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EXPERIENCE THE RENEWAL OF GOD’S LOVE TODAY!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“Soul and Body”
for May 16-22, 2022

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


INTRODUCTION

Restoration and renewal are key themes of this week’s Lesson. This Lesson shows all the ways that God, Spirit, renews us – from renewing our sense of a covenant with God, to restoring life and harmony, to renewing our soul – our capacity to see and understand Truth. This type of renewal enables us to be like a “watered garden.”

Mary Baker Eddy writes:
“Spiritual sense, contradicting the material senses, involves intuition, hope, faith, understanding, fruition, reality.”
(Science and Health, p. 298)

“Spiritual sense is a conscious, constant capacity to understand God.”
(Science and Health, p. 209:31–32)

Let’s enjoy exploring this week’s Lesson with our spiritual sense together and perceiving more of God’s love and reality.


GOLDEN TEXT

“…My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee; and my soul [my spiritual sense], which thou hast redeemed.” Psalms 71:23

A definition of redeemed:
“delivered from bondage, distress, penalty, liability…” (1828 Webster Dictionary)
From Thesaurus.com: restore; regain; reinstate; reclaim; make good.

And a lovely definition of restoration:
“The act of replacing in a former state; Renewal; revival; re-establishment; Recovery; renewal of health and soundness” (1828 Webster Dictionary)

I love the idea of being converted to our natural, normal, state as children of God – as stated in the first chapter of Genesis. The children of one perfect God, or Mind, who has created us as Her perfect offspring. The real universe is completely spiritual. It is totally at peace. So, our sense of renewal is a renewed capacity to see this reality more clearly. It is the ability to demonstrate the spiritual nature of things with resilience. We always have been and will be children of God. Anything that tries to deny this is a supposition without any presence or power. We need to deny anything that tries to impede our progress.


RESPONSIVE READING

These beautiful passages from Jeremiah give a wonderful sense of restoration – a new covenant; new hope; new beginnings; a true homecoming; a renewed sense of God’s government and harmonious control.

“. . . this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Jeremiah 31:33

After the people of Israel and Judah had gone into exile for 70 years, leaving their homes, having their temple destroyed – which was so central to their worship and religious practice – this message of renewal and promise of homecoming must have been so important to them. God making all things new! God restoring all that had been broken. God placing a new covenant in their minds. A type of covenant that is not dependent on space, time and physical location. A covenant written on their hearts that they could live, embody, and take with them wherever they went.

Later, Jesus would echo this message of a new covenant saying “the kingdom of God is within you”. (Luke 17:21)

This is the true “treasure” (Matthew 6:21) – a spiritual treasure that we want to set our hearts on. Jesus said, in essence, why worry about physical things – where to worship, food, clothing, etc. He said “… the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23)

He also gave this great guidance: “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)

That is the essence of single-mindedness. Keeping thought singly focused on God – on this spiritual consciousness that is here and now.

The definition of Kingdom of Heaven in the Glossary of Science and Health gives us some hints of this beautiful reality.

“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.”
(Science and Health, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 590:1)

As we keep our thought focused on the Truth that God sees and knows, we will bring this renewed sense of spiritual goodness into our experience. Then we shall feel like our “soul [is] as a watered garden; and [we] shall not sorrow any more at all.” Jeremiah 31:12


SECTION 1 – YOU ARE THE TEMPLE OF THE LIVING GOD

A covenant, or promise, involves an agreement that both parties keep.

In citation B1, we are told what our role is in keeping this covenant with God:

“…walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;” (cit. B1/Leviticus 26:3)

Then there is God’s role: “Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit…I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.” (cit. B1/Leviticus 26:4, 12)

What a beautiful cause and effect relationship! It’s not that God withholds good, if we don’t follow the commandments, but that we are readier and more apt to see good by obeying God’s precepts.

Though the Ten Commandments may seem too familiar, or even outdated to some, I’m always surprised how incredibly relevant they are today. I love the title of the song “10 Ways to Be Happy” on the album 3 Steps and a Bounce. What a great way to think of the commandments.

“what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God;” (cit. B2/ II Cor 6:16)

Here, Paul reminds us that we are the temple of the living God. We get a sense of the limitless nature of our identity, our relationship to God, and our purpose.  We get to embody the spirit of Christ and allow the inspiration to uplift us and thereby flow out freely to others. When do we most experience being that temple of living God? When we feel God’s Spirit – light and love – moving in us and dwelling in us.

“Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.” (cit. B3/I John 4:13)

The Bible Lens Commentary from the CSPS adds:
“From early Jewish times, even before the building of the Temple in Jerusalem, temple referred to the habitation of the one God. Now Paul defines the community of believers as a spiritual temple consecrated to God. The Greek noun translated temple in this text (naos) signifies the inner sanctuary—the most sacred space of the Temple complex. A scholar observes, ‘The Spirit of God no longer can be localized in a sacred building: it is to be found in the gathered community of God’s elect people in Christ.’”


SECTION 2 – WAIT ON GOD

We’ve all had to make a lot of decisions! Decisions seem to be the nonstop part of everyday life – from small decisions to major decisions. The book of Proverbs offers great insights and wisdom into how to make our choices. There are many Proverbs that offer prayers that are helpful for aligning ourselves with God, enabling us to make better decisions that bless others.

One of my favorites: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
(Proverbs 3:5, 6)

There have been many times when prayer has led me in making choices and decisions – from job changes, to moving house, to choices of school, etc. There was one time when I needed to make an important choice regarding two different opportunities to serve, but I wasn’t sure what choice to make. They both seemed like great options, and I really wanted to make the right choice and didn’t want to miss out on the good of the other.

My husband and I calmly prayed together for my clarity and guidance. After a few moments of quietly praying together, the answer I received was “It will be fine either way.” Well, the message didn’t exactly tell me which choice I should make, but it did relieve me of stress and burden because it showed me that I wouldn’t miss out by choosing one and not the other.
After that I calmly felt secure knowing that whichever decision I would make, there would be enough good going around. Well, the decision became pretty clear after that. I was able to say “yes” to one opportunity and “no” to the other opportunity without any sense of missing out or regret. In fact, the desire for the other option completely vanished once I made my choice. I felt content and satisfied with the choice. And it has continued to bless me, my family, and community ever since.

Mary Baker Eddy writes, “When we wait patiently on God and seek Truth righteously, He directs our path.” (cit. S9/254) God is always here, willing and able to help us with our choices. We can listen calmly and with expectancy that the answer will be there.

Sometimes, we may have to “wait” on God – to calm and patiently wait for God to bring the right idea to light. The analogy has often been made that waiting isn’t a passive thing; rather we can have the same qualities as a waiter at a restaurant – being ready to see how we can attend to and be of service to God. Then we are ready and willing for God to reveal Herself in the perfect way.

Hymn 58 describes the beautiful qualities of “active waiting” further. Here is an excerpt from the first and second verse:

Father, we Thy loving children
Lift our hearts in joy today,
Knowing well that Thou wilt keep us
Ever in Thy blessed way…

Come we daily then, dear Father,
Open hearts and willing hands,
Eager ears, expectant, joyful,
Ready for Thy right commands…
(Christian Science Hymnal, No.  58:1, 2)

Bible Lens has this to add about the concept of “waiting on God”:
“‘Earnest expectation;’ (Greek, apokaradokia) is a dramatic phrase employed to convey intense anticipation. Waiteth, translated here from another Greek term portraying eager expectancy (apekdekhomai), underscores this outlook. ‘To Paul,’ a scholar writes, ‘life was not a weary, defeated waiting; it was a . . . vivid expectation.’”


SECTION 3 – PRAISE GOD AND HIS LIGHT

 It can seem hard to praise God all the time. After all, for instance, walking through that evil valley spoken of in the 23rd Psalm (and in Bible citation 11) would be pretty scary – how to praise God during something like that? Ah – but that very Bible verse also has the answer. It’s only a valley of shadows. You’ve probably walked around at night or in an unfamiliar place and been spooked by a shadow. Once you realized your mistake, you probably laughed a bit and carried on with a little bit more confidence and awareness of what the reality of the situation was. A shadow has no substance, no power; a shadow is only a suggestion.

Thankfully, just because it seems like there are shadows, it doesn’t mean anything has happened to the light.

And one of the best ways to acknowledge and feel God’s light, is to praise Him. “Oh, that men would praise the Lord!” (Psalm 107:8, Bible citation 10) is such a heartfelt cry and encouragement. To praise God is to admit that His light, His power, is here. And whatever is making us feel like we can’t feel His light, is not superior to Him. Psalm 36:9 assures us: “For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.” Everything real – everything truly real that we see – is seen because of light. Light is the fundamental thing governing what we see. So, it makes sense that, to see truly, we would want to make sure we’re looking to a trustworthy source for light.

That’s what God’s Word is – literally light, showing us what God has done. The more familiar we are with God’s Word and nature, we’ll naturally be alert to what isn’t legitimate, and be more and more aware of fresh, new views of what is true. And those true views include our health, our capacities, and our opportunities.


SECTION 4 – REJOICING IN GOD’S POWER, NOT OUR OWN

Christian Science isn’t a tool that we use in order to get things right or achieve goodness and health. Christian Science shows us what God is doing and how we are harmoniously part of what God is doing. The good works done as a part of one’s practice of Christian Science aren’t based on a personal power; they’re the natural fruit of being more willing to see – and trust – what God is doing, what God is like. Christ Jesus repeated himself over and over again, in different ways, that the good works he did were not his own personal power but were functions of God’s power and his absolute devotion to that divine power. These were not special gifts given only to Jesus – for instance, the Gospel of John relates Jesus’ instruction and encouragement: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” (John 14:12)

Mary Baker Eddy explains this in Miscellaneous Writings in a chapter called Bible Lessons (it’s worth checking out the entirety of the chapter). Here is an excerpt:

“The fulfilment of the grand verities of Christian healing belongs to every period; as the above Scripture plainly declares, and as primitive Christianity confirms. … ‘He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do,’ is a radical and unmistakable declaration of the right and power of Christianity to heal; for this is Christlike, and includes the understanding of man’s capabilities and spiritual power. The condition insisted upon is, first, ’belief;’ the Hebrew of which implies understanding. …

The context of the foregoing Scriptural text explains Jesus’ words, ‘because I go unto my Father.’ ‘Because’ in following him, you understand God and how to turn from matter to Spirit for healing; how to leave self, the sense material, for the sense spiritual; how to accept God’s power and guidance, and become imbued with divine Love that casts out all fear. Then are you baptized in the Truth that destroys all error, and you receive the sense of Life that knows no death, and you know that God is the only Life.

To reach the consummate naturalness of the Life that is God, good, we must comply with the first condition set forth in the text, namely, believe; in other words, understand God sufficiently to exclude all faith in any other remedy than Christ, the Truth that antidotes all error. Thence will follow the absorption of all action, motive, and mind, into the rules and divine Principle of metaphysical healing.”
(Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, 192:22–24; 193:27–32; 194:19–4)

This is demonstrable, achievable, able to be practiced by us all. I’m so grateful we are all able to go directly to God to see what God is doing. If we need help, we have many resources right at hand, from fellow church members, fellow staff at camp, and Christian Science practitioners and nurses all around the world (for reference, here is the online Christian Science Journal directory).

It shouldn’t be a cliché that every Christian Scientist is a practitioner. In fact, once I was engaged in conversation with the owner of a book shop located right next door to a Christian Science Reading Room I was serving at, and I told him I was a Christian Science practitioner. He was only slightly familiar with Christian Science, and he got a little confused and said, “Well, wait. I thought all Christian Scientists were practitioners – that any Christian Scientist would be available to help someone?” I was delighted to hear this! I did clarify what the specific role of a Christian Science practitioner who advertises in the Journal was, but I was very happy to share that he was right, any Christian Scientist would be happy to help if needed!

Love to actively practice your responsiveness to God – and to God alone!


SECTION 5 – LOVE IS NOT WAITING FOR YOU TO GET EVERYTHING RIGHT

 Sometimes it comes as a whisper. Sometimes it comes as a feeling of something just-out-of-sight. Sometimes it’s as bright as a burning bush, unmistakable for miles. But however it comes, I think we’re all familiar with that clear, quiet sense that there must be something…more. Something more than matter, than limits, than expectations based in those limits and inseparable from them. Often, healing accompanies those moments of clarity and promise. Other times it may just be a growing certainty that you just can’t shake. We can either try to fit those perceptions of “something greater” into the boxes we already know – try to “use” these angel messages to make a situation around us better – or we can learn to treat those angel messages as a new statement of what our very premise is. We can learn to let ourselves be used by God, instead of trying to use the truth to further our own pursuits.

Years ago, I was traveling abroad during college. I had left my home in the United States under a cloud of sadness and regret, and had even promised myself I wouldn’t come home unless I had regained my peace. A couple weeks went by, and while I was very grateful for all I was learning in this new environment, I still felt very haunted by my sorrow. One morning, I woke up early and went for a walk and a sit. I just started yelling at God – for about half an hour, both audibly and silently, I laid it all out there: why I was upset, why hadn’t God helped, what am I supposed to do, was this all my fault, etc.

Finally, I just got emptied out, I didn’t really have anything more to say, and I just sat silently. Then in the space of that silence, I just….felt loved. That little sentence doesn’t really capture how it felt, but in the space of that silence, I felt an overwhelming, complete assurance that I was loved. The sun rose, the cows in the field around me started mooing, the light sparkled off the dew and the waves in the distance from the ocean. And more than ever before, I felt loved. And that promise was like a rebirth for my entire approach and sense of things from then on. All those issues still needed to be resolved, but now I could approach that resolution without thinking I would only be loved once everything was settled. I could bring love with me – or rather, I could let Love bring me – to whatever was needed. This was a true healing for me, getting to see more of what God is doing and always does.

This promise of present love is a hallmark of the Scriptures. “…Take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place…” (II Peter 1:19 / cit. B17) and love to trust and watch for all the ways that Love is showing you who you are.


SECTION 6 – FINDING OURSELVES IN PRAISE FOR GOD

In turning to God, we’ll find ourselves, who we truly are. When things aren’t going right, it’s easy to sink into sadness, anger, or apathy…and this is why rejoicing, standing up in our right to praise God no matter what, is so important. It’s demonstrating our willingness to admit that the evidence or influence which ‘encourages’ sadness or anger, is not legitimate. Only Truth is able to tell us the truth; we appreciate the whispers of Truth that we see in our day-to-day, and continue to look upward.

As Mary Baker Eddy instructs in Miscellaneous Writings, “In our immature sense of spiritual things, let us say of the beauties of the sensuous universe: “I love your promise; and shall know, some time, the spiritual reality and substance of form, light, and color, of what I now through you discern dimly; and knowing this, I shall be satisfied. Matter is a frail conception of mortal mind; and mortal mind is a poorer representative of the beauty, grandeur, and glory of the immortal Mind.” (Misc. 87:6)

You are a part of the “…song, sweeter than has ever before reached high heaven…” (cit. S30/568), moved by the breath of divine Love. Material “sense,” which is no sense at all, has nothing to offer, take, or state. We love to pray, to admit the presence of God…and our oneness with Him.

Thank you, Father-Mother, for making and maintaining Your cherished children!


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GEMs of BIBLE-BASED application ideas from COBBEY CRISLER and others are posted here and have been sent. Check on on CedarS INSPIRATION website & in your email  if you have  SUBSCRIBED FOR IT HERE.


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