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Games of the Week: 1-Follow the Leader, Christ Jesus; 2-God Says; 3-Rolling Stones
“Christ Jesus” Lesson Met for 3/2/03 for Sunday Schoolers & CedariteS by Warren Huff

Golden Text: ” …. come and follow me.” (Matt. 19:21) Jesus, who loved little children, is hereby inviting you and me to be both more childlike and more Christ-like by “playing” a fun game of “Follow the Leader.” When this game seems more like work than play, remember: “If you’re not having fun practicing the Science of the Christ, you’re not practicing the Science of the Christ.” To follow Jesus is to refuse to lose the power of childlike joy. (Or, as Peter Pan sings: “I won’t grow up” or “wear a serious expression in the middle of July.”) To humbly follow Jesus into the warmth of his dwelling (the Christ-consciousness or kingdom of God) is like going into a tipi: adults must be willing to bend, and to lower their heads (or adult rationality) to at least the level of their hearts (or childlike joy and love). However, Jesus didn’t bury his head in the sand or turn away from the problems of his day. After acknowledging, “In the world ye shall have tribulation:” Jesus’ commands us: “but be of good cheer;” because “I have overcome the world.” (John 17:33) In other words, following Jesus’ command to be cheerful in the face of tribulation is easier when we acknowledge that Jesus has already overcome the world, and therefore we are fighting a foe who has already been defeated in all points and all accounts. What a comfort! With gratitude in advance for “understanding the control which Love” (S&H 514:26) holds over all, we can feel safe and refuse to “buy into” the world’s worry, (alias “ingratitude in advance”) for the bad that is predicted to be coming to overpower Spirit.

Responsive Reading: “Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit . . . And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him and he healed them all.” Jesus’ all-healing ability and attraction were based on a radical redefinition of what constitutes happiness and “the happy set.” Adult rationality expects the happiest set of individuals to be the wealthiest who “have it made” with all the latest and greatest in expensive trinkets and worldly pleasures. But on the contrary, Jesus defines the truly happy (blessed) set as those who are poor, hungry, crying, hated, reproached and outcast! Did I see a few potential followers just drop out of line? Wait! It gets better – WAY better! The coming of the Christ consciousness is a real “rags to riches” story for every receptive state of thought. The presence of the Christ instantly transforms: the poor in spirit into the heavenly rich; the hungry and thirsty for righteousness into the spiritually filled; criers into laughers; the humanly hated into the divinely loved; the reproached “zero” into God’s hero; and the first one cut from the cast (outcast) into a star of the show. But, Jesus “never promised us a rose garden” and perfect weather. In his parable of those who build on the rock and those who built on the sand, Jesus says WHEN the storms and flood come, not IF they come. So, let’s follow Christ by building a rock-solid, heavenly happiness that is unaffected by outside circumstances. Then, we can smile with inner peace even while war is being waged all around against what used to constitute our happiness.

Section 1: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. . . . . My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Far from living on “Easy Street,” Jesus had huge demands and pressures thrust on him constantly. So, when he speaks to the heavy laden and the burdened, he knew whereof he spoke. Yet, Jesus overcame this potential stress by living and teaching the simple, open secret that there is nothing more stress-free, easy and instantly in the now than a reflection. He says: “I can of mine own self do nothing.” (John 5:30) A reflection, that can of its own self can do nothing, never feels pressure to originate anything or to live outside the now. We can “follow the leader” by practicing his burden-busting approach of giving everything to God in everything given us to do.

Section 2: After Jesus’ disciples quickly abandoned their nets (careers), their boats (investments and possessions), their homes and their families to follow him without questions, he reassured them: “No man . . . hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this time, and in the world to come life everlasting.” (Luke 18:29, 30) The disciples properly prioritized what was most important in life: 1st God, 2nd Family, 3rd Job. Followership is never a question of sacrifice, but of values. “Let us, like them, without a word, Rise up and follow thee.” (CS Hymn 49:2) In any game of life, as in “Follow the Leader,” “timing is everything.” As Mrs. Eddy says: “The disobedient make their moves before God makes His, or make them too late to follow Him. Be sure that God directs your way; then, hasten to follow under every circumstance.” (Mis. 117:29)

Section 3: Those ready for another game are invited to play “God Says” (a higher version of “Simon Says” where you can advance only if God (instead of Simon) specifically directs your moves. If you proceed without God’s guidance, you have to start all over again for being disobedient. Watch what other authorities would pose as God this week to try to direct you. Especially watch rumors, like those meant to persuade Nehemiah, “It is report among the heathen, and Gashmu saith it.” (Neh. 6:6) As Cobbey Crisler said, “Who is Gashmu? and who cares?”) In this week’s lesson, while Simon says within himself that Mary Magdelene, “as she has since been called,” is a sinner and that Jesus should have detected that, Jesus detects not only Simon’s thought and the woman’s, but also hears what God says about her. When we forget what God says about his creation on the seventh day: “behold, it was very good,” we need to go back to Genesis 1 to start over with only what “God says” and “With God alone agree.” (This year’s Sunday School theme from CS Hymnal #5). As far as I know, our church, First Church of Christ, Scientist, Creve Coeur, is the only “Church of the Broken Heart(ed).” (a literal translation from the French) May it be said of the Christian Scientists at our church and at all others that we indeed love much and that we express not only accepting, “God says” forgiveness as did our Wayshower, but also unfeigned reverence, “genuine repentance, . . . broken hearts, . . . meekness and human affection, as did this woman.” (S&H 364:26)

Section 4: Our Wayshower says: “You’re familiar with the old written law, “Love your friend,” and its unwritten companion, “Hate your enemy.” I’m challenging that.” (God never says that.) “I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out your true selves, your God created selves.” (Matt. 5:43, 44 Eugene Peterson translation in The Message) Mrs. Eddy summarizes this teaching in her great article entitled LOVE YOUR ENEMIES: “‘Love your enemies’ is identical with “Thou hast no enemies.” Wherein is this conclusion relative to those who have hated thee without a cause? Simply, in that those unfortunate individuals are virtually thy best friends. Primarily and ultimately, they are doing thee good far beyond the present sense which thou canst entertain of good.” (Misc. 9:9) Can you relate this idea to Mrs. Eddy’s statement that “by reversal, errors serve as waymarks to the one Mind?” (S&H 267:24) What enemies or errors of the day would you like to help reverse to become best friends?

Section 5: Today’s weather forecasters would love to approach the accuracy and detail in tomorrow’s forecast that Isaiah and David demonstrated in prophesying an event that occured over a 1,000 years after their times! Isaiah ‘s prophesy of Christ as a “man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isa. 54:3) and David’s prophesy that “they pierced my hands and my feet, . . . they stare upon me, . . . (and) laugh me to scorn, . . .saying He trusted on the Lord . . . let him deliver him, . . . They part my garments among them and cast lots upon my vesture” (Ps. 22: 16,17, 7, 8, 18) very accurately envisioned and described the crucifixion, the cross that awaited the Messiah. For a hair-raising wow, compare this Psalms 22 forecast with John’s eye-witness account 1,000 years later from the foot of the cross where only he and four women were brave enough to follow. (John 19:23 on) Not just Jesus’ cross, but also his crown and triumph were envisioned and forecasted by others. (such as Isa. 61) I’m so grateful that our Christian Science cross-and-crown symbol unites both problem (cross) and solution (crown) and that Christian Science is so practical. Christian Science is much more than a “superficial religion,”(S&H 597:12), but rather a fun and effective way of life wherein every human problem (cross) has a practical and metaphysical solution (crown). Christian Scientists should never be “Pretenders” (March Madness term), but rather “unpretentious friends, whose religion was (is) something more than a name.” (S&H 54:23) Then, our joy won’t burnout into “tired joy” and although we may be “acquainted with grief,” we will be lifted “from grief afar.” (CS Hymnal #253:6)

Section 6: “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.” (S&H 37:27) We are all privileged to have been given a great gift. It’s hard to imagine that some aren’t even trying to open the gift! It’s an invitation to play a challenging, but rewarding game called “Rolling Stones” that Jesus “played” after the crucifixion to win his resurrection. When we play it and win, we too will get a “new lease on life” as Spirit. Losing the game means being buried alive in mortal “sensuousness, or the burial of mind in matter.” (S&H 35:8) What’s needed is alertness to the alluring and luscious-looking lies of body-worship, or carnal-mindedness, that keep rolling our way. These rolling stones that look like a perfect capstone to a happy and satisfying life, instead would trap us in a cell of womb-to-tomb thinking. What lurking lies of sensuousness can you roll away today? Give a new meaning to “Let’s ROLL!” and to Rock ‘n Roll. “Christ hath rolled away the stone from the door of human hope and faith, and through the revelation and demonstration of life in God, hath elevated them to possible at-one-ment with the spiritual idea of man and his divine Principle, Love.” (S&H 45:19)

Hope you enjoy these Games that are so Fun(da)mental to happiness!

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