Monday, May 20, 2019

A Prayer For This Week (May 20 - 26, 2019)

By Prayerful Living


A Psalm for Soul


God, each day I praise You.
I am so blessed to sing of Your ever presence.
You are the source of all beauty and happiness.
In all I see, I am surrounded by You, divine Soul.
You are the fullness of joy,
the spiritual joy that warms my heart and satisfies deeply.
God, You are my path of life, my way to holiness.
You are radiance and poise, my inspiration,
and I feel harmony within my innermost being.
Humbly, I surrender a material sense of existence.
You give me strength, You have my back and I am grateful.
God, this is truly the day You have made, 
and I am rejoicing in it!
And so it is, Amen.

Wilt thou be made whole?

[John 5:2-16]

By Ken G. Cooper

The rain has finally stopped. I look round, watching droplets splash into the pool from the underneath of the old stone arch, my home for so many years. Some catch the emerging sunlight in quick reflection and vanish with the tiniest ripple in the water a few feet from where I lie. I glance round at four other porches, recognising fellow sufferers I have known for so very long. One catches my glance, nods, and we smile. But it doesn’t mean much. I watch another rain drop vanish. It makes me think…my life is not much different. Thirty-eight long years have I been here, and nothing to show for it. My infirmity is how I am known, a cruel and
self-fulfilling identity.

The near-by sheep market echoes with shouts and cries. Each year it has grown noisier, much like those gathered round this pool, - each hoping for their personal miracle, - but each year it just grows in number and frustration. There seems nothing to live for, - the stirring of the water by what was deemed to be an angel may heal some, - but for me there is no chance. Another drop catches the sun and vanishes in the waiting water. Self-pity wells up. How I wish I could at least have a moment of sunshine in my life. I think of the prophet Isaiah, - “Arise, shine, for thy light is come” and oh how empty my childhood learning seems when I’m so hopelessly stuck here, idly watching rain drops! It makes me doubt whether those stories were ever true. Just look around me! Where is God, where our Saviour?

A stranger is approaching, moving slowly, sharing the odd word and a smile with those he passes. He regards each of them, - it feels like he is searching their thoughts. He looks so out of place in this hell hole of wasted humanity, but he does have a distinct air of authority. He is wearing a seamless white robe that fits him so well but is in such stark contrast to the rags that we are all wearing. He is moving towards me.  Reaches me. Stops.

His eyes hold mine. I feel him searching my very soul, reading my thoughts, exposing everything I have ever thought. Yet there is such love, a love I had forgotten existed. He speaks to me, and it is as though Love itself is reaching out:

“Wilt thou be made whole?” 

What a question! I feel like shouting “Yes, Yes!”, but then a hundred thoughts come racing in, a sudden fear of change, leaving all that I have got used to, my bed-ridden identity, the constant sympathy, am I really willing to change?  In my confusion I give the stock statement I have shared so many years when people ask “How long?”

“Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me in to the pool but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me”.

His question is serious! My thoughts are everywhere. Yet he knows my true answer, he has seen in me something I have never seen before. His words are with an authority not his own but yes, I suddenly believe, come straight from God.  From God. I feel he is at one with God. The presence of Love fills my consciousness even as I am answering, and the self-pity, resentment, bitterness, the long years here, have suddenly all become nothing in the everything of the Love he is sharing. “Wilt thou be made whole?”  It’s such a deep question!

What’s he seeking from me?  A complete change in my thinking? Just like that?  In an instant? I perceive in his love something deep and new. Am I ready to see myself as he sees me? I suddenly yearn to be free with the freedom he is offering! He has awakened a desire for me to be what I truly am, and I now know that I must hold on to that wholeness, that freedom, and not my infirmity! The word “Yes” is unspoken and he responds:

“Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.” 

To obey is to confirm my hope and his understanding. Is it really that easy!  I feel I am in the presence of what must be the Christ, a divine command coming as from God, as surely as it must have been in the very beginning: “Let there be light” with its consequential “And there was light.”  The command is self-fulfilling. He is expecting me to prove my answer!  How many thoughts cram into a few seconds! He asked if I wanted to be made whole. Can I simply forget all those wasted years? Yet my physical history is so clearly an irrelevance, for it was never God-given. My thought has been woken as if out of a dream to what is reality, and this man has ordered me with all the authority of God to “Rise”.  And how my thought has risen! The power of that Love which shines from him, has lifted me, and with that power I obey.  Yes, I obey!

I decide to go into the temple – it’s just nearby. I must give thanks! I am a new person, - the word “whole” keeps ringing through my consciousness, - “whole, whole” - the past forgotten, the future full of now.  I find a place to kneel quietly in prayer and contemplation. Why do we all have to wait for an angel that only comes at a certain season to the pool? Why did he heal me?  Perhaps I represented all the waiting and helplessness, - people knew I had been there the longest. And this healing was and is for all to see. He spoke the word, and I was immediately healed. Time was not a factor. I didn’t have to wait for whatever was the truth to become true. Wholeness must be a fundamental truth? I am what God made me.  I just had to be obedient, and the healing followed there and then! If I can be healed, so can anybody! Truth is universal. And then the more wonderful thought, in God’s kingdom there is nothing to heal! I live in God’s kingdom! And a further revelation, - the five porches represent the physical kingdom, the five senses, and I was now free of them all.

The healer suddenly appears in front of me and speaks to me again:

“Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.”

His words cleanse through me.  I am made whole. I am made whole.  The truth of my being which I never knew before. And the simple command to stay true to my perfect self, not to go back and dwell on the past, but to be what I am, to awake to my true being, in the now of the love that this man shared and a love which is embracing me yet again.

Several people are with him, and I ask one of them “Who is this man?” He looks at me with natural love in his eyes, and simply says – “Jesus of Nazareth”. That means nothing to me, I’d never heard of Nazareth, but I make my way back to the pool and see some of the Jews that had questioned me and tell them it was Jesus of Nazareth that had made me whole.


They have no joy for my healing. Only anger because they do not understand and have to fall back on their cold laws. They want to assert their authority, they want to kill him who is bringing life and truth and love!

I go back to the temple and pray once more. I now know I have seen the Christ. I have seen and become witness to love in action. I weep tears of gratitude and joy – Jesus had not been put off by my excuses, instead his love reached out to me, and woke my thought. 

He’d asked me this question. “Wilt thou be made whole?” and later gave me the truth: “Behold, thou art made whole.” And freedom from sin followed.

He has shown me his Father and my Father, lifting my thought, waking me to
recognise my true being. It didn’t matter what my dream had been, - I
suddenly saw its nothingness, - the last thirty-eight years as empty as the
countless generations Adam’s deep sleep represented.  I’m awake to see the
wonder of all that God has made, and it includes me! I can see it! I am whole!

The Psalmist sang, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made”.  I now see and live in God’s light. It all comes down to this: My life has not changed, it has been revealed! 

“Behold, thou art made whole!” 

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©Ken G Cooper 2019                         
kencooperpoetry.com                     
kengcooper@btinternet.com                                                       
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Keep your violin in tune

By Ken G. Cooper

Oh keep your violin in tune*
Each second of the day,
For when the Christ picks up the bow,
Divinely you will play.

Oh keep your violin in tune,
Each and every string;
And Christ will play a symphony
That soars as bird on wing.

At one with God, we are His tune,
His touch so Masterful;
Inseparable from Soul, that’s us!
God’s music - wonderful!

John 5:30
“I can of mine own self do nothing:”

*Instruction of Mary Baker Eddy to a student
Lady Victoria Murray reminiscence file, The Mary Baker Eddy Library

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©Ken G Cooper 2019                         
kencooperpoetry.com                     
kengcooper@btinternet.com                                                       
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Monday, May 13, 2019

A Prayer For This Week (May 13 - 19, 2019)

By Prayerful Living


Divine, ever-loving Presence,
help me to know as You know me.
I am a willing “doer” of Your work.
I replace mortal beliefs with immortal facts of Life divine.
I drop the “clothes” of life in matter
and put on the “new clothes” of Spirit and am renewed.
My focus is on You, God, I strive to only serve You.
Humbly, I turn to You, divine Mind. You lift me up.
I let go of sinful, mortal thoughts, which weigh me down.
You help me see my true spiritual selfhood through the Christ.
I pray to see Your truth clearly, free of the scales of mortal belief.
As Your immortal idea, I reflect and glorify You, God.
Thank you, Father, for I am truly blessed.
And so it is, Amen.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Naaman's Awakening

[2 Kings 5:1-15]

By Ken G. Cooper

My name is Naaman.
You will have heard of me.

By my valour the Lord has given deliverance unto Syria.
I am now second only to the king in the whole of my country.
Life would be perfect but for one thing:
I have leprosy.
I have conquered many peoples, many kings;
I know how to fight, how to win.
But this one thing is defeating me.
I will have to do something.

A servant girl captured from Israel has come forward,
Spoken to my wife. She knows a prophet in Israel called Elisha that can heal me.
I will go to him, with the king’s sanction.
He is certain to know of me and with the gifts I will bring him this looks straightforward. 
I am sure he will feel honoured to meet someone of my reputation. I wonder what grand thing he’ll do.
I’ll make sure there’s plenty of people around to see.

I am bearing a letter from the king of Syria, with generous gifts, as I lead my army of warriors from my gold-adorned chariot down into Israel.
Their king is afraid of my coming and my expectations. I am directed to Elisha’s house. We arrive in all our splendour.. 
This will be the great moment.  At last I will be healed of this disease!

A lowly messenger emerges. Where is the prophet?!
“Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean”
He dares tells me what to do! How dare he treat me, Naaman, thus!! Has he forgotten who I am? Sends a mere messenger!? And what! Bathe in Jordan! – Abana and Pharpar are far better than all their waters put together! Who does he think he is! I’ve not come all this way to be so insulted. What a waste of time! 
I head back home insulted and enraged and frustrated.

I am Naaman! Naaman!

My servants dare to speak to me in my wrath.  I will listen to them and not that prophet. They love me enough to risk my rejection … My heart suddenly warms to their selflessness …and, behold, their words knife through my pride.. They love me not because I am Naaman, who I am, but because of what I am, because their love is part of what they are, greater and grander than title and glory.  Who is more worthy of love? And yes, the prophet must have loved me enough to see what I really needed. This is now the greatest challenge of my life.
What shall I do?  For the first time I ask, What should I do? Is it really the great Naaman asking this?
“Who is more worthy….?” The question repeats itself many times, insisting on an answer I do not want to give. Not who I am but how I live.  Their love is real, mine has been me.  Mine has been me.

The river is cold. I dip myself once.  The messenger said seven times. Twice. Five to go. Three times and the cold is strangely like a cleansing fire. Four times, and I feel the power of obedience washing through my body. Five. No longer Naaman of bow down to me fame. No longer Naaman how important am I.  Six and revelation: Why must I wash seven times? and the evening and the morning were the sixth day …what is the belief in Israel? What happened on the sixth day? – Didn’t God make man in His image and likeness and everything that He made was very good? No one better than another? All equal. Is this Elisha’s hidden message? I am suddenly at peace. I dip down in Jordan for the seventh time.  I have forgotten myself in the breaking dawn of understanding: God rested on the seventh day in the completion of His creation! His is all the power! His the majesty!  I emerge from the river rested and transformed. The leprosy is no more. I don’t even need to look. I feel cleaned through. I am cleaned through.

I return to gratefully and publicly acknowledge Elisha and his God. I am a new man, complete, seeing others as myself and me so far greater than I ever was before. A child of God.

I kneel in awe and humility before the Father of all.
His name is Jehovah.
You will have heard of Him.

“the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.” Isaiah 12:2 the
“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”  James 4:10
“…I know even as also I am known.”   1 Corinthians 13:12  (2nd I know)

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©Ken G Cooper 2019                         
kencooperpoetry.com                     
kengcooper@btinternet.com                                                       
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Friday, May 10, 2019

Coming Out For Good

By Tom Taffel

Walking through the valley of the shadow of death wasn’t the path I chose; but it was the path directly in front of me as a gay  junior high school student in New York City in the late 1960’s.

Although I was popular, athletic, creative and compassionate, I just didn’t seem to be what society said I should be.  I didn’t feel the “natural” attractions – professional sports, girls, cars, and so on – to which society said I should be naturally attracted.  

But at age twelve, I was brutishly outed and labeled “queer.”   My childhood suddenly turned dark and depressing.  From the seventh through the ninth grades, I was blackmailed, threatened and bullied – relentlessly.  I was ashamed, afraid, and had recurring thoughts of suicide. 

The temptation to finally escape my pain, and my inability to find peace and my place in an un-accepting world plagued me night and day.  Death appeared to be the easier path.  I contemplated that for three long years.

Still, I never lost my consciousness of God’s supporting love, nor my sense of purpose, and that gave me hope.  I had an unshakable faith in God’s love for me and that was my protection and the strength of my life.  I truly wanted to live a life of purpose and fulfillment.

In those years, homosexuality was a taboo subject at home and not up for discussion.  There was no one with whom I could talk, no self-help books or support systems.   But I was enrolled in a Christian Science Sunday School.  Christian Science made sense to me, and I trustingly read the daily Lesson Sermon in the Christian Science Quarterly – the only source of comfort I had.  And then one day, I saw Mary Baker Eddy’s statement, (Science and Health  571:15-19), which gave me hope and kept me from ending my life: 

                      At all times and under all circumstances, overcome evil with good.
                     Know thyself, and God will supply the wisdom and the occasion for
                     a victory over evil.   Clad in the panoply of Love, human hatred can-
                     not reach you.

“Clad in the panoply of Love,” I felt safe. I felt comfortable expressing all of my God-given attributes, masculine and feminine.  I inherently knew I was God’s beloved son, and that there was nothing wrong, abnormal or “queer” about me.  Even though I was a “gender non-conforming child,” I just couldn’t understand why I needed to suppress the feelings I was feeling so naturally and why I was being punished, rejected, and ostracized for being who I was.  The lurking thought of suicide wasn’t a viable option, because I knew my life wasn’t over.  I had a lot more to accomplish, and escaping just wasn’t what my life was about.  Intuitively, I was aware of my purpose, my  mission in life, (to help others), and that I was complete, satisfied and free, just as God had created me.  And so, Mrs. Eddy’s words resonated deep within me: “Union of the masculine and feminine qualities constitutes completeness.” (S&H 57:4-5)

As a graduate from The Mother Church Sunday school, I felt I should try to conform to what had been traditionally accepted as the “right” expression of love and family.  I met a beautiful and dynamic young woman, (also a student of Christian Science).  We were engaged to be married.  Tragically my fiancĂ©e passed on suddenly.  I was devastated.  My eventual healing of grief and depression helped release me from the self-imposed demand to conform to the approved-of behavior I had been trying for many years to cultivate.  The more natural sense of who I really was, (familiar since my early childhood and drawing me toward same-sex relationships), reaffirmed itself and, for the first time since those difficult early years, felt entirely right for me.  I was able to see clearly what Mrs. Eddy meant:  “Look long enough, and you see male and female one — sex or gender eliminated; you see the designation man meaning woman as well, and you see the whole universe included in one infinite Mind and reflected in the intelligent compound idea, image or likeness, called man, showing forth the infinite divine Principle, Love, called God,—man wedded to the Lamb, pledged to 
innocence, purity, perfection.”  (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany 268–269)

Looking back, I don’t know why I was so concerned with what I thought other people were thinking … instead of dwelling on what I knew was true about me.  Other people’s intolerance could not touch my true identity as the perfect, complete, beloved child of God.  I didn’t see diversity as perversity, but rather, a divine necessity as part of the “panoply of love” and the myriad expressions of Life.  

For spiritual regeneration, there isn’t a greater demand to heal homosexuality than there is to heal heterosexuality since, ultimately, neither has a place in the demonstration of our genuine spiritual identity.  Whom I loved, ­and was loved by, wasn’t the problem in need of healing, but rather it was the world’s perception of who I am as the satisfied, perfect and complete idea of God.   What matters to me now is the integrity of my day-to-day human experience and the depth of my desire to live up to my highest spiritual sense of Life, Truth and Love.  Beliefs about sexuality, whether heterosexual or homosexual, are a “non-issue” to our loving Father-Mother God. 

Even at a young age, I could feel God’s love for me and that the kindness, compassion, and honesty I expressed, came directly from Him; and that whomever I loved, of either gender, had no bearing on my ability to express these qualities.  I wasn’t a gay teenager expressing Christ-like qualities; no, these were qualities of the Christ expressing themselves as me.   Instead of forgiving and forgetting the many injustices and rejection I had endured, I took a different approach: not to forget, but to remember the good things: the snippets of love, acts of kindness, joyous and purposeful moments in my life. 

Forgiveness and healing are the inevitable result of letting go of past grievances and fleeting resentments, because they are not real or founded in Truth.   I began to see that healing is the natural outcome in which unkind, un-Christ-like thoughts and actions, (both conscious and unconscious), are released and dispelled, just as naturally as darkness gives way to light.  Overcoming evil with good brings the realization that nothing real can be threatened because that which is real, good and eternal is protected by God - and that protection extended to me as well.

As I began to minimize the error and maximize the truths which the error was trying to hide, I naturally became aware of my true self, my completeness and conscious worth as my hungering heart became satisfied and self-assured.   I was able to take down the mental barriers that I had constructed preventing love’s appearing in my life, enabling my life partner of 47 years  – now my spouse under the laws of my state – to walk into my life.

              Where God is we can meet, and where God is we can never part.
              The First Church of Christ Scientist and Miscellany  131:20

Being a committed partner in a same-sex relationship is more than sharing intimacy and friendship with someone of the same gender;  it’s about home and family, and for some, raising children, and all the other things that life partners desire and work to make possible.  It’s about living in the ‘now’ - in this pristine moment, rather than in the gloomy past or the uncertain future.   As I fully embrace the present and its possibilities, I am able to be the change I want to see, because society is no longer defining my identity, self-worth, truth or my purpose.

My integrity is living my truth and my honesty allows me to share it with others.  But living a lie – “in the closet,” a dual life, a charade – is neither normal nor natural, and certainly not the truth William Shakespeare voiced centuries ago and which Mrs. Eddy quoted, not once but twice:

              This above all: To thine own self be true;
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Retrospection and Introspection, page 81, "Admonition"
Miscellaneous Writings, page 226, "Perfidy and Slander"

As I reflect on my rich rewarding life, I wish I could have known the adolescent me, as the adult I am today, and reassured that frightened little boy who didn’t understand his non-accepting world, that he was valued and loved; that there was a brighter day filled with hope, happiness, tranquility and completeness - just beyond the dark clouds which seemed to be separating him from the light he was so desperately yearning to see and feel. 

In Miscellaneous Writings, page 185, Mrs. Eddy asserts: 

Self-renunciation of all that constitutes a so-called material man, and the acknowledgment and achievement of his spiritual identity as the child of God, is Science that opens the very flood-gates of heaven; whence good flows into every avenue of being, cleansing mortals of all uncleanness, destroying all suffering, and demonstrating the true image and likeness. There is no other way under heaven whereby we can be saved, and man clothed with might, majesty, and immortality."  This taught me that God never requires sacrifice of good, but rather the renunciation of self-aggrandizement, self-importance and self-glorification - an act of selflessness that truly does open the “floodgates of heaven; whence good flows into every avenue of being.   

Richard Strauss ends his operatic masterpiece with Elektra singing these prophetic words: “My flame extinguishes the world's darkness."  It is my hope to help extinguish some of the world’s darkness by bringing to light - the array and diversity of God’s perfect creation.  I am not a gay man in search of my identity, but rather, I am free – I am the loved son of God - grateful for Life, Truth and Love.  Free of fear and doubt…I can hear that glorious “voice from heaven, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’”  (Matthew 3:17)

Monday, May 6, 2019

A Prayer For This Week (May 6 - 12, 2019)

By Prayerful Living


Praise God! Creator of all good.
Shake the dust of material belief from me,
for I am spiritually created in Your image and likeness, God. 
I am not bound by chains of sinful behavior,
but reflect You — divine Life, Truth and Love.
I am not beguiled by any “serpent suggestions,”
but am unfallen, upright, pure and free.
The healing Christ, exemplified by your Son,
reveals my true nature.
You lift me above the mist of the Adam-dream.
And not just me, but ALL mankind.
Thank You, Father-Mother.
And so it is, Amen.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Awake From The Adam Dream

By Ken G. Cooper

This mortal body is not me,
Indeed, it simply cannot be!
Matter clearly cannot define
My life in God that is divine.

And as strong sun dispels all mist,
In Spirit matter can’t exist!
God is Spirit, everywhere!
Sin, Sickness, Death, just can’t appear!
They simply aren’t in God’s pure thought -
For He made all, in Spirit wrought!

In Spirit, all is ONE with Thee:
When we look up You’re what we see!
The Adam dream is broken, bust,
It’s full of lies, just mist and dust!

Awake dear hearts, awake, see ALL, 
In lifting up one cannot fall.
God is our Lord, in Him we move,
Oh, sing with joy and God’s Love prove!

“Awake, awake; Shake thyself from the dust; Isaiah 52:1 (to 1st;) 2(to ;).
“ I will extol thee, o Lord; for thou hast lifted me up,” (Psalms 30:1 (to 2nd ,).



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©Ken G Cooper 2019                         
kencooperpoetry.com                     
kengcooper@btinternet.com                                                       
Ken G Cooper Poetry You Tube