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Sunday, 18 August 2019

Support and opposition to Paul's city work

Thank you Julie for your research on the “Coming” of Jesus. How we are blessed by Mary Baker Eddy's discovery (uncovering perhaps) that the Christ is here, now and always. A loved hymn says so dearly: “The Christ is here, all dreams of error breaking....” (Hymn 412 Christian Science Hymnal). 

My Bible Dictionary tells me that Thessalonica was prosperous city. It seems that Paul made a habit of going to spread the Gospel in prosperous cities. I am reminded that Mrs. Eddy wrote, “At this period my students should locate in large cities, in order to do the greatest good to the greatest number, and therein abide. The population of our principal cities is ample to supply many practitioners, teachers, and preachers with work” (Retrospection and Introspection p. 82:14-18).

There was a strong Roman presence in the city, as it was the centre of Roman administration in Macadonia.

My Bible Dictionary helpfully enumerates all the references to Thessalonica in the New Testament: Acts 17:1-13; 20:4; 27:2; Phil. 4:16; II Tim. 4:10.

Acts 17:1-13 puts the situation of the Jewish and the Christian attitudes to Paul and his teachings. Some of the Jews believed him, and “of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.” Most of the Jews, however, were hostile, even following Paul to Berea--where the Jews were more receptive--in order to “[stir] up the people.”

Acts 20:4 tells us that two Thessalonians accompanied Paul – Aristarchus and Secundus. And we find that Aristarchus was with Paul on his fateful sea journey which ended in Melita (Acts 27:2).

The Philippians were kind to Paul when he was in trouble in Thessalonica – “Even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity” (Phil. 4:16).

Among his last words, Paul sadly tells of Demas, who “hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica” (II Tim. 4:10).

Joyce Voysey

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Little Second Thessalonians

Book club August, 2019 – II Thessalonians

There is a precious story on the Workshop in Reading Aloud cassette tapes about II Thessalonians. (Here is a link to this brilliant series, now available on JSH-Online.)  

I believe the speaker is Rose Henniker-Heaton, and she speaks about being First Reader in a big London church. She recounts that designated passages in her books* were usually beautifully and carefully marked, but one time something from II Thessalonians was required to be read. It wasn't at the marker. She searched and searched but little II Thessalonians didn't seem to be in the Bible at all!

.....At last she read, "Finally brethren..." (II Thess. 3:1). 


* The Bible and Science & Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy

Joyce Voysey 

Monday, 12 August 2019

Coming...or ever-present?


In II Thessalonians, second chapter, the King James Version of the Bible translates the Greek 'parousia' as 'coming'--see II Thess 2:1, 8 and 9. So, in verses 1 - 3, Paul writes: 
"Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us...let no man deceive you by any means..."

Writing in the April 1976 edition of The Christian Science Journal about Paul's letters to the Thessalonians, Bible scholar Thomas L. Leishman notes the "vexed question of the Parousia" which he says underlies Paul's second epistle to the newish church in the Macedonian capital: "It appears that part of the trouble was caused by a misinterpretation either of Christian tradition or of prophecy, or by an unauthorized letter circulated in Paul's name, so one of his first objects was to clear up this difficulty, showing why, in his view, the second advent would not be so immediate after all." Thus, Paul counsels his friends to: "...stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle" (II Thess 2: 15).


A recent Bible Lens in the Christian Science Sentinel of May 20-26, 2019 referred to I Thessalonians 5:23: "'Coming' (Greek, parousia) simply means presence, and describes a state rather than an event. From early times, however, parousia was interpreted as an arrival—often, as in this verse, the reappearing of Christ Jesus as a human being. This expected appearance is called the Parousia today."  

In the December 1981 issue of The Christian Science Journal, Beulah Roegge affirms that "Christ Jesus' Messianic mission does not need to be repeated. His lessons embrace eternity and enable his followers to  recognize the timeless, impersonal nature of the parousia. This Greek word, meaning both "presence" and "coming," may signify to us what Mrs. Eddy states to be the spiritual sense of a portion of the Lord's Prayer:   

"Thy kingdom come. / Thy kingdom is come; Thou art ever-present." 
Paul concludes his letter with a blessing: "the Lord be with you all" (II Thess 3: 16).
Julie Swannell

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Everything needed is ours from God

Second Thessalonians is a short letter.

Paul obviously loved everyone in this group at Thessalonica (a city in Greece) and he wanted them to know it! His opening is super encouraging:

Our God gives you everything you need, makes you everything you need to be. 
II Thess 1: 2 (The Message by Eugene Peterson)

One contributor to the Christian Science Sentinel seems to have made it her practice to memorise the Golden Text from the Christian Science Bible Lessons. [This week's Golden Text is from Psalms 103:2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:]

Miss Adams writes:

Memorizing the Golden Texts in our weekly Lesson-Sermons, found in the Christian Science Quarterly, when I was a Sunday School pupil has given me an inspiring store of food for spiritual thought. One cherished text is in II Thessalonians (3:5), "The Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ." This simple message has had profound meaning for me in my application of Christian Science to human problems. 
See Christian Science Sentinel Feb 29, 1964

The Living Bible translates II Thess 3:5 as follows:
May the Lord bring you into an ever deeper understanding of the love of God and of the patience that comes from Christ.

I love the idea I read somewhere that patience may be equated to expectant waiting, unrelated to time.

Book Clubbers will enjoy the website, especially for some helpful background on Tessalonica's history and geography. Paul's visit there was part of his second big journey.

Happy reading and researching.

Julie Swannell

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Beauty and truth

One indication of the significance of the significance of William Dana Orcutt's 1950 book Mary Baker Eddy and Her Books may be deduced from a review by Alice Dixon Bond in the Boston Sunday Herald and subsequently reprinted in the April 7, 1951 edition of the Christian Science Sentinel, available at Christian Science Reading Rooms worldwide

The review notes that Orcutt's book is '[o]ne of the most distinctive, and distinguished, biographies of the one of the world's great makers of books as well as a renowned author...' She continues: 

During [his 18-year association with her], Mr. Orcutt came to know at first hand the rare quality and the genuine greatness of Mary Baker Eddy, and in this book he has made the lay reader, as well as the Christian Scientist, realize both her essential humanness and her extraordinary ability...

It was Mrs. Eddy who answered her youthful publisher's earnest desire to leave printing and devote himself "to something in which there is beauty" with the quiet truth which was to remain with him always: "If a man has beauty in himself," she said, "he can put beauty into anything." ... in this book; beauty—and truth. Mr. Orcutt brings facts to bear on the many false stories which have grown up about Mrs. Eddy's work, has untangled crossed lines, and makes us understand as nothing else has done the woman back of the mission— her humanity and her dedication.

Writing a few years later, a student of Christian Science pointed out a lesson gleaned from Orcutt's book. Louise Wheatley Cook Hovnanian’s article, ‘The Sun Never Sets’, appeared in the December 11, 1954 Christian Science Sentinel:

...something very interesting appears in a book, which may be found in Christian Science Reading Rooms, entitled "Mary Baker Eddy and Her Books," by William Dana Orcutt. On pages 86 and 87, the author tells of an interview he had with Mrs. Eddy at Concord some ten years after his first visit there.

He was impressed with the fact that few changes had been made in the room which was her study, but especially was he impressed with the lack of change in our Leader herself. He writes: "When she entered the room, just as she had done on that first visit of mine, she seemed just as she had always seemed: the same bright smile of welcome, the same penetrating, assessing eyes, the same alertness of manner, the same clear, musical voice, the same physical vigor I had always remembered—yet the ten years that had been added to the history of the world had added the same number of years to this slight little woman—years of conflict and triumph, years of disappointment and gratification, years of consecration and of arduous labor, years of achievement and accomplishment—and had left no visible mark. Mrs. Eddy was eighty years old at the time."

Orcutt's recognition and declaration of beauty and truth are inspiring, in a world where these qualities sometimes seem to be overshadowed or overlooked.

Julie Swannell

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