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Break the chain of guilt and punishment! Accept your at-one-ment with God!
Run the race and claim the prize!

Metaphysical Application Ideas for The Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

Doctrine of Atonement”
for April 12 through April 18, 2021

by Kathy Fitzer
kathyfitzer@gmail.com

To hear Kathy Fitzer read her Met that follows, click below on:
“Break the chain of guilt & punishment! Accept your at-one-ment with God!”

Lets start by defining some terms. A doctrine is simply what is taught about something. The definition of atonement in Websters 1828 Dictionary includes the concepts of agreement, concord, and reconciliation. Looking at the original Hebrew, we find atonement also includes the concepts of: cleanse, cover, cancel, forgive, pardon, purge, reconcile.” And the Greek word includes the ideas of restoration (to the divine)” and reconciliation.” To reconcile is to make consistent or congruous with.” So, I think we can say that atonement involves restoring the natural agreement that exists between God and man, as established in the covenant God has made with his creation.

What else can we learn about atonement? The Harper Collins Bible Dictionary describes atonement as the means by which the chain of guilt and punishment produced by violation of Gods will is broken, and the resulting state of reconciliation (or at-one-ment”) with God is achieved.” The world believes that sin is inevitable, and it is difficult — if not impossible — to break the chain of habitual wrong-doing and drift. But, according to this definition of atonement, and as this weeks Lesson teaches, God forever keeps His part of the Covenant and cares for us. Even if mankind messes up, drifts away, and needs to be brought back in line, Gods steadfast love (and the oneness of God and man) remains intact.

Jesus fully demonstrated mans at-one-ment with God. By allowing his own human life to be sacrificed for the sake of all mankind, he revealed the deathless, unbroken relationship that forever exists between God and his Christ, the real man. He demonstrated how God destroys all sin (anything that would suggest man can miss the mark of spiritual perfection) and brings thought and expression in line with Him. Thus, all that is unlike Good is destroyed, and oneness with God, Good, is established.

The Golden Text calls for people to pay attention … to look and see the Lamb of God — the long-awaited Messiah or Christ. As I consider this phrase, Lamb of God”, I think of Jesus as the offspring (Son) of God as a lamb is the offspring of sheep, and also of Jesussacrifice on the cross — offering himself to pardon mans sins, as Jews had previously offered lambs as burnt offerings for this purpose.

The Responsive Reading describes the character and activity of the Lamb (or Christ). The promised Messiah was to publish” peace and salvation. To publish, in Hebrew, means both to hear and preach. I was struck by that because Jesus often said that his teachings werent his … but the Fathers. And the Messiah was to announce to Zion, Thy God reigneth!” The Messiah would also comfort his people and redeem Jerusalem — that is rescue and deliver the people from death. In the next chapter (chapter 53) Isaiah prophesies Jesusexperience of being rejected, wounded, and standing silent as he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter”, and taking on himself the iniquities” of others. WE are healed and redeemed through Jesusexample and sacrifice.

The Messiah is also described as a servant. (Isa. 42:1) I was interested that the Hebrew that is translated servant here can be used to indicate a servant who is a worshipper (of God)” and (as a form of address between equals.)” This second one, to me, points to the Messiah expressing the fullness of Gods nature.

As we explore the Lesson, we see that not only did Jesus demonstrate all of these qualities, and fulfill these promises, but also the ever-present Christ continues to bring them to light, to destroy all darkness and sin, and reveal our at-one-ment with God.

SECTION 1: Gods requirements for you — not outward symbols, but inward grace.

As I studied this section, I came to see Atonement as having nothing to do with process or ritual. Rather, it is the demonstration of the inherent agreement and concord of God and man, revealing mans eternal oneness with God. (citation S3, 18:1-9) And, this scientific unity” must be consciously and actively practiced through daily reconciliation — consistently aligning our thoughts with Gods thoughts (cit. S4, 202:3).

According to Mosaic law, priests were to sacrifice animals such as lambs and goats to God, in exchange for the cleansing of sins. But, the author of Hebrews points out that, in fact, it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” (citation B3, Hebrews 10: 4) Even before Jesus, later writers in what is known as the Old Testament realized that what God really requires is a spiritual quality of thought within the individual. (see cit. B1, Micah 6:6, 8) The Psalmist writes, You do not want sacrifices, or I would offer them; you are not pleased with burnt offerings. My sacrifice is a humble spirit, O God; you will not reject a humble and repentant heart.” (cit. B2, Psalms 51:16, 17, GNT) John the Baptist identified Jesus as the Lamb of God” — the one who would take away the sins of the world through grace — through the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life” (cit. B4, John 1:17, 29). Its not outward, symbolic action that makes a difference, but a true change in thought and character that brings us into unity with Love.

Mary Baker Eddys definition of Lamb of God”, which includes the idea of self-immolation, describes Jesus perfectly (see cit.S1, 590: 9). The New Oxford American Dictionary defines self-immolation as: the action of setting fire to oneself, especially as a form of protest or sacrifice:” Jesus actively protested against the imposition of the belief that there can be an influence on man other than God, good, Spirit. And taught us to do the same. He sacrificed (and taught us to sacrifice) all sense of an identity separate from God. Burning up this false sense of self is an effective means of permanently destroying the imposition of sin and realizing our at-one-ment with God.

SECTION 2: Are we receiving the Christ — Gods divine message — as sheep?

Jesus took no personal credit for anything he did. He instructed his listeners to have one Master (or teacher) and one Father — God. (cit. B5, Matt. 23:1, 8, 9) Jesuswords were heard, and his healings were observed, by all those crossing his path. But, not everyone received the message. Jesus described those with receptive hearts as his sheep.” And he spoke about his sheep as being safe with him and with his Father! Sheep trust, respond, and are willing to be led. And, they are rewarded for that trust. Lets be sure were not being like those who kept asking Jesus to tell them plainly if he was the Christ, or longawaited Messiah. His healing works were all the evidence needed! (cit. B7, John 10:24, 25, 27-30)

Mary Baker Eddy defines Christ as the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness.” (cit. S5, 332: 9-11) Christ — Gods healing message — is speaking to us all the time. Jesus was the embodiment of this message. But, just because Jesus is no longer humanly here, doesnt mean the Christ is no less present! Jesus constantly delivered people from evil and taught everyone how to escape from evil”. The key is to turn from sin and lose sight of mortal selfhood.” Then, we find Christ, the real man and his relation to God” (cit. S6, 315:32-7).

I had a healing a couple of years ago that came from truly trusting in the power and presence of Christ. We had just arrived in Egypt, looking forward to a week of touring. That evening I felt weak and was unable to retain food. I called a Christian Science practitioner for help and was assured of my oneness with God. I knew this was true, but the “what if I’m not better by morning” questions seemed strong. Then, the angel message came that what was needed was to whole-heartedly trust the treatment being given and trust the Truth of Christ, just like those in the presence of Jesus trusted him. I felt a wonderful yielding — like melting into the arms of Love — and a calm sense of expectancy. In just a few hours I was ready to eat and slept peacefully. The next day I climbed to the top of the hot, steep, enclosed stairway of the Great Pyramid! I was grateful, and a lesson of trust was learned that has stayed with me

Weve all glimpsed Gods goodness, felt a quiet sense of calm and assurance in the midst of turmoil, experienced some sort of healing touch of Love. Take that feeling or experience — no matter how small — and recognize it as the Christ, Gods message coming right to you! You are one with God — just as the wave is one with the ocean and brilliant orange one with a beautiful sunset (cit. S7, 361:16-18). We are all coexistent with God, good. (cit. 8, 516:21) Accept that fact — as a lamb — and refuse to believe any report that would say sin can separate anyone from their Father-Mother God! Christ is here!!

SECTION 3: You can experience atonement. Love as Jesus loved, heal as Jesus healed.

Ever notice how often we read about Jesus having compassion on those around him — and then healing them? Theres an important message in there for us. Start with genuine love. As Paul counseled the Ephesians, walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us.” Paul also instructed us to be followers of God as dear children.” (cit. B10, Eph. 5:1, 2) Follow trustingly, as children follow those they love, and sheep stay right with their shepherd.

Jesus again referenced sheep when he healed the man with the withered hand. The Pharisees agreed that they would help their sheep if they fell into a pit on the Sabbath Day. Yet they questioned the legitimacy of freeing a man of a crippling condition (cit. 9, Matt. 12:10-15). We may find it easy to scoff at the reaction of the Pharisees, but are we ever guilty of similar reactions? To express compassion consistently, we cant make any judgements as to whether someone (including ourselves) deserves” to be healed or if the timing is right, or if perhaps they (or we) have brought this problem on themselves. Light removes darkness every time. The love of Christ heals, every time!

We can learn a lot from how Jesus prayed and healed. The Christian Science textbook explains that Jesusprayers were deep and conscientious protests of Truth, of mans likeness to God and of mans unity with Truth and Love” (cit. S11, 12:10). Theres that protest of self-immolation again! Jesus understood the nothingness of material life and intelligence and the mighty actuality of all-inclusive God, good.” (cit. S10, 52:19) We may not completely understand those concepts as Jesus did, but that doesnt stop us from conscientiously maintaining that position! Loving God and responding to His love for us enables us to take such a stand, argue rightly, speak the truth to every form of error and rise into newness of life with regeneration.” This elevation of consciousness is actively participating in the atonement — in breaking the chain of guilt and punishment and realizing mans oneness with God and with each other (citations S12, 418:22, 28 and S13, 24:11-15).

SECTION 4: You are redeemed by Love — Christs sacrifice and your response.

Jesus sacrificed his human life so that mankind could be freed from all mortal limitations and bondage. Not even death could stop Jesus from fully expressing Christs freedom and purity. He demonstrated that the chain of making mistakes for which we must be punished can be broken. And he did it all out of love! (cits. B 11, John 15:13, B12; Rom. 5:8, 10, 11 and S14, 54:10-17)

So, how are we going to respond? We cant look at Jesusexample as being out of reach, and not even try to imitate him. And, we cant simply be grateful that Jesus sacrificed his life to save ours. The command is clear, We must go and do likewise, else we are not improving the great blessings which our Master worked and suffered to bestow upon us.” (cit. S15, 25:26-31) To improve doesnt just mean to make better. We cant make what Jesus did better! It means to use to good purpose; to make productive; to employ”. So, if we are going to honor what Jesus did for us, we need to continue to practice and use the principles he taught. We need to love as he loved — seeing each of Gods ideas as being at one with Him. God sent Jesus to turn us away from our iniquities — our sins, evil purposes and desires (B14, Acts 3:26).

This section ends with the 4th tenet of Christian Science (cit. S17, 497:13). As we see that the purpose of Jesussacrifice was to show us our unity with God, we find that the Truth, Life, and Love that Jesus demonstrated in his healing are today saving us from all that would suggest we can be separated from good, from God.

SECTION 5: Turn from material sense and joyfully run the race set before you.

We cant control what the race called life will look like — how many pot holes, steep hills, detours, and dead-ends may be in front of us. But, we can determine how we will tackle the challenges. Forging ahead with patience (persistence and conviction) and emulating Jesusand Pauls undiminished joy in facing down every challenge they faced (including crucifixion, physical and tongue-lashings, stoning, and prison), we too will rise up victorious! (see cit. B16, Heb. 12:1, 2)

Paul was clear in his letter to the Galatians that we shouldn’tever be proud of anything except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (cit. B15, Gal. 6:14, NLT). Traditionally, the cross was the place where all human effort and pride came to an end. One Bible scholar points out that to boastin the cross … is to acknowledge that our efforts lead only to death and that our confidence can rest only in Gods grace, which rescues us from the present evil age” (New Interpreter’s Bible 12 Volume Commentary).. Jesusallowed himself to be crucified, knowing he couldnt be separated from God. With this as our example, we, too, can confidently face challenges that confront us, lean on God rather than on ourselves or on others for answers, reject the testimony of the material senses, and embrace the spiritual reality that comes from understanding our at-one-ment with God (cit. 15, Gal. 6:14).

This example is a very modest one, but hopefully illustrates a point. I was feeling pretty good about my down-hill skiing this winter. I had improved a lot. Then, the last day before coming home, I was hugely humbled. I always try to give God the glory, but a little pride in my progress may have snuck in. I was surprised when I went out the last day and found that all of my success went out the window as I freaked out because the snow was deeper, heavier, and more clumped into bumps than I was used to. I was totally focused on the bumps and was doing everything wrong. I fell at one point, and was grateful a friend was there to help me up. It was after the fall that what I needed to do was uncovered. Instead of focusing on the challenging conditions, it was suggested I needed to turn away from the snow completely, and look way ahead at where I was going. Then, just feel the snow and do what I knew to do. I didn’t ski perfectly … but it was way better, and hopefully taught me a lesson I’ll remember, and can be applied in other ways, too. As we’re running the race of life, we keep our head up and focus on what we know about Truth — on the ever-presence of harmonious Life. And let never-changing Principle lead us through the challenges.

We dont have to wait for a change in evidence to experience the joy of victory. The race we need to run is that of shedding the limitations of mortality in order to rise victorious over everything unlike God. Were told to strive to enter in”. Enter in to what? How about a state of thought so aware of the reality of our unity with God that our peace, joy, and well-being cant be destroyed, or even disturbed? Wasnt that Jesussecret?

We accomplish this Christ peace thought by thought … as we turn away from material sense” and towards the imperishable things of Spirit.” Magnify what is good and true, and silence what isnt! Dont worry if the race seems long. Were told that as we gain a little [clearer perspective] each day in the right direction,” well finish our course [of life] with joy!” Whether we take baby steps or giant leaps, as we just keep moving in response to God, victory is assured! This consistent, joyous, expectant overcoming is the key to having our part in the at-one-ment with Truth and Love” (cit. S20, 21:1-5, 9). Personal achievements mean nothing. All that matters is seeing that God is working in us.

SECTION 6: Behold the Lamb of God on the eternal throne.

Although focus was on the cross in Section 5, here our attention is drawn to the sacrificed Lamb, or risen Christ, sitting on the throne, or dwelling place, of God. As noted in this week’s Bible Lens, the scene changes from the restlessness and distractions of this world to the perfect peace and assurance of heaven.” The seven horns and seven eyes of the Lamb symbolize divine strength and knowledge. The book (or scroll) in the Lambs right hand is now unsealed, revealing a message that is so bountiful it has to be written on both sides of the scroll. Scholars generally agree that the book spells out Gods plans for the government of His world. All creatures are shown as acknowledging, responding to, and praising the power of God and His Christ.

Johns vision serves as a window into the present reality of heaven. It could be tempting to take the description of this scene literally and think of heaven as a physical place in the sky — that some may get to someday “by and by” – after they die. But, if we think of it metaphorically as a state of thought where God and His Christ are one, it becomes a promise of the at-one-ment that is possible for each of us to experience here and now.

The power of God, good, reigns in heaven — and is experienced as we see through the limited mortal view to present reality. Through all that Jesus demonstrated, we learn that victory is assured. He showed us that all the fears and doubts and misconceptions that crowd into thought are the stones that need to be rolled away from the door of human hope and faith”. (cit. S24, 45:16) Once our oneness with God as present reality is revealed, we can be confident that it can be experienced. We need to rejoice every time we defeat even the smallest belief of life apart from God as we become more and more conscious of the supremacy of Truth,” and feel the certainty that “God is Love” and has only good in store for Her creation! (cit. S22, 569:6-14)


Please join us each week for a 7pm CDT Hymn Sing! You can sing along with CedarS host musicians and hundreds of worldwide friends hymns that you all request. Click here for a link and fuller details.

Invite family, church and other friends and even neighbors to join us by Zoom EVERY week at 7pm Central Time for CedarS Sunday Hymn Sings. (A precious prelude precedes each sing at 6:45pm Central Daylight-savings Time (CDT.) We encourage singing along in Zoom’s gallery view to share the joy of seeing dear ones in virtual family-church reunions that bless all generations.

To protect privacy and copyrights, these “brief, but spectacular” sessions are NOT recorded. So, calibrate your time-zone clocks, mark your calendars, and remind friends, so that no one misses any of these inspiring, weekly reminders of our precious, spiritual oneness with each other and with our ever-loving, Father-Mother God who owns and embraces us all!

Lovingly singing prayers and praise to God for 30 minutes each Sunday is such a warm, “Welcome Home” tradition to bless the start of each week with joyous, peaceful GRACE. (Our 2021 theme.) We have loved singing-in this grace with longtime as well as first-time friends—not only from ALL 50 of the United States, but also from 21 other countries! So far, our “Hymn Sing family” has clicked or dialed-in from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, England, Germany, Ghana, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, New Zealand, Pakistan, Paraguay, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Scotland, Spain, South Africa, Switzerland, as well as from each of the United States! In the universal language of divine Love, thestill, small voice’ of scientific thought reaches over continent and ocean to the globe’s remotest bound.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 559:8–10)


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