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"Christmas Morn" vs. "The Passion of the Christ"

Warren Huff, CedarS Executive Director
Posted Friday, February 27th, 2004

"Christmas Morn" vs. "The Passion of the Christ"
Mrs. Eddy's Christ as a "gentle beam of living Love, And deathless Life!" . . . "--so far above" the Mel Gibson Jesus of "mortal strife, . . . cruel creed, . . . earth-born taint"
By Warren Huff

Isn't it wonderful to have our Bible Lesson this week on "Christ Jesus" to keep us focused on the spiritual meaning of Jesus' life rather than on the morbid violence of his suffering in the flesh as so graphically portrayed by Mel Gibson? CEDARS 2004 theme from Mrs. Eddy's poem/hymn 23 entitled "Christmas Morn," also sheds fresh light on the many practical blessings flowing from a scientific (vs. surface) view of the Christ. In "Christmas Morn," Mrs. Eddy and we pray for the "Dear Christ" to "fill us today with all thou art." Here's how the rest of our first focus hymn goes and what being filled with the Christ can mean to us right now, this summer and beyond. (I've made some of Mrs. Eddy's words bold to identify the human tendency to be obsessed with the physical Jesus and his mortal suffering, instead of being blessed by Christ's "gentle beam of living Love" which we can bask in hourly.)

Christmas Morn, By Mary Baker Eddy, Hymn 23

"Blest Christmas morn, though murky clouds
Pursue thy way,

Thy light was born where storm enshrouds
Nor dawn nor day!

Dear Christ, forever here and near,
No cradle song,
No natal hour and mother's tear,
To thee belong.

Thou God-idea, Life-encrowned,
The Bethlehem babe--
Beloved, replete, by flesh embound--
Was but thy shade!

Thou gentle beam of living Love,
And deathless Life!
Truth infinite,--so far above
All mortal strife,

Or cruel creed, or earth-born taint:
Fill us today
With all thou art--be thou our saint,
Our stay, alway."

Mary Baker Eddy's sixth hymn/poem, "Christmas Morn", appeared in 1898. 1898 was a productive year in which Mrs. Eddy: founded the Christian Science Board of Lectureship; established the present form of the Christian Science Publishing Society; published the first issue of the Christian Science Sentinel; formally announced the Board of Education; and taught a last class of nearly seventy pupils, many whom we recognize today, thanks to their outstanding contributions to the Christian Science movement.

A brilliant searchlight is shown on the living of the Christ (not on the mortal death of Jesus) by all of Mrs. Eddy's hymn/poems. The dear Christ is present each day, each moment. It did not begin or end with the earthly life of Jesus. Jesus was the highest expression of the Christ that the world has known. But over the centuries, both before and after Jesus, many men and women and children have had glimpses of the Christ which helped them to be more loving, more Godlike, and to be healers. The Christ is your precious link to God-the manifestation in your own consciousness of the ever-present healing activity of God. The term Christ describes the divine message from God to you of God's love for you and of your oneness with Him/Her. Christ is your schoolmaster, your doorway out of mortality, the corrective agent in your consciousness. Christ is leading you to the understanding of your spiritual being, interpreting your needs, healing and reforming you, entering into the minutiae of your life, and revealing God's embrace of you with grace and love. Christ is your indwelling, individual capacity to know and do God's will. The Christ is what you know of God and of yourself as the image and likeness of God. It is your very selfhood.

Storms of mortality and fleshly brutality cannot obscure the light of Christmas morning, the appearing to human thought of the divine idea of God and man. The "gentle beam of living Love" (the dear Christ), dawning in your thought and in the thought of each camper and care provider, (whether at home or at camp) can't be hidden or overruled by the murky clouds of "blood and gore" materialism, vengeful violence, anti-Semitic ignorance, or any other clouds of error.

The purpose of each person at camp is to be a "gentle beam of living Love." This understanding of the nature of your true selfhood heals. A beam of light is seen because of the dust in the air, but the dust does not constitute the beam of light. I know a person who lost a lot of excess weight by seeing herself and acting as a gentle beam of living Love, not dust man/woman!

The truth of the Christly nature of each and every person at CEDARS lifts each one up "far above all mortal strife". A creed is a belief, and the understanding of the Christly nature of each one of you will destroy every cruel, unjust, unfair, limiting belief that could present itself this summer. The more you follow in the loving, healing, compassionate, footsteps of Christ Jesus, the freer you will be from all "earthly taint" (contaminating influences to your health, morals, relationships, happiness.)

So this is our theme prayer: "Fill us today with all thou art!" It could be paraphrased: Let the spirit of Christ Jesus' life and the glory of his resurrection (not the gloom of his crucifixion) be manifested in me. Let me also learn moment-by-moment, in every circumstance, to be filled with and radiate Christ's "gentle beam of living Love." No matter how long the day or demanding the activity, in the nature of Jesus, let the lively energy of Life fill me and move through me to heal and bless all. Like Christ Jesus at his trial, at the Samaritan well and everywhere, let the presence and integrity of Truth fill me and govern every interaction I have with every person, no matter who they are or how they behave. Like Christ Jesus in imparting the truth, let me creatively build visionary bridges of Soul with modern day parables that relate to and uplift my audience from every false belief and fear. In the name (nature) of our changeless, confident Christ Jesus, let me yield to Principle in valuing all that is right in my thought and actions and casting out all that is wrong. Like our joyful Christ who still seeks to impart happiness and obey his own command to "Rejoice and be exceeding glad" (Matt. 5:12), let my face and my service shine with the joy, strength and spontaneity of Spirit and with knowing we are fighting a defeated foe. (See John 16:33!) In the nature of Jesus' mind-reading wisdom and helpfulness, let the same intelligence, perception, compassion and alertness of divine Mind be in me, which was also in Christ Jesus.

May we not just pity, but imitate Jesus, in order that his life and suffering be not in vain! "We must go and do likewise, else we are not improving the great blessings which our Master worked and suffered to bestow upon us." (S&H 25:28) In the name and nature of Jesus, may you be filled with all the peace, joy and power of the healing Christ and with all the security, stability, authority; and light they bring to each moment of your life. Amen.

P.S. We don't ever want to deny the cross and Jesus' immense sacrifice, but we choose to focus on his triumph and life lessons -- on the crown more than the cross, on the glorious resurrection morning meal more than on the sorrowful Last Supper. "This spiritual meeting with our Lord in the dawn of a new light is the morning meal which Christian Scientists commemorate. They bow before Christ, Truth, to receive more of his reappearing and silently to commune with the divine Principle, Love. They celebrate their Lord's victory over death, his probation in the flesh after death, its exemplification of human probation, and his spiritual and final ascension above matter, or the flesh, when he rose out of material sight." Science & Health, 35:8

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