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[Stay connected to the true vine for a most fruitful/productive, blessed life!]
Metaphysical application ideas for Christian Science weekly Bible Lesson on

Subject: Christ Jesus
for February 26-March 4, 2018

by Kerry Jenkins, CS of House Springs, MO (314) 406-0041

To download a poem by Ken Cooper on "Christ Jesus" go to the
online version and click on the PDF file in upper right

This week's Golden Text introduces the theme of fruitfulness. It seems almost too obvious to bother stating, that a branch of a fruit tree or vine can only blossom and bear fruit if remains attached to the tree or vine. Sometimes the obvious bears stating though. Our Responsive Reading expands on this idea of bearing fruit as it continues in the same chapter of John. So just think about this idea for a minute. How often do we run around feeling like we are responsible for how things turn out, what has to get done, for a project's success, and so on? Aren't these verses helping us to think a bit differently about our true responsibilities and how they are to be attended? Once we have "cut ourselves off" from the vine, the source of all truly fruitful activity, and launched off on our "own" we've suddenly lost everything that the vine provides us with to actually bear that fruit!

Whenever we declare ourselves the "doer", in the process we have "lost" what the vine provides—the infinite well of healing power, creativity, boundless joy, grace, patience, peace, intelligence, and so on… The vine is likened to the Christ, and God, to the "husbandman" or farmer. God tends this vine to bring out for us more inspiration, understanding, health, joy and all of the above-listed "fruit".

This "farmer" has "chosen" us, as the Golden Text states. We are not subject to happenstance; we have been divinely chosen and nurtured and tended. When we appear to have missed the mark in any way, the "farmer" is there to prune away (purge) whatever is not productive or Godlike. In point of fact, these things that are pruned from our fruitful, productive selves are not truly important or essential parts of our identity are they?! The New Living Translation of the Bible takes verse 8 of John 15 and puts it this way: "When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father." If the Father is the farmer in this analogy, then a fruitful field speaks to His skill and love (His glory).

Further the next verse tells us that we should "continue in my love." This reminds us that we should stay attached to the vine! And in verse 11 where it speaks of experiencing a full sense of joy, it reminds me, that we can only continue to mature in that joy if we do remain attached to that vine—if we "cut ourselves off" (and, because we are truly divine reflections, we can only do this in thought), we can "do nothing" (verse 5).

Christ Jesus was truly the most fruitful man that ever walked the earth. He encouraged his followers throughout time to become ever more fruitful in Christ works of healing and blessing. He truly remained one with God and with the Christ throughout his career and this made his life work full to the brim with healing, glorifying the Father-Mother. He set the path; we can follow it and find that our fruitfulness springs not from our "own" abilities or proclivities, but from the Christ that has fed God's children with healing power throughout eternity.

Section 1: All good grows from Christ.

Hopefully no one will tire of the "growing" analogies put forward in this lesson; they are many! In Jesus' day more people grew things than do in our modern era of corporate agriculture, so these analogies were very close to the hearts of those who would have heard these words. But even today these symbols are so clearly illustrative.

In citation B2 we have Isaiah's prophecy connecting Jesus' coming to the family tree of King David. The idea here is that the Messiah would be rooted in the family of the anointed and most highly revered king in Israel's history. And in citation B3 I like the idea that verse 11 particularly parallels the Golden Text's reference to the fact that "…your fruit should remain:"–when it states: "…and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts."

Our ability to do good, to heal and bless, is not dependent on environmental factors, on money, weather, family, age, or experience. It is dependent on God and the Christ with which He communicates (S2). It may help us to understand Christ to look at several statements in this section and reduce them to their simplest elements.

Christ is: "the spiritual idea"

"the reflection of God"

"the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men"

"the Spirit which Jesus implied in his own statements…"

the "divinity of the man Jesus" "his divine nature" "the godliness which animated him"

When we look at these "definitions" of Christ we can more easily see how we are connected to the Christ as well! We can also see that the fruitfulness that comes from this connection is eternal, is continuing today.

Section 2: The inspiration of the Christ is eternal.

In this section we have the story of Jesus turning the water into wine at the wedding in Cana. Mrs. Eddy refers to wine on p.35 of Science and Health as "…the inspiration of Love…". The governor of the feast in citation B6 commends the bridegroom for serving the best wine last. (It was common to serve the best first and bring out poorer quality wine after people might be too drunk to notice.)

I have thought that this act of Jesus might be likened to a blessing on the marriage that the freshness, inspiration, love and dedication of newlyweds could only deepen and become more blessed as the marriage proceeds. This is the blessing of the Christ that only grows in joy and healing as it becomes more deeply understood (abides in the vine).

In this section, the blessing at the wedding is paired with Jesus healing the multitudes much later in his career, illustrating the lasting inspiration of the Christ to heal. The Christ purifies our concept of man—notice that the water he turned into wine was for purifying before the meal. This Christly inspiration that Jesus embodied blesses humanity in tangible ways. It brings Spirit to our consciousness and alters matter in the process so that we see the presence and power of Spirit in our human experience today even as it was two thousand years ago.

Section 3: The straight and narrow is the most fruitful.

When we think "straight and narrow" it could bring images of restriction and confinement to thought. But in reality this is the claim that the serpent/mortal mind makes—don't listen! Check out what The Message says for citation B9: "Don't look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don't fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention."

In listening to the suggestions of mortal mind that we can have more fun, more enlightenment, more success through a broader more materially described life, we find ourselves ultimately disappointed and confined by matter and dissatisfaction. We are spiritually designed ideas, "chosen" (GT) by our Father-Mother; therefore we receive infinite good, joy and success through that "vine"—through the Christ.

It is true, nonetheless, that the narrow path requires our watchfulness as both the above quote states and as citation S14 tells us. It is arresting to notice the statement in The Message that refers to the successful life that can be practiced "in your spare time". Isn't that the constant claim? That we can be "fit in 15 minutes a day"—that we can be thin by cutting out bananas or some such thing. That we can be happy if we just tweak "one little thing". But in reality, joy, health, balance come from "vigorous and total attention" to God. There is no other way to a fruitful, joyous life. Is it worth it? Yes!!

Section 4: Jesus works and our discipleship rooted in God's goodness.

This Bible section contains many verses of Jesus healing multitudes, and also sending his disciples to do the same. Starting with citation B10 we are told that "…Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit…" His power was rooted in his understanding of God. He understood this power to be accessible to all and not his "own personal" power. "He claimed no intelligence, action, nor life separate from God" (S17).

In sending his disciples out to heal, he was telling us here to also go out and do this blessed work. The word disciple means "learner"… as Mrs. Eddy tells us in citation S18. This means that we can learn to do what Jesus did; it was not his own special "magical" ability. Rather, it is a natural ability that grows from our understanding of God and His Christ.

Mary Baker Eddy even uses the word "cultivated" in citation S18—a definite farming term!! Our own ability to heal springs from the "soil" of understanding what is stated in citation S19, that "perfect God and perfect man" is "the basis of thought and demonstration."

Section 5: Fear obscures fruitfulness/healing.

Fear has no true power. Jesus reaches out a hand to Peter as soon as Peter begins to sink in fear. The Christ is always there to lift us up. But fear can make us feel like we are cut off from that vine that we've been talking about. Fear tells us that we are separate beings, on our own and responsible for our "own" problems and their solutions.

Setbacks happen. [Click for today's Daily Lift "When something awful happens".] Sometimes the rewards of following the path that Jesus set for us seem few and far between. Maybe the material rewards gleam on the horizon like tempting jewels. And truly, sometimes those rewards feel good, for a time. The trouble is that we always end up facing the shortcomings of material dissatisfaction sooner or later. We find ourselves facing a health challenge, or a financial, relationship, or age challenge… And without our "vigorous and total attention" to the narrow path, we are left with limited options, all ending with death.

I'm not saying that we get eternal material existence by following Jesus (and that is not something he preached)—“just” unlimited joy, satisfaction, inspiration. It is worth heeding the demands of Christ as we are told in citation S23. Fruitfulness does require of us attention, practice, vigorous watchfulness. These qualities and activities dissolve fear in the understanding of Love. Fear is dissolved by the presence of the Christ.

Section 6: We are naturally designed to be abundantly fruitful in good.

We can "get up early" each day as in citation B17—allow Christ's abundant goodness to constantly dawn in consciousness. This is natural to us, as in the way nature grows things! Jesus showed us this not only through miraculous works, but also through teaching his disciples and apostles to do these works as well. He taught them and Paul in person and teaches us today through revelation and through the writings of the Bible [and the Comforter that he promised would teach us all things). His example taught us over and over that the lasting inspiration of the Christ is with each of us and is tended by God, by Spirit. As we follow his path and discover more about God, we become increasingly productive, demonstrating our God-given dominion over the claims of matter just as Christ Jesus did.

Look for an email coming soon with Warren Huff’s additions of insights and application ideas from Cobbey Crisler on some citations in the Christian Science Bible Lesson on “Christ Jesus” for March 4, 2018. Click here for online version now.

We are VERY grateful to report. . .

Maintenance Musts Progress! (More info)

Adopt the Herd Matching Fund (Match not yet met)

In the time since Giving Tuesday you helped raise over $52k for the Riding Program, which will be doubled through the Adopt the Herd Matching Fund, for a total of over $104k to help feed and care for CedarS wonderful horses. We still have a little less than $13k to raise to take advantage of the $65k Adopt the Herd match. (More info )

Many other Blessings:

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