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Respond to the call and fearlessly leave the old for the new!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Mortals and Immortals”
for November 15, 2020

Prepared by Kathy Fitzer
kathyfitzer@gmail.com

Click to hear Kathy read "Respond to the call and fearlessly leave the old for the new!"her metaphysical application ideas on this week’s Christian Science Bible Lesson on “Mortals and Immortals.”) Or paste into your browser https://www.cedarscamps.org/metaphysical/audio/play/audio-met-by-kathy-fitzer-on-mortals-immortals-11-15-2020/

It was fun to look at this week’s Lesson through the lens of Peter’s life … his responding to the call to be a disciple of Christ, his spiritual awakening and growth, his healing accomplishments. Personally, I’ve often identified with Peter — at least with his struggles. I’ve seen him as willing, but often impetuous, many times wishing to do better and be more faithful than he seemed able, yielding to fear, but glimpsing and loving Truth enough to persist. I’m not suggesting I have yet gotten to Peter’s “level”, so to speak, as a disciple. But, he is a shining example — at least for me. And I’m grateful to know that we can always put on the new man (a fresh conception of reality) to shift from the mortal view of ourselves and creation — limited and liable to die — to the immortal reality — unlimited, unending, incorruptible, deathless, and undecaying! It’s like removing blinders, or taking down a fence, and suddenly a whole new view and range of activity is opened up … always there, but previously inaccessible.

As I read the Golden Text (II Cor. 5: 17), I was struck by the assurance that for anyone “joined to Christ”, the “new” has come. That’s now — not in the future! Old patterns, habits, and experiences are gone! We are a “new being”. How can that be? First of all, what does it mean to be “joined to Christ”? The Amplified Bible puts it, “if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life].”

That made me think of what happens when a plant is grafted to bear a different (improved and stronger) variation of fruit or flower. As I understand it, when a plant is grafted, a tender shoot (or scion) is attached to (or joined with) the rootstock of another plant and they grow together. I was interested by this comment: “you are almost always limited to grafting within a species… most apple varieties are compatible with each other as are most pears. You cannot graft an apple scion on a pear rootstock or vice versa.” What that said to me is that all of mankind truly is like Christ to begin with, or it would be impossible to be “grafted in to Him by faith in Him.” That Christ-likeness may not always be seen, but it is there, ready to be brought forward and bear fruit as it is rooted in Christ, Truth. It is reminiscent of what we read in John 5:15 "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” Infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation are one!

I love that the Responsive Reading tells us what God has not given to us — and what he has given us — through His Christ. He has NOT given us fear! He has given us, as translated in the Amplified Bible, “a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control].” These are not gifts we have to earn — simply accept! They are the result of God’s grace and mercy. Man’s holiness (translated from the Greek as that which is physically pure and morally blameless) is the natural outcome of God’s holiness, and becomes apparent as Christ is revealed. Christ has always been. But, Jesus “made manifest” this spiritual idea of divine Love. Through his teaching and example, he brought “life and immortality to light.” I find it helpful to think of “being born again” as awakening to a new view of reality that was completely demonstrated by Jesus, practiced by his followers, and available to all.

Section 1: We must gravitate Godward to put off the old man and find the real man, or new man

The Bible tells us that the source of all that has ever been created (the heaven and earth, and “that which cometh out of it”), is God. (B1; Isa. 42: 5) This same God promised to send a Messiah, or Saviour, to serve as a light to His people (to both the “chosen” people as well as to the Gentiles, or all other nations). This gift — this Messiah — would reveal God’s nature and serve as an example to all mankind, unveiling the reality of God’s perfect, spiritual, immortal creation. Isaiah prophesied the coming of this Messiah, and after Jesus’ ascension, Paul and the apostles continued to awaken thought so that the gift of Christ could be fully received — no strings attached. Paul said that grace had been given “unto every one of us” (B2, Eph. 4: 7). What is this grace? Strong’s wonderful definition of the Greek word translated as grace bears repeating: “the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude.”

God’s influence through His Christ — His divine manifestation — continues today. All we have to do is accept the gift — unwrap it and embrace it! Through the divine influence we are able to discern “the immortality of good.” (S2, Science and Health 81: 28) The “new man” is the man that God has created. The old man that appears to be corrupt because of a restricted view of reality can (and must be) put off as we stay focused on the light of Christ. Shadows play crazy tricks on us — especially in dim light — making it look like something is there that isn’t, or isn’t there that is. But, when we understand the trickery of shadows, we’re not fooled. As we understand the trickery of a darkened understanding, we’re not fooled by the appearances of mortal testimony. We’re told that we must “gravitate Godward, near the broader interpretations of being, and gain some proper sense of the infinite. (S5, 265:5) Mortal mind (the counterfeit of the divine Mind) must “part with error and put off itself with its deeds.” (S6, 430: 3-5) Must indicates an obligation or necessity. We really have no choice. Mortal mind (a false sense of things, or an error) can’t resist the pull of Christ, Truth, any more than objects can resist the pull of gravity. God has provided the means for us to be led out of darkness into the light. We really have no choice but to “put off the old man” (the limited view) and “put on the new man” (the clear, limitless, immortal view of the reality of God’s creation). So .. let’s accept the gift of Christ and let go of old beliefs that only serve to limit us — that say we’re existing in an orbit of our own or “working up” to God. Accept the gift of freedom, exemplified by Jesus!

Section 2: Answer the call — choose to leave the old for the new

Now we are introduced to Peter. Peter was a professional fisherman and knew very well that fish who hadn’t been around during the night were unlikely to suddenly appear during the day. Yet, along comes Jesus, telling him to go back out and try again. Peter resisted at first, but then quickly followed, and found his nets full of fish! It is likely that he had overheard Jesus preaching to the crowds that had gathered. And now, after such a miracle, there was no question that Jesus had something special to offer. (B5, Luke 5 1-10) It was the beginning of Peter being called “out of darkness” into the light of Christ — as we are being called (B3, I Pet. 2: 9). Peter and the other disciples who were called responded to Jesus, leaving behind their source of income and that which was familiar, and willingly focusing on sharing the good news of God’s kingdom. Up to this point, Jesus had been acting alone. Now, however, he begins to call others to leave whatever else they had been doing to join him in the kingdom business. Some responded, others did not. Which camp will we be in? Do we have the humility to listen, leave the old, and embrace a new perspective?

In order to experience the blessings of immortality, the “old” we are being called to leave is the belief of matter, or a mortal sense of things — with its apparent comforts as well as its pains and limitations — and accept the “new” reality of unlimited Spirit that Mind reveals and Jesus demonstrated (S11, 12; 370: 2-5 & 323: 28-2). Jesus’ complete control over matter proved that he was the Messiah — fully expressing Christ, “the divine idea of God outside the flesh.” (S9) But, if he was the only one capable of such demonstrations, it would have been foolish for him to call others to follow him and do as he did. The disciples answered the call, emerging from matter to Spirit … and so must we! Christ is the divine nature of all or us! Mary Baker Eddy speaks about emerging gently from matter to Spirit coming out of the darkness with utmost meekness! Every time we overcome limitation, turn to God for healing, see things from a more spiritual view … we are emerging (S13; 485: 14-17). We are leaving the old for the new and answering the call!

Section 3: Don’t be afraid to venture into uncharted waters — you’re not alone!

This was the first time Peter and the others had been sent out ahead of Jesus. And, of course, a storm came up! How often does it seem that when we venture out on our own (or so it seems), challenges arise? In this case, the disciples were faced with several situations that brought on fear. First the storm, then seeing Jesus walking across the lake (looking like a ghost), and finally the waves that confronted Peter after he had the initial courage to join Jesus on the surface of the water (B7; Matt. 14; 22-33). We don’t have to be in a boat in the middle of stormy waves to feel chaos, darkness, and destruction closing in. But, regardless of what situation we find ourselves in, Christ comes to us, reassures us, and lifts us up, as Jesus lifted up Peter. The key is to refuse to yield to the fears and venture out … step out of the familiar, walk on the water, so to speak, and trust Truth to overcome error and Spirit to overcome matter.

The call to not be afraid applies to doing new things and facing new situations, but it also applies to learning to think differently. General belief says that matter is substantial and health is dependent on physical remedies. It can be scary to make a shift and think in terms of thought governing the body, and God, Truth, being the healer. It can seem like a big jump to start with perfect God and see perfect man, rather than starting with sick, injured, limited man and hoping that God might be willing to help,. And, there may be some rough spots as the view becomes clearer. But God and His Christ are always there to meet every human need! As you outgrow the old way of thinking (dependence on physical evidence) “you should not fear to put on the new” (S17; 452: 10-11). Welcoming Christ into your “boat” brings peace!

Section 4: Recognition of the authority of Christ is the foundation for healing!

Peter’s response to Jesus’ question about who people said he, the “Son of man”, was takes place in Caesarea Philippi. I mention this because it was an area with ties not only to Rome, but to Pagan and Jewish religious practices — all at variance with Jesus’ teachings. This made Peter’s identification that Jesus was “the Christ, the son of the living God, even more meaningful. The many idols represented there were considered to be gods, but certainly not living Gods, ever-present and ever active.

Peter and the others had previously acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah, but Peter’s declaration made it “official.” Peter’s response was one of solid conviction — no wavering! (B8; Matt. 16: 13-18) It was at this point that Jesus changed Simon’s name to Peter, meaning “rock”. Peter wasn’t a common name at the time. The New Interpreter’s Bible says “there are no documented instances of anyone’s ever being named “rock” in Aramaic or Greek prior to Simon." The new church — in contrast to the old teachings of Judaism — was to be established on this revelation that, as Mary Baker Eddy states, “divine Life, Truth, and Love, and not a human personality, was the healer of the sick and a rock, a firm foundation in the realm of harmony.” (S21; 137: 8-11, 16-21, 26-9) To me, this distinguishes dependence on a mortal person for help, and reliance on immortal Truth. This Truth destroys all sense of mortality and “brings to light immortality”. Just as light reveals what has always been, but can’t be seen in the dark, so Christ reveals the truth of the immortal nature of man, resulting in what we call healing. Healing truly is a revealing! And if we are to be able to see a needed solution (that Love has already provided) we have to acknowledge the immortal Christ (the light of Truth, God’s message of good to us) as the ever-present Saviour, fully expressed in Jesus.

Section 5: Start with God to bring the human view in line with the divine

I love how often we read about Jesus’ compassion regarding the multitudes (or individuals) that approached him, seeking healing. (B9) He started with Love — with God! And, because he started with God, there was never a question as to whether or not healing would occur. He knew that all things are possible to God! A man approached Jesus about healing his son, whom the disciples had failed to heal. The son is identified as a lunatic in the King James version of the Bible, but more modern translations speak of the case as involving epilepsy and seizures. The point is that Jesus didn’t see the behavior (or the disease) as attached to the boy, but “rebuked the devil.” In other words, as I see it, Jesus identified what was not God-like and separated that from the individual, knowing that mortality (limitation) could no more be part of the immortal (unlimited) image of God than darkness could be part of light, or a blemish appear on the image in a mirror if it wasn’t on the original.

Why couldn’t the disciples heal the situation? Why do we sometimes struggle to find healing? The issue appears to be one of unbelief or lack of faith. Jesus told his students that if they had faith even as small as a grain of mustard seed they could move mountains. I was interested to learn that “moving mountains” was a Jewish figure of speech for doing what was considered impossible. But, with even a tiny bit of faith, represented by the mustard seed, all things are possible — as long as that faith is not in personal ability, but in God. (Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible).

This story in both Matthew and Mark immediately follows the disciples having witnessed Jesus’ transfiguration experience. Jesus clearly understood that God knows no limits. But, the disciples still couldn’t quite fathom this idea that matter has no power to limit life in any way! Unbelief can also include the idea of unfaithfulness (or disobedience.) The disciples weren’t intentionally being disobedient, but when any doubt enters thought, aren’t we disobeying the command to honor the first commandment … starting with acknowledging the supreme and consistent power of “the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage”? Peter had correctly identified Jesus as Christ, and the disciples agreed. He and the disciples may have glimpsed the power of that immortal Christ to heal, but it wasn’t yet solid conviction. Perhaps they were still stuck on a sense of mortal personality — and the false responsibility that goes along with it.

So, when we face anything in need of healing, let’s be like this boy’s father — obediently turning in complete confidence to Christ (the expression of God’s spiritual, eternal nature) and never think that something might be out of reach of healing.

We have several strong, strong statements from Science and Health in this section. The two that stood out to me were that Jesus’ “humble prayers were deep and conscientious protests of Truth, — of man’s likeness to God and of man’s unity with Truth and Love” and the instruction to “Look away from the body into Truth and Love, the Principle of all happiness, harmony, and immortality” (S24& 26; 189: 15; 261: 2-4, 21-24). As we look away from the false evidence we’re not as likely to be mesmerized by the darkness, and can humbly stay with the light of immortal Truth, and see the good that has always been!

Section 6: Peter raises Tabitha from the dead — proving death to be only a mortal belief

Obviously, somewhere along the line Peter figured things out, because in this section we discover he was no longer fooled by mortal appearances. When confronted by the death of a fellow-disciple named Tabitha (or Dorcas), he put out the mourners and their focus on her past accomplishments. Peter prayed. He was awake to Tabitha’s immortality and woke her up so she could continue living her full and immortal life. Peter knew that, as Mary Baker Eddy later wrote, “man in the likeness of God as revealed in Science cannot help being immortal.” (S32) As we practice what we know, “lay off a false sense of life, substance, and intelligence,” and grow in our knowledge and reliance on Truth, we, too will fully realize that we (and all) reflect God alone. Inseparable from immortal Life, harmonious life not only can’t be lost, it can’t even be truly interrupted. As we gain new views of reality — see things as Jesus (and ultimately Peter) did — we will “no more fear that we [or anyone] shall be sick and die” (S30; 406: 20-25). “When fear disappears, the foundation of disease is gone.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, 368:31–32) And without a foundation, nothing can stand!

So … like Peter, let’s all agree to respond to the call of Christ, be willing to step out of the boat, acknowledge Christ as the impersonal healer, believe and have faith in God, leave the old for the new, and so exercise our God-given ability to heal!


CLICK LINKS below for more APPLICATION IDEAS from CedarS-team for this Lesson:

  • The first six in-progress, ONLINE GEMs are in the works. They will be sent with insights and application ideas from Cobbey Crisler and others to help us more fully demonstrate our immortal, spiritual nature of completeness, perfection, dominion, and freedom.
  • To enjoy Ken Cooper’s YouTube shared insights on Bible events shared in this week’s Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson click on their link/ttiles. To help make familiar stories in this Bible Lesson easier to visualize and relate to, Ken freely offers a custom poem called “Peter’s Faith and two monologues called Thou art the Christ,” and Tabitha”.

CLICK on LINKS (below) to CedarS-related, ONGOING OPPORTUNITIES for SPIRITUAL ENRICHMENT!

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