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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 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.)

“Truly soar as children of God thereby living the Lord’s Prayer!”
Lesson Application Ideas on “Christ Jesus”  February 21-27, 2005

By Gary Duke, C.S., Saint Louis, Missouri

This Weekly Bible Lesson explores the Lord’s Prayer in detail.  Jesus was a master of simplification, getting to the essence of what’s truly important.  For example, the Ten Commandments from Moses expanded to over 600 which Jesus boiled down to two, Love God…and love your neighbor…(Matt. 22:37-39)  Likewise, every Jew was required to recite a set of eighteen lengthy prayers each day. (Dummelow 465)  Jesus gave us the one prayer which Mrs. Eddy says, “…covers all human needs.” (S&H 1)

The Lord’s Prayer contains seven petitions, the first three dealing with the glory of God and the latter four with our own needs. (Dummelow p.646)  This prayer also clarifies the relationship of Christ (divinity) embracing humanity (mankind including Jesus). (S&H citation 2; p.561:16)

Golden Text:  Perfection is Now. 
“…Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ:” (Rev.12:10)

Our salvation (S&H 593:20), strength, heaven and Christ are all here and NOW, not some future time.  We’re working from perfection, not clawing our way up to perfection.  What a relief!

Responsive Reading:  Human versus Spiritual Reasoning.  Isn’t it amazing that even with all the proof John the Baptist was given about the true identity of Jesus as the Messiah (Matt.3:11-17; John 1:29-37), he still doubted by asking Jesus, “Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?”

Where was John residing when in doubt?  In prison.  When do we doubt our revelations from God, the Bible, Christian Science and our own past healings?  Isn’t it when we’re in the prison of sin, sickness or impending death when we tend to think we might be better off with a more expedient savior?  When this happens, hasn’t our human reasoning demoted us below the little child who has fewer numbers of good works to his name but is more innocent and trusting?  “…among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist:  notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” (Matt. 11:11)

Section 1:  Messengers and the Message.
Jesus was an unlikely messenger as most thought the Messiah would be from a prominent family, an upscale neighborhood, having formal rabbinical training, and be a warrior like David ~ Jesus had none of these credentials.  And whom did Jesus choose as his disciples? (B1)  Fishermen, one of whom named Simon Peter, begged Jesus to “Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” (Luke 5:8) He also chose Matthew, a tax collector, a business known for corruption.  Who can forget Judas!  These are just some of the characters upon which Jesus chose to build his church.  Why didn’t he choose the “cream of the crop?” 

Let’s consider Mrs. Eddy ~ born in 1821, a woman with few rights, sickly, widowed, separated from her child, remarried, deserted, divorced, poor, homeless, estranged from family, etc.  An unlikely resume for a messenger…or is it?  Doesn’t her litany and triumph give all of us hope and courage as we face our challenges?

Now let’s consider the message.  One initial message of Jesus was “Repent:  for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (B1)  Sound familiar?  This is a bridge between Jesus and John the Baptist whose main message was “repent” meaning “change one’s mind.” (RBG)  Can there be true healing without repentance?

“…use not vain repetitions…” was another message. (B3)  “The idea that prayers prevail by their number rather than their earnestness is pagan, and whenever it appears in Christianity is a corruption.” (Dummelow p.645)  Could vain repetitions be likened to using set prayers as a pill with no earnestness behind their recitation and therefore receiving no moral or spiritual regeneration? 

“Our Father” is how the Lord’s Prayer starts ~ why didn’t Jesus encourage each of us to say “My Father?” “…which art in heaven.  Hallowed be thy name.”  These are acknowledgments of God’s universal allness, harmony and reminder there is just one right idea of all, the Adorable One. (S&H 16:26-29)

Mrs. Eddy asks, “Who is ready to follow his teaching and example?” In the long run we really have no choice!  “All must sooner or later plant themselves in Christ, the true idea of God.”

(S&H 3)  Let’s get busy planting ourselves in the understanding and demonstration of the Lord’s Prayer ~ the remainder of which is analyzed in the following sections.

Section 2:  Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be Done.
How much study with Jesus did the disciples or the other 70 which were appointed, undergo before becoming healers? (B5, B6)  And how much Primary Class Instruction in Christian Science is given before all graduates are expected to be healers?  Contrast this training with the years of study and practice required in traditional medicine.  “Jesus instructed his disciples whereby to heal the sick through Mind instead of matter.  He knew that the philosophy, Science, and proof of Christianity were in Truth, casting out all inharmony…the power of healing was not a supernatural gift to those learners, but the result of their cultivated spiritual understanding of the divine Science…” (S&H 5)  Healing has nothing to do with personality or accretion of material “facts.”  Healing has everything to do with yielding “…to a more spiritual idea of Deity…” (S&H 9)

Section 3:  Give Us Daily Bread.
“Give us day by day our daily bread.” (B7) Notice bread, basic necessities, are what’s requested and not extravagant wants.  Also key is “daily” versus a longer period of time ~ tomorrow, next week, month, year or lifetime.  And what happened when the Israelites tried to hoard the manna in the wilderness?  It spoiled. (Ex.16:20)  Do we stick with a job, relationship or anything we know is wrong and which may have “spoiled” because we’re attempting to hoard good and not trusting day-to-day that good will be provided in a way we haven’t outlined?

How can we receive this daily bread?  Jesus said, “Don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or if the clothes in your closet are in fashion…not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God’s giving.  People who don’t know God and the way He works fuss over these things…steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions.  You’ll find all your everyday concerns will be met…the Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself.” (B8; The Message)  On the wall of many Churches of Christ, Scientist is written Mrs. Eddy’s inspiration about daily bread, “Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need.” (S&H 11)

Section 4:  Forgive Us As We Forgive Others.
How many times should we forgive someone who has wronged us?  Three pardons were what most rabbis were teaching. (Dummelow p.687)  Peter was pretty generous in offering seven. And Jesus was off the charts responding “seventy times seven!” (B10)  What was his reasoning?  In the parable of the kingdom of heaven, the king (God) forgives a debtor (us) an enormous amount of debt (sins).  But what do we do after receiving that generous pardon?  Fly off the handle at someone else over some miniscule debt, a petty irritation.  Maybe they cut us off in traffic, or called us a name or kept us waiting, etc.  In our anger with them, we put them in debtor’s prison as the parable says.  Guess who’s really in the cell?  Yep, we are because our anger imprisons us not them!

How do we get out of debtor’s prison and remain free?  Forgiveness in the following ways:

“…prayer, coupled with a fervent habitual desire to know and do the will of God…” (S&H 14)

“…the test of all prayer…do we love our neighbor better because of this asking…do we pursue the old selfishness…? (S&H 15)

Section 5:  Temptation and Deliverance.
Temptation a.k.a. trials, come in many forms but can be boiled down to three categories ~ sin, sickness and death.  None of these have power said Mrs. Eddy, “The humble Nazarene overthrew the supposition that sin, sickness, and death have power.  He proved them powerless.” (S&H 18)  And when we “…cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.” (B12) 

But you might be feeling like these trials are overwhelming, coming one right after another and tempting you to give up.  What then?  “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.  You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors…Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate.  For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.” (B13; The Message)  This exalted understanding becomes life lived joyously from the standpoint of spiritual dominion instead of fearfully looking over one’s shoulder, waiting for the next calamity to occur.  “Let neither fear nor doubt overshadow your clear sense and calm trust, that the recognition of life harmonious – as Life eternally is – can destroy any painful sense of, or belief in, that which Life is not.” (S&H 22)

Section 6:  God Exalted.
The final line of the Lord’s Prayer is a modified verse from the Old Testament, I Chronicles 29:11 acknowledging God’s “…power, and the glory…thine is the kingdom O Lord…” (B14)

Intellectually we might know and truly understand God’s allness, but how can we experience that harmonious kingdom?

“…become as little children…” (B15; S&H 24) 

“The kingdom of God cometh not with observation…for behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” (B16; S&H 23)

Heal others. (B17; S&H 23)

Diligently nurture the qualities of faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and charity. (B18; S&H 26,27)    

Section Summary Benediction:
Perfection is here and now, not sometime in the future.  This truth cannot be seen with human reasoning but is realized through spiritual inspiration.  A humble messenger is required to deliver the universal message of our Father that Thy kingdom is already come and Thy healing will must be done.  Our daily bread is received as we keep our focus on God and see through the illusions of personality, place or thing.  To be truly free we must forgive others as He has forgiven us.  We are delivered from the temptation/trials of sin, sickness and death as we exalt God by yielding to childlike innocence, healing others and nurturing timeless qualities.

Caterpillars undergo a metamorphosis entering a chrysalis state thereby developing into beautiful butterflies.  Perhaps our chrysalis state is a shedding of our “adult” ways and means which reveals the kingdom within, allowing us to truly soar as children of God thereby living the Lord’s Prayer.

Researched Bible Guide, 561-776-5711 or e-mail

The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language by Eugene H. Peterson,                 

NavPress 800-366-7788, website

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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