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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 The Christian Science Church. The Bible Lesson is the sermon read in Christian Science church services throughout the world. Other reference books are fully noted at the end.)

How do we worship? How do we recognize the Christ? Are we baptized?
Application ideas on the Christian Science Lesson for Sunday Jan. 9, “Sacrament” by Corde Hanzlik, CS, Austin, Texas

A brief note: We must remember that in the establishment of Christian Science and the Church, Mrs. Eddy made enlightened, spiritual definitions and changes as to several old theological beliefs. The emphasis of the one creation of Genesis 1 instead of Genesis 2 is one of the most major departures from traditional theology. Her explanation of church, the Eucharist, baptism, crucifixion, and resurrection are a few others. This Lesson, Sacrament, is typically the lesson that explains many theological terms and events in regard to their application in Christian Science.

What is Sacrament? The two basic definitions from The Student’s Reference Dictionary are:  1. An oath, a ceremony of obligation; 2. An outward and visible sign of inward and spiritual grace. The rest of the definition goes on to explain the commemorative events specific to church – baptism, the last supper (the Eucharist), confirmation, etc. What sacraments do we Christian Scientists acknowledge?

The Golden Text and Responsive Reading give us some worship techniques. Bowed knee, tongue (verbal), up the mountain, to a special house, with offerings – rams, rivers of oil. What really is required? “Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly” with God, not to God.

Section 1 Mountain approach
Here we find Moses going to the top of the mountain as God has called him to do. God lays out 2 of the commandments in regard to worshipping Him – one God, and, no graven images, and if foolish enough to make images anyway, don’t bow down to them nor serve them. It was a sense of group worship that Moses’ had to work with. Didn’t Moses have to remind the people constantly about the ‘one’ God concept? They had just escaped from an idol-worshipping country. (B2) Jesus tells us of true worship – in spirit and in truth. (B4) This type of worship is individual, private. The people of Jesus’ time already knew the one-God truth.

Mrs. Eddy explains through the citations used in the Lesson, the progression of thought from the many-god concept of Moses’ time to the awakened thought in Jesus’ time. True worship is in the heart, to spiritually discern the Father.

Section 2 Are you baptized?
(a question often asked by Christian friends)
Yea for John the Baptist! He prepared the way for Jesus. Why did Jesus need to be baptized with water when he knew what true baptism was? He did it to make himself believable and acceptable to the people. Of course, the Spirit of God descending made it a bit more dramatic! Also, more significant!

So, are we baptized? Yes, continually! “Baptism. Purification by Spirit; submergence in Spirit.”(S&H 6) “Baptism of Spirit …” (S&H 10 line 27) Mrs. Eddy tells us of Jesus’ concession. She guides us on the continuing path from repentance, to baptism, to regeneration, spiritward. The “footsteps” as she calls them. (S&H 10) We, too, are the Sons and Daughters of God.

Section 3  Another commandment restriction, or freedom?
Back to the mountains again? Total elevation of thought God-ward! So, remember the Sabbath, the final completeness of God’s and Jesus’ work. Sabbath is a good word to look up in the dictionary. It has many ideas, not just the Sunday or seventh day concept.) Why did the Pharisees think that it was work for Jesus to heal? They didn’t understand that right thinking, God-centered thinking, is what heals. How much work can it be to think? Ironically, we Christian Scientist talk about “doing our work”. Is it work or right identification?

Why the wedding parable? Isn’t Jesus teaching the mental attitude of humility and sincerity regardless of social status as we relate to God? (Remember, last week’s Lesson said that we are betrothed to God. We are of special value.) How did the Pharisees, Sadducees and other church hierarchy view themselves? It’s no wonder that Jesus made those folks angry.

Everything Jesus taught and practiced pointed every listener to God – in the right way, with the right motive, with the right spiritual enlightenment. Are we ‘pagan idolaters’ listening to matter or ceremony? (S&H11,12 &13) Are we in the Christ world or the prideful, material world? (S&H14) Mrs. Eddy lays out the duty and the how-to for us. Note the marginal heading – “Condition of progress”. (S&H 15) Hold right thought!

Section 4  Eeeuw, washing feet?
The Last Supper scene is beautifully described by Mrs. Eddy in S&H 16 & 17.  Jesus’ humility to wash the disciples feet was major part of the lessons that he showed to them and us. No individual is closer to God, no more loved by Him, nor is anyone less Christly. Our love for God and man are key to our spiritual growth. It is not a question of being worthy. We all are. It is a question of recognizing our worthiness. God loves us no matter what. Do we love Him? And His Son?  Wash some feet!

Section 5 The proving and proof of Love
The crucifixion and the resurrection scene gave Jesus the opportunity to teach us the ultimate lesson of love and forgiveness. He never would have been resurrected if he hadn’t forgiven the human treatment that he got. He even forgave the disciples who had doubted his mission. They went fishing – returned to their old way of thinking and working. He was compassionate with them. Casting their nets on the ‘correct’ side of Truth, they began to understand. Then, fed the real meat of Truth by Jesus, they got the true idea. (He hadn’t even gone fishing, but had fish.) In a mortal sense, Jesus had every right and reason to be angry and frustrated with them as they would have been embarrassed and ashamed. However, the lessons to be learned were far greater than mere mortal emotions. Jesus so nurtured those close to him and us that we have the Way forever.

We have the new light of Truth. (S&H 21) Breakfast! Do we follow him in word and “in deed”?

Section 6 What is our sacrament?
Understanding the risen Christ untouched by mortality is in our hearts.  This is our sacrament – to follow and be our Christly self  – not giving up mortality, but realizing our true identity as the children of God as never bound by mortality.

Science and Health reiterates the impulsion to worship as the expression of our right and true selfhood following Jesus’ example adhering to the commandments, yielding all personal sense. Mrs. Eddy tells us that it is a “habitual struggle”, but we are good. (S&H 24) Our correct prayer isn’t restricted to a physical position, place or ritual. It is as she states “loyal and heartfelt gratitude”. We are worthy! What do we ask for, where do we look, how far? No farther than God! Where is He? Where we are, is where He is. Where He is, is where we are. We had part of the last citation last week. It must be important, “God is Love. More than this we cannot ask, higher we cannot look, farther we cannot go.” (S&H26) True worship. True sacrament.

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.)  

P.S.  If you don’t have the textbooks at hand, you can read this week’s Bible lesson (and surrounding text too) online by clicking here.

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