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Change, not just for the better, but for the BEST!
Metaphysical application ideas on Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson:

“Sacrament”
for Sunday, July 9, 2023

by Kerry Jenkins, C.S. of House Springs, MO
kerry.helen.jenkins@gmail.com • 314-406-0041


BONUS! YOU ARE INVITED from 7:30-8pm TONIGHT to join 300+ voices LIVE from CedarS Chapel for our July Hymn Sing!  

ZOOM LINK:
JOIN HERE with one click (password embedded)
See other info and dial-in numbers at Hymn Sing P.S. below


AN EXTRA TREAT! As CedarS Care House Practitioner again this week, Kerry will demonstrate on stage many ideas she refers to below in her 10-minute Breakfast  “Prac Talks.” All ages find this refreshing resource to be an inspiring and helpful way to start each day both here and at home.  Click here & then on a Prac Talk(s) to hear it. 


INTRODUCTION/GOLDEN TEXT/RESPONSIVE READING:

Our Golden Text lays out the theme for us this week in perfect clarity. “…we will all be changed.” 1 Cor. 15:51 International Children’s Bible. There is little that is more inspiring and freeing than good change. Even challenging change is often the inspired starting point for the best spiritual growth we can have. I would say that a lot of the change in this Bible lesson deals with the challenging, but inspiring, kind of change.

Everything changes. How we face and handle the changes tells us much about our willingness to give up a false sense of self and welcome a new one. We are not meant to grip the human experience and how it unfolds to us. We are meant to take up the cross that Jesus took up, and to follow his path to the best of our ability. Later, I’ll get into just what this means for us, but for now, taking up the cross could be thought of as willingness to follow Jesus even when it gets really challenging, and especially when we are getting in trouble for doing the right thing.

Sacrament can be thought of as the holy symbols for bringing about this change. The Eucharist, with its bread and wine symbolizes the taking up of Jesus’ life work of healing. Baptism symbolizes the fresh views we can get through purifying and lifting up thought in Christ. As we partake in the demonstration of these sacraments we have the power to, as Mary Baker Eddy says in citation S1/34:10-13 “…[revolutionize] the world.” What a prospect! All the work we do, if done “…in the Lord” (RR 1Cor 15:58) cannot be in vain. It is purposeful, blesses, and contributes to the best kind of revolution.


SECTION 1: SACRIFICE (FALSE) SELF.

The first citation in this section from Romans (12:1,2/cit. B1) has several really lovely translations. One that I enjoy is from the J.B. Phillips translation “With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you my brothers as an act of intelligent worship, to give him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to him and acceptable by him. Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-make you so that your whole attitude of mind is changed. Thus you will prove in practice that the will of God is good, acceptable to him and perfect.” Another is from Eugene Peterson’s The Message: “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday ordinary life — your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life — and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” This “practice” of the letting God re-make you each day, changing from the inside out, and never simply conforming to the mortal scene because it is comfortable, is the best kind of self sacrifice. We are always, in this way, turning towards God to see where we “go” next. The second citation in the Bible from 1 Peter (2:21/cit. B2) is a really poignant and challenging one, but also inspiring. In The New Living Translation it says: “For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example and you must follow in his steps.” And again, The Message puts it this way: “This is the kind of life you’ve been invited into, the kind of life Christ lived. He suffered everything that came his way so you would know that it could be done, and also know how to do it, step-by-step.”

Sometimes I think we, as Christian Scientists, tend to avoid this topic of suffering. We are focused on the good, on healing. But suffering certainly appears to be linked to progress. We tend to work a lot harder to rise spiritually when we are uncomfortable in our material situation, than when things are comfortable! Letting go of old “selves” can be hard, even painful, but like a snake, shedding its skin, we can move forward knowing that our new selves will always be a better fit. Doing the hard work of this kind of transformation is the truest kind of Christian worship.


SECTION 2: CHRIST CHANGES EVERYTHING.

In this section Jesus is deep into his ministry of healing and preaching. He has finally revealed himself as the Messiah and been understood to be so, at least by Peter. He also breaks the news that his Messiahship is not the one of military overthrow that it was assumed to be by the Jews, but one of personal sacrifice and love.

Jesus urges his disciples, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matthew 16:21,24/cit. B5) The symbol of the cross is certainly central to Christianity. Looking into what Mary Baker Eddy says about the cross I found this passage: “The real cross which Jesus bore up the hill of grief was the world’s hatred of Truth and Love.” (SH 50:30-31) and on page 254:29 of Science & Health she tells us that “Your good will be evil spoken of. This is the cross. Take it up and bear it, for through it you win and wear the crown.”  So, we can maybe put this idea of taking up the cross this way: When the good you do is maligned, when you are genuinely unjustly treated for doing good works, this is your cross, carry it willingly. Don’t be tempted to avoid the challenge, or “go with the flow” so you don’t offend anyone. This cross brings healing and transformation in its wake!

When we think like Christ Jesus, our human thoughts are transformed. Sometimes this looks like “chemicalization” or “fermentation” (cit. S4/96:21), a bubbling up of angry error that then is transformed and dissipates harmlessly, revealing a new, spiritual understanding that is unchanging. This is Christ, Truth, changing our consciousness for the best.


SECTION 3: BAPTISM, A SACRAMENT THAT BRINGS RENEWAL AND FRESHNESS.

There are so many beautiful translations of passages that give us insight into the King James Version. For the sixth Bible citation (Gal. 3:27) here is a translation from the Contemporary English Version: “And when you were baptized, it was as though you had put on Christ in the same way you put on new clothes.” We are gaining a fresh view of ourselves through the lens of Christ.

Baptism can be a rebirth. While we don’t engage in traditional ritual baptism in Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy is very clear that we are certainly regularly partaking of baptism if we are following Christ Jesus. Our baptism is a spiritual one in which we “…put off…material beliefs and false individuality.” (cit. S5/242:1-3) Later on in this lesson she tells us that “Our baptism is a purification from all error.” (cit. S17/34:18-29 (next page))

We can take up the cross that is before us and leave all error in which we knowingly engage, however benign it may seem, and let ourselves be transformed. It cannot be an act of willpower, of course. But this kind of purification is some of the most valuable change in which we can engage. It tends to bring us forward spiritually as nothing else can, because as we drop whatever tends to make us feel separate from God, we find ourselves better healers, happier, more at peace and inspired.

This purification is paramount because it is at the root of Christly healing, and healing is fundamental to the real practice of these sacraments that we are learning about this week. Healing is the vital, living part of worship and of following in Jesus’ footsteps.

When speaking of Jesus’ healing ministry, Mary Baker Eddy puts it succinctly in this passage from our lesson: “He attached no importance to dead ceremonies. It is the living Christ, the practical Truth, which makes Jesus “the resurrection and the life” to all who follow him in deed. Obeying his precious precepts,–following his demonstration so far as we apprehend it,– we drink of his cup, partake of his bread, are baptized with his purity; and at last we shall rest, sit down with him, in a full understanding of the divine Principle which triumphs over death.” (cit. S9/31:12-22)  Her next passage rings with these “change-infused” words : “invigorates”, “purifies”, “acts as an alterative”, “neutralizes”, and “stirs”. These active words describe the radical work that she and Christ Jesus are demanding of us today. (cit. S10/162:4-7, 9)


SECTION 4: COMMUNION IS DEMONSTRATION — NOT A MEMORIAL — OF “GOD-WITH-US”.

While there is certainly nothing wrong with celebrating reminders of important events or people, if we confine our celebration purely to ritual practice, we endanger the true meaning and value of the events or the missions of those we are celebrating. In the case of someone as important as Jesus, it is helpful to look to his actions and words for guidance. In his celebration of Passover the night before his crucifixion, he shared a new promise with his disciples. During this ceremony, Jesus broke bread and shared wine in a way that had not been done before. This “…blood of the new testament…” has since become the ritualistic practice of Eucharist in Christian churches worldwide.

It’s interesting to me that this “new thing” that was not a ritual of the Passover ceremony, then became a ritual itself. It’s hard to imagine that was Jesus’ intent — the man who spoke and acted against rote practices and laws obeyed without love. Certainly Eucharist is not necessarily a dead or loveless rite to many, it just carries the potential to be so when practiced week after week without the healing work that should infuse it with life.

Our daily demonstration of the healing power of Christ needn’t be something spectacular to be holy and inspiring. Here at camp we have many special healings each day. Our focus is on seeing God around us in as many ways as possible.

At this morning’s after breakfast “Prac Talk” we had many children share ways that they felt or saw God’s presence and power with them at Big Surf (a water park) the day before. Some expressed their delight in how God was expressed in the joy and fun that they felt on different rides. Many shared that they felt God’s presence in overcoming fear before trying one of the more challenging rides at the park.

These seemingly “small” demonstrations build as we notice and express gratitude for them each day. They gives us a firm foundation for greater challenges when they come to us. Mary Baker Eddy quotes the Bible when she says: “We know that all will be changed “in the twinkling of an eye,” when the last trump shall sound; but this last call of wisdom cannot come till mortals have already yielded to each lesser call in the growth of Christian character.” (cit. S16/291:5-9)


SECTION 5: STANDPOINTS ARE CHANGED IN THE MORNING.

The morning, here, is the one where Jesus met his disciples after his resurrection. They seemed at a loss to understand their mission, even though they had already seen Jesus risen. It took this happy meeting for them to finally abandon their material pursuits and fully embrace the Christ mission. With the disciples’ changed view of Jesus’ mission they were able to clarify their own mission (with Jesus’ help!).

We too can embrace this renewed sense of changed standpoints.  This brings us a refreshing, spiritual sense not only of self, but also of our understanding of Church, bread, Eucharist, the cross, and the wine. All of these are defined by Mary Baker Eddy in citation S17/34:18-29 (next page). Jesus changed our view forever from a manlike God, to a deeply spiritual view of God as Love and of man as the very expression of that Love. This new understanding is forever fresh and inspires us to act on this understanding and the law of Love behind it. Each “morning” we have fresh opportunities to see God and find ways that we can newly practice our growing understanding of these laws of Love. And each time we do this, we find ourselves forever changed for the best.


Some GEMs of BIBLE-BASED application ideas (from Cobbey Crisler & others) should be POSTED during the week and others will be added to the string and EMAILED together later in the week.  You can always check  for current GEMs at CedarS INSPIRATION website, whether or not you’ve  SUBSCRIBED here for this free, inspirational offering.


Also later in the week, look for Ken Cooper’s
“POETIC POSTLUDE”
contributions related to this Bible Lesson.


THANKS to all you PRECIOUS DONORS for ALL of your ONGOING SUPPORT!
Every camper & visitor will be blessed by your generosity, vision & LOVE!


ANOTHER MATCH WAS MET and its project operationally completed before camp!  Thanks to several generous donors to our special A/V Appeal we were able to finish building a CHAPEL AV BOOTH that will protect not only donated, new equipment but also all our hymnals for worship services and for CedarS Sunday Hymn Sings, like tonight’s first one of Second our Session of 2023!

If you haven’t lately checked out the GIVING TREE, there are still plenty of other smaller areas of need to fill yet this summer! Campers & staff will also be blessed bigtime by the donations made to additional areas of camp, including the horse program, activity equipment, camperships, and Christian Science nursing and practitioner services.

We’re deeply grateful for EVERY GIFT of love & support,
The CedarS Team

P.S. For more about ways to keep CedarS operations ever more green and flourishing and/or to make a planned gift, a required IRA distribution or an ENDOWMENT GIFT (that will all be MATCHED), feel free anytime to call or text me (Warren Huff, Executive Director Emeritus and Project Manager) at 314-378-2574. I can put you in touch with our Financial Advisor/broker who donates all fees for stock transfers and freely shares tailored, tax-advantaged giving approaches.


**HYMN SING P.S. You are invited to our virtual Freedom Celebration hymn sing live tonight Sunday, July 2, at 7:30-8pm Central. Please note the change in time to coordinate with our camp schedule.

Theme: The hymn sing will be broadcasted from Mary’s Chapel, and the campers onsite will be requesting their favorite hymns. We’ll be focused on celebrating freedom as part of the camp’s fourth of July festivities.

Privacy Notice: Out of respect for the privacy of campers and staff, the cameras will show the pianist, soloist, and hymn sing hosts. We will not be panning the camera around to show the campers. Thank you for understanding.

Format: Recorded music will begin playing at 6:45pm Central. The live hymn sing will begin at 7:30pm, with seven-to-ten hymn selections from the camper audience. Following the hymn sing, we will say goodbye, so the campers can continue their evening festivities.

Musicians: Stephen Hanlin, Leslie Hanlin, and CedarS second session attendees

ZOOM LINK:
JOIN HERE with one click (password embedded)

Please see details below to join by phone.

Join by Phone (you’ll need the Meeting ID: 276 331 031 and Password: 736307

One-tap mobile:
+19294362866,,276331031# US (New York)
+13126266799,,276331031# US (Chicago)

Dial by your nearest location (if one of these lines is full, try another):
+1 929 436 2866 US (New York)
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
+1 301 715 8592 US (Maryland)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
Meeting ID: 276 331 031

Password: 736307

Find international call-in numbers: https://zoom.us/u/aeJGz7aKei

Please share this invitation with anybody who could be blessed by this healing activity. All are welcome!

With love,
The CedarS Team

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