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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 C.S. 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. These two books 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.)

Don’t Forget Entirely About Reality!
Application ideas for “Unreality” (Bible Lesson for March 28-April 3, 2005) by Julie Ward, C.S., Westwood, Massachusetts

FEAR NOT! This lesson is filled with this essential rule for healing. As you read, see how many times you can find this command, and note the WHY that often accompanies it. (An example of this is in our Golden Text: “… for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.) “It’s such a simple concept: we don’t have to fear what isn’t real. It may seem to have a cause, a place, a law, a name, even a course of events. But if it isn’t real, it has no power to change things. We may be temporarily startled by the monster in a horror movie, but we don’t go home and monster-proof our houses, because we know that the monster has no reality. When I was in Sunday School, my teacher told us that the letters F-E-A-R stood for False Evidence Appearing Real. Recently I heard another version of this that matches this lesson perfectly: Forgetting Entirely About Reality. Let’s know that we can’t be made to forget!

GOLDEN TEXT – This verse tells us in three different ways that we needn’t be afraid. Why? Because we can’t go anywhere without God. We can’t get outside of His love. There are no danger zones!

SECTION I – Fear not, for evil is unreal.
Here’s another example of WHY we aren’t afraid. God holds our right hand. He helps us. We’re never alone. (B1) The remnant of Israel will not be intimidated, for God has promised, “Thou shalt not see evil any more.” This promise includes us. We are not afraid of evil tidings, including medical diagnoses, economic forecasts, negative opinions of friends and relatives. Why? Because we trust in God, and those who trust God, good, can have no trust in evil.(B3)

The first citation in Science and Health gives us a very practical rule for determining reality . “Everything good or worthy, God made. Whatever is valueless or baneful, He did not make, – hence its unreality.”(S&H 1) Apply this test to the thoughts that come to you. Are they good and worthy, or valueless and baneful? They can’t be both, because “Truth cannot be contaminated by error.”(S&H 3) If it seems real to the physical senses, that’s a dead giveaway that it’s unreal in Science.

As you read (S&H 5), check out the capitalization of the word “Life.” If it’s not Life with a capital L, it’s not your life. Know that fear and doubt can never overshadow your clear sense and calm trust. The darkness never wins against the light.

SECTION II – Fear not, for evil is powerless.
When Queen Esther went in to the king to plead for the lives of Mordecai and the Jewish community, it appeared that she was taking a great risk. However, she knew that her people had prayed and fasted for three days before she went in, and that was a very powerful thing. When she said, “If I perish, I perish,” she wasn’t just being fatalistic. She knew the power of Truth. Do we? Do we turn to God with all of our hearts when we face a dangerous situation? Do we know that evil is not real, what ever form it takes? We will be less and less impressed by evil when we remember that,”It is nether person, place, nor thing, but is simply a belief, an illusion of material sense.” (S&H 7) Here are some things we learn about evil in this section: it’s deception, unreality, not supreme, is not person, place, or thing, but is belief, an illusion of material sense, a negation, the absence of truth, nothing, neither power or reality, can only destroy itself, and is a big fat coward. If you ever need to talk back to evil, you can use these facts to put it in its place.

SECTION III – Fear not, for lack is unreal.
Moses reminds the Children of Israel that God has blessed them and supplied their every need even during the forty years that they wandered in the wilderness. Check out the definition of “wilderness” in the Glossary (S&H 597:16), and know that God will supply YOUR every need, even if you feel that you’ve been there for at least forty years. Love promises to gather its flocks together and to give them shepherds, and they will lack nothing. This week, consider deeply the verse you know so well, “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.”(B 13) In a sense, this is a two-way promise. God promises us that He will give us all that we need, and we promise Him that we will not yearn for things we don’t have, that we will be satisfied and grateful. And here’s another reason to “fear not” ( are you counting them?): there is nothing in the world that God loves more than to GIVE you the kingdom (see S&H 590:1). It’s free! You don’t have to qualify. He just loves to love you, and loves to share with you the pure consciousness of unlimited goodness.

“The central fact of the Bible is the superiority of spiritual over physical power.” (S&H 11) As you read the Bible, look for examples of this. In (S&H 13), Mrs. Eddy makes a very bold statement: “One only of the following statements can be true: (1) that everything is matter; (2) that everything is Mind.” She then asks, “Which one is it?” We need to ask ourselves that question often. We answer it whenever we say the scientific statement of being, “All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all.” Allness can have no opposite. And there can’t be allness AND something else.
Why do you think that Mrs. Eddy chose the two verses in (S&H 15) to sum up Christian Science?

SECTION IV – Fear not, for disease is unreal.
The ninety-first Psalm assures us that we are safe, no matter how many forms evil seems to take, (B15) In The Message, Eugene Peterson translates verses 9 and 10, “Yes, because God’s your refuge, the High God your very own home, Evil can’t get close to you, harm can’t get through the door.” Do we think of God as our very own home? Are we so “at home” with God that we immediately spot error as an intruder whenever it knocks at our mental door?

This is certainly what our Master did. The great headline of his teaching was, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (B16) That rule and promise apply to us today as much as they applied to the people of Jesus’ day. Think again from a new perspective!  The kingdom of heaven (“the reign of harmony in divine Science; the realm of unerring, eternal, and omnipotent Mind; the atmosphere of Spirit, where Soul is supreme” S&H 590:1) is not just some far-off fairy tale. It’s here, now, available to us all. And Jesus didn’t just preach this fact – he proved it, by healing multitudes of people of all sorts of problems. When a leper said to him, “If thou wilt thou canst make me clean,” Jesus replied, “I will; be thou clean.” And he was! (B16) Do we ever doubt God’s willingness to heal us? Do we ever feel that somehow we don’t quite qualify? Then we can remember that leper and know that the Christ is saying to us, “I will.” Our job? It’s outlined in (B18): “Be not afraid, only believe.”

Have you ever wished to heal others, but felt unsure about how to begin? Here’s a perfect rule for all of us who yearn to heal (whether this is your first case or your millionth): “Christian scientific practice begins with Christ’s keynote of harmony, ‘Be not afraid.'”(S&H 16) When we stop being afraid, we “readjust the balance for God.” And this “enables truth to outweigh error.” (S&H 20)

Does one disease seem more frightening than another to you? Then be sure to remember that “every disease is an error, and has no character or type, except what mortal mind assigns to it.” (S&H19) We don’t have to be intimidated by fancy medical labels. No matter what the doctors might call it, we can just call it error.

SECTION V – Fear not, for death is unreal.
Peter raised Dorcas from the dead, proving that death has no reality, no power. It’s not some irreversible state. Like Jesus, he put all of the mourners out before he knelt down and prayed for her. Do we put out all the doubt, discouragement, hopelessness before we begin a treatment? And he “lifted her up” not just physically, but mentally. As we refuse to fear death, we refuse to fear the end of any good or right idea. We’ll cast out divorce, bankruptcy, and other subtle claims of death – even dead inspiration.

Death is not inevitable. “The valley of the shadow of death” is only a shadow, the belief that there can be a time or a place where there is no light of Truth. It’s a false sense of Life. But “Christian Science, contradicting sense, causeth the valley to bud and blossom as the rose.” (S&H 21) CONTRADICTING SENSE! Every single time we contradict the testimony of the five material senses, we have taken a step toward overcoming death. Practice contradicting sense. The mortal testimony is “changing, dying, unreal.” (S&H 24) Who would choose that above “the eternal and real evidence, bearing Truth’s signet, its lap piled high with immortal fruits”?

There’s so much discussion about death in the press right now. It’s particularly wise for us not to be drawn into this, but to hold up an ever purer concept of Life. After all, “Life is real, and death is the illusion.” (S&H 25)

SECTION VI – Live a life of love, not fear.
Paul’s letter to Timothy is full of the love of a teacher for his very best student. He instructs him to “stir up the gift of God.” In The Message , Eugene Peterson translates this, “Keep that ablaze!” This is a very good thing for us to do! Don’t let it sit on a shelf. Let the qualities of God that make you so precious to Him shine out and bless the world. Don’t fall into dullness and habit – stir it up! Peterson continues, “God doesn’t want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible.” So don’t be afraid to let your light shine. Fear and love cannot coexist, for they are opposites. Choose love!

“Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need.” (S&H 26) Ask yourself, “Do I really believe that?” Sometimes we’ve seen it for so long on the wall of the church that we just say it without really seeing its glory. If it feels hard to trust divine Love to meet your need, you can begin by thanking God that He always HAS met your every need.

The twenty-third Psalm illustrates so perfectly how perfect love casts out fear. In this out-pouring of Love, every need is met with practical tenderness. I’ve found it so helpful to sit down at the computer, or with a pencil and legal pad, and just write out phrase by phrase what this Psalm means to me. Here’s a small example:
“Love prepareth a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.” Love gives me a feast of inspiration to feed me and strengthen me right where the problem appears to be. It doesn’t wait for “the enemies” to leave.

“Love anointeth my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” Love fills my thinking with “consecration; charity; gentleness; prayer; heavenly inspiration.” (S&H 592:25) And all of these qualities are abundantly available, always more than enough to meet the problem at hand.

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;” ALL the days – not some. And goodness and mercy seek me out; they don’t wait for me to follow them.

“…And I will dwell in the house [the consciousness] of [LOVE] forever.” My true and only home is in the consciousness of Love. Knowing this, I will always be “at home” with all that is good and lovely. Love will always be conscious of me, and I will always be conscious of Love. We’ll never forget for a moment that we are one.

Your unfoldment as you pray through this psalm will meet your need today. See what Love has to tell you. And remember – FEAR NOT!

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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