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You, and we, as God’s beloved creation, are safe, right now and always.
Metaphysical application ideas for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on:

 “God the Preserver of Man”
for Sunday, June 13, 2021

 Kerry Jenkins C.S. of House Springs, MO
kerry.helen.jenkins@gmail.com • 314-406-0041

INTRODUCTION

Is it possible to really feel a sense of safety as we go through life’s adventures? This lesson has it all…shipwrecks, earthquakes, poisonous snake bites. Through it all Paul, the apostle, finds safety and healing not only for himself, but for all those around him. Was he praying for his own safety? This passage from the third section is telling: “…at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.” This was after being whipped, imprisoned, and chained. May we all “sing praises to God” under such circumstances! But here’s the thing. Why did they begin their prayers in this way? Was it in an attempt to receive something—perhaps their freedom from prison, their healing from the pain of being whipped, their persecution? None of this is obviously referred to, yet there are many places in his letters where Paul is found praising God, rejoicing in God’s goodness, preaching love, and affirming his own inseparability from Love.

As we navigate the messages in this week’s Bible lesson, it is helpful to consider the idea that Paul was deeply conscious of spiritual reality, even when faced with human ugliness. “The understanding of Truth and Love…leads to the discernment of the divine idea.” (citation S11/560:22-24,28)  Paul’s prayers were prayers of praise because he saw that Love was governing. He felt that safety and power. I don’t mean that the whipping didn’t hurt, or the stoning until he was presumed dead, which he also experienced. But, that these events were not experiences of the mental anguish kind of suffering because he absolutely knew that he was inseparable from divine Love, that he did “…dwell between his [God’s] shoulders.” as it says in our Golden Text. We too can experience this conviction of safety. Start our prayers with the acknowledgement of God’s power and goodness. Start with the truth of our being as coexistent with Love. From there, we can only find safety.

There are a couple of verses in both our Golden Text and our Responsive Reading where it might appear as if we are rewarded only if we are “the beloved”, or the “merciful”, or “upright”. I see these as perfect examples of that consciousness that we are to cultivate—that Paul cultivated. Each of us is this beloved, merciful, and upright expression of God. It is our awareness of this truth about ourselves that gives us the clarity of perspective so that we can discern that we are cared for, kept safe. When we express mercy, for example, it is like putting on a pair of special goggles that show us mercy all around us. When we behave rightly, or righteously, these same goggles will show us a universe where spiritual uprightness, purity, unselfed love, are active, present, and part of our experience. These are qualities that are constantly expressed, but through our lens of praise and gratitude, we see that fact with more clarity and frequency. This is distinct from the false perception that somehow our acts of virtue are “rewarded” by God, with, in this case, safety. Our safety is secured because we are Love’s very expression. An expression of something cannot be separate from that something!

SECTION 1: GOD IS OUR FATHER AND MOTHER.

In its ideal state, a father and mother will do anything to keep their child safe. Their devotion of thought to their child is total, especially when the child is very young and they are out and about. We view our children as our cherished responsibility. Yet we do not refer to our own children as the “expression of our being”. That’s because, while they may have traits that seem rooted in our own family characteristics and culture, they are not “expressions” of us, but expressions of the Divine. Mary Baker Eddy tells us in citation S3 that “Man is the expression of God’s being.” (SH 470:23)

God’s expression, is different than being God’s child in the sense that, humanly, a child might go off in a wholly separate direction from its parent! But words fail us when describing the spiritual depth of connection that God has to us, that we have to God. And parenthood, motherhood, (cit. B2/Isa.66:1,13), is the closest we can come to describing the tenderness and caring that divine Love has for Her expression. The difference between God’s divine Father-Motherhood and our own is that it is indestructible, all-good, and all-powerful. That means we are held in safety. An expression cannot be separated from what is doing that expressing!

SECTION 2: OUR POWER TO SHARE GOD’S SALVATION COMES FROM GOD.

Jesus did not heal because he possessed personal power. All his power to heal came from his consciousness of the Christ law that holds man in safety and wholeness. We too can become conscious of this divine law. I think that might be what Jesus meant when he told his disciples and other followers to rejoice that their “…names are written in heaven.” (cit. B6/Luke 10:20) He was acknowledging that as God’s very expression, their identities were safe in the kingdom, and the power they had to heal was from that kingdom, from God’s laws of good.

Can a divine law have a shelf life? Can it wither, age, disappear?  Citation S5 tells us “…the Christ is without beginning of years or end of days. Throughout all generations both before and after the Christian era, the Christ, as the spiritual idea,–the reflection of God,–has come with some measure of power and grace to all prepared to receive Christ, Truth.” (SH 333:16-23)

We can prepare our thought to receive this Christ power. We are not personally responsible for healing. What we are responsible for is leaving some space in our consciousness so that we can perceive man’s deep connection to Love. This connection comes with safety and wholeness. Try practicing this by stilling busy thought during the day and allowing moments of deep awareness of the beauty, goodness, intelligence, etc. that surround us to be acknowledged and gratefully enjoyed. This steady practice gives us access to the power of Love that surrounds us. And naturally we share this healing power more freely and fearlessly when we know its source is not in ourselves but in the eternal Christ.

SECTION 3: LOVE FOR GOD LIBERATES FROM ALL KINDS OF PRISONS.

In this section Paul and Silas are freed from prison by their prayer of praise to God that shifted the very earth beneath the prison where they were held. This earthquake that broke their chains and opened the doors of the prison is an incredible metaphor as well for how our conscious awareness of God’s goodness and power can free us from imprisoning beliefs of ill health, loneliness, poverty, and so much more.

I especially love that in each story of Paul in this week’s Bible lesson, he is found rescuing others and not himself alone. In this particular section he saves the jailer who is about to kill himself because he thought that all the prisoners he was responsible for were escaped. Rather than take off, as they surely could have, Paul and Silas stay and preach Christ to this man and to his family. The jailer feeds them, washes their wounds, and is baptized by Paul! One of the wonderful aspects of this law of Love that heals and frees is that it includes others. Just as Jesus healed the multitudes and sent the seventy to heal, as seen in the previous section, so in this one, Paul’s freedom does not come with a “price” for someone else. Love’s freedom blesses all.

If we are looking for liberation from any one of a number of errors, we can take heart in the statement in citation S13 which gives us something of a “formula” for success in finding this freedom: “Prayer, watching, and working, combined with self-immolation, are God’s gracious means for accomplishing whatever has been successfully done for the Christianization and health of mankind.” (cit. S13/1:6) This also points to the need for that unselfish view of this work.

Paul clearly had a goal of blessing others. We too cannot afford to be too self-focused, or we tend to miss the point of spiritual healing. Paul was not praying to get out of prison. He was glorifying God, reveling in God’s power, presence, and goodness. We are not praying, watching, and working to gain more of God’s goodness, but to recognize its present bounty. This process requires “self-immolation” (a burning away, or purification of a false sense of separate self) because we are expressions of God’s being and not personal possessors of this power and goodness. (cit. S13/1:6)  Our prayers of praise and gratitude open the door of our consciousness and shake the very foundations of material belief, setting us free from their false laws.

SECTION 4: GOD’S LAWS KEEP US SAFE, EVEN IN THE “STORM”.

We are all aware that human life has many “bumps” in it. The presence of challenges and adversities does not indicate a lack of God’s care. All of the most memorable Bible stories and most testimonies of healing shared today and throughout the century are based in adversity overcome. There would be no story/testimony to share otherwise. One of the most poignant verses in the Bible lesson this week is found here in citation B11: “…in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in watchings, in fastings; As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.” (1Cor. 6:4,5,10)  Paul is pointing out that in the midst of trials we reap the most joy, wealth, satisfaction.

When the ship carrying Paul was caught in a ferocious storm (which he predicted and warned the soldiers about before they left port), he set aside his material sense of the storm and prayed. By now, we can assume that his prayer was likely one of praise and gratitude for the presence of God’s goodness and power in the midst of this deadly storm. He heard the voice of God telling him that all would be well for the ship’s passengers. He was able, with authority, to report that they would not lose a single life in the looming wreck. He saw the safety of all the passengers on that ship because their safety was based in divine law. His spiritual consciousness opened that window into the Kingdom where he knew that God/Love/Mind reigned. This view brought power to the human circumstances that were facing these men.

SECTION 5: SALVATION COMES FROM UNDERSTANDING LOVE’S CONTROL OVER ALL.

Salvation is like preservation. When we are saved we are preserved from danger, or mishap, or perhaps, lasting pain. But more even than this, salvation applies to our sense of place in the Kingdom. In this section Paul shakes off the pain and poison of a viper and moves forward with helping the islanders, healing many. Again, he selflessly blesses those around him with his recognition and understanding of the divine law of Love that gives us power to defend ourselves “…not only from temptation, but from bodily suffering.” (cit. S19/387:18-19, 27)  We can each glimpse this control over our bodies, circumstances, and those of others. We can “Become conscious for a single moment that Life and intelligence are purely spiritual,–neither in nor of matter,–and the body will utter no complaints.”(cit. S21/14:12-18)

Last week I was struggling with some kind of a pulled muscle in my neck and shoulder after working out. It was a challenge to turn my head or move freely, and it was uncomfortable while trying to sleep. As a model for prayer, I held to Paul’s ‘praise and singing’ to God. I was overwhelmed with gratitude for God’s goodness each time I thought about it. I acknowledged that there was nothing else in operation other than God’s goodness and power. I could not suffer from either the willful desire to keep up with the workout that I was following at a pace that seemed unwise, nor could I suffer from any pain in my physical being as I was the expression of God’s being. It was not an instant release but every moment in prayer was one of joy.

I continued to exercise daily, just focusing on different kinds of movements, and I rejoiced in all these expressions of energy, freedom, grace. Within about a day and a half there was no trace of this injury, and I in fact picked up a workout that I had skipped that really was focused on my arms and shoulders in a way that would have been impossible only the day before. Most of all, I am left with an overriding sense of the joy that this kind of “Paul” prayer brings into our experience. Recognizing that Love is the only law that is controlling us, even little by little each day, brings us power. It also enables us to be of greater help to others!

SECTION 6: WE ARE SAVED NOW AND ALWAYS.

I love this section for its emphasis on the present condition of our safety and wellbeing. It is crystal clear that we are looking into the realm of Spirit, “…at things which are not seen:” humanly, for this clear sense of our safety. (cit. B15/2Cor. 4:15,17,18) This section really underscores the need for us to take this glimpse of safety and security to the rest of the world. We are “ambassadors for Christ…” (cit. B16/2Cor.5:20).

The rewards or riches are great when we do this kind of outreach work—we are given the kingdom! This kingdom is not a future gift, but a gift right now and is eternally ours. We do not have to wait until we study more about Christian Science, go through Christian Science class instruction, get older, or be younger in order to experience the present salvation of the law of Love. This law is ever, and abundantly operating to bring health, wholeness, joy, gratitude, and peace to mankind.

While we are faced with challenges, as in the “light affliction” spoken of in citation B15 (2 Cor. 4:17), we are given the ultimate spiritual power over this through Christ and this ever-operative law of Love and Truth. Let’s not put off our safe heavenly dwelling place by taking in all that material senses report. Instead, let us rejoice with Paul by praying with praise and singing to God for His abundant, present, powerful goodness!


Click HERE for a link to Inspirational GEMs from the Comforter for YOU and us ALL!


**Join us next on JULY 4th (and NOW ONLY EVERY FIRST Sunday of EACH MONTH) for a virtual CedarS Sunday Hymn Sing! (by Zoom Sunday at 7pm Central Time.) Invite family, church and other friends and even neighbors to join in this healing CedarS tradition along with a happy, worldwide “chorus” every week. You can sing along (muted) with CedarS unmuted, host musicians seven hymns that all are invited to request.
Click here for a link and fuller details.

(A precious prelude precedes each sing at 6:45pm Central Daylight-savings Time (CDT.) We encourage singing along in Zoom’s gallery view to share the joy of seeing dear ones in virtual family-church reunions that bless all generations.

To protect privacy and copyrights, these “brief, but spectacular” sessions are NOT recorded. So, calibrate your time-zone clocks, mark your calendars, and remind friends, so that no one misses any of these inspiring, weekly reminders of our precious, spiritual oneness with each other and with our ever-loving, Father-Mother God who owns and embraces us all!

Lovingly singing prayers and praise to God for about 30 minutes each Sunday is such a warm, “Welcome Home” tradition to bless the start of each week with joyous, peaceful GRACE. (Our 2021 theme.) We have loved singing-in this grace with longtime as well as first-time friends—not only from ALL 50 of the United States, but also from 22 other countries! So far, our “Hymn Sing family” has clicked or dialed-in from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, England, Germany, Ghana, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, New Zealand, Pakistan, Paraguay, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Scotland, Spain, South Africa, Switzerland, as well as from each of the United States! In the universal language of divine Love, “the ‘still, small voice’ of scientific thought reaches over continent and ocean to the globe’s remotest bound.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 559:8–10)


Here are some areas where financial support is needed and would double the blessings in very meaningful ways to thousands of dear ones served by CedarS:

  • UNRESTRICTED & OTHER MAINTENANCE AND HERD-SUPPORT GIFTS WILL BE MATCHED UP TO $100,000! Extra thanks in advance for clicking here to electronically share your tax-deductible support. It’s especially needed during reduced-income periods to help “keep our oil lamps burning.”
  • ENDOWMENT GIFTS to help cover CedarS camperships & operations are being MATCHED up to $200,000/year ($1-MILLION total). This will solidify support for our outreach efforts in all conditions!
  • Here’s CedarS Camps SUMMER HOME & ADDRESS to MAIL your gift to THIS WEEK:
    The CedarS Camps, 19772 Sugar Drive, Lebanon, MO 65536
  • or call CedarS team at 636-394-6162 (forwarded to Gay, Kim or Jennifer)to share a credit card gift.
  • CedarS is a not-for-profit, 501-C-3 organization with a Federal ID # 44-0663883.
American Camp Association

MAIN OFFICE
(November - May)
410 Sovereign Court #8
Ballwin, MO 63011
(636) 394-6162

CAMP OFFICE
(Memorial Day Weekend - October)
19772 Sugar Dr.
Lebanon, MO 65536
(417) 532-6699

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