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[BONUS: Focus on different aspects of gratitude–there is so much to be grateful for!]
Metaphysical Application Ideas on the Christian Science Bible Lesson for

Thanksgiving
Thursday, November 28, 2019

Prepared by Jared Eggers of St. Louis, MO [jaredeggers@gmail.com]

[Warren: Jared’s given at CedarS in almost every capacity since 1990, including contributing six Thanksgiving Mets for us!
fHe hopes to return to CedarS in 2020 as a Christian Science Practitioner for Ski Camp! Congratulations and many thanks, Jared!]

Each year, amidst our plans for meals and sharing gratitude with family and friends, we get the special opportunity to study a Bible Lesson all about Thanksgiving. It is interesting that the only special services that Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, set up for church of Christ Scientist are Sacrament and Thanksgiving. One might infer from this that two ideas of great importance in the practice of Christian Science is purification through the destruction of sin, and gratitude. It is a privilege each year to take the time to focus on different aspects of gratitude, because there is so much to be grateful for.

This year the Golden Text focuses our study on gratitude to God for his power, authority and government. With so many questioning the effectiveness, stability and morality of human governments all around the world today we can be thankful when we see that God is truly in control, governing and guiding all. Then, the Responsive Reading shares the bountiful blessings that come from a world governed by divine Love. The hungry are fed, the oppressed receive justice, man is healed, needs are met with abundance and so many other good results.

Section 1: Praise God in word and in deed.

The first section jumps right in with praising God who is the “King of all the earth” (B2). We are counseled not to rely on mortal means for government such as human wisdom, human strength or riches, but look to God’s government (B3). So far, we have talked about God as an executive and judicial branch of the government, but in citation B5 we see him as also the legislative branch giving mankind the law of Truth that will uplift from the mortal. In the Old Testament Word came in the form of the law of Moses a law which will protect His people from evil and save them from destruction.

In citation B5 we have Ezra preaching from the law of Moses (B5). This preaching comes when the children of Israel have returned to Jerusalem from the Babylonian exile and he is reading it and explaining it so all can understand. Just before and during the exile many Jews strayed from the laws of their faith and mixed those laws with other religious rites and practices from the surrounding regions. Ezra is trying to help the Jews return to their faith and a stricter practice of their laws. Many of the Jews that returned to Jerusalem were poor as they tried to farm neglected lands and had steep taxes to pay. Ezra instructs them to “eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared.” (Neh. 8:10) In other words, enjoy the plenty that you might have, but do not forget those in need.

This section also foreshadows the New Testament and what is coming later in the Bible lesson. Many Jews followed the laws of Moses from a human standpoint, but citation B4 from Hebrews talks about the law that goes beyond human obedience (which can be followed or not according to human will) to a law that is a part of each individual’s being. In the New Testament the inspired word of God, or Christ, which is a natural part of everyone’s being and it corrects all the claims of lack or imperfection in mortal mind.

How do we know, obey and follow God’s law? We get to know God better. Citations S1, S2 and S3 all reference knowing God. Not just knowing about God but everyone possessing a deep understanding of God, and this understanding will bring about such an abundance of good that we can be grateful for what we have already and expect even more (S4).

One great way to show our gratitude is caring for others (S5 and S6). Helping the poor certainly is not limited to helping those who seem to lack monetary means, but also those that are poor in friendship, or poor in faith, etc. We should always look to handle any sense of lack with the abundance of divine Love’s supply.

Section 2: God is the only leader and power

Do not trust in human power, but trust in God’s leadership and governing (B6, B6 and B8), because with God governing then we are led to a life of “peace…godliness and honesty.” (B9). Why? Because all men will be “saved, and come unto the knowledge of the truth. For these is one God…”

When will man “come unto the knowledge of the truth”? When we have “prayer, coupled with a fervent habitual desire to know and do the will of God” says Mary Baker Eddy (S8). God’s perfect man is governed by divine Love, man cannot govern man in truth (S10), and we can see this divine government here and now through the action of the Christ, or the “divine ‘powers that be’”. (S12 and S13)

Section 3: The healing power of the Christ (Truth) proves that God is all power

How can we see and prove that the Christ is the highest law that not only should be followed, but must be followed? We can see and prove it through healing. The Lord is good to all, will make his power known to all and will heal all (B13). We see this abundantly through the works of Jesus Christ.

In citation B15 we see Jesus interrupting a funeral procession. (See Ken Cooper video link at https://youtu.be/A3qsKDIzBVE and pdf Downloads in the online version.) Burials took place outside of the city and Jesus saw this procession as they were exiting the city. The woman he saw was a widow and now her only son is dead so she would have been left with very few options for financial stability. For Jesus to take notice of her need and help this widow woman harkens back to the healings of Elijah and Elisha. They also raised people from the dead (Elijah healed the dead son of a widow) but Dummelow points out that they raised the dead “with great difficulty, and after strong wrestlings with God in prayer.” (One Volume Bible Commentary). Jesus, on the other hand, raised the dead with just a single, powerful word. Here we see the clear, immediate, healing power of the Christ proving that God is all power.

The citations from Science and Health go on to say that we are never separated from God’s all power because “The kingdom of God is within” us (S14) and our prayers can reverse the claims of the mortal senses (S15). The lesson goes on to tell us how to heal as Jesus did, to rid our thoughts of the false claims of matter and open the way for truth to be seen and known (S16) and to “speak to disease as one having authority over it.” (S17)

Section 4: God Created All

God created all and he created it good. (B16-B19) Why would God make something and leave it unprotected or leave it to fall into ruin or be destroyed by sin, disease or death? God could not and would not do this. The world, and everything in it, belongs to God and He cares for it all. Can you picture this world? (S19) Can you see it, with everyone and everything good and in perfect harmony? (S21)

Even in the material picture of the universe we see lessons and glimpses of Truth. When astronomers started tracking the movement of other planets they found that for months at a time they would appear to move backwards across the sky. They called that retrograde movement and, for a time, astronomers like Ptolemy thought that planets moved backwards thanks to believing in an Earth centered model of the universe. Can you imagine the energy it would take to get a planet to move backwards for a few months and then move forward again? As it turns out it is an optical illusion (like when one car overtakes another on the highway) from the earth moving through space faster than the other planet being observed. Today we know that it is an illusion and can prove that other planets don’t move backwards, but it still looks like there is retrograde movement to the casual observer. Have you ever been praying about a situation and it seems like it was getting worse instead of better? Can prayer ever result in anything but upholding Truth? Can prayer ever make anything worse? Taking this grand lesson from the planets we see that we cannot trust the material senses to judge our progress. Even if things seem to go in the wrong direction, we can still trust that Truth is taking rapid strides forward.

God governs all and has given us the Christ with its healing and saving power and we can see that power demonstrated here and now. There truly is much to be grateful for.

*All notations that begin with the letter “B” are from the Holy Bible and notations that begin with the letter “S” are from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.


PS. Here's a second Ken Cooper contribution!
"How important it is to stop, pause, and give thanks. Without these qualities there is nothing, but LOVE is the infinite quality of God and gratitude the reflection of His infinite goodness. Our lives reflect our gratitude, and the measure of our love for God, for when we truly love God, we have everything. https://youtu.be/m8gIfWAJzus
The pdf versions are attached as Downloads on the online version.

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