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[Revised Quote & expunged Tony Lobl misinfo in 1st paragraph of Met: Feel at-one with Love to put the past behind you! (Revised)]
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson

Doctrine of Atonement”
for October 20, 2013

by Kerry Jenkins, CS, House Springs, MO
(314) 406-0041
[bracketed inserts by CedarS Director Warren Huff who hopes readers can
help CedarS meet a year-end, $25,000 Maintenace Musts Challenge Grant]

The idea of atonement is a special one.  In the Jewish tradition it is associated with their most holy day, Yom Kippur which is their "day of atonement".  During this time they contemplate and pray for forgiveness for transgressions, seeking pardon.  The Hebrew word for this is "Kaphoreth" and is connected to "covering".  I like that idea that perhaps we can see this as an opportunity to "cover" a misstep, rather than condemning someone for it.  But in Christian Science we have an even greater opportunity to not just "cover", but to erase such a transgression.  It reminds me of Mrs. Eddy's statement from Retrospection and Introspection: "The human history needs to be revised and the material record expunged." (p. 22) Because sin is a record of human missteps, it must be a record of that which is not of God, that which is not the record of God's man. Therefore we can find freedom from the bondage that comes with being held to such mistakes.  You may enjoy seeing what another practitioner and blogger shared about this idea of atonement.  Tony Lobl is currently serving as the District Manager for the Christian Science Committee on Publication in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland and is a regular contributor to the periodicals.  This blog entry includes some thoughts from a rabbi who has a love of Science and Health and includes Mary Baker Eddy's writings in her thoughts about atonement.  http://christiansciencecomsuk.wordpress.com/2010/09/19/a-modern-rabbis-view-of-the-day-of-atonement-putting-the-past-behind-us/

All this is well and good, but I think what atonement is really about is Love.  It is about seeing and recognizing God as Love in our lives, and our unity with that Love.  This week's Bible lesson focuses on that idea through emphasizing the First Commandment in both its original form, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" (B1) and [in its form from Deuteronomy 6:5] which Mary Baker Eddy shapes as a question in citation S3: "Dost thou "love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind?”.  This is a commandment of expansive and satisfying love, not of deprivation.  It is [a Jewish prayer and a] commandment that was lived by our Wayshower, Christ Jesus.  And it is one that will give us the authority and power to heal as he healed, when we obey it with all our hearts.  This is a love that we feel because we know we are one with Love itself, never off somewhere looking for love or Love, but always one with that Love.  And this Love is not a theoretical doctrine; it is the powerful ever-present healing force of God.  So how do we go about knowing God as Love in this way?  Let's look through this lesson and find out!

Our Golden Text this week is simple: "…The Lord our God is one Lord:" These words [are part of the Shema, “the central prayer in the Jewish prayerbook… which is often the first section of Scripture that a Jewish child learns… and which many Jews recite at least twice a day… morning and evening.” See more at  http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Scripture/Torah/The_Shema/the_shema.html . These words of the Shema] are repeated in full at the end to the Responsive Reading, to surround it like parentheses. This statement emphasizes the theme that there is one God and that we are one with Him [as we hear and obey His word.]

With the Responsive Reading (R.R.) we have the "song" of Moses.  This is his poetic description of how God tenderly cares for us, comparing God's love to the eagle with her chicks.  He even includes in his song the way that God's word falls gently on our ears, like the dew.  It is not a torrential rain that we cannot absorb, but a light and soaking rain or dew that "distills" on our "ears".  This is how Love speaks to us, in just the way we need, to hear Her voice and take it into our understanding.  God speaks to us "within", because we are the expression of Love's being, we are not separate from Love trying to hear Her voice, rather we include Love's messages within. 

Section 1: One God is all we need (and all there really is)!
The Hebrew people did not have a strong, unified identity until Moses led them out of Egypt.  He gave them this identity by showing them the practical power of a God who loved them.  This is similar to the way that Jesus showed us God's love for man through healing and preaching.  Moses had a close and very loving, personal relationship with God and wanted his people to know God the way he did.  He shared God's Commandments with the Hebrews for just this purpose.  When you love God "with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might" [B2, which is the second part of the central Jewish prayer called the Shema], you find yourself in harmony with Love and well-supplied with all that you need, all the inspiration, health, joy, etc.  We find our "…grand human capacities…" (S2) as we see our unity with God through the oneness of God and man.  This unity is made visible to us as we remove our worship of/dependence on matter and form a more trusting relationship with Spirit.  We also find that we have the power of Spirit as we follow that first Commandment and love God above all else. (S4)  That's because all power comes from God, we have power through reflection.  If we recognize that we are one with the Father then we have all the power that He possesses through being His expression.  Because atonement is linked in traditional Christianity with sin, and God forgiving man through the sacrifice of His son, Jesus, we should look at how sin might fit into this discussion.  Mrs. Eddy states that the First Commandment is her favorite text.  Maybe this is because the mission of the Christ and Christian Science is to destroy sin, and the First Commandment when obeyed, does just that by helping us to find satisfaction and joy in the one God rather than in decoys of pleasure in matter.  Did you notice in this section the wording: “Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father…”? [B4, note that the word “hear” is “shema” in Hebrew.] The instruction we get from Love is the instruction [heard] from a father, not from a random stranger!  Our Father is one who loves us and only blesses. Citations S5 and S6 are a lovely pair that illustrate together how we must live, or demonstrate, our unity with God; we can't just claim it.  And then citation S6 tells us that atonement is the living or “exemplification” of our unity with God.  So then, this living of our oneness (feeling joy, healing ourselves and others, blessing, being compassionate, generous and so on) is how we experience the atonement.

Section 2: God is All (we are part of that “All”)!
Well, if the first section communicates what that First Commandment can do for us, then the second section brings to light how God's allness makes the First Commandment unavoidable.  This section emphasizes the allness of God, that there is nothing outside of Him.  Even those that are “confused” or “who have complained” (B7, Contemporary English Version) will learn and understand their oneness with this great “allness” of God.  You know why?  Because the Christ is how God communicates to man. Throughout the centuries the Christ has been a practical voice to man of God's love through healing and redeeming, changing thought and guiding action. (S11)  There is no dogma here, no sense of some kind of church-taught belief, which must be followed in order to be a “Christian Scientist”.  We are simply being revealed here as God's expression, one with God and Christ and therefore beloved.

Section 3: Don't resist oneness; it's a lot more fun (rewarding, satisfying, etc.)!
Here we have Jesus preaching and teaching in the synagogue.  He was preaching in a different way than other religious leaders; he was preaching “with authority”.  What does that mean to you?  Shouldn't anyone who preaches preach with some level of authority, albeit not personal?  In those days, apparently not.  His authority stemmed from the fact that his teachings resulted in healing.  They were effective, provable!  What more authority can you have than to have your ideas be backed up with effective action?  This authority, in this case was enough to cast out a “devil” in one member of the congregation.  Perhaps this person was suffering from some type of mental disorder.  Whatever the case the patient was angry and resistant to Jesus' request that the disorder “leave” this man's consciousness.  Why do we sometimes resist what we know is good for us?  Mrs. Eddy called this force of resistance “animal magnetism”.  In her day that was a contemporary term for hypnotism, more or less; it's the draw in our thought to some unnamed force, we might call it the force of satisfaction in matter.  Doesn't it sometimes seem like we are just impelled to do something that we know is not the best thing, maybe not too awful, but just not the highest right?  Maybe it's just staying out later than we should to do our best the next day, maybe hanging around with friends that aren't bringing out our best and not really working to elevate things.  Maybe we are just taking extra cookies when we don't really need them.  It doesn't have to be the “big bad” things.  These “lesser” evils are much more subtle and tempting because they kind of run hand in hand with that serpent suggestion: “Thou shall not surely die” from chapter 3 of Genesis.  When I hear that line I always have to say it with that tone of “it's not that big of a deal”.  Are you familiar with this?  Little children do this all the time when they take part in little “misdeeds”, skating on their chores or not coming in when they are told.  Adults do it in other ways.  At any rate, this man's resistance to the healing Christ is met with the authority that Jesus manifested in his practical preaching.  He knew that some “other” mind that was separate from God, had no identity or power, no true selfhood in a universe where there is one God who is All.  The practicality of the law that there is only one God is definitively demonstrated through this healing.  In citation S12 we are given a high and Christly standard of thought and action.  Think about “act[ing] and [speaking] (only) as [we are] moved by Spirit.”  What if our every thought and action were truly consciously proceeding from our understanding of our oneness with God!  [What if no matter what wonderful thing we did or were praised for, we turned all credit to God and the keeping of His commandments like Jesus did in Matt. 19:17, B-13]  This is hard, true.  The results are satisfaction, joy, success.  The results of not doing this are… Which do you want?

Section 4: A truer sense of Love helps us overcome sin and find our at-one-ment.
Did you know that the English root of the word atonement actually comes from the combination of “at-one-ment”, to get along in harmony with others?  It's not just a cute break down of that word.  This section really digs into the theological tangles of the doctrine of atonement.  Even Mrs. Eddy tells us in citation S19 that: “The atonement is a hard problem in theology,”  Why would God bring a son into the world and cause him, in all his goodness and love for mankind, to be crucified, a horrible and torturous death?  Did He do this so that we could all be forgiven for our wrongs when we simply ask?  We certainly don't want to skate over the crucifixion in all its awfulness, but citation S20 tells us that “The efficacy of the crucifixion lay in the practical affection and goodness it demonstrated for mankind.”  Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice of his human body, so that we could understand the life- and love-giving power of our divine Father Mother.  Every day we can put that lesson to practical purpose by sacrificing our love of matter bit by bit, whatever form that takes for us.  Citation B17 makes it clear that there never was a Biblical basis for a church dogma that has no healing purpose and makes no demand on us to follow in Jesus' footsteps.  Here it tells us that the “law” (church law of sacrifice in this case), is only a “shadow” of the real thing.  If the law of bringing a sacrifice to the temple to atone for our sins, for example, really did that, really made us better—then this would ultimately result in our perfection and hence the need for no further offerings.  “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.”  The author of Hebrews is confronting the “hard question” of atonement.  What does it mean for us?  What does it ask of us?  “Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God.”

Section 5: Resurrection: fullness of atonement.
The full meaning of the atonement comes with Jesus' resurrection from the grave.  This full demonstration of God's love for man proves finally that man can never be truly separate in being from God, Love.  You could say that it is the Christ that binds us together in a cohesive whole.  The Christ is how we feel our union with our Father-Mother.  We don't often think about the Christ as “making intercession for us” (B22).  That may sound kind of like some old-fashioned church dogma to you.  But it might help to think of this as Christ, the truth, pleading our case for us.  Truth pleads its own case.  It lays out the evidence and proves itself with its deeds.  While sometimes the lie can seem real, it is inevitable that Truth will expose it for what it is (kind of like in last week's lesson!)  We stick by the Christ, truth in our lives and the Christ, truth is always there for us, linking us as God's expressions in one being.  In the crucifixion we have a perfect example of the lie seeming to be all-powerful.  But the Christ is the healing arm of Love and always has the “last word”, as they say.  If we want to take part in the atonement, the at-one-ment with Love, we will recognize God's power, “the arm of the Lord” (S28), and we will be constantly renewed in our devotion to and love for God.  We will rise, with the Christ, out of the worship of matter, into the worship of the one true God.  


[The above application ideas are from a Christian Science Practitioner who has served as a Resident Practitioner at CedarS Camps. These ideas are provided primarily to help CedarS campers and staff (as well as friends) see and daily demonstrate the great value of studying and applying the Christian Science Bible lessons throughout the year, not just at camp!  YOU CAN ALSO SIGN UP for weekly emails from past CedarS staff of possible ways to share Bible Lesson applications with older, as well as younger, Sunday School classes by clicking the "Subscribe Now" button (lower left) at http://www.cedarscamps.org/metaphysical/ ]

[Warren Huff, CedarS Director & editor of these notes & bracketed, italic additions.]

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[Additional Director's Note: You can sign up to have these application ideas emailed to you free — by Monday each week in English; or by each Wednesday you can get a FREE TRANSLATION: in German, thanks to Helga and Manfred; or in Spanish, thanks to a team of Ana, Erick, Claudia and Patricio, or in Portuguese, thanks to helpers of Orlando Trentini in Brazil.  A voluntary French translation by Rodger Glokpor, a Christian Scientist from Togo (West Africa) has been contributed.  Thank you, Rodger and all translators! Go to http://www.cedarscamps.org/ and click "Newsletters" to sign-up for a free translation into these languages.  This sharing is the latest in an ongoing, 13-year series of CedarS Bible Lesson "Mets" (Metaphysical application ideas) contributed weekly by a rotation of CedarS Resident Practitioners and occasionally by other metaphysicians.  (Ask and look for "Possible Sunday School Topics "and "Possible Younger Class Lessons" in emails to follow.) These weekly offerings are intended to encourage further study and application of ideas in the lesson and to invigorate Sunday School participation by students and by the budding teachers on our staff. Originally sent JUST to my Sunday School students and 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, application and inspiration they had felt at camp, CedarS lesson "Mets "and Sunday School ideas are in no way meant to be definitive or conclusive or in any way serve as a substitute for daily study of the lesson. The thoughts presented are the inspiration of the moment and are offered to give a bit more dimension and background as well as new angles (and angels) on the daily applicability of some of the ideas and passages being studied. The weekly Bible Lessons are copyrighted by the Christian Science Publishing Society and are printed in the Christian Science Quarterly and in a variety of useful formats as available at Christian Science Reading Rooms or online at eBibleLesson.com or myBibleLesson.com. The citations referenced (i.e.B-1 and S-28) from this week's Bible Lesson in the "Met" (Metaphysical application ideas) are taken from the Bible (B-1 thru B-26) and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy (S-1 thru S-32). The Bible and Science and Health are the ordained pastor of the Churches of Christ, Scientist.  The Bible Lesson is the sermon read in Christian Science church services throughout the world. 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 the 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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