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Editor’s Note: The following background information and application ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson for this week are offered primarily to help CedarS campers and staff see and demonstrate the great value of daily study of the Christian Science Bible lessons year-round, not just at camp. If more information or the text of this Lesson is desired, please see the Director’s Note at the end. The citations referenced in the “met” (metaphysical application ideas) are taken from the King James Version of the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. The Bible and Science and Health are the ordained pastor of Churches of Christ, Scientist. The Bible Lesson is the sermon read in Christian Science church services throughout the world. (Other reference books are fully noted at the end.)

Claim Your Dominion! (over every creeping and creepy thing)
Application Ideas for “Man” (Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson for Aug. 29-Sept. 4, 2005) by Julie Ward, C.S., Westwood, Massachusetts

Watch for the examples of dominion throughout this lesson, and check out dictionary definitions of this word. It comes from the Latin meaning “lord” or “master.” One definition is “control or the exercise of control; rule; sovereignty.” (The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language)

GOLDEN TEXT – The keynote for what man is: God made man in His, image, after His likeness. The inevitable result: God gives man His dominion over all the earth, and “over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” What are the “creeping things” in your experience? Sometimes they may be creeping fears, doubts, discouragement. Age can be a “creeping thing.” Habits may creep up on us and claim to be our identity. God has given us dominion over them all.

RESPONSIVE READING – “Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honorable, and I have loved thee.” (Isa. 42:4) Since we are precious in His sight, shouldn’t we be precious in one another’s sight, and in our own sight? I have a friend who always greets me with something like, “Hello, child of God,” or “Hello, loved of Love.” Let’s practice consciously seeing the child who is “precious in His sight” everywhere – even in the mirror! God commands us to “fear not!” Why? Because He is ever with us. We’re never alone. His people are not a particular race, religion, or nationality. He says, “Bring my sons from afar, and my daughters from the ends of the earth.” (Isa. 43:5) God has created us for His glory, to be witnesses to His goodness, to show forth His praise. So we are always fully employed. Let’s think of ourselves this week specifically as His servants and witnesses.

SECTION I – Man reflects God’s dominion.
Along with the promise of dominion comes God’s demand: be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it.” (B1) What is it that is multiplied? Isn’t it our blessings, our talents, our good ideas? When we recognize the source of all of these, we multiply them by infinity. They ripple out to bless others… and they keep right on rippling out. If we wish to “replenish the earth, and subdue it,” we can’t do it from the basis of personal possession or personal good. We begin with what God has already done, and we MAGNIFY IT (B2) by looking at it only through the lens of Spirit. Note the universality of these promises: “EVERY man may see it, and behold it afar off.” (B2) If we want to see who we really are, we can do it by beholding God’s face “in righteousness’ – in right thinking. Note the link in (B3) between being awake and being satisfied. We’re never really satisfied within the dream of mortal existence. It always promises satisfaction, but never keeps its promise. Just a note on (B4) – a hind is a female red deer, so to have hinds’ feet is to be graceful, swift, and sure. So love lights the way for us, makes our way perfect, and gives us the confidence to tread that path with perfect grace. And Love’s greatness comes not through aggression or intimidation, but through gentleness.

In (S&H 2), Mrs. Eddy emphasizes, “Let THEM have dominion,” and reminds us “Man is the family name for ALL ideas, – the sons and daughters of God.” There are no favorites, no chosen people. ALL reflect God’s dominion, so no one dominates another. Her analogy of man and the mirror is so often used that we don’t often dig too deeply into it. It has helped me this week to break it down into simple phrases:Man in front of mirror = Principle, GodMirror = Divine ScienceReflection = man

The thing that really strikes me about this is that the mirror is Divine Science.

SECTION II – Dominion over matter.
This section includes some very important command for us. First, “Cease ye from man whose breath is in his nostrils.” (B5) Stop messing around with this belief that Spirit is breathed into matter! And here’s another: don’t talk back to your Father! (B6) Don’t argue with God about your situation. Don’t deny your origin. And, most of all, don’t ask matter how it is, because it doesn’t know. God says, “Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.” And one final command: “Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us and not we ourselves.” Don’t forget that God created us – we didn’t create Him!

I hope that all of you are already working regularly with the definition of man (S&H 5) – putting yourself right into it, because it is the definition of you and me as we truly are right now. So we can boldly proclaim to ourselves, “I am not matter; I am not made up of brain, blood, bones and other material elements.” And we can follow that up with other statements in this section, such as, “[My] province is in spiritual statutes, in the higher law of Mind.” (S&H 6) [My] “Life is, always has been, and ever will be independent of matter;…” (S7H 7)”[My] birthright is dominion, not subjection.” (S&H 8)

And we can actively claim that birthright!

SECTION III – Dominion over sensuality.
This section begins with the Psalmists’s heartfelt request to God, “O Lord, put me not to shame.” (B9) This is followed by some of the things that will keep us from shame: looking away from vanity (emptiness), learning good judgment and knowledge, ordering our steps in His word. Then no iniquity has dominion over us. Sometimes the material senses claim to have dominion over us through pain, addiction, food, sexual desire, and many other more subtle temptations. But obedience to God delivers us from “the oppression of man.” Joseph proved this when he was tempted by Potiphar’s wife. He didn’t let temptation take him on a detour from his holy mission. On some level, he must have understood that, “Sensualism is not bliss, but bondage.” (S&H 9) Often it claims to be bliss, but it draws us more and more into the dream of material existence, and so limits our capacity for peace, joy, and freedom. Here’s another strong command: “You must control evil thoughts in the first instance, or they will control you in the second.”(S&H 11)In the first instance, they may look completely harmless, but this is the place where they most need to be checked. It’s like pulling those weeds in your garden when they first appear. If you put it off for a few days, they’ll be lots harder to pull. So we may have to control evil thoughts by turning off the radio or the CD or the DVD, by not taking the first drink or smoke, or even by vigorously contesting the first little twinge of pain. “Take possession of your body, and govern its feeling and action.” (S&H 13) It can’t govern you! All of the temptations of the world cannot touch you ” if virtue and truth build a strong defense.”(S&H 11) Every right thought makes it stronger.

SECTION IV – Dominion over failure.
As you head back to school this year, be sure to take this promise with you: “Fear thou not, for I am with thee: be not dismayed, for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee, yea, I will help thee.” (B 11) Whatever you undertake – a new job or relationship, a new school or sport, a healing, or even a fresh new desire to learn more about God – you are not alone. God is with you, and because He knows no failure, His reflection knows no failure. Nehemiah must have sensed this as he sat out to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. (B 12) That broken-down wall must have been a symbol of failure, vulnerability, and discouragement for all his people. Enemies like Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem, the Arabians, the Ashdodites, and the Ammonites opposed them on every side. They planted suggestions of fear, saying, “Their hands shall be weakened from the work, that it be not done.” What are your Sanballats and Tobiahs and Geshems? They might include apathy, shyness, self-pity, ingratitude, doubt, pride, or discouragement. . If these guys crowd in on you to tell you that it’s hopeless, follow Nehemiah’s lead: “Nevertheless we made our prayer unto God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them.” Pray to God and watch your thoughts! Nehemiah’s work could not be de-railed because he knew it was “wrought of God.” The same is true for your work.

Here’s another great “in proportion” statement (Do you watch for these in the lessons?): “The human capacities are enlarged and perfected IN PROPORTION as humanity gains the true conception of man and God.” (S&H 14) The clearer your conception of man and God, the more you’ll accomplish for mankind. Who wouldn’t want to do that? We CAN achieve all good. But we must trust our ability to do these things (S&H 15). We can know, “I can do this because God has already done it, and I am His reflection.” Mrs. Eddy tells us, “A knowledge of the Science of being develops the latent abilities and possibilities of man. ” (S&H 16) Ask yourself, “What are my latent abilities and possibilities?” The Science of being will “develop” them just as a photograph is developed, bringing out what’s already there. Just in case you’ve forgotten, perspicacity is “Acuteness of perception, discernment, or understanding.” (The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language )

SECTION V – Dominion over disease.
There are many references in this section to liberty. In a sense, any sickness is a lie about man’s inherent freedom. The Bible (B16) tells us the story of a woman who was physically enslaved – she was so bowed together that she couldn’t lift herself up, and she had been that way for eighteen years. You can imagine that she must have felt far from freedom. But Jesus called her to him (knowing that she could come!0, and said, “Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.” And IMMEDIATELY she was made straight and glorified God. This didn’t require physical therapy, chiropractic adjustment, or even time for cells to reproduce. How could this be? Wasn’t it because she had always been straight, upright free, and full of the glory of God? Jesus simply removed the hypnotism that claimed to hide that fact. This may be why he didn’t see himself as breaking the Sabbath, as the ruler of the synagogue accused. Jesus knew that he didn’t have to create or change anything. Her perfection and freedom were always there.

Here’s another strong command to claim and exercise our dominion over sickness: “Be no more willing to suffer the illusion that you are sick or that some disease is developing in the system than you are to yield to a sinful temptation on the ground that sin has its necessities.” (S&H 20) Sickness is no more inevitable than is sin. We can register our protest against sickness on the grounds that it is literally an OUT-LAW. “It is man’s moral right to annul an unjust sentence, a sentence never inflicted by divine authority.” (S&H 20) We have a divine right to health, and we have only to claim it.

SECTION VI – Dominion over ALL the claims of the enemy.
When Jesus sent the seventy out to heal others, they returned rejoicing that “even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.” (B 18) Jesus gave them power “over all the power of the enemy” and promised that “nothing shall by any means hurt you.” These promises belong to us as well, for we are his disciples, and we can say with Paul, “I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me.” (B21)

“Science reveals the glorious possibilities of man, forever unlimited by the mortal senses.” (B23) These are YOUR glorious possibilities, today and always. Look past the limiting material senses, and you’ll see these infinite possibilities unfolding. “Where shall the gaze rest, but in the unsearchable realm of Mind?” (S&H 26)


Camp Director’s Note: The above sharing is the latest in a long series of CedarS Bible Lesson “mets” (metaphysical application ideas) contributed weekly by a rotation of CedarS Resident Practitioners and occasionally by other metaphysicians.  This document is intended to initiate further study as well as to encourage the application of ideas found in the Weekly Bible Lessons as printed in the Christian Science Quarterly and as available at Christian Science Reading Rooms.Originally sent JUST 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 and inspiration they had felt at camp, CedarS lesson “mets” are in no way meant to be definitive or conclusive or in any way a substitute for daily study of the lesson in the books. The thoughts presented are the inspiration of the moment and are offered to give a bit more dimension, background and daily applicability to some of the ideas and passages being studied. 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 these 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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