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Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson: “Spirit” by Dan Carnesciali, C.S. of St. Louis, MO

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 (as well as friends) see and demonstrate the great value of daily study of the Christian Science Bible lessons year-round, not just at camp!   You can sign up free to have these mets emailed to you in English by Monday or in French or Spanish by Wednesday: CHECK www.cedarscamps.org/metaphysical/ FOR A FREE TRANSLATION of this weekly “met” offered in FRENCH by Pascal Bujard of Switzerland AND now in SPANISH by Ana Arcioni of Spain.

Choose your steps wisely, avoid the obstacles and traps of negativity and physicality, listen to Spirit for guidance, and you will progress rapidly towards your goal of freedom, confidence, authority and joy.

Golden Text:
Jesus’ statement that God is Spirit comes at the end of his dialogue with the Samaritan woman at the well, where Jesus shares that he is the Messiah and Truth is available to all races.  Together, let’s discover what Jesus was talking about – how to worship the Father, Spirit, more purely, more truly, and more spiritually.  Several translations, such as the J. B. Phillips translation, translate this passage as “God is Spirit” rather than “God is a Spirit.”

Responsive Reading:
Sing for joy!  Give thanks for the goodness around you!  Kneel (yield up your personal will) to your Maker.  Bow before God (honor God).   Wait on God.  As life hums along, pause and worship.  Dig below the surface of thought, and strive for “the deep things of God.”  Spirit seems to be a mystery when you reason from a material basis outward.  The reality of Spirit is brought into focus when the spiritual nature of man and earth is understood.  Do not settle for false beliefs that matter and spirit coexist, that man is spiritual having a human experience, or that matter is evolving into more and more intelligent forms.  Spirit does not need matter for expression.  The universe, including infinite man, is Spirit’s complete manifestation.  Earth, environment, camp, church, home, school, body are compound spiritual ideas.  Problems with them can be resolved by identifying them correctly.  “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God;”

Section I – Ephesus – Fruit of Spirit

“Every step towards goodness is a departure from materiality, and is a tendency towards God, Spirit.”(S1)  Those steps are not always easy, but they are rewarding.  Each section of this week’s lesson is a step forward to conquer sensuality.  Sensuality is the gratification of the senses or fleshly appetites.  Each section contains a letter from the book of Revelation written by John while he was [in privation] on the island of Patmos, [a Roman penal colony-work camp.  Italicized notes in brackets are from a B. Cobbey Crisler talk on “What the Spirit Saith to the Churches”] It’s nice to have seven sections in the lesson, one for each of Paul’s letters to the seven Christian churches in Asia Minor, which is modern day Turkey.  [Each aspect of church in these letters also addresses a different facet of spiritual man purified.] These churches were young and trying to figure out what Christianity was and how to practice it in a pretty hostile environment.  The first of these letters was written to the church in the city of Ephesus, which was a center for pagan worship.  A pagan is a believer in many gods, or one who has little or no religion and who delights in sensual pleasures and material goods.  (Merriam-Webster Online)  John knew these churches had few good role models, [and many bad ones like breakaway groups at Ephesus who modeled unfaithfulness.]  John implored the churches not to be lured into the sensual scene surrounding them.

We face this challenge too, don’t we?  Material sense says, “Put off spirituality.  Party [unrestrained and unholy] like there’s no tomorrow!”  Lately, some music and movie stars have “partied hard” and made headlines.  They may spiral downward until, like the Prodigal Son in Jesus’ parable, they hit rock bottom.  Spiritual sense says, “Enjoy the consistently good life, be free, have dominion, enjoy the gifts of Spirit and be happy.”  As The Message version of CedarS 2007 theme from Galatians 5:22 puts it:  “What happens when we live God’s way?  He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard — things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity.  We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people.  We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our own way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.” (B6)  If you build a life on lasting qualities like these, you will be building on the rock of Spirit, rather than on the sand.  (See Jesus’ parable of the wise man who built his house on the firm foundation of God in Matt. 7:26.)  “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (B5)  Don’t be afraid to step out from the crowd and let your light shine!  (Live the camp song: “This little CedarS light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine!”)


Section II – Struggling Smyrna

The Christians in Smyrna were really struggling (tribulation = trouble, trials).  The Romans had confiscated their property leaving them with little to live on.  John realized that, like Daniel in the lion’s den, some of them might face death for worshipping God.  Fear overcome, man obtains the “crown of life,” the Christ idea, which heals and saves.  “Thou wilt shew me the path of life:”(B8)  The true understanding of God exempts man from sin and death.  It does this by destroying the false evidence that would shackle you to false beliefs and their consequences. (S6)  All forms of sin, sickness and death are false beliefs (from which we should be saved.)  An example of a false belief is that “the world is flat.”  If everyone on earth believed that, it still would not be true.  False beliefs, although untrue, limit demonstration.  Even if not accepted personally, world beliefs, are limiting until they are thrown off.  When false beliefs are destroyed, healing is the result.  That is because it was the false belief that made the sickness or problem seem real in the first place.

Contrary to world belief, Life is not and never was in matter, so material man does not have a life to lose. (S8)  Because spiritual man reflects Life and lives in Spirit, he is not subject to a death experience.  “In Science man is the offspring of Spirit.  The beautiful, good, and pure constitute his ancestry.” (S9)  What a wonderful heritage we all have.  Our spiritual heritage wipes out the belief of a family history of alcoholism, smoking, gambling, disease, etc.  Spiritual man’s birthright and “crown” is exemption (freedom/release) from evil.


Section III – Spiritual Strength

Pergamos/Pergamum was a major city in western Asia Minor in New Testament times.  It lies in a spacious valley, sixteen miles from the Aegean Sea.  It is the site of a major temple to the Greek god Zeus and a sanctuary dedicated to its patron goddess, Athena.  John writes, “I see where you live, right under the shadow of Satan’s throne. But you continue boldly in my Name; you never once denied my Name, even when the pressure was worst, when they martyred Antipas, my witness who stayed faithful to me on Satan’s turf.” (Rev. 2:13 The Message)  Sounds like a rough place to stand up and speak out as a Christian!  [Even Peter hid and denied his Christianity under the pressure to save his life.]

Part of John’s message was to beware of others putting a “stumbling block” in your path.  By reflection, we have spiritual strength to overcome all temptations [leading to a life of unrestrained indulgence or lust].  (B10)  We should be careful not to put anyone else in a situation of temptation either.  That would not be Christian.  “Never breathe an immoral atmosphere, unless in the attempt to purify it.” (S&H 425:15)  This is another way to take a “step” towards the joys of Spirit, like in the first section. (S13)


Section IV – Spiritual Baptism

The church at Thyatira was recognized for its good works, charity and service.  But a self-appointed prophetess tempted them to mix sensuality with their worship of Spirit. [Fornication, or sex outside of marriage, comes from the Greek word pornia, the root of pornography.]  Jesus said that you cannot serve two masters, because you will really be serving one over the other.  Gluttony expressed as any excess would separate you from God.  We may think of the morning star that the faithful receive as Christ, the divine influence, the true idea of God, and spiritual power.

Some critics say Christian Scientists “do not believe in evil.”  Mary Baker Eddy clearly understood that man must overcome evil.  Dominion is not achieved by ignoring evil or being ignorant of it.  Christian Science does not make a god out of evil.  It instead scientifically classifies it as nothingness, because it has no true basis. God does not make it and nothing exists outside of God.  It recognizes that man must defend himself from false influences.  Animal magnetism is a false belief that would confuse man, deny good, obstruct progress, and delay healing.  It hides as subtle resistance to Spirit and everything spiritual.  Or it blatantly promotes matter as substance and the origin of intelligent life.  We need to see through its subtlety and destroy its effects. (Handling Animal Magnetism, Christian Science Journal, October 1969)  Jesus said, “there is no truth in [evil].  When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8:44)


Section V – Watch out, Sardis!

John told the Church at Sardis to be watchful [to put the seal of completion on your works.  A paraphrase for “not found your works perfect before God” is “I have not found any work of your completed!”]  This sense of being watchful (for the perfection at hand) is to be fully aware of the presence of good, even when evil seems at hand.  For example, once Elisha and his servant were surrounded by horsemen that meant to do them harm.  The servant knew the situation was hopeless.  Yet Elisha assured him, “Don’t worry about it-there are more on our side than on their side.” Elisha prayed to God, “… open his eyes that he may see.  And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire (God’s protection) round about Elisha.” (The Message – II Kings 6:16, 17 open)  This hints at the kind of watchfulness and vigilance that John was encouraging.

The 6th Tenet begins, “And we solemnly promise to watch, and pray for that Mind to be in us which was also in Christ Jesus;” (S20, S&H 497:1)  Let us renew that vow to be watchful. Mrs. Eddy says, “We must resolve (make a firm decision) to take up the cross (stay with the Truth when the going is tough) and go forth with honest hearts to work and watch for wisdom, Truth and Love.” (S19)


Section VI – An Open Door for Brotherly Love
(Philadelphia in Greek)

In John’s letter to the church in the ancient city of Philadelphia, he spared giving them any rebuke.  John referring to the foretelling of the Christ in Isaiah 22:22 (“the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open”) advised church members to use the authority of Christ and realize that they could not be turned back.  He told them that when God opens a door, no man can shut it and when he closes a door, no power can open it.  Some church members and I volunteer at a local jail and answer questions about God and Christian Science as part of a committee we lovingly refer to as “our church on wheels.”  (The men cannot come to us, so we bring it to them.)  However, on this day there was a problem.  No men showed up at the appointed time.  I could see men peering in through a window in the door to the room, but none of them were coming in.  More time passed, but no men came in.  It seemed like something was stopping them from entering.  We volunteers prayed.  There was no influence that could keep that door closed.  If Mind had opened that door for men to hear about Christian Science, then nothing could shut it.  Regardless of whether any men were able to join us that day, the message of Christian Science was reaching them.  A short time later, men started to come through that door and they kept coming in until we had a record number of men join us.


Section VII – The Rebuke of the Lukewarm Church

The church at Laodicea received the sternest of rebukes from the author of Revelation.  [They were spewed out because revolting.]  John labeled them lukewarm (apathetic, stale, and stagnant) or [not committed to anything, tepid], which is interesting because the water in Laodicea was lukewarm.  Its source was a hot spring 5-6 miles away.  By the time it got to the city, it had lost its heat. (B17, www.apocalipsis.org)  Why were they so complacent?  It may have been because they were wealthy and their needs were all taken care of.  As a result, they were coasting instead of digging into the Word and making spiritual progress.  Maybe they needed the challenges of the other churches.

Mary Baker Eddy advises us that, “It is not wise to take a halting (hesitating) and half-way position or to expect to work equally with Spirit and matter, Truth and error.”(S26)  God is infinite power.  To have the power of Spirit, to heal, we must love God supremely.  Peter and John were true worshippers. Like their Master, Jesus, healing was essential to and the natural outcome of their worship. (B19)  In the name of Jesus Christ can mean “in the manner of Jesus Christ.”  There is good reason to believe that due to his condition the man had been barred from entering the temple.  Imagine his joy of being healed and entering the temple. “Let us feel the divine energy of Spirit, bringing us into newness of life and recognizing no mortal nor material power as able to destroy.” (S13)

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. 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. 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.   Spirituality is your innate estate that connects you moment by moment with God. (See S&H 258:30)  Christ is the gift of light that Jesus gave. This Christ light of spiritual understanding comes with and reveals infinite blessings. So, have fun unwrapping and cherishing your very special, spiritual gift(s)!   Then, wherever you are, share them with all as big blessings that make the Infinite difference!

Enjoy!

Warren Huff, Camp Director    director@cedarscamps.org (636) 394-6162

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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 have requested it. However, current and planned gifts are a big help and are greatly appreciated in defraying the costs of running this service and of providing needed camperships, programs and operations support.  Click http://www.cedarscamps.org/giving for more about how you can provide support online or to get information or discuss privately how to make a special gift to help perpetuate CedarS work.

 

You can also MAIL your tax-deductible support to:

The CedarS Camps, Inc.        THANKS TO YOU PRECIOUS DONORS

19772 Sugar Drive                      FOR YOUR ONGOING SUPPORT

Lebanon, MO 65536               OF CedarS IMPORTANT WORK!

LETTING SPECIAL NEEDS BE KNOWN –We are seeking funds to help cover:

1       Four recently-scheduled Christian Science lectures at CedarS (for different 2007 sessions).  These 30-minute talks were offered by the Manual-based authority of the Christian Science Board of Directors with a topic of: “HEALING: the ultimate adventure!”  Campers and staff have been LOVING these!  (As of 8-4 all but about $700 has been covered by many precious supporters.)

 

2.     The CSO (formerly “College Org”) Summit over Labor Day 2007 (Aug. 31-Sep. 3) at CedarS for all college and university students and professors as well as incoming high school seniors.  Please help spread the word about this event sponsored by TMC Youth (The Mother Church Youth committee) with workshops offered by Christian Science lecturers, speakers and writers for the Christian Science Monitor, Journal and Sentinel.  You can find details on the inside covers of recent periodicals and register at tmcyouth.com.

 

To print a formatted and printer-friendly version of this week’s Met just go to: http://www.cedarscamps.org/metaphysical/met.asp or your e-mail address can be added per your request by our staff at CedarS.   For additional support, or if you have any concerns, please send e-mail to: director@cedarscamps.org.


MyBibleLesson is a new, visually-oriented and very helpful resource for study of the weekly Bible Lesson.  It is being produced by The Christian Science Publishing Society and can be found at: myBibleLesson.com.  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, timelines and translations, plus many healing ideas to use.  Why not check out this vehicle to help bring to new meaning and life each beloved Bible lesson in order to bless the youthful thinker and Sunday School student (and teacher) in us all! 
 
You can receive or stop your free subscription to CedarS weekly newsletter in your email box by Sunday or Monday of each week by subscribing – or unsubscribing –at www.cedarscamps.org/myCedars

 

 


CedarS 2007 Theme: “Walk in the Spirit!” (Gal. 5:25) 

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