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Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson for 5-13-07

Dan Carnesciali, C.S. of St.  Louis, MO

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 (as well as friends) see and demonstrate the great value of daily study of the Christian Science Bible lessons year-round, not just at camp!     You can sign up free to have these mets emailed to you in English by Monday or in French or Spanish by Wednesday: CHECK  FOR A FREE TRANSLATION of this weekly “met” offered in FRENCH by Pascal Bujard of Switzerland AND NOW in SPANISH by Ana Arcioni of Spain. 

Golden Text:

Human wisdom comes up short because of its limited basis when compared with infinite Mind.   God’s wisdom blesses one and all.  The Golden Text is from a letter written to the young Christian church at Corinth that was struggling with schisms between the converts who came from diverse cultural and ethnic groups.  This passage addresses the limited concept of wisdom that the church members at Corinth had.   Corinth was a port city, a pretty rough place.  It was an unlikely place to start a church, but Paul introduced them to Christianity and stayed with them until the church was up and running.  Later, he received reports that the church members were struggling to work together, struggling with what it meant to follow Christ, with who could join the church, etc.  Some of them embraced following Christ and wanted to continue exploring sexual immorality too.   Others were over concerned with diet.   In response, Paul wrote epistles [letters] to encourage, guide, and chastise them.

Responsive Reading:

Paul converted many people to Christianity.   Here he clarifies that the success of his preaching was not a special ability, not a special gift of worldly wisdom – it was God’s message.   He responded to God’s calling.  There are two schools of thought on wisdom.   One is that you acquire it through experience (learning from mistakes), and the other is you listen for and reflect God’s wisdom.   That Mind of Christ is speaking to you when you first wake up.   Listen to Mind, thank God for His angelic agenda and then bounce out of bed to meet the day.

Section I – Original Sin

Have you ever read the “Key to the Scriptures” section of Science and Health for the fun of it?    It is quite good.   If you have had trouble making sense of the differences between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2, you will find the Key to the Scriptures chapter on Genesis helpful.  In this chapter Mary Baker Eddy points out that different authors apparently wrote Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 at different times. (S5)   More significantly, Genesis 1 is the true spiritual account of the origin of man and the universe and Genesis 2 is an allegorical account of creation.  An allegory is a story that uses symbols to teach a deeper meaning.   “Spiritually followed, the book of Genesis is the history of the untrue image of God, named sinful mortal.” (S4)  The point of the Adam creation story is to point us to the “proper reflection of God and spiritual actuality of man, as given in the first chapter of Genesis.” (S4) 

The Psalmist said, “Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.” (B3)   Perfect means complete, entirely made, finished, not defective, lacking nothing.   (Student’s Reference Dictionary)  “The standard of perfection was originally God and man.” (S1)  The definition of Adam in the Glossary in S&H includes “the belief in ‘original sin.'”  Original sin is a religious misconception – it holds that man was good, but inclined to sin.  When Adam and Eve misbehaved and took a bite of the forbidden fruit, Adam fell from grace, and all men from then on are to be regarded as sinners.   Bible Lesson sermons on “Adam and Fallen Man” rebuke that false teaching, exposing the illegitimacy of the concept that anyone is “born into sin.”   (If God’s child, His likeness were a sinner, what would that make God?)   In fact, “all that is made is the work of God, and all is good.”  (S2) 

Section II – One Bad Apple

Christian Science presents the inspired Word of the Bible.   It “separates error from truth and breathes through the sacred pages the spiritual sense of life, substance, and intelligence.   In this Science, we discover man in the image and likeness of God.”  (S12)  Remember (from camp and a few weeks back) to daily use your D.I.A.L. (Divine Image And Likeness) in your spiritual identification work.

In the story, a talking snake, “Sir Pent,” approaches Eve and offers her a very special apple.   She never inquires what company “Sir Pent” represents.   She should have.  He works for “Fallen Man Enterprises,” whose slogan is “You know you want it.” (from which we have to Re-Pent, or think again from God’s perspective)  “Sir Pent” slickly generates some interest in his beautiful, desirable apple.   Eve does not read the label and does not recognize the apple for what it was – self-destructive evil.    Supposedly, the apple had the power to open thought to a secret – that God created evil and that there is a benefit to knowing evil.  That’s a rotten apple.  She assumed it must be good because the snake made it like God created it.   Eve should have considered the source.  Common wisdom (the wisdom of the world) says that God made everything, and since there is good and evil, God made them both.   God is therefore responsible for evil.   That does not make a bit of sense, does it?    God would set up creation only to have it dissolve into chaos.   Why would infinitely wise God fail to see this?    Because evil is a myth.   In the end, Eve gullibly decides to take a bite, symbolizing mortal man’s inclination toward evil.

Last fall, my Sunday School class acted out the story of Eve being tempted to eat the apple while underneath a huge tree.   This helped us visualize the basic error behind “your eyes shall be opened … ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”   That implies that God knows good and evil, that He made both good and evil, and that he is therefore responsible for setting the stage for the eventual “fall of man.”   Evil is the belief that something exists outside of, or separate from, God’s allness.   The forbidden fruit, the tree of good and evil, and evil itself are myths.   Truth will ultimately prove this.   In reality, evil has no origin.   Jesus labeled evil “a liar and the father of it.”   Its existence has to be therefore suppositious.   Suppositious is something “fraudulently substituted or pretended; not genuine; hypothetical.”   ( Unabridged)

Section III – Consider the Source

Human life seems to be a combination of good and evil, matter and spirit, matter and intelligence.   As materiality drops away, spirituality becomes apparent.  At the appointed time, God sent His Son, Jesus, to “save us from our bondage in sin under the Law, and introduce us into full sonship to God … to put [us] in possession of full liberty and all the rights of the sons of God.”  (B10) /(Dummelow) In the passage from Matthew 4, Jesus is tempted. (B11)   To tempt means to “entice to something wrong by presenting arguments that are plausible or convincing.”  (Student’s Reference Dictionary)  Jesus was not tempted to do something immoral; he was tempted to set aside his complete obedience to the will and purpose of God.  (Interpreter’s Bible Commentary)  Notice how the devil quotes scripture and asks what appear to be plausible questions.   If temptation seems plausible it is good to consider the source.   According to S&H, devil is not an evil force, but a lie, a sense of the reality of evil, which tempts one in a personal way.  The word devil means literally ‘accuser’ or ‘slanderer’ (liar).  

It’s interesting that these temptations to doubt take place in the wilderness that Mrs. Eddy defines in part in the Glossary as: “Loneliness; doubt; darkness.” (S&H 597:16)   (Note that she and Jesus put a FULL STOP — period — to all three of these!)  Three times the devil (Prosecuting Attorney) raises the doubt “IF you are the Son of God.”  Sound familiar?  Doesn’t that sound similar to the serpent tempting Eve with God’s own words in Genesis?   Have you ever been in a “wilderness” tempted by “IF” statements?   “If I were a good enough Christian Scientist, I could heal this.”   “If I had enough money, enough beauty, enough intelligence …”    “If I am the child of God, why am I sick?”   Each time you hear an “if” statement, ask, “Who said that?”

How did Jesus avoid getting sidetracked by doubts and negativity?   First, he recognized that the source of these temptations.  Second, he perceived God-good right where evil seemed to be.  He stayed with God and refused to yield any ground to negativity.  It is not whether you are tempted that counts.   It is how you handle the temptation.  When the illusion of sickness or sin tempts you, cling steadfastly to God and His idea.  Allow nothing but His likeness to abide in your thought.”  (S&H 494:14-16)  (Then, you too will redeem your wilderness experiences and rejoice in the spiritual part of the definition on “wilderness: … Spontaneity of thought and idea; the vestibule in which a material sense of things disappears, and spiritual sense unfolds the great facts of existence.”  — S&H 597:16)

Section IV  – Guard the Door of Thought

As a fluttering bird, a curse never goes anywhere – it never comes to rest on you.   (Paraphrase of B13)

“The LORD Most High is your fortress.  Run to him for safety, and no terrible disasters will strike you or your home.”   (Ps 91:9-10 Contemporary English Version)

“Yes, because God’s your refuge, the High God your very own home, evil can’t get close to you, harm can’t get through the door.”  (Ps 91:9-10 The Message)

Guard the door of thought.   Be alert to the claim that you have already let evil into your consciousness and now you have to undo it.   Kick that belief to the curb.   “We should master fear, instead of cultivating it.”   (S&H p. 197:16)  “Perform your office as porter [at the door of thought] and shut out … unhealthy thoughts and fears.”   (S&H 392:24-32)  What’s the alternative, really?    The alternative is submission to error, which brings suffering, not progress.

Evil influence may appear as hopelessness, incurability, irritability, bad luck, etc.   We have to be alert that we do not accept that life has patterns of good and of not good.   (Divine) “Life, Truth and Love, the pattern make.”   (Christian Science Hymnal, Hymn 51:2)  Evil claims that it can hitch a ride with good, that good can result in evil, or doing good can expose you to evil.   If you feel like you are suffering, consider your true (D.I.A.L.) identity as a child of God.   Children of God are truly exempt from evil.  I admit that you have to take your stand to prove this, but God is standing with you, holding you up.  “Truth has but one reply to all error, – to sin, sickness, and death: ‘dust [nothingness] thou art, and unto dust [nothingness] shalt thou return.'” (S23)  “… in Adam all, die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”  (B16)

Camp Director’s Note:
The above sharing is the latest in a 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 citations referenced (i.e.  B1 and S28) from this week’s Bible Lesson in the “met” (metaphysical application ideas) are taken from the King James Version of the Bible (B1-24) and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. (S1-30) 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 these ideas helpful in your daily spiritual journey, in your deeper digging in the books and in closer bonding with your Comforter and Pastor.  Spirituality is your innate estate that connects you moment by moment with God. (See S&H 258:30) Christ is the gift of light that Jesus gave. This Christ light of spiritual understanding comes with and reveals infinite blessings. So, have fun unwrapping and cherishing your very special, spiritual gift(s)!   Then, wherever you are, share them with all as big blessings that make the Infinite difference!
Warren Huff, Camp Director (636) 394-6162
The weekly Metaphysical Newsletter is provided at no charge to the 1,200 campers and staff blessed each summer at CedarS, as well as to CedarS alumni, families and friends who have requested it.   However, current and planned gifts are a big help and are greatly appreciated in defraying the costs of running this service and of providing needed camperships, programs and operations support.  Click  for more about how you can provide support online or to get information or discuss privately how to make a special gift to help perpetuate CedarS work.
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A new, visually-oriented and very helpful resource for study of the weekly Bible Lesson is being produced by The Christian Science Publishing Society and can be found at:     What a great auxiliary to lesson study– maybe even reading beyond citation markers using the handsome new student books now sold in Reading Rooms!      MyBibleLesson contains word definitions, Bible background, timelines and translations, plus many healing ideas to use.     Why not check out this effort to help bring to life each beloved Bible lesson in order to bless the youthful thinker and Sunday School student (and teacher) in us all!

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