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Ken Cooper’s “POETIC PRELUDE” for the
Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on “Everlasting Punishment” for 10-31-2021

[Ken writes:] “The Golden Text for this week’s lesson on Everlasting Punishment resonates with the hope that no matter how bad things seem, God is there to answer our pleas. There is nowhere where His help cannot be found, and therefore no everlasting punishment is ever possible. Consolidating the various translations the Golden Text can be rendered thus: “Please listen, God, and answer my prayer! Respond to the cry from my heart! When I feel I am at the distant ends of the earth, so very far from home,  I will cry out to you for Your help and guidance. When I’m overwhelmed by life itself, guide me to the towering rock that gives me safety way above my fears.” This plea is answered in the last verse of the Responsive Reading:The eternal God is thy refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms.”  This is all we need to know! Wherever we are, we are always at One with Him; there is nowhere else one can be.

“So, the infinity of God is all there is and all we can know. “All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation” (SH 468:10-11). There is no such thing as punishment, for there is no concept of anything unlike good that actually exists. What we have is all that God sees, and all that God sees is very good. In my shared Sentinel poem “I AM THAT I AM”   we learn of the all-inclusive nature of God. This declaration by God was not just for Moses, but stands for ever, and is so well described by Mary Baker Eddy in Science & Health citation 9/252:15-19 (next page). There has never been a situation where “I AM THAT I AM” has not been present and complete. Any thing unlike God does not exist, has no power, no threat, no kingdom. When we turn to God, we share His everlasting kingdom. Wherever we turn, Father-Mother Love is already there.

“The poem summarizes God as “Love, the only presence”, “Mind, the only consciousness”, “Truth the only reality”, there is only “Principle and its idea. God is always speaking as the Word, man is ever listening and reflecting. This is an everlasting relationship always happening NOW, and NOW is for ever. It is God expressed, the beautiful on-going perfection of God’s Word speaking. “No shadow, no doubt, no argument”, “nothing to forgive, nothing to heal”– no punishment, for all is the present joy of “Perfect God and perfect man”. (see Science & Health p. 259:11). It is why we are here, and God won’t punish us for that! God can only bless. The psalmist is clear: (Bible citation 6/Psalm 37:37) Perfection and peace prove the nothingness of punishment.

“And we are here at peace in the Kingdom of heaven, not the Garden of Eden!  Mary Baker Eddy writes: “The name Eden, according to Cruden, means pleasure, delight. In this text Eden stands for the mortal, material body.” (Science & Health 526:29–1). It is this mortal body that the subtle serpent teased with its lies, and we see in Section 4 how it has become a great red dragon! No matter! It is cast back to the earth, dust to dust. In the poem “Now is come Salvation” we see the attempts of wrong thinking to ensnare us, but rejoice in the recognition of present and everlasting salvation, — the presence of Love embracing our very being. As the “now” is always perfect, we need never be concerned with the past or the future. The poem finishes with the words “In Love I am held”, — this is the present reality, and there are no exceptions. When we are held in Love the emptiness of everlasting punishment is proved, for Love is in control, only Love is being expressed.

“The concept of everlasting punishment is based on any wrongs that we do living after us. The story of Saul / Paul in Section 5 silences these thoughts. The track record of Saul in the death of so many good Christians was overturned by the track record of the life of so many more. His achievements belied his past. The monologue “The Mother of Eutychus” traces his past, but also shares in the wonderful works he achieved. The best punishment for wrong doing is right doing, overcoming evil with active good. What a wonderful example Paul gives to us of what can happen when we see the light of Christ. As he says in Galatians: “It is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me” (see Galatians 2:20). The mortal (everlasting punishment) is gone and the immortal (perfect Life) is revealed.

“In the infinity that is God there is only good. God is All-in-all. The eternal punishment of everlasting punishment is its ever-nothingness. The only real everlasting is God: All-good, expressed as man. When we live in this infinity of good, what greater freedom can we express: nothing limits our expression of God, – in other words, our expression of Love, Life, Truth is unlimited. Not everlasting punishment, but everlasting freedom, harmony and blessing. Now. Yours.”

Copies of the poems are available in pdf format in color and B&W as DOWNLOADS at the top right of the online version of this Poetic Prelude to this week’s Bible Lesson as well as of CedarS online Met this week.  (Audio of the Met soon to be emailed…) The full range of Ken’s videos can be found on KenGCooperPoetry.  Ken’s email is kengcooper@btinternet.com.

 

 

 

 

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