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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 Christian Science 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. The Bible and Science and Health 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.)

“Live in the eternal and appreciate God’s day!”
Lesson Application Ideas
on “Life,” July 11-17, 2005
By Gary Duke, C.S., Saint Louis, Missouri

Golden Text: The Blessings of Eternal Life are Commanded by the Lord.
How much do most people fear and worry about death? Lots! In contrast, imagine what progress might be made in every facet of life if the focus were on living life from a spiritual, eternal basis thereby understanding, “…the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore” (Ps. 133:3). Commandment, blessing, and eternal life are common themes running throughout each section.

Responsive Reading: Blessings Resulting From Knowing Life Is Eternal.
If we “hearken” (obey) the voice of God and consider Him our refuge, His “everlasting arms” shall bless us:

Any place we are (city, farm, war zone);

With fruitful offspring (children, animals, crops, spiritual ideas);

With abundance (what we need and plenty to share);

When going in or coming out (beginning and ending a relationship, a school year, a project, a career, a season, etc.); (Deut. 28 and 33).

Section 1: Love God–Choose Life Not Death.
The Israelites had been wandering in the wilderness 40 years, were camped on the east side of the Jordan River, and poised to enter the Promised Land. But first they received a series of sermons from Moses reminding them where they had been and explaining the consequence of their choices in the future. In essence Moses said, “choose life” by loving and obeying God (B2). When we consult God first in all our decisions both big and small (relationships, school, church, careers, sports, etc.), we find we are already in, and operating from, the Promised Land. But when we fail to consult God, we will end up wandering in the desert of human opinion like those from the original Exodus–in effect, choosing death. Only Joshua and Caleb, the spiritually minded scouts, lived to experience Palestine.

How can we realize this Promised Land and wake up to the fact we have always been there and never left? “…Our proportionate admission of the claims of good or of evil determines the harmony of our existence…” (S&H 4). Notice the word “proportionate;” it does NOT say “perfect!” We will make mistakes and grow in grace, but as long as we are actively striving to leave the material for the spiritual, we are safe and aware. Notice that young children are not burdened with perfection; they seem to look at challenges as just events rather than their identity. Perhaps that is one reason Jesus put a child in the midst of the disciples!

One outstanding benefit of this active striving Godward is, “All things (even what we perceive as bad) work together for good to them that love God” (S&H 5). Then challenges serve to promote our growth spiritually, rather than becoming insurmountable obstacles that hold us back materially.

Section 2: Blessed Are The Pure In Heart.
The sixth Beatitude states, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8). This section expands our understanding of what it means to be “pure in heart:”

(S&H 7) “Be watchful, sober, and vigilant” both literally and figuratively;

(S&H 8 and 9) Do not be fooled and confined to material sense evidence, those “fading, finite forms;”

(S&H 9) “…act as possessing all power from Him in whom we have our being.” This is huge because we tend to be reactive, i.e., I will be happy/blessed: if I get a good grade; if he/she goes out with me; if I look better; if this deal closes; if I get a promotion and raise; if my teacher/friend/child/spouse treat me better, etc.

A life of happiness/blessedness works exactly the opposite way–to the degree we claim our happiness and completeness based upon our unchanging spiritual heritage and then act that way and see it for others, we will be happy, loving, intelligent, etc., no matter what happens!

|If we live this expanded definition of “pure in heart,” we will be like foreign language translators, taking the language of matter and translating it to the language of spirit. Then we will overcome the “last enemy,” death, as Enoch demonstrated through his translation/ascension–his oneness with God (B5 and 6).

Section 3: Love God with All Your Soul.
In Section 2 above we discussed heart; this section covers soul and the next focuses on mind which segues into the question, “Dost thou ‘love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (S&H 11)? We recognize this statement of Jesus as the first of his two great commandments. This also was stated as a reminder by Joshua to a few tribes of Israel who performed very well in their occupation of the Promised Land (B11).

So what does it mean to love God with all your soul? Let us consider a simple example regarding talent, qualities from God, which is an aspect of soul. When you hit a home run in baseball (or in life), do you feel proud? Maybe even a little cocky like it’s a personal achievement? Or conversely, when you strike out, do you feel like a chump or maybe even a loser? Then we might want to explore personality versus individuality. Personality claims talent and its expression to originate in matter–in person, brain and body (S&H 12). However, individuality is immortal and claims talent and its expression (soul), to be from one source, God (S&H 14). Understanding this, when we or someone else does something extraordinary, either good or bad, we can resist the temptation to attribute it to a person. If the action is good, like a home run, we can appreciate the expression of that talent, but at the same time we can attribute the source of talent to God which is then loving Him with all our soul; if the action is perceived as bad or not ideal, it may be corrected and then dismissed as merely an event and not one’s identity.

Section 4: Love God and Thy Neighbor with All Thy Mind. 
This section focuses on both of Jesus’ great commandments (B13) from the standpoint of Mind.

“Be ye all of one mind” is defined as having compassion, loving as a brother, having mercy, being courteous, and blessing one another even in the midst of evil (B14).

As we exhibit these qualities, we will have a more expansive sense of love thereby enlarging our individuality, our sphere of influence, and leading to more permanent peace (S&H 18). “This spiritualization of thought lets in the light, and brings the divine Mind, Life not death, into your consciousness” (S&H 20).

Section 5: Love One Another And Live!
There’s a pervasive belief in society today, heard in popular songs and quotes, suggesting people who are loving and good die young. That insidious suggestion is countered by:

(B16) “The labour of the righteous tendeth to life;”

(B17) The raising of Tabitha from the dead. She was a beloved female disciple, known for her good works;

(S&H 22) “That man does not pay the severest penalty who does the most good…one cannot suffer as the result of any labor of love, but grows stronger because of it.” 

Section 6: God’s Day. 
“One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (B19). Mathematically that means each hour with the Lord equates to almost 42 years of trying to figure things out on our own! Consider the blessings of C.S. lectures. A person can be struggling for many years with multiple problems and a one-hour lecture can turn their life around immeasurably. The same can happen at a one-hour church service or testimony meeting, reading S&H and Bible, talking with our neighbor, etc.

Calculating further, each minute with the Lord equates to about eight months of human reasoning! Have we not all felt challenged for months with a person, place, or thing and then in a moment of inspiration, we clearly see the path of resolution? It makes us wonder why we did not pray first and save all that anguish! “One moment of divine consciousness, or the spiritual understanding of Life and Love, is a foretaste of eternity” (S&H 27).

This whole section is an outstanding explanation of what time really is and is not. As we understand that “Life is eternal” (S&H 29), we will be more free of this 100 year race–this mortal existence known as life. Instead, we will “measure time according to the good that is unfolded” (S&H 26).

Section Summary Benediction:
Eternal life and its blessings are commanded by God and not an option. Loving God is step one to choosing life over death. We see God by being pure in heart and loving Him with all our soul and mind which overflows into loving our neighbor as ourself. To the degree we love is the degree we truly live in the eternal and appreciate God’s day.

Resources:
Researched Bible Guide, 561-776-5711 or e-mail DayBreakPlease@cs.com 

The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language by Eugene H. Peterson,
NavPress 800-366-7788, website http://www.messagebible.com/

The One Volume Bible Commentary, by J.R. Dummelow

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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