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“Am I living the Life that approaches the supreme LOVE?”
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“Love”
for week of January 25- 31

by David L. Price, C.S of Denver, CO
720.308.9500 dlawrenceprice@gmail.com

Here’s AN AUDIO LINK to enable you to hear David read “Am I living the Life that approaches the supreme LOVE?” It is full of his metaphysical application ideas
on this week’s Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on
“Love.”
You can also cut & paste into your browser this address:

Audio Met on “Love” by David Price, CS – CedarS Camps

Introduction

When I first came back into Christian Science, before I even had a set of books to call my own, I was given a full text Quarterly for the month by a church member so I could study the lesson. I was so grateful I began in earnest to really make those lessons my own each week. The final lesson in that Quarterly was on this week’s subject, the lesson on Love. I was really excited to read this lesson…except I actually didn’t read it one single time during the week. And wouldn’t you know it, as the years have gone by, the lesson on Love is consistently one of the hardest ones for me to read.

And yet, if you’d ask me my favorite synonym for God, it will always be Love. As I’ve thought through the question “Why?” I really think it comes down to the fact that with Love comes some of the hardest lessons to learn, and the hardest to make practical. It’s really easy to say how much you love something, or someone, how much you love your Father/Mother God, but actually showing it in a practical and meaningful way, in the way God wants you to Love, including daily deeds — that can seem like a real challenge.

So, I am moved by what Mary Baker Eddy says (almost in reply), “God gives you His spiritual ideas, and in turn, they give you daily supplies. Never ask for to-morrow: it is enough that divine Love is an ever-present help; and if you wait, never doubting, you will have all you need every moment. What a glorious inheritance is given to us through the understanding of omnipresent Love!” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 307: 1–7)

What a wonderful way to “flip the script.” Instead of thinking of one’s responsibility to live Love, as a burden, think of it as a blessing and an inheritance, and not one that comes at some future time, but one that is right here in the moment for you, especially as you stop your doubting and are faithful.

Golden Text

Who doesn’t want to live in Love? And who doesn’t want to live in or abide with God, and God with them? So, the next logical question then comes, how do we do this?

Responsive Reading

After this Golden Text, it would seem that a long checklist of responsibilities and duties should come next, right? And of course, there is a list, but wouldn’t you know it, it’s a list of blessings, a list of the myriad ways that God is tenderly loving you and caring for you.

From the Psalmist we are reminded that God abundantly satisfies, and that His benefits include things like: forgiveness, healing, redemption from destruction, the utmost lovingkindness and tender mercies, renewed and youthful strength.

Paul really takes this further and reminds us (through his letter to the church at Ephesus) of God’s great mercy, and not just any mercy, but the kind of mercy that lifts up, even when seemingly unworthy recipients are practically dead because of sins, or wrongdoing, and so are quickened, or made alive. What Paul is talking about is the gift of GRACE, a gift given to you even if you don’t think you deserve it, and that gift includes salvation/forgiveness and inclusion. “The exceeding riches of his grace” (Eph. 2:7) are really the infinite number of ways God is kind and loving towards each of us, and in the way we uniquely need it as a unique individual idea of His.

These passages are really meant to inspire, and lift up; give us a sense of God’s ever-present care. A care that is so big and inclusive that all of a sudden you can’t help but express it yourself, give it to your family, your church, your friends, your community and the world. I like to picture that you can take the Love you receive, once it fills you up, and let it pour over and outward, kind of like in “my cup runneth over” (citation S7, 578:14). In a sense, when you allow that Love to pour over your family, your community and your world, you are doing active prayerful work for the world. So, what is that Love? And how do you get to it?

SECTION 1Starting point – God is Love, including what that means for all of God’s children

This section gives the assurance that God is Love and then goes through what that means for each of us. God as Love cannot be depleted, there is an infinite supply (“open fount” “pouring forth more than we accept” (cit. S1, 2:26), and that supply cannot be taken from you, nor will God withhold it from you. The next citation answers the doubt that maybe love is not enough with assurance that, compared to God, there is no other wisdom. (cit. S2, 275:6, 14-17)

Remember as you read this section, that there are many in the world who don’t trust God, who look on Him as both loving and wrathful. Some believe that God is remote and distant; that He made things, turned the switch on, and then left everything else to us. So, try to view this section as an introductory class for: God as Love. Think of what God means to you, especially in terms of Love. See if this section does a good job of summarizing.

Citation S5 really gives a reassurance of the presence of God and all that includes, by first encouraging, “let us rid ourselves of the belief that man is separated from God….” (SH 91:5) Any time a problem crops up, whether it’s sickness or sadness or lack, isn’t this a form of being tricked into believing that God is not close enough, present enough, powerful enough to move us forward in healing? Well, rest assured, God is illumining, destroying the darkness, and God’s word alone is enough. So, if a problem seems really big, take the leap and “obey only the divine Principle, Life and Love.” (cit. S5, 91:5)

When I read this passage, “God is love,” (cit. B1, I John 4: 8) I can’t help but think of all the times I have felt God’s care, especially in His forgiveness. I know all too well that God does not forsake or forget His children. With God there are no timeouts, no breaks to clear His head. God urges you on, and gives you all the tools you need to follow in that blessed path.

While not in the lesson, I love the sense that whatever the path is, if you’re lovingly guided by God, He is also supplying you with the means to accomplish that good.

A couple of other points:

It is really all the experiences one has witnessing God’s care that make us stand up and actually tell people in a convincing way (extol) how wonderful God is. So in a sense these two passages could be rearranged, with the second passage read first. It reminds us that God is good and tender in His mercy to “all His works,” and this includes everything and everyone. Knowing and actually feeling this makes it then easy to admire, praise and “extol.” (cit. B2, Ps 145:1,9)

The last sentence of this section is a great segue into the next section. In effect it says, once you’ve let the lessons of Section 1 sink in, you have “the great point of departure for all true spiritual growth.” (cit. S5, 91:7)

SECTION 2 – Spiritual Growth in Love

Alright, so you’ve started with God, especially God as Love and all the presence and power that includes. But then a catastrophe hits and you feel as low as you’ve ever felt (cit. B5, Ps 34:18). What do you do then? Is Love really practical?

What if I told you that the one place to turn to is to figure out what you most need. You might tell me “Well, David, I need comfort. Or, I need to get back what I lost!” What if I told you, “You need to grow?” You’d probably be skeptical at best, offended possibly. Yet, Mary Baker Eddy’s counsel goes like this, “What we most need is the prayer of fervent desire for growth in grace, expressed in patience, meekness, love, and good deeds.” (cit. S8. 4:3-5)

The story of Ruth is a shining example of the practical way to grow in grace. And if you think about it, she could probably have said, “What I really need is my husband back so I have a real home.” When you read this story, think about all the ways that instead, Ruth chose to exemplify those four action items – “patience, meekness, love, and good deeds” in order to “grow in grace.”

The story of Ruth is always dear to me because she reminds me of my own Gammy Ruth, who came into Christian Science when she was a teen. My grandmother had been in an orphanage – this was during the Great Depression in New York – because her mother had died and her father didn’t feel that he could take care of all of his children. When she was somewhere in her early teens, her father brought her and her brothers home, as long as Ruth agreed to help take care of them.

One day she was walking down the street and happened upon a Christian Science church. She went into a service, and that was it for her! So, she told her father she was going to become a Christian Scientist. He was less than happy to hear this from his daughter. His family had always been Jewish, and it hadn’t even occurred to him that one of his children would convert to Christianity. But, because Ruth was then working and helping to take care of her brothers, her father gave in. That choice my gammy made directly resulted in her meeting her future husband in that same church a few years later. She and Jack, my grandfather, raised their children in Christian Science.

The presence of God my gammy must have felt, must have been similar to what Ruth had felt in the Biblical account we are reading here today. This Ruth also gave up her sense of religion as a Moabite (an historic enemy of the Jews) and willingly stuck with her mother-in-law after all the tragedy she had seen, including the death of her husband and her father-in-law. In fact, she clave to her mother-in-law. (Clave – an ancient form of cleave – means, in part, to become strongly attached to someone emotionally.) And, she in essence renounced her own family to stay with these new people. I hadn’t remembered that they were traveling to Bethlehem, but when I read it, there was the feeling of safety, “Don’t worry Ruth, you’re going to a good city.” Actually, later this city would be the home town of King David, and more importantly, Ruth is said to be the great-grandmother of King David. Also, as you well know, Bethlehem was much later the birthplace of Christ Jesus.

From a human perspective it might seem that Ruth had given up much, sacrificed much, given of herself unselfishly. But the last citation in this section sheds light on this, “Whatever holds human thought in line with unselfed love, receives directly the divine power.” (cit. S9, 192:30) As a reminder, the word “unselfed” is not another word for unselfish; “unselfed” means to get human mind, mortal mind, out of the picture in order to be a transparency, and in this case to be a transparency for God as Love. Unselfishness is great, but sometimes it does seem to wear you out, but when you are doing things as a transparency for divine Love, you have all the strength and supply you need directly from divine Love (“no other might nor Mind” (cit. S2, 275:6) to accomplish your “growth in grace” (cit. S8, 4:4).

The last thing I want to convey about this section is how special the two sentences in citation S6 really are. In essence Ruth’s story is a shining example of “Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need.” And Ruth’s experience is described by “The miracle of grace is no miracle to Love.” (cit. S6, 494:10-11 and 15)

What’s really special to me is that Ruth did what she did without knowing what the result was going to be. She trusted without knowing the law of divine Love or the law of Grace. Boaz, her future husband, confers a blessing on her at the end of the account, “The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.” (cit. B7, Ruth 2:12)

Now, for yourselves consider how expansive the Love that meets every human need really is! Look at the spiritual sense of the 23rd Psalm (cit. S7:32-18). Ask yourself, what couldn’t Love meet?

SECTION 3 – Taking the lessons we’ve learned, we can now heal hate and divisiveness with mercy and Love.

Now that we have been reminded of a few things – we’ve been reminded to begin with God as Love; we’ve been reassured of God’s enduring presence, care and mercy; we’ve been reminded that growth is necessary; and we’ve been reminded that being a transparency for unselfed Love gives us what we need to meet God’s demands – can we now take a break, just be happy, maybe even take a drink of the Kingdom of Heaven?

Well, obviously, this is a rhetorical question. This section of the lesson really tackles, in a practical sense, enemies.

I really appreciated how the first account of Jesus in this lesson is of him preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of disease. (cit. B9, Matt.4:23)
I was moved by the realization that hate, divisiveness, disunity, etc. is a real form of disease, which deserves and needs to be healed.

Let me first say, this is a hard one for most of us, myself included. But listen to what Mary Baker Eddy has to say (I’m going to take few liberties by inserting a few editorial comments): “To fear [be worked up by] sin [or your enemy, including hate and divisiveness] is to misunderstand the power of Love [remember divine Love has met and always will meet every human need?] and the divine Science of being in man’s relation to God [which is to say, no matter what anyone else says or does, it does not change the fact that you are God’s child and God is never separate from you] – to doubt His government and to distrust His omnipotent care.” (cit. S12, 231:21-25)

If you really understand your unbreakable and unalterable relationship with divine Love, which is God, then whatever someone else tries to do, whether it’s to steal from you, disparage you, attempt to harm and divide, whatever it is, can’t change the unchangeable you as God’s child. By starting from this vantage point you can stand firm, and yet be merciful, you can be strong, and yet meek and compassionate. Why? Because if this is true of you as an expression of God, this is true of your supposed enemy as well.

Should we do this often? We must “overcome evil with good” “under all circumstances” and “at all times” (cit. S13, 571:15)

Can this make a difference? If you know yourself and everyone as a real child of God, you will see that “God will supply … a victory over evil.” (cit., S13, 571:15)

What kind of protection should I look for? When you are shielded and fortified by divine Love, hate can’t harm you. (“Clad in the panoply of Love” – fortified inside and out by the infinite armor of Spirit). (cit. S13, 571:18)

When it comes to politicians or adversaries at school or at work, let’s stop talking about people and what’s eternally right with them, and focus on how each person is one of God’s children. In this way we can see God’s reign or rule, and we can see that in reality there is no such thing as “fallen man.” (cit. S14, 476:28-32)

Finally, happiness and the kingdom of heaven isn’t a passive thing, which is to say, I’ve done the work and now I get my reward – a Barcalounger, TV and the kingdom of heaven.

Obviously, happiness is an active state of being, in unity with fellow man, using the Christ example as a way to walk through the day-to-day experiences. Those kingdom-of-heaven action items of “unselfishness, goodness, mercy, justice, health, holiness, love…” (cit. S16, 248:29) are an active way to move Christ-ward. But also, and more importantly, walking in these qualities ultimately destroys disease, including the disease of hate. “Sin, disease and death will diminish until they finally disappear” if you’re letting those kingdom of heaven qualities rule your day-to-day actions.

SECTION 4 – The required motive in healing – Love for God and man

I don’t have to tell you this, but Christ Jesus loved God. And I don’t have to tell you this either, but because he loved God so much, he loved every one of God’s ideas. But have you ever stopped to think that Love for God and for man was really his sole motivating power? He had no need for position or power; and he didn’t look for nice material things or material comforts to soothe him in his work. In fact, one of my favorite examples of Christ Jesus’ humility was when he washed his students’ feet as an example of what it means to lead with meekness and Love. Obviously that Love was the real power in teaching and healing.

Let’s take a deeper look at Christ Jesus’ example as a model for our own work. The actual word “compassion” is used twice in the Biblical citations, but the concept of compassion as a way to show love and to heal is ongoing throughout this section.

First, Jesus has compassion on the multitude and heals their sick. Then Jesus has compassion for the man with leprosy and heals him. I had the sense that the man stricken with leprosy felt so isolated and alone. No one wanted to touch someone like that and risk getting leprosy themselves. But the Christ did, to show this man how much God loved him, to make sure he understood that he wasn’t left outside of God’s care. He wasn’t separated, he wasn’t untouchable. Christ Jesus’ act proved his utter love and compassion for this man.

He had compassion for the nobleman’s son in the way he healed him. Not only did Jesus not lay hands on him, but he didn’t even travel to his home hours away. Instead, he healed the son with the words “Go thy way; they son liveth.” (cit. B13, John 4:46-53) We know how heartening this healing was for the nobleman and his family because all became believers in Christ Jesus. But isn’t it great that this is true today as well, that material distance is not a barrier in Christian healing, especially at a time when separation seems to be the norm.

I also love the lesson Jesus taught, that regardless of the circumstance, have faith. When asked for help by this nobleman, Jesus replies, “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.” (cit. B13, John 4: 46-53) At first, the nobleman sort of disregarded Jesus and asked him to come to his home. But, once he was told to go home with the assurance that his son was healed, that was enough. He disregarded the need for signs or wonders, and he went home. And he found on his return journey that his son was healed, in the same hour that Jesus had initially told him his son would live.

Three things I would like to point out in the passages from Science and Health in this section:

First, take a look at the different ways we are called upon to be compassionate and tender with our patients (also remember that sometimes that patient ends up being ourselves – so, be tender with yourself). Legitimate Christian Science is “aflame with divine Love.” (cit. S20, 367:3)

Second, the following passage for me seems like the best way to sum up this section – “Love for God and man is the true incentive in both healing and teaching.” (cit. S19, 454:17-21),

Third, and finally, the power of “spiritual Truth, Life and Love” (cit. S22, 14:16) controls even the so-called material condition. But, when it is pure Love in thought, the healing is instantaneous. (cit. S23, 365:15-19)

Two healings I would like to relate that show the power of divine Love in Christian healing, but in different ways.

The first had to do with teeth. Years ago, I had a visit to the dentist, and it had been at least a decade since my prior visit. The dentist was very concerned and explained his prognosis, having to do with permanent bone loss, among other things.

Coming home I really had to come to terms with where I was placing my trust. It sure seemed like dentistry was pretty reliable. Then, the angel thought came to a relative of mine, who said to me, “David, you are ‘rooted and grounded in Love.’ (Eph. 3:17)” That resonated with me. So, I made it a point that each time I entered the bathroom to brush and floss, I would state clearly and resolutely this Truth. It was not an incantation and it certainly was not a formula, but it was a statement about where I resided, firmly planted in Love. Each morning and evening became this opportunity to really see the different ways that I was inextricably connected to divine Love. I would feel it wash over me, this spiritual sense. I was no longer allowing myself to contemplate the “what ifs,” I was only viewing what was true now.

The dental hygienist was surprised at the next visit. The examination showed a different material picture than before. The problems with gums and deterioration had been shored up, and things that aren’t supposed to be able to grow back had, in fact, begun to be restored. Over the following years the hygienist commented with amazement about the change to my teeth. But I knew that being “rooted and grounded in Love” was permanent and eternal. (Eph. 3:17)

On to the second healing: The sound was shocking. My son had run in the opposite direction from home and had slipped on the ice, landing squarely on the back of his head. I think it took at least 30 seconds for the screaming to actually come out of his lungs, but when it did, I was already there gently carrying him to a chair. As I prayed, a deep sense of God’s ever-present Love washed over me and my little one in such a sweet and significant way. In between deep sobs, he requested that I sing him “dweem-oh.” “Dweem-oh?” I asked, but he couldn’t get the word out a second time. “Oh, Dreamer!” I said. Of course, his favorite hymn. I started to sing Hymn 412, with that Love just lifting up those healing words. Almost instantly the crying stopped. By the end of the first verse he got up and ran to his room to play. Divine Love reached that patient, and the healing was instant.

Sometimes it takes a little time to really see the gravity of Love’s presence and feel the healing in the moment. Other times, it’s so very quick. But, in both cases “Love inspires, illumines, designates and leads the way.” (cit. S19, 454:17-21)

SECTION 5 – Loving our fellow man must include forgiveness

Ah, my friend, forgiveness, you are so important, but boy can it be hard to muster the courage to go down your path (smiling!). Whether it’s a friend or family member who has betrayed you, or a political figure who seems to have done the wrong thing, forgiving sure can be a hard thing to muster.

But here’s a helpful hint: Begin by thinking about who you are as God’s child. Think about how you are made spiritually, not materially. Think about how nothing material has the ability to touch your spiritual nature. This last item might seem difficult, but think of it this way – It’s similar to the wrong answer of a math problem. That wrong answer, no matter how much power a teacher or a class might give it, doesn’t make it true, and it can never change, alter, or even mar the correct answer. So, if your nature as God’s child is true, then nothing else can even put a dent in that nature.

I really appreciate Section 3 and the discussion of mercy as a road map to forgiveness. Ultimately, if you believe that God has forgiven you, knowing God’s infinite nature as Love, you have to believe that forgiveness has been extended to each one of God’s ideas. Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Love is impartial and universal in its adaptations and bestowals.” (SH 13:2-3)

Finally, I have really thought and prayed about “And Love is reflected in love” in terms for forgiving our debts. (cit. S25, 17:6-7) It seems that when you really see and feel Love most clearly, you really can’t tell the difference between whether you are receiving divine Love or reflecting it outward (giving it to others). From that place, forgiveness through divine Love is God reflected. It sees past what the material senses and human circumstances might say, and reveals the real man or woman of God’s creating.

SECTION 6 – Love your fellow children of God (this includes EVERYONE!)

Can you believe it? Regardless of the circumstance, you are “sons of God.” (cit. B18, I John 3:1) I really appreciate the translation “children” instead of “sons.” But, if everyone is treated as a son (since when this passage was written men were afforded many more rights than women) then age, gender, and timing of birth is irrelevant – every man, woman and child has the same birthright and the same inheritance.
Hold onto this sense of wonder that can only really come from the realization of your true birthright and heritage. (cit. B18, I John 3:18)

The last Bible citation from chapter 3 of 1st Peter gives us a little checklist for loving “in deed and in truth” (cit. B18, I John 3:18):

Have Compassion for one another;
Love as cherished brothers and sisters;
Be tender;
Be polite to the utmost;
Follow the Golden Rule. (paraphrased from cit. B20, I Peter 3:8,9)

ALRIGHT now, let’s take all of the lessons we’ve learned on how we are loved by God and how we need to love one another. Now go answer the question posed in citation S31, [I slightly amplified it to fit the lesson]; “Ask yourself: Am I living the Life that approaches the supreme good? [– or supreme Love?] Am I demonstrating the healing power of Truth and Love?” (SH 496:9 Ask)

I will leave you with one final thought. Take this lesson as a tool for your toolbelt. Use it to shore up where you need to be fortified. With it you are ready for whatever comes. And, you won’t have human-will clouding up your clear sense that “…it is the spiritual idea, the Holy Ghost and Christ, which enables you to demonstrate, with scientific certainty, the rule of healing, based upon its divine Principle, Love, underlying, overlying, and encompassing all true being.” (cit. S31, 496:15)


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


Enjoy OPPORTUNITIES for SPIRITUAL ENRICHMENT with fresh insights WEEKLY!

CedarS Sunday Hymn Sings are being enriched every Sunday through February by representatives of Longyear Museum giving a feature presentation each week on a different one of the seven hymns written by Mary Baker Eddy. We will focus on one hymn per week, in order of their composition, through February 28. Each Sunday, right before the final hymn of the Hymn Sing, a representative from Longyear Museum will share six minutes of historical insights on what was happening in Mary Baker Eddy’s life and the Christian Science movement at the time she wrote that hymn/prayer as a poem.

We look forward to deepening our appreciation and understanding of these hymns, not only in how they reflected Mary Baker Eddy’s experience, but also in how they continue to bring healing to our world today. Invite family, church and other friends and even neighbors to join us by Zoom every week at 7pm Central Time for CedarS Sunday Hymn Sings. (A precious prelude precedes each sing at 6:45pm CT.) We encourage singing along in Zoom’s gallery view to share the joy of seeing dear ones in virtual family-church reunions to 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 weekly reminder 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 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, 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)


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