read more than a few of her works.  Exposure to this way of thinking and reasoning, provides an extremely wide-cast net of thought. It becomes the basis of reasoning for its adherents, and so I’d venture to say that when something aligns with this basis, it rings true in our hearts and doesn’t feel “new” so much as confirmed (maybe the right word?).  Because if all that is real is eternal, then there is nothing “new” in reality – because if it follows the definition of “new” above, then it is unreal. Below I’ve written a syllogism that seems logical to me:

All that is real is eternal.

Anything “new” has existed a short time only.

Therefore, nothing “new” is real.

1. What are some of the typical old and repetitive things in human life that get reported as news? Anything that you're seeing and hearing in the news that actually feels new?

The news media reports on wars and political conflict, diet, exercise, and disease, technology and fashion, and speculative science.  This is what it has done for ages and what it will continue to do. Anything and everything negative in the news media, never feels “modern” or “unfamiliar” (two more definitions of the word “new”).  It always feels like a familiar repetition with slightly altered figures. 

The only news media that has caught my eye as interesting, are articles that go against the grain of assumed scientific knowledge.  For instance, a silly article I read that said something along the lines of, “A study has shown that eating pasta is not so bad after all...participants in study lose 1 lb. after eating pasta as their only carb intake for 12 weeks.”  How this interprets itself to me is that eventually it will be learned (although perhaps not understood) that food is not the culprit in the case of weight control. Perhaps a baby step in that direction? However, looking to the body alone will never explain why, and so even though this kind of “news” feels different, I know it is just another circular argument trying to understand how matter affects matter--which is the same old news-media story in the end.

It seems there are more and more instances of studies and reports that are pointing this general direction, however I feel they are only confirmations of things that we already know to be true, and merely seem like new information to mortal mind.

2. Would you say that the Science of Christianity is new? Tell us what's new about it.

John writes:  

"Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.” (1 John 2:7)

“Christian Science is the new-old Christianity, that which was and is the revelation of divine Love.” (My. 301:3)

Christian Science is “new” to mortal mind.  It is a revolution to the status quo, the way the news media and society understand and explain the workings of the world (it has been for over 100 years).  However, it is the “new-old” Truth that has been ever-present. To call Christian Science new is like calling gravity new – Newton’s discovery of the law of gravity was new to mortal thought, but gravity had been around eternally before he wrote about it.  If we want to talk about the “newness” of Christian Science, it can only be in the context of how different it is from the point of view of mortal thought.

In this way, Mrs. Eddy’s words again express how Christian Science’s newness and utility can be explained: “If a postal service, a steam engine, a submarine cable, a wireless telegraph, each in turn has helped mankind, how much more is accomplished when the race is helped onward by a new-old message from God, even the knowledge of salvation from sin, disease, and death.” (’02 11:12)

To be concise, the part that is “new” or different from what the common thought knows and understands, is that Christian Science actually promises “salvation from sin, disease, and death,” here and now.  I am not aware of any other system of thought that even makes that claim before death. There are of course many tangents that go off from that statement, but to summarize, that would be what makes Christian Science so very “new” to public thought – ”new” as in, they may have never considered it before.

3. Share with us how Christian Science is bringing newness of life, new energies, new healing to you, your family, your patients, your church.

In the fall of 2016, the loveliness of my lovely little world felt like it had fallen apart.  I was fine physically, but my work-life, social circle that I had built for the last 3 years felt like it was ripped away when my company had massive layoffs.  I was left behind to continue work, but felt so sad that the entire team I had worked with long hours, and spent time with on weekends, and who had really become like a band of brothers to me (the good kind) would suddenly not be in my life every day.  And eventually not even on weekends as they all moved away to find new jobs. 

I wanted to leave too, and follow them and I paused and waited on God.  At first it seemed as though things would move me on very quickly, but that didn’t end up to be the case.  I stayed where I was and the work and general day-to-day life seemed to have lost their sparkle. My friends moved on, found great jobs, but we all stayed in good contact.  It’s funny how geographic separation made us closer in a lot of ways. But the friendships are special which is what I knew in my heart and why I’m both surprised and not surprised, at the same time.  

I found this article from a 1929 Sentinel issue to be extremely comforting--though perhaps a little outdated: In our prayers of Thanksgiving this week let us thank God…

A year and a half later, I have finally moved on from that job.  But during those 18 months, I was working things out. I made new friends, began volunteering with a tutoring organization and developed a special friendship with a family I worked with through the organization.  It all culminated in my preparation to move on to this new job. I worked hard not to stagnate, even though it felt like it was hard to overcome. Christian Science, the law of God was my support and my internal guide that told me when I was on the right path.

I waited and listened for God’s direction, and he directed each step.  How beautifully he has directed them! Every aspect of the move from my lease expiration date, to helping a co-worker regain their position by creating an opening, to dates aligning, to storage unit locations near my new apartment, to the week I decided to begin work, to salary negotiation, to philosophical alignment with my new CEO’s approach to business, getting along with my new co-workers, and the ratio of female-male colleagues, to being near my old friends again.  There are too many good aspects to even recount here – and it’s all because I did not listen to mortal mind – or the many minds that offered me well-meaning advice. I am reminded of the “pausing” Mrs. Eddy talks about: 

Through the wholesome chastisements of Love, we are helped onward in the march towards righteousness, peace, and purity, which are the landmarks of Science. Beholding the infinite tasks of truth, we pause, – wait on God. Then we push onward...(SH 323:6-10)

I am very excited as I begin this new adventure.  My work is invigorating and exciting, church will be a fresh start, and life seems “new” and sparkly again.

The Science of Christianity is new because it doesn't repeat the bad "news"

1. The "news" today seems to be mainly humans attacking humans, political missteps, destructive weather patterns, etc. 

2. The Science of Christianity is new because it doesn't repeat the bad "news". It's original and comes from God, the original source of all that is true – the one Mind who makes everything perfect. 

3. There is always hope because our study of Christian Science brings us new thoughts of what is spiritually true and arouses us to keep going and working mentally to progress spiritually.

There's nothing old about captives being delivered, sight being restored or the bruised being liberated

1.  We are all familiar with the litany of bad news presented every day with the accompanying attempts of the human mind to solve humanity's problems. Issues that do need to be addressed are continually rehearsed, analyzed, investigated; and even well-meaning human efforts are applied in hopes of resolution. Yet often when I listen to local news stations, it seems I'm hearing the same stories in variation that I heard when I was young. It's not too different. Celebrity personalities are paraded on screen and their behavior and lives scrutinized to satisfy the public appetite for personal sense. Yet, we would all have to admit that humanity has experienced progress...only, not through the carnal mind, through the leavening of the Christ, going on in consciousness. Seeing the leaders and representatives of North and South Korea sit together with leaders of the US during the winter Olympic ceremonies, was the result of the leavening of the Christ. It had to be the results of consecrated prayer and sincere effort. Likewise, the willingness to work on and sign a peace treaty between North Korea and the US shows progress for mankind toward greater harmony. The prayer of our own Association has to have played a part in it, since we cannot be mesmerized into thinking that God sometimes ignores us.

2. Obviously, the Science of Christ is the only thing worthy of the term "new." I found it interesting to note that there are two types of repeating. There are the constant stories that are either shocking, sad or simply banal. Then there is the "sign of Immanuel, or 'God with us,’ a divine influence ever present in human consciousness and repeating itself, coming now as was promised aforetime, To preach deliverance to the captives [of sense], And recovering of sight to the blind, To set at liberty them that are bruised." (S&H xi:16-21) 

There's nothing old about captives being delivered, sight being restored or the bruised being liberated. That can never get old! It is life giving and rejuvenating. I could hear about that every day and be inspired. I think it's also interesting to note that when the Christ repeats itself, it is always new to the recipient. God knows our thoughts intimately, knows what we need to hear and how we need to hear it. The same message can have a different connotation for each person, even though it might be the exact same Bible passage, for instance. That is the activity of divine Intelligence, Omniscience or Mind, not human conceptualizing.

3. This point has been repeatedly (no pun intended) brought to mind by a friend. Two years ago we were in another state at a workshop. While entering a huge conference room my friend tripped on some covered wires on the floor resembling something like a speed bump. She did not see it and fell face first on a cement floor. She did not immediately get up but lay there immobile. There was a rush of people who ran to help her. Among them were medical nurses, security personnel, friends as well as strangers. I also came to her side. I picked up her glasses and broken tooth, and kneeling by her side began to speak simple truths of God's love and protection that were upholding her then and there. To make a long story short, along with two other people I accompanied my friend to the hospital to be examined for a possible broken nose or concussion. She is not a Christian Scientist. All the way to the hospital and while waiting in the lobby to see the doctor I continued to speak assuring thoughts of God's loving presence protecting her. After several hours my friend was finally examined by the doctor who found nothing wrong with her but a broken tooth and two black eyes. We are in a Gospel choir and were due to perform that night on stage in front of hundreds of people. The doctor recommended that she stay in her hotel room and rest. However, my friend stated, "I did not travel thousands of miles to get here to sit it out in a hotel room. I'm singing tonight!" That night she performed in the front row, and no one noticed anything wrong.

The point of this healing in relation to our Association assignment is this: Every time my friend introduces me to someone new she tells this story. This is what she says:

"There I was lying on the floor. I could hear people talking to me. One medical nurse would say, 'this is what you should do' or 'this is how you should get careful because of that, etc., etc." Then she heard me whispering in her ear things like, 'God loves you, He is taking care of you, you are fine, God is here.'"

This is what my friend heard, remembers and is what so impressed her that she repeats it two years later like it happened yesterday! Every time she retells the story she is in awe of the power of those healing thoughts and attributes them to her clean bill of health and her ability to perform that night. I am in awe that I hear it over and over again like something new and exciting. Now that's a different kind of repeating!

I think every healing is like that...we can relive it mentally like something ever new to us that teaches us something. Like Mrs. Eddy states in Science and Health p. 559, "The 'still small voice' of scientific thought reaches over continent and ocean to the globes remotest bound. The inaudible voice of Truth is, to the human mind, 'as when a lion roareth.’" 

Here's a footnote on the Korean situation that may be of interest

Here's a footnote on the Korean situation that may be of interest. When I was Asia copy editor at CSM in the mid-1980s, the South Korean dissident and opposition leader, Kim Dae-Jung, was a fellow at Harvard's Center for International Affairs. He was in political exile and visited the Monitor in part to express thanks for reporting on his situation by Elizabeth Pond nearly ten years earlier.

Kim was a leading political figure opposing the dictatorship of Park Chung-hee and nearly defeated him for president in 1971. Two years later, he was kidnapped from his hotel room in Tokyo and threatened with death. In meeting with CSM editors, he credited Beb Pond's reports for keeping his case before a world audience and rallying international support for his safety. A devout Catholic, Kim asked to visit TMC after his visit to the Monitor. I accompanied him on the tour, and in walking through the Original Edifice he was especially moved by the stained glass window depicting the verse from Isaiah showing the lion and the lamb co-existing peacefully. He said this Bible verse meant much to him during his years in prison, and he looked at it for several minutes with reverence.

Returning to Korea two years later, Kim was thrown back in jail, but eventually was elected president and won the Nobel Peace Prize for the first summit meeting between leaders of the two sides. His “Sunshine Policy” of reaching out to the North was very controversial and not wholly successful, but it broke the ice on north-south relations and set a precedent for the most recent breakthrough.

Here's an interesting excerpt from Kim's Nobel speech (quoted from Wikipedia):

"I have lived, and continue to live, in the belief that God is always with me. I know this from experience. In August of 1973, while exiled in Japan, I was kidnapped from my hotel room in Tokyo by intelligence agents of the then military government of South Korea. The news of the incident startled the world. The agents took me to their boat at anchor along the seashore. They tied me up, blinded me, and stuffed my mouth. Just when they were about to throw me overboard, Jesus Christ appeared before me with such clarity. I clung to him and begged him to save me. At that very moment, an airplane was sent down from Heavens by the almighty God Himself to rescue me from the moment of death."

It's not clear what he's referring to in the last sentence, and there's more to tell of this history, for sure. In praying to “renounce oppression, aggression and the pride of power,” as you invited us to do last year in specific relation to the Korean situation, it's reassuring for me to know that such complex and seemingly remote circumstances are not out of reach of Mind. They are fully and powerfully within the scope of prayer and fasting for peace.

Working with this year’s assignment is proving for me a breakthrough

I wish to report that working with this year’s assignment is proving for me a breakthrough in carrying forward sustained work on a topic and grasping the unfoldment that kind of work brings. The example I can most clearly point to I would not have suspected a couple of years ago would be something I would now be noting and feeling grateful for.

At that time, I felt I had been quickly healed of any sense of grief at the time of my husband’s passing. I felt no pain of separation, no regret, no discouragement, no fear of the future, no depression or sadness or other such phenomena generally associated with the experience. I was working daily about it and having the support of a CS Practitioner. When communicating with family and friends (especially those who were not students of C.S.), I was extremely grateful to be able to refer to having witnessed the wonderful care that my husband received for a few weeks prior to his passing in the skilled care section of a Christian Science nursing facility. Also of course, I was grateful for the support of another C.S. practitioner who worked directly with him. I resumed fairly quickly a “normal” daily pattern. I remember feeling particular support from my work as Second Reader in my branch church with the weekly Bible Lesson. I had completed a little over a year of a standard 3-year term. The digging into each lesson and thereby beginning to see the Science of the Bible’s foundation for what Mrs. Eddy named “Christian Science” was a blessing to me in the work I had been elected to do.

Eventually, however, I awoke to realize I had been unconsciously sucked into ruminating on what seemed to be going on at the time, and was even tempted to look for a “cause” although the medical examiner had recorded something like “natural causes – exact cause unknown” on the required paperwork. Images of mortal mind’s making were surfacing in consciousness. Passages such as “Blot out the images of mortal thought…” (S&H p.390) and “...we must leave the mortal basis of belief in order to change the notion of chance to the proper sense of God’s unerring direction.” (S&H p. 423) came helpfully to my attention.

Since then, one of the lessons I am grasping is that there are not only not two bases of being, but also not two places of being (no here and there) – but one. One realm, one structure of Truth and Love, one kingdom of heaven in which we as His children already dwell together in the harmony of Soul. Focusing on the nowness of man’s status as God’s child (including me and mine and all) began to make a difference in re-claiming the assurances that all is well that I’d felt earlier. Now, however, the scientific basis for such an assurance had been clarified. This seems to me an example of the ever-new sense of the Christ-power guiding and sustaining our consciousness now and forever.

To be at this point seems a vast new field to me, relating to what Mrs. Eddy said about understanding God being the work of eternity (S&H 3) with new vistas, more new light of the Christ, being discerned every step of the way. These assurances are beginning to spill over into other things in my daily experience as well.

It strikes me that healing is always new

Here's something in response to the question of What's Really New? It strikes me that healing is always new – by which I mean not only that whenever we are healed, we feel new – lifted into a place quite different from the place we thought we were, but also any healing we have ever had remains timeless and blesses us each time we are grateful for it.

After a rough night a few mornings ago, I was sitting on the couch trying to gather myself. I've worked a lot with Mrs. Eddy's interpretation of the 23rd Psalm, and have loved the line "Love restoreth my...spiritual sense." One of the claims I've faced recently is that I don't have enough spiritual sense to heal myself, so it's very comforting to know that Love, God gives it and never takes it away. As I was thinking about that, I was suddenly deeply grateful for every moment of true spiritual consciousness I've ever had, and as I was pondering that, I went back over my list of healings. I was amazed to find how many there were, and while I thought about them, more and more came to me. They weren't just my own healings but healings that had occurred for other people when I prayed.

For example: when I was seven or eight, many people in my family were sick. Things felt pretty dark. But I remember going somewhere with my mom, and sitting in the back of the car praying. I'm sure it was a simple prayer, but when I got home my dad was up and dressed, and greeted me joyfully at the door. "Have you been praying?" he asked. I said almost sheepishly that I had. It turned out that everyone in the family was well.

When I was 16 I had a healing of warts on my hands that came about after I was lying in bed one night, just trying to find God. Within a little while, the room was filled with a spiritual light that I have never experienced again, but I know it was real. Within a week, the warts were gone.

In college I had several days of inspired studying for a final exam on a course I had not enjoyed or worked very hard for. The days included the turning away of flu symptoms, and being led to read an entire book from scratch right before the exam. I truly enjoyed the exam and earned a high score on it.

There have been quick healings of sprained ankles – my own and others; a back injury three days before Association that made it seem that sitting all day would be impossible. It wasn't. I was healed; healings of colds, and sadness and all the little things that become very big in our thought; times when I was able to make a right decision when only God could have given me what I needed.

I have been watching much more news lately and the assignment was a wake-up call

I have been watching much more news lately and the assignment was a wake-up call. The repetitive news cycle is called a “repetitive news cycle” for a reason. In addition to the sad and worrisome news that is broadcast daily, I’ve noticed that a subtle narrative about the day’s events is often inserted within the news cycle. For example, it seems news anchors are much more willing to characterize the news itself as “depressing” these days. The spring weather in the north east was “depressing” according to our weatherman; our local roads and tunnels are in “depressing” condition; and the lack of political dialogue and congressional gridlock is “depressing,” to list a few new reports I’ve heard tagged with the “depressing” label. I am not saying everything is great. But the belief of depression is so widespread today that it is not a coincidence that the repetitive framing of the news through the “lens of depression” helps to broadcast and contribute to the contagion.

The adjective “depressing” passes by so quickly in our conversations that it is often accepted without question or challenge. I was grateful to find an antidote in Mary Baker Eddy’s writings. I looked up “cheerful” and “cheer” and related forms of the word in Concord and was surprised to see she used the terms as strong and fundamental parts of Christian Science healing practice – and not merely as descriptions of a mood or a lighthearted state of mind. She expressed gratitude for cheerful and obedient members: “My soul thanks the loyal, royal natures of the beloved members of my church who cheerfully obey God and steadily go on promoting the true Principle of Christian Science. Only the disobedient spread personal contagion, and any imaginary benefit they receive is the effect of self-mesmerism, wherein the remedy is worse than the disease.” My. 118:1

To Mrs. Eddy, “cheerfully” described the proper mental stance and attitude when fighting the worst phases of evil: “During this final conflict, wicked minds will endeavor to find means by which to accomplish more evil; but those who discern Christian Science will hold crime in check. They will aid in the ejection of error. They will maintain law and order, and cheerfully await the certainty of ultimate perfection.” SH 96:31 And she reminded us that the source of this cheer is the same “light of Truth” that provides immunity from sickness: ‘The star that looked lovingly down on the manger of our Lord, lends its resplendent light to this hour: the light of Truth, to cheer, guide, and bless man as he reaches forth for the infant idea of divine perfection dawning upon human imperfection, — that calms man’s fears, bears his burdens, beckons him on to Truth and Love and the sweet immunity these bring from sin, sickness, and death.” Mis. 320:9

Her consistently strong and clear use of “cheerfully” and “cheer” means she expected more than expressing a Pollyannaish worldview, trying to keep a stiff upper lip, or having a hail-fellow-well-met human personality. To me, this deeper understanding of “cheer” represents the stance she expected us all to take (and maintain) in opposition to the broadcast view that events are, in substance, depressing. Our “cheerfulness” is an essential part of the disposition toward healing she expected Christian Scientists to possess and that disposition is effective to combat the contagion of depression. This uncovering has alerted me to the need to live more within the Science of Christ when confronting the depressing view of life in matter presented daily to all of us. The daily and hourly work necessary to maintain this “new view” has helped me find both newness in the world, and a better sense of our true immunity from depression and other “broadcast powers of evil” calling for attention in this age. (SH 65:13)