the Poor = the Receptive Thought = state of hearkening | Plainfield Christian Science Church, Independent

the Poor = the Receptive Thought = state of hearkening

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“Blessed are the poor in spirit” is the first sentence of the Sermon on the Mt. (Matt 5:3), and maintaining a state of being poor in spirit, the humility of a deep-rooted, settled state of receptive thought, is the first of the Beatitudes, the most important thing on the mind of Christ Jesus preparing to speak to the multitude. On closing, he speaks of being grounded in the Sermon’s principles, the need of making sure that one has the proper, stable foundation on which one’s house should be established before even considering the details of constructing the house itself. In fact, he does not speak of the house in any detail at all, he speaks only of the foundation: embracing God’s words by acting on them, not simply hearing them.

St. Paul used athletic metaphors in teaching Christian principles, and the greatest athletic coaches have always placed basic conditioning above all other training activities. So the Sermon on the Mount is all about the basics: conditioning, endurance training, establishing a foundation, prepared ground for the challenges ahead.

To maintain this receptivity is also “to hearken” — “To listen; to lend the ear; to attend to what is uttered, with eagerness or curiosity” (1828 Webster’s Dictionary). So hearkening carries with it a sense of anticipation: listening for God as well listening to God. And inherent in hearkening is the sense of obedience: “Josiah, not hearkening to them, was slain.” (Thomas Hobbes, 1651)

It has to do with getting in touch with the “immortal cravings” residing restlessly in each of us — cravings of holy dissatisfaction with self, sense, and the world of sense, cravings which we are to make more and more intimately real, cravings which mortal mind ever-seeks to control, to dominate, to deny, to stupefy, to subdue, and to silence.

Thus, as found in Carpenter’s Collectanea (Prayers, 61), Mrs. Eddy never ceased instructing even her most advanced students in the basics: “Be like a little child. Turn your thoughts to Love and say, O Love, just take me in; give me one Mind, one consciousness and make me love my neighbor as myself. Let your heart cry out to divine Love. A child cries out to its mother for more light, more truth, more love. Ask Love for what you need and for what Love has to give; then take it and demand of yourself to rise up and live it.

God will direct you in all your ways, if you trust Him; faith must take hold before sight or fruition, and this faith will, when instructed in divine Science, become understanding and you will have no doubts, but every proof of His promise, ‘Lo! I am with you alway.’”

Thank you for this week’s lesson!




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