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“PEACE BE UNTO THEE, BE STRONG, YEA, BE STRONG.”
Metaphysical Application Ideas for The Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

Man
for February 28th – March 6th, 2022

by Christie C. Hanzlik, C.S.
Boulder, Colorado • ccern@mac.com • christiecs.com


INTRODUCTION—GOLDEN TEXT AND RESPONSIVE READING

The divine words from the book of Daniel are speaking to us directly today: “O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong.”  (Daniel 10:19, GT and Citation B20) This message is in the Golden Text (or main idea) of this week’s Lesson and is also repeated in the final section. As we read this promise, we could insert our own name in place of “man” to feel the divine words of comfort speaking to us individually.  And we can also know that these divine words are a promise to the whole human family collectively right now.  If we pray with them as a universal and collective statement, the sentence reads as comfort from our divine Parent, “O [children] greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong.”  In the context of s\scripture, it is helpful to consider the word “man” individually and collectively.

We can each discover for ourselves exactly the inspiration we need from this week’s Bible Lesson on “Man.”   Divine Mind speaks directly to each of us in the way that we can hear and understand.  The communication from divine Mind to us—called Christ—speaks clearly and comfortingly and we can recognize the Christ comfort speaking to us as the “peace be still” to our worries.  The Christ-bond unites divine Mind and man (us) without exception.  It is individual and collective.  The Christ-bond is true for each of us and for all of us, now and always.

As I read it, this week’s Bible Lesson on “Man” clarifies our Christ-bond with divine Mind.  The Christ-bond is difficult to articulate in words.  The English language has around 171,000 words, but these words still feel insufficient to describe the depth and meaning of our oneness with the divine.  Even if we draw from all the words in all the languages in the whole universe, these words still could not fully describe the awe we feel from a single moment of conscious awareness of our oneness with infinite Mind.  Philosophers of language like Ludwig Wittgenstein argue, “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world,” which basically means that if we don’t have words for something, we cannot conceive of it.  But through prayer we can overcome the limitations of language.  Spiritual inspiration enables us to move beyond words and beyond limits to conceive the infinitude of divine Mind and the Christ-bond with  divine Mind.  We can be alert and affirm that language cannot limit our inspiration or our conception of the divine.  Furthermore, our spiritual inspiration enables us to move beyond thinking of “man” as limited to the male species and we can understand “man” as encompassing all of the higher ideas of divine Mind.  “Man is the family name for all ideas, — the sons and daughters of God.” (cit. S28, 515:21)

The Christ-comfort—or divine communication—speaks to us beyond the limits of language. The Responsive Reading includes divine communication heard by the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah heard this message, “For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…You are honored, and I love you.” (Isaiah 43: 3, 4 NLT) We can take in these words, carried across the centuries as comfort today in our hour of need.  These words are speaking to each of us individually and to all of us collectively.

These words from Isaiah promise comfort as we follow the way of peace.  Those who understand their spiritual nature can feel peace like “an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” (Isaiah 43: 3-18)

Many of us are praying right now about turmoil in the Ukraine and Russia.  The promise Isaiah heard speaks directly to this situation.  Our prayer enables us to feel a true sense of “a covert from the tempest,” protection from the storm.  We can look beyond the outward appearance of war, to see the stillness of our Christ-bond sheltering us and giving each and all of us peace in the midst of turmoil.

Our eyes shall see this peace and our ears shall hear this peace.  As we read in Isaiah, “The work of righteousness is peace; and the effect of righteousness is quietness and assurance forever.”  Each of us as individuals and all of us collectively can accept the divine promise found in Isaiah: “my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.”  (Isaiah 43: 3-18)  This simple promise is a strong prayer for peace.


SECTION 1: FORM PERFECT MODELS IN THOUGHT

As I see it, the first section asks us to be willing to let go of a limited-old model for what man is and to accept an unlimited-new model.  As we read in Ephesians, we can stop repeating and rehearsing the worldly words about man—that man is full of problems and conflict and degeneration—and be willing to tune in to a divine image of man, which is pure and good.  We can set our sights on that perfect man, individually and collectively, which is one with divine Mind.  This is the true and pure and upright view of man.  This purified view is the man of peace, who exists without conflict, personal opinion, or divisiveness of any kind.  (cit. B3, Ephesians 4:22, and cit B5 Psalms 37:37)

In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy states succinctly, “In divine Science, man is the true image of God.”  This does not mean that we look at the people around us and reason that these people show us what God is like.  No.  Looking at people to determine what God is like would be making God manlike.  Instead, to understand a spiritual view of man, we focus on knowing God and then know that “man is the true image of God.”  (cit. S1, 259:6(only)) This “new” view necessitates prayer, which means turning away from a limited model of man, and being willing to “seek the new model.” (cit. S2, 409:20)

Fortunately, in Science and Health, Mary Baker Eddy gives instructions for how to turn away from the limited model of man to accept the true model, which in Ephesians is described as the “new man.”  As we read these words in Science and Health, we can know that these statements correct any limited model that we seem to have accepted into our experience, including a limited model of self, a limited model of other people, a limited model of church, a limited model of our global community, and so forth.   She writes, “What is the model before mortal mind? Is it imperfection, joy, sorrow, sin, suffering? Have you accepted the mortal model? Are you reproducing it? Then you are haunted in your work by vicious sculptors and hideous forms. Do you not hear from all mankind of the imperfect model? The world is holding it before your gaze continually. The result is that you are liable to follow those lower patterns, limit your life-work, and adopt into your experience the angular outline and deformity of matter models…

“To remedy this, we must first turn our gaze in the right direction, and then walk that way. We must form perfect models in thought and look at them continually, or we shall never carve them out in grand and noble lives. Let unselfishness, goodness, mercy, justice, health, holiness, love — the kingdom of heaven — reign within us, and sin, disease, and death will diminish until they finally disappear…”

“Let the “male and female” of God’s creating appear. Let us feel the divine energy of Spirit, bringing us into newness of life and recognizing no mortal nor material power as able to destroy. Let us rejoice that we are subject to the divine “powers that be.” Such is the true Science of being.”  (cit. S3, 248: 15-32; cit. S4, 249: 5-10)

We can be open to see as divine Love sees, know as divine Mind knows as we behold the true model of ourselves, mankind, church, and the whole global community.  We can apply the idea of forming a amore perfect model in thought to more than just self.  We can use this as a prayer for all mankind.  For example, as we “form perfect models in thought” of the universal reign of peace and global harmony “we can look at them continually” and thus “carve them out in grand and noble” global communities.

The concept of forming a more perfect model in thought could be summarized by the modern-day phrase: “visualize world peace.”  And yet, we take that phrase—“visualize world peace”— a step further when we realize that effective prayer is seeing all mankind as divine Mind sees us—perfectly, and letting go of personal sense or personal opinion of any kind.  As we do this, we can actively acknowledge that “unselfishness, goodness, mercy, justice, health, holiness, love—the kingdom of heaven…” already reign supremely and universally, within and throughout.


SECTION 2: “LET UNSELFISHNESS…REIGN WITHIN US…” (cit. S3, 248: 15-32)

The second section includes the account of Jonathan and David’s friendship, and how Jonathan helped to keep David safe from King Saul’s plot to kill David.  Jonathan stood to inherit the throne from his father, King Saul, so he had much to gain if Saul killed David.  And yet Jonathan’s unselfishness, integrity and loyalty to a higher sense of goodness would not allow him to betray his friend.  (cit B9, I Samuel 19: 1, 2, 4, 6, 7) Ultimately, Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, and pledged loyalty to David. (Samuel 20) Jonathan’s pledged his devotion to peace, friendship, and integrity rather than chasing after the temporary power and fortune he could have found in the throne.  As the son of the King, Jonathan ostensibly had more political power than David, but he showed mercy and justice to David, his brother-in-law, by alerting him to the danger from the King.  Generations later, Christ Jesus came from the House of David, and so, Jonathan’s loyal protection of David also shows the protected unfolding of the Christ idea throughout the ages.  Put simply, Jonathan’s integrity and righteousness stands as a model of what it looks like to “Let unselfishness, goodness, mercy, justice, health, holiness, love — the kingdom of heaven — reign…”  (cit. S3, 248: 15-32)

The second section includes the words from Isaiah that were also in the Responsive Reading: “And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” (cit. B7, Isaiah 32: 2)  For David, the safety provided by Jonathan’s friendship and loyalty might have felt like “a hiding place from the wind” of Saul’s tirades.  Jonathan’s character is a model of “a covert from the tempest” and “the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.”  Jonathan was a man of peace, an expression of “the true image of God.”  (cit. S1, 259:6)

Our relation to one another is through our shared understanding of good, God.  As we recognize God, good, as the true source of our unity, we feel more peaceful, genuine, and meaningful connections to one another.  True and spiritual connections are permanent as they are based on our shared understanding of good, and not on physical proximity.  Our shared understanding of good is our true link and it is our true brotherhood.  Jonathan and David had a shared understanding of good that triumphed over the tumult of Saul’s murderous plot.  This type of brotherhood transcended blood ties to result in peace and prosperity.  Mary Baker Eddy describes this type of brotherhood, “The rich in spirit help the poor in one grand brotherhood, all having the same Principle, or Father; and blessed is that man who seeth his brother’s need and supplieth it, seeking his own in another’s good.”  (cit. B8, 518: 13-19)


SECTION 3: “LET…GOODNESS..REIGN WITHIN US…” (cit. S3, 248: 15-32)

As I understand it, Section 3 provides a thoughtful pause in the Lesson to ponder the stillness and safety we feel from divine Love’s protection.   From Deuteronomy, we learn, “The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders.” (cit. B10, Deut. 33:12) It is worth pausing in prayer to ponder this prophetic promise and letting it refresh our hopes like “rivers of water in a dry place.” (cit. B7, Isaiah 32: 2)

In the face of graphic media images to the contrary, my prayer leads me to affirm that the people of the Ukraine dwell in safety right now—dwell between the strong shoulders of the Lord.  This is much more than a Pollyanna prayer of peace.  This is looking beyond the outward appearance to see their safety in “eternal history.”  As Mary Baker Eddy explains, “The relations of God and man, divine Principle and idea, are indestructible in Science; and Science knows no lapse from nor return to harmony, but holds the divine order or spiritual law, in which God and all that He creates are perfect and eternal, to have remained unchanged in its eternal history.”  (cit. S10, 470:32)

Right in the face of what appears as hatred and conflict, we can see the children of divine Mind as wrapped in safety and peace.  Right now, we are all wearing “the armor of divinity.” (marginal heading for cit. S11, 571:18) We can affirm for all mankind individually and collectively, “Clad in the panoply of Love, human hatred cannot reach you. The cement of a higher humanity will unite all interests in the one divinity.”  (cit. S11, 571:18)

The “cement of a higher humanity” is an interesting metaphor for true peace.  In a letter Mary Baker Eddy wrote to the first Christian Science church in the southern United States, in Atlanta, Georgia, she states, “… The silent prayers of our churches, resounding through the dim corridors of time, go forth in waves of sound, a diapason of heart-beats, vibrating from one pulpit to another and from one heart to another, till truth and love, commingling in one righteous prayer, shall encircle and cement the human race. …  The government of divine Love derives its omnipotence from the love it creates in the heart of man; for love is allegiant, and there is no loyalty apart from love.”
(The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, Mary Baker Eddy, pp. 187:20; 189:9–17)


SECTION 4: “LET MERCY, JUSTICE…REIGN WITHIN US…” (cit. S3, 248: 15-32)

The fourth section resumes the story of Saul trying to kill David, explaining that David continued to find refuge from Saul’s animosity.  (cit. B12, I Samuel 23: 9, 14) David’s reliance on divine Love enabled him to “dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.”  (RR, Isaiah 43: 3-18)   David’s struggles with Saul forced the future king to lean even harder on his faith.

Note that David never retaliated against Saul’s aggressiveness.  David had reasons, opportunities and means to kill Saul, but David showed mercy.  From a limited perspective, David’s mercy toward Saul might seem asinine.  But David trusted God more than his own personal opinion, and trusted that God had appointed Saul so it would be a sin against God to harm Saul.  He trusted that mercy and justice were God-directed, not human directed, and trusted in God’s supremacy.

When we find ourselves Saul-like situations and feel that the world is against us, we could be tempted to feel like we’re being targeted by hatred, animosity, injustice or malice.  We could feel tempted to feel retaliatory.  But these unloving suggestions are not personal…they have no origin.  Just as David was safe from Saul, we too can be free of Saul-like situations as we refuse to associate these unloving attributes to a particular person, and refuse to buy in to suggestions of inharmony.  As Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Nothing is real and eternal, — nothing is Spirit, — but God and His idea. Evil has no reality. It is neither person, place, nor thing, but is simply a belief, an illusion of material sense.”  (cit. S13, 71:1)

It may sometimes seem that we are our own worst enemy as we face the temptation of self-criticism, self-condemnation, or even self-loathing.  But these suggestions do not actually come from within.  These are all false opinions based on a limited view of ourselves.  As we turn away from personal opinions, and see ourselves as divine Love sees us, all self-condemnation stops.  Personal opinion is also known as “personal sense,” which means looking at ourselves and others from a limited perspective and not from divine Mind’s unlimited and all-loving perspective.  Through prayer, we can eliminate personal sense.  When self-critical suggestions come at us, we can STOP and affirm, “These are not my thoughts.  These thoughts do not come from me or divine Mind.”  Self-condemning suggestions may make us feel as if we have our own personal Saul chasing after us.  But we don’t.  We are safe from personal sense (and personal Saul) as we yield to divine Mind’s authority. As Mary Baker Eddy explains, “In patient obedience to a patient God, let us labor to dissolve with the universal solvent of Love the adamant of error, — self-will, self-justification, and self-love, — which wars against spirituality and is the law of sin and death.” (cit. S14, 242: 15)

We can also apply this concept on a global scale.  It could feel tempting to let hatred or resentment or desire for retaliation toward a despotic ruler or enemy eat away at us.  We may feel justified to be angry or impatient, and yet we know that this is not the way to health and holiness.  Anger is not the way to peace.  Mary Baker Eddy writes from experience when she explains, “Friends will betray and enemies will slander, until the lesson is sufficient to exalt you; for “man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.” The author has experienced the foregoing prophecy and its blessings. Thus He teaches mortals to lay down their fleshliness and gain spirituality. This is done through self-abnegation. Universal Love is the divine way in Christian Science.”  (cit. S15, 266:13)


SECTION 5 “LET…HOLINESS…REIGN WITHIN US…” (cit. S3, 248: 15-32)

Section 5 opens with the promising message from first John, that though we may not yet fully understand everything about ourselves, we do have a model to look at—the Christ—and as we hold the Christlike model in thought….”we shall be like him.” (cit. B14, I John, 3:1-3)

Christ is the communication from divine Mind to us, which makes us aware of our inseparability.  To be the Christlike man is to be the man who is constantly aware of our oneness with divine Mind, and is constantly hearing and knowing the thoughts of divine Mind.  While this may seem like an impossibility, we have the model of Christ Jesus as our way-shower, to show us the way to health and holiness, to show us that this is possible.  We do not find health and holiness from following a worldly model for what we should be.  We find health and holiness from letting the will of divine Mind fill our every thought.  In Romans, we read, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (cit. B15, Romans 12: 2, ESV)

Mary Baker Eddy offers insight on turning away from the worldly model of what we should be.  She writes, “In a world of sin and sensuality hastening to a greater development of power, it is wise earnestly to consider whether it is the human mind or the divine Mind which is influencing one.”  (cit. S16, 82:31-2)

We can all look beyond a limited model for existence.  As Mary Baker Eddy states, “Mortals must look beyond fading, finite forms, if they would gain the true sense of things. Where shall the gaze rest but in the unsearchable realm of Mind? We must look where we would walk, and we must act as possessing all power from Him in whom we have our being.” (cit. S17, 264:7)

The process of accepting and following a higher model of existence may seem daunting, like a huge unclimbable mountain.  But the process starts with willingness.  As Mary Baker Eddy explains, “Willingness to become as a little child and to leave the old for the new, renders thought receptive of the advanced idea. Gladness to leave the false landmarks and joy to see them disappear, — this disposition helps to precipitate the ultimate harmony. The purification of sense and self is a proof of progress.”  (cit. S18: 323: 32-5)

We will not find perfection if we look to people around us or people on magazine covers as the model for what we should be.  Instead, our perfection comes from a realization of our inseparability from divine Mind, that we are actually divine Mind’s idea—how can an idea be separate from the Mind that thinks it?  As we see this model of perfection, and realize that we actually already have it, perfection is our experience.  As Mary Baker Eddy explains, “The great truth in the Science of being, that the real man was, is, and ever shall be perfect, is incontrovertible; for if man is the image, reflection, of God, he is neither inverted nor subverted, but upright and Godlike.”  (cit. S19, 200:16)


SECTION 6: “LET…HEALTH…REIGN WITHIN US…” (cit. S3, 248: 15-32)

The sixth section includes the story of the woman with the issue of blood who touches the hem of Christ Jesus’ garment.  To me, this woman extending her arm to touch the hem of Christ Jesus’ garment exemplifies the “willingness” to look at a new model for health.  (cit. B18, Luke 8: 40, 43-48)  She was willing to shake off the old view of herself, and reach toward a higher model—the Christlike model—of being.

It was Christ Jesus’ mission to reveal the Christlike model of being to us, individually and collectively.  As Mary Baker Eddy writes, “His mission was to reveal the Science of celestial being, to prove what God is and what He does for man.” (cit. S22, 26:12)

As we willingly reach toward this Christlike model, we too will find true health, both in body and in the world.  While there may be many worldly models of what health looks like, they all include death…a so-called end to being.  The true model for health does not include death.  The true model for health is harmonious being.  Being is eternal, without start and without end.  Our being is defined by our Christ-bond with eternal Mind. As long as divine Mind knows us, we exist and have our being.  Since divine Mind knows all, and has no beginning or end, there is no moment in which our being is unknown, and thus our being always is, and always is harmonious.

As we feel our Christ-bond, and know ourselves as divine Mind knows us, this understanding becomes our experience.  If we find ourselves in a situation in which we’re not feeling this Christ-bond, we can metaphorically reach for the hem of Christ’s garment, and reach out for this new model of being.  As with the woman with the issue of blood, our first step is to reach beyond the “fading finite forms” that describe how “the blood rushes madly through the veins or languidly creeps along its frozen channels.”  (cit. S25, 373: 21-22, 27-2) And instead, we reach toward the Christ-view, and “Let unselfishness, goodness, mercy, justice, health, holiness, love — the kingdom of heaven — reign within us, and sin, disease, and death will diminish until they finally disappear.”  (cit. S3, 248: 15-32)


SECTION 7: “LET…LOVE—THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN—…REIGN WITHIN US…”  cit. S3, 248: 15-32)

The final section opens with another prophetic promise from divine Mind, “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” ( cit. B19, Jeremiah 31:3)  As I understand it, this promise tells us that just as we are reaching out toward divine Love, divine Love is drawing us in also.  It is comforting to know that divine Love is actively embracing us, promising us individually and collectively, “O [children] greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong.” (cit. B20, Daniel 10:19)

If we are still and listen, we can hear divine Mind’s promise to us, “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day.” (cit. B22, I Thessalonians 5: 5)

The prophetic promises in the Scriptures from Jeremiah, Daniel, Paul and others speak to us above the clamor of world events.  These prophets each lived in a time of despotism, war, and famine and yet could see the Christlike view—the true view—of comfort and safety.  They saw that man—”the children of light, and the children of the day”—are eternally out of the reach of hatred and animosity, beyond the reach of any personal Saul or personal sense.

As Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Man is the idea of Spirit; he reflects the beatific presence, illuming the universe with light. Man is deathless, spiritual. He is above sin or frailty. He does not cross the barriers of time into the vast forever of Life, but he coexists with God and the universe.” (cit. B29, 266:27)

In the inspired understanding of Scripture, the word “man” is not defined as male.  It includes all of us, individually and collectively.  The promises divine Mind makes to “man” are promises to us as individuals and also true for the whole universal family.  These promises can help us in a time in which war threatens violence and destruction to discover peace and safety—true holiness.

We can discover that the Kingdom of Heaven reigns within us, individually and collectively.  Kingdom of Heaven, as Mary Baker Eddy defines it, is “The reign of harmony in divine Science; the realm of unerring, eternal, and omnipotent Mind; the atmosphere of Spirit, where Soul is supreme.” (SH, p. 590:1)  What a simple and profound prayer to know that we each and all have the Kingdom of Heaven reigning within us.

We each forever reflect the unselfishness, goodness, mercy, justice, health, holiness, love of divine Mind, which is not gendered and not limited to a particular time or space.  As Mary Baker Eddy states, “Man and woman as coexistent and eternal with God forever reflect, in glorified quality, the infinite Father-Mother God.” (cit. S30, 516: 21)


Click here for an audio Sunday Bonus of an Advance GEM with APPLICATION IDEAS & a BIBLE-BASED GEM FROM COBBEY CRISLER.  More insights and applications WILL BE EMAILED LATER IN THE WEEK to ALL CedarS “Met” subscribers. If you want to keep this and other insightful (and free) inspiration coming, PLEASE click the “Update Profile” link at the bottom of this email.When you do, you will receive an email to confirm which CedarS inspirational email offerings you wish to  keep receiving.   


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