Thank you for your loving support this Giving Tuesday!

Thanksgiving BONUS! Make “radiant room” for the most Christ-filled holidays yet for you & “all whom your thoughts rest upon” (My. 210:9)
Metaphysical application ideas for The Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on:

“THANKSGIVING”
for November 24, 2022 (and EVERYDAY!)

shared by Steve Creighton, CS,
stevecreightoncs@gmail.com – 805-729-2468

(Click here & again, after scrolling down, on the LISTEN arrow in the In online version to HEAR Steve read his Met.)


Happy Thanksgiving, dear CedarS family and friends!

In many Christian churches, there are two special holidays that include additional or unique services-Christmas and Easter. Many congregants may only attend at these times of year, and are affectionately known as “Chreasters”. In the Christian Science faith, there are also two additional or unique services. The first-the Communion Service-happens twice a year in conjunction with the weekly Bible lesson on Sacrament. The other service is the Thanksgiving service. What a joy to be with each of you this Thanksgiving! Perhaps you know of someone who only attends Christian Science services on Thanksgiving. Perhaps you have not been to a service in weeks or months and are hungering and thirsting for this feast of spiritual leaven.

What might you be hungering and thirsting for? If you were to prepare a meal for friends, families, and even strangers that may only share your table once a year, what kind of effort might you put forth? How much time, energy, and prayer would you give to preparing your home for the breaking of bread on this special occasion? Whether you are hosting or guesting, preparations are made. Similarly, what kind of preparations can be made in support of this service and lesson-this day of thanks, of deep and heartfelt gratitude? Consider taking a moment to reflect on your desire for Thanksgiving.
How might you prepare your heart for this service?
What blessings can you expect?
What healings are you hungering and thirsting for?

The Golden Text from the NIV is from one of the most familiar passages in the Bible-Psalms 23. We get just a taste of what’s to come“…my cup overflows.” I love the use of the present tense here. David does not write, “my cup overflowed” or “my cup will overflow”. Instead, he asserts that his cup is currently overflowing. It’s happening.

So, let’s assume that our cups are all overflowing. One important question to consider, “well, what exactly is in my cup?” And if it is indeed overflowing, “what am I spilling or sharing with others?” We hope and pray that our cup is filled with goodness, purity, patience, love, kindness, health, abundance, gratitude, blessings, and the list goes on.

What if my cup, instead, is filled with doubt, fear, loneliness, lack, discouragement, impatience, or family discord? Thank you, God, for filling up my cup. Because God is the source of all, we can trust and know and understand that no matter what residuals would seem to abide in our cup, God is filling our cup with divine Love and all of its blessings and goodness that wash away any impurities.

The feast continues in the Responsive Reading from Malachi and Luke. Malachi, the prophet, invites those around him who have not been honoring God and God’s house to fill up the storehouse for God. In order to understand the fullness of God’s blessings, we have to honor and worship God. One simple metaphor that comes to mind—you can’t put fresh groceries into a refrigerator that is already full. And unless you use the food inside the fridge to prepare meals for yourself and others, this food lingers and goes bad. God’s blessings are meant to be shared. In Luke’s gospel, we read passages that are very similar to the more commonly read version of the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew 5-7. “Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.” In other words, empty out your fridges—share your food, share your blessings, nourish yourself and others with God’s blessings, and your fridge, or consciousness, will be full of the kingdom of God. “Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled.” I envision a hungry cheetah using all of its skills, instincts, and gifts to take down its prey when it is hungry. It explodes with agility, strength, and focus to ensure that its hungry belly is filled.

Again, what is your belly hungering and thirsting for? It’s not just stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie. What level of focus are you willing to bring to ensure that your hunger is satiated? Verses 30-36 from Luke 6 are summarized beautifully in verse 36. The King James Version reads, “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” The Common English Bible says it this way, “: “…for he is kind to ungrateful and wicked people.”  Today is the day to be kind to all humanity just as God is. God holds no grudges. God is not keeping track of past sins. The light of God shines on all without reservation, unconditionally.


SECTION 1 – GOD’S UNIVERSE— FULL & COMPLETE

In Zephaniah, we are told that God is in our midst and He is mighty (citation B1, Zeph. 3:17). It may be easier to breeze right on by that statement. Instead, ponder what your day and each moment might be like if you felt the mightiness of God in your midst throughout? God is present and mighty. There is nothing too large for God or too small.

I was able to experience God’s mightiness years ago. While in the middle of a race at the state track meet in high school, I felt very fatigued and drifted back from the lead runners. In the middle of the last turn, God’s angel message came to me very strongly, “I didn’t bring you here to be mediocre.” It wasn’t my human ability that propelled me forward. It was the mightiness of God. In the last 100 meters or so, I went from 9th place to 1st place. Boy, did I have fun giving gratitude to God at the end of that race. I was in awe at the power of God’s presence.

In II Chronicles 29:10-14 (cit. B2), David shares a blessing to the entire assembly. Just prior to the citation, David pledges his riches to the building of God’s temple. David knows that “riches and honor” come from God. For David, building a temple to honor God is a natural way to show his expression of thanks and reverence for God’s goodness. David’s pledge inspires others to also give their treasure to God’s temple. Think of the impact any gift or expression of thanks can have. One drop of gratitude can have huge ripple effects. David’s example and ensuing expression of thanks reminds me of the verse, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” from Matthew 6:21. David’s cup certainly is overflowing with gratitude.

Bad thoughts or negative thinking can sneak in quickly if we aren’t careful. They would try to turn a beautiful moment, experience, or even the entire day into something rotten with a single suggestive thought. Yet, if a flower can shine forth “might, immortality, and goodness” (cit. S3, 518:19), then all spiritual ideas can do the same. A number of years ago, I ran a marathon. With about 8 miles to go, my body felt like stopping. Having run one prior, I wasn’t unfamiliar with these symptoms, yet they seemed more persistent. My prayers during in the moment encouraged me to turn attention away from self and cheer on the other runners. With each runner that I saw, I focused on supporting them, giving them words of encouragement. As I recognized and witnessed their true selfhood, I was able to see the same good in me. I finished the marathon with joy and a sense of freedom.

As citations 4 and 5 in Science & Health declare, “God is Love.” Mary Baker Eddy doesn’t say that God is sometimes Love, or that God shows up to Love only certain ideas. God is Love for all of Her children. When I pause and consider all of God’s infinite blessings that are present and moving in my life, any thoughts of lack, disappointment, or discouragement vanish.

God’s promise for me and all of Her children is permanent, constant, enduring. It is only an imperfect outlook that would try to claim otherwise. Further down page 2 of citation S5, Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Shall we plead for more at the open fount, which is pouring forth more than we accept?”

Am I focused on the good going on in my experience, the love that is being expressed, the abundance coming from God’s open fountain; or, have I been tricked into focusing on lack—lack of health, lack of wealth, lack of purpose, lack of joy, lack of connection—essentially closing my eyes to the good that is all around me? Matter will always argue on the side of lack or imperfection. The light of Spirit, of God, declares the fullness and perfection of its creation. God’s idea doesn’t need to work to get more matter or better matter. God’s idea is already complete, lacking nothing.


SECTION 2—NO MATTER WHAT

God’s promises continue in Section 2. Paul tells the Corinthians in his second letter that “all things are for your sakes.” (cit. B4, II Cor. 4:15) Earlier in chapter 4, Paul references times when things feel uncomfortable, but God is present. In the 23rd Psalm, David writes, “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.” (cit. B5, Ps 23:2) A few years ago, a friend of mine shared a YouTube video of Ray Vander Laan, Bible scholar, explaining what green pastures look like (see video here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2x8MwiTs0hM)

In the video, Ray talks about the idea that God gives us what we need every day. He doesn’t plop us in a field of abundant alfalfa where we never have to move, where we can lie on our couch and all we need just comes to our door like Amazon delivery. Just as the children of Israel were given their daily manna in the wilderness, we too, are given exactly what we need each moment.

One additional idea that I’ll share comes from the 5th verse, “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.” For years, I read that verse as if God might give me a break as I battle my so-called enemies, that He would provide a respite during battle so that I could be refreshed and filled up. Over the past few years, this verse has taken on a different meaning for me. Now, I believe that God is preparing a table for me so that I can sit down and break bread with my “enemies”— the people that I may disagree with or may not be getting along with.

As referenced in the Responsive Readings, we must do good to our enemies. This includes breaking bread together, loving our enemies in thought, word, and deed. A couple of years ago, a couple that I was in a leasing agreement with broke their part of the agreement and stopped communicating. After months of little progress, I pursued legal action. Months went by without resolution. I turned to the Bible and Mary Baker Eddy’s writings. I was struck by what Jesus instructs us to do with our enemies. Additionally, I read Henry Drummond’s book The Greatest Thing in the World, written about I Corinthians 13.

Through deep prayer and listening, I was led to drop the legal suit and reach out to the couple. We were able to amicably listen to one another and come up with a solution. While not all material possessions were restored, I deeply trust that God is ever at work. I can let go of the human outcome knowing and understanding that God is governing my life as well as the lives of this couple. Afterall, “Pilgrim on earth, thy home is heaven; stranger, thou art the guest of God.” (cit. S12, 254:31) This is true for all of God’s sons and daughters. At times, we might feel like pilgrims, and at others like strangers. No matter what, we are at home with God, welcome at His table.


SECTION 3—TRUST GOD WITH YOUR DESIRES

Rejoice in God always—in all ways and at all times (cit. B7, Phil 4:4). Regardless of what is going on around you, rejoice in God— declare and bear witness to the Truth. Psalms 62:8 encourages us to “pour out (y)our heart before him:” (cit. B8, Ps 62:8) When you pour out your heart to someone-a friend, family member, or stranger, this action doesn’t include holding back.

It’s difficult to pour out only a part of your heart. Go all in. Don’t hold anything back with God. It’s often through our moments of deepest honesty and sincerity that revelation strikes and healing follows; God’s angel messages come productively to all, just as the light pours through the leaves of a forest illumining into view the best way and next steps to take.

In I Chronicles 4:10 (cit. B9), Jabez pours out his prayer asking God for the following things: God’s blessing, enlarging his coast (his ministry or his ability to bless others through God), that God’s hand stays with him, and that God will keep him from evil— pain, suffering, temptation, apathy, stagnation—so that these evil things will not disrupt Jabez’s good work. There is plenty of heartfelt sincerity and total surrender on Jabez’s part. He does not include any caveats in his prayer. Jabez does not tell God how he wants his coast to be enlarged or how he wants to be protected from evil. All human will is removed. The result— “God granted him that which he requested.” When you take your next, ever-present opportunity to pray, how might you word your own prayer to God? When we ask God for help, is there an earnest expectation that God will answer our requests?

The next passage from Malachi repeats what is in the Responsive Readings and adds a couple of verses. Again, God asks through His prophet that we “bring all the tithes into the storehouse.” (cit. B10, Mal 3:10) Man must demonstrate his love for God by using the good he has already been given. Don’t let your best food go to waste in your fridge. Utilize it. Share it. Be grateful for it. One slogan I learned through my time running at Principia was, “The hole through which you give is the hole through which you receive.” When you give of the blessings in your fridge, you make room for more fresh blessings, more daily bread, and more inspiration. If I truly trust God with my desires, I cannot at the same time believe that God is going to stop meeting my needs tomorrow, that somehow His blessings are limited or have run out. Science and Health promises “peace to the struggling hearts”, “help in trouble”, direction, God’s blessing. (cits. S13, S14, S15) Yes! ––there are tremendous, tangible (& intangible) benefits as a result of our prayers! Trust God wholeheartedly with your desires.


SECTION 4— FOLLOW JESUS

In order to follow Jesus, we must sincerely seek to learn about his ministry. According to Mark’s gospel, Jesus, “came out, saw much people”, “was moved with compassion”, “began to teach them many things” so that “they did all eat, and were filled”. (cit. B12, Mark 6:34, 42, 56) As a result of Jesus’s presence, “as many as touched him were made whole.” Jesus consistently turned to God, trusting God. After entering into his own closet for prayer, he came out, and he connected with the members of his community. He saw people. This brief phrase reminds me of Mary Baker Eddy’s comment that begins, “Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals.” (S&H 476:32).

For starters, we have to be present in our community and work to see each member through the eyes of God—as a perfect, spiritual ideas. Again, in Science & Health, Eddy writes, “If we would open their prison doors for the sick, we must first learn to bind up the broken-hearted.” (366:30-31). When I encounter an enemy—or anyone that seems to have their thought filled with strife, or one who is struggling, or one who has done some wrong, it is often hard to begin with compassion. When I am able to do this, a connection is made. I am not accepting any belief of sin for myself or this individual. Instead, I am doing my best to see the “perfect man”.

When I feel seen and understood by others, I am more likely to ask for help. Then, Jesus teaches in order that each idea is filled. It is this reception of the Word of God, of the Christ, that fills each idea of God, restoring her soul, making him whole. As Mary Baker Eddy encourages each of us, “All must sooner or later plant themselves in Christ, the true idea of God.” (cit. S21, 54:8) On the one hand, why wouldn’t we want to experience more of God’s blessings sooner? Well, sometimes for me, it is my attachment to old beliefs that would argue that I am plenty comfortable where I am, that I’m not ready to relinquish my love of the physical senses. And yet, elsewhere Eddy writes, “…it is the duty and privilege of every child, man, and woman, — to follow in some degree the example of the Master by the demonstration of Truth and Life, of health and holiness.” (cit. S24, 37:22-25). This is not only possible, it is our duty and privilege to do. In what ways will you choose to follow the example of Jesus Christ today?


SECTION 5 — “DO RIGHT AND FEAR NOT.”

I love how Section 5 begins with the promise that God always causes us to triumph in Christ (cit. B14, II Cor 2:14). Whether you are at the beginning, middle, or end of working through a challenge, consider giving thanks unto God trusting and understanding that victory is promised. The battle has already been fought. Truth has already won, been proven. In Luke, Jesus reminds us “Give, and it shall be given unto you;” (cit. B15, Luke 6:38).

I can almost hear Jesus saying, “give, give, and give some more. Do not be afraid. Do not fear lack.” There is a principle of divine metaphysics, of life, that says that when one is able to give without being afraid, one’s life remains (and has always been) full of God’s blessings. If we are to give “thanks unto thee (God) for ever” (cit. B16, Ps 30:12), we are recognizing and demonstrating that our source, God, is in fact infinite. God’s blessings will never run out.

Perhaps today, you are a “simple seeker…athirst in the desert…waiting and watching for rest and drink”. Perhaps today, you are in a position to “give a cup of cold water in Christ’s name” (cit. S26, 570:14-18). Either way, you are rightly positioned to bless and be blessed. You get to practice. Are you in a position to receive that cup of cold water today? Are you looking for it, seeking it out? Are you in a position to give that cup of cold water?  Then there must be someone who is thirsty who needs your cold water. These are all parts of God’s infinite blessings.

Ruth Huff, the founder of CedarS Camps, shared a small phrase with me and the staff that she found helpful in her practice throughout the years: Do Right & Fear Not. From what I recall, Ruth explained that these words were on a favorite plaque that Mary Baker Eddy would display prominently as she moved from home to home. To me, the passage in Science & Health that says, “Give them a cup of cold water in Christ’s name, and never fear the consequences” is reminiscent of this phrase. Do right (give) and fear not (be unafraid, courageous). Let this spirit of giving thanks in all that we do throughout the coming weeks, move and inspire us with freedom and joy to make this a most Christ-filled-yet holiday season — not only for you, but also for “all whom your thoughts rest upon” (Miscellany 210:9)

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