Thank you for another best summer yet!

Celebrate Christmas in a Universe subject to the divine “powers that be.”
CedarS Metaphysical Application ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson:

“Is the Universe, including Man, Evolved by Atomic Force?”

for December 22, 2013

by Rick Stewart, C.S. Dresden, Germany
+49 351 312 4736

[A note to let the need be known: CedarS is ~80% of the way toward meeting
a year-end, $25k Maintenance Musts Challenge Grant… “only” ~$5,000 to go]

Golden Text: Jeremiah 32:17 “Ah Lord God! Behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:”

The understanding of God's infinite and “hands on” power is clear throughout this week's Bible Lesson. And the following version of the Golden Text from The Message gives me the feeling that the Prophet Jeremiah is writing a letter to a very special friend,

“Dear God, my Master, you created earth and sky by your great power—by merely stretching out your arm! There is nothing you can't do.” The Message

I certainly agree with Jeremiah. His writings, along with the writings of other prophets in the Bible bring me a little closer everyday to the understanding that God has not gone anywhere. When you add all the glorious inspiration found in the Old and New Testament of the Bible you have a clear documentation of God's presence and power.

This week's Bible Lesson not only documents God's infinite creative power, but also His tender, ongoing care. And how very important this is at this time of year. For many people the Christmas season is one of the few times of year when they actually attend church. And others may not even attend church but they find comfort and security in the traditions and symbols of Christmas. How important then it is to have this Bible Lesson lift our thought from symbols and tradition and reveal to each of us a God that is not only a powerful Creator but a tender provider. But it is interesting that the examples found in the Lesson are not necessarily limited to what one might call as traditional Christmas events, but rather ongoing unfoldment of the power of God's loving care.

As I thought of this I was reminded of Hymn 170 from the Christian Science Hymnal.
It is an adapted version of a poem by John Greenleaf Whittier. 

"Let every creature hail the morn
On which the holy child was Born,
And know, through God's exceeding grace,
Release from things of time and place.

I listen, from no mortal tongue,
To hear the song the angels sung,
And wait within myself to know
The Christmas lilies bud and blow.

The outward symbols disappear
From him whose inward sight is clear,
And small must be the choice of days
To him who fills them all with praise.

Keep while ye Need it, Brothers mine,
With honest zeal your Christmas sign,
But judge not him who every morn
Feels in his heart the Lord Christ born."

(You might find it interesting to know that Mary Baker Eddy visited Whittier at a time when he was quite ill. After her visit he made quite a recovery. See the following article from the Mary Baker Eddy Museum, http://www.marybakereddylibrary.org/collections/research/ask-a-researcher/whittier)

Responsive Reading:
The Responsive Reading from Job magnifies the wonderful works of God.  Each section of the Lesson this week will continue that magnification of the infinite power of Spirit as it annuls the limiting laws of matter.

Section 1: “He ruleth by His power for ever.” (B-1)
The Psalmist, Isaiah, and the Chronicler write with awe for God's majesty. (B1 – B4)

It is so good to remind ourselves of God's infinite glory and might.  Step out in the middle of the night and let the stars amaze you. Take a walk through a garden and be dazzled by the beauty. Turn on your TV and let one of the myriad documentaries about the wonders of earth and the universe renew the awe you felt as a child.  And then let the citations in this section of the Lesson remind you of the spiritual foundation for it all.

But do the advances of natural science necessarily mean a jaded or cynical view of creation.  Is it all material?  Many of the astronauts who travelled into space on vehicles that were the very peak of human technology came away from the experience with renewed faith and love of God.

Growing up in Central Florida during the peak of the space program I often felt a personal connection to the launches.  We never took them for granted.  We watched them all.  And with my older brother, Gary, working at Kennedy Space Center we often made the trip to Cocoa Beach for a launch.  And those we watched launch into space often returned with a broader vision of earth and man, a more spiritual perspective.  Gary, who knew several of the astronauts personally, has confirmed that fact.

Astronaut, Jim Irwin, one of twelve men who walked on the moon, wrote in his book, “To Rule The Night,”

  • When you lean far back and look up, you can see the earth like a beautiful, fragile Christmas tree ornament hanging against the blackness of space. It’s as if you could reach out and hold it in your hand. That’s a feeling, a perception, I had never anticipated. And I don’t think it’s blasphemous for me to say I felt I was seeing the earth with the eyes of God.  I believe, looking back on it now, the good Lord did have His hand in it. For me to travel such a roundabout way, and finally end up in the space program, and then go to the moon—it’s amazing it ever happened.

The astronauts schedule was demanding, but Irwin found the time to quote his favorite Bible verse, Psalm 121:1, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.”  Verse two of that Psalm states “My help cometh from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”  But Jim added, “But of course we get quite a bit from Houston, too.” Sometimes there was not time to “get help” from Houston, so Jim would pray. He writes,

  • It was almost like a revelation. God was telling me what to do. I never asked Houston because I knew there would be a delay. I didn’t have time for Houston to get an answer to me; I needed an immediate answer. I could see several logical ways to go about solving these mechanical problems, but I wanted to know the best way. I prayed, and immediately I knew the answer. I am not talking about some vague sense of direction. There was this supernatural sensation of His presence.  If I needed Him I could call on Him, call on His power. (To Rule the Night, p. 19)

In Science and Health citation S1 Mrs. Eddy writes, “God creates and governs the universe, including man. The universe is filled with spiritual ideas, which He evolves, and they are obedient to the Mind that makes them.”  (S&H 295:5-8)

Section 2: God is Spirit, creation is spiritual, don't be fooled.
Deuteronomy 4 is quite interesting from The Message, “You were shown all this so that you would know that GOD is, well, God. He's the only God there is. He's it. He made it possible for you to hear his voice out of Heaven to discipline you.” (B-6)

And in citation S-5 Mrs. Eddy writes, “The universe, like man, is to be interpreted by Science from its divine Principle, God, and then it can be understood; but when explained on the basis of physical sense and represented as subject to growth, maturity, and decay, the universe, like man, is, and must continue to be an enigma.” (S& H 124:14)

Citation B-7 is clear and comical in The Message, “What the world calls smart, God calls stupid. It's written in Scripture, He exposes the chicanery of the chic. The Master sees through the smoke screen of know-it-alls.” (I Corinthians 3:19-21)

Sometimes we can be just way too complicated. Sometimes we just need to reason simply, clearly, just like a child.  I remember my Christian Science teacher sharing a cute little anecdote.  A young Sunday School student was asked the following question by his teacher, “If you were on Mars, would God be there?”  The boy immediately answered, “Yes.”  His teacher was puzzled by his immediate response.  She asked, “How do you know God would be there?”  His reply was simple, clear and correct, “Well, you said, ‘if I was on Mars’. God is always with me, so if I was on Mars, of course He would be also.”

Don't be fooled. God is Spirit. His universe is spiritual.

Section 3: Mary, and her cousin, Elizabeth glimpse spiritual reality and power.
God does prepare the way for spiritual ideas to be understood, but it does not have to be according to matter's dictates.

In Luke 1 (B-12) we read about Zacharias and his wife Elisabeth.  In today's world they might have been at the point of retirement, or trying to find ways to make it in their senior years.  But God has something more special in mind.  In her old age, the seemingly barren Elisabeth conceives a son.  And guess what, her young cousin, Mary, probably 13-15 years old, is told she will also conceive a child.  And the angel, Gabriel, tells her to call him, Jesus.

There can only be one explanation for these goings-on. Spiritual reality and revelation. A universe that is above and beyond material sense.

Science and Health citations S10 – S14 lay it on the line.  Citation S-12 states “Those instructed in Christian Science have reached the glorious perception that God is the only author of man… The illumination of Mary's spiritual sense put to silence material law and its order of generation, and brought forth her child by the revelation of Truth, demonstrating God as the Father of men.” (S&H 29)

Citation B11 reminds us, “Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves.” (Psalm 100)

So three seeming miraculous occurrences: Elisabeth conceiving in old age; an angel, Gabriel, talking to Mary; and Mary receiving the promise of her conception of Jesus. As Gabriel told Mary, “For with God nothing shall be impossible.”

Man In Reality Always Conceived Under Loves Omnipresent Unfolding Safety

Section 4: God's powerful law of orderly unfoldment in operation.
Sometimes people who think they are real movers and shakers, V.I.P.s, The “Who's Who” of the world have meetings. Power meetings. But to be honest I do not think there could be a more powerful meeting than the one we read about here. The mother of John the Baptist and the mother of Jesus. The significance was awesome.

The citations from Science and Health, (S15) to (S18) reveal to us how we can also bring this sense of orderly unfoldment into our lives.

In Citation S17 Mrs. Eddy writes, “To attend properly the birth of the new child, or divine idea, you should so detach mortal thoughts from its material conceptions, that the birth will be natural and safe. Though gathering new energy, this idea cannot injure its useful surroundings in the travail of spiritual birth. A spiritual idea has not a single element of error, and this truth removes properly whatever is offensive.” (S&H 463)

My brother, Scott, was a home delivery.  My mother had an obstetrician that came to the house.  And she also had a close friend, who was a fine Christian Scientist, there with her.  At one point during the birth there appeared to be grave problems.  My mother and her friend, Emily, prayed.  My brother, Scott, was delivered in perfect health.  After the birth my mom thanked the doctor.  He replied, “Ma'am I thank you.  I have never had a little one survive in the situation your son was in.  It was not me that made this birth possible!”

Section 5: The power of divine provision made manifest.
This particular Christmas there are seemingly countless needs to be met around the world.  The human resources, the aid, the delivery systems, all seem to be taxed beyond the limit.  War and weather have wreaked havoc.  But there is something all ready in place at each of the locations, a certain resource, an answer that requires “looking up.”

Citation B16 in describes a rural, desert setting in the Middle East.  There is a large gathering of people, about five thousand men, besides women and children, so perhaps a total of 20,000 people. They have just listened to Jesus and witnessed as he healed the sick among them.  And Jesus tells the disciples that they do not have to send the multitude away, “They need not depart; give ye them to eat.”  But his command seemed rather daunting since they only had five loaves and two fishes. But then Jesus commanded the multitude to sit down, he took the loaves and the fishes, and “looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciplines to the multitude.  And they did all eat and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.” (Matthew 14:14-21)

In Science and Health Mrs. Eddy asks the question, “How were the loaves and fishes multiplied on the shores of Galilee, – and that, too, without meal or monad from which loaf or fish could come?” (S20, 90:2)

In the Science and Health citations Mrs. Eddy makes the following points. Jesus origin was unique and gave him “more than human power to expound the facts of creation.” (S19)  She points out that “miracles” are impossible, not supernatural, but supremely natural. (S21) She adds that Spirit, God has created all in and of Spirit, not matter. (S22)

She concludes “Infinite Mind creates and governs all, from the mental molecule to infinity.”… Creation is even appearing, and must ever continue to appear from the nature of its inexhaustible source. “(S23, 507)

It is after all about the Source.

In a universe of spiritual ideas it is the ability to listen to spiritual ideas which can change our prospects from certain doom to rejoicing.  Back in the 1980s I was involved in a workshop in the Boston area.  I met a fellow participant Doug Lewsader who was a Christian Science practitioner from Alaska. We hit it off right away.

Doug shared an experience he had right at the end of World War 2.  He was a bomber pilot and had made it through the war without loss of a single crew member.  The day came when all bombers were dispatched to fly back to North America.  Doug's destination was Canada.  His plane, along with countless others had taken off and were flying over the Atlantic.  In mid ocean they received a message that all planes that had not reached the “point of no return” should turn back to Europe.  Doug's plane was beyond that point. And the message included the fact that there had been a miscalculation of fuel needs and that no planes had sufficient fuel to make the crossing.

Doug had been raised in Christian Science and had always relied on prayer. He had prayed his way through the war. And now he tried to pray. But no matter how hard he tried he could not clear his thought to pray. He said all he could hear was a silly popular song that was just repeating and repeating in his thought. He could not stop thinking about that silly song. “The Music Goes Round and Round.” Finally he thought if he would just sing the song, maybe it would go away, so he could then pray and get an answer. So he began to sing the rest of the song, “The music goes round and round and comes out here.” The very moment he sang, “comes out here,” Doug had his answer.  The song was the answered prayer before he prayed.  When he sang “comes out here” he realized they had to throw absolutely everything out of the plane that they did not need to fly. All souvenirs, all things they could unbolt.  So he ordered his crew to completely strip the plane. When they were nearing the coast the first engine stopped.  And in a short time the second engine stopped. With both engines stopped and feathered they glided.  And the plane slowly came down, but not in the sea.  They touched down on the runway that ran right up to the edge of the sea and rolled to a stop.  They had flown the entire Atlantic and landed with absolutely no fuel left, but they had had enough to get safely back home. Three days after landing Doug was free to call his mother to let her know he was safely back home. And as they spoke his mom told him she had been praying all night long on the night of his flight.

Section 6: Spiritual power manifest on earth continued…
Although the feeding of the multitude in the Bible Lesson comes from the Gospel of Matthew, the same account also appears in the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 6.  And that event is followed by Jesus next illustration of spiritual power, in citation B19 where Jesus walks on water and a raging storm is stilled. (Mark 6: 45, 47-51)

Jesus sends the disciples ahead of him by ship in the direction to Bethsaida. He sends the people away and takes a prayer break. Then he notices that a large storm has come up and the disciples are having a hard time rowing against the wind. He walks toward them over the water and would have passed by, but the disciples were frightened. He tells them, “It is I; be not afraid.” When he got in the disciples boat, the wind ceased.

In citation S24 Mrs. Eddy writes, “Jesus walked on the waves, fed the multitude, healed the sick, and raised dead in direct opposition to material laws. His acts were the demonstration of Science, overcoming the false claims of material sense or law.” (S&H 273)

Citation S28 explains: “Adhesion, cohesion, and attraction are properties of Mind. They belong to divine Principle, and support the equipoise of that thought-force, which launched the earth in its orbit and said to the proud wave, “This far and no farther.”

“Spirit is the life, substance, and continuity of all things. We tread on forces. Withdraw them, and creation must collapse. Human knowledge calls them forces of matter; but divine Science declares that they belong wholly to divine Mind, are inherent in this Mind, and so restores them to their rightful home and classification.”

Here’s one of many unforgettably beautiful ways that Love’s provision and protection has been proven at CedarS.  This miracle blessing of 2011 was, and still is, the talk of CedarS Camps neighbors and local workmen. Those of you who keep up with CedarS news know that for our 50th anniversary season we were blessed with a beautiful, man-made lake that fits naturally into the valley below our Lodge, Chapel, and Boys Camp.  We call it the Mediterranean Sea [due to its perfect position in our 30-acre Bible Lands Park (BLP), which is a 1-yard-to-1-mile scale model of places where events happened in the Bible.  Click here to see six Bible skits shot in BLP that were reenactments of stories in the Christian Science Bible Lessons last summer.]  Thanks to God’s grace and generous volunteer labor the lake [and Stage 1 of BLP] took shape quickly.  But a lake needs water to be a lake, [and with 6 days before CedarS season-opening Memorial Weekend Family Camp, the promised lake was only a 15-foot-deep dry hole.]

As earthwork for the new lake was nearing completion a storm began to take shape with predictions for violent weather. At 1am as Warren prayerfully addressed the threat from this approaching storm [which included a tornado that had wiped out Joplin, Missouri,] he noted the 7-hour time-difference between Central Time in America and Central European Time and gave me a call when I was already up and praying.  I took up work with some of the exact statements used in this section of the Lesson.  I also simply held to the fact that there are no destructive elements in Mind's universe. The harmful threats from the storm front vanished and left nothing behind but the blessing of abundant rain that helped fill to the lake. [See Warren’s PS below for the rest of an amazing story.]  The remaining [60 million gallons of “holy”] water in our Missouri Mediterranean are yet another proof of the great blessings of the prayerful approach to all things at CedarS.

Section 7: Alleluia; for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
About three years ago there was a cassette tape that lived in our car. It was probably played more than anything else. It happened to be a recording of Handel's “Messiah.” And it became the favorite tape of Alma, our then three-year-old.  And the overall favorite part was the “Alleluia” Chorus.  It became the most requested song when we were in the car.  It was rather enjoyable to have a three-year-old request, “Alleluia, Papa.”

I was recently reminded of this time period when our two-year-old, Martha, was going through the house singing, “Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.”

All I can say is after reading this week's Bible Lesson and the short, sweet, powerful conclusion with Section 7 is I agree with my girl's, Alleluia says it all.

Praise the Lord in all His power, mercy, might, and goodness.

”For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.”

“For God is infinite, all-power, all Life, Truth, Love, over all, and All.” (B30)


[Warren’s P.S. on CedarS “holy water miracle”:
It was a miraculous gift from God that our Midwest “Mediterranean Sea” was completed and ready for use for the Memorial Weekend Grand Opening of CedarS 50th summer.  I tell people that I am convinced our Mediterranean is filled with “holy water” in 6 days (like the 6 days of creation); and our lake-builder and Association friend, Scott York (or I) would be glad to give you a fuller eye-witness version of this miracle.  Briefly told, on May 20 Scott had planned to have his crew finally cap off with concrete the pipe that kept the spring and rain waters from filling the lake while the final stages of sculpting were being done.  (It was later than planned because we were very law-abiding in waiting till construction permits were approved before stating to build the core trench for the dam in late November.  In January a frigid, snowy winter set in that kept the crew from returning till late spring.)  As if to stop the project’s completion, late in the day on May 19, we got hail mixed with a heavy rain that muddied the dam and made postponement of the capping look inevitable.  Scott’s main crew left before dawn and he and Dan were ready to go when I pulled out “the prayer card”.  I shared with Scott that my prayers (at our Mt. Carmel overlooking the Mediterranean, where Elijah had prayed for rain) clearly told me that that there was nothing too hard for God (as in the Golden Text), that our prayed-for open window of provision was coming, that we needed to quickly do whatever we could to finish before the next rain, and that if we did our part, God would do His.  So, Scott and Dan, despite being pretty sure they’d mess up the dam and get equipment stuck (and they did both!), slogged through the mess and got the job done before it proceeded to rain HARD for 6 days straight (over 10 inches!) and then stop raining for 4+ weeks. Sixty million gallons later the lake was full enough to complete our “Little BRO” Cable Ski System installation during the start of Memorial Weekend, test it with guests on Sunday and Monday, and to use it all summer. (Another part of doing our part was to quickly obey God’s guidance in the engineering of a way to store 30-million-gallons of water in Crown Lake during spring rains and to transfer the surplus, freeboard water to the Mediterranean with our waterslide pumps.  (Much like Joseph was led to store surplus grain to distribute later as needed.)  We were working with then, and are grateful always to keep working with, Mrs. Eddy’s article on “Obedience” in Miscellaneous Writings where she says: “
Be sure that God directs your way; then, hasten to follow under every circumstance.” (Mis. 117:31)


[The Met application ideas at the top are from a Christian Science Practitioner who has served as a Resident Practitioner at CedarS Camps. These ideas are provided primarily to help CedarS campers and staff (as well as friends) see and daily demonstrate the great value of studying and applying 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 & bracketed, italic additions.]

[Please support: CedarS Matched “Maintenance Musts Fund” will be matched for proper upkeep of mission-critical buildings & equipment; our Matched “Adopt the Herd” fund for year-round horse care; and/or our ongoing FENCING NEEDS for our herd of wonderful horses that serves campers every day. Just write either “Maintenance Musts, Matched” , "Adopt the Herd, Matched" or “fencing for horses”]

BIG THANKS in advance for MONTHLY MAKING A TAX-DEDUCTIBLE GIFT ONLINE,
BY PHONE at 636-394-6162
OR BY MAIL at:
CedarS Office, 1314 Parkview Valley Dr, Ballwin, MO 63011

[Check out CedarS with its Fundament Concepts, Unique Facilities and Features designed to transform lives! Click to see testimonials in writing!]

[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 Manfred and Jeanette; or in Spanish, thanks to a team of Ana, Erick, Claudia and Patricio, or in Portuguese, thanks to helpers of Orlando Trentini in Brazil.  A voluntary French translation by Rodger Glokpor, a Christian Scientist from Togo (West Africa) has been contributed.  Thank you, Rodger and all translators! Go to http://www.cedarscamps.org/ and click "Newsletters" to sign-up for a free translation into these languages.  This sharing is the latest in an ongoing, 13-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 emails to follow.) 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 serve as 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 and in a variety of useful formats 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-26) and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy (S-1 thru S-32). 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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