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Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Probation After Death” for the week of October 22 – 28, 2007

Prepared by Janet Hegarty, C.S. of St. Louis, MO

Editor’s Note: The following application ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson for this week are offered primarily to help CedarS campers and staff (as well as friends) see and demonstrate the great value of daily study and application of the Christian Science Bible lessons year-round, not just at camp!  You can sign up to have them emailed to you free — in English by Monday or in French or Spanish by Wednesday: CHECK FOR FREE TRANSLATIONS.

“Thousands of instances could be cited of health restored by changing the patient’s thoughts regarding death.” (Science and Health page 79)  Climb up into the lap of your Father-Mother God each day as you begin to study the Bible Lesson this week, feel the comforting arms of divine Love surrounding you and settle in to enjoy a gentle, loving, talk about the allness of Life.  Through this Bible Lesson Love will change your thoughts about death and invigorate your health.

Golden Text:  Embraced by Love.  “Goodness and love alone will accompany me through life and I will live in the house of the Lord all my days.” (R. K. Harrison, The Psalms for Today)  [What great accompanists and daily traveling companions!]   The original Hebrew word rendered “follow” in the King James translation may also be translated as:  run after, chase, or pursue. (Strong’s Concordance of the Bible)  How wonderful to know that we are pursued by God’s loving-kindness everyday.  Mary Baker Eddy’s spiritual interpretation of Psalm 23 affirms the ever-presence of Love, “I will dwell in the house [the consciousness] of [LOVE] for ever.”  In her poem, Love, she draws this clear connection between Love and life, “Fed by Thy love divine we live, for Love alone is Life.”  No need to be afraid, your life is forever embraced in Love.   [Possible Sunday School Topic: (P.S.S.T!):  When do you feel most surrounded by divine Love?  When are you least aware of the powerful presence of divine Love and how can you be more aware of it?]   
Responsive Reading:  Love, “the power that lifts us.” (Hymn 181)  Notice how the Psalmist’s thought is centered on God, centered on Love.  He puts his whole trust in God to keep his life on the right track.  He relies on God to examine his motives and desires so that they might be found pure.  With his thought focused on the loving kindness of God, the Psalmist is able to do what is right.  “The Psalmist’s conscious integrity is not self-righteousness.  His knowledge of God’s character has made him what he is.” (Dummelow)  He knows that the strength and joy of his life are in God.  The Psalmist is convinced that every good thing comes by the power of God.  On this sure basis he says with confidence, “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.”  Center your thoughts on God.  Feel this loving power lift you and change your thought, until you, too, are convinced that Life is all.  (P.S.S.T!):  As this lesson shows, David made some big mistakes and had reason to feel suicidal.  But he saw that he could make up for his mistakes not by dying, but by living rightly.  The log of the blog and treatment at the end of this week’s myBibleLesson also show many ways to talk friends out of seeing suicide as an answer.  What reasons against suicide can you state this week to help someone?]   

Section 1:  Life is good, now and forever!  The citations in this section give an in-depth explanation of Life as it is understood in Christian Science.  God is Life.  God does not include, cause, or require, death.  In this verse from Psalm 68, “…unto God the Lord belong the issues of death,” (B1) numerous other Bible translations use the idea “escape from death” in place of the phrase “the issues from death.”  [That’s truly “THE Great Escape!”  And, Jesus the great escape artist who we are to follow.]  This gives emphasis to the fact that God (who is Life) has no connection whatsoever with death; God has not given death any authority or existence.  This clear, scientific thought is also found in Hymn 135: “I know no death, O Father, because I live in Thee; Thy life it is that frees us from death eternally.”  Life, God, does not slow down or trail off.  Life is all good, forever. (B3 & B4)  We can be sure of this fact because we do not contain life, we reflect Life.  When the sun comes out right after a rain you may notice that some of the raindrops, still sitting on the leaves of the trees, reflect the light of the sun and create bursts of light that sparkle on the leaves and grass.  These raindrops do not contain the sunlight, but they reflect the sunlight, beautifully.  “Life is Mind, the creator reflected in His creations.” (S3)  The way of Life is the way of “progression and probation” – trials and proofs of our growing understanding of Life as it truly is. (S4)  To work out our salvation is a learning process. (B1)  We gradually learn what God is and who we are.  We learn this in the same way that we learn any other subject.  We are introduced to the basic ideas and then we try it out for ourselves.  We prove the truth of what we have learned by applying it to a problem.  As we gradually apply and prove what Christian Science teaches us about Life we experience more and more of heaven right here on earth. (S4)  Death is not a “portkey” to Life (referring to the transporter used in the Harry Potter books).  Rather, an understanding of the eternal, spiritual, nature of Life is the “portkey” to life.  From the beginning God has determined that each of us will, step by step, prove that “Life is eternal.” (S2)  There is no need to be afraid of this process!  Go ahead.  You have the courage you need.  Take that first step.   (P.S.S.T!):  Remember:  “By the inch, it’s a cinch; by the yard it’s hard.”  Small steps were planned and celebrated daily by the international team of prisoners of war in the classic movie about “The Great Escape” from a German Prisoner Of War (POW) camp during World War II.  How about bringing a healing testimony, no matter how seemingly small, to share with your appreciative team at Sunday School or church or in the Christian Science Sentinel or Journal?!  Your progress in tunneling out from, or rising above, the entrenched claims of mortality and body worship is a step of progress for us as well!]                         

Section 2:  [“to be spiritually minded is life”
Romans 8:6] that saves man from death.  This section opens with the Bible account of David, Bath-sheba [first seen taking a bath], and Bath-sheba’s husband, Uriah.  David, who has proved himself to be a good, just, man many times, steps out of character, [gives in to the sensual death of being “carnally (bodily) minded” Romans 8:6] and commits adultery with Uriah’s wife.  Bath-sheba becomes pregnant.  To cover his wrong doing, David brings Uriah, a soldier in the army, home so that he can be with his wife, hoping that it would naturally be accepted that the child belonged to Uriah, not David.  Uriah, however, being a devoted soldier, refuses to visit his wife as that would be a violation of the soldier’s rules.  For two days, David tries to persuade Uriah to visit Bath-sheba, but Uriah refuses. (Interpreter’s One-Volume Commentary)  In the end, David turns to a violent solution to his problem.  At David’s direction, Uriah is moved to the front of the battle where he is killed. (B5)  (David’s sin is discussed further in Section 3.)  This section considers Uriah’s situation by looking at the question: Is the experience of death the end of one’s being?  If this is true then, men would have the power to destroy Life – to destroy God.  We know this is impossible!  Jesus proved that death was not what it seems to be.  He raised himself and others from the dead.  However, even when the human experience of death is not overcome and it seems like the end of the individual, it is not the end.  The “progression and probation” of life continues and those who have died, to human sense, awake to find: “(1) that they are not dead; (2) that they have but passed the portals of a new belief.” (S11)  Rejoice!   “…life and man survive this body.” (S12)  (P.S.S.T!):  Remember: “Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”  How was David first deceived?  How many times a day (or an hour) would images of death, of nudity and “carnal mindedness” attempt to desensitize and deceive you and kill your life and peace of spiritual mindedness?  Remember Trick? or (Christian Science) treatment?!  How did David’s cover-up make his earlier mistakes worse?  How many Commandments did he break?]   

Section 3:  The destruction of sin reveals Life. 
The prophet Nathan uncovers the sinfulness of David’s actions. (B9)  David, seeing his error, honestly repents and is forgiven. (B11)  Love’s goal is not to continuously punish us for wrong doing, but rather to save us from wrong doing.  Love uncovers and points out error.  By this process we discover and prove the perfection of Life.  Sin is destroyed and the true perfect Life is revealed.  If you find you have sinned, accepted a sinful thought as your own and unfortunately acted on it, you can unwind your snarls. (S16)  Resolve to change your behavior.  Take action on this resolution by more carefully defending your thought each day against the false belief that you are a weak material personality with a sinful mind separate from God.  Consider the perfect Love of God and identify yourself as the perfect reflection of perfect Love, incapable of evil thoughts and actions.  Through this prayer you will become more aware of the subtle ways sin might creep into your thinking and you will gain strength to resist evil in all its disguises.   Defend yourself by this process each day and then sin will have no hold on you.  The joy of eternal Life will be revealed!  (P.S.S.T!):  Think about and discuss ways that you can be a true friend and faithful steward like Nathan who saw the bad and dangerous path David was on and warned him in such a winning way that he awoke and repented.  See the Bible Notes on Nathan in Section 3 of myBibleLesson as well as what Mrs. Eddy says in Science and Health about an “unfaithful steward.”]

Section 4:  “Let men think they had killed the body!” (S20)  Jesus lovingly suffered the crucifixion to prove the powerlessness of death and to show mankind how to live.  He proved that through Christ, our oneness with God, we have dominion over death.  But Jesus also taught that each one of us would progress according to our own actions.  To Jesus, the death process was not the way to heaven.  Jesus taught that the only route to heaven was “…to have no other consciousness of life – than good, God and His reflection and to rise superior to the so-called pain and pleasure of the senses.” (S21)  Jesus paid a great price to show us the way to understand and demonstrate eternal Life.  Each day as we work to put what he taught into practice, we show our gratitude for his life work and we benefit from it.  Be inspired by Jesus’ sacrifice – put your hand to the plow, cultivate and purify the ground of mortal thought – and become more aware of heaven “here and now!” (S24)  [(P.S.S.T!):  What can we do today to make our lives read like gratitude letters to show how grateful we are for Christ Jesus’ intense sacrifice for us?  How can we show that we got the message and are grateful?]   

Section 5:  Join Jesus, Peter, Paul, Mary Baker Eddy, and today’s Christian Scientists in their victory over death.  “Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?” (B18)  Paul had conviction in the truth of his words.  He knew that Eutychus had been raised from the dead.  To Paul, as to Jesus, the victory over death was the inevitable outcome of the understanding of God as the Principle of being.  Paul was so sure of the truth of his words that he said this before the King and in the presence of an angry crowd that was determined to have Paul put to death.  The apostles were personal witnesses to the fact that death had no sting and the grave no victory.  They both visited with Jesus and were taught by him after they had seen him die.  This gave them courage to make their own demonstrations of life eternal. (B19, S26)  Mary Baker Eddy, who also raised the dead, teaches us to do the same.  She tells us to cast our anchor, our understanding of being, “beyond the veil of matter into the Shekinah into which Jesus has passed before us.” (S27)  The Shekinah is “in Jewish history, that miraculous light or visible glory which was a symbol of the divine presence.” (Student’s Reference Dictionary)  When Jesus ascended, he “rose even higher in the understanding of Spirit, God.” (S26)  You can begin the demonstration of eternal life today.  Step by step, overcome the material beliefs that you face today.   Study and follow the example of those who have already overcome death and you, too, will live a life completely free from the shadow of death!  [(P.S.S.T!):  Please share with the class, or congregation on Wednesday, some “new views of divine goodness and love.” (S29)]     

Camp Director’s Note: The above sharing is the latest in a series of CedarS Bible Lesson “mets” (metaphysical application ideas) contributed weekly by a rotation of CedarS Resident Practitioners and occasionally by other metaphysicians [with bracketed, italicized notes and “Possible Sunday School Topics” offered by me as editor]. 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, application 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. 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 citations referenced (i.e. B1 and S28) from this week’s Bible Lesson in the “met” (metaphysical application ideas) are taken from the King James Version of the Bible (B1-24) and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. (S1-30) 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 these ideas helpful in your daily spiritual journey, in your deeper digging in the books and in closer bonding with your Comforter and Pastor. Have fun unwrapping, cherishing and sharing your special, spiritual gift(s)! Enjoy!

Warren Huff, Camp Director (636) 394-6162

The weekly Metaphysical Newsletter is provided at no charge to the 1,200 campers and staff blessed each summer at CedarS, as well as to CedarS alumni, families and friends who request it. However, current and planned gifts are needed to defray the costs of running this service and of providing camperships, programs and operations support. Click for more about how you can give online or get information to talk privately about how to make a special gift to help perpetuate CedarS work.

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MyBibleLesson is a new, visually oriented and very helpful resource for study of the weekly Christian Science Bible Lesson. It is being produced by The Christian Science Publishing Society and can be found at:  What a great auxiliary to lesson study — maybe even reading beyond citation markers using the handsome new student books now sold in Reading Rooms.  MyBibleLesson contains word definitions, Bible background Notes, fun topical cartoons, timelines and translations, plus many healing ideas to use.  Why not check out this vehicle to help bring new meaning and life to each beloved Bible lesson in order to bless the youthful thinker and Sunday School student (and teacher) in us all!

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