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Accept the Gift and Use It!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“Christian Science”
December 21—27, 2020

By Craig L. Ghislin, C.S. Glen Ellyn, Illinois (Bartlett)
craig.ghislincs@icloud.com / (630) 830-8683 / (630) 234-3987 cell/text

:Click to hear Craig read “Accept the Gift and Use It!” his metaphysical application ideas on this week’s Christian Science Bible Lesson on “Soul and Body.”) Or paste into your browser https://www.cedarscamps.org/metaphysical/audio/play/craig-ghislin-audio-of-his-met-accept-the-gift-and-use-it-for-12-27-2020/

INTRODUCTION

What is the greatest gift you’ve ever received?

Did you hide it and let it collect dust? Absolutely not! You couldn’t help but be grateful. Words of thanks weren’t enough, and you showed your appreciation by joyfully using the gift for its intended purpose.

The Golden Text of this week’s Bible Lesson expresses Paul’s attempt to thank God for the gift Christ Jesus brought to the world (II Cor. 9:15). It’s too wonderful for words!

Theologian Albert Barnes (1798-1870) writes that the Greek word for “unspeakable,” means, “what cannot be related, unutterable. It occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. The idea is, that no words can properly express the greatness of the gift thus bestowed on man. It is higher than the mind can conceive; higher than language can express.”

In the Responsive Reading, Isaiah underscores the need for such a gift. The people were dwelling in spiritual darkness and were in great need of a sign of God’s presence. Barnes notes that the word translated as “sign” in Isaiah 7:14 meant not “a miracle” but rather, a proof, a demonstration, … which could be brought about “only” by Yahweh.

Such a demonstration was the birth of Christ Jesus, whom the prophet referred to as the Prince of Peace. Though human governments rise and fall, the promised savior heralds the government that shall be without end. There’s no injustice or inharmony here. There’s nothing to argue about in this kingdom because there aren’t two sides. Everything flows together in harmony—all being moved by the great current of the Father-Mother Love.

Section 1: Pay Attention to Those Angels and Signs

In this Christmas season, I’m thinking about how amazing it is that there were angels and signs throughout the entire Nativity story. Until Zacharias’ vision announcing he and Elizabeth would have a son who would become John the Baptist, it had been some 700 years since such a sign came to Israel. This was the first of a series of angelic visitations. An angel tells Mary, that she would give birth to the Son of God; and an angel appears to Joseph in a dream easing his concerns. Angels announce Jesus’ birth to the shepherds, and the Magi follow the star.

Consider the variety of circumstances in which the angels appeared. Mary wasn’t expecting an angel to visit her, but she responded instantly, and began making preparations for the child. When Joseph heard the news, it required a great deal of faith to accept Mary’s condition, and even as he wrestled with the situation, an angel came to him in a dream to quiet his concerns and provide direction. The shepherds were just going about their jobs when the angels announced the birth of a savior. Finally, the Magi—nobody knows exactly who they were or how many actually came. But it’s generally accepted that they were seekers of some sort. Whatever they were doing before, they dropped everything to follow that star.

Those angels and signs are still with us today in whatever way we will accept them. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing. They often arrive unexpectedly. How attentive are you to your angels? Do you listen and drop your previous plans to make room for a new and holy idea in your life?

The Bible refers to the coming of the Christ as the light piercing the darkness. Looking up to the immensity of the night sky can make us feel quite small in the larger scheme of things. This week as Jupiter aligns with Saturn, sky watchers are expecting to see what they call the “Christmas Star.” Some feel that this alignment of planets signals the coming of a new age. This shows that humanity again is in search of the light. Some think these hopes for a new age are foolish pagan magic and will pay no attention to it. Yet others will travel miles to witness this rare cosmic event. But whether they go out of their way or not, that event will take place for all to see should they make the effort to do so. So, it is with the light of Christ. No matter what people think about it, it’s there for those who seek it.

Recounting the biblical narratives of the Magi (SH 95:23-25), the shepherds (SH vii:2), and the visitation to Mary (SH 29:24) Mary Baker Eddy expects that “the divine Science that ushered Jesus into human presence” would enlighten understanding in our time too (SH 325:26). She was assured this light would reach everyone no matter how “faintly developed” it might be. New spiritual ideas are being born every day to each one of us. We all have angels and signs in our lives. Are you paying attention to yours?

Section 2: Stick to God’s Plan and Be Spiritually Mature

As the Son of God, Jesus is the model for our spiritual journeys. Even as a youth he was “about his Father’s business,” but at the same time, he didn’t let anyone push him before he was ready. He was fully matured before he entered his ministry. Our passage from infancy to childhood, and forward into adolescence, young adulthood, and maturity correlates to our spiritual maturity. Said one man: “I was a Christian for twenty-two years. But instead of being a twenty-two-year-old Christian, I was a one-year-old Christian twenty-two times! I just kept doing the same things over and over again.”

How would you rate your maturity as a Christian?

When Jesus’ time came, he was ready, and he got right to business preaching and healing. The Scriptures say people were “astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes” (Mark 1:22). The traditional method of teaching was to quote lots of previous rabbis and build on doctrines of the past. But Jesus broke that mold. He taught something brand new, and his authority came directly from God, not the existing theology of the day.

In fact, Jesus broke all sorts of traditional ways and expectations. The account in Mark 1: 32-38 tells us that the morning after an extremely successful day of healing Jesus rose early to find a solitary place far from the world to pray.

Albert Barnes points out the importance of Jesus’ use of those early hours. Not unlike the shepherds that heralded his coming, Barnes writes, “He knew the value of the morning hours; he rose while the world was still; he saw the light as it spread abroad in the east with fresh tokens of his Father‘s presence, and joined with the universal creation in offering praise to the everywhere present God.”

The disciples wouldn’t let him alone. They pursued him and remind him the crowds will be looking for him. They were naturally excited and pleased by their Master’s popularity. But Jesus had other plans. His validation and authority came from God, and he humbly stuck to his mission. In Romans 5:15, Paul acknowledges that Jesus’ adherence to his mission was the gift of grace. Rather than being influenced by popularity and the world’s expectations, Jesus influenced the world by staying his course.

Admittedly, the unique circumstances of Jesus’ birth gave him a head start in exercising spiritual power (SH 539:27-1). On page 270, (lines 31-1) the author of Science and Health, describes Jesus’ life as “not miraculous,” but “indigenous to his spirituality.” According to the dictionary in Mary Baker Eddy’s time, miraculous meant “supernatural,” and indigenous meant, “produced naturally.” The Discoverer of Christian Science teaches that the healing power of Christian Science is also a natural product of the divine Principle, operating in human consciousness (SH xi:9-21). She calls this healing power “the sign of Immanuel, or ‘God with us,”—a divine influence ever present in human consciousness…”

There’s that word “influence” again. Would you say you are influenced by the divine, or worldly impulse? The textbook instructs us to “hold perpetually” to the thought that the same holy influence that motivated Jesus, also enables us to demonstrate this rule of healing.

Section 3: Let It Shine

Jesus was certainly aware of the light he brought to the world. The world tends to glorify persons; but Jesus found his glory from doing God’s work—not from public adulation. Not only did he give glory to God while he was with us, but he promised another Comforter would come to continue the work (John 14:16,17). That in itself shows selfless humility—pointing out that his message would continue without his presence. What’s more, Jesus said his followers would do even greater works than he did! This shows that he didn’t feel he had the corner on the market regarding healing. He trusted that through the Comforter, we could not only get by without him, but could do even greater things than he did (John 14:12). He cautioned however, that just as the world couldn’t understand him, the world wouldn’t acknowledge the Comforter either.

Some people balk at the concept of us doing greater works than Jesus. It has been suggested that perhaps that the greater works we do may not mean the works themselves are greater, but the effect of our works, and the spread of Jesus’ message would reach a greater audience than he did. Another view of “greater works” is related to the statement on page 150, line 12 in Science and Health where it mentions the “higher mission of the Christ-power to take away the sins of the world.”

However we look at it, Mary Baker Eddy boldly proclaimed her conviction that she understood Christian Science to be the fulfillment of the promised Comforter (SH 55:27). In support of this claim she points out that while Jesus practiced and taught generalities, he didn’t provide the details (SH 147:24-29). This could be considered a somewhat audacious assertion were it not for the fact that Jesus himself said the promised Comforter would “teach all things.”

For those of you who may not know, Mary Baker Eddy discovered the Christ Science in 1866 (SH 107:1-3). One of the main benefits of Christian Science, according to its discoverer, is that rather than have us believe only through faith, we are able, through Christian Science, to actually intelligently begin to understand God (SH 107:10). Although Mary Baker Eddy acknowledges that mortal sense finds it somewhat difficult to understand, when we do understand Christian Science, it shines with a light above the sun.

Whereas traditional theology views man as being inherently sinful, and therefore incapable of demonstrating the healing and saving power of the Christ as Jesus did, Christian Science begins with “perfect God and perfect man as the basis of thought and demonstration” (SH259:11). Hence, man’s innate ability to continue doing greater works. This section ends with a bold promise: “When we learn the way in Christian Science and recognize man’s spiritual being, we shall behold and understand God’s creation, — all glories of earth and heaven and man” (SH 264:28).

Section 4: Catch the Vision of Scripture

To fulfill that holy goal, we need to catch the vision. Proverbs 29:18 tells us that without vision the people perish, but those who keep the law are happy. What does that mean? Isaiah (29:11-14, 18, 24) speaks of the vision coming as a sealed book. People have various excuses for not being able to read or understand the book’s message. In Isaiah’s words, God‘s response is that the people who claim to worship him do a lot of talking about God, but their hearts are far from what they talk about. They prefer to follow the precepts of men rather than the Word of God. So God says, He’s going to do something marvelous: The New English Bible translates it this way:

On that day deaf men shall hear when a book is read, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of impenetrable darkness…those whose minds are confused will gain understanding, and the obstinate will receive instruction.

So God will make His “sealed” Word known regardless of any obstacle, or impediment.

For Mary Baker Eddy this “sealed” book is the Bible, and the spiritual inspiration gained through Christian Science is the key to unsealing it (SH 99:9-11). She writes that it took spiritual inspiration to write the Scriptures, and it takes spiritual inspiration to read them (SH 319:21-23). For three years after her initial discovery of Christian Science, she did little else but study the Scriptures to seek out a rule for healing that could be taught and understood. She described her search as “sweet, calm, and buoyant with hope, not selfish nor depressing” (SH 109:11-22). She knew biblical healings were based on faith in God, but she wanted to know details of the process, and she found them “through divine revelation, reason, and demonstration.”

Just as Jesus had his share of detractors, so has Mary Baker Eddy. There are some people who think that she got her ideas about Christian Science from somewhere else—perhaps philosophy, or some esoteric eastern religions, or that she made it up herself. But just as Jesus’ message was original and directly from God, she point-blank tells us that she got all she’d learned about Christian Science from her study of the Bible. She says the key to understanding Christian Science is spiritual perception. This spiritual sense illumines the scriptures as a light in the darkness.

Section 5: Share the Vision

God orders Habakkuk to not only write the vision but, to make it plain—so whoever reads it can “run with it.” It may take time, but the truth will be seen. Eighteenth Century Methodist minister Joseph Benson (1749-1821) explains the significance of a prophet recording his vision:

“When the prophets were commanded to write any thing, it denoted the great importance of it, and that the fulfilling of it was at some distance… [Writing it down meant] What I am now about to reveal to thee will not be fulfilled till a certain time which God hath appointed, but which is yet at a distance. — When the period appointed by God shall come, it shall be accomplished, and not disappoint your expectation.”

So applying this rule to Mary Baker Eddy’s, providing a written record of her discovery in Science and Health, she was under the divine order that the message shall be clear, and originate in God.

Regarding the introductory verses of The Book of Revelation, commentators point out that the Revelation was first given to Jesus by God, and then through an angel Jesus gave it to John. Within this vision, another angel appears with a book—this time not sealed—but open for all to read (Rev. 10:1-11). Along with the invitation to read this book comes the added demand to share it widely.

Mary Baker Eddy has a far different understanding of the book of Revelation than other commentators and scholars, and she devotes an entire chapter to it in her primary work, Science and Health.

As we know, the angel in the 10th chapter of Revelation is holding a book. Mary Baker Eddy writes that this angel “prefigures divine Science…” (SH 558:9-10). As Jesus received his teaching from God, and John received his Revelation from an angel, we have to understand that Mary Baker Eddy also felt that her discovery of Christian Science was a revelation from God. She saw herself as a “scribe under orders” on the receiving end of the revelation, not as the angel delivering it. When considering the meaning of the “little book” in the angel’s hand, she presents the possibility that the book may symbolize Science and Health. She urges her readers to take the book to “study” and “ponder” (SH 559:19-21).

As Habakkuk was ordered to write his vision clearly in a way that would be understood, so the author of Science and Health had full expectation that her book could be clearly understood and would bring healing to those who read it. As Jesus taught as “one having authority,” she took her authority from the Bible rather than building on prior theories or human knowledge. She strongly emphasized that “the Science contained in this book” was original—God ordained—and “nothing could overthrow it” (SH 110:17-20).

Her words on page 547 state her defense of this position clearly. She writes: “If one of the statements in this book is true, every one must be true, for not one departs from the stated system and rule. You can prove for yourself, dear reader, the Science of healing, and so ascertain if the author has given you the correct interpretation of Scripture.”

Section 6: Use the Gift Honestly

The author of Ephesians states that the truth of the gospel is a gift of grace to everyone throughout time (Eph. 4:7). Theologian Adam Clarke (c1760-1832) intimates that our gifts are commensurate with the offices we hold. In other words, whatever is our duty to do, God will, through grace, supply us with all we require to perform that duty. Peter (I Peter 4:10,11) adds that if we wish to be good stewards of this gift, we are obliged to give that gift freely to others.

Finally, we need to be sure that what we teach is truly impelled and inspired by God. This is a very important point. No matter how great our words might be, they won’t have any impact unless we follow the pattern of the prophets, Christ Jesus, and Mary Baker Eddy. They didn’t teach their own doctrine. Nor did they teach to be recognized, or to become famous. They taught under the authority of divine direction, and their missions were to glorify God, not themselves.

The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science invokes Jesus’ commands to preach, heal, and love the entire world freely (SH 138:27-2). Her theology was Jesus’ theology, and if we are to carry out our missions faithfully, it must be our theology as well.

As we’ve mentioned before, as evidenced on page 348:26 of her textbook, Mary Baker Eddy had no illusion that the world would just accept Christian Science without resistance. All prophets throughout history have encountered detractors, and it takes time to bring a new idea into the world. However, she could also see that the book, even in her time, was impacting the ethics, health, and longevity of the world. Her expectation of the greater good this teaching could do is evident as she ponders its future: “If such are the present fruits, what will the harvest be, when this Science is more generally understood?”

The best way to show thanks for a gift is to use it. So as Mary and Joseph, the shepherds and the Magi did, take the time to pay attention to your angels. Make the effort to seek and welcome the Christ into your life. Then show your gratitude for this wonderful, unspeakable gift by humbly and honestly sharing it with the world.


CLICK LINKS below for more APPLICATION IDEAS from CedarS-team for this Lesson:

CedarS ONLINE GEMs will be sent soon with insights and application ideas from Cobbey Crisler and others to help us more fully demonstrate, here and now, the forever coming anew of the Christ light to heal and save mankind.


CLICK on LINKS (below) to CedarS-related, ONGOING OPPORTUNITIES for SPIRITUAL ENRICHMENT!

1. Here’s a link to a full flier about a 12-22-2020 Christmas talk by Madelon Maupin
FYI, From October 21-25, 2021 CedarS is again hosting a deep-dive Bible Study with Madelon Maupin. Click here for more on that. To appreciate Maddie’s great love of and healing inspirations from the Bible, you’re invited to join her in a celebration of Christmas at a challenging time in our history — when too many crises would try to drown out this light of Christ that has always been present to save a weary world.

This on-line talk is sponsored by 2nd Church of Christ, Scientist, Ventura CA

We will look at the story Christians have been telling and rejoicing in through the centuries, seeing how it applies to our times. There will be a PowerPoint with handouts for those who register.

This is a non-denominational Bible talk so please feel free to invite your friends and family to this virtual talk.

  • Date: Tuesday, December 22nd, 2020.
  • Time: 4:00 PM Pacific Time
  • Non-Member Price: $10.00 (to cover technology costs)
  • Members: free (our Christmas gift to you)

    (if you would like to explore membership, please click HERE)

2. Invite family, friends and even neighbors to join us by Zoom every week for CedarS Sunday Hymn Sings: To start each week we’ve loved singing our prayers and praise to God for 30 minutes with friends of all generations. To date, we have had log-ins from all 50 of the United States as well as 20 more countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, England, Germany, Ghana, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Scotland, Spain, South Africa, and Switzerland.


  • GIFTS to grow CEDARS ENDOWMENT will be MATCHED up to $1-MILLION!
  • And, UNRESTRICTED & OTHER GIFTS WILL BE MATCHED UP TO $100,000 by year-end! We’re getting close to that goal, and send our special thanks in advance for clicking here to electronically share your tax-deductible support that is especially needed during this reduced-income year to help “keep our oil lamps burning.”
  • Here’s our camp office address to MAIL gifts to:
    The CedarS Camps Office 410 Sovereign Court #8, Ballwin, MO 63011
  • or call CedarS support team at 636-394-6162 (Gay, Kim or Jennifer) to share your credit card support over the phone.
  • CedarS is a not-for-profit, 501-C-3 organization with a Federal ID # 44-0663883.
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