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LET LIFE LIVE YOU TO THE FULLEST!
YIELD TO GOD’S LAW OF ETERNAL LIFE HERE AND NOW!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for The Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

Life”
for January 10 to January 16, 2022

by Kathy Fitzer
Lake St. Louis, MO    kathyfitzer@gmail.com


It’s time for the “synonym lessons”!  This week we get to dive into God as Life. As a name for God, Life must be synonymous with Principle, Mind, Soul, Spirit, Truth and Love (the other Biblically-based names for God discerned by Mary Baker Eddy.)  Is there anything limited or limiting in that list?  Nope!  So, what does that say about that which would try to limit the full expression of Life? Such things as stress, time-crunch, limited resources, inharmony, conflict, sickness, sin, and death have no place in Life!  As we understand, and live in accord with, the true nature of Life, anything unlike eternal, unchanging, limitless Life must disappear from view!  I may have mentioned this before, but a landmark healing for me happened many years ago when my children were young.  I often felt pressured and stressed.  At one point, I experienced heart difficulty.  The healing came with the realization that rather than me struggling to live life, Life was living me!  I have had no more heart problems.

THE GOLDEN TEXT from Deuteronomy instructs us to “Love the Lord your God.  Obey him.  Stay close to him. He is your life.” (Deut. 30: 20, ICB).  It seems to me that only by recognizing God as our life are we able to stay close to (be at-one with) God, Life.  As we stay close to Life, we are able to love Life, and able to act in obedience (in response) to that love, which enables us to feel Life living us! I’m reminded of the opening sentence of the preface of Science and Health: “To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, to-day is big with blessings.” (vii: 1-2) It is impossible to lean on something without being close to it.  The rest of the Lesson unpacks Life as this sustaining infinite that constitutes the only real life, which is forever unlimited.


THE RESPONSIVE READING reminds us of God’s covenant, and urges us to make a renewed commitment to that covenant — as it did the Children of Israel on the eve of their passage into the Promised Land. God provides a place for each one.  Our “promised land” is more than a physical place (although it includes a sense of established home).  As the new president of The Mother Church said at the 1906 Annual Meeting, speaking of Christian Science and the church representing it, “The way out of the wilderness of human beliefs has been revealed. Through the understanding of God as an ever-present help, the sick are being healed, the shackles of sin are being broken, heavy burdens are being laid down, tears are being wiped away, and Israel is going up to possess the promised land of eternal, harmonious existence.” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 43:32)

The Responsive Reading also makes it clear what is required in order to experience the blessings of this promised land, that is available to all.  We must listen to God, love God, “walk in his ways,” and keep His commandments.  We don’t do those things to earn God’s love, grace, and blessings.  Think about why you follow directions when building or baking something, why you obey traffic laws, play the notes written on a piece of music, or use the numbers specified in an equation.  It’s not to earn the right to have things go right.  You are simply harmonizing with the established law governing those activities.  So, by obeying God’s law, and loving God and man, we are harmonizing with the Law of Good, and can expect to experience God’s kingdom.


SECTION 1: WALK WITH GOD TO EXPERIENCE THE FREEDOM OF LIFE

We read about Enoch in this section. Enoch (like Elijah) didn’t go through a “death process”.  Instead, we’re told that he “walked with God: and he was not”.  (citation B5, Genesis 5: 21, 22, 24) To me, this shows that death isn’t inevitable — although we won’t be on this earth forever.  And, it shows us how to let Life live us.  The “Bible Lens” in this week’s Sentinel shared this idea about what it means to “walk with God.” It is to “comply with [God’s] will, to concur with His designs and to be workers together with Him.”  That seems very similar to what the Responsive Reading said we need to do as part of the established covenant with God, as well as Moses’ instructions from Deuteronomy 6 in this section. (cit. B4, Deuteronomy 6:4, 5, 13, 18, 24)

If we are to comply with God’s will and love Him and serve Him, we need to know God! The definitions of God and Life in this section help us do just that.  God is not a person — is not corporeal (does not have a material body) and can’t be confined to a human form.  God is supreme (the highest and most excellent) — so there is no power than can overthrow God — nothing that can overthrow Life, Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Truth, Love (citation S1; 465:8-10).  The definition of Life makes it clear that time and matter have no place in Life eternal.  Later sections go into more detail on that.  But, basically, time and matter limit and erode.  If they were elements of Life, at some point God, Spirit, would no longer be supreme. Life would no longer be alive, Truth would no longer be true, and Love would no longer love (cit. S2; 468:25-3).  All of that is impossible!

Understanding that takes off the pressure of time-crunch, comparison, pressure of all sorts. It seems I continue to have to demonstrate this.  I tend to let things I have to do — even little responsibilities — build up in my head until they seem a bit overwhelming.  But, as I practice, I am able to more quickly shift my perspective, be still, and know that Life is living me (taking care of every detail) rather than me trying to live life. Our only job is to “work out [our] own salvation” and the best news is that “God “worketh with [us]”! (cit. S4; 22:11-12) So, as Enoch “walked with God”, we can yield to God’s direction, trust God’s care, and obey His commands by loving — loving God, others, and what we are being called on to do!  That doesn’t always seem easy, but by being still and giving up a false sense of our life separate from Life divine, we can experience greater and greater freedom.


SECTION 2: DEBUNKING THE BELIEF OF TIME

This section has several Bible stories that illustrate that the standard by which we measure time — movement around the sun — is a fraud.  If time has nothing to do with Life, all that really exists is now.  I realized — as I was beating myself up for once again not being as efficient as I would have liked to have been — that this presents the opportunity for fresh beginnings every moment.  I will continue to strive to use every moment to follow Mind’s direction and love to the fullest.  But if I have “wasted my time”, there is no reason to waste more with regret.  I can start now to obey God without looking back at past mistakes.  Refusing to ruminate is part of gaining dominion. As St. Paul puts it: “…  as many as be perfect, be thus minded: …  forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before…” (Philippians 3:15, 13)

This section has several examples of time not being the solid measuring stick it seems to be.  The shadow on the sundial moved backwards as a sign to Hezekiah that God had heard his prayers and would heal him (cit. B8; Isaiah 38:1, 2-5, 7-9, 19). The reference in Habakkuk to the sun and moon standing still goes back to Joshua’s experience when he was leading the Israelite army. (cit. B9; Habakkuk 3:2, 20, 11). In response to Joshua’s prayer, the day was lengthened so the Amorites couldn’t reorganize a new defense against Israel. Israel prevailed (Joshua 10:12-13). Time is not a solid reality, but yields to God’s ever-presence.

In Ecclesiastes, the Teacher speaks about the unchanging nature of Life.  As one translation puts it: “Everything that happens has happened before, and all that will be has already been— God does everything over and over again” (cit. B10, Ecclesiastes 3:5 CEV).  Jesus illustrated a similar idea of no starting and stopping when he explained to his listeners, “Before Abraham was, I am” (cit. B11, John 8:58).  Abraham was here for a finite period of time, but the Christ exists forever as the expression of God, Life.  As Mary Baker Eddy explains, “the Christ is without beginning of years or end of days” (cit. S6, 333:16).  She says very bluntly “Organization and time have nothing to do with Life” (cit. S5, 249:19-20).

So, why is understanding this so important?  Because when we think about organization and time in a traditional way we are always dealing with finiteness, limits, and a sense of pressure. The potential to be boxed in is always there.  Whether the suggestion is limited opportunity, limited years to live, limited experience, or any kind of pressure, understanding that man is coexistent with limitless Life frees us to see the good already present. We read, “Mind measures time according to the good that is unfolded” (cit. S10, 584:4-6). Rather than working to change “chaos into order,” we can think of watching God’s goodness unfold. (SH 255:3) Instead of watching the clock and calendar, we need to stay focused on every step of progress or unfoldment.  Rather than thinking in terms of time left, value each moment!  By doing that, little things become apparent that might have gone unnoticed, and seemingly impossible tasks are completed!


SECTION 3: ETERNAL LIFE DEFINED

Not only is Life not measured by time, but it is, in fact, eternal. That means, “without beginning or end; always existing; immutable.” And, as the image of God (or Life), our lives are eternal, as well.  A convoluted view of that fact could make us think we are forever stuck in the ups and downs that we have come to know as human life.  Or, that it doesn’t matter what we do because we have eternity to figure things out. We may think that someday we will achieve something like perpetual bliss — but we might think that could be kind of boring, too.  I really liked something that the “Bible Lens” in the Sentinel had to say about Jesus’ promise to us of eternal life (cit. B14, I John 2:25).  Quoting a Biblical authority, it said, this life “is not of infinite duration in some utopian future. It is, instead, life possessing a radically indestructible quality that even now transcends this world’s evanescence.”  That means quickly fading, by the way.  Think about how freeing it would be to truly understand (and thus demonstrate) the fact that nothing can interrupt Life expressed as vitality, movement, health, abundance, unfoldment, agelessness (neither too young or too old), fulfilling activity and accomplishment, etc. Nothing can cause your expression of that divine Life to fade in any way!

Eternal life is the reality now.  The question is how to experience this harmony of unchanging good.  Christian Science teaches us to shift our perspective to see through the mist of mortal sense to find the real — to “shape our views of existence into loveliness, freshness, and continuity, rather than into age and blight” (cit. S16, 246:27). When a man asked Jesus how to have eternal life, Jesus simply tells him to “keep the commandments” — that is obey God’s law (cit. B12, Matthew 19:1, 16, 17).  We, as individuals, and our world as a whole, would benefit greatly by an atmosphere of thought that had only one Love; that didn’t bow down to the idols of fear, disease, and hate (but saw them as the inverted sense of things that they are); that trusted God to answer our prayers; that remembered to be still and rest in Truth; that honored God as the Father and Mother of all; that didn’t kill (or even get angry); that kept promises; that didn’t steal another’s joy, ideas, or possessions; that saw the real man of God’s creating right where a sick or sinning man appears; and that didn’t covet the good of another but rejoiced in it.  I challenge each of us to make a more concerted effort to watch thought more carefully moment by moment, day by day, and realize that God’s law is the only law — and it is natural for everyone to reflect that law.


SECTION 4:  LIFE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH MATTER

In order to experience eternal Life, we have to fully accept and embrace Mary Baker Eddy’s realization that “Life is, always has been, and ever will be independent of matter” (cit. S17, 200:9). Being independent means “not [being] subject to the control of”; “not relying on another or others for aid or support’ “not contingent upon something else for existence, operation, etc.”  Being independent from matter (from mortality; illusion; non-intelligence; limitation) means we are free to break every barrier, conquer every fear, overcome every sin, disease and form of death.

We have Biblical authority for asserting our independence and realizing the promise that “When we realize that Life is Spirit, never in nor of matter, this understanding will expand into self-completeness, finding all in God, good, and needing no other consciousness” (cit. S23, 264:15) How freeing to not feel we need to check in with the body or the bank account, or any kind of statistic to see how we’re doing — but rather just check with what God (Life, Truth, and Love) know about us and every situation.  Not only does the first chapter of Genesis outline the reality of the spiritual (and only) creation, but the psalmist says of God, Spirit, “Thou madest [man] to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under [man’s] feet” (cit. B15, Psalm 8:1, 4, 6). We can think about dominion as having power, or reigning.  When it seems something is trying to overthrow that power, we declare our dominion and mentally stomp down the suggestion — as if we were stomping out a fire or breaking up debris with our feet.

Jesus demonstrated this control over the suggestions of material belief when he healed.  After healing the man who was thought to be “possessed with a devil,” he disputed the suggestion that he healed by using the power of the devil.  He pointed out that this would lead to a divided house that could not stand (cit. B18, Matthew 12:22-28). Darkness can’t destroy darkness.  A lie can’t correct another lie.  Matter can’t heal matter.

So today, when it looks like a material drug is destroying disease, we have to see that all that drug does is change the belief.  The result may be temporary relief of the problem — but it doesn’t truly heal.  Even if we feel we need to temporarily turn to the use of material means, our work must continue in our efforts to see that Life (expressed as our life) truly is independent of matter. Thus, it is independent of disease, accident, aging, etc.

Healing and true freedom will only come as that fact becomes more real than the belief that we live in matter and are subject to matter’s laws.  As we read in modern translations of John 6:63, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh conveys no benefit [it is of no account]. (cit. B19, AMP).  Matter can neither help nor hurt us.  But, we have to follow Jesus’ example and know so clearly that “Life is … independent of matter” that we demonstrate freedom for ourselves and others (cit. S17, 200:9).


SECTION 5:  THE SUPREMACY OF LIFE DESTROYS SIN AND DEATH                               

As I worked with this section, I was reminded of Paul’s words to the Corinthians, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (I Corinthians 15:22) The story of Adam is one of a man made from dust (matter), who yielded to temptation and sin, and was expelled from his home (from harmony, the Kingdom, the Promised Land, so to speak). It’s tempting to take that on as our story.  But, Christ Jesus reversed that picture. He taught and demonstrated the freedom that comes from starting from the standpoint of man’s innocent, sinless, divine nature, being at one with God, and abiding in the Kingdom which is always at hand.

Later in that same chapter, Paul wrote, “the sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.” He then added this marvelous promise, “Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (cit. B21, I Corinthians 15:55-57). I found it helpful to check out translations for this citation in biblegateway.com.  This is from The Voice: “Hey, Death! What happened to your big win? Hey, Death! What happened to your sting? Sin came into this world, and death’s sting followed. Then sin took aim at the law and gained power over those who follow the law. Thank God, then, for our Lord Jesus, the Anointed, the Liberating King, who brought us victory over the grave.”

Running through the Lesson has been the directive and promise that obedience to God (and His law) leads to Life!  So, I had to really think about Paul’s use of law here. Among other things, I found looking at Romans chapters 5 and 7 helpful. What came to me is that disobedience becomes more apparent as it is uncovered by the law (as in the Commandments.). If we look at obedience to the law as simply trying to humanly follow the “thou shalt nots”, we’ll likely find ourselves fighting a losing battle.

We can’t allow ourselves to start from the Adam perspective of being limited mortals subject to temptation.  Jesus fulfilled the true law of God through the light of Christ. He revealed our inheritance as heirs of God, having been given dominion over the creeping things that would tempt us.  Understanding God’s law to be the law of Love, we can take the Commandments as a description of what it is our nature to be and do.  For instance, it is our nature to have one God, to not kill or even be angry, to not bear false witness or covet, etc. Then, we no longer see ourselves as subject to temptation and punishment, but free to experience the promise of eternal life.

Jesus promised, “whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” (cit. B22, John 11:26).  Mary Baker Eddy writes about this verse, “That is, he who perceives the true idea of Life loses his belief in death” (cit. S24, 324:32-2). Through her quiet prayers and perception of this true idea of Life, the founder of Christian Science restored Mr. Clark to complete health, despite the doctor’s prediction of death (cits. S25 & S26, 192:32-4; 193:7-14, 32-2).

God has called us to accept the gift of eternal life.  We don’t overcome sin and death through human will. But, step-by-step, as we persistently start from the basis of man as made in God’s image, and maintain the fact that “nothing really has Life but God, who is infinite Life,” we will demonstrate our freedom from the belief of sin and death — as Jesus did — through God’s grace (cit. S27, 253:28).  As we yield to God’s law of Life and Love, the belief of sin and the possibility of death, or separation from Life, will fade away.

As I think about New Year’s resolutions, I’m trying to make them less about what I hope to do or not do, and more about yielding to God’s will, which leads me (and all) to naturally express the fullness of Life!


SECTION 6:  DWELL IN THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF LOVE FOREVER

The Lesson opened with the promise (in the Responsive Reading) that God has provided a dwelling place (a promised land) for His people.  It now closes with the renewed promise that we “will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”  (cit. B24, Psalm 23:6) Mary Baker Eddy describes this “house of the Lord” as “the consciousness of Love” (SH 578:17). Love and Life being synonyms of (or names for) God, could we not say that we shall dwell in the “consciousness of Life” forever.  Dwelling in that consciousness leaves no room for limitation or the stoppage of good in any form.

Again, the way to experience this sense of Life, that is actually ever-present, is to test every thought that comes to us.  Think of it as tasting each thought as you might taste food. If it is good, you swallow it (the food or the thought).  If it’s bad, you spit it out. Then it has no power to contaminate. In essence, this is following the directive, “Depart from evil and do good; seek peace, and pursue it” (cit. B21, Psalm 34:8, 12, 14).

The question to ask, as we read in the Christian Science textbook, is … “Am I living the life that approaches the supreme good?”  (cit. S32, 496:9-13). Then, answer honestly and make whatever adjustments are necessary. Love is indeed leading you and Life is indeed living you!  We are all free to yield to that Life and Love!


CLICK HERE for more application ideas & Bible-based GEMs from Cobbey Crisler & others! [This is complete and was emailed.]


Ken Cooper’s insightful POETIC PRELUDE” brings to life
Bible
EXAMPLES of the Science of Christ & its power to bless YOU & all mankind!

PDF copies are available under Downloads in the online version of  this Met.


THANKING ALL WATERSPORTS SUPPORTERS!
All our prayers about the need to update CedarS 2008 Malibu ski boat have brought steady and much appreciated progress!!   We now need only $1,600 to seal the deal! If it’s a right idea for you to give online whatever you can or by check please just 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. Virtual hugs in advance!!


HUMBLE, HEARTFELT THANKS TO YOU HUNDREDS OF DONORS WHO HELPED US MEET BOTH OUR $75,000 WATERSLIDE RENOVATION GOAL
AND OUR $150,000 OPERATIONS GOAL TO FEED OUR HERD, MAINTAIN OUR CAMPSITE, AWARD CAMPERSHIPS…


LASTLY WE ARE FOREVER BEYOND GRATEFUL for a multi-year Endowment Matching Grant!  We’re just over halfway to our match and making steady planned giving progress.  Thank you for helping us share a love of Christian Science and its practical application with generations to come.

To discuss how to join me and many others in playing 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, a 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.  With heartfelt gratitude for, and to, all you greatly NEEDED and precious supporters who continue to help CedarS EACH YEAR in giving LIFELONG, DIFFERENCE-MAKING BLESSINGS to hundreds of families and thousands of individuals all across the U.S. and the world.

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