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Change thought about death — experience freedom from “laws” of matter.
Metaphysical application ideas for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“Are Sin, Disease, and Death Real?”
for the week ending April 10, 2022

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


INTRODUCTION, GOLDEN TEXT & RESPONSIVE READING

Each time we have this Bible lesson subject we are presented with clear examples of Biblical healing of each of three claims of material, so-called law: sin, disease, and death. While this Bible lesson is not an exception, it takes a new direction by focusing very broadly on the last of these three claims…the claim of finality, or death. It is through overcoming, genuinely, our fear of death, that we open the door to overcoming all the others on this list and can truly move into fully living in praise to God, or Life. And who doesn’t want to live life more fully?

As we live our lives with an ever-deepening focus on knowing God as our very being, we naturally move away from a too strong focus on the body, its limitations, misbehaviors, and failures. Instead we find our thought and consciousness becoming more sharply aware that our purpose is to heal and bless, to reflect divine Life right here and now. This change of thought and focus helps us to experience ever more frequent moments of immortality, or fearlessness, that heals both sin and disease, as well as suggestions of death, as we will see in this week’s lesson. This is not a “pie in the sky” ignoring of physical problems, or of sin.  It is a recognition of God’s presence and power in our daily lives to bring healing to such difficulties, and to elevate our consciousness so that our immortality appears to us as tangible.

Our Golden Text is the final sentence of a fuller passage from 1st Corinthians that is quoted in Section 1. (1st Cor. 15:51-55/citation B3). What a power it packs on its own here: “Death has lost the battle!” It is important to me to point out that immortality is very different from mortally living forever. I do not believe that Jesus and other Biblical figures that spoke of death and life, ever meant that we would forever appear to exist in a material body. Rather there is something for us to understand about our true being in God that never ages, dies, gets ill, or sins. In this lesson we are approaching a clearer view of this true man who was most clearly embodied by Christ Jesus. This does not mean that it is out of reach for the rest of us.

We are all together on the path of understanding our spiritual and true mission. The description of this kind of man is lovingly and poetically described in our Responsive Reading from Psalms (both 103:2-4, 22, and 23:1-6). The 23rd Psalm in particular is powerfully effective in healing any kind of fear and especially the fear associated with sickness, and with accident/suggestions of death. It can be continuously refreshed by interpreting it anew when we use it as a treatment. Start with Mary Baker Eddy’s interpretation in Science and Health on page 578. Here she uses “Divine Love” in place of “the Lord”, and a few other minor swaps that illuminate this ageless prayer.

We can do as Mary Bsker Eddy has done and “rewrite” the 23rd Psalm verse by verse as we are inspired each time we need it to dissolve any fear. What has Love placed on the “table” in front of us? Is it fresh “plates” of inspiration, insight, joy? What is the enemy? Is it simply fear? Or is it criticism, complaint, lack? You get the picture. This prayer specifically leads us “through the valley of the shadow of death…” which is particularly applicable to this Bible lesson. There is only the “shadow” of death, not a “reality” of death. There is no substance in shadow, it is merely the obscuring of Life’s “sunshine” by fearful thought. And we are led by divine Love who is guiding us, correcting us, caring for us every step of the way.

Finally, the 23rd Psalm tells us that we will eternally dwell in the “house of the Lord”, or, as Mary Baker Eddy tells us “in the consciousness of Love”. That is certainly a place of deathless Life. It is this consciousness that we are investigating this week. It is a consciousness that we can each have of the presence of harmony and Life as God, as our being.


SECTION 1: THE TRUE IDEA OF GOD CHANGES OUR CONSCIOUSNESS FROM DEATH TO LIFE.

The Bible portion of this section ends with a verse from Revelation (4:1, 5) “…behold, a door was opened in heaven: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.” As a student of Christian Science, I can’t help seeing this passage as a reference to the seven synonyms of God that we know of as: Principle, Mind, Spirit, Soul, Life, Truth, and Love. Certainly, these can be seen as “seven Spirits of God”. I can’t pretend to know that this is what John meant when he wrote this, but it is a healing insight nonetheless. This “door was opened”, that is, available to us.

And, as we know, heaven is within us, as Christ Jesus stated when he told us that “the kingdom of God is within you”. There is certainly no sin, disease, nor death within that kingdom, so we are seeing here that this harmonious place within our present consciousness is available to each of us here and now through understanding God’s nature. This consciousness is a spiritual one, it stems from investigating and keeping that spiritual “door” open, if you will, by nurturing an awareness of divine Life’s activity in our daily lives. Mary Baker Eddy tells us that changing our human view of death, to this consciousness of Life, has restored health in thousands of instances! (citation S6/79:5)


SECTION 2: KNOWING GOD AND SPIRITUAL LAW REVEALS ETERNAL LIFE.

Enoch is not the only one who lives an incredibly long life, not anywhere near the longest, in this part of the Bible. But he is singled out as having “walked with God” rather than experiencing a transition from human life to death. We can cultivate a spiritual transition in our consciousness as we learn more about God and Life’s laws, step by step. (citation S12/213:11-12) What does it take to “meditate day and night” on the law of God? (citation B6/Ps. 1:1,2) There are some possibilities here. I see this as a call to become more present in our consciousness, more, as it is often said, mindful. Our divine source, or Principle, is “ever-present Life”. (citation S9/312:19-20). If Life/God is our very source, what part has death in that source? We can become aware, or mindful of this fact in every moment when we pause regularly for just a few seconds to contemplate Life’s influence around us. We can avoid the “snares of death” that are mentioned in citation B5/Prov. 13:14, because the snares are simply suggestions that there are material laws that supersede God’s laws. One snare might be the belief that we live in an aging body. This can be counteracted by a consciousness that our being has never been born into matter, so it cannot die out of matter. Of course, these statements can never be just spouted without a genuine sense of inspiration and depth behind them. Just as we read and reread the 23rd Psalm with fresh inspiration to meet each challenge, so our statements to counteract such snares of death need to spring from genuine insight and inspiration. We can always find more inspiration through a demonstrated obedience to what we are learning about Life and Life’s laws. Obedience brings demonstration.


SECTION 3: GOD GIVES LIFE— DOESN’T TAKE IT.

Elijah asks God to take away his life. He feels like a failure—as if he has not succeeded in his mission to promote God as the one true God. Even after a significant proof of God’s power when he asked God to light a soaking wet sacrifice on fire without any human intervention, he felt alone, afraid, and powerless. In this passage from 1st Kings (19:1-5, 7, 8/ citation B11), Elijah is taught that God is the preserver of life, the source of life and not the “taker” of it.

As the very source of life, God cannot also be a source of life’s opposite. He God, divine Love, proves this by feeding Elijah and eventually by showing to him, in his cave experience that  follows, that God is the only power. (1st Kings 19:11,12) There is no power that can oppose God. Power does not come in the raging hatred and threats of Jezebel, but in the “still, small voice” that Elijah encounters (after the earthquake, wind, and fire, that might be symbolic of Jezebel’s fury).

Elijah’s story also illustrates the fact that we are not saved from error by looking to death. Rather than seeing death as a solution, we must grow to see that a “quickening”, or enlivening of our sense of life’s newness is always the answer to anything that would drag us down into despair or hopelessness. (citation S14/426:16)


SECTION 4: SHIFT CONSCIOUSNESS TO SEE THAT HEALTH AND JOY ARE THE BEST EXPRESSIONS OF PRAISE TO GOD/LIFE.

With God as the source of being, we can see that we best praise that source by reflecting Life. We cannot actually reflect anything else, but we can certainly sometimes get duped into thinking that sickness and sin are running the show. I am not comfortable regarding this story of Hezekiah through the lens of a good man who gets sick, and then healed because he begged God hard enough that God “changed His mind” and gave him a longer life.

I like to see Hezekiah’s healing rather, in the light of Mary Baker Eddy’s statement that “The Bible contains the recipe for all healing. We can, and ultimately shall, so rise as to avail ourselves in every direction of the supremacy of Truth over error, Life over death, and good over evil, and this growth will go on until we arrive at the fullness of God’s idea, and no more fear that we shall be sick and die.” (citation S17/406:1, 20-25) It is that “full” idea of God that we are gaining.

What are we thinking about God? Are we thinking that God chooses when we live or die? If so, we are thinking of God as a whimsical superhuman force that wields a randomized power over our fates. This is not a God worth worshiping, in my opinion, and it does not yield a “full” idea of man as God’s expression.

Our life is secure in God, always. Our prayers are to lift our thought to a level where we start to glimpse that kingdom within us where all is harmony, health, life, purity—where we rejoice, as Hezekiah finally did, that “The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day:” (citation B13/Isa 38:19)


SECTION 5: “…A TRUER SENSE OF LOVE REDEEMS MAN FROM THE LAW OF MATTER, SIN, AND DEATH…” (citation S22/19:6)

Again, it is through a deeper understanding of God, Love, that we find our freedom from this triad of errors. This section focuses on the sin of not loving. The Pharisees are targeted here, rather than the obvious sinner, the woman caught in the act of adultery. Trust Jesus to turn the obvious on its head! From this example we learn that it is a truer sense of Love, of God, that can free us all from the ravages of sin which make us feel separate from Love.

There is no place “too far” from Love where we cannot reach God. It is a place in our consciousness that can always be lifted to know Love better, and to understand Love more. This can be done through following this simple command (simple, not necessarily easy) “Let unselfishness, goodness, mercy, justice, health, holiness, love–the kingdom of heaven—reign within us, and sin, disease, and death will diminish until they finally disappear.” (citation S23/248:29)


SECTION 6: HOW CAN WE “NEVER SEE DEATH”?

Jesus tells us in this section that “If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.” (citation B19/John 8:51). What does it mean to keep his saying? I think of this as the command that he makes on his disciples and those who “believe on him”, to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, and raise the dead. Through demonstration of the Christ understanding of God, we are defeating sin, disease and death.

Mary Baker Eddy tells us that it is our “privilege…to prove [these] words of our Master, and she expands on them by saying that to keep his sayings is “To divest thought of false trusts and material evidences in order that the spiritual facts of being may appear,–this is the great attainment by means of which we shall sweep away the false and give place to the true.” (citation S24/428:3-12, 22) We want the “consciousness of existence” that Mary Baker Eddy speaks of in this same citation.

So again, it is through an inspired consciousness that we begin to replace our fear of death through demonstration of sinless life. Why do we need to conquer sin? Because sin is the belief of life or pleasure in matter. If we believe that life has existence in matter, or that there is genuine pleasure in matter, then we are subject to death in matter. We must develop that spiritual consciousness of Life/God/Love that leads us to the spiritual awareness of genuine joy, harmony, and satisfaction that can only be found in God.


SECTION 7: DIVINE INTELLIGENCE GOVERNS THE BODY.

Tabitha is the only woman named as a “disciple” in the Bible, and she certainly is given an importance here when Peter comes to her bedside to raise her from death. (citation B22/Acts 9:36-42) Here is a specific example of death overcome. It is made clear that this was done for God’s glory, not for Tabitha’s benefit, or even so she could keep making clothes (mentioned in another verse) and doing good works.

It is helpful to remember that our healing work is done for love of, and glory of God. Naturally it benefits us as it did Elijah, Hezekiah, the woman caught in adultery and the Pharisees, and Tabitha here, as well as the man in the next section that is healed of bone disease. (citation S29 & S30/192:32-194:2) But ultimately the most effective motive in healing is our love for God.

Our bodies are governed by divine intelligence. Mind motivates each action, breath, step. Knowing this, we can begin our journey to overcome the suggestions that the body has its own separate intelligence that can keep us from praising or rejoicing fully in God. Death, the ultimate lack of Mind, does not glorify Life, so it’s not from God.


SECTION 8: MOVE THOUGHT FROM FALSE LAWS TO CHRIST’S LAWS FOR FREEDOM.

Here is a second example of someone being brought back from death, or at least the brink of it in this case. It’s a more modern example and gives us hope that we too can demonstrate over death in a practical way as we lose our fear of it and gain a better understanding of the laws of Life and Love.

I love to really look closely at familiar text and see what stands out to me. In this case there are a couple of things in this section that I have been focusing on. In the Bible where it tells us that “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (citation B23/Romans 8:2, 5), I love that “Spirit” is capitalized, so it is the law of God that inspires the life of Christ Jesus that frees us from any so-called law of sin and death. It is a law that is operating, not a special gift of Jesus, Peter or Mary Baker Eddy.

It is the Christ that is healing, a presence today, as Mary Baker Eddy proved in this healing. The second passage that caught my attention especially is “If Spirit or the power of divine Love bear witness to the truth, this is the ultimatum, the scientific way, and the healing is instantaneous.” (citation S31/411:10, 27-1) Isn’t God/Spirit always bearing witness to truth? Or might this be a way to state that when Spirit is moving our consciousness so that we are awake to Love’s power and Love shows us the truth, then we cannot help but see what Love is seeing: harmony, health, life? I’m not sure if this is the ultimate understanding of this passage, I just offer it as a thought. But I do know that we are working to bring our consciousness into alignment with Love’s truth, and this brings healing.


SECTION 9: LIFE/GOD IS ALL.

I guess the ultimate understanding of Life as opposed to death, is the understanding that Life is all there is. There is clearly something outside of the human appearance of a birth into, and death out of matter. And we have seen proofs in this Bible lesson that even that illusion of death in matter can be turned around through an understanding of Life as unopposed. We progress into this understanding step by step by bringing our consciousness spiritward. This is what we have “enlisted” to do as Christian Scientists!

Here is what Mary Baker Eddy says about this enlistment in our final citation this week: “The Christian Scientist has enlisted to lessen evil, disease, and death; and he will overcome them by understanding their nothingness and the allness of God or good.” (cit. S32/450) This is an enlistment we can all get behind! It is simply what the Master asked of his followers, and it leads us out of the fear of death, into harmony and joy.

A change of consciousness from life in and of matter, to being as spiritual and present, brings us great freedom in our daily life experience to enjoy harmony, abundance, joy, and eternal life.



A Ken Cooper POETIC PRELUDE related to this Bible Lesson is POSTED on CedarS INSPIRATION website & earlier tonight it was EMAILED TO THOSE WHO SUBSCRIBE FOR IT HERE.


GEMs of BIBLE-BASED application ideas from COBBEY CRISLER and others are yet to be fully excavated and refined and so WILL BE POSTED later this week on CedarS INSPIRATION website & EMAILED TO THOSE WHO SUBSCRIBE FOR IT HERE.


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