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[Feel chosen!–Established on a solid foundation that cannot be undermined by lies!]
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Ancient and Modern Necromancy, alias Mesmerism and Hypnotism, Denounced”
for May 27-June 2, 2019

by Kerry Jenkins, CS, of House Springs, MO (314) 406-0041

Golden Text. Here's the foundation for man's spiritual freedom and power in the face of what our material sense tells us is helplessness and victimization: We are chosen. God, the divine creator, chose man as His expression, as how He expresses life, being, joy, beauty, energy, intelligence, humor, grace, and on and on. He chose us to be His way of showing these qualities. He did not make any power that opposes this expression. Naturally, because we are expressing Him, we are shouting, through our actions, His wonder, glory, goodness, skill, grace, intelligence and love.

Our mistaken view of things may claim that these abilities and qualities belong to matter (or to a mortal mind separate from Him), but they do not and they also are not subject to the limitations and undermining of another so-called mind. This is what our Bible lesson this week reveals. Throughout the lesson we find that there is an underlying foundation of integrity and love (Truth and Love) that cannot be undermined. When we are conscious of this fact, we find that we can see this fact in our own experience each day.

While we appear to live in a world of opposing powers, imbalance, inharmony, this week's lesson reveals ways in which we can move through this obscuring "curtain" and find the spiritual fact of God's all-power. Sometimes it looks like it takes "time", as in the interesting story from Ezra in Section 2 and 3. But we can always oppose anything that presents itself to our thought as inharmonious–anything that would suggest separation from our place as His "chosen".

This is the gist of the Responsive Reading…"Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident." Rather than focus on the enemy that is "encamped" around you, be it illness, grief, despair, financial lack, we can "desire" that "one thing": to "dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple." What does that mean? What does it take to "dwell in the house of the Lord"?

Mary Baker Eddy translates this word "house" in her interpretation of the 23rd Psalm on page 578 of Science and Health. She calls it "consciousness". So, we can be "conscious" of God, Love–be aware and awake to all that Love is doing today in our lives–and thus "dwell in the house of the Lord". And the next passage might be easier for us to understand, to "behold the beauty of the Lord…". We can see this beauty in infinite ways through acts of love, kindness, patience, through loveliness of nature or architecture or art of any kind. By focusing our thought on these "goals", if you will, we are then turning away from the suggestion of other powers. We are alive and alert to the power of God, unopposed, our one source of all that is real and good.

Section 1: There is no separate mind from God.

What we term animal magnetism, mesmerism, hypnotism, even necromancy, all implies a separate mind from the one all-Good. They imply that there is another intelligence that influences and guides man, God's chosen expression. God is "the rock" on which we build our consciousness of reality. This rock is the healing Christ. A rock evokes images of solidity, integrity, reliability, unchangeableness. It is referred to in citation B1, and then in citation B2 we are encouraged not to be "shaken in mind". Doesn't that remind you of something less than "rock-like"?

When we move through life accepting that there are multiple influences in our experience, multiple minds that have power, we can be quite shaken when we experience fear, anxiety, anger, hatred, despair, frustration. Rather than assume that these are influences with a divine source, and therefore cannot be overcome except by a change of circumstance, what if we viewed such influences as the suggestion that there is an opposing power to the One all-power? If we can move in that direction, we can build our experience to be one of greater stability, harmony, peace–even when we are still confronted with these suggestions of another power.

We can stand on the "rock", watch the wind and rain, and recognize that even though the wind and rain sure seem to be around us, we are, in fact, standing on Truth, which is God. We cannot be separated from that God and influenced to fear the "wind". Wind cannot move rock. It seems that ll Thessalonians, and this passage in particular, were written to allay the concern that the second coming of Christ was already in full swing. But I find this passage helpful in pointing the way to standing more firmly on that Christ ever-presence by allowing the false sense of mortal identity to "fall away". This makes sense. Certainly, we cannot experience the peace of God while also feeling that we are a separate ego, or identity from Him. Look at how that passage speaks of the man who "opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God…so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God." This echoes the Genesis serpent who tells woman that they will be "as gods, knowing good and evil" if they would only eat the apple. This is the suggestion that there is a separate identity or ego from God, Good, off doing its own thing, a mixture of good and evil. Rather than tacitly accepting thoughts into our experience that tell us we are lacking, angry, unhappy, ill or suffering in any way, we are here given direction to let these ego thoughts, thoughts that separate us from Good, "fall away". We can see these thoughts as the suggestion of separation, of evil in a universe of all-Good. That is an impossibility. Are we ready to bring that into our awareness, our consciousness? Are we ready for the steady, stable joy and peace that building on this fact can bring?

Section 2: Don't let your consciousness of Good be paralyzed by a lie.

God is always giving us good, abundance, joy, health. When we are not experiencing these things, we can ask ourselves if we are listening to other thoughts than God's. The story from Ezra in this section and the next is not one I recall seeing in the Bible lesson before. It is reminiscent of Nehemiah and his wall rebuilding. In this case the king of Persia, Cyrus, who was governing Israel at this time, was rather enlightened and wished to give his captive territory some thoughtful control over things that were important to them.

King Cyrus proclaimed in writing that the Jews were to rebuild their temple in Jerusalem. This proclamation is followed by what appears to be decades of interference by people who did not wish the Jews to succeed in their endeavors. In fact, they were so successful at blocking the progress that the rebuilding halted altogether until, as we find in the next section, it is taken up during the next king's reign.

What is the lesson in this section? How are we to oppose these evil influences? Sometimes evil influences appear as "other people". But sometimes, maybe more often, in fact, they appear as our own thought. I don't think this story is telling us that the Jews found themselves feeling unsure, or lazy, or not finding the right supplies to rebuild. They certainly met with outside opposition. But in any case, when we meet with what appears to be "outside" opposing forces, our response is almost always from the "inside".

Are we allowing these influences to cause us to think differently, to behave differently? Sometimes, it is to these "…hidden mental ways of accomplishing iniquity" (S6) that we most need to be alert. Have you ever tried to complete a difficult project and found yourself stalled at every turn? It could be that we are paralyzed by a seeming lack of funds, or intellect, time, or health, or energy, or even bad weather! If we regard these "oppositions" as impositions on God's all power, rather than as, perhaps, "deserved", as genetic, as random acts, or even as "natural”, then we have a firm foundation on which to refute every one of these seeming oppositions. We build a strong defense against "opposers" to God, when we are awake to the ways of mortal thought and keep watch, filling our thoughts with "virtue and truth". (S10) Why these particular qualities? It seems truth has a lot to do with solid foundations.

Think about the idea of truth as being another way of expressing integrity. This is also a building term when referring to something's structural integrity. There are no weaknesses, no voids in a structure that has integrity. Likewise, no spaces in our thinking to be influenced by evil when we are filling our consciousness with truth and virtue! There is a "no vacancy" sign for all those random suggestions that we should feel hopeless, fearful, frustrated, by opposition. With no room for those opposing thoughts, we find that the virtue and truth open us to the infinite solutions available in infinite Good.

We had a very difficult neighbor for about 5 or 6 years. He tried to make our life as miserable as possible during most of that time. We tried very hard to think in terms of literally loving our neighbor, but he used every means possible to disrupt any peace that we had. Without going into too much detail, this included, but was not limited to, cutting down beautiful trees along our easement, including a lovely apple tree that we harvested apples from, playing extremely loud music from speakers on his porch which were aimed at our house most summer days from about 9 a.m. until 11 p.m., lining the property lines between us with old toilets, sinks, mattresses, throwing trash on our easement, and putting up gates half a mile down the driveway that we had to unlock to let in people for business, mail, and so on.

Really, I could go on, but I think you get the picture. There were police involved occasionally, and firemen too, when he would light up mattresses with gasoline so that the smoke would blow up to our house. Honestly, for about a year, we did everything we could to accommodate him. We called the towing companies he asked us to call for our business, we tried to be respectful of all sorts of his requests. But it finally dawned us that we were really dealing with impersonal evil, rather than an unreasonable person. Once we identified it as such, the sting of feeling abused, just kind of began to fall away. If evil is not a person, we can feel freer to move about, conscious that good is operating. We are no longer paralyzed by the aggression of an "evil person", but can identify evil as nothing but the suggestion that God/Good could be absent. I won't lie, it was not a "fun" process, but I have taken the lessons from this experience and found healing repeatedly when tempted to feel abused in some way. My family has never failed to be blessed by such challenges when we remember that it is impersonal evil, it never has a "reason", and as such, it needs to be responded to with peace and the confidence that God is governing His creation.

Section 3: Go straight to foundational truth for authority over evil.

In "part two" of our story from Ezra, we find that some of the Jews took up the project from years before and began the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem. This time, when they were met with opposition, they did not allow this to stop them. In fact, they continued until they had to respond to the ultimate authority of their day, the current king of Persia, Darius. They sent him a letter then, and asked that he look through his records for the written decree that Cyrus had created, telling them to rebuild. They didn't have to fight with the opposition. They just had turn to the king, and to the true record. Doesn't this seem like a great analogy for how we can resist evil by relying on the ultimate Truth to destroy error? It is, after all, nothingness. (S12) We know that it has to be nothing because everything belonging to Truth is good, and Truth is All.

We are reminded not to be fooled by appearances in the end of the Bible for the last section, in citation B11. We don't have to dally about over years with evil. We have the ability to stand watch, identify the nothingness of the lie and resist it wholeheartedly. But what if it seems to stretch on for years as it did in this story, or, to a lesser degree, in my story? We can go straight to that foundation of Truth to find our authority over evil. In the case in Ezra, this was the record left by Cyrus and the authority that rested in King Darius.

In my family's case it was a steadily improved consciousness of God's all-power. The funny thing is when this neighbor left it was abrupt and unexpected. He just up and left one day and three weeks later a perfect family moved next door. They have a horse farm and we are daily visited by wandering horses, pigs, guinea fowl, and the like. Our son Huck has had many years of gainful employment next door and they have even spent several Christmas eves with us. I can hardly remember the situation with our former neighbor and even when I do, it isn't with any anger or hostility. I had to count the number of years he lived there, because, honestly, it feels like our current neighbor has always been there. Doesn't that point to the truth of the nothingness of evil?

Section 4: Contradicting material observations won't win you friends.

You'd think that when someone healed someone of a huge, lifelong disability, there would be amazement and gratitude. But this is not how material sense works. Our material sense wants things to agree with what it sees or experiences. If things occur outside this framework this sense wants to claim that it is an anomaly. That it is miraculous, or the work of something other than a spiritual understanding of some kind. There must be a material explanation! This is what happened when Jesus healed the blind and dumb man. The fact that Jesus appeared to have such power, was a threat to the power that the Pharisees had. They felt that they had to defend their own positions in the church, and what better way than to claim that Jesus' power must actually come from the devil himself. Yet the Pharisees were working from a foundation that was material.

Jesus' worked from a foundation of Christ healing, which is a foundation of spiritual integrity and consistency. Material systems, to which the Pharisees' system belonged, are ones that are creedal, or based in human invention. The Christ foundation is solely from God. So again, we are faced with the need to go straight to the rock of Christ, Truth, to build our healing practice. If we try to reason our way through theories of mortal mind, we find only confusion.

Section 5: The foundation of brotherhood is Love.

When we work together in any institution, we will find ourselves, at one time or another facing "divisions and offences" (B17). It seems remarkable that these two words still best describe the challenges that we face today in church work, as well as many types of work with others. And this is from a letter that Paul wrote to the church in Rome! These words as well as "envying and strife" in citation B18, collectively express aspects of ego and human will–again a separate mind from the One God. It is this sense of separation that steers us into thinking that we can never be one, united in Love.

We have to recognize when our own willful desires are involved in any work we do. (These often present themselves to us as "good".) And once again we are given means to defeat such willful thoughts in citation S23, where MBE tells us that they fall "…before an honest heart." Honesty, integrity…can we see here that there is strength to a foundation built on integrity? And there is integrity only when we build on Christ, Truth. If we are searching for support for, or holding to, personal views, opinions, desires, we are not being honest and pure in our activities. You know what unites us with church? Check out citation S21.

Originally, Mary Baker Eddy (MBE) wanted to have, as a requirement for church membership, some kind of account of healing. Instead, she includes this passage in Science and Health: "Our church is built on the divine Principle, Love. We can unite with this church only as we are newborn of Spirit, as we reach the Life which is Truth and the Truth which is Life by bringing forth the fruits of Love, — casting out error and healing the sick." There is that requirement should we wish to find it!

In uniting with our church through this activity, we are certainly building on a foundation of Truth and Love which opposes any suggestion of evil, strife, envy, division. (These are all forms of animal magnetism, hypnotism, mesmerism, and even necromancy if you think of this as a desire to look to the past for how we should proceed! How often has strife in church come from just that desire, the desire to hold to past traditions?)

Section 6: "Gates of hell" cannot "prevail" over the recognition of Christ power to heal (the rock foundation!).

It is our unwavering acknowledgement and joy in Christ and the work of Christ to heal today that keeps us standing on the rock, Truth. This is the foundation that Jesus spoke to Peter about in citation B22. There is no foundation for anything opposed to God, (you might think of evil influence as a structure that is just sitting on top of lily pads :-), that fact acknowledged and demonstrated causes opposition fall away (or sink!).

As Christian Scientists, we have agreed to stand against the suggestion that evil has power. And we have agreed to do as MBE says in citation S28. The evils listed in citation S29 are powerless to "wash away" the foundation of Christ that we have discovered in this Science. We can do this daily by standing guard at our thinking and checking our consciousness to see that it is alert.

Mind will guide us in the right way, no matter where we are in our understanding of God. Church building and work is not a "one and done" activity. Because it is spiritual, it is an ongoing, ever unfolding activity. We can never be "done" with church. So, let's continue to heal from that Christ-foundation, and be undeterred by any winds of error.

Check out CedarS pages on Facebook and Instagram for clips of CedarS Annual Memorial Day 5k Run & Walk (in progress NOW)! Also watch for social media posts on progress on our Care House construction as well as on staff training weeks and more!

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[Reminder: Yet to come are Cobbey Crisler insights and a Ken Cooper Bible Lesson backstory narrative for this week.]

[Warren: Wow!! Thanks to the generous support recently received from CedarS Newsletter subscribers and supporters, CedarS time-sensitive need is being met to upgrade to new safety standards for the four Ziplines to and from CedarS Bible Lands Park (BLP)!! This activity will annually bless thousands of visitors! It will make Christian Science Sunday School students, teachers and church members more Biblically literate and alive each summer and fall. And it will show “shoulder-season” visitors of all faiths how Christianly practical and Bible-based Christian Scientists are. From Mary’s Chapel behind Dawn Lodge all users can zip back in time to the Bible and BLP, climb its switch-back “Time-Travelers’ Trail” and learn A.P. (Answered Prayer) History lessons to take “back to the future.”

Thank you dear friends who have already given to the needs that we have made known—as well as to those of you who still want in 2019 to make a big difference in CedarS vital work, outreach and blessings!

We have a wonderful matching gift challenge to meet! You can double your donation by helping CedarS earn our "Adopt the Herd" $75,000 Match for the horses and riding program. (still ~$30,000 to go by Sept. 30, 2019.)

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