TAKE up your bed and walk

I remember in high school I would have this intense monologue every morning before I opened my eyes. A fierce argument about why I shouldn’t get up and go to school.

“You already know everything they’re going to try to teach you. You can sleep in.”

Little did I know this was, actually, a metaphor for life! Something is always telling us it’s OK to sleep in. Well guess what? IT’S NOT!

So as part of living this radical act I’m waking up GRATEFUL every single morning, and the only dialogue I’m having is these words: “Pick up your bed and walk.” It’s already inspiring me to a different outlook on the entire day — knowing that God needs me to do Her divine works.

And it isn’t only literal. Picking up our bed means to get rid of the excuses, to actively defy that little needling voice that wants us to “sleep in” from Life and all the good it has to offer us. Walking means doing something productive, something that uses your talents and leads you to a definable goal that you’ve been led to aim for.

The great rap section of this track calls dawn the “God Hour” – maybe cuz it’s a perfect time to seek divine inspiration. Let’s help each other wake up…pick up…and walk!

Michael Morgan, June 2012

Comments

  1. Kate says:

    I hadn’t been able to fall asleep quickly so I decided to give some thought to Jesus, and what it must have been like to “walk on water.”   It all seemed so doable and real in light of the spiritual facts of existence and God’s relationship to His creation.  I don’t remember nodding off, but the next thing I do remember is getting up in the middle of the night and walking across the room toward the door.  Our room was under the eaves in what had been the attic of our house.  The bed was positioned on a level a few steps higher than the rest of the room.  We hadn’t lived in the house long and in the middle of the night, still half asleep, I’d  forgotten that I needed to take the three steps down from one level to the next.  Thus, I walked right off the edge of the upper level.

    Now, I’d stepped down from one level to the next many times when I was fully awake and prepared for the drop, but in that moment I just kept walking out from the higher level.  When I woke up enough to realize what I had done, I  hit the floor hard withe a terrible thud.  It hurt.  I hobbled back to bed trusting that the pain would subside and I lay there quietly and prayed.  But it didn’t.

    By morning I was fearful that I would be bed-ridden.  For just a moment I thought, “wow, is this what I have to do to get a day to myself.”  Then I remembered what I had in front of me and realized that wasn’t an option.  That’s when the first line in the preface of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures came to mind.  ”To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, today is big with blessings.”

    “Hmmm,” — I thought, “it says leaning, not reclining.”  I realized that to lean on something you had to be upright and moving in the same direction as what you are leaning on.  God, Spirit, was never in stasis, never motionless, never halting and lying around.  I had to ask myself what “can” I do, and not listen to all the “I can’t….” messages that were screaming at me from under the covers.

    And from that moment it was one step at a time leaning on the arm of an infinite number of opportunities to say  ”I can…”

  2. Debby says:

    Usually when I call my roommate in the morning she puts the light on within a couple of minutes.  But this particular morning it seemed awfully dark for longer than usual.  I found myself thinking, “Why doesn’t she put the light on?  Should I call her again?”  Then I realized that my own eyelids had sagged shut again.  Funny, when I opened MY eyes, the lights were already on.  Hmmm.  Might be helpful to remind myself that the spiritual lights are already on–but it would be a good idea to open my eyes to that.  It will certainly help me get out of bed, if not carry the bed around with me.  :)

  3. itsaboutgood says:

    Hey All!
    Here is this week’s mix for the Bible Lesson on “God.” http://youtu.be/LUIJ1xop_M4

    I think it would be really fun to share with Sunday School classes! I recently got back on my bicycle instead of driving and it has really been transforming my concept of this whole “Take up your bed and walk” thing. I have to be very intentional about everywhere I am going.

    This week while riding up this giant hill in Griffith Park, I just felt like giving up. I couldn’t pedal anymore! To make it worse, another bicyclist, all super bike suited and booted in their wind-repellant jacket, zoomed right by me! Talk about discouragement!

    But as I kept pedaling, I decided to start praying. This is what came to me, “If God raised Jesus from the dead, don’t you think He can get you up this hill?”

    I started laughing outloud! What an awesome question! And so I said it outloud about halfway up the hill. But as I kept saying it, and even singing it!, the statement evolved into an affirmation, “God raised Jesus from the dead and He got me up this hill!”

    Well, not surprisingly, next thing I knew I was up the hill – passing by the super sleek biker who had to stop and walk their bike up the hill with a big smile and a, “Have a great ride!” I meant it, too!

    Isn’t that such a great metaphor for life? During those big hills we feel like we just can’t make it up. But we can! We already have! Isn’t that how Jesus thought about his resurrection? He said many times before his crucifixion that he would have to suffer AND be raised from the dead (John 2:19-22). He wasn’t just doing whatever he wanted to do – he was in complete submission to the will of God and scriptural prophecy. Can’t we do the same thing?

    Take up your bed, take up the cross, take up the challenge!

  4. Amy L. B says:

    Mountaingirl2:
    That is beautiful!..yes..I think so..
    And, I’m loving the idea of the Comforter also advocating for us..naturally! And this advocating first makes us feel safe, settled, and secure, so from that sense of security and worth, our work with others shines. Thank you for sharing : D

  5. Amy L. B says:

    Hey Mountain girl 2:
    In response to your comment that God will find a way to connect with the others even if you don’t find a way on the scene-
    I agree about that. Still, I wanted to mention how grateful I feel for the “angels” that God has given me in times of need..sometimes these “angels” were a thought, but sometimes they come as people in our lives who share from the heart..without any agenda. We all can be “angels” that way on God’s time. :)
    Thanks for your open sharing here(I don’t imagine you pontificate. I do value your real flow!) <3 Amy L. B

    • Amy L. B – Thanks for writing. I agree that it’s important to step up and act with empathy, particularly because so many people won’t. I don’t think God wants us to be afraid of reaching out.

      And I need ALL the angels I can get.

      • Amy L. B says:

        Mountaingirl2:
        I’m right with you..trusting your angels, and mine..step by step. Big hugs <3

        • Amy L. B – Saw in My Bible Lesson that the word “Comforter” is sometimes translated as “Advocate.” I checked this out myself by going to http://www.biblegateway.com and entering John 14:16. NIV says Jesus is asking God to give us another “advocate” and The Message says he’s asking God to give us a “friend”. Not just any advocate or friend but one we’ll always have with us to help us. The Bible translations both say this everpresent companion is the Spirit of Truth.

          I really like the idea that Spirit of Truth stays with us no matter what. Not just when we get things right or when we earn it, but always with us like a friend we can count on to love us unconditionally. Also, it means we’re never struggling alone.

          Perhaps the Spirit of Truth sends the angels.

  6. itsaboutgood says:

    How to have adventures in a post-Christian world

    Equipment: One Holy Bible, Quiet Listening, Lots of Faith, Boldness, Prayer, Love in your heart

    So I was driving by my old high school today and the Lord said, “Pull over – I’ve got something for you to learn.” So I pulled over into the shade, turned the car off, and closed my eyes to listen. He said, “Open your Bible. It will tell you where to go.”

    Now, I played lots of video games as a kid. Whether it was Zelda, Final Fantasy, whatever, you always had a map that helped direct you. I learned something awesome today – that the Bible is our map to adventure.

    So I flipped open the Bible to this passage in Ezekiel, “He brought me out by way of the north gate, and led me around on the outside to the outer gateway that faces east; and there was water, running out on the right side” (Ezekiel 47: 2).

    I laughed. Perfect! I looked up at the street signs to find myself at the North West Corner. God was telling me to head east! As I walked to the “outer gateway that faces east” I kept my spiritual senses awake to see if anyone was saying anything that hinted at receptivity to the gospel OR anyone was making eye contact with me. Those are always sure signs of a mission.

    When I got to the end of the street, I thought that maybe the grate on the east side (where I waited to be picked up many a time during my high school career) was where I needed to be. But as I prepared to turn, a young man in a shirt sporting an upsidedown cross tattooed on a cat’s forehead jumped up on the wall, dropped his bag, and looked over at me. Twice. Bingo. Thank you, Daddy!

    I went over and told him, “Hey, brother. I feel like the Lord wants me to give a word to you. Is that ok?” He set his iPhone down (big victory there!!!) and sort of shrugged, “Sure.”

    So I prayed for the Lord to speak to me at a place where I could reach his heart. So he gave me a video game metaphor and a suit of armor. He told me he plays games like World of Warcraft and other RPGs. Basically, a vision came through that helped me realize this kid was a warrior for God. And right before I could share with him, his friend came rolling up on a bicycle. Bingo. I am in the right place!

    So I had him read Ephesians 6: 12-17. I explained to him that the armor is for the spiritual battle we’re in. And that he has been chosen like Michael and Gabriel, two archangels, to fight for God. That the games he plays are just preparation for fighting on the good side in the spiritual battle. He was really into this. So then the Lord told me a few other things, but I kept them to himself and figured I’d let them be revealed. I handed him the Bible and he opened it up after praying, “Father, show me what I need to see.” He opened up to this passage from Jeremiah, “So they pulled Jeremiah up with ropes and lifted him out of the dungeon. And Jeremiah remained in the court of the prison” (Jeremiah 38: 13).

    This really resonated with him and I asked him if sometimes he felt like he was in a dungeon. He responded yes. So I told him that God wants to take him totally out of that dungeon and set him free. That he has been chosen to be a warrior of God by the Holy Spirit and that he cannot be imprisoned for that. This really resonated with him.

    Then he told me he wanted me to do the same thing for his friend on the bike. So I asked him if I could and his friend was a little weirded out at first. So that’s ok. It gave me the opportunity to talk more about Jesus who is the Shepherd of all the sheep. And that the sheep do good things, not bad things. And I affirmed that both of these children of God were, indeed, sheep and not goats.

    The first boy got all excited because the boy on the bike’s last name was Shepherd. Evidently that kind of thing passes for prophesy these days. So then the Lord gave me a word for the brother on the bike, “You like to befriend people who don’t have a lot of friends, don’t you?” He was shocked at what came out of my mouth. “Yes, that’s true.”

    “That’s because you are pure of heart. And it’s your purity of heart that God sees, not how many times you go to church in a week.” These words really connected and suddenly he was open.

    Then I asked him who he thinks God is, and he kept saying, “I don’t know.” I shared how the Bible tells the story of how people developed a clearer understanding of what Truth is through many thousands of years recorded in the Bible. I asked him if he would be willing to read something from the Bible. Now he was willing.

    He read from the last page of the Bible in the book of Revelation. I figured that would communicate the evolution of God through Scripture, “But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light” (Revelation 21: 22-23).

    We talked about how the Lamb represents the life of Christ Jesus and how that is the clearest understanding of God we have. That it’s not about church or school buildings, but the relationships that we form within them. The way we treat others. They totally got this.

    So I felt the Lord say, “Wrap it up” so I did with one final question. “Where does Jesus say the kingdom of heaven is?” The boy who I first talked to said, “Church.” I smiled. “You don’t know Jesus very well,” I joked. Then the boy on the bike, resistant at first with supposedly no idea of what God is, says under his breath, “Within you.”

    “What did you say?” I asked. “Within you.” Wow! I was just in the middle of handing the Bible over to the first boy open to Luke 17 and then this kid says the answer.

    “How did you know that?” I foolishly asked. “Have you been to church or read the Bible?” He looked at me sheepishly. “No. It just makes sense.”

    Well, there we go. That was the lesson God had me learn today. That knowing that the kingdom of heaven is within you, “Just makes sense.” And so I was blessed by these two mighty warriors, Michael Shepherd and Gabriel Upside-down Cross Cat, and went bounding off with gratitude to God and a scripture singing in my heart,

    “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing so some have unwittingly entertained angels” (Hebrews 13:2).

    • itsaboutgood – Could you please clarify your first comment about being in a “post Christian world”?

      In junior high my teacher read aloud an older book called The Cross and the Switchblade. (Sorry, at the coffee house now and can’t get my phone to italicize or underline that title).

      The main character’s passion for reaching those least likely to be reached was amazing. It reminds me of you and your fearless sharing of Christ-love. If you haven’t read it, you might like to – although it’s about evangelical Christianity not CS.

      • itsaboutgood says:

        Mountaingirl! Great to be in dialogue with you, again.

        Here’s a nice wikipedia article about post Christianity: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postchristianity

        Basically, it’s when the truth behind Christianity is taken for granted in a society. Which requires the real WORKS of Christ Jesus and the early church to distinguish from culture. This makes Christian Science no longer a novelty, but a necessity for Christians in America.

        I love reading books like what you shared. There is another one about a guy named Brother Andrew called “God’s Smuggler” that I also hear is great.

        I love discovering that Christian Science IS evangelical Christianity and vice versa. What a thrilling era we are living in!

        Where would you place yourself on the scale of Christianity right now? Hot? Cold? Lukewarm? Observer? Practitioner? Mingler? Haha. You clearly have a real passion for the Lord. Are you seeing at all the need to demonstrate rather than pontificate in your life and community? How so?

        Love!

        • itsaboutgood – You are always so enthusiastic and inspired that replying with anything but simple gratitude makes me feel like I’m shooting at your happy bubble with poison darts. So let me apologize for that in advance.

          From reading your latest posts here, I would say it’s possible that you are an evangelical Christian Scientist, but that this is not the same as CS itself being evangelical Christianity. Have you regularly attended an evangelical church, read their literature, and socialized in their circles? Jesus is God and I am going to hell because I haven’t exactly embraced evangelical Christianity’s beliefs. This is if you really look into it. I have had many excellent EC friends with whom I had a healthy relationship outside of church. I completely respect their right to feel as they do, although I do not agree with all of it.

          That said, I love the modern evangelical Christian churches that worship so joyfully and take the attitude that God is wonderful and we should throw our hearts into building a relationship with him. A lively worship service does a lot for me. That’s all I can write on the little space on my phone…so I’m going to respond to the rest of your questions in another box.

          • ….I am comfortable writing so it may sound like I pontificate. However, if you knew me in person you wouldn’t think that way at all. Today I worked in an office, now I’m eating a cookie in a coffehouse, next I have cast call for a community theater musical. At times I lead; generally I blend. God puts us in different roles at different moments to express His infinite nature. One role is not necessarily better than another.

            Of course the emphasis of my life is on the demonstration of what I believe comes closest to Christian truth, but not in the sense that I’m chasing down potential converts. I do believe in reaching out in love and understanding whenever possible, but most of the time I find that has little to do with religion.

            I find that mostly people just want to be heard. They want to feel hands-on that essence of Christ which reaches into the dark places and comforts and reassures. They want to laugh. They want to believe they are worth something. Isn’t this what you are looking for when you set out Bible-ready to evangelize? You want to be heard and to have others agree that your ideas have value. Although you may take great joy in helping them; nevertheless, the meaning of the experience to you is about what you get from it. After all, God will find a way to connect with the others even if you don’t arrive on the scene.

  7. Susie G says:

    Haven’t read the fresh lesson this week yet.  And just found this mix.  Soooo ultra inspired and sending lots of thanks.  Do you feel them?  Also thoughtfully read the rest of the comments and was enthralled.  What beacons of light for truly living.  Hooray!  I feel like I just took a gulp of crystal clear reality.  Am listening for God’s direction and ready to follow.  Am remembering in college I’d been led to go to the music building to practice really late one Friday night.  No one was even there.  I’d been there but a few moments when an award winning jazz musician poked her head in.  We were friendly and it was clear they were high on drugs.  I felt so much companionship, though, and we ended up playing some music together.  They became more normal.  We became good friends after that night.  I never was with her again when there was a drug problem.  I met a whole new group of friends.  They knew I studied Christian Science and loved that about me.  It was a wonderfully broadening experience and I even became close with some of their families.

    • itsaboutgood says:

      Sister Suzy,
      Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us here! What a wonderful story! I love how you boldly stepped out to faith to share love – unconditionally! That is totally a Jesus move!

      As far as the mixes, i just read the lesson each day, pray about what to put in, and it all just naturally happens via some digital turntables. Praise the Lord!!!

      So happy to have you with us here in the community.

      Love!

  8. itsaboutgood says:

    Hello again beloveds!
    Here is this week’s Mix for the Bible Lesson: God the Preserver of Man.

    It works great for Father’s Day and highlights the amazing, infinite greatness of God’s love for us! It features artists John Thurlow, Marvin Gaye, Andrew Peterson, and Lincoln Brewster with excerpts from Jesus’ healing of Jairus’ daughter and two sermons given by Heidi Baker.

    A different dancing involved in this one. Think about slow dancing with the Father to this one.

    Love!!!

  9. itsaboutgood says:

    Hello Radical Acts community!
    In preparation for the next generation of RA, I want to begin to post links to these weekly DJ mixes I have been inspired to do based on the weekly Christian Science Bible Lesson. It felt right to start with this week’s considering the story of the man who is told to “pick up his bed and walk” is in it!

    It’s a cool healing, too! I have always loved djing, ever since I was a teenager, but I was always a poser dj. Meaning that I would tell people I was a dj, but I never really did it! I played video games that simulated djing, listened to djs, but never actually thought I could do it myself!

    Just a few months ago, in prayer, I heard the Lord tell me that I should start djing – for Him! Imagine what a trip that was! It started when I was called to begin praying about the Burning Man Art festival in Nevada, but after attending and helping support a Christian Science Lecture there (you can read the article about it from the Christian Science Sentinel here) I began to feel more and more inspired to speak my Christianity in a language that others could understand better – and what better language to speak than prayer and music?!

    So I started doing weekly mixes a few momths ago and continue to feel inspired, learn new techniques, and connect with tons of neat people through my posting them on the internet.

    So – this is a two fold act! It required me to really “pick up my bed and walk” AND it is a dance mix with the very passage sampled in it.

    Praise God!

    God the Only Cause and Creator (Dance Mix)

  10. John says:

    I keep getting tempted recently to believe that ‘if only I had stayed active after finishing high school sports, _____ wouldn’t be so tough right now.’ It’s a temptation that has hit me a lot before, and in the past it always has eventually sufficed to get me to stop whatever it was I was doing. But now with this focus on really following what Jesus taught – this isn’t personal willpower anymore, this is learning to be a disciple – I’m seeing that I can take up that bed (symbolic perhaps of old habits, old (perceived) comforts, popular fears) and walk (or in this case, run and jump and all sorts of stuff).

    Right as I’m engaged in an intense workout, the thought will come, “You’re done now – you’d better quit,” and I’m learning to not even argue with it, but just to keep on and actively praise God. Nehemiah is my inspiration for this: “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?” (Nehemiah 6:3) Nehemiah sure got out of bed, and nothing was going to put him back in it.

    Neighbors might think it’s strange to hear the Lord’s Prayer panting out of my garage, but I’m discovering that ‘staying in bed’ is a far heavier burden than stepping outside my comfort zone.

    How is this going to bless others? Not sure yet. But it’s got to – the very act of getting up and breaking my allegiance to limits is enabling me to shine. And as another Radical Act says, shining is all about glorifying God. I’ll share more as I see it, but I’ve been really grateful for the encouragement and heartfelt enthusiasm of this Radical Act and wanted to share.

  11. itsaboutgood says:

    So I am writing this post while listening between Jesus’ Culture’s “Your Love Never Fails” and “Flo Rida’s “I Cry.” What do these both have in common? Well, they are both deeply spiritual anthems that sustained a CS S.W.A.T. (Spiritual Warriors Actively Triumphant) team that drove up to Redding, California to share Christian Science with one of the largest churches of Christian healers in the United States: Bethel Church in Redding, California
    Standing in the middle of the “healing room” surrounded by people speaking in tongues, praising God, and giving testimony to healings of cancer, broken bones, rheumatism, and deafness that happened that day felt a whole lot like a movie. But it wasn’t. This was real life – happening right in front of me. How did I get here? Why was I crying while feeling closer to God’s love than I ever have in my entire life? Well – simple answer – I chose to pick up my bed and walk.
    Some back information on this whole journey. It all started when Christian Science lecturer Shirley Paulson came to my CSO at the University of Southern California and gave a talk on women who followed Jesus. Some examples include Mary Magdalene, Mary Baker Eddy, and Heidi Baker. What do all these women have in common? They all radically followed Jesus by carrying on his mission to heal sin and disease.
    A year or so later I learned about a series of movies documenting Christian healing happening all around the world – like totally Acts of the Apostles style. The first movie is called “Finger of God” and you can check it out there. It’s pretty amazing and mind-blowing and includes an amazing healing ministry Heidi Baker has in Mozambique where healings of deafness, blindness, and resurrections of the dead are a normal occurrence. I watched it with members of the JPChurch Society in Jamaica Plain and we all especially moved by a part of the film that documents a “treasure hunt” that mostly teenagers do out of the Bethel church (a brother church to Heidi Baker’s Mozambique ministry). They get together, silently pray, get visions and directions on where to go to share the gospel with people through Christian healing,and then they get into groups and go to places like Starbucks, strip malls, and other places to find those who are calling out for healing. That’s picking up your bed and walking, isn’t it?
    So I showed this video to a friend of mine who is a member of the Berkeley CSO and after watching it he non-chalantly said, “Well those people are like a few hours north. Let’s get a box of Science and Healths and go up there.”
    Oh. Ok.
    We recruited another member of the CSO for the journey and went up with some Christian praise and dance music and a lot of prayer. We found a place to crash for the night and met up with another spiritual seeker for breakfast half way there. We brought our books, prayed, preached, and answered some of her questions about Christian Science. On our way out a man stopped us because he saw my Bible that I was holding. He stopped to talk for a bit and mentioned he was on the way to a funeral of a close friend. We shared some inspirational ideas and then it felt right to give him a Science and Health to share with someone who could use it at the funeral. He was really grateful and took it – awesome!
    When we got to Bethel we felt like we were at a Christian Burning Man. (See this podcast to learn more about what Burning Man is like: http://time4thinkers.com/t4t-events/sharing-the-power-of-love/). Happy people all over the place and the most saturation of divine Love I’ve ever felt. The campus of Bethel holds a school for healing, prophecy, and worship ministry for students all over the world. Right when you walk in you see cds and books all about Christian healing and there are tons of people everywhere! In a few moments I got into a conversation with a woman who was searching for healing. I asked if I could pray with her and we spent some beautiful silent time with one another. Then I opened up the Science and Health that I had in my hand and showed her some passages from the chapter on Genesis. Then I offered her the book and she was so grateful to have it. Awesome!
    Then I went into the healing room and that’s when things got really intense. A band played inspiring Christian music while hundreds of people mingled around – all healing or seeking healing. Some were laying hands on others, some were sitting quietly next to others, some were layed flat out on the ground, absent from the body and present with the Lord, and some people were dancing and laughing.
    Within minutes I connected with a young woman sitting down by herself. It felt so right to ask if we could pray together and we did. It was a palpable prayer! After affirming some truths about our relationship with God through His Son, Christ Jesus, she asked if she could give me a prophetic word and I gladly accepted. This was common practice – it happened all the time during the weekend.
    Giving a prophetic word basically means listening to what God is saying and repeating it, letting yourself be used, to share Truth and Love with others. Later a man shared a prophetic word with me that really moved me – it was precisely what was happening in my life and what I had been hearing God tell me in my prayers.
    Then the healing room came to an end and everyone circled up and shared their testimonies. They were amazing. They even have skype healing rooms that open the healing experience and prayer to anyone anywhere in the world! And those healing testimonies are just as powerful as the ones given by people in the room!
    After that experience, we wandered the campus and connected with some missionaries from East Germany playing the guitar by a beautiful pond of water. We sang together and shared healing thoughts and encouragement. It was a beautiful sense of a global healing family that is alive, active, and super crazy powerful!!!
    A lot more happened this weekend, many more God encounters, healings, prophecies, and other super cool stuff. This is our Church – the body of Christ! This is the result of Christian Science lived and practiced! I’ve never been more clear that it truly is the Holy Ghost and Christ, the palpable presence of divine Love, that does all of the work.
    Are we ready to take up our bed and walk into this whole new world of primitive Christianity? Because it is happening – right here, right now. I’ll close with a passage from I Corinthians that many may not be so familiar with. It’s an explanation about why speaking in tongues and prophesying is important to the church. Here’s what it says: “He who speaks with tongues edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church…whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification” (I Corinthians 14: 4-5, 26). This is so important to a sense of true Church! It’s exactly what we experienced this weekend at Bethel Church. This kind of heaven meets earth experience is available to all of us – all we have to do is walk towards it.

  12. Grant says:

    Good is Life and life is to live. The mortal dream is a sleep in itself presenting lies of time constraints and lose. The life that God is makes us free and open, receptive to the good that can be worked out to His glory. If I had to get up just to go to work or school I would like I have in the past have intense self debate as to why.

    Good is my teacher, boss manager, coworker, friend the ultimate golf coures of self denial. Taking up my bed to walk is the requirement the choice is mine now or later but we all know that the soon we recognize when to pull the ripchord as we jump out of the planeof our sleeping hourswe get caught up into the perachute of Gods grace and understaning that makes each day worth while

  13. mclean says:

    While riding the bus from one side of my city to the other, I witnessed an incredible act of kindness. A man who had vision problems was muttering loudly and acting upset. He repeatedly told the bus driver he was fine. It was obvious they knew each other. The bus driver was talking to him softly, trying to calm him down.

    What I saw next shocked me. The bus driver put the bus in park, walked over to this man and gently led him off the bus. He guided him across the wide, busy city road and subway tracks, safely to the other side. I had never seen a bus driver do that before.

    It was so beautiful I wept. I could feel something deep well up inside me. You see, I don’t normally take that bus. It was like God was pointing out to me what divine Love is doing for each of us, all the time. I felt awash and held in Love.

    Love is showing each of us how we’re being guided by God’s angels to take our own beds and walk…how we help each other do this…off the beds of sorrow, fear, loneliness, and past regrets.

  14. Kate says:

    so this Radical Act has been a puzzler in some ways. Yes, I have thought about how I can elevate my thoughts, fold up my comforts, and move towards something…and each of the insights/stories on this thread have been SOOO helpful…but I was looking for something fresh the other day…and boy, did God send it when I’d least expected it.

    I was sitting in a non-denominational prayer circle, with a group of fellow spiritual caregivers, when someone asked if we would each recount our journeys towards the ministry we shared.

    I soon realized that I had pastoral “seniority.” At first it was shocking. I was stunned to realize that I’d been “in this work” longer than anyone else in the room. It was a bit unsettling. I’d never lost the feeling of having a youthful ministry. Fresh, edgy, a bit on the cusp. When had I become “senior?”

    If you’ve seen my white hair you must be thinking, “and when did she stop looking in the mirror…”

    But then this niggling little thought came in…”ahh yes, you HAVE been doing this a LONG time…” and I felt myself getting a bit puffed up with “experience.” I started to settle into the comfort of well-fluffed pillows. I knew the patterns, could see the detours, was well-aware of all the little ways of “the devil.”

    Within a few moments, I was resting on my seniority. Seriously… I was ready to offer wisdom, share insights, help the young’uns

    Thank GOODNESS for this Radical Act. I have them ALL written in the front of my ever-present Moleskin journal…and I refer to the list OFTEN thorughout the day…especially when I feel myself off-center, or losing alignment.

    And this was definitely one of those times.

    Within a few moments I was back to “I AM”…no “ACcuser” words attaching themselves to my identity…accomplishment, achievement, accumulation, accreditation, acknowledgment, accretion, acceptance, etc. They were only going to demand that I get tangled in a false sense of being…one that included timelines, resumes, and a list of credits.

    I could rise from the soft comfort of being supported by a bed full of personal pillows and walk into the freedom of “I AM”

    All that defines me is my oneness with God…right now. God is present…here, and now…and therefore, I can only find Him in the here of His presence, and the now of the present.

    Within a few moments I was back in the circle of our prayer gathering as part of a circle…rather than a pyramid full of dead gods, graven images, and crumbling theories.

    Thank you RActors for your constant encouragement to “keep it fresh”…with Love, k.

  15. Kate says:

    Sometimes I get caught up in resting from trying something new by thinking that “I’ve always done it that way…” or “That’s just who I am…”

    But this just leaves me crippled by my own limited views of myself and what I am capable of each moment.

    So this summer I tried to rise above all the personal preferences that screamed I was too set in my ways to change and walk forward towards some new adventures. And it was fun.

    It had been so easy, and comfortable, to have “me” so well figured out…but comfortable never leaves us hungry for the comforter…it’s a false, convenient sense of peace…

    Discomfort has me aching for the Comforter, hungry for the Christ perspective on a given subject or in an uncomfortable situation.

    Sure, you can drive… Of course, I would be happy to do that new thing I’ve always avoided before… Why not… I could try…

    These responses have walked ME forward into a new trust in God…

    not comfortable…but I’m always looking for the Comforter these days…

  16. Monica says:

    So wonderful, everyone! Thanks for all your stories. Much love to each of you precious ones!

    I shall be thinking more in terms of “taking up my bed”, in thought, and taking it to the kingdom of Love, which is the only place where rest truly happens. Thanks again!

    Monica :)

  17. Alex says:

    It’s amazing when the refusal to be put down is invisible, and just comes out in acts of mercy, patience, and non-judgment. This part of the revolution will truly not be televised.

  18. Michelle says:

    I have been thinking about this radical act in light of a guest post that Kay Olson wrote for my blog yesterday. She shared some details in the life of a woman in her church who as a black woman in the south during segregation was relegated to sit in the balcony separate from the white members. This continued into the 1970s – a point that didn’t surprise me, having been raised in a southern town til the mid seventies where segregation was still pretty normal.

    This woman “took up her bed and walked” in the sense that she didn’t sit by the pool of Bethesda, so to speak, and wait for things to change in the church culture before she fully embraced the teachings of her church and began to heal. She lived for her Pastor, and her Pastor told her to heal.

    What I always loved in that Bible story of the man by the pool was how Jesus commanded the attention of the man even though he was in an environment entirely opposed to the Christ message of “You can be free right now. It isn’t dependent on anyone else getting their act together.” He had spent years as a victim surrounded by other victims, but he was willing to follow Jesus’ instruction to take up his bed and walk.

    Kay’s post about this lady – Mrs Toles – is so touching. She took up her bed – showed up for every service even when her family left the church, sat in her balcony, segregated from the rest of the congregation – and loved her Pastor and every member of her church until the culture changed.

    Its a powerful story. Here is the link. http://www.michellenanouchecsb.com/4/post/2012/08/living-church-a-guest-post-by-kay-olson-csb.html

  19. itsaboutgood says:

    What wonderful things happen when you pick up your bed and walk!
    I had a beautiful night last night with my friend Cheryl at a huge Puerto Rican festival here in Boston and there were hundreds of beautiful, happy, dancing children and adults. We weren’t planning on going, but after a bible study of the Sermon on the Mount it felt right to take a walk with God and let ourselves be led. We heard and followed the Latin music until we reached a park with a sea of Puerto Rican flags and an electric joy and vibrancy.

    As we walked through the waves of people, I actively began praying for the whole bunch of them – that they are not sinners, but beautiful children of God. Then this great reggaeton started playing and I couldn’t help but dance. 

    A few minutes into my dance a beautiful man named Angel came up to me and invited me to dance with he and his friends. His friend (Jesus the carpenter – no joke – was there, too). We started talking about spirituality and God somehow (of course) and this man told me he is dealing with some problems. We started talking and it came to me to ask if I could pray for he and his son. He said yes and we were silent for a while and then this is what came out, 

    “You are the reflected animation of God who is Love.” 

    He stopped and looked at me, “What did you just say?” 

    I could hardly believe I had said it myself because I hadn’t. It was the voice of God not just speaking to this man, but to me, also. 

    His eyes were ice blue and green – otherworldly – and after some more talk we hugged and parted ways. 

    After that experience I met another man on the Mother Church plaza today named Thomas who sits on the portico in a loin cloth. He was so connected to Spirit it was unbelievable. He went on and on about the ancients and their discovery of Scientific Christianity and we shared our vision and hopes for the future.

    He reminded me that all people are here to seek the Truth. That we must ignite the fires of all those around us and never stop praying for heaven to be revealed here on earth.

    “Thy kingdom come…” Isn’t that the only reason to pick up our beds? To stand up straight and see from a higher view that the kingdom IS here already?

    My God, our God, what infinite grace you have given us.

  20. Kate says:

    Wow…there are some wonderful stories and insights on this thread…

    One of the ways I have been thinking about this Radical Act to “take up my bed and walk” is to consider what I am “resting” upon…rather than from.

    In her definition of “Church” Mary Baker Eddy says, “that which rests upon and proceeds from” (not “that which rests from, and proceeds on”) So if I want my life to be an expression of worship, of devotion and have the structure of “Truth and Love” I have to look at what I am resting my hopes, my expectations, and my desires (which Eddy says is prayer) on.

    This is the “bed” the resting place that I can take up, use, and proceed from with absolute confidence and trust.

    If I am resting my desires on God as the ONLY Cause and Creator of my life….of the affections of my heart…as “the Daily Prayer” suggests is His mode of government…then I proceed from that core spiritual baseline with confidence.

    This is a “bed” that I find empowering, invigorating, an instrument of refreshment, rather than a hiding place from engaging with others, a escape from exhaustion, a place to collapse, turn off, tune out, and dream.

    On this “bed” where I rest my trust in God’s power I am alert, awake, eager to witness all that he is unfolding in front of me.

    This was never more clear to me than some years ago when I had “unwittingly” stepped off a steep ledge, the vertical distance of which I hadn’t anticipated properly, and landed so hard that I broke my foot.

    I found my way to my bed, but the pain, instead of subsiding only got worse. I was frantic and tried to lie very still so as to not move it. Then the thought came, “The sentence says, ‘To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, not reclining.”

    I realized that I didn’t need to rest from the injury, but upon the truth that God was with me and that His Love was upholding me. I needed lean upon that Truth and proceed from it. I learned a lot about taking up my bed (what I was resting my spiritual wellness upon: and using it to lean upon as I walked…proceeded onward in my expression of faith, hope, and trust in the God’s All-in-allness every moment. Moment-by-moment, inch-by-inch, by leaning on this Truth of God’s presence, I found my wholeness strength and flexibility intact.

    I like to think of “taking up” as in taking up a tool, an instrument, a insight…and walking with it into a new way of being useful, helpful, purposeful in the world.

    offered with love, k.

    • itsaboutgood says:

      Dearest Kate,
      Beautiful sharing. I have been praying a lot about self-government recently. It would seem as if this single issue is at the core of freedom and liberty for all people. If we recognize God as Love, as Life itself, than we inherit the ability to self-govern in obedience to God. If not? Well then we always end up thinking we can recline, or rest ON, a bed made of material that just won’t last.

      That spiritual sense of self-government is so empowering because it recognizes we live for God, not for others or even ourselves. Thank you for helping me to see taking up my bed in a new light – it is all about using the tools we’ve already been given!

  21. Alex says:

    Years ago I was in a pretty unhealthy relationship. I knew it needed to end, but felt I didn’t have the strength to end it. I felt as though I was tied down to this “bed” and couldn’t for the life of me, take it up.

    But, I think that’s just the picture the carnal mind would like to present, to keep us from trying to get up. However, the cards are stacked against the carnal mind because the more we let things stay the same, the more they become unbearable.

    Over a matter of months and years, as I (and she!) prayed deeply about our lives, the mental cords loosened, and we were each able to take up our beds and walk, peaceably, and with the great bond of having lived through a fiery redemption together.

    The carnal mind wants to stay in bed, be left alone, and have all things given to it. Christ impels us out of bed, into the day, to work, explore, and learn.

    • itsaboutgood says:

      Brother Alex,
      Thanks so much for this testimony of healing. I love the idea of how freedom from our bed frees others from theirs, too. I am in a situation right now where big changes are needed. But I can’t feel compelled to make changes for myself, by myself. Something deeper is needed. The Christ needs to move, needs to raise, needs to impel.

      So I just sit sometimes, waiting on God, until I am literally thrown out of my chair to move and make necessary shifts.

      Thank you for your strength in responding to Christ’s call. Every time we get up for God we get up for the rest of mankind. Amen.

      • Ali says:

        Lately I have been working with the thought ” I will not move until I am moved.” every day I am having the opportunity to make life changing decidions. I have worked hard to get to these place but now that I’m here, I consciously make the effort to not respond or react until I am confidant that God is moving me to for the betterment of us all, not just for me.

        • Alex says:

          Ali, I know just what you mean. I have loved that too. Sometimes it feels so revolutionary to NOT move.

          These days I am loving that all the things we do are impersonal. None of the volition, wisdom, or desire comes from us. All of the motion of goodness is the action of God – outside of us, but moving in us. Never from us, but always being expressed by us.

  22. itsaboutgood says:

    Just wanted to share a day of taking up my bed and walking in New York.

    Throughout the day I made my way from 16th street to 125th – with the help of the Holy Ghost I had some beautiful connections, awakenings, and communions during the journey.

    Around 30th street I was crossing over the street and noticed a bearded guy near me – he reminded me so much of myself last summer! His eyes were huge and we locked sights immediately. I had experienced this before – the connection of the Holy Ghost.

    He asked me which way was north and I responded. We walked side by side, silently for a while, and then I turned to him and said,

    “Brother, the holy ghost is within you.”

    He smiled and immediately responded, “I was thinking the same thing!”

    We walked for a few blocks and then stopped outside of a Panera bread. We talked about everything – metaphysics, Christianity, Jesus. Mary Baker Eddy, reality, spiritual being, earth missions, it moved me to tears at a few points. Finally, we both decided to just sit down right where we were and pray for New York City and the world. I pulled out some stuffed bunnies I had just bought as a gift for some friends and we both held on in our lap as we prayed. It was a powerful, yet so natural, experience of Christian fellowship.

    It felt right to ask him if he was hungry and we went inside and got some food. We continued talking. He told me about being called to attend an event called the Rainbow Gathering in Tennessee which then led him to Conecticut, Wooster, and now New York. We gave glory to God for bringing us together – two believers on a mission in the Big Apple – and I asked him to write something in my notebook before he left.

    He wrote, “I Love You.”

    I made a stop around 38th street, dropped off some candy I bought at a Pakistani snack shop I found on 35th, and then took the A train up to 125th. While on the train a young man began preaching out loud to the train about salvation in Jesus Christ. He did it in such a beautiful, totally loving and non-judgmental. He shared that Jesus loves all people – gay, prostitute, no matter – and that if you just accept him as your Lord and Savior you’ll see practical goodness of God in your life forever.

    I spoke with him a bit after he finished and thanked him for his message. He told me how he had been called from California to just pick up and come to New York. No money, no place to stay, just faith and a divine mission. His parents thought he was crazy, but he knew what he had to do. He told me he had been called out by a young boy while working at In N’ Out who pointed his finger at him and said, “You’ve been chosen! You’ve been chosen!” a few days later he was on his way to New York.

    He had lived on the streets for the first month, ministering to the homeless while sleeping on the streets, and now he had a place to stay and was being completely provided for.

    I thanked him for his testimony, shared a bit of my own, and then got off the train. While walking up the stairs I was stopped by another man who had gotten off the train who asked me if I went to church. I told him I did and we talked a bit about God, God’s mother-love, and the power of praise and gratitude.

    Then, when leaving the turnstyle, I saw a man waiting with a Bible in his hands. He saw the Bible I had in my hands and asked if I would swipe him in with my Metro card. Without hesitating, without thinking, I did, and he knew it wasn’t me that gave him that gift, but God. He smiled, expressed his gratitude, and said, “You must be having a holy day, huh, brother?” Boy was he right.

    I prayed to God to show me his Word and opened my Bible to Ephesians 2:14 “For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us.”

    This is God’s plan for all of us.

    I then went to dinner with friends on 120th and had the most beautiful, most natural evening of conversation, spiritual questions, music, singing, and YouTube videos.

    The Holy Ghost was truly leading the way yesterday – knowing that sure makes it easy to take up our bed and walk. Praise be to God!

  23. nina says:

    Lately I’ve been much in need of taking up my own bed. I’ve spent lots of time, in fact, bowed down with my face in beach sand or rough meadow grass, praying simple things like, “I know God loves me,” and “OK, I’m listening.”

    “What more can I do?” I asked an old friend. She kindly advised: “Get your face out of the dirt.”

    So two nights ago I headed to a magical meadow I just discovered. At twilight, fireflies appear one by one. So do deer, a dozen or more, unafraid.

    I’d taken with me, in thought, the Rev. Michel Louis, the Boston pastor who’d just been kidnapped while touring Egypt. Talk about unafraid. “Take me,” he said, when the gunman tried to seize another traveler.

    As I lay in the rough grass, face pointing UP to the darkening sky, harsh moments from my life flipped past at lightning speed, like a riffled deck of cards. I suddenly got it –- really got it — that in each moment, everything was . . . fine, whole, entirely well. I blinked in amazement, because a lot of old stories had suddenly vanished. And what about Rev. Louis? Fine, whole, entirely well. It couldn’t be any other way.

    Yesterday afternoon, amidst many prayers by many people, Rev. Louis and the other hostages were freed, though their captor’s demands were never met. The gunman said, simply, “We are a people of mercy.”

    Is this “taking up your bed”? I don’t know. But Rev. Louis, he points the way. He’s free . . . and unafraid.

    • itsaboutgood says:

      Amen, sister Nina! I know it was Reverend Louis’ fearlessness that resulted in the harmonious resolution. We say and think about being Love all the time. But God really being Love means absolute fearlessness on our part. We must have faith in order to prove God’s infinite being.

      I love how your sharing weaves in your protest, your proving, which results in correspondence with divine Truth.

      What wide, WIDE harvest fields we get to work in! :D

    • Amy says:

      Wow Wow Wow!!!

  24. itsaboutgood says:

    I was planning on leaving on a bus this morning for New York City. Every time I tried to buy the tickets on-line, something prevented the purchase. After trying to buy the tickets on two different occasions, finally I stopped and listened. “Ok, God. What do you have planned for me?” As I found out earlier today, as usual, something great!

    I’ve just moved into a new community and new apartment in a whole new state. This in itself is a testimony to “take up your bed and walk”, but suffice it to say that I felt like I needed to follow divine leading to a whole new phase of my experience.

    The new apartment I am in is in the heart of a very vibrant, very diverse community. There is a stoop in this apartment where plenty of colorful characters from the community sit and smoke, chat, drink, and wait. Wait for what you ask? For someone to tell them to take up their bed and walk!

    In the middle of my quiet study and meditation today, the buzzer to the apartment rang. I jumped up, put on some clothes, and ran downstairs to a lone package and an older gentlemen with a great big beard pointing at it. My first thought was to grab the package, avoid this weird looking guy, and go back to my peaceful communion with God.

    Something I had been contemplating earlier was how an infinite God could possibly reveal Herself to Her creation. Through what channels? Infinite beauty and goodness, in ways that are not our human ways.

    This idea hit me like a lightning bolt and I slowed down, turned around, and started talking with the man. His name was John and he introduced himself with a verse from Scripture, “God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son” (John 3:16). I fired back with what I had just read in my morning Bible Lesson, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free!” (John 8:32). The beginning of a beautiful fellowship.

    As we talked about everything from Jamaica to church to Boston mobsters and Adam and Eve, this thought came to me, “What if this is the face of God?” I looked deep in this man’s eyes and he looked back at me. I thought, “This man is God’s expression.” He reached into his backpocket, took a swig of something, and put it away.

    I fought back mentally. This IS God’s expression. Suddenly an idea hit me: “You like the news, huh?” He told me he did. I ran up to the apartment and grabbed issues of the Christian Science Monitor and Christian Science Sentinel. I began sharing with him why this newspaper is helpful in my prayers for the world. The Sentinel was about healthcare since he had mentioned that he was having some health challenges. I asked him if I could pray for him and he agreed. Then he looked up and told me it was his birthday. I laughed and said that these were the perfect gifts! I reminded him how God made us in the first chapter of Genesis and we shared a laugh. I gave him a card for the local CS society in this community and he thanked me as I went back up into the apartment to finish packing.

    When I got up there I remembered I had a whole apple pie from a trip to Maine and could share it with him. I started making a single plate to give to him that he could throw away. Then I asked myself, “Why not make two plates and just sit down and eat with him?” That made more sense, so I ran downstairs with two plates. But when I opened the door…no John.

    I sat down, disappointed on he stoop, and started eating my pie and ice cream by myself. Then a woman walked by and commented how nice it must be to eat delicious pie on the stoop. I recognized this woman as God’s expression, too! It inspired me to get up, walk down the street barefoot, and find someone to give this other piece of pie to.

    Not to long after walking down the street a man who I met on the stoop the week before walked by with another man – very rough looking dudes. I kept walking, hoping to find John again, and a voice said, “You found them. Go to them.” So I turned around and went back to the man whose name I remembered, Eduardo. I offered him the pie and he said he wasn’t hungry, but his friend was starving. We went back over and sat on the stoop to chat and eat with one another.

    This conversation had many fascinating aspects to it. We talked a bit about life more generally and then got into technology and politics. He had a sign that said, “Angry Regan Youth.” I laughed when he showed me because immediately I saw the sign say “Angry Regain Youth.” What I saw was more of a yoga mantra than a political statement. Soon we started talking about the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible and how Solomon, the richest man in the world, through his wisdom knew that money did not bring power.

    As we talked, we began to talk more and more about spirituality and, again, I saw the face of God in these men! It became so clear to run up to the apartment and get another issue of the Monitor to give to Eduardo along with a card for the CS society. I also shared with him the first page of the preface of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy that the name of this website is from, “The time for thinkers has come. Truth, independent of doctrines and time-honored systems, knocks at the portal of humanity…though empires fall, ‘the Lord shall reign forever.’”

    After both these experiences I returned outside to find these men had picked up their beds and walked. I didn’t shoo them with a broom. I didn’t judge them. I didn’t actively try to convert them. I didn’t run away from them. I just saw the face of God in them – despite my original judgment! I treated them the way I want to be treated. I showed them God’s forgiveness through actions of love. And it wasn’t my choice! It wasn’t my plan! It was God’s!

    I felt more like I was in a video game with a pre-written script. I was just going with the flow. God set me on the path, held my hand through the whole thing, not for me to save these men, but for me to recognize and acknowledge that God really is all around us. That God was being expressed through these men! That we can’t escape His love.

    Fascinating to think that Jesus wasn’t saving souls through his healing, but he was verifying what he had a deep suspicion of: that God is alive in all things when you let Christ, Truth, lead you. We can find evidence of this wherever we are, whoever we are with.

    Thanks be to God for that!!!

    • Carlos says:

      Michael, this is absolutely beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing the entire experience! I love how God’s action is never limited to a one or two step event, but is continuous progress and unfoldment!

      • itsaboutgood says:

        Brother Carlos!
        That’s right. I ended up showing up to the bus station, no ticket, no idea what time the bus was leaving, to get a ticket CHEAPER then if I had ordered online, RIGHT in time for the next bus to NYC.

        I love living prayer! All is well! God is good!

  25. Heather Libbe says:

    One idea that I’ve found particularly helpful in praying about Jesus’ commands to “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk” (John 5:8) is that his first instructions are to RISE. Instead of saying, “Clean up your stuff, get up and let’s go,” Jesus begins by telling the impotent man to “Rise.” This has prompted me to think about the importance of first turning our thought to God – elevating our consciousness – and then taking care of the “human” things like completing an assignment or tidying up an area or even supporting a friend This has been a really helpful practice for me and has led to many instances of spiritual growth, transformation, progress and healing – ie. being able to “walk” :)

    Thanks so much for all the inspiration!!!

    • itsaboutgood says:

      Dearest Heather,
      Thank YOU for your inspiration!

      Love this focus on the rising, the getting up, and not letting excuses or delays sneak in. I find sometimes when I am not completely 100% committed to listening, and haven’t gone to God first about something, I get sidetracked and distracted. Soon hours have gone by, I find myself asking, “How did that happen?” and feel unproductive and not accomplished.

      Rising is a spontaneous action of trust to me. It’s a living freestyle, a spiritual flow, that you consent to being caught up in and carried on.

      You strike me as a living freestyler, Heather. Is this true? :D

  26. nina says:

    Allyson I absolutely LOVE your posts here. Because they’re about a Radical Act in process. I know you’ll give others the courage to talk about how God is moving in their lives right NOW, even if their stories aren’t yet perfect and complete.

    In response to your question about your sister, I wanted to tell you about my “loss” of the woman who raised me, who passed when I was 16. She was our housekeeper, an African-American woman from the rural south, and the only caring adult in my experience.

    A month after her passing, I felt so hopeless that I ended up in the hospital with some rare disease, and nearly followed in her footsteps. Many years of grief followed. I had no conscious concept of God, or any sense of comfort.

    But one thing I always remembered. She had a story I used to ask her to tell again and again. In the story she was a young girl, constantly intimidated by an older boy who chased her home from school. One day she hid a Coke bottle in her skirt and popped him over the head with it. He never chased her again, and she never again lost her courage and self-respect.

    Something about that story, years later, gave me the courage to move to the rural south, to a place very much like where she’d grown up. Here I was “raised” all over again by a whole community of people who reminded me of her.

    Among many parent figures, I have one official momma. Years ago she told me a story about her deceased husband, who used to get little drunk and threaten her and her babies. “But one time,” she told me, “I just reached over and grabbed me a Coke bottle. Popped him over the head with it. Never had a bit of trouble with him after that, not for the next 40 years.”

    Of course I’m not advocating violence, with or without a Coke bottle. The point is God’s crazy precision in giving me exactly what I needed. I’ve now had the benefit of this beautiful woman’s love and guidance for decades, along with literally dozens of others in this community.

    I could tell about 70 stories like that. My younger brother passed on three years ago today. Since then I’ve developed delightful friendships with three or four young men. Each of them is a powerful, spiritually aware being who has blessed my life in all the ways my “real” brother wasn’t able to do.

    It seems like most of these Radical Acts have both a literal and a symbolic meaning. But is a symbolic resurrection any less breathtaking that a literal one? Are literal and symbolic any different in the sight of God? Either way, I think, we’re HUGELY blessed to “discern[] Christ, Truth, anew on the shore of time [and] rise…from…the burial of mind in matter, into newness of life as Spirit.”

    • Allyson says:

      Thank you so much for your story and your thoughts, Nina! I’ve been thinking all day about your last question, “Are literal and symbolic any different in the sight of God?” It’s funny, but I haven’t really thought about that before and I think it’s an important point. I found a passage in Science and Health that reads, “Spiritual teaching must always be by symbols.” (575:13-14) Then I started thinking about how one of the purposes of Science and Health is to serve as a key to the Scriptures–to provide the spiritual interpretation that helps us to understand the heavy symbolism throughout. The chapters on Genesis and The Apocalypse especially deal with symbols and representations. Then I thought about how Mrs. Eddy mentions not once but twice that Christian Science “resolves things into thoughts, and exchanges the objects of sense for the ideas of Soul.” I guess what I’m getting at is that your question prompted me to remember/look at the fact that what we see as the literal is actually the unreal in the first place and that it is the spiritual/symbolic arena of thought that is real and needs to be paid attention to. What freeing thoughts for today!

  27. Amy says:

    Hey Michael,

    I had an exchange like that with my cousin once. Her mom was a Christian Scientist and my cousin attended the CS Sunday School as a kid, but did not have friendly feelings for CS (to put it mildly) since her mom passed on (under medical care) and she’d had some unpleasant exchanges with a Christian Scientist.

    In the past I think I would’ve been more defensive. This time I listened. I understood her pain. I hate that my mom passed on too. But there were moments in the conversation where I could share with her that what she didn’t like about CS wasn’t CS at all. And she listened. I don’t know how she’s feeling now, but I’m glad we had that talk and I’ll keep praying with you.

    We don’t judge math by the math teachers we have (cuz some are good and some are not so good) and we shouldn’t judge Christian Science on Christian Scientists. But it’s human nature to do so.

    • Allyson says:

      Thank you, Alex, Michael and Amy for starting us on this thread of thinking. I guess each day I find there is some other (more like multiple) bed(s) to take up when I rise. But one that comes up time and time again, a sticking point for me, is related to the stories that Michael and Amy shared. For the last couple of years, whenever I seem close to making a healing breakthrough, whenever I feel about to just relax into God and cast my burdens upon him and instead take up his light burden and above all just *trust*, a little nagging voice comes up from deep within that says, “Oh yeah? Well but what about your sister?” We lost her about three years ago to a drunk driver. My sisters and I were raised in CS and my parents were pillars of their church so this loss left each of us with our own brand of confusion and sense of betrayal. In many ways, it pushed me closer to God and to CS. Less so for others in my family and now I find that I am the one who has to carefully, lovingly choose how and when to share spiritual truths with the rest. But I do come up time and time again with that stumbling block to healing, “But what about your sister? She had a Bible in her backpack at the time, was God taking care of her?” I’m curious how those of you who have dealt with loss and grief have done so? What has been most helpful in breaking through the last wall of doubt? What has been helpful in helping those around you to find similar healing?

      Many thanks to you all.

      • Amy says:

        Allyson,

        I’m so glad you posted.

        When I was a kid growing up in the Sunday School (and a CS home), I thought I’d always be protected from anything bad because hey, I was a Christian Scientist.

        I’ve had a lot of humbling experiences since then. Some more tragic than others.

        What I’m thinking these days is that life on earth just isn’t going to be fair a lot of the time. That stinks, but it *doesn’t* mean that God isn’t taking care of us. It means that from our limited human perspective, we aren’t seeing the full picture. And we’re not feeling what God is doing and giving to us.

        Christian Science and our own spiritual sense and intuition helps us clear the fog so to speak. And it’s worth it. It’s worth the work.

        I still have doubts sometimes. I work at that. But what keeps me going are the crystal clear moments I’ve had. The ones where I feel God and that feeling is so brilliant nothing suppresses the memory. Those moments are few, to be honest, but that’s okay. I’ve had lots and lots of other God moments that prove to me that He’s real, that He loves us.

        I love how it’s never too late to get a better sense of who someone really is — even after they’ve passed on. I think you can still actively support your sister and who she is as God’s child even though you can’t see her or talk to her.

        And I totally agree that you have to lovingly choose how and when to share spiritual truths with those who may not have the same convictions you have. It’s called wisdom. ;)

        • Allyson says:

          Thank you, Amy, I really appreciate your thoughts!

          After posting, I sat quietly for a few moments and I was thinking about immortality and how it often is portrayed in movies as never dying, but in CS we learn that it also means never being born. That can be a really hard concept to work a human brain around, I think primarily because births are considered happy whereas deaths are considered sad. But the act of rejecting the idea of birth might actually make it easier to reject the idea of a death as anything more than just one more element of the Adam dream. I have fond memories of my sister as a baby, but even just in those few moments just now, reminding myself that that *wasn’t* how she started, that before I knew her as an infant, she already was a fully-formed child of God that I just had the pleasure of watching unfold for awhile. And you’re right, I can continue to watch her unfold, just not physically. Thank you!

      • itsaboutgood says:

        Hi Dear Allyson,
        I went through the passing of a dear friend of mine – the first girl I ever kissed – when I was a freshman in college. It was from a car accident and was really, really sudden. Furthermore, she had been drinking late into the night and when the police came to the accident and did tests they found she had been intoxicated. Several churches barred her memorial service.

        This was a really tough time for me. I dealt with it by writing poetry about it, sometimes I even chewed on the memories a little bit too much. This was a time when I wasn’t really practicing Christian Science.

        Then, more recently, it came to me to think about the qualities that made her a precious friend to me. Her innocence, her purity, her love, her openness. These things never left. In fact, they have only intensified in my life since then!

        This passage from Science and Health was really helpful,

        “Every object in material thought will be destroyed, but the spiritual idea, whose substance is in Mind, is eternal” (Science and Health, 267: 1-2).

        I didn’t miss the “material” parts of her – hair, eyes, skin, etc. And I didn’t like thinking that her goodness as expressed in those spiritual qualities was limited to only her. It was also a limited sense of material love – that the first kiss was somehow this irreplaceable thing.

        For me, the healing process is always about breaking out of limited thinking. Love limited to a time and a place, goodness limited to a certain person at a certain point in time, God limited to only having a domain over the realm we see with our material senses, thinking that if a person isn’t here then they disappear forever or go to a super special or super horrible place.

        The rest of the line above continues,

        “The offspring of God start not from matter or ephemeral dust. They are in and of Spirit, divine Mind, and so forever continue. God is one. The allness of Deity is His oneness. Generically man is one, and specifically man means all men” (267: 3-7).

        She is eternal because her expression of purity and goodness is eternal. And it’s all around!!! Healing is really just spiritually seeing.

        Blessings to you, dear one!

        • Allyson says:

          Thank you so much for your beautiful message of love and for the helpful passage! I looked up the passage and found that I had at some point in the past underlined it twice and put an asterisk next to it. Sometimes I think that material thinking is just forgetting what we have already learned about God. :)

  28. alex says:

    Sometimes taking up your bed and walking is the HARDEST thing to do. I feel like the bed is the the carnal mind’s desire that everything stay the same, even though it hurts. Mortal mind would much rather remain untouched, doing it’s lazy, painful, selfish thing, than to be roused, and commanded to walk.

    Yet, it is this that does the healing. Self would paint the picture of an enormous weight that is placed on us, (the cross?) which, like an enormous stone, must be lifted up and cast off before we can be free.

    In a very hard time, filled with depressing thoughts, I sometimes felt as though I physically couldn’t take another step the weight was so heavy. Still, the desire to be healed was stronger than the weight. Only by beginning to feel that my desire to life was stronger than my fear was I ever able to let go of the weight and cast it off.

    • itsaboutgood says:

      Brother Alex,
      Thank you so much for this. I had an experience today on the bus that reminded me just how much work we have to do.

      A man who I met on the street in JP came onto the bus and I invited him to sit next to me. We started talking and it came to me to share with him some of the healings from the back of Science and Health. After I did, a young woman turned around from the seat in front of me and asked, “Are you a Christian Scientist?”

      I said, “Yes, I am.”

      She asked, “Were you raised in it?”

      And I said, “Yes, but I had to go on my own spiritual journey to really make it my own. What about you?”

      She said, “Yes, I was raised in it, but I left and I hate it.” She kept politely smiling the whole time and I just felt this pressure of the carnal mind – stuck between this man next to me and this girl in front of him – both looking for healing.

      I paused to pray and listen for guidance. There were a lot of ideas floating in my head. Should I apologize? Should I ask more? Finally, she turned back around and I kept talking with the man next to me. I told him I could get a copy of the book for him, but he told me that his eyes were bad. So I shared with him a healing of eye trouble.

      Then it came to me to reach out to the young woman in front of him and ask her if there was anything she’d like to have changed in the church, anything I could pray about, and she turned around, smiling again.

      “Bring my family back from the dead.”

      Then she turned back around.

      I quietly listened, kept my mouth shut from blurting out some harsh, metaphysical truth, and just went to God.

      I affirmed her goodness, this man’s health, and my own child-likeness in this situation. Then she turned around,
      “Did you go to CS school?” I told her that I did, for one year, and then was asked to leave.

      She told me she had gone to a CS school for two years and also transferred out. Now she is a public defender in Boston with 40 cases a month (that’s a lot of cases) and her fellowship/community is her family. Before stepping off the bus, she said it was nice that CS works for me, and I told her that it really is about our relationship with Love, God, that it isn’t about culture or labels. That Love is with her wherever she goes. Then she was gone.

      This is really making me think. There are a lot of people like that out there. People who have been damaged by the cultural counterfeit of Christian Science, mostly science without Christianity. Essentially, mortal mind’s cs.

      Can we pray that the body of Christ take up this bed, this masquerade of Jesus’ teachings, and shake the comfort of dogma, ritual, and the coldness of a science without Love and embrace the true form of Christ’s Christianity in living Love? We must! We must pick this bed up! We must shake off the sleep! We must walk the way into the light!

      Can we pray for our brothers and sisters who have been deceived as to what the Science of Christ really is?

      We must not judge, condemn, and spurn our fellow man! We need to love them!

      Please join me in this living prayer.

  29. Ryan says:

    “Grab your snuggie, we’re going out for an adventure!” What if these were Jesus’ words? I’m pretty sure that’s what he meant by take up your bed and walk–or maybe he meant, “Take up thy resting place and leave your fear behind.”

    Have you ever been afraid? And have you ever noticed that fear is the one thing that seems to keep you from making progress? My impression of the object of this Radical Act is to remove fear. I think that is quite a radical transition.

    Can you imagine though, how easy it would be to remove fear if everyone was out for an adventure in their snuggies? I wouldn’t be worried about starting up a conversation or spontaneously joining an adventure with a group of people in snuggies–man that would be so awesome!

    So when you think of a bunch of people having adventures in snuggies, does that make you laugh or smile? Does that seem to be a situation rid of fear? If so, how can we apply a snuggie attitude in our daily walk in life?

    I think giving yourself permission to laugh would be a great way to practice that. And smiling–smiling is fantastic! Perhaps not being influenced by about outward opinion or being self-conscious. Picturing everyone around you in snuggies may also help you to notice the world’s inherent compatibility and its potential for harmony. We really are all perfect and beautiful expressions of that Christ idea. If we actively snuggified everyone in the lens that we see life through and saw each individual as a beautiful expression, I suggest that it would be a grand solution to removing fear and finding a familiarity–a common resting place.

    How have you snuggified in your life?

  30. itsaboutgood says:

    I’ve had near drowning experiences several times in my life. Although I never openly admitted or focused too much on them, they led me to think I just wasn’t a strong swimmer and couldn’t be. That I wasn’t made for swimming so I should stick to other elements. That pretty much stuck with me – until last weekend.

    Some friends invited me to go to Walden Pond (of Henry David Thoreau fame) and go swimming with them. I was more into it from a literature geek standpoint, but I also wore my swimming trunks.

    When we all got out into the water, I realized that everyone I was with was a really experienced and competent swimmer. For a split second I thought about my past experiences and considered turning back and waiting for them on dry land. But then I thought about this radical act and realized that for almost my whole life I had been holding onto this false belief that I was not a good swimmer.

    A quarter of the way across the lake, I started to feel tired and this thought of not being good enough came into my thought. At that point one of the others in the group, a swim instructor and life guard, swam back and I asked her to tell me how I could improve my swimming. She gave me a few pointers, and I tried to follow, but my legs just wouldn’t move like a frog. And in order to really listen to her I had to doggy paddle which made me even more tired.

    Finally, this friend, a student of Christian Science, got that her explanations of swimming mechanics weren’t really helping me. So she said,

    “I like to think of the water as the atmosphere of God, Love, that we live and move and have our being in” (Acts 17: 28). Well, that I could understand! Suddenly I realized that I could pray while swimming. That I could listen for direction and not be so heady and caught up in my own self-centered thoughts.

    So I said the 23rd Psalm and replaced the idea of a shepherd with a swimmer. And then, before I knew it, I had caught up with the rest of the swimmers as we got to the other side of Walden pond!

    What a fabulous example of how this radical teaching of Jesus can apply to all of us! Let go of any restrictions or limitations that have been placed on you and get out there and live, swim, run, walk, dance, sing, work, ride, speak, listen, whatever! in God, Love!

    • Carlos says:

      I’ve placed a similar lable on myself my whole life… except mine has been about public singing. I’m going to an open mic tonight for the second time. The first was a little terrifying, but this puts is in a different perspective. Thank you for the encouragement!

      • itsaboutgood says:

        How did it go, brother? Tell us about how you picked your bed and WALKED!

        • Carlos says:

          It went well :). I loved the experience of doing something I love to do for others to see. I’m working on taking up a different bed today. I’ll report on that later…

          • Carlos says:

            Okay, so here’s an update. I have been on vacation this week but not feeling very well. I’ve been partaking in certain activities and not others, “taking it easy”, until I felt better. After a couple of days of ignoring the issue, however, I realized I needed to do something about it and called a Christian Science Practitioner for help.

            As we prayed through the situation, I began to realize that this trip had brought to my thought some long-standing fears related to a childhood diagnosis, which I hadn’t had he opportunity of confronting in sometime. It amazes me how many “beds” we carry with us, preventing us from enjoying the blessings God has bestowed on us – blessings like friendship, joy, adventure.

            Today I decided it was time to take up that particular bed and walk. In this case I walked down the dock and jumped in the very cold lake :). I realized that God would not put me in a situation for any other reason than showing me the beauty of the life he has created for me, and the love with which I am protected.

            It feels very good to be “walking” again! I LOVE this walk we call life… every day is such a blessing.

          • itsaboutgood says:

            Carlos!
            What a way to celebrate freedom! Awesome! Funny how you use the word “ignore” to describe your thought about your issue. Isn’t ignoring just like sleeping in? Trying to “go back to sleep” when, really, we need to be awake and alive and on watch!

            Why want to go back to a dream within a dream? Let’s move into the light, let’s feel the sunshine on us, and let’s heed the call to walk!!!

            “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also has loved us…” (Ephesians 5: 1-2)

  31. Amy says:

    I just want to say that this is one of the 2 Radical Acts that I’m embracing this summer. Stay tuned for more details. Right now, I’m reveling in the promise!

  32. itsaboutgood says:

    What was my weakness? Religion.

    For the longest time I convinced myself Christian Science wasn’t a religion. That it was better and different from all other religions because it was a “science.” But this belief led me to judge and criticize other religions and hold myself higher than all of them – which really only crippled me.

    So when I met a Korean woman handing out fliers to a Christian camp I politiely listened to her pitch, but was thinking to myself: If this lady only knew what I knew. But as she kept talking I started hearing something I had never heard before from a Christian on the street. She was telling me why she was NOT a sinner. This shocked me. I wanted to know more. So she gave me a flier and told me to come to their Sunday service.

    I wrestled with the idea all week. I didn’t want to go to a religious service to hear some sermon I had clearly surpassed through my amazing spiritual understanding. But when the day came, after I attended my own Sunday service (which somehow was “not religious” in my thought) I found that the Korean church was on the metro ride home.

    I stopped in and was welcomed with an ultra delicious Korean BBQ, a beautifully diverse congregation, and lots of smiley faces and babies.

    I was escorted to a planning meeting for an English camp in Mexico and I felt like I had somehow infiltrated this religious, Christian stronghold. So I smiled at people, but remained reserved and latently judgmental. Halfway through the meeting I received a phone call I needed to take and I felt like I needed to find a more private place to take the call. I ended up leaving the church complex and riding my bike to the only other close place I knew: A Christian Science Reading Room. It was closed when I got there, so I took the call outside on a bench. After I was done I needed some time to really let go of all this stuff swirling in my head so I laid down, closed my eyes, and communed with God. A part of this dialogue also was about the Korean church.

    After some time of silent prayer, I felt clear in my thought about what had been swirling in my head before and I got on my bike and started to ride back towards the church. I was still undecided about whether I should go back. And so as I got closer and closer to the church and metro stop my head was filled with excuses on why I should go home and not return to the church. As this litany of lame excuses paraded through my thought, I found myself meaning to ride to the metro station and go home – BUT – somehow I rode in a circle right around it and found myself back at the Korean church. I had sworn I had decided to go home, but it was almost as if I couldn’t. Something was drawing me back there.

    When I arrived I demanded that someone tell me why I was there. It was kind of ridiculous thinking back on it, but I wanted to know why God brought me there. So finally, after being shopped around to a couple of pastors who were kind of like “who is this crazy kid?” I was connected with a young Korean man. After the situation was explained to him in Korean he looked at me and said, “Let me grab a Bible!”

    We sat down for the next hour and he gave me Scriptural evidence from Romans, Hebrews, Isaiah, and John to explain why I was not a sinner. It was the most enthralling hour I had spent in a long time. I suddenly felt free from the lingering doubts that, maybe, I was still a sinner. I had been afraid that the first chapter of Genesis wasn’t enough to make me God’s image and likeness. Now I knew the whole Bible was telling me that I wasn’t a sinner!

    After this conversation I felt renewed and in love with Christianity. And Christian Science suddenly had such a clear Biblical basis to it!I ended up returning to that church, had a great conversation with their youth pastor, and learned that the whole church believes that Christ can heal anyone of their physical ailments today and that he had started reading “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” after they held an event at a Christian Science church and received some free literature.

    I was suddenly sold on religion! It is here to make the world a better place! It is not just for weak followers and ignorant worldlings. It is here to uplift the race and I was a part of this movement towards universal redemption with all these other beautiful people! I didn’t need to convert or convince others how right I was. I just needed to love them the way I want to be loved!

    Now I carry my religion around with me in my heart and use it to practice healing and good works – not just to coldly theorize and arrogantly isolate myself from others. I attend the Bible studies with the youth pastor whenever I can, sit in the back, and pray for their church and the entire body of Christ.

    This experienced turned my weakness into my strength, my fear into my love, and the work has only just begun. Thank you, God!

    • holly says:

      beautiful story, thanks so much for sharing.

      • itsaboutgood says:

        Blessings to you dear Holly. So glad God led me through that experience to share with others.

        • Carlos says:

          Thank you so much for sharing! What a wonderful journey! Mine was somewhat the opposite, having studied just about every religion you can imagine before stumbling upon Christian Science. In a way, I felt like I already believed everything I learned in CS from my spiritual journey, so there was no separation for me between God’s children and His activity. And yet, I somehow ended up resisting this thought of myself as “religious” down the road.

          I had to realize that in God’s kingdom, you can’t separate religion from science. One does not exist without the other. And this understanding has led me to a greater appreciation for what God is showing me every day, as well as a deeper love for all of His children, no longer this or that religion, scientist, or atheist, but a beautiful expression of life and intelligence innately seeking Truth.

          • itsaboutgood says:

            You can’t separate true religion from true science. Beautiful, beautiful. And the Science of being is?

            All harmony. All good.

            So all true religion must be about worshipping harmony and goodness and all true science must be about examining and understanding harmony and goodness.

            Wow. That would have made school a lot more interesting for me! Haha. Let’s learn that stuff!!!

  33. Melody says:

    I had the rare and incredible opportunity to start coaching middle school basketball after I graduated high school. It was the first job I really wanted to succeed in. I wanted to be a winner and I wanted to represent the program in a manner that would make the AD and Varsity basketball coach proud that they had taken a chance on a young girl.

    I started out coaching the C team middle school girls. Theres really no way to describe these girls. I had long forgotten the theatrics and dramatics that went along with being in middle school but I clearly fit right in and related to them. They worked hard and learned so much that season. But they had to overcome the label of being on the C team. They struggled playing against other teams and had to disregard words like “untalented, worse than, couldnt make it, doesnt get the game, losers”.

    It was tough to go through a season not winning a game. But I learned a lot about commitment and never giving up from that group of girls. None of those girls quit the sport. They continued to play in 8th grade, they then played on club teams or in an outside league and yesterday I saw them working with the Varsity coach on high school drills with all the upperclassmen.

    They took up their beds and walked. In other words, they worked at their talents to give.

    They all continue to blossom at the sport and it wasnt an overnight change. They had to put time into their growth. They worked with coaches, parents and other athletes but their desire to give enabled them to rise above the negativity and express their love for God and basketball.

    • itsaboutgood says:

      Beautiful interpretation, Melody. Taking up your bed requires never giving up.

      So that’s where we start. Taking up our beds, trusting in God, always leads to healing.

  34. itsaboutgood says:

    Hello All!
    To start off this new week and make this Act alive, let’s all take up the false beliefs that we have. This requires a little time, prayer,and lots of self-examination. The way we experience our life is based on our beliefs. These form our perspective with which we view the world. In order to spiritualize our outlook, we have to recognize what our beliefs are and then take them up and turn them from sleepy beds into banners flying high for our spirituality.

    So each day I’m going to post the reversal of a false belief I’ve discovered in my thinking, an affirmation of Truth. Then through the day I’ll look for opportunities to live it and share poignant experiences that come from “taking it up.” Then, like Moses, we can take serpents and turn them into staffs to lean on.

    We see only through Mind. There is only one faith, one Truth, one God. Fearful, limited thinking is unreal; free, unlimited thinking is real. We abide by the laws of metaphysics, not physics. Thought is our experiment.

  35. Allyson says:

    Thank you, Michael, yes! The “take up thy bed” lesson that I especially like is the one from John 5:4-9, the one where Jesus starts by asking the man, “Wilt thou be made whole?” and the man gives excuses for why he can’t! That really sums up for me what you are getting at regarding resistance–resistance even to healing! I will join you in picking up my bed and walking and not coming up with excuses when the Christ asks if I will be made whole!

  36. Ann says:

    Wow-yes Michael, I am totally picking up my bed this summer and walking. I’m always working on something and there are always excuses to stop working or resisting the progress. It’s a resistance to good. It’s really just evil trying to claim authority, and it normally achieves this by coming off as our own thought, “I don’t need to get up to go to school” – that I. Knowing that God, good is the only ego. It’s about being an egoists instead of an egotist. Mary Baker Eddy explains the difference in a book called Unity of Good (27): “We shall find that evil is egotistic, – boastful, but fleeing like a shadow at at daybreak; while God is egoistic, knowing only His own all-presence, all-knowledge, all-power.”

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