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LIVE YOUR FREEDOM THROUGH THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, TODAY!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“Probation After Death”
for October 24, 2021

by John & Lindsey Biggs, C.S of Maryland Heights, MO
541-418-1176 johnbiggscs@gmail.com
541-460-3515 biggs.lindsey@gmail.com


 INTRODUCTION
There are so many wonderful examples in this week’s Bible Lesson of all the ways that Jesus tenderly helped his disciples to better understand the Word of God and the meaning of eternal life. A spiritual momentum builds in this lesson which begins with Jesus’ resurrection all the way through to his ascension. Meanwhile, Jesus is right there compassionately helping his disciples to understand the Word. From gently speaking to Mary and opening her eyes to perceive him after he rose from the grave, to helping doubting Thomas believe that he resurrected – these examples are all indicative of the way that the Christ is here within each of us today helping us to understand the allness of God and the nothingness of matter; enabling us to demonstrate the eternal laws of Life and experience greater freedom.

GOLDEN TEXT
This week’s Lesson explores more deeply those 40 days that Jesus was here on Earth between his resurrection and ascension and all that the Holy Spirit was doing through the disciples at that time.

I love Mary Baker Eddy’s definition of the Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghost, as it appears in the King James Version) in the Glossary of Science and Health: “Divine Science; the development of eternal Life, Truth, and Love.” (Science and Health, p. 588:7)

The word development is an interesting one and there are many ways to think about it. For instance, if you are developing a new business, you can trust that the business is growing stronger and developing into a more robust and capable enterprise that is able to fulfill its mission. In the beginning of a chess game, players “develop” their pieces to place them in more powerful and active positions. When we used to develop film, or put an image on photo paper in “developer” in a dark room, we were essentially allowing the image that was there to become visible. So, the Holy Spirit acts in each of us, allowing our true nature as the image and likeness of God to become more visible. The Holy Spirit allows us to develop our latent spiritual abilities and talents to serve God’s purpose.

I think this passage of the Holy Spirit describes what the disciples were experiencing during that time. We can strive to demonstrate it, too!

“Hold perpetually this thought, — that it is the spiritual idea, the Holy Ghost and Christ, which enables you to demonstrate, with scientific certainty, the rule of healing, based upon its divine Principle, Love, underlying, overlying, and encompassing all true being.” (Science and Health, p. 496:15)

There was a time when I was having a physical challenge – a problem with my throat – that was preventing me from eating and living freely. I had been praying about this challenge and was led to call a Christian Science practitioner for healing treatment. The practitioner spoke to me about the Holy Spirit. When we finished the call, I felt I had been healed. My thought had shifted in a new way, the swelling had gone down, and I had a new, hopeful outlook. When I was at the Sunday church service a couple of days later, I suddenly felt fearful and tempted by this problem again. But the thought came, “No, the same Holy Spirit that was on that call is here in this church service.” So, I listened to beautiful words of the hymn we were singing. The fear instantly subsided and the problem disappeared for good. I was able to enjoy a lovely brunch with my family right after the church service. I was so grateful for this healing, which showed me that the healing power and presence of the Holy Spirit is with each of us today wherever we are.

RESPONSIVE READING
“. . . God doesn’t show partiality to one group of people over another. Rather, in every nation, whoever worships him and does what is right is acceptable to him.” (Acts 10:34, 35 CEB)

This is an important component of the book of Acts. The disciples came to this realization through their developing sense of who God is and the purpose and mission of Christ Jesus.  Remember how initially some of the disciples thought Jesus’ message was only for Jews, or only for those who were circumcised. Paul really broke through this by bringing the message to the Gentiles (non-Jews) and saying “hey, this message of Jesus is for everyone.” This put him at odds with some of the other disciples initially.

It wasn’t until Peter had a vision when he was on a rooftop in Joppa that he changed his tune (see Acts 10:9-16). This was essential because it then allowed him to be open and willing to go to Caesarea to the house of Cornelius, a centurion. “He said to them: ‘You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean. So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection.’” (Acts 10:28, 29 NIV)

Cornelius then shares how he was visited by an angel who instructed him to send for Peter. “So I sent for you immediately, and it was good of you to come. Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.” (Acts 10:33 NIV)

Peter was thereby able to preach and convert Cornelius and the large group that had gathered at his household. “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard these words. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said, ’Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.’ So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.’” (Acts 10:45-48 NIV)

What does this mean for us today? Is there someone whom we can share the gospel with? God is placing open and receptive hearts on our path, so that we can share this healing message. We can pray to be open and receptive to those opportunities and look beyond appearances, as Peter learned to do, to hear what God is telling us. This may mean bringing copies of the Christian Science Sentinel with you, keeping a copy of Science and Health in your car for sharing, etc. When the desire is there, God will open the way — just like it was done in the book of Acts.

SECTION 1 – OVERCOME MATERIAL OBSTACLES WITH THE LAW OF LOVE.
“Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father:” (citation B3/John 3:16, 17)

It’s interesting that when Jesus spoke Mary’s name, she “woke up”, so to speak, and perceived Jesus in his true light. It must have felt wonderful to hear Jesus call her name — to have been truly known and identified by the Christ in that moment. The Christ — the active presence and power of God — is identifying each of us and wakes us up to see our true spiritual identity through the gentle love of God. The Christ causes us to see and know who we really are. The Christ is inherent in us, so it is as though it is calling our “name” all the time — showing us our true nature. God’s voice is the most natural and inherent to us, which is why we respond to it spiritually. It’s our true identity that has existed and will exist for all time, and is always one with the Father.

Bible Lens Research adds this important note:
“Commentators understand Jesus’ warning ‘Touch me not’ as a demand not to cling to a physical sense of him, and to surrender any expectation that he would begin a permanent human presence among the faithful.” (Christian Science Sentinel)

How interesting that he immediately tells Mary to not cling to him physically but to trust and know her own oneness with divine Love – her oneness with the same Holy Spirit, or Christ, that Jesus so ably embodied. We love Jesus and value all that he accomplished while on Earth, and the same sweet promise is to us, to know and trust that the healing Christ, or Holy Spirit, is within us, too. It is a revealed Science, the Holy Comforter, that can be taught and practiced all the time.

“If the disciple is advancing spiritually, he is striving to enter in. He constantly turns away from material sense, and looks towards the imperishable things of Spirit.” (cit. S5/21) This is a neat correlative passage to that idea of looking away from a physical sense to a spiritual sense of being. A spiritual sense of the Christ as never born, never dying, but as ever present and always with us.

Our spiritual sense enables us to discern divine Love and Love’s infinite, beautiful universe. It enables us to discern a perfect God and a perfect creation that is untouched by materiality. In proportion as this is done, the spiritual sense of being becomes more tangible and real to us, matter becomes less substantial, and the problems that seemed so real to us, fade away.

“Jesus vanquished every material obstacle, overcame every law of matter… crowned with the glory of a sublime success, an everlasting victory…Jesus’ deed was for the enlightenment of men and for the salvation of the whole world from sin, sickness, and death.” (cit. S3/44)

I love this idea of overcoming every material obstacle, every “law” of matter. This is something each of us can do today. Perhaps the material obstacle to overcome is a business hurdle, or a relationship problem, a health challenge, etc. These are the ways that we are able to demonstrate Christ, the true spiritual idea of God and man, as being supreme, and gain our victory. We can also note that if something isn’t from God, it is not a true “law”. God’s laws are changeless, good, universal, demonstrable, and ever-present. Only the law of God governs our body, our business, our family, our environment, etc. We can live and apply these laws today. If you’re looking for some great ideas on law, check out the pamphlet/article God’s Law of Adjustment. (The Christian Science Journal 1916)

SECTION 2 – BLESSED ARE YOU WHO BELIEVE AND UNDERSTAND REALITY.
I think we’ve all felt a little like Thomas at times. (cit. B5/John 20:24-29) Sometimes it’s just so easy to believe the physical senses and what they are telling you. “Nothing but a display of matter could make existence real to Thomas. For him to believe in matter was no task, but for him to conceive of the substantiality of Spirit — to know that nothing can efface Mind and immortality, in which Spirit reigns — was more difficult.” (cit. S8/317)

Isn’t it wonderful that divine Love is there for us even then? The Master, Jesus, still wanted Thomas to believe and helped him to see the spiritual reality that Jesus knew so clearly. Just as he lovingly reached out his hand and lifted Peter up when he started sinking in the water, the Christ tenderly reaches out and helps us see a whole new view of spiritual reality and our oneness with it; takes away our false belief of life in matter; guides and directs our thought into new, tangible views of God and spiritual man.

Then, we have the blessed benediction from Jesus to each of us: “Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” (cit. B5/John 20:29) How special that each of us are included in that blessing — those of us who weren’t with Jesus in person, but still know, believe, and understand the message of Jesus Christ and the salvation it brings.

Readers may also enjoy this podcast for additional inspiration: Don’t entertain uninvited guests—fear and doubt from Sentinel Watch.

Bible Lens Research says:
“Mary Magdalene was a respected woman out of whom Jesus had cast seven demons (likely meaning she had been healed of a serious mental or physical illness). Her mention by name over a dozen times in the New Testament—and her repeated listing as first among female adherents—attests to her leadership among the women who supported Jesus’ ministry. Her position as first witness to the resurrection, as well as her role in announcing it to the disciples, has led to a title of ‘apostle to the apostles.’”

How wonderful that Mary Magdalene is being held up as a model for discipleship. Readers may also find it interesting that Mary Baker Eddy opens the chapter Christian Science Practice in Science and Health with Mary Magdalene as being an excellent model of the tender, healing qualities that are needed in the Christian service of helping others.

SECTION 3 – OPEN PATH – “the path of the just is as the shining light…” (Prov. 4:18)
This opening verse from Proverbs (cit. B6) is such a welcoming promise! That shining light serves as a beacon for all to follow and appreciate. It warms us, inside and out, as it illumines each right next step to take. The perfect Light, Christ, is risen and forever present; following in the path of that perfect Light will reveal true justice, tender mercy, and the beneficent showering of God’s love on us all. So, what is left for us to do, if the light of Christ is risen and the path is laid out? Well, to follow! To consciously and intentionally walk as Jesus taught us and modeled for us.

The two friends walking to Emmaus were, more or less, just gossiping, weren’t they? “They talked together of all these things which had happened.” And then, the light, the actual presence, of Christ was felt. Not just talking ABOUT things, but the actual presence of reality’s activity, right here! Oh! You’ve felt like this before, haven’t you? Perhaps in a class in school, or perhaps during a Christian Science healing, or when you’ve fully grasped an athletic or musical concept? You suddenly SEE! And you see how to demonstrate, how to live what you’ve previously just been “thinking about.” That’s similar to what the two friends must have felt when they experienced the presence of Christ, and the actual, real body – the manifest concept – of Jesus. After they realized the fullness and entirety of that Christ light throughout their history, they rushed back, didn’t they? They didn’t just sit around wondering what to do now. Love MOVES! And they were obedient. And then how lovely is it, that they all got to have a meal with their best friend, their dear teacher?

Bible Lens Research sheds this light on how the walk to Emmaus illustrates Christ’s light:
“In appearing to the two travelers to Emmaus, sharing Bible passages, and joining them at a meal, Jesus confirms both his identity and his resurrection. And his characteristic compassion is evident as he patiently clarifies his place in biblical prophecy. A scholar suggests that this account ‘tells us of the ability of Jesus to make sense of things. The whole situation seemed to these two men to have no explanation. Their hopes and dreams were shattered. . . . Then Jesus came and talked with them, and the meaning of life became clear and the darkness became light.’” (Christian Science Sentinel)

Reality is not some abstract state ‘out there’ somewhere. It’s here; it’s simply a false sense of things which says that spiritual reality is somewhere else. But just because mortal sense declares that only the material is real, and that maybe spiritual stuff is real later after we die, we’re under no legitimate mandate to accept that premise. Mrs. Eddy puts it like this, in a humorous, thought-provoking question: “Because man-made systems insist that man becomes sick and useless, suffers and dies, all in consonance with the laws of God, are we to believe it? Are we to believe an authority which denies God’s spiritual command relating to perfection, — an authority which Jesus proved to be false?” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, 68:15–20)

It’s in attention to the presence of Christ, here and now – rather than gossiping or abstractly fearing or wondering about stuff – that we have our eyes opened to see even more of the unfoldment of God’s precious love for us all.

SECTION 4 – ACTION AND PATIENCE
This promise, in Bible citation 9, is a familiar one to many Bible readers. How wonderful that this is not an abstract promise for someday, but that healing is a present fact of our native capacity as God’s children. However, just as the disciples learned, this awakening of sense to a more and more spiritual view must be practiced. Sometimes I know I’ve felt quite sad that I haven’t been able to demonstrate fully what I KNOW must be true about the nature of man as God’s child, or when I haven’t felt able to “rise,” as Bible citation 12 talks about. I’m so grateful that citation 10 from Ephesians was included in this section, because it reminds me of the patience we can have with ourselves and others. We are all working “…to come [together] in the unity of the faith…” and it’s in step by step discipline and discipleship that we’ll find ourselves fully as God’s children. This article from an early Christian Science Sentinel has also been a big help to me as I work to be more patient and more devoted: Working out our problem (November 14, 1908 Christian Science Sentinel).

As Bible citation 11 (Isaiah 52:10) states, all the earth shall see God’s glory. (You are part of this, I’m part of this, your neighbor is part of it…both as witness and as manifestation of the nature of Spirit. As we’ve been learning throughout this Bible Lesson, this true spiritual sight does not depend on material processes or certain stages of life, but is always possible – seen through the lived and taught example of Christ Jesus which we are able to faithfully follow. Patient and devoted to God, we will see the risen Christ and by that light we see how God has raised us all.

 SECTION 5 – PEACE
I was so interested when I found out that part of the definition of death, as given in the Glossary chapter of Science and Health, is this: “…that which frets itself free from one belief only to be fettered by another, until every belief of life where Life is not yields to eternal Life.” (584:12–15 that) This section highlights the importance of peace, stillness, and the firm and calm assessment that Christ is indeed risen and able to show us the way forward.

We don’t have to fret. We don’t have to be afraid. Now, the worldly view is the opposite: yes, you DO need to fret or worry about your prospects, your retirement portfolio, and what this material sense report is telling you about your health. I guess the belief is that our fretting will eventually move us to do something about the issue. But how wonderful it is, that we do not need to fret. Following the implication of the spiritualized definition of death, we do not need to practice fretting – dying – in order to find a fuller sense of life. We practice real life, by engaging in the peace, vibrancy, and wholeness of divine Life itself. Not just talking ABOUT Jesus, or Christianity, or healing, but engaging WITH the presence of Christ, truly loving our neighbor as ourselves, and letting God show us what He has done.

Healing is the revealing of what God has already done; we are part of that spiritual, wonderful work. We can directly follow Mary Baker Eddy’s gentle instruction and encouragement in our closing citation, “Let us learn of the real and eternal, and prepare for the reign of Spirit, the kingdom of heaven, — the reign and rule of universal harmony, which cannot be lost nor remain forever unseen.” (SH 208:20) God loves you. You’re able to feel it, with all the peace, promise, healing, and purposeful vibrancy that divine Love includes.

Have a blessed week!


CLICK HERE for more application ideas & Bible-based GEMs from Cobbey Crisler & others! [This is largely complete, but may have additions before it is emailed.]


In CedarS online Met click on Ken Cooper’s Downloads (on top) for PDFs of these two, insightful monologues on YouTube:  The Magdalene’s Resurrection” and “Doubting Thomas”. 


CALLING ALL WATERSPORTS LOVERS AND SUPPORTERS!
We’ve been praying about the need to update CedarS 2008 Malibu ski boat and about boat shortages and the resultant high prices.  A practitioner on the case was inspired to make a timely call to a past CedarS Ski Camp coach and found out that his ski club was about to advertise  their one-owner, prime condition 2020 Malibu with relatively low hours at a very reasonable price.  We need commitments of $20,000 more THIS WEEK to make this demonstration complete! It will bless hundreds of campers & staff for years to come!  To help us seal the deal, please give online whatever you can and then text or call me at 314-378-2574 — or email warren@cedarscamps.org — that  the intent of your tax-deductible gift is to help us secure the ongoing excellence of CedarS watersports fleet.


YOUR HELP IN OTHER AREAS IS ALSO NEEDED & APPRECIATED!

 Operations Support: Especially during this year, tuition will cover less than half the cost of running camp. Donations are needed for facilities maintenance, horse care,  and preparation for summer 2022.
Endowment Matching Grant: Support current and future generations of Christian Science youth by helping CedarS to meet our $1,000,000 Endowment matching grant. We’re about halfway to our match!

With heartfelt gratitude for and to all you, greatly NEEDED and precious supporters, who continue to help CedarS give LIFELONG, DIFFERENCE-MAKING BLESSINGS to hundreds of families and thousands of individuals all across the U.S. and the world. To discuss how to play a vital, ongoing role in our work, feel free to call or text me (Warren Huff) at 314-378-2574 with your pledge or intent to give a planned gift, required IRA distribution or an endowment gift (that will be MATCHED!). Your ongoing support is needed to help us “love into view” continued, lasting blessings and legacies of love each year.

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