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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 C.S. 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. These two books 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.)

Are you open to the glories of heaven, or stuck in the mud?
Application Ideas for the “ Mortals and Immortals” Bible Lesson for May 9 – 15, 2005
Prepared by Kathy Fitzer, CS, of St. Louis, MO

As you read this lesson, look for references to glory.  Glory refers to brightness, luster, splendor, the felicity (great happiness) of heaven prepared for the children of God.  Now make sure you’ve got the correct model before your thought – the correct starting point – which will enable you to see this glory.

Golden Text and Responsive Reading:  What is your model? How are you thinking of yourself and your surroundings?  If you think of yourself as an image of the earth – fleshy, dusty, mortal and perishable – your experience will reflect that pattern and be subject to corruption (impairment, decay, and decomposition).  This pattern is a dead-end road every time!   It will never lead to the imperishable glory of heaven.  But, how about the immortal, incorruptible model – your eternal, heavenly nature?   Try it on for size – put it on and keep it on!  This pattern leads to heaven – harmony.  The belief is, that being mortal, we must die.  But Paul tells us that in reality we don’t sleep (die); we change!  What changes?  And do we have to wait for the death of the human body to make this change?  Can’t we get on the resurrection road now?  If the corruptible MUST put on incorruption and the mortal MUST put on immortality, why not get started?  Being heavenly holds a lot more promise than being stuck in the mud!

Section I:  Conflicting Reports
The Bible gives us conflicting reports about creation.  First it is reported that man was made in God’s likeness and seen by God as good.  (B-1) Then, supposedly a mist comes up and now the Lord God forms man of the dust of the ground. (Remember that this second account was written before the time of the more inspired version of the first chapter of Genesis. The first account is believed to have been written at the time of the Babylonian exile, a time when it was particularly meaningful to realize the goodness of God – even while living in a state of slavery.) Back to the second account … What happens when mist meets dust?  Mud!  So, here we have a contradictory report of man created with his feet stuck in the mud.  This Lord God takes his already stuck creation and supposedly further limits him by putting him to sleep – a euphemism (or nice way of saying) he sends him down the path of death. (B-2)  Then comes the big question – can dust praise God? (B-4)  The purpose of man is to glorify (praise) God.  So, maybe we’d better re-think the possibility that the “dust man” was really a creation at all.  Mrs. Eddy confirms that both records of creation can’t be true, and makes a clear case for the first record – immortal man made in God’s image – to be the correct one. (S-1-5) Look at the argument presented citation by citation, and follow the logic.  What, then, do we do with the mortal appearance – with Adam?  We learned about that last week. Wake up! Open your eyes.  Apply the logic presented in this first section of the lesson to the arguments of mortality whenever they appear (whether in the form of limited health, supply, time, intelligence, strength, athletic ability, companionship, direction, integrity, etc. etc.) and see through them.  Refuse to be part of the sleep-report.  It is only a false report – never the truth of being.  Follow the logic!!  “The offspring of God start not from matter or ephemeral (short-lived) dust” – that is left to blow away. (S-1)

Section II:  Identify the dusty picture, but don’t be fooled by it.
This section paints a picture of mortal, material man, but urges us to leave this picture behind as we begin the demonstration of Life that is eternal. (S-10)  If you accept your identity as a mortal (“the sons of men”) there’s not a lot of hope.  It is a dust-to-dust existence – here today, but potentially gone in a moment.  (B-5&6) If this is all there was to life, it would be easy to think, “Why bother?”  But, if you are ever faced with despair and discouragement, ask yourself the question the Psalmist asked himself:  “Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?  Why are you crying the blues?  Fix my eyes on God – soon I’ll be praising again.  He puts a smile on my face.  He’s my God.” (The Message, B-7)  So, check your thinking!  Correctly consider your origin!  Are you the son of man or the son of God?  You are not BOTH!  There is one law.  Follow the logic – “Finite man cannot be the image and likeness of the infinite God.” (S-7).  Can dust, matter, sustain life? (S-8)  There is no glory (brightness, luster) or lasting quality in dust.  Yet, we mistakenly think that we were created from the material components of a mortal mom and dad (or that as mom or dad we’ve created other little mortals), and we limit ourselves and “our” children as a result of this thinking.  It is never too early to challenge the belief of age!  What is it that leads to limitation – to mortality?  “Measuring and limiting all that is good and beautiful….” (S-10)  You have a choice.  You can operate from the basis of “modes of material motion” and call them laws. (S-6) But material motion will never be law.  Working from this standpoint slows us down, limits us in every way, and subjects us to the belief of disease and lack.  We have a choice – look to the heavenly model of man made in the image of God, Spirit, and we leave the contradictions of trying to make man mortal (S-9) and discover the Life and goodness that is immortal – exempt from death or limitation of any kind (S-10).

Section III: See things clearly – God’s man made in His image
Where did we come from?  God alone!  Elihu sets Job straight when he tells him, “God’s spirit made me, and the Almighty breathes life into me.” (Moffatt B-10)  We’ve got to start from that basis, no matter what the false mortal picture is trying to convince us of.  And God assures us that no matter how much trouble we’ve gotten into in the past – because we’ve accepted the false model, it’s going to be okay.  We shouldn’t be afraid.  He has redeemed us (saved us, freed us) and called us by our right name (nature) because we are His.  God made us in His image to show Him off – to praise Him.  (B-11) This creation has always operated in Mind.  It is safe there.  It shouldn’t be confused with the “fading forms of matter, the mortal body and material earth” which are the “fleeting concepts of the human mind.” (S-12)  All matter – all mortal limitation – is only a concept of the human mind – all part of the lie that there are two creations.  This false concept is what appears to be struggling, sick, tired, weak or poor.  God didn’t make us that way.  How could perfect God create imperfection?  Think logically!  God made man to glorify Himself.  So, if you are experiencing something – or seeing something in someone else – that does not glorify good, does not glorify Life, Truth, and Love – then “there is something wrong with this picture” and you simply need to look at the right model – look to God as the only source – to find the right picture.  Christian Science is the knowledge of the Truth.  It provides the means of distinguishing between the true and the false.  All that needs to change is the view and “when we learn the way in Christian Science and recognize man’s spiritual being, we shall behold and understand God’s creation, – all the glories (heavenly bliss) of earth and heaven and man.”  (S-15)

Section IV:  Stop the funeral procession!
Jesus demonstrated the lie of mortality and the truth of immortality by “raising the dead.”  “His mission was to reveal the Science of celestial being, to prove what God is and what He does for man.”  (S-17)  How?  Could Jesus have brought the son of the widow back to life if he had started from the basis of mortal origin?  He had to apply correct logic.  The belief was that this man had a mortal, dusty, beginning and so was returning to that dust, and leaving his mother in big trouble, too.  Remember, as a widow, she now would have no one to support her.  Because Jesus so clearly understood God to be the only source of life for all, he was able to demonstrate the fact that “Life is, always has been, and ever will be independent of matter” (S-16). He naturally brought that true picture of Life into focus for all to see.  And everyone praised God – recognizing God as the source of  Jesus’ authority! (B-13)  We are faced with the picture of death more often than we sometimes realize.  And we must follow the divine logic to see that man cannot die – harmony cannot be lost – because “man is the idea of God,” … “not subject to decay and dust”!  Is it not suggested that relationships can die, that health can deteriorate, that consciousness or memory can be lost, that teeth can decay and strength be lost?  What do you do with that information?  What did Jesus do when faced with the evidence of a dead man?  He stopped the procession!!!  He corrected the false picture with the truth of God!  When things present themselves to us, do we immediately stop the procession of false evidence?  No matter how large (or small) an instance of inharmony appears to be, check what you are believing.  Do you believe that some academic subjects are just too hard for you, or that you just can’t break the next physical barrier in an athletic endeavor, or there’s no hope for having really good, lasting relationships, or you don’t have enough faith or understanding to be healed?  Think again!!!  Stop the procession of mortal opinion!  Jesus showed us what God does for man. (S-17)  He demonstrated the possibilities of right thinking.  Because his source was God, and our source is God, we can expect the same results.  We must be very clear about the fact that “man is immortal” and that “mortals are not saved from sin or sickness by death.” (S-19) Death is never an answer – death is, in fact, a lie that we must never accept in any form – no matter how convincing the false evidence!  Forget dust to dust – Bear witness to Life!!!

Section V:  Put off the old man – become new
Ever think it would be nice to just begin again – get off to a fresh start?  Well, do it!  It is not a new concept.  We read of how the psalmist felt: “I’m feeling terrible – I couldn’t feel worse!  Get me on my feet again.  You promised, remember?  Let your love, God, shape my life with salvation, exactly as you promised;”  (The Message – B-25)  Jesus instructed Nicodemus that if he wanted to enter the kingdom, he had to be born again. (B-16) We all have to be willing to be born again – and this time get it right!  We’ve been laboring under the false premise that we were born of matter and thus have to suffer the limitations of the flesh.  But, if we’re going to get it right we have to start with the fact that our source is God – Spirit!  Mrs. Eddy defines Christ as, “the divine manifestation of God, which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error.” (S&H 583)  We’re told that if “any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:  old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (B-18)  How cool is that?  Every mistake you’ve ever made, every physical limitation you’ve ever accepted; every intellectual shortcoming you think you have; every “fight” you ever had with someone – erased!  It can happen.  Operate from the basis of “the divine manifestation of God” instead of an accumulation of matter, and then all that is left from the supposed “mistakes” is the progress that comes from correcting the false report.  “Progress is born of experience.”  So, take every negative experience you’ve ever had and use it as a springboard – leaving behind the lie of mortality and rejoicing in the truth of immortality!  Fruit softens as it ripens.  So, as we drop (let go of) the mortal (the dusty mistake) and accept the immortal (God’s reality) our experience is softened, we lose the rough edges, and we find we can joyously deal with whatever comes our way. (S-22) Made a mistake?  Learn from it and let it go.  Nothing of a mortal nature can cling to your immortal nature!  “The old man with his deeds must be put off.  Nothing sensual or sinful is immortal.”  (S-22)  It is never too late for a new start – just make sure you’re keeping your view heavenward, and not getting stuck in the mud.

Section VI:  A spiritual perspective reveals Christ’s consistency and God’s love
We noted at the beginning the inconsistencies of the Scriptural report of creation.  But the Christ is always true and Christian Science reveals this truth to human consciousness.  So… if you are to stay on the right track – pursuing heavenly glory rather than getting stuck on a dead-end dusty road – you must understand the Scriptures spiritually.  (S-25)  God is merciful and has “granted life and favour” and preserved you. (B-19)  The Christ is always speaking to the human consciousness and is “the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.”  (B-20, S-26))  So, rely on the Christ!  Everything that comes up, test its validity by measuring it according to the Christ – according to that which Jesus taught and demonstrated.  There is only one true “theory of the universe, including man.”  It “is not in material history but in spiritual development.” And “it is this spiritual perception of Scripture, which lifts humanity out of disease and death and inspires faith.” (S-25)  God created us in His image and “man and woman as coexistent and eternal with God forever reflect, in glorified quality, the infinite Father-Mother God.” (S-29)  So, if we reflect God, we know as God knows us.  We do have the ability to discern between the true and the false report.  Follow the correct logic!  We know what is true – we’ve gotten the right message.  “The Message bears fruit and gets larger and stronger” when we exercise and rely on what we know. (The Message, B-21)  We need to continue to “walk” in what we know – use what we know.  We can’t allow any of the mortal lie to pretend to be us, for we “are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:”  (B-22)  Being complete – being coexistent and eternal with God” we “forever reflect, in glorified quality, the infinite Father-Mother God.”  (S-29)  Don’t accept anything less!  This leads to consistent health, a consistent expression of intelligence, strength, and integrity, a full experience of companionship, and a heart full of love.  Does this come without a struggle?  No.  Paul said, “Christ!  No more, no less.  That’s what I’m working so hard at day after day, year after year, doing my best with the energy God so generously gives me.”  (The Message, B-21)  Is it worth the effort? You betcha!  To be free from the dust cycle and see the glory is clearly worth it!!!

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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