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Redeem a false of selfhood in matter for true identity in Soul.
Metaphysical application ideas on the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

for Feb. 6 – February 12, 2023

by Kerry Jenkins, CS, of House Springs, MO • 314-406-0041


What if we could get to the root of who we are, what “makes us tick”, as they say? What if we could turn to a terrific authority who could tell us why we get angry so easily, or why we self sabotage, or maybe even why we like what we like? There are certainly people in the world trained to listen to and help us answer these questions. They can be very helpful!

In our Bible Lesson this week we are offered some profound thoughts about identity and given encouraging and inspiring ideas about where we can look for accurate information about our “selves”. Can we “lose” our sense of identity when we pursue paths of human success? Is this loss irredeemable? How does success, as we often define it societally through good career, wealth, whole and happy family, or abundant close friendships, help or inhibit our discovery of true identity?  There are two models to look at in this week’s lesson: Jacob, from the Old Testament, and Christ Jesus, from the New.

Jacob and Esau were twin brothers whose story seems to spring, even from the womb, from strife. Their parents each had a favorite son, contributing to the ongoing strife and competition between these two. Their identities seemed formed from early on, and their actions reflect this early formation. Their very names, which in Bible days signified identity, rather than just something you call someone, seem to predict or even determine their natures in life.

Esau, born hairy and red, is given a name that means “hairy”. He even gives up his birthright to his brother for a bowl of red lentil stew when he came home one day hungry from a hunting trip. A birthright was given to the oldest son. With it came a double portion of inheritance, as well as greater responsibility to run his father’s estate. This birthright would then be handed down to his first born son. It was a distinct advantage!

Jacob came out of his mother’s womb grasping the heel of his twin. The name Jacob means “he grasps the heel”, which is a Hebrew idiom for deceptive behavior. It can also mean “to supplant, circumvent, assail, overreach” none of which seem flattering or laudable, much less desirable traits.

It almost seems that the story is set up to show us that our natures are set in the womb and we must live them out with a sense of fatalism. But, once again, we are taught through Jacob’s story, that our flawed attempts to succeed humanly can be redeemed as we listen to our spiritual sense, to Soul’s guidance. We can, through human experience, find ourselves driven to reach a deeper, more spiritual sense of our identity that is outside of our familiar, material sense of self.

So many of our great Biblical heroes lived tremendously flawed lives if we are to believe all that is told of them in the Bible. Moses was a murderer, Noah a drunk, Elijah appears to have slaughtered hundreds of worshipers of Baal, King David committed adultery and then murder so that he could keep her as his wife, and the list goes on.

Why do we read repeatedly about such flawed individuals, ostensibly for spiritual inspiration? Because we are all on the same path to understanding our spiritual nature, and we need these examples to help us realize the redemptive power of understanding, through spiritual sense, our true selves as expressions of Soul, God. These accounts tell us that we are not alone. And each account leads inexorably to the model of spiritual identity that we have in Christ Jesus.

Jesus’ life expresses the true goal of self knowledge, which is to bless and heal. It very much reminds me of a much loved passage where Mary Baker Eddy tells us that it is through imparting goodness that we find our identity, our purpose. “As an active portion of one stupendous whole, goodness identifies man with universal good. Thus may each member of this church rise above the oft-repeated inquiry What am I? to the scientific response: I am able to impart truth, health, and happiness, and this is my rock of salvation, and my reason for existing.” Miscellany p. 165:16

Our Golden Text this week is an extract from the 23rd Psalm: “The Lord is my shepherd;…He restoreth my soul”. In Christian Science we are given a definition of the word soul and its uses in the Bible on p. 482:3 (citation 3 in Science and Health). Here she tells us that we can substitute God for Soul when we are talking about God, and in other places use “sense” for a definition. This “sense” can be material, or it can be spiritual, which means it is inspired by spiritual consciousness, rather than mortal, human, thought processes. So our Golden Text is telling us that Soul/God “restores” our natural spiritual sense of things.

As we move into our Responsive Reading we are told that in order to keep this spiritual perspective we must consistently “call upon God”, “Evening,  and morning, and at noon…” (Ps. 25:1,4,7,20; 55:16-18, 22 and Jer. 3:11,12). It also states that “…the Lord hath redeemed Jacob…” This statement is repeated in our last section (cit. B20/Isa. 44:23) as a bookend and reminder of our own redemption as we look to Soul for a true description of our own identity.


Sometimes it seems very challenging to see our identity as not primarily material or physical. We humans are not generally adept or schooled in remaining conscious, each moment, of our truest self, found in spiritual consciousness. But our truest and only real, eternal individuality is found in Soul, or God. Paul says it this way: “For in him we live, and move, and have our being.” (citation B4/Acts 17:28)

It is as we look for the opposite of material sense that we start to perceive our nature. “Science reverses the false testimony of the physical senses, and by this reversal mortals arrive at the fundamental facts of being.” (citation S4/120:7-9)  As an ordinary example of this reversal I can share that whenever I find myself feeling anxious or worried about how something might work out, I take time to consciously address this unease.

I find that I can reverse uneasy feelings by declaring and acknowledging that there is a divine Mind who knows and governs all for good. This omniscient goodness is the reverse of my own feeble attempts to make arrangements for care for someone, or for pets, or for transportation somewhere.

I’ve found that any seemingly petty worries can be reversed by acknowledging Soul’s calm and peaceful control. To “acknowledge” is “to recognize the power of”. We do this by regularly recognizing Soul’s activity around us each day. This recognition makes use of our spiritual sense, a sense that every one of us possesses. It is simply the ability to discern spiritual good around us. This spiritual good, and our own peaceful and fearless being live in Spirit/Soul, not in a material body.


This may sound obvious but it is practiced rarely, mostly because we just don’t engage our spiritual senses, those senses on the lookout for Soul (or Mind, Life, Love, etc.), for evidence of Soul’s presence and activity. In this section Jacob tricks his brother, with his mom’s help, out of another dispensation, his father’s Blessing. (Genesis 27:1-43, cit. B6)

The Biblical patriarchs’ blessings had deep significance. In the case of Jacob, Isaac prophesied that he would have authority over his brother (probably also reiterating his inheritance), and that those that blessed him would be blessed and those that cursed him would be cursed. We may not hold much store today in such a thing but it was certainly given high regard in this culture.

Here, Jacob, true to his name, is found scheming and grasping for status. He felt that without this trickery his “identity” would always be second best.  It was more than simply a lesser inheritance, although in those days second sons got a mere fraction of the inheritance given to the eldest. It was a sense of diminished importance, or significance that Jacob was fighting. Having stolen such significant inheritances from his brother, Jacob had to flee in order to prevent Esau killing him in anger after Isaac’s death.

Many of us have also suffered significant ruptures in our families. These cause such pain and sorrow that there often seems no redemption available. This section closes with these verses from Psalms,  “Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul. I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother’s children. Draw nigh unto my soul, and redeem it:” (Ps. 69:1,8,18) While this was written long after Jacob’s story, it certainly encapsulates the anguish of such family strife.

Mary Baker Eddy offers us a path to redeeming such relationships by focusing on the only thing that we can influence: an understanding of our own true identity. When we take steps to find our happiness in Soul, we find that there are no limits to the good that we inherit. It is not in limited supply based on birth order, genetic lottery, schooling, or environment. “Soul has infinite resources with which to bless mankind, and happiness would be more readily attained and would be more secure in our keeping, if sought in Soul.” (citation S9/60:29-31) Soul is about wholeness, while material sense is all about what we are missing!


I hope this doesn’t sound discouraging. A good life, full of happiness, is a lot of work. A rotten life is even more work in the end. Jacob, for all his faults, found that he could, at times, hear God’s direction. After many years in Haran, living under his uncle’s deceit, and matching wits with this deceit, Jacob felt the spiritual impulse to return to his homeland. (cit. B10/Genesis 31:3) The problem was that he knew Esau had sworn to kill him and he wasn’t too sure if that desire had cooled over the intervening years.

Obediently Jacob headed back, sending messengers to Esau that he was coming home. The messengers informed him that Esau was coming to meet him with 400 men. (cit. B11/Gen. 32:3-13) Clearly his murderous intent had not died over the years. The process of “unwinding the snarls” of sin is a challenging one. But as Mary Baker Eddy tells us in this section: “The pains of sense are salutary, if they wrench away false pleasurable beliefs and transplant the affections from sense to Soul, where the creations of God are good, “rejoicing the heart.” (citation S13/265:31-2) Salutary means “health giving” or beneficial.

It can seem painful when we have to give up something or many things that we feel that we value. But Mary Baker Eddy’s  statement above is such a hopeful one when we read it carefully because we are only losing “false pleasurable beliefs”, not truly joy-giving activities. Our affections are moved away from that which betrays, dies, or falls away, and placed on what is eternal, reliable,  and ever present. This is a magnificent trade! It still requires demonstration of our sincere desire to follow through, but the rewards are clear.


As we find in this section, a mighty wrestling ensues. (cit. B13/Gen. 32:24-28,30). This struggle is beautifully described in Mary Baker Eddy’s article from Miscellaneous Writings, “Pond and Purpose” on p. 203. On line 19 she outlines the baptism of repentance as: “…a stricken state of human consciousness wherein mortals gain severe views of themselves; a state of mind that rends the veil that hides mortal deformity. Tears flood the eyes, agony struggles, pride rebels, and a mortal seems a monster, a dark, impenetrable cloud of error; and falling on bended knee of prayer, humble before God, he cries, “Save or I perish”. Thus Truth, searching the heart, neutralizes and destroys error.”

I feel like this baptism of repentance process is exactly what Jacob experienced that night when he was wrestling with “a man”,– which Mary Baker Eddy describes in this way: “Jacob was alone, wrestling with error  with a mortal sense of life, substance, and intelligence as existent in matter with its false pleasures and pains,– when an angel, a message from Truth and Love, appeared to him and smote the sinew, or strength of his error, till he saw its unreality;” (cit. S15/308:14-23, 28-16)

As Jacob’s mortal view of himself as needing to achieve success through material means, deceit or trickery, yielded to a spiritual sense of his status as God’s beloved — unspeakably beyond his position as ‘second son’ — he was left with a new identity. A new identity needed a new name, and he became Israel which means: “wrestles with God” or “triumphant with God”. The story tells us that in this mighty spiritual struggle Jacob’s thigh goes out of joint and he limps. This suggests that perhaps he was left with a reminder that power is not physical, but spiritual in nature?


Jacob continues on his way to greet his brother. (cit. B15/Gen. 33:1-10) He approaches with humility, bowing, but Esau runs to meet him and hugs and kisses him in joy. It is clear, to me at least, that Jacob’s new view of himself during his night of struggle, wholly expunged his ugly history with Esau.

As Mary Baker Eddy describes the transformative effects of new views of spiritual sense, “The substance, Life, intelligence, Truth, and Love, which constitute Deity, are reflected by His creation; and when we subordinate this false testimony of the corporeal senses to the facts of Science, we shall see this true likeness and reflection everywhere.” (cit. S19/516:4) This true likeness is what Jacob saw in Esau, and it was communicated spiritually so that Esau likewise saw this true identity of his once seemingly deceitful brother as well. Quite a shift in consciousness! When we allow Soul to do the defining of our own identity as well as that of others, harmony is always the outcome. (cit. S22/273:18)


Our true position as the “elect” of God is prophesied in Isaiah 42:1,6,7/citation B17. This position was demonstrated throughout Jesus’ career in healing and transforming the lives of multitudes of people. Paul writes about this natural Soul identity in terms of light: “God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 

This Christ light shines “in our hearts”, it is within each of us, lighting our spiritual sense of who we are. It shines brightly on our spiritual identity that is outside of all material markers. This is re-emphasized in this sentence from Science and Health, “As mortals reach, through knowledge of Christian Science, a higher sense, they will seek to learn, not from matter, but from the divine Principle, God, how to demonstrate the Christ, Truth, as the healing and saving power.” (cit. S26/285:27) I love this passage especially because it teaches that our learning from God leads to demonstration, not just a fresh view of our identity. This is much like the passage from Miscellany mentioned earlier that turns us away from contemplating self, to what we are “able to impart”, or demonstrate! Showing us “how to demonstrate the Christ,” is Jesus’ message to each of us. We are each the “elect” or chosen of God, meant to serve and bless and heal.


Man is governed by Soul. We are the very expression of Soul. The human journey is the wrestling with error, sin, and sense until we change our standpoint altogether. This is affirmed in all of our passages from Science and Health in this section. (cit. S30/583:5, cit. S31/125:12-16, cit. S32/249:31 only)

While we don’t get to skip the wrestling, through it we find our understanding of self standing on a new foundation of Soul. We see ourselves included in her definition of “Children of Israel” (cit. S30/583:5). We are the “redeemed Jacob” (cit. B20/Isa. 44:23). These “visible manifestations” (cit. S31/125:12-16), come to us in glimpses, but they are worthwhile and not insignificant glimpses of our true identity as Soul reflections, fulfilled, cared for, valued, intelligent, creative, and lovely.

Format for Feb. 5th Hymn Sing with Desiree
: The prelude will begin at 6:45pm Central, followed by the hymn sing at 7:00pm Central. Désirée Goyette will lead us in singing ten hymns, including the Doxology. Afterwards, those who want to stay on the call can hear some brief updates on happenings at camp.

Musician: Désirée Goyette

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GEMs of BIBLE-BASED application ideas (from COBBEY CRISLER & others) will now be POSTED throughout the week and EMAILED later in the week as a summary string.  You can always check  for current GEMs at CedarS INSPIRATION website, whether or not you’ve  SUBSCRIBED here for this free offering.

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contributions related to this Bible Lesson.

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