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Editor’s Note: The following background information and application ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson for this week are offered primarily to help CedarS campers and staff see and demonstrate the great value of daily study of the Christian Science Bible lessons year-round, not just at camp. If more information or the text of this Lesson is desired, please see the Director’s Note at the end. The citations referenced in the “met” (metaphysical application ideas) are taken from the King James Version of the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. The Bible and Science and Health are the ordained pastor of Churches of Christ, Scientist. The Bible Lesson is the sermon read in Christian Science church services throughout the world. (Other reference books are fully noted at the end.)

Acknowledge that the Spirit of God is upon us, NOW, TODAY!
Notes on “Spirit” (Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson for August 1-7, 2005),
by Julie Ward, C.S., Westwood, Massachusetts

GOLDEN TEXT – “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon ME.”
The Spirit of the Lord God is not some far-off theoretical concept that rests somewhere in our distant future. It doesn’t belong to the favored few. Inspiration (being in the Spirit) isn’t some rare occurrence that appears by magic. It’s a law. We can start by humbly acknowledging that the Spirit of God is upon us, NOW, TODAY.

Paul didn’t come to the Corinthians with fancy words, intellectual pyrotechnics, or well-placed arguments. He didn’t have to market Christianity to his listeners. He came to them “in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” Sharing the truth doesn’t come through what we say, but through our daily demonstration of spirituality. Our living of the Spirit will say it all.

Next comes a pivotal statement for the rest of the lesson: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” What God has prepared for each of us can’t possibly be comprehended by the material senses. Why? Because they are finite, and can only see, hear, touch, taste, feel, or even smell a tiny piece of infinite Good. But there is good news here, for “God hath revealed it unto us through his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth ALL things, yea, the deep things of God.” Spirit sees ALL things – the completeness, the oneness, the wholeness of its own creation – and Spirit by its very nature reveals these things. It’s not in the nature of Spirit to hide or to withhold.

Are you wondering about something in your future – your school, your marriage, your health, your career? Don’t waste your time consulting the eyes and ears. God will reveal it to you through His Spirit. And the very same Spirit that reveals itself to us enables us to share it with one another, “Not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” We get lost when we compare spiritual things with material. It’s like trying to solve a math problem within two different number systems. What is the Holy Ghost teaching us? (See the definition of “Holy Ghost” in the Glossary of Science and Health.) The Holy Ghost is constantly teaching, communicating, and clarifying, but its teaching seems foolish if you hold it up to the evidence of the material senses. Only when you begin to identify yourself as Spirit’s reflection do you begin to see the scientific logic of the things of the Spirit. We can start today by acknowledging, “I am the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwells in me.”

SECTION I – Let there be light!
The first section opens with the essentials of spiritual creation, given in the first chapter of Genesis. The first view of the earth is “without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the earth.” Have you ever felt that your experience was “without form and void”? Have you ever felt you were mentally “in the dark”? Then you can know that God will not let that continue. “The spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” And the spirit of God will move on us, giving us purpose and fullness and clarity. And what happened after that? God said, “Let there be light: and there was light.” (B 1) There was no gap between God’s command and its fulfillment. And that takes us to step three: “And God SAW everything that He had made, and, BEHOLD, it was very good.” Did God see it with mortal eyes? No! Was the light dependent on some material light source? No! So, if we are waiting for someone to “see the light” we don’t have to wait for a circumstance to change. The Spirit of God will “move upon the waters.”

The commands in Isaiah (B 2) show God’s requirements for His ideas: Arise, shine, lift up, see! Look up – above the material sense of life – and you’ll see clearly. And here’s the surprise – you’ll see the things that are invisible to the material senses. (B 3) What “invisible things” have you seen today? How about love, honesty, unselfishness?

This lesson is full of statements about SPIRITUAL SENSE – what it is and what it does. As you study, watch for them. Here’s the first definition of spiritual sense – “the discernment of spiritual good.” (S&H 1) There are also many statements about spiritual understanding, and we start right out with a reminder of what we learned in the Responsive Reading: “…this understanding is not intellectual, is not the result of scholarly attainments; it is the reality of all things brought to light.” (S&H 1) Because it’s not intellectual, but spiritual, it belongs to all ages, all cultures, all levels of education. And it’s brought to light, not by our intellectual wranglings, but by Love’s loving command, “Let there be

One last note – “Everything in God’s universe expresses Him.” (S&H 4) As you go through the week, look for the ways in which you see God expressing Himself through everything in His universe. This includes you! How are you expressing Him today?

SECTION II – Be a prophet!
This section begins with a fervent hope – “Would God that ALL the Lord’s people were prophets. and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!” (B 5) This isn’t just a blue-sky wish. God has put His spirit on us all (Remember the Golden Text?), so today is the day to begin thinking of yourself as a prophet. No, you don’t have to have a long beard and a robe. You do have to practice being “a spiritual seer.”(S&H 7) Elisha did that. He desired above all else to see things through the spiritual senses, just as his mentor and friend, Elijah, saw them. These words, “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law,” (B6) could have come straight from Elisha. And they should be our prayer, too. We have to cultivate a real desire to see spiritually, even if it’s not the most popular thing to do. Elisha didn’t listen to the warnings of the sons of the prophets. He told them, “Hold ye your peace.” This is a very good thing to do when suggestions of loss come to us! And when even his master suggested that he stay back, Elisha was resolute. Twice he said, “I will not leave thee.” Sometimes we have to determine that we will not leave our highest sense of Truth. The sons of the prophets “stood to view afar off,” but Elijah and Elisha stood by Jordan. Then Elijah smote the waters with his mantle, and they went over on dry ground. Just as Moses experienced at the Red Sea, the waters parted. The so-called laws of matter were set aside. Only then did Elijah ask for Elisha’s request, and that request was a bold one: “Let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.” How could he ask that? He had to know that this Spirit was infinitely available, and that it was not intellectual, but spiritual. The condition was simple: “If thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee… ” It was dependent on spiritual seeing. And Elisha did see him, just as he saw the chariot of Israel and its horsemen. Did he see them with retina, lens, and iris? No – he saw them with spiritual sense. He was a prophet, a spiritual seer, and the second part of that definition (S&H 7) was fulfilled, the “… disappearance of material sense before the conscious facts of spiritual Truth.” Isn’t that a wonderful definition of healing?

And here’s another definition of spiritual sense – “a conscious, constant capacity to understand God.” (S&H 8)

Elisha’s experience is perfectly summed up by the last citation in Science and Health (S&H 9). As his treasures of truth and Love were enlarged – as he loved Spirit more and more – he forsook matter for Spirit. Then, he wasn’t just absorbed into Spirit. He didn’t lose his individuality. He became a better healer. He spoke with divine authority. And we can do that, too. Every little moment in which we mentally forsake matter and turn toward the light will bring us “…an ENLARGED individuality, a WIDER sphere of thought and action, a more EXPANSIVE love, a HIGHER and MORE PERMANENT peace.” (S&H 9) Who wouldn’t want that?

SECTION III – Spiritual sense sees the wholeness of creation.
Remember how we are looking for all the ways that “Everything in God’s universe expresses Him”? (S&H 4) This section gives us beautiful examples of this – including “the Cedars of Lebanon, which He hath planted.” (Isn’t it great to know that He will prosper and protect what He has planted?). Wherever we see beauty, usefulness, strength, we can acknowledge its source. “Thou sendeth forth thy spirit, they are created.” (B 8) Spirit quickens, enlivens, awakens all that is beautiful and good. Whenever we acknowledge that, our eyes are opened to the wholeness of creation, and we find joy and satisfaction in it.

Material senses “know in part, and prophesy in part.” (B 9) They see “through a glass, darkly.” They look at everything through a veil – a belief in lack and limitation. By contrast, spiritual sense sees “face to face.”  It sees wholeness, completeness, oneness. It sees the harvest where material sense sees only the seeds, because it sees without time.  “The perfect and immortal are the ETERNAL likeness of their Maker.” (S&H 10) They are not in process, not in time. Just so, “Manhood is its eternal noon, undimmed by a declining sun.”  We are not just getting there, nor are we falling away.

So here’s another thing that spiritual sense does: “…Spiritual sense can bear witness only to Truth.”  And spiritual sense contradicts material sense. (S&H 11) Here’s an important rule for healing: “Mortals must look beyond fading, finite forms, if they would gain the true sense of things.”(S&H 13) Let’s not get stuck on the “fading, finite forms”! Look past them, and “multiple objects of creation, which were invisible. will become visible.” They were always present, but now our eyes are open to them.

SECTION IV – Opening our eyes
As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem with his disciples, two blind men sat by the wayside, crying out to him, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou son of David.” When the crowd told them to quiet down, they cried even louder. Like Elisha, they wouldn’t give up. Their desire to see was greater than their desire to please. Are we like them – do we desire pure spiritual vision above all else? When Jesus asked what they wanted, their reply was, “Lord, that our eyes may be opened.” Do we pray every day for open eyes? When Jesus touched their eyes, their sight returned immediately. It didn’t require time and process in order to be restored. Why? Because it was always there. In a sense, they had just lost sight of true sight. And what did they do when their sight was restored? They followed him! And we must, too.

Check out the definition of “eyes” from the Glossary (S&H 14). When we pray “Open thou mine eyes,” we’re really asking, “Open thou my spiritual discernment.” No one can be blinded to the good that God expresses. Spiritual sense is permanent. It can’t be lost. “Spirit’s senses are without pain, and they are forever at peace.”(S&H 16) So if we receive a sense of pain and upheaval, we can know that God didn’t send it. Only spiritual sense can perceive “the Principle and proof of Christianity.” (S&H 17) It can’t be perceived by material sense, because material sense can’t comprehend Love. “The senses of Spirit ABIDE in Love, and they demonstrate Truth and Life.” (S&H 18) As we “abide in Love” our eyes are opened to Truth and Life, and we DEMONSTRATE that Truth and Life as Jesus did.

SECTION V – I hear you!
Sometimes a person is trying really hard to drive home a point, and we reply, “I hear you!” We’re not talking about ears here. We’re telling the person, “I understand. I get it.” So when we pray, “Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning….”, we’re asking to really understand God’s love. That’s how Jesus could say, “Blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.” (B 16) What does it take to really understand Christian Science? Again, it’s not intellectual, but spiritual. “We are Christian Scientists, only as we quit our reliance upon that which is false and grasp the true. We are not Christian Scientists until we leave all for Christ.” (S&H 20) And what do we leave? Well, for one thing, we leave our human opinions, for “Human opinions are not spiritual.” They keep us from being fully open to God’s voice. This is a tall order! But we can begin today just to be willing to abandon strongly held opinions, all that comes to us from belief rather than understanding. Then, we’ll say to our Father, “I hear you!”

SECTION VI – Constant renewal
Paul told the Corinthians that they were “our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men.” (B 19)  Did you ever think of yourself as God’s letter to the world? And that letter isn’t written with ink. It’s written by “the spirit of the living God.” What has Spirit written in your heart? Do you think of yourself as an able minister of new testament? You are, you know. And that letter is not what you say. It’s the spirit that you live. “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.” (B 20) The letter will constantly be re-written. It will be fresh and new every day as we realize that it flows forth from an infinite source – Spirit.  Human sense cannot see it. But the senses of Spirit see it and hear it and rejoice in it. We can acknowledge what spiritual sense is saying even if everything in the material senses denies it.

“We ought to weary of the fleeting and false, and to cherish nothing which hinders our highest selfhood.” (S&H 27) What do we actually cherish? Does it support spiritual growth and progress? Are we “striving to enter in”? (S&H 29) If we are, there’s a choice to make. One who is striving “…constantly turns away from material sense, and looks toward the imperishable things of Spirit.” Which way are we looking? The disciple who is honest and earnest will “gain a little each day in the right direction, till at last he finishes his course with joy.” Be grateful for every little step along the way.

Camp Director’s Note: The above sharing is the latest in a long series of CedarS Bible Lesson “mets” (metaphysical application ideas) contributed weekly by a rotation of CedarS Resident Practitioners and occasionally by other metaphysicians.  This document is intended to initiate further study as well as to encourage the application of ideas found in the Weekly Bible Lessons as printed in the Christian Science Quarterly and as available at Christian Science Reading Rooms.Originally sent JUST to campers, staff and CedarS families who wanted to continue at home and in their home Sunday Schools the same type of focused Lesson study and inspiration they had felt at camp, CedarS lesson “mets” are in no way meant to be definitive or conclusive or in any way a substitute for daily study of the lesson in the books. The thoughts presented are the inspiration of the moment and are offered to give a bit more dimension, background and daily applicability to some of the ideas and passages being studied. The Lesson-Sermon speaks individually through the Christ to everyone, providing unique insights and tailor-made applications for each one. We are glad you requested this metaphysical sharing and hope that you find some of these ideas helpful in your daily spiritual journey, in your deeper digging in the books and in closer bonding with your Comforter and Pastor.)  

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