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Seek Soul, bless the Lord, and know you are forever blessed!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

for August 9-15, 2021

by Kathy Fitzer in Lake St. Louis, Missouri

It’s always fun to have the “synonym lessons”. I think many of us have our “favorite” synonyms and those that “challenge” us a little more. Soul seems to be a challenging one for me.  So, I’m always grateful to have the opportunity to dig in and gain some fresh insight.  This week it came to me that Soul is the essence of good constituting all of creation. God as Soul is expressed as infinite individuality forever whole.  Soul is never in man (or in any living thing), but creation reflects Soul, and experiences Soul’s bountiful blessings.  The counterfeit of Soul with a capital S is the belief of soul (or sense) as limited personality trapped in matter and subject to both good and bad.

We are reminded this week of how constantly God, Soul, blesses all of creation.  It is natural then for us to bless the Lord in response to, and in anticipation of, these blessings. Some form of the word “bless” appears often in this Lesson. In most instances it has its roots in the Hebrew word, barak.  It includes the idea of man humbly kneeling before God in stillness, praise and thanksgiving.  It can also refer to the sense of peace and stillness that is graciously and abundantly being bestowed on us by God.  As we submit our will to God’s will, the blessings (gifts of good) are seen and felt.  I had fun looking at how this simple theme was developed in each section.  We will all surely continue to see an expanded view throughout the week. That’s the nature of infinite (unlimited) blessings!  There is no limit!!  This is just a start.

Why wouldn’t we kneel before — or yield to — a supreme power completely covered (or clothed) with honor (excellency) and majesty (magnificent splendor), knowing that by so doing we will become aware of all the good that God is forever pouring out.  It occurred to me that to kneel we have no choice but to stop and be still.

I realized how infrequently during the day I am really still.  Even when I’m not physically running around, my thoughts are often racing, thinking about things that need to be done, ruminating about what has been done, wondering about what others are doing, or … fill in the blank.  With the demands made on most people these days, there isn’t much opportunity to be physically still for very long, or to physically kneel.  But, we can all do a better job of mentally kneeling — shutting out all of the distractions and quietly checking in with our Father/Mother like Jesus did all the time — even when crowds were crushing in on him.  It takes discipline and practice, but through God’s grace we can improve.

These verses set the tone for the Lesson by summarizing the reciprocal relationship of blessings between God and man. I went to the original Hebrew to help me understand the words that I emphasize here.  Moses talks about God’s face shining on the people. As one source says, “When God’s face shines upon us, he pours his goodness and grace into our lives.”  A shining face is one full of joy and delight.  That’s how God feels about each one of us — delighted to make all things good and right.  He is also gracious to us, meaning he bends or stoops in kindness, showing favor, mercy and pity (Num. 6: 25). As a human parent kneels down to meet a child at their level, God metaphorically kneels down. She comes right to us, meeting our needs in just the way that we need to have them met — even if not as we would have designed.

The next verses from Psalm 103 continue to speak of God’s blessings, but also emphasize the need for us — as his angels (his ambassadors, messengers, or prophets), hosts (army of soldiers) and ministers (those who worship, wait on and serve) — to bless God for His goodness, acknowledge Him, and listen to His voice. (Ps. 103: 20-22)

Psalm 3 says God is a shield and glory, indicating protection, as well as abundance and splendor, and “lifter up of mine head”, or whole being. (v. 3).  We cry out, acknowledging God as the source of good, and God hears and responds (v. 4). Salvation (deliverance, aid, victory, prosperity, health, and help) comes from God, and God’s blessing (a benediction, gift, or present) is upon us (v. 8)

God is the Soul of man — the very essence of our being — what truly constitutes all of creation!  God, being all good, can only produce good.  And that goodness naturally flows forth and blesses!  Look at the “action-words” in the Bible citations, showing the impact of this divine influence.  For instance, God’s law converts the soul and bestows wisdom. (cit. B1/Ps. 19:1, 2, 6, 7) The New English Translation has for verse 7, “The law of the Lord is perfect and preserves one’s life. The rules set down by the Lord are reliable and impart wisdom to the inexperienced.”  

God walks among us.  There is no separation.  When Jabez asked to be freed from a heritage of evil, his request that “God would bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast” was immediately answered.  (cit. B3/1st Chronicles 4:10) When we sincerely ask for a blessing — and are willing to totally surrender to God’s will of good, we can expect to see our lives transformed — regardless of what human history would try to pin on us.  As the image of God, we coexist with the unchangeable goodness of Soul. (cit. S3/120:4)

Christian Science teaches that “God has infinite resources with which to bless mankind.”  That citation also includes the key to how to experience these blessings.  They must be sought in Soul.  (citation S1/60:29-31). Like so many we read about in the Bible did, we must give up the belief that we have our own little identity or soul separate from God that is subject to good and evil dependent on material conditions.  And, instead realize our being is independent of the limitations of matter.  We dwell in the realm of Soul where nothing inferior to Spirit exists.  Seeking happiness in Soul, we admit only one reality — that which knows only good, is superior to every other suggestion, and that is fully reflected and expressed by God’s creation.  Then, we can expect to see and experience this good.

In this section we have the story of Elisha neutralizing the poison in the soup which his students had prepared.  We’re told he added flour to the pot and the harmful elements were dissolved. (cit. B7/II Kings 4: 38-41) Surely it wasn’t the flour that made the difference.  It must have been Elisha’s understanding of the complete control of Soul, meeting every human need with abundant blessing.  Elsewhere in this chapter Elisha multiplied oil for the widow woman,  enabled the barren Shunamite woman to have a son and fed 100 people with 20 loaves of bread.  Elisha demonstrated what Mary Baker Eddy later wrote, “Knowing the falsity of so-called material sense, you can assert your prerogative to overcome the belief in sin, disease, or death” (cit. S2/53:9). The question we have to continually ask is, are we governed by material laws — by sense — or by Soul?  Material so-called law is simply a limited false perspective.  Soul is limitless spiritual reality.

The physical senses, being limited in nature, cannot perceive God and God’s infinite goodness.  But, viewing things as Elisha did, through the lens of Spirit, we see that there can be no material truth. Destructive elements such as sin, disease, and death are not truth, but illusion.  Good is all there really is — perfect harmony.  Acknowledging the harmony of Soul, we see the ever-present truth and blessings of God!

Psalm 24 describes who will stand in the holy place (or dwelling place) of God …  those “whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols and never tell lies” (cit. B8/Ps. 24:1, 3-5, NLT). Evidence of Ruth’s faithfulness and purity of heart was revealed in her decision to follow her mother-in-law back to Israel.  She didn’t know what would lie ahead, but she was determined not to leave Naomi without support after her husband and sons died in Moab. Ruth’s continued obedience, hard work, and initiative as she followed the reapers in Boaz’s fields were further evidence of being a faithful servant.  This faithfulness and obedience were a way of blessing God — using the talents and opportunities He was bestowing. In turn, the blessings to her and to Naomi flowed.  Boaz bought the property that had belonged to Naomi’s husband, and married Ruth in order to continue the lineage.  This lineage, of course, ultimately included the birth of David and Jesus.

It’s kind of interesting to read all four chapters of Ruth to get the full story.  A lot of details are left out of our Lessons.  As Mary Baker Eddy writes, “self-forgetfulness, purity, and affection are constant prayers.  Practice not profession, understanding not belief, gain the ear and right hand of omnipotence and they assuredly call down infinite blessings” (cit. S13/15:26-30).  This, as well as the beatitude, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” is evidence of the reciprocal nature of blessing and being blessed.

Looking at the Glossary definitions of bride and bridegroom I see that as we are pure and innocent and conceive man as the idea of God, we are married to (or united with) “spiritual understanding; the pure consciousness that God, the divine Principle, creates man as His own spiritual idea, and that God is the only creative power.”  (cit. S12/582:17-20)

This concept of marriage is expressed humanly as two individuals who make a commitment to love, support, and strengthen each other — enabling each one to be the best they can be.  But this human expression will reach the ideal (whether we are married or not) as we discover a larger sense of Soul that embraces all and brings “spiritual bliss and enjoys but cannot suffer” (cit. S12/582:14-16). Love and Soul are fully expressed and meet every need as we bless God and are open to receiving God’s blessings.

I was struck this week as I read the story of the feeding of the 5,000 (plus women and children) that Jesus didn’t say he would feed the multitude, but told the disciples to feed them.  When they objected, he showed them how. He blessed the loaves and fishes that they had (cit. B15/Matt 14:14-21). The Greek word for blessed as it is used here is eulogeo.  It means to speak well of, to praise and give thanks for, and to ask God to put His blessing on.  Jesus’ first step was to turn things over to God and acknowledge the infinitude of Soul’s provision.  How often are we tempted to look at how little we have, rather than speaking well of, being grateful for, praising, and looking at how we can use what we do have?  How important to remember that “Soul is not compassed by finiteness” (cit. S20/302:1).  Starting from the basis of infinitude we would never doubt the possibilities.

Citation 22 in Science and Health has the marginal heading, “assistance in brotherhood.”  I’m grateful that there seems to be an increasing desire to help those in need.  But, how important it is to start from the basis of abundance — from the fact that “God is infinite” and that “Soul duly feeds and clothes every object.” (cit. S18/330:11-12; cit. S19/507:3-6).

As we see a need we can confidently look for how that need can be met, knowing that the supply comes from the divine Mind which “is the Soul of man, and gives man dominion over all things” (cit. S24/307:25-26).  As the disciples learned what they needed to do, we must bring what we have to Christ to have it blessed (to see the reality of infinite resources) and then freely share, knowing that our needs and the needs of others will be met by the same infinite source.

God made man to be healthy — to be whole.  Jesus knew that and so never doubted that those who came to him seeking healing could be healed.  The healing of the deaf and dumb man in this section (cit. B18/Mark 7:31-37) took place in the Decapolis area where Jesus had preached and healed before.  In this instance, Jesus was returning to this area after an extended time away with his disciples.

The territory around the Sea of Galilee was south of Tyre where they started.  But, Jesus got there by first going north to Sidon.  There are sometimes reasons for indirect routes.  My husband and I recently took a road trip from Missouri to Wyoming by way of Pennsylvania and Virginia.  Sounds crazy to go east to head west, but there was a reason for it, so it made perfect sense at the time.  Some think that Jesus may have headed north to go south to have more time alone with his disciples before the challenges of crucifixion arose.  It may not be important, but my point is that, despite human logic, when we let God lead, we will be right where we need to be, right when we need to be there.

When the man who could neither hear nor speak was brought to him Iin this case, it is obvious that Jesus was very “prayed up.” This healing is sandwiched in the gospel of Mark between the healing of a gentile and the feeding of 4,000. Full of compassion, Jesus took the man aside — away from the crowd — and indicated to him through a form of sign language that we was going to heal him.  After the healing, Jesus’ request for the people to keep the good news to themselves was ignored (cit. B18/Mark 7:31-37). The healing of the blind, deaf, and disabled were all recognized as signs of the arrival of the messianic age (see Isa. 35:5-6).  The Christ could not be hid as more and more heard about what Jesus was doing.

The key to this healing could be in this statement from Science and Health. “Knowing that Soul and its attributes were forever manifested through man, the Master healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, feet to the lame, thus bringing to light the scientific action of the divine Mind on human minds and bodies and giving a better understanding of Soul and salvation” (cit. S25/210:11-16).

The key to healing is knowing that nothing can keep Soul from being expressed as wholeness! We can be as firm in our understanding of that as Jesus was.  We can “rise in rebellion” to the “incipient or advanced stages of disease” just as Jesus did! (cit. S28/391:7-9, 29-32).  And we must!

We can’t let news reports or physical evidence or fear or medical predictions or anything else dissuade us from our understanding that Soul governs and health is the law of being.  Although this happened many years ago, I will never forget feeling strong symptoms of the flu coming on and stopping what I was doing to “rise in rebellion.”  The symptoms disappeared!  This was after having dealt with being laid low by these symptoms for extended periods year after year before this.  That was the end of yearly bouts with the flu!

The psalmist promises, “the Lord will bless his people with peace.” (cit. B20/Ps. 29:2, 11). Perhaps that’s the biggest blessing of all because when we feel at peace we can see through the mirage of matter to the reality of Soul — regardless of the physical evidence.  And, as we see through the false report, the evidence changes to reveal the reality that God knows. This peace is another form of stillness that is an inherent part of blessing.  The Hebrew for peace here is shalom and includes the elements of safety, welfare, health, prosperity, completeness, soundness, and tranquility.  The Bible has messages of peace running through it and it is helpful to turn to these promises when we seem to be embroiled in turmoil, disease, and other difficulties.  Jeremiah talks about being planted in the land. (cit. B22/Jer. 32: 15, 41) That’s being planted in the Kingdom of Heaven where harmony reigns and nothing else!

The sun is often used as a metaphor for Soul.  To me, that helps in thinking about the passage from Science and Health that says “the sunlight glints from the church-dome, glances into the prison-cell, glides into the sick-chamber, brightens the flower, beautifies the landscape, blesses the earth.” (cit. S31/516:9-13, 16).

Soul, being infinite, is ever-present and always active.  Nothing can stop it … or the blessings it bestows.  As the opening line of our textbook instructs, all we have to do is lean on the sustaining infinite [Soul].  That means staying really close, because you can’t lean on something from a distance.  Leaning is trusting.  And trusting is blessing.  As we lean on God — bless God — we find that “to-day is big with blessings” from God!  It’s a law!!  The greatness of God is always at hand. Soul is the very essence of being!!

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