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Let Go of a Material Perspective and Watch Evil Fall
Metaphysical notes for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“God the Preserver of Man”
for December 11, 2022

by Kerry Jenkins, CS, of House Springs, MO
kerry.helen.jenkins@gmail.com • 314-406-0041


INTRODUCTION

When we say that God preserves man from evil it can seem to imply that we should never experience challenges, conflict, evil of any kind. This would be misleading since the entire Bible and nearly all that we share as Christian Science healing stems from overcoming these suggestions of power in matter or evil. So, this Bible lesson naturally shares many examples of conflict, warfare, temptation overcome, as well as the healing of disease.

As the inspired Word, the Bible contains many thought-provoking ideas about how to face conflict. It offers examples of just how an understanding of spiritual reality can free us from the false suggestion that evil can have power. Citations such as these from Science and Health give us a hint of what I am talking about:
“The facts of divine Science should be admitted,– although the evidence as to these facts is not supported by evil, by matter, or by material sense,– because the evidence that God and man coexist is fully sustained by spiritual sense.” (citation S14/471:13-17) and,
“Christian Science, properly understood, would disabuse the human mind of material beliefs which war against spiritual facts; and these material beliefs must be denied and cast out to make place for truth.” (citation S9/130:9-19).

This is just a taste of what is in store for us this week as we walk through multiple conflicts, even outright war, and watch man’s safety and protection rise to the surface in human experience right where these conflicts and even where disease appears to be.

Our Golden Text gives us the imagery of evil being blown away as chaff, the light-weight wheat hulls that fall away in the harvest process. Our Bible Lens from the “Christian Science Sentinel” quotes one researcher who speaks of this being the way that an enemy might fly away without resistance. I love this idea because so often we feel as if there is such resistance to good, to truth, and this is just not so. God is the only power. Any apparent resistance is the lie that matter can have power or intelligence.

No “numbers” or impressive displays can fool us as our lesson repeatedly shows through citations such as this one from our Responsive Reading: “And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight:” (Lev. 26:8) And in other sections: “I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.” (Ps.3:6/citation B3) and “One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the Lord your God, he it is that fighteth for you, as he hath promised you.” (Josh 23:10/cit. B9) Along with such citations we have Gideon leading a mere 300 men against thousands of Midianites and the Midianite armies just fleeing without engaging in battle at all! Or, the armies of the king of Israel being saved from the Syrians by Elisha’s deep understanding of God’s power and presence. Again, the enemy is led away peacefully without engaging in battle. True change, and all true progress comes through spiritual growth and insight rather than physical power or violence. When we devote ourselves to spiritual sight and understanding, we can see this peace and the power of God right in the middle of conflict or illness. This is Christian Science demonstrated.


SECTION 1: GOD’S POWER—WHICH IS ALL GOOD—IS ALWAYS OPERATING.

Every day we are called upon to rise above the table that mortal thought sets in front of us. It may be one set with sickness, lack, unhappiness. Or maybe it looks abundant with material good. But either way there is a higher power in operation than material abundance or deprivation. There is the unchanging goodness of divine Spirit.
We are encouraged in Ephesians to put on “…the whole armor of God…”. (Ephesians 6: 11/citation B5)  This is putting on spiritually discerning thought, letting Love lift you above the daily appearance of material “good or bad” and into a consciousness of unchanging spiritual abundance, health, joy, safety.

Anyone who has year by year faced limitation of some kind and yet maintained a sense of inspiration and insight each day, knows that this maintained inspiration is what makes life worth living. It is not about “material demonstration” of “things” or even “health” because we aren’t engaged in making poor matter wealthy or sick matter healthy. We are in the business of spiritual sight. The God’s Word translation of this passage from Ephesians, (shared in the Bible Lens this week) is worth repeating here: “Finally, receive your power from the Lord and from his mighty strength. Put on all the armor that God supplies. In this way you can take a stand against the devil’s strategies. So then, take your stand!
Fasten truth around your waist like a belt. Put on God’s approval as your breastplate. Put on your shoes so that you are ready to spread the Good News that gives peace.”

By putting on the “armor that God supplies” we too can bear witness to evil fleeing without resistance in our own lives. It is never too late for this. There is never a time where evil has “been around too long” for this truth to have lost its power, and for us to see it!


SECTION 2: WHAT BATTLE ARE WE FIGHTING?

It’s good to know what we are fighting when we are feeling besieged. Gideon was facing a strong enemy in the Midianites. Yet he was led by God not to face them with the power of numbers, but with the power of God. This illustrates that all battles are essentially fought against materialism, or the belief of life and intelligence in matter. There is no logic in how this battle played out. Thousands were met with 300, and no battle ensued, the enemy just ran away. In fact, there is an element here of how divine sight or spiritual understanding can lead us out of what seems like inevitable conflict in both this story and the story in Section 3 of Elisha and the Syrians. It is “…material beliefs which war against spiritual facts…” (citation S9 again).

I have found over and over that clarity about what I am facing brings sure healing and the evidence we need of God’s perfect control. For example, it might appear that we are looking at an impossibly tight schedule where too many things need to take place in too short a time frame. But spiritual clarity can bring solutions that might suddenly alert us to either a beautiful way to delegate a particular job, or someone may appear to help “out of the blue”, or maybe some of the items on the agenda just aren’t actually necessary. We can’t know what is right, but God does, and when we are willing to put our own anxiety on the altar of Truth to be clarified into peace, we can be assured that peace and good will be the outcome. We will never know though, if we are unwilling to lay down that worry on that altar of Truth/clarity!


SECTION 3: GOD DESTROYS EVEN FEAR OF THE ENEMY.

In this section Elisha’s servant comes to Elisha terrified by the large army of Syrians surrounding their town. Elisha prays that the servant’s eyes be opened to see the presence of God’s protection and power. Truth’s power becomes apparent in the form of horses and chariots of fire surrounding the mountain on which he stood. This is a beautiful metaphor for how we can pray to have our own spiritual senses show us, through the veil of matter, the power of Good that is always present. The Psalmist echoes this in citation B11, “Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer: preserve my life from fear of the enemy.” (Ps.64:1)

It is no fun to be afraid of evil—enemies of any kind. Our enemies might present as pain, illness, or lack of any kind. Often it is the cloud of fear that is the first thing that we need to dismantle in order for us to see clearly the presence of Love. “Nothing but the power of Truth can prevent the fear of error, and prove man’s dominion over error. Nothing is more disheartening than to believe that there is a power opposite to God, or good, and that God endows this opposing power with strength to be used against Himself, against Life, health, harmony.”  (cit. S16/380:19, 28) This statement meets that age-old belief that while God did not create evil, He will stand by and watch evil unfold. He may be appealed to for intervention, but this intervention seems to come erratically and only occasionally. Mortal sense certainly upholds this view. But peace, health, the law of Love, is experienced scientifically and individually through our subjective experience as we look to God not as a magical “intervenor”, but as a law that is ever operating, unchangingly harmonious and present. The action of this law can be seen, even in our human experience, as Elisha demonstrates in this story.


SECTION 4: ANGELS/SPIRITUAL INTUITIONS ARE THERE, EVEN IN OUR DARKEST HOURS.

This section is full of angels, a lovely precursor to the Christmas season. These angels lead out of darkness and temptation when Jesus goes into the wilderness and is faced with devilish suggestions. They lead us, as well, even when we seem to face persistent temptation.

Each day, each moment, is a fresh opportunity to meet temptation with the strength of spiritual inspiration which destroys the seeming pull of matter. I love that this section also includes the healing of the leprous man whom Jesus reaches out to and touches fearlessly with love. (Mark 1:9-15, 39-42/cit. B15) This healing represents the healing of all that would seem to separate us from Love. Isn’t that the healing of sin—the belief that we are separated from Love?

Even as we walk those slow “footsteps of thought” that rise “above material standpoints”, (cit. S20/174:9-14) angels of Love are present with us. They guide us through the night of materialistic thought and pain. Jesus came to show us the power and presence of this spiritual understanding of God and of man, through demonstrating the eternal presence of Christ.

I am deep in a performance week with the St. Louis symphony chorus of Handel’s Messiah. I have sung this piece many times and been inspired by different musical interpretations. But this current performance has brought to the surface the fact that it is fundamentally the story of Jesus, and that we are actors in that performance. Never before have I felt so deeply while singing this piece, the story of Jesus in its fullest sense—the joy and promise of his birth, the failure of man to recognize and fully embrace his mission, and ultimately, the unbelievable wonder and elation of his victory over matter.

When we look at the arc of Jesus’ life in the context of this Bible lesson we do not see a lack of conflict, or a freedom from challenges. He endured the worst that man can offer. But the lessons he left undeniably show that God preserves life—that God/Love is all-powerful in every circumstance—even when this seems to be so certainly wrong, (as during the crucifixion). Even in the darkest hour of Jesus’ human experience, there was the certainty of his resurrection, though it wasn’t known to those who were with him. If there was a lesson that Jesus came to share, it was that God’s goodness is there for man, and that man is Love’s creation, worthy and whole.


SECTION 5: EVIL CANNOT WAR WITH TRUTH AND LOVE.

Consider this idea that Mary Baker Eddy shares with us, “Truth and Love prevail against the dragon because the dragon cannot war with them. Thus endeth the conflict between the flesh and Spirit.” (cit. S26/567:10) How can Spirit, which has no matter within it, does not know matter because matter is nothing, “fight” with matter? I am cherishing this idea that there is actually no conflict going on here…When we stop our own “battle” with sin, or with sickness and yield to Love’s power and presence, that’s where we find our present harmony.

Too often we regard our bodies as battlefields. We see ourselves “battling” with error, rather than standing back and noticing that while error seems to be making an appearance, the victory is a foregone conclusion. Has the error hung around for a long time? What does time have to do with it?! Does divine Mind give “time” power to make something more difficult to uproot in thought/body? We are guided (again) by angels ” When we wait patiently on God and seek Truth righteously, He directs our path.” Cit. S28/10-12

This Bible lesson shows us that conflict can disappear, that numbers/material power, have nothing to do with victory, or true power. The “dragon” of error seems many headed, ever seeming to re-appear. This is the task at hand, to unseat the belief of life in matter, over and over again. It is a joy, though, not a constant “battle”—because we get to experience victory each time we overcome the suggestion that matter has power over God, Good.


SECTION 6: WAR CAN AND WILL CEASE.

Isaiah promises “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper;” (Isa. 54:13, 17/cit. B21). Whether the weapon be fear, despair, pain, disease, loss, or lack, Love is already present with the spiritual comfort to heal, Mind is there with the spiritual insight to reveal the “horses and chariots of fire” that absolutely surround us.

We can each truly experience peace in the presence of conflict—and then, where is the conflict? This is not to deny the need for daily, fervent prayer for healing of wartorn regions of the world, any more than we simply deny pain by ignoring it. This is a meaningful, scientific view that Jesus demonstrated. He didn’t demonstrate it for himself alone, but for us to follow in his footsteps. Truly Jesus’ life brought to light Christ, as the link between the human and the divine. He demonstrated for us all that he was that “Prince of peace” that was prophesied in Isaiah. Christ gives us the insight to understand the all-power of God which preserves man eternally.


GEMs of BIBLE-BASED application ideas from COBBEY CRISLER & others will be POSTED and EMAILED later this week, so check your email (or junk mail) for them.  You can always check the  current GEMs at CedarS INSPIRATION website, whether or not you have  SUBSCRIBED here to receive this offering.


Also later in the week, look for Ken Cooper’s “POETIC POSTLUDE”
contributions related to this Bible Lesson.


CLICK HERE and Scroll down to “What our Donors Say” about the reasons they support CedarS.  You’ll soon be able to see a video of campers and staff for “Giving Tuesday” with LOTS OF HUMBLE, HEARTFELT GRATITUDE to all you difference-making DONORS DO TO HELP US FEED & SHOE OUR HORSES, MAINTAIN & UPGRADE OUR FACILITIES, GIVE CAMPERSHIPS, KEEP OUR OPERATIONS “GREEN”  & MORE!

Thanks to you and to God, CedarS had another best-summer and fall yet!  Your needed, ongoing support — whether it’s one-time, monthly, or forever (though an Endowment Matched gift), will help us continue to “love into view”  lasting, DIFFERENCE-MAKING BLESSINGS for hundreds of families and thousands of individuals, for generations to come, all across the U.S. and the world.

After hosting another  wonderful Bible Study Workshop and a great Methodist Women’s Retreat, CEDARS IS SEEKING TO UPGRADE OUR NORTH STAR DINING ROOM TO BE A MISSION-WORTHY CONFERENCE CENTER TO SERVE MORE SUCH EVENTS. For more about supporting this upgrade or about making a planned gift, a required IRA distribution or an endowment gift (that will all be MATCHED), feel free to call or text me (Warren Huff) at 314-378-2574.

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