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Turn On, Tune In, and Find God
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson for:

 “Soul and Body”
May 17—23, 2021

by Craig L. Ghislin, C.S. of Godfrey, IL
craig.ghislincs@icloud.com / (630) 830-8683; cell/text (630) 234-3987

 There is a generation of readers who might remember the title of this Met in a different way. In 1967, Timothy Leary, a man dubbed “the most dangerous man in America,” uttered his catch phrase, “Turn on, tune in, and drop out.” It became the theme of a counterculture for a generation. In those days this message was associated with illicit drugs and a host of other unsavory behaviors. So I was surprised it came to me while praying about the Lesson. I began by thinking of how the psalmist referring to God as “my strength and song” symbolized turning on spiritual sense, tuning in to God, and dropping out of materially based thinking.

I saw fit to alter Leary’s ending because the result of that process is finding our connection with God, and it’s a lot more user friendly. Spiritually speaking, anyone who thinks spiritually is truly part of a counter-culture. The world says, “This is the way things are. There’s no way to change it.” But the teachings of the prophets, Christ Jesus, and Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, are directly opposed to the testimony of the senses, and material law. In the Golden Text, the psalmist calls God his “strength and song.” We can join with him to discover that tuning in to God is truly music to our ears.

 In the Responsive Reading, the psalmist puts all his faith and trust in God. He looks to God for protection, direction, strength, and salvation. He recounts the many times God has saved him from deep waters and placed him in safety. He trusts that when he finds himself in darkness, God will lighten his path.

As is often the case, I find clues to deeper meanings of the texts when I read “outside the chalk” so to speak, or just outside the citations, to reveal the context in which the chosen citations were written. The citations from Isaiah 2 are a part of a prophecy that all nations will find their salvation in the Lord and eventually turn to Him.  Nineteenth Century theologian Albert Barnes comments on the influence the word of God has on the pagans, and I find there is a parallel to our time. He writes:

“The pagan world is becoming worse and worse, and if ever brought to better views, it must be by a “foreign” influence; and that influence will not go forth from philosophy or science, but “from the church.” If light is ever to spread, it is to go forth from Zion; and the world is dependent on “the church” for any just knowledge of God and of the way to life, The ‘law is to go forth from Zion;’ and the question whether the million of the human family are to be taught the way to heaven, is just a question whether the church can be roused to diffuse abroad the light which has arisen on her.”

Those whose aim it is to walk in the light of the Lord have the charge to help his neighbor attain that light. The prophets regularly call upon Israel to take a path counter to worldly trends. In Isaiah 58:4 a verse not in the Lesson, provides context as a preamble to verses 5, 6, 8, and 11: “[The facts are that] you fast only for strife and debate and to smite with the fists of wickedness. Fasting as you do today will not cause your voice to be heard on high” (The Amplified Bible). In other words, all the human methods of fasting and getting closer to God are useless. Drop them! The true fast is to “turn on and tune in” to God, and take up the work that requires deep transformation, breaking every yoke of attachment to worldly means and methods. “Then,” as The Amplified Bible translates it, “shall your light break forth like the morning, and your healing (your restoration and the power of a new life) shall spring forth speedily; your righteousness (your rightness, your justice, your right relationship with God) shall go before you [conducting you to peace and prosperity], and the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.”

Another non-conformist minister, Matthew Henry (1662-1714), explains the import of the call to drop out of the worldly trends of thinking:

“Those are in danger who please themselves with strangers to God; for we soon learn to follow the ways of persons whose company we keep. It is not having silver and gold, horses and chariots, that displeases God, but depending upon them, as if we could not be safe, and easy, and happy without them, and could not but be so with them. Sin is a disgrace to the poorest and the lowest. And though lands called Christian are not full of idols, in the literal sense, are they not full of idolized riches? and are not men so busy about their gains and indulgences, that the Lord, his truths, and precepts, are forgotten or despised?”

Here we see that turning on and tuning in to God bring results. Like the rising of the sun, it’s inevitable and unstoppable. When we’re looking to God, we’ll never run dry of inspiration, or any needful thing. Tuning in to God as our Source, we will always be filled.

 

SECTION 1: UNDERSTANDING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN GOD AND MAN

 Section 1 opens with the Hebrew prayer, “Shema Yisrael”—Hear, O Israel. If that’s not a call to tune in, I don’t know what is!

The organization of all the Bible passages in this section remind me of a call and response song similar to something we might do at CedarS Camps.  In Deuteronomy 6:4, 5 (citation B1) we have the call to pay attention—specifying there is one God, and we are to love Him with all our heart, soul, and might. The following citations map the trajectory of our response. In Jeremiah 32 (cit. B2), we have God’s assurance of our unbroken relationship with Him. He is our God, and we are His people. We are in covenant, or mutual agreement with God. We have God’s whole heart and soul, and in return, He expects to have ours.

Then, in Psalm 17: 1, 7, 8 (cit. B3) is a petition for God to be responsive to our needs and fulfill His part of the bargain. That might seem strange—to beg God to answer our petition when the Scriptures are filled with God’s promises. Yet investigating further, we find that just as many Bible verses contain petitions. Finally, in Psalm 84:2, 11 (to 2nd 🙂 (cit. B4) is a response—a recognition and active acknowledgment that God will indeed fulfill His role. So, God promises us that he will protect and sustain us, and we promise allegiance to Him.

The proper relationship between God and man is emphasized throughout the Christian Science textbook and is reflected in the relationship of Soul and body. First, man doesn’t have a separate soul of his own. God is the only Soul (cit. S1—SH 330:11-12). Next, God is seen in the spiritual universe as the sun is seen in a ray of light, but the ray of light isn’t the sun, and the sun isn’t in the ray. However, the ray as an emanation of the sun, originates in it, and is never disconnected from it. So, man doesn’t exist without God, and is forever emanating from Him.  (cit. S2—SH 300:28-31; cit. S3—SH 503:28). God is not in man; man is in God. (cit. S4—SH 335:16-18). Similarly, man is not in the body, the body is a mental concept held in consciousness. “All cause is mental, not physical” (cit. S5—SH 114:23-29).  God is reflected in creation but is never in it. Through deep study and embodiment of these truths, we are able to drop the chains that bind us to materially based thinking.

 

SECTION 2: WE’RE IN GOD, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND

 Again, look at the context of Job 5:8, 9 (cit. B5). We have Eliphaz advising Job what he would do if he were in Job’s position. For anyone unfamiliar with Job’s story, he lost everything he had—including his health in a very short time. Job is in such a poor condition that when three of his friends come to comfort him, they don’t even recognize him. I mention this because we so often read these passages without being aware of their context. We just read the citation with little sense of where it came from. Sometimes we tend to approach prayer in a similar superficial fashion. Not so with Job. When Job asks, “What is man?” (cit. B6—Job 7:17), he isn’t just musing to pass the time. He is in deep distress, and really wants to know the answer.

The passages from Isaiah offer comfort from a solid spiritual standpoint that enables us to drop out of the picture of distress, and to turn on and tune in to God. “I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me” (cit. B7—Isa. 45:5). Isaiah 43 verses 6, and 7 we have a representation of God’s call to all His children to tune in to Him irrespective of their condition. We’re reminded that God made us; we are called by His name and were created for His glory (cit. B8). The psalmist acknowledges that God’s word is unchangeable and lights our way through every challenge (cit. B9—Psalm 119:89, 105, 135, 159, 167, 174, 175 (to ;)).

Similar to Job’s earnest question, Mary Baker Eddy’s asks—“What are body and Soul?” The answer in Science and Health begins: “Identity is the reflection of Spirit” (cit. S6—SH 477:19-26). Identity doesn’t mean our individual character, so much as what we identify with. This includes a clearer understanding of our relationship with God. Science and Health states, “Man is the expression of Soul.” That means although we reflect God, God expresses us. So God isn’t a concept in our mind, we are a concept in God, the only Mind. Since God is Spirit, as His expression, we aren’t made of matter, or in matter, nor do we have anything to do with matter (cit. S7—SH 475:6-10). The divine Mind that expresses us maintains and sustains us (cit. S8—SH 70:12). A key point that’s repeated throughout the textbook is that “Spirit…is not in Spirit’s formations” (cit. S9—SH 71:5), and it is “impossible for infinite Spirit or Soul to be in a finite body…” (cit. S10—SH 309:24-26). We exist in God, not the other way around. Just as the sun isn’t in the ray of light, but the ray of light emanates from the sun and can’t be separated from it, so God isn’t in man, but man emanates from God and can’t be separated from Him. Tuning in to this premise, we can see how helpful it is to “Drop out” of the mistaken belief that we’re separated from God. This whole misunderstanding stems from the belief of being “absorbed” in a so-called “material selfhood” (cit. S11—SH 91:16).

Think deeply about your situation and see where you might be absorbed—intrigued, immersed, preoccupied, or fascinated by matter or material theories. In order to turn on and tune in to God, we definitely want to drop out of any “erroneous knowledge gained from matter, or through what are termed the material senses.”

 

SECTION 3: FOOD AND NUTRITION

 One of the most prevalent of material theories currently preoccupying many of our thoughts is food and nutrition. If we aren’t careful, we could easily become absorbed in this aspect of mortal belief. In Psalm 89:15 (cit. B10), we read, “Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance.” It’s one thing to hear (turn on) to the joyful sound, but to know it (to tune in) brings us a step further. A Scottish contemporary of Mary Baker Eddy, Alexander MacLaren (1826-1910) elucidates the psalmist’s words:

“…to walk in the light is simply to have the consciousness of the divine Presence and the experience of the divine lovingkindness and friendship as a road on which we travel our life’s journey, or an atmosphere round us in which all our activities are done and in which we ever remain, as a diver in his bell, to keep evil and sin from us.”

Maintaining our walk in the light is quite challenging considering that practically every form of media is constantly peppering us about something regarding nutrition, and its effect on our health and looks. How can we tell what’s worth listening to? We have to exercise our spiritual sense and watch not only what we put into our stomachs, but also what we ingest into our thinking. The psalmist refers to the multitude of sources that predict our doom, but he’s turned on and tuned in to the true voice—the voice of the Lord that blesses and sustains us (cit. B11—Psalms 3:2-4, 5, 8). Isaiah assures us that God knows and feeds us with exactly what we need (cit. B12—Isa. 40:11).

Our practice of choosing to listen to God takes place in the relative privacy of our own lives, and is certainly counter cultural. Imagine the courage, faith, and determination it took for Daniel and his friends to take their stand to refuse the “king’s meat” while under careful observation. Talk about taking a counter-cultural stand! (cit. B13—Dan. 1:3, 5, 6, 8, 11-15).

Mary Baker Eddy’s view on this is as revolutionary today as it was when she penned these words in Science and Health: “In divine Science, man is sustained by God…” (cit. S12—SH 530:5-6). Whether we look to food for comfort, health, pleasure, or anything else, true satisfaction is found in Soul (cit. S13—SH 60:29-1). As anyone who has paid any attention to the worldly beliefs about food knows, various foods routinely fall in and out of favor with nutritionists. What was once considered beneficial can become a hazard overnight. Christian Science covers the whole ground by assuring us that food can neither help nor hurt us (cit. S14—388:12-16, 22-24).

If we really want to build a “better body” our aim should be to conquer our faith in matter. Think about that for a minute. Most people are willing to go on any number of diets, and food programs, or religiously work out for years with little or no results. The Christian Science textbook offers a straightforward solution: “Correct material belief by spiritual understanding, and Spirit will form you anew” (cit. S16—425:24-26). So why not try dropping out of the material trends, start watching what you think, and start tuning in to God?

 

SECTION 4: SEE FROM THE STANDPOINT OF LIGHT

 While we would like to think that most people are wishing us well, there are those who like nothing better than to gloat over our failures. That is what Micah is praying about—that his enemies not rejoice over him (cit. B14—Micah 7:7,8).  Notice that the prophet doesn’t say the light will come after the darkness, but that God is the light that reaches him while he is in the darkness. He tunes in to God right where he is. Again, Jesus makes the point that light and darkness are not external conditions but depend upon our point of view (cit. B15—Luke 11:34, 36). If our “eye,” or viewpoint is focused (or tuned in), the light fills us. Paul reminds us that our body is the temple of the Holy Ghost (cit. B16—I Cor. 6:19, 20). That doesn’t mean the Holy Ghost dwells in our bodies; it means we live in the temple of the Holy Ghost. That’s quite a different thing. That’s dropping out of the belief of living in a body and being tuned in to the fact that we live in Spirit.

Sometimes though, that belief of living in a body weighs us down, to the point where we feel in darkness, as with the woman who suffered for eighteen years and couldn’t even lift herself up. Jesus loosed her from that lie, enabling her stand tall and strong (cit. B18—Luke 13:11-13).

The Master looked from the standpoint of light not of darkness. His enlightened view brought everything he saw into the light. Jesus beheld the perfect man, not a sick or sinful mortal (cit. S18—476:32). He wasn’t trying to change a sick or sinning mortal into a well one. He was holding firmly to the light, and he only saw the man God sees. A material body isn’t a temporary housing for our souls. The material body is only the objective evidence of mortal belief.

The reason we are so limited and susceptible to sin and disease, is that we believe we live in a material body (cit. S20—223:3). As a remedy to this false picture, our textbook gives us a variety of directions:

“Hold perpetually…that it is the spiritual idea …which enables you to demonstrate, with scientific certainty, the rule of healing…” (cit. S21—496:15).

“Keep distinctly in thought that man is the offspring of God, not of man; that man is spiritual, not material; that Soul is Spirit, outside of matter, never in it, never giving the body life and sensation” (cit. S22—396:26-30).

“Blot out the images of mortal thought … When the body is supposed to say, “I am sick,” never plead guilty.

Mentally contradict every complaint from the body, and rise to the true consciousness of Life as Love, — as all that is pure, and bearing the fruits of Spirit” (cit. S23—391:3, 18–19, 29–32).

Those are pretty clear. Bringing that type of thinking into our practice, we will turn on to Truth, tune in to Soul, and drop out of material thinking.

SECTION 5: PURITY, BAPTISM

 So, how do we stay turned on and tuned in to the light? Drop everything that leads us away from God. Keep our hands and heart clean and pure (cit. B19—Ps. 24:3, 4).

The psalmist is the model for our approach. We wait only on God and place all our expectations on Him. We lift up our soul to God. That is—to gain that higher altitude of spiritual oneness with God, that realizes we live, move, and have our being in Him—in Soul, not body (cit. B20—Ps. 62:5, 7; B21—Ps. 25:1). The story of Lydia mentioned in Acts 16:9, 10, 13-15, (cit. B22) is a good example of someone who responded to Paul’s message not only by hearing it, but also by accepting the teaching and taking the steps to conform her life to it.

The author of Science and Health made no apologies for the amount of work it takes to make this spiritual outlook our own. She acknowledges that the spiritual path is counter to the material culture, and that the world wouldn’t see its value. “Self-forgetfulness, purity, affection, practice not profession, understanding not belief”—these are all steps that bring us farther in our journey (cit. S24—15:25-30). We need to strive—“to endeavor with earnestness” (cit. S25—241:24). Just as we can’t see the sun through a dirty window, we won’t see the light through a consciousness clouded with the dirt of materially based thinking. We need to allow the Spirit to wash away our impurities (cit. S26—35:19-25).

One of the complaints often made about the quest to be spiritual is that spirituality is restrictive, and that it forces us to sacrifice fun. This presumption is based on the belief that the only happiness we can have comes through the material senses. True happiness goes way beyond that. And let’s not forget that joy is a quality of Soul. As we tune in to true spirituality, the currents of truth naturally wash away the false impositions of material belief. If we are truly tuned in to God, dropping material beliefs is almost effortless (cit. S27—99:23). Tuning in to unselfishness, nobility, and purity bring joy and fulfillment naturally. The more in-tune we are with God, the happier we’ll be. Rather than being restrictive, our textbook tells us “There is moral freedom in Soul” (cit. S28—58:7-12). Everything the world offers is temporary and unreliable. It’s like trying to tune in to a signal that keeps changing. Drop that and turn to God, “the unchangeable and eternal” (cit. S29—120:4).

 

SECTION 6: LIGHT AND SALVATION

 One more time, let’s look at the context of Psalm 27. David’s claim that the Lord is his light is virtually the same as Micah acknowledging that the Lord will be a light in his darkness. David is completely tuned in to God. He has long dropped the fear of his enemies. His only desire is to dwell in the house of the Lord.

John Gill (1697-1771) explains the background of David’s sincere desire to tune in to God. David wants nothing but to serve God—“something neglected by many, and is a weariness to others, but was by the psalmist preferred to everything else.” David didn’t long for vengeance on his enemies, assurance of his throne, wealth, pleasure or enlargement of his empire. He only desired to inquire diligently after the Lord in His temple. Again, this wasn’t a casual interest, but a serious undertaking to which he earnestly devoted himself. Something we don’t think about often is that David was denied the task of building the temple, yet he cherished the idea of it. Throughout his trials and tribulations, David kept tuned in to the Lord and maintained his joy (cit. B25—Ps. 35:9). He knew where to look, and who to look to for comfort, light, and salvation. To be sure he took some detours, as we all do, but he landed in the right place.

This Bible Lesson shows pretty clearly the task before us. What are we waiting for? Paul said, “Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (cit. S31—93:7). Our textbook tells us to rejoice that we are subject only to the divine “powers that be.” Curiously, the gathering at which the slogan “Turn, on, tune in, and drop out” was first spoken was called “The Human Be-In.” As we take up the work of spiritually turning on, tuning in, and dropping out of matter to find God, we notice that our textbook leads us to “the true Science of [be-ing]. (cit. S32—249:14-16). God and man together in being is all there is. Section 2 had the simple statement “Man is the expression of Soul.” The Lesson finishes with “Man is the reflection of Soul.” That’s you right now. Are you tuned in?


Click here for extra inspirational GEMs from this week’s Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson’s citations coming from from Cobbey Crisler, Ken Cooper and others.


**Join us for a virtual CedarS Sunday Hymn Sing! (by Zoom Sunday at 7pm Central Time.) Invite family, church and other friends and even neighbors to join in this healing CedarS tradition along with a happy, worldwide “chorus” every week. You can sing along (muted) with CedarS unmuted, host musicians seven hymns that all are invited to request.
Click here for a link and fuller details.

(A precious prelude precedes each sing at 6:45pm Central Daylight-savings Time (CDT.) We encourage singing along in Zoom’s gallery view to share the joy of seeing dear ones in virtual family-church reunions that bless all generations.

To protect privacy and copyrights, these “brief, but spectacular” sessions are NOT recorded. So, calibrate your time-zone clocks, mark your calendars, and remind friends, so that no one misses any of these inspiring, weekly reminders of our precious, spiritual oneness with each other and with our ever-loving, Father-Mother God who owns and embraces us all!

Lovingly singing prayers and praise to God for about 30 minutes each Sunday is such a warm, “Welcome Home” tradition to bless the start of each week with joyous, peaceful GRACE. (Our 2021 theme.) We have loved singing-in this grace with longtime as well as first-time friends—not only from ALL 50 of the United States, but also from 21 other countries! So far, our “Hymn Sing family” has clicked or dialed-in from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, England, Germany, Ghana, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, New Zealand, Pakistan, Paraguay, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Scotland, Spain, South Africa, Switzerland, as well as from each of the United States! In the universal language of divine Love, “the ‘still, small voice’ of scientific thought reaches over continent and ocean to the globe’s remotest bound.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 559:8–10)


Here are some areas where financial support is needed and would double the blessings in very meaningful ways to thousands of dear ones served by CedarS:

  • UNRESTRICTED & OTHER MAINTENANCE AND HERD-SUPPORT GIFTS WILL BE MATCHED UP TO $100,000! Extra thanks in advance for clicking here to electronically share your tax-deductible support. It’s especially needed during reduced-income periods to help “keep our oil lamps burning.”
  • ENDOWMENT GIFTS to help cover CedarS camperships & operations are being MATCHED up to $200,000/year ($1-MILLION total). This will solidify support for our outreach efforts in all conditions!
  • Here’s our camp office address to MAIL your gift to THIS WEEK:
    The CedarS Camps Office, 410 Sovereign Court #8, Ballwin, MO 63011
  • Next week (5/24) we’ll settle into our offices at our CedarS Camps SUMMER HOME & ADDRESS:
    The CedarS Camps, 19772 Sugar Drive, Lebanon, MO 65536
  • or call CedarS team at 636-394-6162 (forwarded to Gay, Kim or Jennifer)to share a credit card gift.
  • CedarS is a not-for-profit, 501-C-3 organization with a Federal ID # 44-0663883.
American Camp Association

MAIN OFFICE
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(636) 394-6162

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