Exodus 20: 12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
Devotion by Laurie Spencer
My 93-year dad, Ned A Spencer, died on June 14th. A peaceful passing with his family around him. I ‘m sharing this because he was such a devout Christian and he lived his life with such conviction that it is worthy of our daily devotional sharing.
What I think of first when I think of Dad is his devoted morning reading time with the Bible and the Christian Science book, Science and Health. It is Mary Baker Eddy‘s response to the words of the Bible. It’s a very metaphysical book and it was hard for the rest of his family to understand. So, my two siblings and I, and even my mother, all migrated in different directions spiritually. But the constancy that he showed in his daily practice of Christian Science study affected us all. I believe his unwavering morning devotion formed his children. For better or worse, we had a father who had, at the top of his mind always, love. And I don’t mean love like a big bear hug. I mean Omnipotent love. Love that is all that exists. Love that is contained in all of God’s creation. The darkness as well as the light. These days you’d more likely be talking to a yogi or Buddhist to hear similar references to love.
Dad was very kind, very patient, and a bit reserved. But he wasn’t demonstrative. He didn’t hug me nor say ‘I love you.’ But the constancy of his devotion to family was unwavering. Reaching out to hug his only daughter wasn’t in his comfort zone so I learned that if I wanted a hug, I would need to reach out first.
However he was crystal clear when teaching us about the power of God. If I had a problem, be it my divorce, a headache, a serious sickness... you name it; Dad’s belief was that the problem was no part of me because I was God’s perfect child, a reflection of divine love. In his copy of Science and Health Dad marked the phrase ‘eventually both sin and suffering will fall at the feet of everlasting love’.
Dad did not talk about death nor sickness nor dying. These were thoughts that he would not entertain. So, we didn’t talk too much about those things either at his memorial service last week. We focused on his life accomplishments which were many. The Navy sent him to MIT on the V12 program during WWII. He helped invent microwave and the landing system that is used by every aircraft in the world to land safely. And he raised three healthy, well-educated kids. And he sustained a marriage for 70 years.
In the back of Science and Health there is a glossary. I looked up the word death and the word heaven for my comments at the service. The definitions are complicated, as is everything in that book. But I can give you short phrases that offer an idea of what Dad believed:
Death is an illusion. Mind is immortal. Any material evidence of death is false for it contradicts the spiritual facts of being. That’s a little tough to wrap your mind around. No death??
But this is pretty easy grasp: Heaven is harmony. The reign of the spirit. Bliss. The atmosphere of soul.
I’d like to think my Dad strove to be in that kind of heaven every day of his 93 years.