“I Believe in Obeying the Laws of the Land”

To answer any questions folks might be having about how Christian Science churches are responding to government restrictions during this time of sheltering-in-place, I thought it might be helpful to bring in the words of the founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy: “Whatever changes come to this century or to any epoch, we may safely submit to the providence of God, to common justice, to the maintenance of individual rights, and to governmental usages…When Jesus was questioned concerning obedience to human law, he replied: ‘Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s,’ even while you ‘render to God the things that are God’s.’

“I believe in obeying the laws of the land.”
– Mary Baker Eddy, Miscellany (p 220)

 

No One “Deserves” to be Sick

No one “deserves” to be sick.

When I took my first trip to Europe in 1980 I was fascinated by the old buildings. Some of them were, like, 700 years old! (Where I live the oldest buildings are maybe 150 years old.) I remember wanting to get up next to them and touch them – feel the vibes of all the people who touched them before me in history.

While he was giving me a tour of historic old buildings, my Dutch friend told me that during The Black Plague the entries to villages were actually designed to keep the sick people out – the sick were left to wander without food or shelter or succor in-between the towns. They were left on their own, alone and shunned.

I remember thinking how grateful I was that our world had become more civilized since then.

Right after I got back from Europe the AIDS epidemic hit, and I saw that we maybe hadn’t become all that more civilized. I saw people being shunned again. Some preachers told their congregations that these people deserved to be sick, and deserved to die.

It was a terrible time.

And now we have this. I’m seeing a lot that is giving me hope for our world – I’m seeing people coming together in a way I’ve never witnessed to help each other. And I’m seeing some things, too, that make me realize we still have a ways to go.

NObody “deserves” to be sick. NObody “deserves” to die. No matter your politics or religion, your age or medical history, or errors in judgment – no one “deserves” sickness and death.

In reality, we are all God’s innocent children. There is no guilt attached to us – to any of us. Every moment we are fresh and new and uncontaminated. There is no disease that is more powerful than God’s love and grace.

You are Love’s precious child.

“O Life Divine, That Owns Each Waiting Hour”

I went for a drive – Scott had the news on and I felt the need to go into my mental “closet” and bring my thoughts close to the presence of Love. I pulled over to watch Mount Baker turn pink in the setting sun and a song from the Christian Science Hymnal came to me – “O Gentle Presence” (with words by Mary Baker Eddy). Here’s a link to my off-the-cuff rendition. Acapella here. No accompaniment. No back-up singers who can do the actual singing for me. 🙂 Just me. Probably off-key. No embellishment or anything. Thank you ahead of time for your kindness.

This line from “O Gentle Presence” especially resonates with me right now – “O Life divine, that owns each waiting hour” – I mean…think about that! God – Life, Truth, and Love – owns, manages, and governs EVERY hour – even the “waiting” ones. There is never a moment outside of Love’s control – never a moment not created by God. Those moments when we’re waiting to learn our loved ones are safe, when we’re waiting to hear the prognosis, when we’re waiting for the plane to land, or the tests to come back, or the quarantine to be lifted – God owns even THOSE moments. Whoah.
– Karen

 

Here are the lyrics to “O Gentle Presence”:

O gentle presence, peace and joy and power;
O Life divine, that owns each waiting hour,
Thou Love that guards the nestling’s faltering flight!
Keep Thou my child on upward wing to-night.
Love is our refuge; only with mine eye
Can I behold the snare, the pit, the fall:
His habitation high is here, and nigh,
His arm encircles me, and mine, and all.
O make me glad for every scalding tear,
For hope deferred, ingratitude, disdain!
Wait, and love more for every hate, and fear
No ill, — since God is good, and loss is gain.
Beneath the shadow of His mighty wing;
In that sweet secret of the narrow way,
Seeking and finding, with the angels sing:
“Lo, I am with you alway,” — watch and pray.
No snare, no fowler, pestilence or pain;
No night drops down upon the troubled breast,
When heaven’s aftersmile earth’s tear-drops gain,
And mother finds her home and heavenly rest.
– by Mary Baker Eddy

 

 

Loyalty to Good

Here’s a thought that’s been really helpful to me in the last several years: We don’t ever need to side with people – not with Trump or Pelosi or Obama or McCain, or whoever – we just need to side with Truth and Love. If I start there – with Truth and Love – everything else sort of falls into place after that. Is this path leading me towards Love – towards being kinder, more thoughtful, more selfless, more compassionate, more understanding of others? If not, then do not waste time with it. Does that road lead to Truth? Is it going to make me more honest? Will I still have my integrity intact at the end of that road? If not, then do not follow that road.

I’m thinking our only loyalty should be to what is good in this world – to what is kind and honest and selfless and decent and honorable.

Alrighty. That concludes today’s sermon. Carry on then…
– Karen

“Cheaters Edition”

We were shopping at Fred Meyer’s today and I came upon a new version of “Monopoly” (the board game). This version is called “Monopoly: Cheater’s Edition.” It came out in June, 2018. Here’s what the game is about: “Follow, bend or break the rules to win the Cheaters Edition of the Monopoly board game. Cheating is part of the game. Don’t get caught. This Monopoly game includes a plastic handcuff unit that ‘chains’ cheating players to Jail space. Cheat cards encourage players to cheat and which cheat to attempt. Complete a cheat to get a reward; fail a cheat and pay the consequences.”
 
And it struck me that this new version of Monopoly is pretty representative of where our nation is right now. Our current president has shown us it’s okay to lie, cheat, bribe a foreign nation, and brag about “grabbing pussy” – so long as you don’t get caught – and then even if you DO get caught it’s okay – so long as you can threaten and bully your way out of it. Here is a man who created a fake university to collect tuition money from students hoping to make better lives for themselves. Here is a man who has refused to pay his workers. Here is a man who threatened to withhold funds approved by congress to an ally nation in order to make a political rival look bad. Here is a man who’s called our Constitution – the document he’s pledged to protect – “phony” because it kept him from making money from his resort. Here is a man who, from day one, has been dismantling our environmental protections.
 
Some folks have suggested that we need to quickly stop the trial of this president so we can “unite” again as a nation. But I disagree with this sentiment. Ending this trial quickly is not going to help “unite” us. Ignoring this president’s misdeeds, trying to shuffle them under the carpet, and letting him continue to get away with lying, cheating, and bribery is NOT going to help our country move forward – and it is certainly not going to help our nation unite and heal.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

“Though error hides behind a lie, and excuses guilt, error cannot forever be concealed. Truth, through her eternal laws, unveils error. Truth causes sin to betray itself, and sets upon error the mark of the beast. Even the disposition to excuse guilt or to conceal it is punished. The avoidance of justice and the denial of truth tend to perpetuate sin, invoke crime, jeopardize self-control, and mock divine mercy.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

Dee Molenaar and God

Dad had originally been named “Deo” – but when he was in his teens he learned “Deo” meant God, and he thought it was a little presumptuous to be named “God” – so he changed his name to Dee.

Dad was not a religious man. But he was a spiritually-minded person. He told me once that he felt closest to God when he was in the mountains. I could relate to this. I’ve always felt that Nando Parrado’s thoughts about God in Miracle in the Andes expressed really well my own feelings about God, and probably Dad’s feelings, too: “…I did not feel God as most people see Him. I did feel something larger than myself, something in the mountains and the glaciers and the glowing sky that, in rare moments, reassured me, and made me feel that the world was orderly and loving and good… It was simply a silence, a wholeness, an awe-inspiring simplicity. It seemed to reach me through my own feelings of love, and I have often thought that when we feel what we call love, we are really feeling our connection to this awesome presence… It wasn’t cleverness or courage or any kind of competence or savvy that saved us, it was nothing more than love, our love for each other, for our families, for the lives we wanted so desperately to live.”

I asked Dad once what had inspired him to become an adventurer and explorer. He said a book he’d read as a youngster – The Royal Road to Romance by Richard Halliburton – had been a huge inspiration to him. He quoted these words from the book: “Live! Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you. Be afraid of nothing. There is so little time that your youth will last – such a little time.”

And live that wonderful life my father did. All 101 years of it.

As many of you know, my mom was a Christian Scientist – she wasn’t very religious, either, in terms of following a human organization and institution – I think she thought of CS more as a way of life than a religion – and she loved the idea found in CS that “God is Love” and that she could actually use the power of Love to heal. The great mountaineer, Pete Schoening – who saved my dad’s life and the lives of four other men in The Belay on K2 – had also, coincidentally, married a Christian Scientist. So the Molenaar and Schoening kids had (and still have) a lot in common.

And all this leads up to a message I got from Pete’s daughter, Lisa Schoening Jertz, yesterday. She brought me a much-needed laugh:

“Your father has always been very personable, warm and funny the times I have seem him. He must have been a great father.

“Many years ago he was visiting us at the house on the lake in Kenmore. It was just before the 40th Anniversary Reunion of the K2 1953 Expedition in the Wind River Range was to take place. Dee was helping me iron and fold the commemorative K-2 T-shirts.

“He told me how much he appreciated and respected Colleen’s Christian Science faith. He told me that he had learned from your mother that when he was scared or felt uncomfortable he would say ‘God is Love’ and this helped him greatly with the situation.

“On the day of the visit it was also my father’s birthday. Unbeknownst to my father my brother Mark had just gotten his pilot’s license at 18, including the Seaplane rating. As a surprise Mark flew in with a seaplane to take him for a birthday ride. Being the host Pete was, of course he invited Dee to go along. They all got into the plane and as the door of the plane was closing I heard a soft voice say ‘God is love’– that was your father. It made me laugh.”

Dad and 100th birthday rainier this one

Karen’s Sermon for the Day

Dear fellow Christians –

If you believe it is your job to bring about an Apocalypse and that “true patriots” are white supremacists – I believe you are sorely misguided. I also believe you must be reading a different New Testament than the one I’m reading. Here’s what I see in mine –

“Love your enemies. Bless them that curse you. Do good to them who despitefully use you and persecute you. Turn the other cheek. Feed the hungry. Help the oppressed. Pay your taxes – render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and unto God what belongs to God – God doesn’t need your money. In the same vein – it’s harder for a rich man to get into heaven than it is for a camel to go through the eye of a needle – you can’t serve both God AND mammon. If you dwell in love, you dwell in God. If you don’t love, you don’t know God because God IS love. Blessed are the peacemakers. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Forgive. And forgive again. And keep forgiving. Heal.”

“The kingdom of God is WITHIN you.” We don’t have to blow the world up to smithereens to experience heaven. We can experience heaven right now by living in Love.

Okay. I guess this concludes my sermon for the day.

Amen and stuff.
Karen Molenaar Terrell