2020 Association Assignment for May - spirit
and renew a steadfast[a] spirit within me.
11 Do not banish me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore the joy of your salvation to me,
and sustain me by giving me a willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach the rebellious your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
- 51:10 Or right
I came across this reading chapter of Genesis in the Science and Health this morning. "Christ is the offspring of Spirit". (SH 540 1-2) I have begun to think about Christ and Spirit as product and source, respectively. Christ means so many different things, so full of the essence of God that we are able to recognize, feel, and reflect. To me, Spirit is the animating source that gives activity.
I too have stayed at home, and my once very busy lifestyle came to a screeching halt. At times, I have felt depression, disappointment when my state is slow at reopening. However, through actively engaging in gratitude and being a better porter at the door of thought, I have gained traction in warding off mortal mind's attempts to dissuade me that the activity of the Christ stopped. I still struggle with limited physical activity, but I know that is an area where I need to grow.
The second part of the quote above states "spiritual existence shows that Spirit creates neither a wicked nor a mortal man, lapsing into sin, sickness, and death." (SH 540: 3) The work "lapsing" resonates with me because it has a definition of "temporary deviation or fall especially from a higher to a lower state". This is how I feel about exercise. I was in pretty good shape and now the change in lifestyle has forced me to deviate from my once enjoyed activities into a lower state of being more sedentary. However, as the statement in Science and Health clarifies, Spirit does not create a mortal man capable of this. We know this because of spiritual existence. I think I have more to grow in the meaning of spiritual existence, but for now, I am very grateful for this inspiration during this stay-at-home time.
Last week’s lesson with its emphasis on tender mercies, made me connect that with our quality of the month, spirit. As we endeavor to be an example of the believers in spirit, their are myriad forms that can take. The monthly email mentioned our sense of spirit as inspiration from the Almighty being an antidote to depression, discouragement, despair, hopelessness, etc. There are many positive aspects of our reflection of the spirit of truth that can uplift our own experience and help others as well. For example, are we consciously expressing, by reflection, the tender mercies that God shows to each of us. Isn't the world in need of that now?
Lets use this topic this month to share how our lives are being shaped and blessed by reflecting the spirit of (fill in the blank). We can begin with tender mercies. Other qualities that might characterize our expression of spirit might be the spirit of compassion, the spirit of joy, the spirit of encouragement, the spirit of grace. There are numerous opportunities each day to uplift the atmosphere of thought surrounding us.
Please share the various ways you are thinking about and expressing the spirit of Christ. You may use the ones listed above as a springboard for your work, and then share your own healing ideas and experiences here
I was reading this week's Sentinel and I was thinking about our assignment while reading through the testimonies. I know when we pray we are not praying to get rid of some human discord. I have found a clearer sense of Spirit as the substance of my thought to be diligently kept pure by seeking to know God's nature. It doesn't matter if we have been praying about a condition for 1 minute or 1 year. Getting a clearer sense of our identity as God's perfect, sinless, innocent image and likeness heals and enables us to see what is going on with our neighbors and our world in the same light of Truth. Matter's claim falls away and the real image appears right where we thought the ailment was. I am so grateful for these small but powerful reminders that bring continuity between the Bible and Mrs. Eddy's writings. I want to hold onto this small gem until I am changed like in this week's lesson with Jacob.
The bible lesson on "Mortals and Immortals" has many healings and references to the action of Spirit on God's man. Marker 23 in the Science and Health p. 425:"Correct material belief by spiritual understanding, and Spirit will form you anew" is about healing. Where do we go to find this renewal? In the closet of "sanctuary of Spirit...shuts out sinful sense but lets in Truth, Life, and Love." S&H p. 15. In recent weeks it has meant for me to refuse to accept all the material data and calmly go into my closet and find the sweet assurance of God's love guiding my actions. It also means healing. Recently a sense of discomfort was trying to give me a material sense picture. I knew that it was an unreal picture and just held onto God's protection for me and the safety of God's care. Within a few minutes I felt Spirit, God's vitality and power to continue on with activities I had begun. On a grander scale, each of God's man is reflecting renewal and gaining strength in the Spirit of Love.
I’ve been thinking a lot about “joy” which is in line with May’s topic with spirit. An article in the June 1, 2020 Sentinel entitled “Unshakable Joy” by Dorcas Strong was helpful. She talks of “unprecarious joy” (My 201:19) and whether it was achievable listing some of the troubles many are feeling whether fears of the future, job security, loneliness, etc that many are feeling now. But joy from God never changes. It doesn’t depend on certain events. The writer explores several God-like attributes that help. Meekness provides courage and strength. Forgiveness frees us to go forward to find peace and joy. And Love that promotes the higher joys of Spirit. The writer sums up stating that these “higher joys” grow as we reach out with love and care for our fellow man.
These comments are from one of our guests, Linda Alt.