The Christian Science Monitor Weekly

February 18, 2019

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I was asked to give a speech to a broad audience. The organizers had done broad audience. The organizers had done a remarkable job of reaching out to a a remarkable job of reaching out to a wide-ranging, diverse group of attendees, wide-ranging, diverse group of attendees, and I knew this was a special opportunity. and I knew this was a special opportunity. A significant part of the talk was to be A significant part of the talk was to be devoted to the nature of God. This is a topic devoted to the nature of God. This is a topic close to my heart that I'd spoken on many close to my heart that I'd spoken on many times before. But there's always more to times before. But there's always more to learn, and so I prayed to know what to say learn, and so I prayed to know what to say this time to all of these people: "God, what this time to all of these people: "God, what would You like me to tell them about You?" would You like me to tell them about You?" I sort of expected a bold and compli I sort of expected a bold and compli - cated answer, but what I heard inside was cated answer, but what I heard inside was clear and simple and changed me forever: clear and simple and changed me forever: "Please tell them that I am kind." As these "Please tell them that I am kind." As these words gently settled in my heart, more words gently settled in my heart, more than ever I felt God's embracing love for all. than ever I felt God's embracing love for all. There are many views of God out there, There are many views of God out there, and one is that God teaches us by sending and one is that God teaches us by sending evil. But one of many helpful ways that evil. But one of many helpful ways that Christian Science inspires us to think of Christian Science inspires us to think of God makes it plain that God is pure Love God makes it plain that God is pure Love – consistently kind and entirely good. This – consistently kind and entirely good. This is in line with a reassuring statement in the is in line with a reassuring statement in the Bible that says, "See what marvellous love Bible that says, "See what marvellous love the Father has bestowed upon us – that we the Father has bestowed upon us – that we should be called God's children" (I John 3:1, should be called God's children" (I John 3:1, Weymouth New Testament). Weymouth New Testament). The nature of the Love that is God is one The nature of the Love that is God is one of universal love. In her book "Science and of universal love. In her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mon Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mon - itor founder Mary Baker Eddy observes, itor founder Mary Baker Eddy observes, "The poor suffering heart "The poor suffering heart needs its rightful nutri needs its rightful nutri - ment, such as peace, pa- ment, such as peace, pa- tience in tribulation, and tience in tribulation, and a priceless sense of the a priceless sense of the dear Father's loving-kindness" (pp. 365- dear Father's loving-kindness" (pp. 365- 366). Opening one's heart to God's consis 366). Opening one's heart to God's consis - tent, limitless love can bring healing and tent, limitless love can bring healing and redemption to any kind of experience. redemption to any kind of experience. As an example, a friend of mine had As an example, a friend of mine had been educated to believe that, sure, God been educated to believe that, sure, God is all good, but this goodness is a distant is all good, but this goodness is a distant reward and the present is a time to suffer. reward and the present is a time to suffer. She saw that I didn't feel that way, and one She saw that I didn't feel that way, and one day she asked why. I talked about how the day she asked why. I talked about how the unrelenting love God has for all of us – His unrelenting love God has for all of us – His spiritual offspring – is for right now and spiritual offspring – is for right now and always. God is always unwavering, perfect always. God is always unwavering, perfect Love. Could even one of God's children be Love. Could even one of God's children be excluded from His care for a period? Never. excluded from His care for a period? Never. As I talked with this friend, I felt God's As I talked with this friend, I felt God's kindness toward her so tangibly. And she kindness toward her so tangibly. And she began to feel it, too. The change didn't hap began to feel it, too. The change didn't hap - pen overnight, and there were some ups pen overnight, and there were some ups and downs, but like changing the direc and downs, but like changing the direc - tion of a big ship, the transformation in her tion of a big ship, the transformation in her thinking was steady and solid. As she saw thinking was steady and solid. As she saw more clearly that God's more clearly that God's kindness and love are al kindness and love are al - ways in action – timeless- ways in action – timeless- ly – she felt a fuller, more ly – she felt a fuller, more palpable sense of peace palpable sense of peace and accomplishment in her life. and accomplishment in her life. Filled with inspiration from these ideas, Filled with inspiration from these ideas, I gave the talk, which was well received. It I gave the talk, which was well received. It was a great joy to share how kind God is. was a great joy to share how kind God is. Our divine Father's lovingkindness is Our divine Father's lovingkindness is here at all times and in every place. God's here at all times and in every place. God's kindness and love are utterly consistent kindness and love are utterly consistent and abundant, and we can endeavor to be and abundant, and we can endeavor to be more consistently aware of this fact. Paus more consistently aware of this fact. Paus - ing to feel and affirm God's limitless care is ing to feel and affirm God's limitless care is dynamic prayer that transforms and heals, dynamic prayer that transforms and heals, enabling us to realize that, truly, "His loving enabling us to realize that, truly, "His loving kindness is great toward us, and the truth kindness is great toward us, and the truth of the Lord is everlasting" (Psalms 117:2, of the Lord is everlasting" (Psalms 117:2, New American Standard Bible). New American Standard Bible). – Mark Swinney – Mark Swinney The healing impact of knowing God's kindness A CHRISTIAN SCIENCE PERSPECTIVE Migrating letters and other curiosities There's an explanation for the origin of the word mall that I've seen on social media: It's called "the mall" because you're not going to just one store, you're going to "them all." This etymology is incorrect (we'll talk about where mall comes from next week), but it is not implausible. It is based on a real linguistic phenomenon: rebracketing or metanalysis, which has produced a number of English words. Rebracketing occurs when an utterance is broken down and reassembled along the wrong lines. The Twitter etymology of mall provides a good example. It is easy to see how one might mistakenly hear "them all" as "the mall." If people made this mistake often enough, it would produce a new word. One of the most common kinds of rebracketing occurs when letters migrate between nouns and indefinite articles or pronouns. In the Middle Ages, a nick - name was "an ekename," eke being an old word for an addition or an increase. An ekename was thus an addition to your first and last name. When you say "an ekename" fast, though, it sounds like "a nickname," and that's what the word has been since the 15th century. Ned, Nelly, and Nan were also formed this way. In Medieval and Early Modern English, nouns that began with a vowel took first- and second-person possessive pronouns that ended with the "n" sound, just as with the indefinite article today. You would say "my lady," for example, but "mine egg." Generations of children thus grew up hearing "mine Ed," "thine Ellie," and "mine Anne," explaining how we got nicknames beginning with "n" for names that begin with "e" and "a." The transfer can happen in the other direction, from noun to article, as well. The Old English word for snake was "a neddre," which became "an adder" in the 15th century. "A napron" became "an apron" around the same time, and "a noumpere" turned into "an umpire." Occasionally rebracketing occurs between languages. The English word or- ange comes from the Old French pomme d'orenge, which derives from the Arabic na - ranj and ultimately words in Sanskrit and a Dravidian language, all beginning with "n." This linguistic history traces the geographic spread of the fruit, which is native to Southeast Asia and came to Europe via Arab Spain, arriving next in France and finally medieval England. Along the way, naranj was rebracketed and the "n" disappeared in French (or- ange) and Italian (arancia), but was kept in Spanish (naranja). Rebracketing slowed with the advent of printing, which fixed words in certain spellings and made their boundaries clear. But perhaps it will be reinvigorated on Twitter and other social media sites, where once again #itshardtotellwhere - onewordbeginsandanotherends. r By Melissa Mohr THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR WEEKLY | FEBRUARY 18, 2019 43

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