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“Only Know the Real”
Metaphysical Application Ideas for The Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

for September 25 through October 1, 2023

by Christie C. Hanzlik, C.S.,  Boulder, CO • 720-331-9356 •

The title of the Met comes from Hymn 5:

“The cause requires unswerving might: /
With God alone agree. /
Then have no other aim than right; /
End bondage, O be free. /
Depart from sin, awake to love: /
Your mission is to heal. /
Then all of Truth you must approve, /
And only know the real.”
(Christian Science Hymnal, No. 5:2)

Golden Text and Responsive Reading

The opening two words of the Golden Text, or main idea, of this week’s Bible Lesson are “Dear friends…”  This phrase immediately made me feel the love and tenderness of the Gospel writers. Never more than now has it struck me how much the New Testament writers wanted us to share in their clear sense of purpose and worth. In the Golden Text, the author of 1st Peter writes, “Dear friends, since you are immigrants and strangers in the world, I urge that you avoid worldly desires that wage war against your lives” (Golden Text, I Peter 2: 11). As I understand these words, this author was motivated by pure love for us, and wants us to feel satisfied and fulfilled in what seems like a chaotic world that pulls at us to live fruitless lives. The author saw us as “friends” who don’t fit in to the hustle-bustle-world-flurry and speaks to us instead as “immigrants and strangers in the world,” urging us to avoid carnal desires that disrupt pure peace and joy.

Lately, I’ve been pondering the truism that we gain true joy and satisfaction through dedication and sacrifice. On the surface, it is tempting to reason that doing things that make us happy—vacations, brunch, movies, indulgent shopping, dinners out, and so forth—makes us happy and satisfied. And yet, a saturation of these activities can leave us feeling empty and sad. In contrast, committing to a higher good—even though it may mean sacrificing some social events—results in true satisfaction and joy.

Commitment to doing good doesn’t mean that we should never go out to dinner or enjoy a vacation….no, not at all. But a life that revolves around worldly desires, the author of 1st Peter reminds us, will “wage war against your lives.” Chasing the “unreality” of worldly happiness is fruitless. We discover the “reality” of deep purpose and meaning as we grow in our willingness to sacrifice for divine Good and prioritize our desire to do all for the glory of divine Love.

The Responsive Reading echoes the ideas in the Golden Text, reminding us to turn away from the temptations of malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, slander, and hateful words. The author of 1st Peter counsels us to yearn for truth and pure goodness in the same way that newborn babies yearn for their mother’s milk—their source of sustenance and growth. The author compares mother’s milk to the good news that divine Love is universal, ever-present, within us, and actively uniting, correcting, and governing each one of us.

We have each had glimpses—or tastes—of the metaphorical milk of divine Love, and we know inherently that nothing is more important than this all-encompassing power. We can each identify a moment—small or big—in which we felt a deep sense of being loved even when we didn’t think we deserved it. Maybe someone forgave us for a mistake, or forgave us when we were late, or served us a meal even after we were impatient. This gracious love is the expression of God’s grace—feeling loved even when we don’t think we deserve it. God’s grace is unlimited.

Christ Jesus taught his disciples the transformative power of grace. In his ministry, he taught about divine Love and Principle that is tender and exacting, and he demonstrated the highest standard of commitment to Good. To demonstrate his devotion to the good, the true, and the real, Christ Jesus offered the ultimate sacrifice on the cross. Christ Jesus “suffered the cross” to demonstrate the ultimate path to lasting joy and satisfaction. Through the crucifixion, he demonstrated his willingness to give up everything for divine Truth and Love and he did so without any “malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, slander, and hateful words.” And, of course, we don’t leave Christ Jesus on the cross, we celebrate the resurrection…the overcoming of the world’s hypocrisy, the overcoming of limitation. Christ Jesus’s sacrifice demonstrated for all of us, “a new and higher idea of immortality.” (SH 593: 9)

Each moment we commit to loving our enemies and sacrificing self-oriented behaviors, we are honoring Christ Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross and celebrating the resurrection, the “spiritualization of thought” (SH 593: 9).

The author of 1st Peter wants us to feel this grace, telling us, “If in fact you have [already] tasted the goodness and gracious kindness of the Lord. You [believers], like living stones, are being built up into a spiritual house for a holy and dedicated priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices [that are] acceptable and pleasing to God through Jesus Christ.”

The author describes those who dedicate themselves to understanding more about Christ as “a chosen race, a royal priesthood” and reminds us that this dedication lifts us free from confusion and darkness and into clarity and light. As this happens, we lose the sense of “wandering like [so many] sheep,” and feel comforted, guided, and protected by the “Shepherd and Guardian of [our] souls.” This is true satisfaction. (RR, 1st Peter 2: 1-3, 5, 9-11, 21, 22, 25)

Section 1: Discern the Real, Turn away from the unreal

It can sometimes seem difficult to discern what is real from what is unreal, and to see beyond the myriad conflicting human opinions tossed around in the world. And yet we need to discern what is good and true—what is real—versus what is unreal. As we read in first John, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (cit. B1, I John 4: 1)  .

Through prayer—turning away from human opinion and opening our hearts to divine inspiration—we gain a clearer and clearer sense of what is real. Without a doubt, that which leads toward righteousness—goodness, purity, wisdom, peace, satisfaction, joy, and so forth—is true. Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of the Laws of divine Science, explains, “Inspired thought relinquishes a material, sensual, and mortal theory of the universe, and adopts the spiritual and immortal” (cit. S1, 547: 28).

In Psalms, we find this simple prayer to ensure we’re turning toward divine Truth rather than human opinion: “Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness” (cit. B2,  Psalm 143:10).

Section 2: Christ-Truth Saves us from unreality

The first section of the Lesson set us on a path of practical prayer to distinguish the real from the unreal. Through prayer, we can turn away from the “many false prophets” that are in the world, and tune in to the divine Mind, the “Shepherd and Guardian of [our] souls.” (cit. B1, John 4:1; RR, 1st Peter 2)

And yet, sometimes it may feel like it’s just too much to stay alert all the time, like maybe we made mistakes, listened to false prophets, or accepted a bunch of unrealities about ourselves and the world. All is not lost. We are never forsaken. We are promised, “The Lord gives righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed” (cit. B4, Psalm 103: 6, 7). God is good. Recall that good is not just an adjective describing God, like good describes how cake tastes. God actually IS good. And Good alone is real. God, Good, overturns all false notions of unreality.

We often feel that we have to have absolutely flawless lives in order to be healers and live as prophets. But many of the Bible prophets lived what could be described as flawed lives. I mean Abraham lied to the Egyptians (Genesis 20: 2-7), Jacob betrays his brother multiple times (Genesis 25: 19-34; 27: 1-41), and Moses had a temper and murdered an Egyptian (Genesis 20:2-7). And yet, God, Good, still spoke to them. They each learned to feel Christ, an awareness of God’s presence. As Mary Baker Eddy explains, “Throughout all generations both before and after the Christian era, the Christ, as the spiritual idea, — the reflection of God, — has come with some measure of power and grace to all prepared to receive Christ, Truth. Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and the prophets caught glorious glimpses of the Messiah, or Christ, which baptized these seers in the divine nature, the essence of Love” (cit. S5, 333: 19-26)

It would be unrealistic—unreal—to believe that Christ-Truth is not powerful enough to reach us just because we may have made a mistake. No way. In fact, the effect of Christ-Truth is to “overturn, overturn, overturn” (Ezekiel 21:27).

It is not as if the grace of Christ-Truth to forgive and redeem means we should not strive to live purely and righteously. We don’t need to cause trouble for ourselves…it’s just too much work. As Mary Baker Eddy states, “Sensualism is not bliss, but bondage. For true happiness, man must harmonize with his Principle, divine Love; the Son must be in accord with the Father, in conformity with Christ” (cit. S6, 337:6-10). “Mortals must change their ideals in order to improve their models… Selfishness and sensualism are educated in mortal mind by the thoughts ever recurring to one’s self, by conversation about the body, and by the expectation of perpetual pleasure or pain from it; and this education is at the expense of spiritual growth. If we array thought in mortal vestures, it must lose its immortal nature” (cit. S7. 260:19-20).

Instead of giving in to selfishness, we can strive to live well and do good and keep our hearts open to the message of Christ-Truth.  As we read in Hebrews, “Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God.… For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ” (cit. B7, Hebrews 3: 12, 14 NLT).

 During her discovery of the healing Laws of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy saw the tendency of limited thought to buy in to the gross problems of mortality—the “servitude to an unreal master in the belief that the body governed them, rather than Mind.” But she refused to accept the unreality that God could create inharmony. As she describes, “I pressed on through faith in God, trusting Truth, the strong deliverer, to guide me into the land of Christian Science, where fetters fall and the rights of man are fully known and acknowledged. … I saw that the law of mortal belief included all error, and that, even as oppressive laws are disputed and mortals are taught their right to freedom, so the claims of the enslaving senses must be denied and superseded” (cit. S8, 226:22-7).

Section 3: Divine Love Corrects and Governs Man

In the third section, we find the story of Shimei and David. Shimei was grossly cruel to David and his men, assaulting them with hateful words and stones. But when David had an opportunity to punish Shimei, David didn’t punish him. (cit. B9, II Samuel 16:5, 6 (to :), 9, 10 (to 1st ?), 12–14)

Perhaps Shimei represents an enemy who is humanly impossible to forgive. Only through prayer can an enemy like this be forgiven.

In Mary Baker Eddy’s experience, she faced enemies like Shimei, who were cruel and deceitful. She explains that “An adversary is one who opposes, denies, disputes, not one who constructs and sustains reality and Truth” (cit. S9, 580:28-30).

Sometimes these “adversaries” come in the form of cruel people, but often they come in the form of false suggestions—unrealities—about the body. A sensual thought that turns us away from goodness can seem to cause as much inharmony as a mean person. As Mary Baker Eddy writes, “A sensual thought, like an atom of dust thrown into the face of spiritual immensity, is dense blindness instead of a scientific eternal consciousness of creation.” (cit. S11, 263:28) In today’s world, the vast array of human opinions about the body try to persuade us to accept adversaries as friends. In Mary Baker Eddy’s words, “The broadcast powers of evil so conspicuous to-day show themselves in the materialism and sensualism of the age, struggling against the advancing spiritual era” (cit. S12, S65: 13-16).

During her time writing and revising Science and Health and sharing Christian Science publicly, Mary Baker Eddy faced human adversaries and the adversary of negativism. And yet she knew that our so-called adversaries can do no harm when we realize their impotence in the face of the divine power of infinite Love.

Mary Baker Eddy did not merely have sweet words for those who were cruel to her. She loved them. Listen to this account from Irving Tomlinson, a student of Christian Science, who wrote about his experiences with Mary Baker Eddy:

“A healing which I recall with much interest occurred in the year 1907, at the time of the “Next Friends” suit, when many newspapers were sending their reporters to Concord in the hope of securing interviews with Mrs. Eddy. Since it would have taken nearly all her time if she had seen all these representatives of the press, she appointed me as a receiver and giver of messages. At this time there were three or four reporters particularly determined to see Mrs. Eddy.

“The chief man among this group, representing a big New York newspaper, was known as a particularly hard-boiled reporter and a steady drinker. He had been afflicted for some years with an extremely painful growth on his throat, which may have been cancerous and which at times completely overwhelmed him.

“Mrs. Eddy had asked me to call these men by telephone and inform them that it was impossible for her to see them. But she cautioned me at the same time, “Be sure to ask for the leading man and speak directly to him.”

“The telephone rang and one of the younger reporters answered the call. According to instructions, I asked to speak to the head man, . . . but was told that this man was too ill. . . . I said, “Tell him to come to the telephone; he can hear what I say even if he can’t talk.”

“Accordingly, the suffering newspaper man came to the telephone. . . . He listened for a few moments. . . . [and] when this man turned away from the telephone, he not only could speak perfectly, but was healed. . . .

“Some years later a relative of this man called at my office in Boston, and gave me the following message: “My uncle requested me to see you and to tell you in his last days he turned to Christian Science, and he knew that he owed a debt of gratitude to Mrs. Eddy for his healing in Concord.” (Irving Tomlinson, Twelve Years with Mary Baker Eddy, pp. 69–71)

In this example of loving and healing her enemy, Mary Baker Eddy proved these words, “If selfishness has given place to kindness, we shall regard our neighbor unselfishly, and bless them that curse us; but we shall never meet this great duty simply by asking that it may be done” (cit. S13, 9:11-14).

Section 4: Happiness is unselfish 

The fourth section includes Christ Jesus’s parable of the rich man who spent his time and effort trying to save up greater and greater amounts of human treasure. But ultimately, the man is spiritually unprepared and has nothing of value. As Luke says, “So is he that lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (cit. B12, 12:16-21).

The fourth section also includes Christ Jesus’ wisdom in the Sermon on the Mount, in which he tells us, “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.  Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (cit. B13, Matthew 6:31-33 NLT).

 These wise words help us to see through the unreality that an accumulation of stuff will make us happy. “Moth and rust” eat up those treasures, exposing the unreality that they could ever give us lasting joy. And yet every day we are inundated with advertisements telling us that if we just buy one more thing then we will be satisfied. But, as Christ Jesus told us over 2,000 years ago, storing up human treasures will never bring true satisfaction.

Mary Baker Eddy explains, “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. Higher enjoyments alone can satisfy the cravings of immortal man. We cannot circumscribe happiness within the limits of personal sense. The senses confer no real enjoyment” (cit. S17, 60:29).

True happiness does not come from the accumulation of stuff. “Happiness is spiritual, born of Truth and Love. It is unselfish; therefore it cannot exist alone, but requires all mankind to share it….Love enriches the nature, enlarging, purifying, and elevating it” (cit. S22, 57:18, 23-24).

Section 5: Let Divine Love Correctly Assess Our Value…As Worthy

In the fifth section, we find the story of the Centurion—a Roman commander—who came to Christ Jesus to ask for healing for his servant. Jesus tells the Centurion he will come and heal his servant, but the Centurion says, essentially, “I am not worthy of you coming into my house, but I trust that if you say my servant will be healed than he will be.” Christ Jesus is moved by the faith of the Centurion and does indeed heal his servant (cit. B15, Matthew 8:5–8, 10, 13).

As I see it, this account is relevant to the context of this particular Bible Lesson because the Centurion had a false estimate of himself…he had an unreal concept that he was unworthy, that he was not good enough to receive the full Christ message. But Christ Jesus saw through this unreality and saw the Centurion as the worthy man of God. The Centurion was a high-status officer, but that is not what made Christ Jesus see him as worthy. Neither the accumulation of stuff, as we saw in Section 4, nor the accumulation of rank and titles, are enough to make someone worthy. We are worthy because we are the expression of divine Love, divine Mind.

This story of the Centurion is a great reminder to us to not think of ourselves as unworthy, or not good enough, for Christ to be in our home. You are worthy. You are good enough. You are right here and now able to accept the healing presence of Christ in your home. Christ is the awareness of God’s presence, and home is our consciousness of good. So it makes sense that you can accept Christ in your home and that you are worthy of this blessing.

If we’re in doubt about our worthiness, we can pray with this Psalm, “O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. How precious also are your thoughts about me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with you” (cit. B14, Psalm 139:1, 17, 18).

I love the concept of “more in number than the sand.” Counting sand is extremely difficult-to-impossible even with just a pinch of sand. And it is definitely impossible to count the grains on a beach. Yes, they are countable, and yet they are infinite…just like the goodness in you. Your goodness is countable and infinite.

Christ Jesus met the Centurion’s need with love. Where the Centurion was mesmerized by unworthiness and disease, Christ Jesus saw through both with Love and Truth. As Mary Baker Eddy explains, “Jesus demonstrated the inability of corporeality, as well as the infinite ability of Spirit, thus helping erring human sense to flee from its own convictions and seek safety in divine Science” (cit. S23, 494:15-19).

Section 6: Build Safely on Solid Foundation

As I understand it, this Bible Lesson on “Unreality” reminds us what offers a solid foundation for genuine happiness and satisfaction. Much of the world seems focused on accumulating more stuff, accumulating job titles, and learning a lot about human theories. But ultimately, these things wash away and are useless. Building our foundation of happiness on these things would be like building a house on sand. As Mary Baker Eddy writes, “We cannot build safely on false foundations…. Passions, selfishness, false appetites, hatred, fear, all sensuality, yield to spirituality, and the superabundance of being is on the side of God, good” (cit. S30, 201:7).

In Psalms, we are reminded that those who keep “clean hands” and a “pure heart”—those who do good and know only love—receive blessing and pure satisfaction (cit. B16, Psalm 24:3-5).  As we keep “clean hands” and a “pure heart” we witness “the passions, selfishness, false appetites, hatred, fear, all sensuality” yielding to spirituality, and thus we experience the superabundance of being on the side of God, good”. In other words, we experience real and tangible joy, harmony and satisfaction.

As we dedicate ourselves more and more to Christ—the awareness of Love’s presence—and practice the Science of loving more and loving more purely, we will find genuine happiness and satisfaction. At some point, we must let go of unreality—a limited sense of ourselves and the world—and accept Christ’s message of Truth that reigns throughout the whole system.

Joy and satisfaction come from a commitment to something greater, more pure, more real than what the world seems to be holding in front of us. It is possible to turn from the tendencies of mortality (the tendencies to accumulate stuff, to judge ourselves and others as unworthy, to have a false estimate of the body) and instead accept divine Love’s view of us. Each day can let go of the world’s tired-old view and accept Love’s new view. This can happen now. And now. And now. Each moment is an opportunity to let go of unreality and accept the reality of abundant joy and satisfaction. As Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Now is the time for so-called material pains and material pleasures to pass away, for both are unreal, because impossible in Science. To break this earthly spell, mortals must get the true idea and divine Principle of all that really exists and governs the universe harmoniously” (cit. S31, 39:22-27).


The first cache of GEMs of BIBLE-BASED application ideas (from Cobbey Crisler & others) will hopefully be emailed early in the week and the second cache will be emailed later in the week.  You can always check  for GEM contributions in progress before then at CedarS INSPIRATION website, whether or not you’ve  SUBSCRIBED here for this free, inspirational offering.

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

THANKS to all you PRECIOUS DONORS for ALL of your ONGOING SUPPORT!  Every camper & visitor will be blessed by your GENEROSITY, VISION & LOVE!

ANOTHER MATCH WAS MET and its project operationally completed before camp!  Thanks to several generous donors to our special A/V Appeal we were able to finish building a CHAPEL A.V. BOOTH that will protect not only new, donated equipment, but also all our hymnals for worship services and for CedarS Sunday Hymn Sings.

If you haven’t lately checked out the GIVING TREE, there are still plenty of other smaller areas of need to fill yet this year! Campers & staff will also be blessed bigtime by the donations made to additional areas of camp, including our horse program, activity equipment, camperships, and Christian Science nursing and practitioner services.

We’re deeply grateful for EVERY GIFT of love & support,
The CedarS Team

P.S. For more about ways to keep CedarS operations ever more green and flourishing and/or to make a PLANNED GIFT, A REQUIRED IRA DISTRIBUTION or an ENDOWMENT GIFT (that will all be MATCHED), feel free anytime to call or text me (Warren Huff, Executive Director Emeritus and Project Manager) at 314-378-2574. I can put you in touch with our Financial Advisor/broker who donates all fees for stock transfers and freely shares tailored, tax-advantaged giving approaches.

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