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Experience the presence of the Kingdom of Heaven
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“REALITY”
September
18-24, 2023

by John & Lindsey Biggs, C.S. of Maryland Heights, MO
541 418 1176 johnbiggscs@gmail.com
541 460 3515 biggs.lindsey@gmail.com


INTRODUCTION

This week’s Lesson includes many wonderful ideas on the perfect nature of spiritual reality and our ability to discern this reality here and now. Let’s dive deeper into Christ Jesus’ teachings on the nature of God and see the presence of heaven.

GOLDEN TEXT

“. . . behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (II Cor. 6:2)

I love this present tense of the reality of being. Now is the time. We don’t have to wait. Each of Jesus’ healings demonstrated the present reality of the Kingdom of Heaven.
He said, “…Behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” (John 4:35)

What if we started every healing from the basis of the already completeness of the Kingdom of Heaven? Therefore, we would deny anything that prevents us from seeing that by knowing it is nothing – an infringement on our ability and our right to experience the ever presence of the Kingdom of Heaven now and the safety, protection, and care that emanate from God’s love.

Let’s strive to focus more on the spiritual concepts of eternity, nowness, and ever presence rather than beginning with a material timeline with its limits and beliefs.

RESPONSIVE READING

“The Lord is my strength and song, and is become my salvation.” (Ps. 118:14)

I like how this passage uses the word “become”. It signifies a growing relationship with God. A growing dependence on God. This is what Abraham, the patriarch, illustrated in the Bible, and this is what so many of the Bible characters demonstrated. This is one way we can describe our spiritual journeys – a growing demonstration of who God is and our oneness with God.

On this note, Mary Baker Eddy writes, “To-day my soul can only sing and soar. An increasing sense of God’s love, omnipresence, and omnipotence enfolds me. Each day I know Him nearer, love Him more, and humbly pray to serve Him better.” (Miscellany, p. 174:25–28)

Also, in regards to this passage from Psalms, the balance of strength and song here is interesting. God is often described as a Rock – that which gives strength, constancy, and lasting stability. Song reminds me of something that flows naturally and harmoniously. So we can have the melody of God (of peace and joy) flowing through our hearts and minds. And we can also see that we ARE the melody that God is singing –  we are God’s beautiful song. So, the idea of strength and stability can join hands with this sense of a melodious flow of harmony.

“This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Ps. 118:24) I love this idea of rejoicing in God’s day. It certainly makes the day go smoother when we allow a spirit of joy to flow through it. Internalizing this joyous mindset makes each task, each demand, lighter and more refreshing. This passage is a great reminder to let rejoicing be the keynote of each day.


SECTION 1 – The allness of God

The passage from Ecclesiastes (3:14, 15/citation B1) in this section reminds me of the well-known statement from Revelation:

“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8)

This passage takes away a sense of time with an awareness of the ALLNESS of God. Allness includes eternity and throughout all space. Since God is all, there is no way, no possibility, for anything else. God is inexhaustible, and God is enforcing harmony and immortality throughout our lives. God’s laws are harmony, health, order, supply, etc. which enforce themselves throughout the Earth and the universe.

Mary Baker Eddy expands on this:

“Here let us remember that God is not the Alpha and Omega of man and the universe; He is supreme, infinite, the great forever, the eternal Mind that hath no beginning and no end, no Alpha and no Omega.” (Miscellany, p. 267:8)

So, God has existed forever. This handles the belief that there ever could be a lie with the knowledge and understanding that the ALLNESS of God negates the possibility of anything else. You can’t have more than ALL. I like to think about the fact that it is “too late” for mortal mind. God is already all, creation is already spiritual and perfect, and this is a forever fact with its foundation in divine Mind (the supreme controller in the universe).

Isn’t this what Jesus proved day after day? That God is universal and triumphant.

“I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me.” (Isaiah 45:5)


SECTION 2 – A creation that is full, thriving, and abundant

This section speaks to the already completeness of creation and why it is sustained that way.

What strikes me in a new way are these verses from Genesis:

“God made…every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew…” (Genesis 2:4, 5/cit. B5)

This speaks to the eternal reality of God’s creation. And to the eternal “pre-existence” not just of man, but of plants and trees too. So, God makes and causes the identity of each plant even before it is perceptible humanly.

This goes along well with another passage: “Life is never for a moment extinct.” (Science and Health, p. 309:29–30)

What a wonderful standpoint for our prayers for the environment and species seemly threatened with extinction. There can’t be any limit or expiration date to spiritual creation. God’s will is abundant, continuous life for all right ideas.

“Jesus required neither cycles of time nor thought in order to mature fitness for perfection and its possibilities.” (Unity of Good, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 11:24–26)

Mary Baker Eddy proved the non-cyclical nature of life. Here is one demonstration:

“I remember that while Mrs. Glover [Eddy] was with us a blossom appeared on a fruit tree on my father’s premises out of season.”
(Christian Healer Amplified Edition, p. 292 – Charles O. Wentworth reminiscence file, February 18, 1907)

There are some other horticulture demonstrations in the biographies of Mary Baker Eddy. Here is one such account:

“After Mrs. Eddy moved to her new home in Massachusetts, she found an occasion for healing there on her property. One of her secretaries later recounted the incident:
[Mrs. Eddy] noticed that one of the trees on her place did not appear to thrive, but was drooping and showing every evidence of dying. She learned that the superintendent of her grounds proposed to cut the tree down and remove it. Immediately she sent word to him to do nothing of the kind, but to do what he could for the tree in his way, while she took the question up according to Christian Science. In a remarkably short time the tree began to grow and thrive, and today [in 1926] it occupies a place on her grounds.”
(Christian Healer, p. 268)

There is also a lovely tree demonstration in this article The healing power of oneness, which explains some of these ideas further.

The wonderful Exegesis on Genesis 1 explains spiritual creation and the spiritual universe – including plants and all life forms – in a beautiful way. You may enjoy checking it out (on page 502 of Science and Health).


SECTION 3 – Reality is all about God!

One thing that really struck me about this familiar account of Job, recounted in the third section of this week’s Bible Lesson, is the description given of what Satan, or the Adversary, has to say about himself. “Oh, I’ve just been walking around, to and fro, back and forth.” (cit. B7/Job 2:2 +7-12) Aimless, distracted, purposeless…these are all qualities of thought that indicate not watching our own consciousness. How important it is to maintain our sense of intentionality!

As I’m reading the remainder of the citations from the story of Job, I’m a little surprised to see myself in the mirror! Not in terms of the situation at all, but Bible citation 8 (Job 23:1-5) definitely sounds a bit like the way I have prayed sometimes. “Things are really hard / scary / painful right now; I want to know exactly what to pray and where to look, and I want to know how God will help me.” Granted, that’s definitely not a re-telling of what Job said exactly! But that undertone of wanting to get everything exactly right, and “filling my mouth with arguments,” and sort of approaching the situation like a task to be completed, feels very familiar to me.

And then, when Job is finally silent, and he hears God. He was so struck by the immediacy and power and presence of God, that the writers of this story describe it as hearing God “out of the whirlwind.” (cit. B9/Job 40:6-10) God didn’t make any of us, to then just throw us out to the world and we have to struggle back to him on the force of our own arguments. We are made to indicate His glory and to literally be the expressions of God – the smiles of God. We are “decked with majesty.” We are not more majestic, or recovering our majesty, based on the strength of our own assessments and personal labor. We are doing our good work, in faithful conscious expression of our Father-Mother, but in the midst of this work it’s so important to remember to just let God speak to us.

As it says elsewhere in the book of Job, “… stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God.” (Job 37:14 stand) It’s the majesty and glory of God that keeps us safe and never lets us go. Not because we had our mouths full of arguments, but because He loves us. Let our mouths be filled with standards of truth and be witnesses of truth, absolutely! If we’re going to say something, let’s say the truth! But we are saying the truth, to remind ourselves where to look – reminding ourselves of the omnipotence of God. Let Him fill us with a fresh sense of His glory!


SECTION 4 – Nothing outside of God’s care

When I was a kid, I didn’t understand some of the issues that arise with using translations of the Bible instead of reading the original text – I don’t know if I even recognized that the King James Version was a translation in the first place – and so, whenever I read the passage that shows up here: “And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils,” (cit. B11, Mark 1:34) I thought it was referring to diseases that scuba divers might struggle with. I thought that was pretty cool, that Jesus could even heal divers!

Now, today, of course I recognize that that’s just an archaic spelling of our word “diverse” but I still love whenever I come across this passage, because it reminds me that whether we are scuba diving, bike commuting, rock climbing, watching TV, reading, praying, or sleeping, there is not one condition we can ever be in where God is not fully present. And even when we think we are separate from God – chronically unwell, struggling with mental or physical challenges, suddenly struck with a discordant situation, or just feeling separate from Love in all Her goodness – the allness of God’s nature, the nature of God as Principle itself, simply does not leave room for some other power that could disrupt or alter the continuity of divine Love’s expression. Jesus knew this, and he consistently availed himself of information only from God. He was not distracted by the reports or the fears of others. He served as a perfect transparency for the light of God, and this light illuminated what God was actually doing right there.

With simplicity and certainty, Jesus commanded thought to yield to the presence of God – he awoke people to the immediacy of God’s love. He taught us that we don’t get in arguments with lies and discord; we may “argue” – declare firmly what is true – but this argument is not the healing. Statements of truth remind us what is true and where we can orient our thought; it’s Truth itself, God, reality, that is established and that transforms our sense of things to see healing. The light is come, says the final Bible citation in this section; even when it’s hard to see, we can still rejoice that the light is here and it does illuminate what is real.

Several years ago, I injured my back and could hardly walk or lie down comfortably. I addressed this with well-intentioned prayer, arguing against the claims of injury and the capacity to be injured, but I was very sad when several weeks later the same thing happened and I felt all progress was lost. After several more weeks, I was up for a long, slow walk around a lake and continued to pray while I walked.

I asked God, in all sincerity, to please show me what I was doing wrong; where was my error in prayer; what wasn’t I getting right. As I listened quietly, I heard this assurance: “Where did you learn that you needed to explore what is wrong? Consider what you are doing right!” Now, of course, we’re not interested in ignoring evil, but that day at the lake I saw that I had been so focused on the immediacy and what-felt-like reality of the problem, that I wasn’t watching for what God was doing. I didn’t jump into an egotistical celebration of nice things about me, but I did obediently start reflecting on what was celebratory about me as God’s child. And it was amazing: as I felt more and more aware of my nature and goodness as God’s child, I felt the pain just slipping away, and by the end of the walk I was entirely free, with this problem never returning.

I share this here because to me it was a neat example of the fact that discord is not something to be treated as real before it can then be removed. It’s in the light and message of God that we find the truth about ourselves and others, and it’s a joy to know we can authoritatively celebrate the good work that God has done!


SECTION 5 – Bounty for all

Bible citation B19 from II Corinthians just stands right out to me today (II Cor. 8:13, 14). What a wonderful assurance of the all-inclusiveness of God’s love. Many people believe that life is what’s called a zero-sum game. From investopedia.com: “A zero-sum game is a situation where, if one party loses, the other party wins, and the net change in wealth is zero.” Finances, employment, housing, food…many basic necessities seem, if not completely governed by this, at least influenced heavily by this theory. And really, with a limited stock of supply, someone’s always going to lose out somehow. And right there is the crux of the issue. Limits. Is your worth limited? Is your capacity limited? Your ability, your health, your faith, your substance? Reality itself? The invitation and premise that Christianity brings to the table, and that Christian Science shows the immediacy and applicability of, is that God’s allness, and the consequent presence of heaven here, means that reality must reflect and indicate His endlessly bountiful, unlimited nature. Infinity cannot be expressed in finitude.

Now, this doesn’t equate to everyone all of a sudden having a million dollars. But the law of infinitude is expressed in ways that do meet needs in practical and helpful ways. Bible citation B18, from Malachi (3:10), prophecies this. In my paraphrase, “Bring your attention and focus to Me, and I will show you how YOU are a blessing that I pour out.” Of course that’s just my paraphrase, let the angels make that passage come home directly to you, but I love the emphasis that we are a blessing that God pours out! And as His children, His outcome, His blessing, we include everything we need to feel all that blessing. Nothing is left out. How willing are we to start from a divine, infinite premise, instead of insisting that a sense of lack and finiteness is legitimate? We certainly may not know how everything is going to work out, but when we take the time to start from a fresh, Godly premise, we can see how everyone is included in His great love.

And that all-inclusiveness is important. We’re not just trying to “get our own,” we are admitting that no-one – including ourselves – is left out. I had an interesting experience years ago trying to board an early morning flight. I’d been assured that there would be no lines at this time, but when I arrived at the airport, the security line was practically out the door. I was deeply frustrated with the person who’d given me inaccurate information, and I was flustered about what to do as I stood in line. I was praying, “Please God, get me ahead of these people!” I had fifteen minutes until my plane was set to close their doors, and I still was way back in the security line.

I started to pray that the plane would be delayed…and then I stopped myself. I realized with a start that not only was I treating God like a short-order cook, just trying to get what I wanted, but I was also hoping that everyone else’s day would be disrupted with a delayed flight. I stopped that line of thought immediately, and all of a sudden I felt filled with a sense of joy that God was guiding us all, and assurance that all was well. That was it! Just that certainty that God was here. All fear left and I felt genuinely grateful for the people working there. Well, I can’t really say what happened on the ground, but the line just flowed through, and I was through security and at the gate one minute before they closed the door. No one missed their flight, no one was pushed aside by frantic passengers, and no one was given special treatment. We just all were well. I have loved remembering that experience and its promise of the all-inclusiveness of God’s bounty – not just for some, but for all.


SECTION 6 – The nowness and completeness of God’s kingdom

Have you noticed how many times “now” appears in this week’s Lesson?

In this section alone, “now” appears 6 times.

+“Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ” (cit. B24/Rev. 12:10)
+“Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. .”  (cit. B23/II Cor. 6:2)
+“This spiritual consciousness is therefore a present possibility….we can become conscious, here and now…”  (cit. S27/573:13-27, 31)

What precipitates this realization? “The accuser is cast down….” (Rev 12:10) That old belief of mind in matter, unworthiness, a belief in a separate self or life from God, etc. As we cast out that imposter of a material mind, and all the lies it tries to pour into our consciousness, we begin to realize more and more the presence of the Kingdom of Heaven and who we are as ideas of God.

“Beloved, we are God’s children now; …” (I John 3:2 NRSV)

Christ bears witness to who we are today – to our true identity – and enables us to find ourselves upright, whole, and free.

Have a blessed week!



The first cache of GEMs of BIBLE-BASED application ideas (from Cobbey Crisler & others) will hopefully be emailed early in the week and the second cache will be emailed later in the week.  You can always check  for GEM contributions in progress before then at CedarS INSPIRATION website, whether or not you’ve  SUBSCRIBED here for this free, inspirational offering.


Also later in the week, look for Ken Cooper’s
”POETIC POSTLUDE”
contributions related to this Bible Lesson.


THANKS to all you PRECIOUS DONORS for ALL of your ONGOING SUPPORT!  Every camper & visitor will be blessed by your GENEROSITY, VISION & LOVE!

ANOTHER MATCH WAS MET and its project operationally completed before camp!  Thanks to several generous donors to our special A/V Appeal we were able to finish building a CHAPEL A.V. BOOTH that will protect not only new, donated equipment, but also all our hymnals for worship services and for CedarS Sunday Hymn Sings.

If you haven’t lately checked out the GIVING TREE, there are still plenty of other smaller areas of need to fill yet this year! Campers & staff will also be blessed bigtime by the donations made to additional areas of camp, including our horse program, activity equipment, camperships, and Christian Science nursing and practitioner services.

We’re deeply grateful for EVERY GIFT of love & support,
The CedarS Team

P.S. For more about ways to keep CedarS operations ever more green and flourishing and/or to make a PLANNED GIFT, A REQUIRED IRA DISTRIBUTION or an ENDOWMENT GIFT (that will all be MATCHED), feel free anytime to call or text me (Warren Huff, Executive Director Emeritus and Project Manager) at 314-378-2574. I can put you in touch with our Financial Advisor/broker who donates all fees for stock transfers and freely shares tailored, tax-advantaged giving approaches.

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