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Open your eyes to the light of Christ today!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“REALITY”
for March 21-27, 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

This Bible Lesson talks about all the ways we can be open and receptive to perceiving God’s reality, God’s universe, as spiritual and perfect. From seeing a universe that is in total harmony to perceiving the message of the Christ, this Lesson has many wonderful themes having to do with spiritual sense and spiritual discernment. Notice all the many references to look, see, behold, gaze, witness, look away from, perceive, etc. Consider highlighting these as you study this week. Let’s enjoy seeing with our spiritual sense this week and perceiving more of the healing message of Christ.

You may enjoy exploring the article titled Perception from The Christian Science Journal for additional ideas!


GOLDEN TEXT

Blessed art thou, O Lord: . . . Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.– Psalms 119:12, 18

From the Glossary of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures:

“EYES. Spiritual discernment, — not material but mental.  Jesus said, thinking of the outward vision, ‘Having eyes, see ye not?’” (Mark viii. 18.)(Science and Health, p. 586:3–6)

Right away, with the mention of eyes, this tells us that this Lesson is going to be all about our inner vision – our spiritual discernment – that opens up our perception to see and know our true nature as spiritual, perfect, and free. This is the spiritual perception that God is seeing and knowing, and which Christ Jesus came to model for us.

Every healing is a revealing of what God is already seeing and knowing. So these prayers, such as “open thou mine eyes” are wonderful petitions for wanting our eyes to be open more and more to discern spiritually what God has made. After all, God saw everything that was made and it was very good. Certainly this is a view that we don’t want to miss for a moment! So, being humble and willing to have our spiritual eyes, our inner vision, be open to what God is seeing and knowing, brings healing.

“The law, so conceived, is perfect. It brings the promise of salvation and is therefore the sure ground of hope and the source of life…it means liberty, peace, and protection. It can be spoken of in these terms because it is the same creative word by which the universe and the psalmist himself were made and because it represents God’s name (i.e. his lifegive presence) and his steadfast (saving) love.” (The Interpreter’s One-Volume Commentary on the Bible, p. 121)


RESPONSIVE READING

The Responsive Reading continues with these themes of law and all that the law of God does for us including “enlightening the eyes”! Opening up our spiritual sense to behold wondrous things!

“Bible Lens” has this to add about Isaiah 60:1:

“‘Arise, shine’ is a reminder of Zion’s divine heritage—uprightness and light, not prostration and darkness. Later Christian interpretation is explained by a scholar this way: ‘The light here referred to is evidently that of the gospel; and when the prophet says that that light ‘is come,’ he . . . sees in vision the Messiah as having already come, and as pouring the light of salvation on a darkened church and world. . . .’ Glory is a vital concept in both Hebrew and Greek scriptural texts. Here the term is translated from the Hebrew noun kābôd, encompassing honor, abundance, riches, and splendor. God’s people are to arise in response to His glory, and to shine as the rising sun.’” (Bible Lens commentary, Christian Science Sentinel)

This reminds me of another statement from Christ Jesus:
“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) I love this idea of abundant life – a cup running over. Not just getting by, but really living the fullness of joy and vitality of God, Spirit, each moment. This can be done in quiet activities or in grand endeavors. It is done moment by moment, no matter what we are doing, in our conscious communion with God – with thoughts that are imbued with the spirituality and goodness of Christ.


SECTION 1 – PERCEIVE REALITY & THE UNIVERSE AS TOTALLY SPIRITUAL & HARMONIOUS

“Reality is spiritual, harmonious, immutable, immortal, divine, eternal.” (citation S4/SH p. 335)
This statement about the perfection of God and all that God creates is the basis for our prayers. If whatever circumstance we are dealing with is not lining up with this view of a perfect God and perfect universe, then it can be corrected through applying the Truth of being to the situation and expecting to see healing results.

I love praying with the idea of a spiritual universe – it enables our prayers to get so much bigger. God is the life of all things – that means stars, leaves, lions, birds, etc. God has created perfect oneness – all ideas living in perfect harmony. No-one dependent on each other, but each one drawing their supply directly from their Source, God, and woven into a fabric of seamless being where there is no discord.

God is the consciousness of all things. She, God, is expressing Herself in infinite Life – in a spiritual universe and creation. Our spiritualized thought opens up the ability to see, discern, this  perfect reality. Then, solutions and healing come to the surface.

A universe of God’s creating is balanced. There can’t be anything out of order. A universe of God’s creating is fully supplied by God – that means that God is the actual sustaining infinite of each embodiment of creation. Each whale, polar bear, dog, panda, etc is actually a manifestation of a divine idea and is therefore sustained eternally by God.

Here are a few related passages that have been helpful to me in praying about the universe:

“Man in the likeness of God as revealed in Science cannot help being immortal. Though the grass seemeth to wither and the flower to fade, they reappear.”  (Science and Health, p. 81)

“In divine Science, the universe, including man, is spiritual, harmonious, and eternal.”  (Ibid p. 114:27–29)

“Hence man and the spiritual universe coexist with God.”  (Ibid, p. 267:11)

“Life is never for a moment extinct.”  (Ibid, p. 309:29–30)

“The universe of Spirit is peopled with spiritual beings, and its government is divine Science.”  (Ibid p. 264:32–1)

“Therefore the spiritual universe is good, and reflects God as He is.”  (Ibid p. 286:19)

This can give real “oomph” to our prayers regarding the environment, climate change, and the other problems the world seems to face.


SECTION 2 – PERCEIVING WHAT’S REALLY VALUABLE AND WORTHY

Have you ever been disappointed after receiving everything you thought you wanted? I sure have.

I have a hobby of playing board games, and over the past several years that hobby has definitely included more collecting than playing. Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with collections, but in this case, I kept finding that I’d get really excited about a new game, do research into the rules, read reviews, and find that “Yes! This is definitely for me! What a great time I and my friends will have playing this!” and then I’d get the game and, sure, it was fun…but there seemed to be a letdown.

As I looked back recently over these experiences, I realized that I fundamentally seemed to think that getting a new thing was going to make me happier. And, of course, new stuff can’t make someone happy. Instead, we bring our happiness to a new purchase or a new experience; in other words, new opportunities and things are avenues to see a new view of happiness. But they’re not going to deliver more happiness.

True substance, purpose, capacity, are already baked into who we are; new avenues for expression can certainly reveal new views of who we are, but they won’t add to who we are. In my specific example, I’ve really enjoyed settling into a new view that more accurately reflects the truth.

Before I traded for my latest game, I was very firm with myself that this was NOT going to make me happier. It would provide a unique avenue for exploring what I enjoy about games, and was from a company I really appreciate, but I already included everything that was actually substantial and joyful about my desired experience. I’m glad to say that that newest game has proven to be very fun, and I’ve not struggled either with impatience to play it more, or any sense of disappointment about it.

Now, I think it’s worth throwing out there that the closing verse from Ecclesiastes, 2:26, and passages in the same spirit, have sometimes been taken as foundational to a “prosperity gospel” which is a belief that, bluntly, states that God shows His favor through material health and wealth. This doctrine also, by implication, states that if one is poor, ill, or employed in a low-paying job, that they must deserve it, because God would have given them more stuff if they were a better person. This is a doctrine that completely undermines Jesus’ demonstrated love for the poor and consistent help for those who were unwell – stating repeatedly that sin was forgiven and that the individual could rise and rejoin their community, free from all handicap, physical or emotional. Our worth is baked into who we are as God’s children.
I’m very grateful for the spiritual understanding which Christian Science throws on this passage, helping us see that it is not material stuff that God gives, but rather that true substance and glory are entirely spiritual, and freely given to all.

However, sometimes in my own practice of Christian Science, I’ve noticed myself saying things like, “Well, I would be well by now if I was doing things right. There must be something deeply wrong with me, since I’m not being helped!” I’ve learned to recognize those suggestions as very subtle, very logical-seeming attempts to make me believe that the discordant situation actually is the truth, and that I am somehow a creator (or miscreator) of the sad situation I find myself in. Now, when those thoughts of, essentially, self-hatred come to me, I’m much more awake and alert to recognize them as entirely unhelpful.

Sure, I love to be alert for fresh ways I can pray – it’s always good to be open to a fresh approach that more closely avails myself of the truth of God’s love – but my native worth is not in question. The same is 100% true for every single one of us. Sure, there may be things, traits or habits in our lives that need correcting, but those things are not the truth of who we are and when we see, through the light of Christ, who we truly are as God’s beloved, we will naturally drop what isn’t ours and yield to a higher, holier view. This view absolutely includes our native, intact goodness, worth, and purpose.


 SECTION 3 – PERCEIVING THE CHRIST

 It’s very important to correctly identify the presence and power of Christ, God’s action and demonstrated ideal. When I read the story in citation B10 (Luke 7:19-23) about John questioning Jesus’ Messiahship, I used to feel very funny about John; why is he bothering and questioning Jesus about this?! But recently, I’ve come to really focus on and appreciate Jesus’ response. He doesn’t throw a fit or a tantrum, he doesn’t launch into a long-winded speech to try and convince John. He just does his work and lets his good works speak for themselves and for him. He goes about his Father’s business.

When someone doesn’t properly perceive what we’re doing, do we become moody, defensive, passive aggressive? It can feel hurtful when people misunderstand or doubt us. But how wonderful it is, that even when given the opportunity to feel hurt, we don’t HAVE to be hurt. What we HAVE to do is not up to other people at all. We are made to show what God is like – literally to be Love’s expression. Does divine Love stop being Love? No. Then, could Love’s expression cease? No.

Remember, the real man, God’s image and likeness, is not like a separate actor trying to channel Godly qualities. The real man IS the expression of God’s nature. So, as we awaken to the true perception of who we all are, we’ll also drop any interest in being overly interested in what other people think of us. We’ll just let what God thinks of us be the most important thing!


 SECTION 4 – PERCEIVING WHERE WE COME FROM

 Recently, I kept waking up throughout the night feeling a sore throat. Each time I woke up, it hurt more. Finally, early in the morning, I managed to stay awake and alert and tried to sort out what to do.

Now, the material senses were certainly reporting a discordant, painful situation, and this report is supposedly designed to urge me to do something about it. However, part and parcel of the Christianly scientific treatment in which I love to engage, is my right to choose my starting point – my premise. So, sure, I could pray…but if my starting point was that I was sick in the first place, what did that mean about the ever-presence of God, the divine Love that I would be turning to in my prayer? Had Love left me in the first place, allowing me to become sick?

Christianity, as Jesus taught, it allows for no such separation of God and man.  It “enables you to demonstrate with scientific certainty, the rule of healing, based upon its divine Principle, Love, underlying, overlying, and encompassing all true being.” (SH, p. 496:15) Mary Baker Eddy also instructs us in Science and Health that “Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God’s own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick.” (SH, p. 476:32–4) Jesus did not look to a broken, sick or sinning person, assess a sad situation, and then pray that God would come back and fix that situation. He faithfully looked to God and His law, to see what God saw.

The healing of the blind man, included in this section of the Bible Lesson, illustrates Jesus’ approach. Rather than working out from a premise of blindness, or looking for a cause for the blindness, he declared that God’s glory was manifest. He literally spat on and so showed contempt for the very symbol of man’s supposed materiality, the dust of the ground made famous in Genesis 2 as the source of man. Washing the dirt away symbolically revealed the truth of this man’s intact spiritual nature as revealed in Genesis 1 – and this dear man found healing from the Adam’s dust man fables and limiting lies of man’s matter-based heredity as recorded in Genesis 2.

Jesus never got involved with trying to sleuth-out the personal premises or faults that caused problems – whether he was talking with an accused woman and her accusers, eating with scorned members of society, or healing and forgiving those dead and dying (see John 8, Luke 19, John 11, and Luke 23). In every case he consistently turned to God, faithfully teaching through example his instruction that, “I can of mine own self do nothing:…… the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.” (John 5:30 and 14:10) He never tried to solve a real discordant problem, but always started with God to see what divine Love was doing, how Spirit was being expressed.

So, back to my rough morning. When I saw that I had been working from a false premise, I realized that instead of going along with these discordant, diseased reports and making my healthcare decisions from that premise, I wanted to practice being faithful to Jesus’ teachings, knowing that they are indeed applicable today. There was no time that I was out of God’s care.

With such joy in my heart that God had never left me, I smiled for the first time that morning and knew that I was healed. I had woken up in a new way to the fact of God’s ever-presence, and this fresh view of God illuminated a fresh view of myself as His reflection, as well. I indeed felt perfectly free and normal, without a trace of discomfort.

It was a joy to see how this teaching and demonstration of Jesus, in seeing the correct starting point of man, could be lived today!


SECTION 5 – PERCEIVING THE MESSAGE OF THE CHRIST

“Luke emphasizes Jesus’ warm relationships with women, who are numbered among his most faithful disciples. John further explores Jesus’ characteristic openness to women, with whom he converses freely, teaching them on the same level as his male followers…Astonishing the disciples by his violation of social code (4:27), Jesus publicly discusses fine points of theology with a Samaritan woman who gives him water to drink at Jacob’s well…She assumes that he is a prophet and seizes the opportunity to learn from him. As Jesus later instructs Martha in the mysteries of the Resurrection, (11:17-27), so he reveals to the Samaritan woman that he is the “living water” that satisfies humanity’s spiritual thirst…Jesus teaches her that “spirit and truth” transcend the claims of an earthly sanctuary.” (The New Testament Student Edition, Stephen Harris, p. 237-238)

“In John’s Gospel, after Jesus holds a long discussion with a Samaritan woman about the differences between her people and the Jews of Jerusalem, she perceives that he is the Messiah and, acting as one of his first missionaries, persuades her fellow villagers to become Jesus’ disciples (John 4).” (Ibid, p. 85)

Inner vision or spiritual sense played an important role in this story. It was Jesus’ spiritual sense that enabled him to be in “the right place at the right time” to meet this woman at the well. In addition, he perceived her spirituality and readiness to hear the message, in spite of her “immoral” status. It was the woman’s inner vision that helped her be receptive to the message that Jesus was sharing with her, despite the fact that he was a Jew. She also perceived her own need for this “living water” – the transformative message of Christ. It was Jesus’ spiritual discernment that enabled him to know important background information about her that would help her understand his important role as the Messiah. Ultimately, she was so receptive to the message that she shared it with others in her community who came to hear his message for themselves. They tell her “Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.” (John 4:42)

I have found a video reenactment of this Bible story to be helpful in giving a moving sense of what this conversation could have been like. Jesus Teaches a Samaritan Women


SECTION 6 – PERCEIVING LIGHT ITSELF

In a very real sense, all we can see is light. Even from a supposed material standpoint, all we see is the light bouncing off things; reflected color and shape are all aspects of light and how it moves through space and interacts with objects. So, it makes sense that in the spiritual, actual reality of things, that God’s light is all we see, and it reveals and indicates the truth – what’s really there – in all God’s glory. We are made to be God’s witnesses – to be and see His work – says Isaiah says in citation B17 (Isa. 43:10).

No matter how much time may have been spent in darkness, we can rejoice that darkness never touches light, never changes light, never has one moment of interaction with light. When I was a counselor at CedarS, we would introduce the overnight trips to the campers with funny skits, and one of the counselors from the Cave Trip would always say something like, “I personally took a dark-o-meter in the cave and saw that this cave is 98% pure dark! That’s the second-darkest cave in the entire country!” The kids would always laugh, and the counselors would, too, of course.

I’ve enjoyed thinking again of how silly a dark-o-meter is, because of course there’s nothing really there to measure. All there is to see is light. Now this is not a mere optimism, “Pollyanna” approach. Rather, it’s the most tangible and real thing there is: there is God, there is His light, and there is His expression, fully able to see and experience all reality because His light, His Word, shows us what He has done. As Mary Baker Eddy states in citation S24, we’ve got to be willing to look beyond the pretend skit of a dark-o-meter – or the belief that there is any reality in darkness, sin, disease, death – to the facts and implications of what the allness of God and God’s expression really means. Every day, we have an opportunity to celebrate God’s nature and perfect wisdom in expressing Life in liveliness and Love in reality.

We are able to see this. Each day, we can grow even a little bit more in our unyielding reliance on and looking to God to see anything and everything. There’s nothing to see outside of God’s light, and that light keeps us warm and clearly illuminates healing, wholeness and purpose for us all.


A Ken Cooper POETIC POSTLUDE related to this Bible Lesson will SOON be POSTED on CedarS INSPIRATION website & EMAILED TO THOSE WHO SUBSCRIBE FOR IT HERE.

GEMs of BIBLE-BASED application ideas from COBBEY CRISLER and others are yet to be fully excavated and refined and so WILL BE POSTED later this week on CedarS INSPIRATION website & EMAILED TO THOSE WHO SUBSCRIBE FOR IT HERE.


 

 

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