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Demonstrate Easter! Act Out Your At-one-ment and Rise!
Met for lesson-sermon for April 20, 2003, Doctrine of Atonement
Prepared by Kathy Fitzer, CS of St. Louis, MO

Eggs are a popular symbol of new beginnings at Easter time. As the little chick pecks and pecks to break its confines, so should we keep pecking to break out of the shell of limited mortal thinking in order to see the view of unlimited spiritual reality. A chick instinctively knows better than to stop pecking until he breaks through. Let’s follow that example as we break down the walls of the belief of separation from God and realize our at-one-ment with Good!

“We have NOW RECEIVED the atonement,” the Golden Text (Rom. 5: 11) tells us. So, what is this atonement? Well, according to Webster, it means: “agreement; concord; reconciliation after enmity or controversy.” That which is one is in agreement!

The Responsive Reading from John 16 & 17 has Jesus explaining to his disciples that he is about to leave the world, but that his disciples (both those present and in the future) are well prepared to go out into the world and continue the work that God sent him to do –because the Father that is with him is equally with all. In fact, he tells them that they are about to desert him, but it is okay because he knows his Father is ever with him. And, he tells them (us) that things will be tough for them (us), but not to worry because they (we) are truly fighting a defeated foe. He puts it this way, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16: 33)

Section I contrasts the early Hebrew belief that material sacrifices and offerings were required by God in order to win back His love with the idea that God’s love is always there for us – we simply need to turn to God to receive it. Micah, corrects the early misunderstanding by explaining that what God requires is: “to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.” The accomplishment of this requires the unlimited view provided by Science. “This Science teaches man that God is the only Life, and that this Life is Truth and Love; that God is to be understood, adored, and demonstrated; that divine Truth casts out suppositional error and heals the sick.” (S&H 471: 31) To understand God includes treating God justly; to adore God includes loving mercy, and in order to demonstrate God’s power, one must walk humbly with him. So, Micah and Mrs. Eddy are in agreement here. We have to know God first, then honor and love what we know, and thus be able to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. The first step in understanding God is to realize that we are one with Him, just as a drop of water is one with the ocean a ray of light one with the sun. (see S&H 361: 16-18) One can’t exist without the other! There would be no ocean without each drop of water, no sun without each ray of light, and no God without you and me!

Section 2 continues the theme of understanding and doing justly. We read of Jesus being crucified. Pilate found no fault in Jesus, but he caved to the pressure of the Jews and allowed Jesus to be crucified. This doesn’t seem very just, but the crucifixion had to happen in order for mankind to begin to understand the immortality of the Christ that Jesus embodied – in order to recognize the at-one-ment of God and man. The basic problem is the misconception that man has fallen from the presence of God and must be reunited. Jesus came to teach man how to understand and be obedient to God, and thus dispute the belief of separation. In order to understand God, we have to be willing to follow Jesus’ example. Marker #9 in S&H (19: 17-24) tells us, “Every pang of repentance and suffering, every effort for reform, every good thought and deed, will help us to understand Jesus’ atonement for sin and aid its efficacy (its power to produce effects); but if the sinner continues to pray and repent, sin and be sorry, he has little part in the atonement, – in the at-one-ment with God, – for he lacks the practical repentance, which reforms the heart and enables man to do the will of wisdom.” Sometimes we have to go through a bit of a crucifixion in order to feel the presence of God’s love sustaining us! A crucifixion experience totally destroys the error – it doesn’t just cover it up.

Section 3 describes the power of Love over hate, as Jesus took refuge from his foes during the three days in the tomb, and emerged victorious over death. Jesus loved God and knew God’s love for him to be complete. Joseph (the disciple, not Mary’s husband), who begged Pilate for Jesus’ body in order to properly bury it in the sepulcher, the three women who first came to the tomb, and Peter and John who came later, all demonstrated their adoration for the Christ. They came to express their love of the mortal Jesus and they found the immortal Christ. They learned that the Christ could not be killed. The women looked for Jesus in the sepulcher. They found him outside of it. Do we ever fall into the trap of looking at the problem in an effort to find the solution? Look at and love the risen Christ – the Truth that can’t be destroyed by mortal beliefs.

Section 4 tells of Jesus appearing before his disciples (undaunted by the closed doors) and sharing with them the Holy Ghost (the demonstrable understanding of the Spirit of the Christ) and telling them that just as the Father had sent him to heal the ills of the world, so he was sending them. And, we are told (Mark 16) that when Jesus was “received up into heaven” his disciples did indeed share with others what Jesus had taught them, and most of all, “confirm[ed] the word with signs following.” It took the disciples seeing Jesus after his resurrection for them to really appreciate the truth and power of what he had preached and demonstrated before. NOW they were ready to receive the Holy Ghost – the Science that makes healing a consistent reality, rather than just a periodic miracle. As I thought about the relationship of God, the Christ, and the Holy Ghost (Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost, known as the trinity), it came to me that God is the divine Principle (origin and governing power of all things), Christ is the animation or expression of this Principle, and the Holy Ghost is the coming of the understanding of this animated Principle. The Christ continues to breathe out the Holy Ghost of spiritual understanding. Are we accepting and demonstrating it? We must!

Section 5 continues the theme of healing with the story of Peter and John healing the man who was lame from “his mother’s womb.” Peter and John cared enough about this man to stop and pay attention to him. Then they cared enough to care for him by giving him what they had – a correct view of him based on their understanding of the risen Christ. Complete healing resulted. Believing that he was born a mortal, and being crippled by that belief, the man could not enter “the superstructure of Truth; the shrine of Love” (S&H 595: 8-9) But Peter and John had the courage and conviction (like the chick in the egg) to free him from his slavery to false belief and show him that he was indeed at one with God – and, as such, totally free. The Christ (Truth) in Peter and John reached the Christ (spiritual identity) in the man, and the lie was destroyed. Peter and John were being obedient to the Christ command to go out into the world and heal! We are under the same orders. We read in S&H p. 37: 22 (marker #22), “It is possible, – yea, it is the duty and privilege of every child, man, and woman, – to follow in some degree the example of the master by the demonstration of Truth and Life, of health and holiness.” This activity becomes natural as we realize our oneness with the Father. It is the Father – divine Mind – that does the work. We are the expression!

Section 6 makes it clear that each of us is vitally important as an element in the body of Christ. Paul compares our relationship to God and to each other to the relationship the parts of a body have to each other. (Read the verses that aren’t included in the lesson – I Cor. 12: 12-31) The body is one, yet has many members. Each member is important and unique. Each has a specific role to play in making the whole function harmoniously. None is indispensable, nor is one any more important than another. Our unity with each other relates to our unity with God. Paul continues by teaching us (Romans 9: 28, 35, 37-39) that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Paul goes on to teach that nothing can separate us from the love of God. Rather, challenges provide opportunities to be conquerors over evil. We must daily exercise our right to be conquerors. As Mrs. Eddy writes, “If Truth is overcoming error in your daily walk and conversation, you can finally say, ‘I have fought a good fight … I have kept the faith,’ because you are a better man. This is having our part in the at-one-ment with Truth and Love.” What a joy and privilege that is!

Celebrate Easter this year by seeing the risen Christ – the elevated sense of Life, Truth, and Love that has overcome the world – right where you are. And demonstrate this view by healing whatever tries to suggest that you can be separated from God!

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