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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.)

Discern Reality from the 4th dimension of spirit where God rocks!
Lesson Application Ideas on “Reality,” September 19-25, 2005
By Gary Duke, C.S., Saint Louis, Missouri


Golden Text: The Fourth Dimension.
“Great are thy works…thy thoughts are very deep.” Lots of human works are great which can be measured by their height (inspiration) + width (breadth) + many thoughts have depth (profundity). These planes or measurements make up the three earthly dimensions in which we live. But unless we can place “O Lord” in front of those works and thoughts, they are not the ultimate in greatness or depth. We must be thinking from the divine where we recognize, “God is at once the center and circumference” (S&H 203:32-1); then “The astronomer will no longer look up to the stars, – he will look out from them upon the universe; and the florist will find his flower before its seed” (S&H 125:28). This perspective is only possible spiritually, in the fourth dimension.

Responsive Reading: Steadfast Love of God.
A stranger said to me, “I was in New Orleans a week before Hurricane Katrina hit and I was appalled at the blatant sensuality and immorality I saw. I think God sent them a message and now is giving them a chance to start over.” I said, “My understanding of God is that He is only Love and therefore doesn’t know anything other than unconditional Love for all. Similarly, math doesn’t know when we get the wrong answer; math is simply unconditional truth.” The stranger thought deeply about that and perhaps gained a glimpse of the steadfast love of God, which is what all of us can turn to for comfort and inspiration–“He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions” (Ps.107:20).

Section 1: Perfection.
Are we fearful of terrorists–Al Qaeda, bullies in school, hurricanes, mounting bills, asking someone out on a date, tests in school, purpose in life, advancing age, etc.? These people, places, and things do not stand a chance of making us fearful and paralyzing us if we understand reality, eternality and perfection. “All the real is eternal. Perfection underlies reality” (S&H 4). Are these fears (terrorists) eternal? No. Then they are not real. Are they starting from perfection? No. Then they are not real. “The Lord bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect” (B2).

Section 2: One God; One Mind.
As students of Christian Science, many have known the feeling of being in the minority and thought about speaking out for what is right. Elijah not only thought about speaking out, but did so at the risk of death. He was the only prophet in Israel openly worshiping and preaching about the one God; the other 100 who thought as he did were hiding in caves! After prevailing against the 450 prophets of Baal (B7), Elijah continued in his attempts to liberate Israel from these polytheistic beliefs. He proved, “As there is in reality one God, one Mind, wrong notions about God must have originated in a false supposition, not in immortal Truth, and they are fading out” (S&H 6).

Section 3: Perfect Man.
“Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace” (B8). Is the Psalmist suggesting looking for human perfection? If so, we may be looking and waiting a long, long time! Often though, isn’t the standard of human perfection how we tend to judge others and ourselves? We might say, “Look at him; he’s messing up” or, “I’m not going to even try because I might fail!”

Instead, let’s consider that the Psalmist was suggesting, “As for God, his way is perfect” (B10) and because He is perfect, man is too. Mrs. Eddy says, “…if man is the image, reflection, of God, he is neither inverted nor subverted, but upright and Godlike” (S&H 10). These truths can handle the tendency to criticize by declaring all are spiritually upright, then separating the error from the person, and finding evidences of good in their character and actions.

As for perfectionism stopping us from trying, ironically, isn’t that just an imperfect model and illusive ideal? “Let us accept Science, relinquish all theories based on sense-testimony, give up imperfect models and illusive ideals; and so let us have one God, one Mind, and that one perfect, producing His own models of excellence” (S&H 13). Michael Jordan, thought by many to be the greatest basketball player ever, said he has failed thousands of times, meaning all the shots he missed, but that did not stop him from trying. In fact he stated, “I can accept failure, but I can’t accept not trying.” In hitting a baseball, if you consistently fail seven out of ten times you will likely be an All-Star and maybe end up in the Baseball Hall of Fame because you hit safely 30% of the time! So go ahead, confidently shoot the shot and swing the bat knowing that if you miss, it is merely an event and not your identity. Your identity remains absolutely perfect!

Section 4: Teaching Spirituality.
If the disciples spoke in modern day language they might have said, “Jesus, why are you ‘beating around the bush?’ Why not just ‘tell it like it is,’ plainly to everyone” (B12)? Why do you think Jesus told stories instead of speaking directly? One Bible commentary (Dummelow) says that Jesus resorted to this form of instruction to hide the meaning of what he was saying from his detractors when opposition to his teaching increased. For me, the parables of Jesus are like meaningful songs, through which I learn something new every time I really listen. They are poetry, painting a picture with few words and letting the listener fill in the blanks with the story of their life experience. Our life experience is always changing and therefore parables and songs remain fresh and take on different meanings at different times. “Our Master taught spirituality by similitudes and parables” (S&H 15).

The parable of the tares and wheat illustrates the point that this form of instruction is subject to broad interpretation. Dummelow says this parable is about the Church growing strong from good seed and then being choked by tares such as the denials by Peter, the treachery of Judas, etc. He went on to say Jesus was warning that, “In the visible Church the evil must be ever mingled with the good and that earnest men must not lose heart nor be impatient because they cannot make the Church as pure as they would have it.” Another viewpoint is expressed in Matt.13:37-43 (not included in the Bible Lesson) where Jesus seems to explain the parable differently. What does it mean to you? Mrs. Eddy said, “The inharmonious and self-destructive never touch the harmonious and self-existent. These opposite qualities are the tares and wheat, which never really mingle, though (to mortal sight) they grow side by side until the harvest; then, Science separates the wheat from the tares, through the realization of God as ever present and of man as reflecting the divine likeness” (S&H 18).

Section 5: Freedom.
In the Responsive Reading we discussed how some believe Hurricane Katrina to be the result of sin. Similarly, the Jews thought that suffering of any type was attributable to sin, even if the sin occurred in preexistence (before birth), when one was an infant, or by the parents. So it was natural for the disciples to ask, “Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind” (B13)? The response by Jesus and later, by Mrs. Eddy, is liberating:

A. Do Not Justify Error: We do not have to wonder where the error of 2 + 2 = 5 originates. Similarly, Jesus did not engage in pointless speculation about sin of the man or his parents. Instead he just stated the truth: “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” Mrs. Eddy states, “…mortals need only turn from sin and lose sight of mortal selfhood to find Christ…” (S&H 21).

B. Do Not Be a Slave to Unjust Rules and Beliefs: There were 39 forms of work forbidden on the Sabbath and kneading dough was one of them; making clay out of the spittle was construed to be kneading. In addition, on the Sabbath it was illegal to apply saliva to the eyes (a common remedy in those days for eye problems) as one was not to render medical assistance on the Sabbath unless the condition was life threatening. “The enslavement of man is not legitimate” (S&H 22).

C. Have Faith, Be Baptized and Receive Healing: Similarly to Naaman (II Kings 5:10), the blind man was asked to demonstrate his faith by going to wash (see definition of baptism S&H 581:23) and receive his healing. “…sweep away the false and give place to the true” (S&H 23). “Sight, hearing, all the spiritual senses of man, are eternal. They cannot be lost” (S&H 24).

Section 6: God Rocks!
After speaking in depth with someone about God, there was a moment of silence punctuated by the benediction, “God rocks.” I said, “Excuse me?” “God rocks,” was the reply, to which I agreed, “Yep, God really rocks!” Translation: “O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good” (B16). “All that is made is the work of God, and all is good” (S&H 29).

Section Summary Benediction:
Reality is understood not from the inherent limitations of our three dimensional world, but can only be discerned from the fourth dimension of spirit, where we behold the steadfast love of God, perfection, one Mind and perfect man, even when the senses testify otherwise. Teaching spirituality by parables allows us to delight in continual discoveries as we grow in understanding. As we demonstrate our freedom from sin, sickness and death we can sincerely exclaim, God rocks!

Resources:
Researched Bible Guide, 561-776-5711 or e-mail DayBreakPlease@cs.com

The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language, by Eugene H. Peterson, NavPress 800-366-7788, website www.MessageBible.com

The New Westminster Dictionary of the Bible, by Henry Gehman

The One Volume Bible Commentary, by J.R. Dummelow

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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