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[Claim your Soul-filled individuality!  Don’t “go with the flow” of materiality.]
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

"Soul" for February 17, 2013

by Christie Hanzlik, C.S., Boulder, CO 
web address: www.christiecs.com
ccern@mac.com  720-331-9356

Soul brings color and originality to the universe.   We each reflect Soul in an individualized way.  Soul answers the question, “Who am I?” and “How do I stand out from the crowd?”  Our individual distinctiveness has nothing to do with our material flesh and blood.  As Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Soul is the substance, Life, and intelligence of man, which is individualized, but not in matter.”  (S5, 477)

Soul ensures that our individuality doesn’t get lost or absorbed into an amorphous group.  When we are not alert, however, many things may tempt us to succumb to “group think.”  For example, I’ve attended sports events in which people in the stands chanted in mean and cruel ways.  I’d like to think that most individuals in those groups would not yell vulgarities if sitting alone, but when they are in a group people tend to “go with the flow.”  “Group think” also happens in day-to-day social situations in which a whole group may be drinking and, again, individuals may feel pressured to “go with the flow” and abandon their sense of individual decision-making.  But “there is moral freedom in Soul” that empowers us to claim our individual rights. (SH, p. 58, after S28)

 

Each session at the last Thursday council fire, CedarS honors campers who don’t “go with the flow” of materiality by selecting those who distinguish themselves with Soul-filled individuality and excellent leadership qualities to go through a series of symbolic spiritual growth trials to become “torchbearers.”  At the Friday awards dinner, after successfully completing these trials, torchbearers past, present and future, are invited “individually and collectively” to take a pledge

           

• to stand for what is right even though it may not be the popular thing to do;

• to listen for God and obey and use His laws in all my thoughts and actions;

• to speak and act in a straightforward and Christ-like manner, without hypocrisy or malice, for this is the way of the [true Christian*].

             

This pledge is Bible-based and consistent with Christian Science.  It aligns well with various statements made by Mary Baker Eddy, including this one from the last section of this week’s lesson:  “Unselfish ambition, noble life-motives, and purity, —these constituents of thought, mingling, constitute individually and collectively true happiness, strength, and permanence.” (S28, 58)  As CedarS new Boys Camp Program Director in 1970, Warren Huff felt that CedarS torchbearer pledge came to him by “divine dictation.”  Then, and every year since, the pledge is taken at the conclusion of the spiritual growth trials mastered by torchbearer candidates to encourage the continued loving and living God’s ways when they go home. CedarS torchbearer pledge, which we invite all to join us in joyously living, is posted on our new website.  *[See Warren's P.S.]

CedarS torchbearer pledge complements the lesson on Soul because it reminds us to resist “group think” by listening for God, and by speaking and acting in a straightforward and Christ-like manner.  Soul governs our identity, maintains our individuality, and—like CedarS torchbearer pledge—protects us from “going with the flow” of mortality. 

 

The Golden Text of this week’s lesson explains in a most direct way that our purpose is to “. . . Let God be magnified,” —let Him be strong and mighty.  I like to think that we are a magnifying glass for God’s light.  As we are grateful and praise him (as described in the Responsive Reading), we become active witnesses who intensify His works…like a magnifying glass intensifying sunshine. 

 

Section 1: Magnify and Praise Him

Section one continues on the theme of magnifying and praising God.  Praising God does not mean that we look to matter for evidence of His work, but that as we see beauty, strength, and harmony around us, we know that this is a hint of God’s omnipotent beauty, strength, and harmony.  Mary Baker Eddy explains that Man—the perfect and spiritual idea of Man—“is the expression of Soul.  The Indians caught some glimpses of the underlying reality, when they called a certain beautiful lake ‘the smile of the great spirit’.”  (S5. 477) When I look at the Rocky Mountains near my home, I remember that although they are beautiful and strong, they are only a hint of the “underlying reality” of God/Soul’s full beauty and strength.

 

As we let go of a material view of things, we gain a deeper understanding of the “underlying reality.”  As Paul the Apostle explained, “So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord.  And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.”  (B2, NLT)

 

As we see God/Soul’s wonder and praise Him, we can’t help but to be “changed into his glorious image,” and experience ourselves as reflecting Soul effortlessly.  You are not a nameless face in a crowd because “All the varied expressions of God reflect health, holiness, immortality—infinite Life, Truth, and Love.” (S6)

 

Section 2:  I will strive “to stand for [my prosperity and health] even though it may not be the popular thing to do”

In the second section, we hear the promise that God/Soul makes us prosperous and healthy.   No matter what negative “group think” tries to tell us about ourselves, we can know that we are the expression of Soul, with perfect peace and health.  Mary Baker Eddy explains, “Soul, or Spirit, is God, unchangeable and eternal; and man coexists with and reflects Soul, God, for man is God’s image.” (S8, 120)  We don’t have to “go with the flow” of mortal thinking that suggests we have to suffer through a life filled with dramatic ups and downs because we reflect Soul, which is unchangeably good.

 

Instead of “going with the flow” of negative thinking, we can remember the first part of the torchbearer pledge that states, [I will strive] “to stand for what is right even though it may not be the popular thing to do.”

 

If we find ourselves starting to doubt that we are Soul’s reflection—doubting that we are prosperous and are healthy—we can gain strength to stand for what is right by pondering the words of Isaiah, who says that God willStrengthen the weak hands, and support the unsteady knees.  Say to those who are panicking:
’Be strong! Don’t fear!’” (B7, Isa. 35, CEB)  **[See Warren’s P.P.S. on how we strive to hourly apply this Bible citation at CedarS.] 

 

Section 3: I will strive “to listen for God and obey and use His laws in all my thoughts and actions.”

Some of us may feel like we’ve made too many mistakes to be accepted by God, and we may feel tempted to “go with the flow” of thinking negatively about ourselves.  But the third section of the lesson assures us that nothing we do can ever make us unholy or impure.  We are not given a limited amount of holiness and purity that drains away as we sin (sin = to do or think things that are un-Christ-like).  Instead, holiness and purity are always growing within us.  These qualities are getting richer and more abundant as we learn more about our relationship to God/Soul. 

 

We are not sinful mortals.  As Mary Baker Eddy states, “What, then, is the material personality which suffers, sins, and dies? It is not man, the image and likeness of God, but man’s counterfeit, the inverted likeness, the unlikeness called sin, sickness, and death.” (S13, 285)  Our true identity is a reflection of Soul, filled with growing holiness, purity, and innocence.  To experience our true identity, we can follow the second part of the pledge and strive “to listen for God and obey and use His laws in all [our] thoughts and actions.”

 

Paul the Apostle, writing to Christians in Rome, explained the benefits of listening to and obeying God and being free from un-Christ-like actions.  He wrote, “Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.  Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living.”  (B13, Romans 6:16, NLT)   In other words, once we accept Christ into our lives and stop acting in un-Christ-like ways, we are free to accept Soul’s glorious benefits. [To be released from holding on to un-Christ-like ways and limited views of yourself consider listening in on Tuesday at 1pm CST to a Sentinal Radio Chat with Susan Mack, C.S.B. called "Overcoming Obsessions."

 

 Put succinctly, Paul says to the Thessalonians (and us), “God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives.” (B14, 1 Thes. 4:7, NLT

 

Section 4: I will strive “to speak and act in a straightforward and Christ-like manner, without hypocrisy or malice, for this is the way of the [true Christian*].”

Soul, as a synonym for God, is omnipotent.  Soul is all-powerful.  Therefore, nothing can stop Soul from being expressed and nothing can interfere with our reflection of Soul.   In Isaiah, we read that because of the power of Soul, “Everyone who has eyes will be able to see the truth, 
and everyone who has ears will be able to hear it. Even the hotheads will be full of sense and understanding. Those who stammer will speak out plainly.” (B16, Isa. 32:2, NLT)  Even the hotheads will be able to hear God’s commands! 

 

The story in this section of Jesus healing the man who could not hear or talk reminds us how we too can “be open” to Soul’s constant inspiration and expression.  As told in Mark, Jesus brought the man away from the crowd—removed the clamor of mortal opinions—, and then, “Looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to the man, “Ephphatha!” (This means, “Be opened.”) Instantly the man was able to hear and to use his tongue so that he spoke clearly.”  (B18, Mark 7:32, NLT)

 

Each of us can be open.   We can be open to Christ’s promise and act in a Christ-like manner.   In fact, we cannot avoid it.  “Man is harmonious when governed by Soul.” (S18, 273)  The idea that each of us can be open to act in a Christ-like way reminds me of the third part of the torchbearer pledge: I will strive “to speak and act in a straightforward and Christ-like manner, without hypocrisy or malice, for this is the way of the [true Christian*].”

 

Section 5:  Death cannot stop Soul or extinguish the light of a “torchbearer.”

Soul is permanent and omni-active.   Soul cannot be stopped.   “Death” is nothing but the suggestion that goodness can end.  We know that all things good are governed by Soul, the only and omnipotent power, so we see clearly that goodness cannot be interrupted or stopped.  Death has no power over Soul since Soul cannot end.

 

In Psalms, we read this comforting verse: “Lord, you saved me from death. You stopped my eyes from crying;
you kept me from being defeated.  So I will walk with the Lord in the land of the living.”  (B19, Ps. 116:5, 8, 9, NLT)  Again, death has no power over Soul, nor does death have power over us as reflections of Soul.

 

The Christ light comforted the Psalmist, who shared the idea, “I will walk with the Lord in the land of the living.”  Writing over 2,000 years later, Mary Baker Eddy discovered this same Christ-truth, and wrote, “The immortality of Soul makes man immortal. If Life or Soul and its representative, man, unite for a period and then are separated as by a law of divorce to be brought together again at some uncertain future time and in a manner unknown, — and this is the general religious opinion of mankind, — we are left without a rational proof of immortality. But man cannot be separated for an instant from God, if man reflects God. Thus Science proves man’s existence to be intact.”  (S22, 306)

 

As we recognize that our expression of Soul is never interrupted and never ends, we become free from a fear of mortality.  Soul is all goodness expressed, and we are a necessary part of this omnipotent goodness.  Matter cannot disturb our joy, which is based on the Science of Soul.  Mary Baker Eddy makes this declaration, “Undisturbed amid the jarring testimony of the material senses, Science, still enthroned, is unfolding
to mortals the immutable, harmonious, divine Principle, — is unfolding Life and the universe, ever present and eternal.  (S22, 306)

 

Our immortality and perfection is not just a feel-good idea.  This is the fact of being.  As Mary Baker Eddy explains…our perfection and immortality are true and we can claim them now.  She writes, “The great spiritual fact must be brought out that man is, not shall be, perfect and immortal.” (S25, 428)

Section 6:  We all inevitably discover our Soul-filled identity and serve as torchbearers

It is inevitable that we all express and reflect Soul.  This week’s lesson teaches us that neither matter, the material senses, nor death can stop Soul from being expressed.  Everyone must inevitably learn of his or her Soul-filled identity.  Mary Baker Eddy writes,  “Truth will at length compel us all to exchange the pleasures and pains of sense for the joys of Soul.”  (S29, 390)  The word “compel” suggests that we cannot help but to experience the joys of Soul…it is inevitable that we experience Soul’s full expression.  As Mary Baker Eddy explains, “Science inevitably lifts one’s being higher in the scale of harmony and happiness.” (S27, 60)

 

We each “let God be magnified,” as we praise Him and witness His good works.  And when we strive to do what it is right even though it may not be the popular thing to do, listen for God to direct all our thoughts and actions, and speak and act in a Christ-like and forthright manner, we find that we express our true individuality and claim our dominion over sin, disease, and death.* 

 

It is inevitable that you express Soul and enjoy the blessings that come from Soul-filled individuality.  As you strive to look to God/Soul in all of your actions, “The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. 
You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.

Then the Lord will be your delight.” (B23, Isa 58:11-14, NLT)


*[Warren’s P.S.: Besides finding CedarS Torchbearers pledge  posted on our new website., we hope you will have fun freely exploring the gift of CedarS cutting-edge website with its new features that cherish 50+ years of cabin and activity photos and 13 years of Mets and Practitioner talks and their multilingual, indexed and searchable content.]

**[Warren’s P.P.S..: The whole chapter of Isaiah 35 was what CedarS Founder Ruth Huff opened the Bible to “at random” in response to her question “God, what is your purpose for your CedarS Camps?”  How to hourly apply Isaiah 35 remains a backbone of CedarS Counselor-in-Training program each summer.]

[The application ideas above are from a Christian Science Practitioner who has served as a Resident Practitioner at CedarS Camps. They are provided primarily to help CedarS campers and staff (as well as friends) see and daily demonstrate the great value of study and application of the Christian Science Bible lessons throughout the year, not just at camp!  YOU CAN ALSO SIGN UP for weekly emails from past CedarS staff of possible ways to share Bible Lesson applications with older, as well as younger, Sunday School classes by clicking the "Subscribe Now" button (lower left) at http://www.cedarscamps.org/metaphysical/

Warren Huff, CedarS Director & editor of these notes & its bracketed, italic additions.]

[While our herd still needs your "adoptive" support to be fully fed, trained and ready for camp, our focus now goes to filling camp with worthy campers!  Our main funding goals for early 2013 are raising funds for campership applicants and for operations support.  If you'd rather not give online or over the phone, thank you for mailing your checks to:

CedarS Camps Office,
1314 Parkview Valley Dr.,
Manchester, MO 63011

Or for calling us at
636-394-6162 to give a monthly pledge or a single, credit or debit card gift.]

[Additional Director's Note: You can sign up to have these application ideas emailed to you free — by Monday each week in English; or by each Wednesday you can get a FREE TRANSLATION: in German, thanks to Helga and Manfred; or in Spanish, thanks to a team of Ana, Erick, Claudia and Patricio.  A voluntary French translation by Pascal or Denise cannot be guaranteed due to their busy schedules. An "official" version of the weekly Portuguese translation is now available for CedarS Mets, thanks to helpers of Orlando Trentini in Brazil.  Go to http://www.cedarscamps.org/ and click "Newsletters" to sign-up for the Portuguese version.  This sharing is the latest in an ongoing, 12-year series of CedarS Bible Lesson "Mets" (Metaphysical application ideas) contributed weekly by a rotation of CedarS Resident Practitioners and occasionally by other metaphysicians.  (Ask and look for "Possible Sunday School Topics "and "Possible Younger Class Lessons" in subsequent emails.) These weekly offerings are intended to encourage further study and application of ideas in the lesson and to invigorate Sunday School participation by students and by the budding teachers on our staff. Originally sent JUST to my Sunday School students and 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, application and inspiration they had felt at camp, CedarS lesson "mets "and Sunday School ideas are in no way meant to be definitive or conclusive or in any way a substitute for daily study of the lesson. The thoughts presented are the inspiration of the moment and are offered to give a bit more dimension and background as well as new angles (and angels) on the daily applicability of some of the ideas and passages being studied. The weekly Bible Lessons are copyrighted by the Christian Science Publishing Society and are printed in the Christian Science Quarterly as available at Christian Science Reading Rooms or online at eBibleLesson.com or myBibleLesson.com. The citations referenced (i.e.B-1 and S-28) from this week's Bible Lesson in the "Met" (Metaphysical application ideas) are taken from the Bible (B-1 thru B-24) and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy (S-1 thru S-30). The Bible and Science and Health are the ordained pastor of the Churches of Christ, Scientist. The Bible Lesson is the sermon read in Christian Science church services throughout the world. 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 the 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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