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[Are Sin, Disease, and Death Real? Absolutely not!]
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Are Sin, Disease, And Death Real?”

April 10, 2016

by Rick Stewart, C.S. , Dresden, Germany, +49 351 312 4736

As I began to study this week's lesson I found it so engaging and complete I was ready to just leave it in your hands to enjoy. If politicians can simply say, “No comment,” why couldn't I do that? Well, then as I studied, my thought was flooded with all these neat ideas that kept coming to thought, “Oh, I would like to share that, and that, and that…and that. Well, you get my idea. The “no comment” did not last long!

One of my first thoughts was of Terry. I had moved to Palatka, Florida and was living in a tight-knit, neighbor-friendly, historic district. We all lived in houses over 100 years old. (Well, that is really old for Florida.) One of my first acquaintances was about 10 years old. She introduced herself, “Hi, I'm Terry. I'm illegally blind.”

As I looked at her thick glasses I realized she probably meant to say that she was “legally” blind. But for about 25 years I often think of her description, “illegally blind” as absolutely correct, spot on, the real truth. I chuckled quietly, smiled big, and we shook hands.

A simple idea to keep in thought and introduce us to this lesson. Sin, disease, and death are illegitimate, illegal, not from God, not allowed by God, rather they are destroyed through and understanding of God.

The Bible citations making up the Golden Text and Responsive Reading continue that affirmation.

Golden Text | Jeremiah 17:14

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise.

The NLT, New Living Translation, puts it this way,- “O Lord, if you heal me, I will be truly healed; if you save me, I will be truly saved. My praises are for you alone!”

That is a rather firm statement by the Prophet Jeremiah that healing and salvation comes from God. And the Bible citations making up the Responsive Reading continue that affirmation. Here is a portion of the Responsive Reading also from the NLT.

Isaiah 35:3–6, 10 [Part of God’s whole Isaiah 35 answer to Ruth Huff on the purpose of CedarS Camps]

NLT –3With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands, and encourage those who have weak knees.4Say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.” 5 And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unplug the ears of the deaf. 6 The lame will leap like a deer, and those who cannot speak will sing for joy! Springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the wasteland. 10Those who have been ransomed by the Lord will return. They will enter Jerusalem singing, crowned with everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness.

CedarS Executive Director, Warren Huff, received the following message from Radio Show host, novelist, travel correspondent, spiritual adventurer, Cash Peters with an invitation to listen to a Podcast interview he did with Don Ingwerson, C.S. Many of you may know Don from his inspiring work as official spokesman for media communications in Southern California for the Christian Science Church. He writes on health topics, and shares inspiring spiritual persepectives. Don is also a full time Christian Science healer. Here is Cash's note to Warren.

“Hi there. I wonder if you'd be interested in posting this as a part of your resources. It's a recent podcast. An interview with Christian Science practitioner, Don Ingwerson, about God's power to heal, and other things. Many Christian Scientists have taken great comfort from it, and I'm sure your students would too. The link is here. Thank you.” Cash

This will work for any of you reading online or with internet capability. If any of you without those resources would like to know a little about the interview content, just let me know, I will be glad to get you a synopsis or partial transcript.

Don's interview and actually his life are strong testament to the fact that sin, disease, and death are truly defeated, set aside, healed through a spiritual understanding of God. And the Bible Lesson also affirms that fact.

Section 1: God's allness = sin, disease, and death are unreal!

The Children of Israel were reminded in the Psalms 103 what God did for them. Here is Bible citation B3** from the Message:”O my soul, bless God, don't forget a single blessing! He forgives your sins – every one. He heals your diseases – every one. He redeems you from hell – saves your life He crowns you with love and mercy – a paradise crown. Psalms 103:2– 4 MSG

Bible citation B5, Romans 11: 33, 36 tells us that God is the source, the means, the end. But the source of what, both good and evil? The Science and Health citations make the case clearly that God is indeed all, “Instead of God sending sickness and death, He destroys them, and brings to light immortality.” (S2)

You will not find the teachings of Christian Science entertaining for one second that God is or could be the source of sin, sickness, or death. As a matter of fact we are actively engaged in demonstrating that God is the source of good and good alone.

“The Christian Scientist has enlisted to lessen evil, disease, and death; and he will overcome them by understanding their nothingness and the allness of God, or good.” (S5, SH 450)

“Sin, sickness, and death must be deemed as devoid of reality as they are of good, God.” (S6, SH 525:28)

One of the fun things we do at CedarS Camps is to make acrostics to express some spiritual facts we want to accentuate. Here is an acrostic that came to me the other night while reading this section of the lesson.

GOD IS ALL: God Obliterates Death (disease) Iniquity Simply As Little Lies

Section 2: Disease a dream of mortal mind.

In citation B7**, the Psalmist cried about those people that seemed to be wishing him an evil end, “Mine enemies speak evil of me, When shall he die, and his name perish? An evil disease, say they, cleaveth fast unto him: and now that he lieth he shall rise up no more.”

Wow, talk about feeling like the world is against you and wishing you only ill… This section is about awakening from this depression and discovering how to claim your freedom from every diseased condition. I was reminded of the Academy Award winning movie, “Philadelphia,” starring Tom Hanks as he faced such universal condemnation and rejection. What a different ending that movie could have had with the [“spiritual spin” of the] healing Christ in the game.

I moved to Germany just three years after that film was playing in theaters. And very soon after my arrival I received a call from someone who was suffering from similar symptoms to Tom Hanks’ character. It was a time of great learning from my side to see very clearly that God and His children never win when disease, illness, or sickness wins. I learned that there is no condemnation in God's Love and Life. God's wish is only winners. And those that might cheer for our demise or believe that physical suffering might somehow be ordained by God, are not actually hearing the call of our Savior, the Christ.

I became aware of the lament of the Psalmist in Psalms 41 (B7**) where he feels the world is against him. And then I found what to me was like the spiritual antidote. I found in J B Phillips translation of Paul's letter to the Romans, Chapter 8 a wonderful treatment for the belief of condemnation. And I loved these verses that revealed that we have lots of cheerleaders for our success, Romans 8: “In my opinion whatever we may have to go through now is less than nothing compared with the magnificent future God has planned for us. The whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own.”

And that dear young man did come “into (his) own.” Happy, healthy, and wonderfully creative.

When our Noah was very small he would sometimes dream, and seeming to awaken, would be fearful and lost. I soon discovered that he was not really awake. Although completely vocal, he was talking, but he was still sleeping. The first few times I tried to comfort him and awake him, but to no avail. Then I learned to immediately turn to the allness of Mind, God, the presence of the Comforter and God's Love. Noah would almost immediately go back to sleep in perfect peace and when he awoke there was no sign of the distress.

If I had not realized the real need, the importance of staying in the consciousness of God's all-comforting Presence, both Noah and I would have been dreaming in agony.

As citation B9 says, “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.”

Section 3: Jealousy, envy, covetousness and leprosy healed through the meekness of Moses.

We all know what a special guy Moses was. In Numbers 12:3 we read about him, “(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)” So I do not think Moses every tried to belittle his brother, Aaron, or his sister, Miriam. But you know there always seem to be human beliefs attaching themselves to family. Maybe Moses' older brother and sister were tempted to think of him as “their little brother,” and maybe that they could be just as special as he was.

Miriam seemed to suffer greatly from this jealousy and envy as they found fault with his actions. But God did set them straight. And even when Miriam was struck with the feared disease, leprosy, Moses was able to heal her.

A simple way of thinking that my mom often encouraged was to realize that any good that came to another, was yours also. Infinite, gracious, unselfish thought affirms that your manifestation of good, or good qualities is also mine lifts us right out of jealousy, envy, and covetousness.

When a session’s special “Torchbearer” nominees are announced at CedarS, Director Warren, always reminds campers, “Whenever tempted to be jealous or to think there’s not enough good to go around, try using the TYG, TMT! acronym to remind yourself to happily and sincerely think instead "Thank You God! That's Mine Too" (by reflection). This helps me to “turn things into thoughts” and to be an attorney for the case of each one’s ability by reflection to manifest all of God's goodness. This unlimited, God-centered attitude works even more powerfully than TNT (dynamite)! The next time another receives a blessing that you desire, strive to not break the 10th Commandment (with a covetous, jealous mindset), but rather strive to be genuinely happy with the unlimited-good mindset of the Christ (and of Tibetan villagers) that sincerely celebrates all good for each member of our global village and that claims the Source of all good to be our own unlimited Source of good and therefore "Mine" too by reflection. "Mine, Mine, Mine"– in an unlimited, spiritual sense rather than in a limited, selfish sense.”

Like with Moses a little meekness goes a long way. Over the last few weeks we have shared in a special healing with our son, Johann. But to tell you the truth, I had to let go of a false sense of pride and know we were all working together. Johann had been experiencing a little pain in one side. He talked to me about it and I prayed and thought it would improve. One evening a few days later my wife pointed out what appeared to be a little alarming picture with Johann's body position. He was adjusting his body to try and get the pain to ease a little. Susanne had to work, so I went with Johann to the doctor to let her take a look. Susanne, although a fine Christian, is not a student of Christian Science. So we work together in respect. The doctor was puzzled. There was no intense pain, but you could see something was not right. Then late one night Johann was in more pain so Susanne, Johann and I went to the emergency room. He was accomodated quickly and they immediately asked that he stay in the hospital overnight and they planned an operation in the morning to remove his appendix. I continued my prayer and also let Johann know I had called a Christian Scientist back in Florida to pray with us. After a good night's sleep in a lovely room, the morning examination relieved the fears of the doctors. There was much improvement. They asked that he stay until the afternoon. At three p.m. he was released with not operation having taken place, but much more comfort apparent. The improvement has continued to the point of normal body position and comfort. And something I found most interesting. The friend I called back home in Florida told me that her dad's first real healing in Christian Science had been of appendicitis. We can indeed know that all things work together for good, that it is about coooperation , not competition. We can expect and we can encourage success in all treatment. Although all was adjusted harmoniously without a surgical operation, I was so grateful to find in our textbook sound direction that made it clear that cooperation was going on, and that harmony and love was manifest. Johann was and is fine. I knew we did not have to prove anything to anybody or any body, we just had to acknowledge Love's ever presence at home, in the hospital, in the doctor's office, and in the hearts and minds of all God's children. I loved and acknowledged Mary Baker Eddy's counsel in Science and Health page 401:27.

Section 4: With Jesus around, disease did not have a leg to stand on!

Many of us at times struggle with the belief that healing is about a stand out personality, charisma, or the specialness of the healer. But as we learned in Section 3, it was Moses' meekness that was paramount to his phenomenal success. And just so it was with Jesus, a man described as not even putting out a smoldering wick of a candle.

In B16, Luke 13:10-17 Jesus healed a woman with a back problem for 18 years. Relgious formalism and narrowness at first tried to hinder the Master with prohibition to heal, but he cut right through that false religious red tape. He declared, “ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?”

Whom Satan hath bound. The liar, the father of lies, the suggester, the whisperer, mortal mind in all its skulduggery trying to afflict God's children. God was clearly seen as not the source of the 18 year affliction.

S20, “It is the transgression of a belief of mortal mind, not of a law of matter nor of divine Mind, which causes the belief of sickness. The remedy is Truth, not matter – the truth that disease is unreal.”

It was not some special gift for healing, or powerful personality…but the humility and love of the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One, the Christ, Truth. It was what Jesus knew and understood that enabled him. It was faith in the Truth of being. And that is still the method of healing today. Not you, not me, not a special bestowed Shaman, or miracle worker, but the firm foundation and understanding of the Truth. The citations from our textbook for this section make that absolutely clear. We are not fighting against a reality that manifests itself, we are setting free from the invisible shackles of Satan, the liar, the father of lies.

Section 5: Death and its claims have been greatly exaggerated.

Let's let this section of the Lesson remind us that death is not the end all of ends. There are continual proofs of death being destroyed throughout human existence. The Prophets Elijah and Elisha raised those who seemed to have died. The Master raised Lazarus, Jairus' daughter, the widow of Nain's son, and of course he rose and spent 40 days with the disciples after his seeming death on the cross. Clear examples of death being done away with.

Here are 21 verses about death being overcome.Psalm 68:20, Proverbs 10:2,Proverbs 11:4,Hosea 13:14,Acts 2:27,Hebrews 5:7,Acts 2:31,Romans 6:9,2 Corinthians 5:1,Revelation 1:18,2 Timothy 1:10,Hebrews 2:14,Matthew 16:18,1 Corinthians 15:26,1 Corinthians 15:54,1 Corinthians 15:55,Revelation 21:4,Revelation 20:13,Revelation 20:14,2 Kings 2:21.

Nine individuals in scripture are clearly presented in the Bible as being raised from the dead. Of these miraculous resurrections, three occur in the Old Testament. At least three individuals were raised from the dead by Jesus. Both Peter and Paul raised a person from the dead and most importantly of all, Jesus himself was resurrected.

In addition, an untold number of saints were resurrected at Jesus' crucifixion (Matthew 27:52-53). Also, it is incredibly possible that Paul himself was resurrected after he was stoned and left for dead (Acts 14:19-20). Below is a descriptive listing of all the resurrections that occurred in the Bible.

In this Section Paul's seeming death caused by stoning is simply set aside B20, 20 | Acts 14:19 “there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead. 20 Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: “

Earlier in this Met you heard the name, Don Ingwerson. Well Don's partner in life and healing is his lovely wife, Lona. I wrote Don and Lona last night to ask permission to use Don's interview. Then I remembered a story I had heard sourced in the LA area and thought that perhaps Lona could verify its accuracy. Well it turned out she had heard the same story. She actually heard it from a couple sources. It was as follows,

“Some years ago a Los Angeles County coroner went to a CS reading room and said he knew nothing of our religion, but that he needed to get a message to us. The librarian suggested he go to a Wednesday evening meeting, which he did. During the time for testimonies he said that as coroner it was his job to determine the cause of death and conduct an autopsy if necessary. His approach was often to ask the family the cause of death. He said that where there was a family of Christian Scientists involved, the family gave as cause cancer…but the autopsies revealed that the cancer was 95% healed at the time of passing. The message he wanted to get out was, "You're giving up too soon."

Having heard this story from different sources, Lona was prompted one evening in her church in Louisville, Kentucky to stand up during the testimony period and share the account. After the service a gentleman came up to her and said, "I'm the Louisville coroner; why do you think I'm here?" He had taken up the study of Christian Science after visiting a home where a Christian Scientist, one in her late 90's, had just passed on. The family said she had prepared their breakfast and had sat down to study in her rocking chair and simply fell asleep, having never been ill a day in her life nor visited a doctor.

In a little way I experienced this in the early days of my practice. I was working for a dear man named Able. He was over 90 and it was an inspiration to work with him. We made much progress together. But then one day his friend and care giver, also a Christian Scientist, called to say that he had passed away. I was devastated and completely surprised. I fully expected healing. The physical claims were evident to sight, but improving. And then to get this news. I first dealt with a sense of personal failure, I had lost a patient. But then I devoted myself to knowing that in fact there is no death, man lives by divine decree. After several hours the Christian Science care giver called, “Rick, you won't believe this. The county coroner was just hear. He examined the body, and I was there. Everything had been healed! There was no evidence of the diseased condition left. They simply gave the cause of death as old age.” I realized that Christian Science had not “failed” so to speak. The claim had been met. Able had perhaps just made a choice to change his address.

Mrs. Eddy writes, S26 | 428:23–26, 30–32” We must hold forever the consciousness of existence, and sooner or later, through Christ and Christian Science, we must master sin and death. “

Section 6: Church, working together, holding up hands, and discovering the great facts of spiritual being.

There is no substitute for church. Working together can be such a help. Our spiritual journey is so much easier with the encouragement, the sharing with others. My mother used to encourage never let anyone or anything keep you out of church.

Last night as I studied this section I thought of a special friend. We have shared some deep, deep spiritual conversations. We have only met personally a few times over the years. And those meetings have always been special. His name is Laurance Doyle. He is an accomplished astrophysicist, astronomer, planet finder, and also a fine student of Christian Science. His manner of communication is so special I once used my personal frequent flyer miles to bring him to a youth meeting in Florida to talk with our group. And it was worth every mile!

One of my favorite stories from Laurance had to do with his fascination with numbers and math. He decided to count to a million. And he got started. A personal project. He learned a lot through that endeavor. But what I love most about that story is that he shared it. Because Laurance has remained actively engaged in Church he has had infinite possibilities to share his spiritual insights from his professional work and his study of Christian Science.

Church is something we do together. A collective demonstration that helps keep us engaged and enlivened in the great adventures of spiritual discovery. For a while I had found it difficult to get to the Wednesday night testimony meetings. Timing. I have four delightful kids. And Wednesday church always hit right about dinner time. So unalertly for the first time in my life, I was missing church on Wednesday. That changed when I realized or reawakened to how much we each need church. It is a life-giving force. And all I can say, after that little pause, it has been better than ever. And I love it now when my little girls hear I am going to church Wednesday night and ask, “Can I go Papa?” You bet.

My Christian Science teacher, Virginia Guffin, CSB, likened church to a beautiful mountain stream filled with rocks. As the rocks break away from the cliff they are jagged and sharp. They fall into the stream and begin to rub against each other and and are polished by the running water. Soon, well, after thousands of years they are no longer sharp and jagged, but smooth and polished and shiny and beautiful. Our refinement, our rough edges are smoothed in church and church work, sure it is easy to stay home and think about ourselves, but getting into the adventure of church we learn to live together. And we are all made better by it.

As the Psalmist wrote, B23 | Psalms 34:3 O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. Together, what a great word.

Our Leader, Mary Baker Eddy, also expected a lot from church, and it could be that she had many little laughs as she made our church, “distinctly democratic!” Talk about rubbing together. But church becomes practical and it gets us out of our ruts. Our dear director, Warren, characterizes a “rut” as nothing but a grave with both ends pushed out. Let's let Church in its practical way help us get ourselves out of our ruts and also out of our graves. It is time to claim our right to live Life in all its harmony, health, and happiness. Church helps.

S28 | 583:12–19 12 “CHURCH. The structure of Truth and Love; whatever rests upon and proceeds from divine Principle. The Church is that institution, which affords proof of its utility and is found elevating the race, rousing the dormant understanding from material beliefs to the apprehension of spiritual ideas and the demonstration of divine Science, thereby casting out devils, or error, and healing the sick.”

[** See Online version of this Met (upper right) for Cobbey Crisler commentary Downloads on a couple of Bible citations for this Bible Lesson.]

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