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WITNESS LOVE’S PROVISION BY DROPPING YOUR FEARFUL BURDENS
Metaphysical ideas for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson:

“God the Preserver of Man”
for June 6-12, 2022

by Kerry Jenkins, C.S. of House Springs, MO
kerry.helen.jenkins@gmail.com   (314) 406-0041


INTRODUCTION

I’m sure there has been a time or two when we have all, at least briefly, thought that it would be amazing to wake up in the morning with nothing to do, no responsibilities, not a care in the world. In this scenario we would have all our needs met without fuss or concern — no meal planning, shopping, cooking, no worries about finances, where to live, what career we should have or school we should go to, how we will retire. We could walk out the door to the ski slopes, or to crashing ocean waves, warm sun, and cooling breeze. Well, Love might not promise us this exact picture, but this Bible lesson explains that in many ways, we can live a life of freedom when we cast all our worries/anxieties on divine Love.

“Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee:” Ps. 55:22 (to:) is our Golden Text this week. Each section gives us a fresh view of how this can be done and what healing results from obedience to this command. It is helpful to think of burdens more broadly as not just our more challenging or loathsome tasks, but also the worry with which we imbue them. It is sometimes our anxiety about our work that is more troublesome than the work itself!

Our Responsive Reading is a mixture of passages from Psalms and Luke (Ps. 121:7, Luke: 12:24-32) and along with the Psalmist’s declaration that God preserves us from all evil, we have the ageless command to remain ever rejoicing in our present state of abundance and wholeness.

We are told not to focus on how we will be clothed, fed, watered in Jesus’ famous statement about how God cares for even the “unclean” raven, the grass and the flowers, surely He will care for man! What does our worry and fear do to bring us more of anything that we need? Instead, if we are going to think about something, we should seek “…the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.” This is followed by the promise that it is [our] “Father’s good pleasure to give [us] the kingdom.”! No doubt there is abundance of good and of joy in this kingdom within. I can’t vouch for beautiful vacation destinations, but in my experience God’s kingdom reflects the kind of joy and wonder that one might find on a pristine ski mountain or on a secluded beach.


SECTION 1: THESE STORIES OF PRESERVATION ARE OUR STORIES TOO.

To be spiritually powerful, the stories such as those recounted in second Bible citation from Nehemiah (Neh. 9:7,9,11, 12, 15, 21), must be our own stories. No, maybe we haven’t crossed through a literal sea being chased by Pharaoh’s armies. But each of us has a wilderness story of our own — a place or time that has felt hopeless, separate from Love, and from which we have felt rescued. If you don’t think you have had one of these adventures, don’t worry, you will! And right there and then, as eyes open to see Love’s abundance, we will find food when we need it, literal or metaphoric. We will find health, safety, and guidance. It will come, and appear to us visibly as it did to the Children of Israel.

Remember the Responsive Reading’s counsel to keep our thought in the present? This was implied by telling us not to think with fear about our future. Well, in similar fashion, we are rescued in times of tribulation by refusing to look past our present supply of safety, health, provision and so on. By opening our eyes to the “manna” that is daily falling from Love, we then find each day’s supply to be enough. It was enough during forty years of travel for the Children of Israel. Even in a present moment that appears painful, right there, we can express gratitude for what we know is pouring down upon us from Love. In this way we find, through this gratitude, that the things we need, whatever they may be, begin to appear to us in tangible ways that meet our human need.

When my husband and I arrived in Alaska, fresh out of college and with maybe only a few dollars to our names, we drove up Jone’s road, on a bit on a whim, since this was where a man we had met once, owned a wood shop. He had suggested that there might be a place to live on that road. As we drove along, we saw a fellow walking and asked him about places to rent. He sent us to Rich Hall who had a log yard at the beginning of the road and rented out little cabins. This led to an agreement that we could live rent free for one year if we built him another cabin along this road. We were able to use his building materials and do just that. By fall we were living in this cabin that we had built, and it eventually turned into a woodworking shop for my husband when we moved to another cozy cabin that we built that was rent free and a mile from the road. One place after the next came into view throughout our life. They were not all free, of course, but they met our needs right where we were at that time. From Alaskan log cabins of fourteen-foot square dimension, to a big log house forty feet square and two stories.

In St. Louis our dwelling places progressed from a friend’s basement, to an unoccupied rental that was already paid for and only needed occupants to care for it, to a little apartment, to a nearly condemned house in the city, and so on. Each place has appeared as a right idea for a right price when we needed it. Sometimes we cannot see these provisions so clearly while we are in the midst of trouble. Consider that the Children of Israel experienced the parting of the Red Sea, and yet were afraid when they appeared to run out of water and food. We can be tempted to fear when timing doesn’t feel “right” to us. But here is where we need to adopt these Bible stories as our own. Recognize that Love’s provision in Moses’ day continues to extend to us today. Don’t wait for retrospective moments in the future to rejoice in Love’s care. Rejoice in it right now and watch divine provision appear!


SECTION 2: CHALLENGES OR TRIALS MAKE US STRONGER.

While times of trial are certainly not something we look for, they are always opportunities for us to grow a deeper understanding of how Love is completely caring for us. When I think of someone who embodied this characteristic of rejoicing in trials, I think of Paul who wrote the verses in citation B7 from Romans (8:16,31,35,37) “If God be for us, who can be against us? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ”? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

Paul was the one who sang hymns of gratitude and joy from prison. These hymns were prayers that freed him from imprisonment, first mentally, then literally when an earthquake opened the doors to their cells and freed them. “Every trial of our faith in God makes us stronger. The more difficult seems the material condition to be overcome by Spirit, the stronger should be our faith and the purer our love.” says Mary Baker Eddy in citation S7 (410:14).

Again, the facts of our wellbeing, may not be apparent to material sense. But as we lift our thought, through spiritual sense, to bear witness to the presence of Love, we will begin to see this evidence right through a challenge. We can see Love expressed in someone’s care or kindness. We can see Soul expressed in something beautiful that we see, hear, feel. We can see Mind expressed in intelligent actions, or ordered, thoughtful care.

The ways we can see God’s presence and action are infinite and once we start noticing, we start seeing even more of this presence. It may be helpful to think of this in terms of training for an athletic endeavor. The training may involve elements of discomfort, discipline, effort, and a willingness to ignore that these things are hard, knowing that there is a beautiful goal ahead. Likewise, training ourselves to look for the good and true, involves discipline, effort, even some willingness to ignore the discomfort in favor of striving to see that goodness surrounding us. But like the training that prepares us both mentally and physically for that athletic endeavor, this spiritual effort strengthens us, and, in this case, brings about healing, strengthening us for the next challenge that we meet!


SECTION 3: BECOME “LESS MORTAL” (& AGED), WELCOME “NEWNESS OF LIFE”!

I love this idea of becoming “less mortal”. It is extracted from Mary Baker Eddy’s statement in citation S14/425:15-17 “Mortal man will be less mortal, when he learns that matter never sustained existence and can never destroy God, who is man’s Life.” This section drives home the spiritual fact that we don’t have to accept aging as part of Life. We are all demonstrating that in different ways. Perhaps we begin by accepting fresh views each day, no matter how repetitive our work seems to be. Maybe we work to remain conscious of present timeless being, appreciating each moment fully as it unfolds.

Our goal in rising into “newness of life” each day isn’t so that we can live eternally mortal existences, but so that we can rise out of our sense of living only in a mortal, material “package”. The idea of growing out of mortality, rather than being born into it, is poetically described in citation B10/Ps. 92:13,14 “Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age;” Here we are “growing” into spiritual being, fruitful and productive, contributing throughout.

Do you remember Mary Baker Eddy’s interpretation of the 23rd Psalm where she translates ” I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever”, as “I will dwell in the [consciousness of Love] forever.”? We could place that same spiritual translation into this passage and say “Those that be planted in the [consciousness of Love] shall flourish in the courts of our God…” That consciousness is awake to the present, and to the presence of Love everywhere. Where is age and decay in the consciousness of Love/God?


SECTION 4: HOW DIVINITY MEETS HUMANITY’S NEEDS.

Jesus heals and then feeds the multitudes in this section. He illustrates for us the “scientific relation of God to man” (cit. S16/206:15). This multitude feeding is followed by this verse from 2nd Corinthians (9:8,10)/ cit. B16 “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:”. This is such a beautiful statement of how it is that our sufficiency becomes clear to us as we are “abounding to every good work”.

Love is supplying us with abundance, so that we can pass that abundance on to others. Divinity’s blessings multiply naturally through the law of Love. Whenever a need is met, it is met through divine Love. It may appear as a person, or an unexpected check, but its source is divine. We get our most correct views of God and man as we keep our consciousness aware of Love’s presence here and now.

We are not waiting for abundance to appear, it is here, surrounding us in this very moment. When we feel that burden of anxious fear, it is always fear of what will happen, not what is happening. Affirming the presence of Love and sitting still with that discomfort until it begins to melt in Love’s warmth, always opens doors that we have not seen, avenues of good that we weren’t aware of. Here’s a sweet testimony that illustrates these ideas! https://sentinel.christianscience.com/web-originals/2009/loaves-fishes-and-cherry-tomatoes


SECTION 5: HOLD YOUR GROUND, FIND PEACE.

It would appear that sometimes we have to work to hold our ground when we are faced with a challenge that appears unyielding or especially aggressive. This is why practicing to keep our consciousness present in Love helps us be ready, like a tuned violin, to maintain a peaceful approach at any given time.

The epileptic boy who is brought to Jesus after the disciples failed to heal him, is one of those seemingly unyielding cases. (cit. 20/Matthew 17:14–20) Jesus points to the need for faith. This faith is of the “mustard seed” variety, small but powerful. In some ways it is encouraging to know that our faith only needs to be so small!

We can learn to recognize doubting, fearful thoughts for what they are, aggressive suggestions from a supposed mind outside of All-Love. Is there anything outside of All? No! We can, on that basis, claim for ourselves freedom from the tyranny of disease or injury. I have had ample opportunity to keep this kind of peace in the face of injury.

Last fall my oldest son, Huck, was injured at work. His hand was caught in the jaws of a massive machine. The man operating that machine kindly dropped him at a clinic to get it cared for, but they called me to meet Huck there. It was more than an hour from my house so I had plenty of time to pray for him and steady my own thought on my way there. The familiar sensations of doubt and fear tempted me, but having experienced the power and presence of Love I stood my ground against that onslaught. I know those temptations lead to nowhere but more fear and panic— and how would that forward healing? Instead I began out loud to declare the facts that I know about Huck. He is Mind’s idea, working in a job that blesses. The man he was working with is also Mind’s idea and can only act with intelligence and wisdom (this contradicted material sense testimony, but I chose to stick with spiritual facts). Only Mind could be operating and Mind causes only good. I was “[Maintaining] the facts of Christian Science…” (cit. S25/417:4+)

When I finally arrived at the clinic Huck was calmly waiting in the lobby. He told me the swelling had gone down considerably but the hand, when I saw it, was still at least three times its normal size. The nurses had taken x-rays and he was waiting to hear what treatment was needed. The doctor, when she came out, explained that the x-rays showed no breakage but she didn’t feel it that was possible with the amount of damage to his hand, and she was sure the x-rays couldn’t be accurate.

They bandaged it gently and gave him a sling and told us to schedule an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon. We did this, but he also found no breakage. He told Huck that he had amazingly “strong bones”, and sent us home with no further treatment. What looked alarming and seemed very painful, was functioning pretty fully in a week. He went to work the next day. He didn’t even get a very long break from practicing violin! Holding our ground with what we know to be spiritually true always brings the light of Love to bear, and keeps our thought peaceful.


SECTION 6: OUR TASKS ARE MEASURED TO FIT US.

I had a lot of fun looking at this passage about burdens and yokes when I checked out the Christian Science Sentinel Bible Lens for this week’s Bible lesson. https://quarterly.christianscience.com/lesson/download/sunday-12-june-2022/lens/2109766003.pdf?newtab=true Here’s a link if you want to check it out. It explains that an ox yoke was custom made to fit the specific ox so that it wouldn’t rub or “gall” them. This makes sense, but I hadn’t thought of it before. It also casts a lovely light on Jesus’ statement: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Mat. 11: 1, 15, 28-30/cit. B22)

Bible Lens also explains that “easy” means, in this case, “well fitting”, and that what Jesus is then telling us here is something like “The life I give you is not a burden to gall you; your task is made to measure to fit you.” This does not mean that whatever job we have today is necessarily the job we are suited for forever. But whatever task we are currently, in this present moment, facing, it cannot “gall” us, rub us raw, irritate or annoy us. We are fitted to face that challenge by Love.

In coming to the Christ, in serving the Christ, in serving Love, we find our energy renewing itself. When we are doing work that is oriented to self or is not within the scope of the task that Christ is presenting for us to do, we may find that feeling of “rubbing”, or resentment, rather than joy and refreshment. Work out of love for God. It is self-sustaining and will always bless both us, and those around us.


SECTION 7: HUMBLY LEANING ON GOD, OUR NEEDS ARE MET.

This is our brief roundup of all the ideas in our lesson this week. God “loads us with benefits”, not burdens. We can always turn burdened thought to Love, and to the Christ presence, and find peace, health, joy, freedom. It takes humility to lean on God/Love and not on a false sense of self. But the last statement, which is the first statement in Science and Health, says it all: “To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, today is big with blessings.” Love is sustaining, guiding, healing, protecting, and we can witness that when we stay conscious to Love’s presence in this moment, right now.


GEMs of BIBLE-BASED application ideas from COBBEY CRISLER and others were already POSTED AND SENT right before tonight’s CedarS Hymn Sing. Check on CedarS INSPIRATION website or in your email if you have  SUBSCRIBED FOR IT HERE.


Ken Cooper POETIC POSTLUDE contributions related to this Bible Lesson have not arrive as yet, but when they do they will be POSTED on  CedarS INSPIRATION website & be EMAILED TO THOSE WHO SUBSCRIBE FOR THEM HERE.


HUMBLE, HEARTFELT THANKS to all you difference-making DONORS WHO  HELP US FEED & SHOE OUR HORSES, MAINTAIN OUR CAMPSITE, AWARD CAMPERSHIPS…

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