Click on the thumbnail to download PDF of the Spring 2021 edition of the Wide Horizon Herald newsletter.
Yesterday, May 9, was Mother’s Day – a day to appreciate and honor very special women or maternal figures who have influenced our lives. I believe it’s a special day to celebrate selflessness, unconditional love, and sacrifice such women practice for the betterment of others, especially for children of all ages and races.
In the United States, Mother’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of May. In 1914, US president Woodrow Wilson proclaimed this day of May as Mother’s Day “as a public expression of love and reverence for the mothers of our country.” (www.archives.gov>historical-docs)
Therefore, Mother’s Day is a celebration honoring the mother of the family, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. It is celebrated on various days in many parts of the world, most commonly in the months of March or May. (Wikipedia)
Last week I wrote in appreciation of nurses (many who are mothers). Countless mothers have selflessly nursed and lovingly nourished children throughout the world. My mom (who with my dad adopted me when I was an infant) was one of these women. She was a remarkable Christian woman who loved being a mom, and her loving expression of motherly qualities was a blessing to family, friends and strangers. One way my beloved mom nursed and nourished me was introducing me to Christian Science.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science and founded The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts (aka The Mother Church), nursed the world through her daily prayers, prolific writings and remarkable works. In the “Glossary” of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, she gives these definitions:
MOTHER. God; divine and eternal Principle; Life, Truth, and Love. (p. 592)
DAY. The irradiance of Life; light, the spiritual idea of Truth and Love. (p. 584)
Think about these two words (with their definitions) together. What inspired sense of Mother’s Day comes to your thought? How does God being our divine Mother influence our lives? How is each day brighter and fuller with Mother-Love always with us?
In Science and Health on page 16, Mrs. Eddy stated: “Here let me give what I understand to be the spiritual sense of the Lord’s Prayer:
Our Father which art in heaven,
Our Father-Mother God, all-harmonious,
Hallowed be Thy name.
I’ve quoted only the first verse of this sacred prayer, yet it gives an embracing sense of God, divine Love as our heavenly Parent who cares for and loves each of us.
Mrs. Eddy also wrote, “Father-Mother is the name for Deity, which indicates His tender relationship to His spiritual creation” (Science and Health, p. 332).
Two prayers she specifically penned for children:
MOTHER’S NEW YEAR GIFT TO THE LITTLE CHILDREN
Loving me, –
Guard me when I sleep;
Guide my little feet
Up to Thee.
TO THE BIG CHILDREN
Father-Mother good, lovingly,
Thee I seek, –
In the way Thou hast, –
Be it slow or fast,
Up to Thee.
(Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896, p. 400)
Mrs. Eddy loved little children, as did our Master, Christ Jesus. This “Soul-filled woman” also penned another poem that is both a prayer and hymn. Her poem “The Mother’s Evening Prayer” has blessed countless children and adults (Christian Science Hymnal 207–212). It embodies the comfort arts of nursing. It embraces hearts which need comforting. It speaks to those with open minds. And it shows in a modest way how much this dear woman loved mankind. And yet, she too at times needed to feel the comfort of Mother-God, as given in the Holy Bible: “As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you.” (Isaiah 66:13, NKJV)
I hope you agree we all need to truly honor good mothers, bless all women, care for all children, and embrace all our Father-Mother God’s beloved creation. So, if you can, give a mom a hug!
D. Brian Boettiger
Perhaps you may like to know that National Nurses Week begins Thursday, May 6, and ends on Wednesday, May 12. And, National Nurses Appreciation Day is observed on May 6. In 2020, the theme was “Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Nursing the World to Health.”
Recently I read that the initiative for an official nurse day was first proposed in 1953 when Dorothy Sutherland of the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare sent a proposal to President Eisenhower. Twenty years later President Nixon organized a week in February of 1974 at the White House to recognize the nursing profession. (https://cipherhealth.com )
I learned that May 12, the final day of National Nurses Week, is the birthday of Florence Nightingale (1820-1910). The English nurse became known as the founder of professional nursing, especially due to her pioneering work during the Crimean War (1853-1856). … May 6 was introduced as the date for the observance in 1982. (https://www.timeanddate.com )
And, did you know the color blue denotes depth, stability, trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, and intelligence? It is purported that blue has a soothing, relaxing, and calming effect. It is not a coincidence that NHS [National Health Service] Solutions [in the UK] chose blue and green for its logo colors! (https://nhss.com )
For as long as I remember, my favorite color has been blue (and the hues thereof). I’ve always loved gazing at or being in the ocean and looking up to the sky. I usually have felt more peaceful, and I’ve felt the nursing effect of nature and been inspired by God, Spirit.
The American Dictionary of the English Language partly defines “nurse” as: to cherish; to foster, to encourage; to promote growth in; to nourish; to manage with care and economy, with a view to increase: as, to nurse our national resources.
Thus, all of us can nurse and nourish one another and our earth. Of course, there are those who have chosen to dedicate their lives to being nurses – selflessly caring for others. A dear cousin of mine, who I cherish, is one, and a sweet, kind neighbor another. During this past year especially, nurses and other frontline workers have done remarkable, courageous works, often with personal sacrifices.
In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy wrote, “An ill-tempered, complaining, or deceitful person should not be a nurse. The nurse should be cheerful, orderly, punctual, patient, full of faith, – receptive to Truth and Love” (p. 395). Most nurses I know continually demonstrate the latter characteristics and qualities rather than the former in their daily work. So, if you know a nurse or a Christian Science nurse, thank this individual, and if you can, give them a hug of gratitude too. This appreciation, this love is nursing one another!
D. Brian Boettiger
As for all of you, this question can be answered in numerous ways. For me, I could say, “I am a man, a human being, a husband, dad, son, brother, a thinker, a sports fan, an environmentalist, a CEO, a follower of Christ, a student of Christian Science.”
In The First Church of Christ Scientist and Miscellany, Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science and founded a worldwide church, wrote, “…may each member of this church rise above the oft-repeated inquiry, What am I? to the scientific response: I am able to impart truth, health, and happiness, and this is my rock of salvation and my reason for existing” (p. 165).
I’ve been thinking a lot about this during the past year filled with various challenges and heartbreaks. I’ve asked myself have I consistently and daily imparted truth, health and happiness? Sadly, no. Can I do better? Of course. Will I? Yes.
I believe this impartation is essential to my work at Wide Horizon – the only Christian Science nursing organization and religious nonmedical healthcare facility in Colorado. I know it’s imperative to do my work well that I impart these truths.
In 1970, The Christian Science Publishing Society, published a booklet titled, “Who am I?” In it are a number of articles and poems under headings such as, “Why am I here,” “Where am I going,” “Which way do I go,” “Can I change the world,” and “Who is my brother?” A few of these were written by teachers of Christian Science. One poem, “Face to Face,” by Godfrey John, includes:
“Under the same lens of Love there is no black nor white about the perfect man.
… you won’t see human races but the living sons of God, our Father.
… Our hearts beat the same rhythm, then.
In Love’s bright kingdom there is only one Race.
… ‘I know that voice, I know these words.
Here is light breaking through.
Let brother meet a brother face to face!’”
For me, this poem imparts truth, health or harmony, and happiness because it focuses on healing and seeing through the lens of Spirit, God. It focuses on seeing the true man of God’s making. The “light” is the eternal Christ within each of God’s ideas or children.
As you know there is a mountain of so-called self-help books, mostly written within the past several decades, but most don’t look at people as “living sons [children] of God.” Most look at people’s problems and personalities as so real that it’s challenging at best to solve and help them, much less to heal them. Most don’t look to God, divine Love, first and foremost. Yet a book written in 1875 does center on God, Love as our heavenly Father-Mother, and reveals generic man as Spirit’s image and likeness, as described in The Book of Genesis, chapter 1. This book is Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.
Like most of you, as a youth and young adult, I had many teachers. Some of these were Sunday School teachers, including my beloved mom. And, my Christian Science teacher was a lifelong Sunday School teacher too. One teacher who made a tremendous impact on my life was Glen C. Livezey, C.S. I recently reread two remarkable Christian Science lectures he gave years ago in a book titled The Spiritual Pathway to Freedom. They are “Let Your Basis be Love,” and “Who do You Think You Are?” (Mountaintop Publishing, 2013) The latter lecture includes:
“… reject anything that would obstruct our view of the completeness of God, good, and of man, His perfect expression. …We hear a lot these days about establishing priorities. The priority of knowing life spiritually, of turning to God as the spiritual reality of all being – of seeing a whole new view of man and the universe as Divinity unfolding itself, of seeing from the spiritual heights – shouldn’t this be our first priority? This will give us the courage and strength to wrestle with and overcome the old false sense of self whenever it tries to attach itself to us…Why not practice establishing your priority? … Be grateful for your right to be your Christly self and refuse to be anything else. … And as we establish our priority of putting God first, of identifying in divine Love, we see the purity of Love expressed in our lives” (p. 136-137).
Isn’t this a remarkable first priority? Doesn’t this help in wrestling with a false sense of self? Do you see how important gratitude is to progress and healing?
Apostle Paul wrote, “It is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ – if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.” (Romans 8:16-17, NRSV)
So, what am I? Spirit’s image and likeness. What is my reason for existing? To impart truth, health, and happiness. Who am I? God’s child. Am I complete? Yes, as Love’s, Mind’s idea. What is my priority? To love God and my neighbor as God’s beloved idea. Can I see a whole new view of man? Yes, and be glorified with Christ! Can I see the purity of Love? Yes!
And you can too!
D. Brian Boettiger
Earth Day 2021 is Thursday, April 22nd. Earth Day has been a growing movement since 1970. This year’s theme is “Restore the Earth.” https://www.earthday.org/
In efforts to help clean and restore the earth since I was a boy, I’ve picked up a lot of litter (bags, bottles, cans, cups, glass, plastic, straws, etc.) – on walks and hikes, along roadways and trails, at beaches and lakes, in mountains and oceans, at parks and playgrounds, in neighborhoods and stadiums. (I kid my wife that it’s my guarantee to get an A-ticket to heaven.) And, I’ve helped to plant a lot of trees (mostly in our backyard or at Wide Horizon), as well as recycled or repurposed many items (as we also do at Wide Horizon – an ever-growing green Christian Science nursing organization). I say this not to boast (as picking up litter isn’t a picnic) but because I’ve always loved order and cleanliness, and I truly love this incredible planet, Mother Earth. Although never a boy scout, for as long as I remember my motto has been “leave it better than you found it.”
The discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, certainly left this world better than she found it. Although the Christian Science church is a comparatively small worldwide movement, the spiritual laws of this Science are universal. Its mission is partly to heal sickness and liberate from sin – to help restore the health and wholeness of human beings. In the “Glossary” of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, she gave these definitions which shed a different light on Earth Day:
“EARTH. A sphere; a type of eternity and immortality, which are likewise without beginning or end. To material sense, earth is matter; to spiritual sense, it is a compound idea.” (p. 585)
“DAY. The irradiance of Life; light, the spiritual idea of Truth and Love. ‘And the evening and the morning were the first day.’ (Genesis 1:5) The objects of time and sense disappear in the illumination of spiritual understanding, and Mind measures time according to the good that is unfolded. This unfolding is God’s day, and ‘there shall be no night there.’” (p. 584)
If one accepts that God, Spirit, created man and the earth (Genesis 1), then definitions such as these help to have a different vision of our beautiful planet. Seeing through the lens of Spirit helps one to see various ideas (often unseen through the material senses) in their illumined spiritual light. One can then see more of spiritual reality. This can only help to restore the earth, which is an amazingly perfect idea.
The earth is amazing because oceans, forests, ecosystems and more, can cleanse and restore themselves when humans are not wittingly or unwittingly polluting and spoiling the earth. So, whether you pick up litter, plant a tree, purchase an electric vehicle, invest in renewable energy, or have a good thought followed by restorative action, you can make a difference on this Earth Day and beyond. Regardless, perhaps you’ll agree with me that all the children and creatures on earth deserve our individual and collective efforts to make this world a better place, by genuinely caring for and ultimately nursing our Mother Earth! Will you leave it better than you found it?
D. Brian Boettiger