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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 pastor for Churches of Christ, Scientist, worldwide for which the Bible Lesson-Sermon is prepared and from which it is read.  Other reference books are fully noted at the end.)

The bread of Life – abundant, nourishing, and lasting.  Eat it and be free!
Application Ideas for the Bible-lesson on “Life” for January 10-16, 2005 as found in the Christian Science Quarterly
Prepared by Kathy Fitzer, CS, of St. Louis, MO

There is a lot of talk these days about food – too much, too little, the wrong type, etc.  But, rather than counting carbs or sodium or fat content, watch your thought.  What are you taking in – the truth of Life or the lie of mortality?  The bread of Life is the word of God.  There is no shortage of it. You never have to worry about eating too much of it, and you can be confident that it will provide complete balance in your life and lasting health!

Golden Text:  This is Jesus’ response to the devil’s suggestion that he turn stones into bread in order to satisfy his hunger following 40 days in the wilderness.  Jesus had spent those 40 days preparing for just such a temptation.  Quoting from Deuteronomy he responded, “It takes more than bread to stay alive.  It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.” (The Message)  What about the temptations that come to us?  “People are starving – we can’t get food to them fast enough; I have to eat something; I can’t eat that; I need caffeine if I’m going stay awake on the drive home..”  All we need is to hear and respond to the word of God.  That is the ever-available bread of Life!

Responsive Reading:  Once again we have reference to the commandments – three weeks in a row!  It is through obedience to the promises of God’s commands that each is led out of the wilderness into the land of plenty.  The choice is ours – will we respond to the law of God or reject it?  Ignoring the law (ignoring a problem or pretending there is no problem) is the same as rejecting the law, and we are left wandering until we are humbled sufficiently to acknowledge the law of God written in our hearts and respond to it.  All it takes is setting aside human will and fear, putting our hand in God’s, and letting Him/Her lead us into the land of plenty – plenty of intelligence, ability, substance, supply!  Nothing can prevent us from taking possession of God’s gift and claiming our inheritance of abundant, eternal Life!

Section I: The land of unlimited Life – interested in calling it home?
Be careful not to approach the gift of abundant life as the children of Israel did.  They had been freed from slavery, but instead of trusting Moses’ assurance that God had a rich land prepared for them, they complained! (B1&3)  They preferred the familiar life of slaves, being stuck in “comfortable suffering” rather than being willing to take the leap required to dwell in the promised land. God had provided for their journey.  All they had to do was eat the manna and keep moving forward.  Knowing the ending of the story, we may wonder why they resisted.  But, are we willing to swallow the word of Truth and take the required leap of faith? Are we willing to leave behind the comforts of identifying ourselves as “the offspring of the flesh”? (S5)  Are we content – or resigned – to define life according to the five physical senses – the human concept called matter – or do we stretch to insist that (in spite of the evidence to the contrary) “Life is divine Mind.  Life is not limited.  Death and finiteness are unknown to Life.” (S4)  By acting in accord with these facts, we can demonstrate to some degree that because “Life must be eternal, self-existent,” we are not subject to the belief of death to any degree – limitation of any kind, stoppage of any good. (S5)  The knowledge that Life is Spirit (and only Spirit) is the manna that feeds us as we journey through “the vestibule in which a material sense of things disappears, and spiritual sense unfolds the great facts of existence.”  (Def. of Wilderness, S&H 597:17)  Eat up the Truth. Be willing to drop all illusion, and discover the unconfined Life that is Mind!

Section II:  Check in with Truth – not the mortal body – to see what’s going on!
Ask yourself, who’s doing the talking here – with whom am I conversing?  If we’re going to get the message of harmonious Truth, we need to be sure we’re not talking with or listening to the messenger of false belief – mortal mind, alias mortal body.  Look to the Bible to see how the conversation should go. First, there is a cry for help. (B6)  Then there is a realization of having looked in the wrong direction, and a determination to change. (B7)  Third, it is affirmed that God does hear our cries and responds. (B8)  Finally, God replies with “my son.”  He assures the seeker that he has been heard, and instructs him to “attend” to His words. (B9)  The original Hebrew of the word translated “attend” is a primary root which means “to prick up the ears, i.e. hearken.  In other words – give full attention! Now, while Life (God) – the only truth, and your only life – is testifying, the mortal body may be spouting lies and vying for your attention.  It is time to choose which conversation you will be part of.  Most of us have had the experience of being with a group of people and being pulled by two conversations at once – or at least trying to listen to more than one person at a time.  It just doesn’t work!  And yet, how often do we pray (have a conversation with God), and think we are listening to God’s voice, but allow ourselves to be distracted by checking with the body to see what it is saying.  Stop being duped!  “…neither sensation nor report goes from material body to Mind.” The intercommunication is always from God to His idea, man.” (S8)  So, why consult the body – it knows nothing!  If we are to get free of  “self-imposed … bondage” (S9), we have to identify the false-talker as “mortal mind” – not body – and then give our full attention to the word of God – to the Mind that truly is the only Mind – our Mind.  As we listen exclusively to Truth, Life, and Love, we discover that “Truth, Life, and Love are a law of annihilation to everything unlike themselves, because they declare nothing except God.” (S10)  Harmony is then found to be the only reality, and is felt!

Section III:  Eating the Life-giving bread of Mind, we find eternal strength!
We’re never too young or too old to recognize the eternal nature of Life.  You’ll remember that Joshua and Caleb didn’t agree with the crowd when they were sent to check out the Promised Land.  They were willing to enter and trust God to establish their home there.  But, because of the disbelief of others, the whole group had to spend more time in the wilderness.  God promised Joshua and Caleb, however, that their lives would be preserved and they would indeed enter the land of plenty undiminished!  Caleb confirms that at the age of 85 (when he finally crossed the river Jordan),he was “as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me” – forty years before. (B10)  Caleb and Joshua early found out that “Life is eternal,” and they began “the demonstration thereof” (S11) by remaining faithful to God’s direction and giving no heed to what appeared as a set-back.  Sometimes when a healing seems slow in coming, we are tempted to become discouraged.  But if we follow the example of Caleb and Joshua, we will persist in the wilderness, continuing to eat the manna – the bread of Life – that Love provides for us daily.  It “feeds the body with supernal freshness and fairness, supplying it with beautiful images of thought and destroying the woes of sense…” Be alert to “turn from the marble to [the] model in order to perfect [the] conception.” (S14)  It is vital to continually watch thought – watch what you are accepting as fact.  Caleb and Joshua never lost sight of God’s daily provision.  We shouldn’t either.  Then, we too, can rejoice that “we are subject to the divine ‘powers that be'”! (S15)

Section IV:  The bread of Life is always sufficient.
We have here two Biblical accounts of food being multiplied in order to meet the human need.  (B12&13)  Many believe these to have been isolated miracles of a time long ago. But, perhaps it was because Jesus knew of Elisha’s experience that he had complete faith that such a thing is “divinely natural.” (S&H 591:21)  Shouldn’t these Biblical accounts provide the basis in this age to consider it natural that all can be fed and cared for?  Mrs. Eddy explains how: “The substance, Life, intelligence, Truth, and Love, which constitute Deity, are reflected by his creation:  and when we subordinate the false testimony of the corporeal senses to the facts of Science, we shall see this true likeness and reflection everywhere.” (S17)  We all have the opportunity and an obligation to practice “subordinating the false testimony … to the facts of Science” as we consider the apparent devastation left in the wake of the recent tsunami.  The world is screaming shortage and loss.  Let us swallow and digest the fact that “Life is God, good, and that evil has in reality neither place nor power in the human or the divine economy.” (S18)  It was Elisha’s and Jesus’ clear understanding of this fact that enabled them to demonstrate Christ’s provision of food when it was needed.  The Christ is active now, supplying comfort, guidance, shelter, food, water, and health for God’s children everywhere in the world.  We must all actively bear witness to the Truth!  God was never in the earthquake, but is the still small voice that guides and governs and provides for everyone’s need!  Refuse to respond as Philip did – wringing one’s hands and believing the need is just too great to deal with.  Rather, be like Andrew – acknowledge the good that is present, and then trust the Christ to do the multiplying. (B13)  The blessing of life is commanded by the Lord, “even life for evermore.” (B11).  This brief psalm starts with:  “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Ps. 133:1)  That is the law – man does dwell together in unity (apply this fact to Iraq and other war-torn areas), and God does command a blessing – not destruction!  Watch what you are taking in – swallowing and digesting. Eat only the bread of Truth!  That’s not being naïve; it is being Christ-like.  And the evidence is seen tangibly – just like in the Biblical accounts!

Section V:  The bread of Life is the Christ – perpetually present and demonstrable!
The people in Jesus’ time struggled to understand what Jesus meant when he spoke of the bread of God coming down from heaven and giving life to the world. (B14)  As far as they were concerned the manna provided by Moses was bread from heaven.  But Jesus made the distinction that he was the real bread sent from God.  Verse 40 sums it up, “This is what my Father wants:  that anyone who sees the son and trusts who he is and what he does and then aligns with him will enter real life, eternal life.” (B14 – the Message) The manna fed for the moment.  The Christ feeds perpetually. Jesus defined life eternal as a ” present knowledge of his Father and of himself, – the knowledge of Love, Truth, and Life.” (S20) Jesus prayed that all men would know God as a result of seeing his works, and that the chain would remain unbroken as others believed as a result of seeing the works of later disciples. (B16) Jesus promised that “signs shall follow them that believe;” (B17)  That includes us.  Healing is the natural outcome of partaking of the bread of Life.  We have a responsibility as a Christian to heal.  Nothing is incurable, but before jumping to raising the dead we are told to begin “with the more simple demonstrations of control.” (S22) To become a good healer requires practice.  Don’t let anything slip by under the radar.  Hold everything up to the standard of perfection established by Jesus.  That doesn’t mean to get discouraged if you don’t reach that standard everytime.  But, practice demonstrating the Truth (Christ) as it applies to excellence in academics, your work, your athletics, your relationships, your health, the achieving of your goals.  In everything, strive to acknowledge the consistency of Life eternal – “the same yesterday and today and forever.” (S23)  Jesus taught us to think out from the basis of a perfect God and see things the way Mind created them.  It is the Christ that enables you to do that.  Take a big mental bite of the bread of Life and live – fully!

Section VI:  Seek first the kingdom of God, gobble up the crumbs of comfort from Christ’s table – be a master of the body!
How much time we waste thinking about the conditions of mortal living – what we eat, what we drink, what we wear, how healthy we are!  The Bible is so clear on this subject:  “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (B19)  Mrs. Eddy elaborates by specifying that if we are obedient to the command to take “‘no thought for your life,’ we shall never depend on bodily conditions, structure, or economy (organization), but we shall be masters of the body, dictate its terms, and form and control it with Truth.”  (S24) How fabulous and freeing would that be?!?  Look in the Bible portion of this section for descriptions of what we are told to do, what God does and is, and what results.  We are again told that it is not the food we put in our mouths that affect us (positively or adversely), but it is the thoughts we entertain. (S25 & 26).  All mortal mind knows how to do is make a mortal body (a body that is naturally limited and must eventually die.)  As long as we cater to the demands and whims of mortal mind, the mortal body appears to act on its own.  But, “Truth regenerates this fleshly mind and feeds thought with the bread of Life.” (S26)  As a result, we are no longer duped by “the belief and dream of material living” and we find that Life divine reveals spiritual understanding and the consciousness of our dominion over everything. (S28) The body responds as a right sense of it is entertained.  The Christ – Truth – reveals that harmony and health are natural.  We just have to seek Truth where Truth is to be found – at home in the kingdom of God!  Joyfully gobble up every crumb of Truth that comes your way. The reward is dominion!

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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