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[Face every suggestion of material sense with spiritual sense – knowing God's care for you!]
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson
June 10-16, 2013

Subject:  God the Preserver of Man

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

The Golden Text for this week's lesson sets out the facts: God is in the preserving and protecting business for all of His creation!  There is nothing here to indicate that God sometimes relinquishes control of His creation to chance (a big flood/tornado/earthquake), to other people (mean or envious co-workers, friends, “enemies”, tyrants or other countries), or even to laws of matter that include disease and death.  Citation B20 (Ps. 121:7, 8) sums this up poetically and powerfully: “The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.”  Keeping in mind this fact and promise as we go through this week's lesson helps us understand the spiritual sense of each story and citation included.

Before digging into the body of the lesson, it is helpful to keep in mind the theme that runs through it.  This theme may not be stated overtly, except in section two, but it is powerfully represented throughout: there is one divine Mind, governing with divine law, over one divine creation.  You can see how this builds so beautifully on last week's lesson about God being the only cause and creator!  So consider thinking about this idea as you look at each section; it really brings a new light to some familiar stories.

The Responsive Reading contains a chunk of the 91st Ps., one of the most famous examples of poetry about God's preserving power!  You may be interested to know that Mrs. Eddy includes this Psalm as one of the four most influential passages in the Bible that led her thought to Christian Science. (Message for 1901, 32:21-26).  “Surely”, we are told, God will deliver us from the challenges of material sense, even lifting us up with His angels over any stone or hard/resistant suggestion that matter is substance.  This is followed by some verses from Psalm 40 in which we are consoled by the Psalmist's statements of how God has already helped him in the past.  He brought him out of the pit (those low points of sadness and despair where mortal sense seems to be the only sense), and He takes us out of the “miry clay”, the things that keep us in that pit, discouragement, fear, doubt.  He takes us right out and sets us on the rock, that firm setting that is a symbol of the Christ, the healing truth, where the one Mind reigns supreme.

Section 1: The story of Noah can be viewed from many angles.
In this case it may be helpful to see that it illustrates God's love and care for all His creation. It appears, on the surface, as if God is disgusted with His own creation and decides to save only the truly worthy, which happens to be just Noah, his family, and some animals.  But, to me this is a preposterous view to take of a divinely loving God.  Citation S2 (S&H 332:4-5), states: “Father-Mother is the name for Deity, which indicates His tender relationship to His spiritual creation.” (italics added).  That tenderness is re-emphasized in citation S15 where she tells us that: “Tenderness accompanies all the might imparted by Spirit.”  So where is the evidence of this tenderness in the story of the flood?  Look at citation B3 and see that God is calling the “earth”, material sense, from the entire globe, to tell them of His care and love for them.  In citation B4 He has made a covenant or promise with Noah, to preserve him and his family.  But what do we see that Noah embodies?  He embodies justice, perfection, humility.  These are the spiritual qualities that are reflected in God's true and only creation.  These qualities are indestructible.  It's fun to think about the ark being lifted up on the water when the water rises.  While water is sometimes symbolic of lovely spiritual qualities in the Bible, in this case it is more akin to the description that Mrs. Eddy gives on p. 559 in S&H about it representing “…elementary, latent error…”.  The fact that this error – aggressive, angry, destructive – merely lifts that ark right up on top and carries it over the earth, is truly a beautiful image for how we can face such ugly suggestions of material sense from the safety of our knowledge of God's care for us.  Toward the end of the story it states that God made a “wind” to pass over the earth and make the waters go down/evaporate.  Wind is often symbolic of Spirit [– it is the very definition of pneuma, the Greek word for wind, breath, spirit].  This Spirit, God, causes latent error to evaporate and reveal the truth of His harmonious creation.  God makes mortal sense “back off”!  The ark represents “the idea, or reflection, of Truth…”, the spiritual reality that creation is preserved, safe, cared for and loved, no matter what storm material sense throws its way.  “In divine Science, man is sustained [not destroyed] by God…” (S4, brackets mine).

Section 2 revisits the story of the Exodus from Egypt by the Children of Israel.
This story helps us see that even today we do not have to be in bondage to material sense in any of its forms. Citation B8 asks: “How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me?”  This is asked of Pharaoh by God (through Moses).  But can't we ask this same question of material sense and its suggestions to our thought today?  We can say to suggestions of sickness or accident or sadness: “How long are you going to argue with God's goodness and love?”  “How long are you going to try to pump yourself up to be bigger and scarier and more impressive?  You are nothing before God, before the one all-powerful Mind!”  God leads and directs all His creation out of material sense and into spiritual reality.  It may seem that He directs us through the wilderness, but if you look at Mrs. Eddy's definition of wilderness (p.597) you will see that it can be “the vestibule in which a material sense of things disappears, and spiritual sense unfolds the great facts of existence.”  Here is where we glimpse the “only-ness” of Mind.  When we are in a place that is symbolically barren of material comforts, this is that “vestibule”, or entryway, where we are ready to receive the comfort of the Christ, spiritual reality, that preserves, frees, and saves us.

Section 3 is like a mini chorus shouting out God's great power, love, and trustworthiness.
Like a mini refrain in the middle of the lesson sermon, citation S14 tells us that those who trust Him find that God is our refuge…  This, to me indicates that as we trust and lean on God, we will see this spiritual safety and goodness all around us.  It is always there, always available to all, but only seen with spiritual sense, not material.  Practice using this spiritual sense this week.  [Mrs. ] Eddy tells us that “Spiritual sense is the conscious, constant capacity to understand God. (S&H, 209) and again: “Spiritual sense is the discernment of spiritual good.” (S&H, 505)  No one can be without the ability to discern spiritual good, no matter the circumstance.  So everyone has spiritual sense and can use it!

Section 4 brings the story of Daniel in the lion's den to application today.
This familiar account lays out the challenge that mortal sense presents, that there is certainly more than one mind, and that those other minds can make a lot of trouble, even for a good person!  Not only do there appear to be multiple minds, but also there appears to be a significant challenge here that there is a law outside of God's divine law of safety, protection, and divine justice.  In fact, the other presidents come straight out with it in citation B14, “Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, that no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed.”  In fact, man's law is eminently changeable.  Isn't it just like mortal sense to tell us that there is no way to change the law of… contagion, heredity, accident or chance, and so on?  And yet we have thousands of well-authenticated examples in our periodicals over many years that show us otherwise!  [Mrs.] Eddy counters this suggestion in citation S16 with: “…Science knows no lapse from nor return to harmony, but holds the divine order or spiritual law, in which God and all that He creates are perfect and eternal, to have remained unchanged in its eternal history.”  Eternal history is pretty long time to “remain unchanged”, but that's Truth's law for you!  I love too in this section, the idea of creation not being “carnivorous”.  You may think this only refers to the lions, but what about the claim that man's personality can be pretty “carnivorous” at times?  This is an imposition of material sense that literally “eats itself”.  (If you read the brutal end of Daniel's story where king Darius feeds the other presidents and their families to the lions, you can see that this can be interpreted symbolically as error, unable to destroy or even touch Truth, being destroyed by itself).  Daniel's innocence, purity, trust and faithfulness, much like Moses' and Noah's before him, caused him to see spiritual reality, the harmony of the one Mind.

Section 5 finally comes to Jesus and his deep and perfect spiritual perception of reality.
His raising of Jairus' daughter from death is an ultimate example of preservation!  The theme of one Mind is really brought out here by this passage from citation B18: “And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead.  And he put them all out…”  They (the parents, friends, etc.) were seeing with their disparate “minds” exactly what material sense was presenting.  But Jesus “put out” material sense, and all the doubt, fear, scorn, despair that go with it!  He only allowed in the truth of spiritual reality; this young lady could not die, could only reflect Life.  [Mrs.] Eddy drives this point home by this potent sentence from citation S23: “Body cannot be saved except through Mind.”  That is because there is no other mind, no other body than the body of Spirit's creation, not made of matter.

Section 6 seems to me like a bookend for the lesson.
We begin with the lovely and powerful 91st Psalm and end with the deeply comforting and healing spiritual interpretation of the 23rd Psalm.  [Mrs.] Eddy here trades in a more “human” or “corporeal” sense of God for the spiritual sense of God as Love.  In the same way, we can interpret these beloved Psalms anew each time we read them with our own spiritual sense of God's word.  In this way we are uniquely prepared to bear witness to our own safety from the assaults of material or corporeal sense.  My family has had so many wonderful examples of being kept safe from such assaults.  It has been shared here before, but a fairly recent example came to us less than two years ago when my husband, who is a logger, had a large tree fall on him as he was bent over, chainsaw in hand, working on another tree.  His healing from numerous broken bones, including his back, and of heart attack, proved beyond a doubt to our family that life is in and of God.  He spent four days in the hospital, where he was not treated with anything, though lovingly looked after, no medication or casting or anything else.  He came home and went back to work, at first doing a week or two of more administrative-type chores, but then flying to Boston to attend our annual Christian Science Association.  There we walked all the way around Boston Common, two weeks to the day after he left the hospital. After this he flew to Edmonton, Canada and drove a newly purchased log truck home [to the St. Louis area].  Material sense presented challenges along the way.  But our initial firm refusal to agree with the claims of material sense gave us the freedom to witness the “closing of the lion's mouths”, if you will.  [See Warren endnote also.]  This freedom is available, indeed, is bestowed on each and every one of us.  There is only one Mind, one law, and we are subject only to this law!


[Warren endnote: “Closing the lion’s mouth” – closing the mouth of material sense with spiritual sense – will be reenacted all week at CedarS by various cabin groups acting out a skit about this Daniel story as they tour our Bible Lands Park.  This skit came about as part of a Girl Scout Gold project and was written by Girl Scout Gold candidate Sara Romo as the first in a summer series of Bible reenactment plays that bring to life and to modern day application a Bible story from each week’s Christian Science Bible Lesson.  Look later this week for a Vimeo.com video of this skit to be posted on CedarS website as well as for a YouTube video of it to be posted by TMCYouth.com.  Tune in here each week for a free video version of a Bible Lesson skit and its application ideas.  Each week the script for a Bible Lesson skit and life lesson applicable questions will be posted along with a video clip, so they can be downloaded by those seeking a Bible-centered activity and discussion to bring new scriptural understanding and applications to their Sunday School class and/or Bible study group.  The provision of these online resources is a gift free of charge, that can remain ongoing with scripts, props, costumes, and scriptural sets as those blessed by it choose to contribute to Sara’s project beyond the initial $1,000 she has raised to date by cookie sales and other fund-raising projects.]

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

[LETTING NEEDS BE KNOWN: If you haven't given thanks lately for CedarS freely-given Mets, NOW would be a perfect time to do so! There's a need this week before 1st session (June 9) for $8k more for camperships.  Our ongoing priority need is to demonstrate a camp full of Sunday School students who are ready for a fun, life-transforming experience in applying Christian Science!  So, our main funding goal remains the raising of funds for CedarS campership applicants. Also greatly appreciated are operations support and our herd of horses still needs your "adoptive" support. $6k more is needed to fix horse pasture fences, $3.5k more for a truck, $150 more for a computer…  BIG THANKS in advance for MAKING A TAX-DEDUCTIBLE GIFT ONLINE, BY PHONE OR BY MAIL! 
If you'd rather not give online, thank you for mailing your checks to:
CedarS Camps Inc.
19772 Sugar Drive
Lebanon, MO 65536

Or for calling us at
636-394-6162 to give a monthly pledge or a single, credit or debit card gift.]

[And, it's NOT too LATE to enroll or encourage others to enroll or to get CAMPERSHIP AID; but to help finalize affordable flights and arrangements, CedarS needs campers who are "on the fence to SIGN UP ONLINE ASAP!  Explore easy ONLINE Enrollment for campers & families as well as for Parents, Grands or Sponsors to join our team in homestyle accommodations!
We're confident that any FINANCIAL AID requested will be available as needed!]

 

[Check out CedarS with Unique Features that transform lives through:

  • Role-model activity and cabin counselors, 1 per 2-3 campers, aiming to follow our Founder's 5 Fundamentals to give "an appreciation of spiritual sense & an abundance of wholesome, joyous activity";
  • Unique RECREATIONAL RESOURCES with:
    * 2 miles of private "onshore assets" like the state's only Cable Watersports Park;
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    * A 310 ft long Waterslide in an Aquatic Center w/ Lap & Dive Pools;;
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    * 7 Tournament Ski Boats & a pontoon for Ski Camp, CIP, Jr. Leadership…
    * Services for 20-400 at Summits, Retreats, CS Nurse Conference, BluCamp…;
    90 Horses, a Covered Arena & 850 acres of woods, creeks, & trails to explore!
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[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 Helga and Manfred; or in Spanish, thanks to a team of Ana, Erick, Claudia and Patricio.  A voluntary French translation by Pascal or Denise cannot be guaranteed due to their busy schedules. And a weekly Portuguese translation is now available for CedarS Mets, thanks to helpers of Orlando Trentini in Brazil.  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 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-24) and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy (S-1 thru S-30). 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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