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GEMs of divine light illuminate God's all-harmonious universe!
insights from Cobbey Crisler, Ken Cooper & others from the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“Is the Universe Including Man Evolved by Atomic Force?”
for December 20, 2020

GEM#1: Accept your assignment of giving with a serving spirit to the delight of God's soul and with the sure fulfillment of God's promise to uphold you!
“Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.” (Isaiah 42:1)

Cobbey Crisler on Isa. 42:1 (Responsive Reading, RR), 7
“Chapter 42:1 (RR) is a prophesy of a servant who should come, the “elect of God” who would have “the Spirit of God upon him.” [W: In Verse 6 there’s a shift from God calling this elect servant in the third person, to God calling YOU and holding your hand, and keeping YOU, to give YOU “for a covenant of the people, for a light to the Gentiles.” You will notice in Verse 7 – and in Isaiah 61:1 – what the assignment of this servant (YOU) would be, “To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, [and] them that sit in darkness out of the prison house (W: or out of a need to lockdown, shelter-in-place, quarantine).”

[Cobbey again:] “Isn’t it interesting that the prophet Isaiah foresees this prophesied individual in the terms of “a servant” when the Greek word most often in the New Testament for healing has the classical Greek meaning of “to serve.” You remember how Jesus defined his ministry in those terms, “I came not to be ministered unto but to minister” [Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45]. Healing is serving by definition in Greek. Serving whom? God and man.”
­“Heal the Sick”: A Scriptural Record,” by B. Cobbey Crisler**

[Warren:] These prophesies in Isaiah foretell the coming of Christ as God’s healing servant. But the verse in our Bible lesson also promises that YOU are this called and healing servant who will be upheld. That is a promise of protection that you can specifically affirm in your prayer walks and watches— not only for yourself, but also for all our brave workers in health care, law enforcement, food supply, election voting and polling, and other essential lines of service. All the dear ones who seek to restore freedom and harmony to our communities, to our country, and to our whole world have been clad in Love’s complete protection as they (you, we) have “pictured this heaven and earth, inhabited by beings under the control of supreme wisdom” (SH 91:2).

Florence Nightingale, a famous wartime nurse in the Crimean war, was cited by Mary Baker Eddy as a great example during her long hours of virus exposures of the endurance and immunity that God gives to those who provide care for and serve others. She wrote: “…Florence Nightingale and other philanthropists engaged in humane laborers have been able to undergo without sinking fatigues and exposures which ordinary people could not endure. The explanation lies in the support which they derive from the divine law, rising above the human. The spiritual demand, quelling the material, supplies energy and endurance surpassing all other aids, and forestalls the penalty which our beliefs would attach to our best deeds… Constant toil, deprivations, exposures, and all untoward conditions, if without sin, can be experienced without suffering. Whatever it is your duty to do, you can do without harm to yourself.” (Science and Health, p. 385:2)

[W:] MANY wonderful resources are being shared daily with great healing content for our CedarS family’s Global Prayer Watch for World Health 2020. Check out on JSH-online an excellent Journal podcast by Janet Horton, a retired US Army Chaplain. It gives context to the above passage by sharing a brief biography of Florence Nightingale and her tireless labors for the soldiers during the Crimean War. She also shares an example of the pulling together and protection that she and others in the Pentagon demonstrated when it was struck by a terrorist-controlled airplane on 9/11.

[W:] As I was praying to see as divinely protected all the world’s front-line, health care providers, including all dear Christian Science nurses—and all patients as well, I continued to read page 395 in the S&H chapter, “Christian Science Practice.” I found especially helpful the paragraph with the marginal heading of “Mental Quackery.” There it says: “It is mental quackery to make disease a reality—to hold it (the coronavirus) as something to be seen and felt—and then to attempt its cure through Mind…. Mental practice, which holds disease as a reality, fastens disease on the patient and it may appear in a more alarming form.” (SH 395:21)

GEM#2: Show the resilience of having the kingdom-of-God as your core and your all!
Then, even if thrown down hard, you won’t fall apart like an egg! You’ll bounce back even higher like a golf ball! Jesus tells us clearly “the kingdom of God is within you!” (Luke 17:21) Mary Baker Eddy adds:

  • “God is at once the absolute centre and circumference of being." (S&H 203:32-1, citation S7)
  • “These clearer, higher views inspire the God-like man to reach the absolute centre and circumference of his being." (S&H 262:15, citation S5)

A few decades ago when one of these citations was also in the Christian Science Bible Lesson, I decided to dissect a golf ball to explore its circumference and its center to see what made it thrive and bounce back so resiliently in the “hard-knock life” that it led. I clamped one in a vise and hack-sawed it in half. I found it had an inner rubber ball wrapped tightly in a bunch of rubber-bands that snapped as they were cut. (My dissected golf ball is shown as the first Download in the upper right of this GEM online.)

Spiritual sense and resilience are especially valuable in changeable and tough times, because we and the team we’re on can ill-afford to have us “go all to pieces” like a broken egg—or to have others have to “handle us with kid-gloves” because if they don’t, we might fall apart or “fly off the handle.” The Golf Ball versus Egg analogy relates to the testing and proving of one's spiritual resilience "to reach the absolute centre and circumference of his being." (S&H 262: 15) It helps us spiritually perceive that “God is at once the centre and circumference of being.” (S&H 203:32-1, S7)

I have reasoned many times since then with myself and with Sunday School students, campers and counselors (all who got to handle the cut-up ball), that, like rubber bands, we, as spiritual ideas, are made to be stretched. And, I usually remind them (and myself), "whatever stretches you, blesses you."

These “clearer, higher views inspire the God-like man" (you!) to resiliently bounce back from all kinds of hard-knocks and throw-downs. In fact, like a golf ball, you as a spiritual idea knowing that God’s kingdom reigns over and within you and all, will bounce back higher the harder you are thrown down. (The best higher-bounce-back example is Jesus’ hardest throw-down of the crucifixion followed by his highest bounce back of the resurrection and ascension!)

On Easter I usually illustrate the contrast between the resilient characteristics of a bouncy, vinyl-shell golf ball with a fragile, raw egg and its easily broken shell (circumference) and its squishy yoke (centre). The harder an egg is thrown down, the more it splatters! On Easter (egg) Sunday, we always discuss how the Bible and Mary Baker Eddy tell us of our Genesis 1 spiritual origin instead of an egg origin or dust origin. I usually quip that "If you think that you started out as an egg, you're very likely to end up scrambled."

Then, to turn things into thoughts and to "strengthen our shells" so as to not crack easily, we often read together "Taking Offense" where Mary Baker Eddy counsels against having a fragile, easily-ruffled or touchy disposition. (Miscellaneous Writings, page 223:24.)
To live love resiliently, Paul tells us, "Love is not easily provoked"… or splattered (I Corinthians 13). Whenever you become easily provoked, one might say, "the yoke's on you."

GEM 3: Turn the tables on all fables! Be unwavering and never fooled by a fable that falsely claims that any “perfect gift from above” (B6) can ever be diminished or made to disappear! Discover in your wilderness experience a vestibule entryway where all that disappears is material sense (like bulky outer garments) of loneliness, doubt, darkness while spiritual sense unfolds the sacred refuge and solitude of wilderness, the constancy of perfect health, the confidence of spiritual light-heartedness and sufficiency…all of which can never be diminished or made to disappear!

[Cobbey Crisler on James 1:17 (B6) and beyond thematically:
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning—as in an eclipse”[W:] or as in illusionist David Copperfield’s trick to click here to see the whole audience slowly revolved to make the Statue of Liberty seem to disappear. ]
[Cobbey again] “As promised in scriptures:
“God is not a man, that he should lie…hath he not said, and shall he not do it? Or hath he spoken and shall he not make it good?” (Numbers 23: 19}
And, “For I am the Lord; I change not.” (Malachi 3:6)

James 1:18 “Of his own will begat he us with the word—logos—of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures”—a sample of what He created to be consecrated to Himself.”
[per Warren’s notes on Cobbey Crisler’s talk on “The Book of Job”]

… "We already know that James read Job because we read the verse (James 5:11) that mentions Job in it…
James 1:6 tells us how we should pray—[W’s 10/7/19 notes: like Job did who never wavered in proclaiming his spiritual innocence. Job so refined his powerful prayers of protest to God that he received his healing and “the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:10)].

[Cobbey:] “You'll find when prayer is not prayer… "Let him ask in faith nothing wavering." Wavering suggests this to-and-fro state of mind…
James 1:8 "A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways."…
James 3:17 "But the wisdom that is from above" all stems from the commitment to oneness."
“The Book of Job: A Mental Court Case” by B. Cobbey Crisler**

[W.] "Keep your eyes on the prize” of Liberty—
As James 3:17 declares wise prayer from above is committed to oneness and is guaranteed of success. Mary Baker Eddy says of the unsuccessful prayers for President McKinley when he assassinated: “Had prayer so fervently offered possessed no opposing element… the result would have been scientific and the patient would have recovered.” (Miscellany, 293:21)

[W.] For wise and successful, answered prayers keep your “eyes on the prize”—on the perfect law of liberty (like on the Statue of Liberty when David Copperfield seemed to make it vanish by turning the tables under his entire audience). When our perfect –free, large, full— liberty seems to have vanished by material illusions and false beliefs, we can instantly “turn back the tables on all fables” and look continually to the perfect, stable and unvarying LAW of liberty…
James 1:25 “whoso looketh unto the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”

[W:] So, let’s all be doers—applying these precious promises and principles to enlarge our “treasures of Truth and Love” (SH 265) and to share the divine blessings of putting into practice the perfect law of liberty – our permanent gift of Love from above.

GEM#4: Reverse the curse of domestic tragedy and so prepare the way for the Christ!

Cobbey Crisler on Luke 1: 5-25 (B9) the prophesied birth of John the Baptist
“We know that Zacharias and Elisabeth had a reputation for being extremely religious and deeply devoted to the monotheism of Judaism. They had one domestic tragedy however. They had no children, and for a woman in that day and age, as well as throughout the Old Testament, it was a tragedy. If one tried to explain it surgically, there may have been a physical obstruction that prevented the normal operation of her reproductive capacity physically. That would be bad enough. But Elizabeth was well beyond the age of child bearing. Biology was completely against anything occurring as of that moment.

Did biology stop such things before when you remember some of the Old Testament precedents? Remember Sarah and the wives of Abimelech. Also, Hannah, Rachel and Sampson's mother.

The whole attitude of the time used to be that if a woman could not bear a child and in the early Old Testament, you remember, they did have several wives—she moved all the way down the ladder as far as priority. In fact, her husband was fully justified to separate himself, to divorce her. She was looked down upon by the other wives.

You remember when Sarah realized she could not bear a child, she offered Hagar as Abraham's second wife. And Abraham married Hagar and had a son, Ishmael, by Hagar.

In those days, sterility was entirely blamed on the wife. Consequently, the wife took it very much to heart—feeling that God was punishing her for something. Do you remember the deep sense of sorrow that Hannah was in when she prayed to have a child (I Sam. 1:1-20)? Elisabeth undoubtedly went through some of that same agony.

Something completely different is now going to occur after centuries of an absence of this sort of intervention. In fact, between the Old and New Testament we have about a four-hundred-year gap. Prophecy had declined to the point where it finally disappeared altogether. Ritual had increased. The ceremonial law became primary. And ecclesiasticism lost the Spirit that breaks through in the inspired Word of the Bible.

In Luke 1:8-11, Zacharias went through the motions of his office in the Temple, burning the incense. The people waited outside for Zechariah to bless them. While he was in there, he had a vision. In Verse 12, it says "he is troubled." Luke uses that word a lot. Mary is troubled when the angel comes to her (Luke 1:29). Zacharias is troubled here. He doesn't know what to make of what he is seeing and hearing while in a trancelike state.

The announcement comes in Verse 13. Notice how angels begin their opening lines, “Fear not." Does that sound familiar? Who else said that? In Greek it's phobeomai, the root of our word "phobia." The phrase "fear not" appears 158 times in the New Testament: phobeomai 95 times, phobos 47 times (p. 1275, in the One volume Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, 1985). The angel deals with that negative condition of thought right away, "Fear not" or sometimes translated, "Be not afraid.” This changes the mentality which might obstruct the next spiritual move forward.

Then, very often you find, after dealing with that minus-side of human thinking, he moves to support the plus-side, saying, "Be of good cheer," or "only believe." Those are two opposing states of mind.

Jesus would say, "Decide on one of them. Don't remain a divided kingdom." "Fear not," "Remove the sense of fear." "Believe." "Be of good cheer." "Be of good comfort." Remember the states of some of those he said it to, for instance telling the paralyzed man to "Be of good cheer.'' What obviously had accumulated was an obstruction in the thought of that man.

If Jesus is the incisive healer that the gospels inform us he was, then every word he uttered gives us his method.

Every thought he expresses allows you and me to follow as an example, as he apparently expected us to do. Remember, anyone who believed on him would do the works that he did (John 14:12).

Zacharias hearing these words (Luke 1:13), "Fear not, for thy prayer is heard;” gives another bit of information. We really hadn't been told that this has been a matter of domestic prayer. They had actually been praying, as a couple, in order to have a child. The angel assures Zacharias that his wife "will bear a son and that his name should be John.”

It’s a little hard to guess the exact condition of Zacharias. He is struck dumb

(Luke 1:20). He is speechless. He is unable to talk. There are also one or two verses which imply he could not hear either (Luke 1:21,22). The implication is there.

As we find out from a later verse (Luke 1:63, 64), the name John is an important thing for the restoration to a normal state of being able to speak and hear, if he was unable to do either one.

You can imagine when one is communing with an angel, you don't really look at your watch. Zacharias was in there for an abnormally long period of time (Luke 1:21). The people were out there waiting for him to come out. In a sense they were looking at their watches and Zacharias wasn't showing up. Meanwhile back inside Zacharias hardly believes what he is hearing. He received the message (Luke 1:15) that his child, and Elisabeth's child, will not drink spirits but "he will be filled with Spirit, the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb."

That's the initial use of the words "Holy Ghost." We won't research that term while we are going through our course because we're only discussing it as Luke presents it in his gospel. Let me recommend to you that you look up every time those two words appear, then write down the descriptive words. Then the Word is communicating to you directly what the definition of the Holy Ghost is, what it is meant to convey. For instance, here we are told that it is something that human thought can be filled with.

The word "ghost" is somewhat inappropriate for our century especially when it conveys "Halloween" for most of us. The word "ghost" in Greek is the word pneuma, which has many other meanings. A pneumatic tire is one filled with air. So, we have air, ghost, wind, spirit, and breath. All imply movement, motion. Remember, that’s how the Bible begins, the Spirit, the pneuma, or in Hebrew the ru(a)h. In Hebrew ru(a)h means the same thing, all of those meanings. They're very close in both languages, ru(a)h and pneuma.

"The spirit moved upon the face of the waters" (Genesis 1:2), and look what happened. Look what happens when the Spirit moves, the source of inspiration. We have all of Genesis 1 following the movement of the Spirit. Linguistically, then, we would not be far off in looking at this term quite simply.

One of the problems with theology is that the human mind interposes and insists upon locking-in on certain human opinions. That's what, then, becomes scholastic theology rather than God's theology. Man-made religion distorts and makes things very complex. It's probably quite logical for most of us to see that the truth, whatever it is, must be simple. It must communicate to a two-year old in terms that two­year old can comprehend, as well as an octogenarian. Simplicity must be the rule.

If the word “ghost,” refers to all of these things, then it has something to do with what is a daily moment-by-moment requirement for you and me, namely, breathing. We breathe, and the fact is that we inhale and then we exhale. Let us discuss the Holy Ghost from the standpoint that it is really the act of breathing spiritually. However odd that may sound.

The best way we can test that out is to do our own studying on it. For instance,

“filled with the Holy Ghost." When we inhale what are we? We're filled with air, aren't we? What happens if that's all we do and we decide to stop there? We explode, or something, right? So, what is the lesson we learn from breathing humanly? Whatever we take in, we must give out. There's a great lesson in that because the air we take in is still free. No one is charging us for it yet. It's our utilization of that air that is the very basis of life, activity, sharing, speaking, and communicating.

Notice how Jesus communicated. We often see him just looking around him and translating ordinary human events, as if they were shadows of what really existed for him spiritually. He then used patterns of speech that you and I were familiar with on a daily basis. His teaching method used parables.

What do you think we would begin to look like, feel like, live like, and speak like, if we honestly, regularly, and as natural as breathing, took in only inspiration? If we breathed in only what God is revealing about anything and everything, international events, our marriage, our community, our church?

Suppose we just simply refused to fill our lungs, spiritually translated, with anything but the inspired or God's view of things? Then what would happen when we give that out? Are we able to distribute that same sense to others?

At one point in John 20:22, it says Jesus "breathed on his students" the Holy Ghost. What did they do when the Holy Ghost came upon them? They went out and brought in results (Luke 10:17). It was almost as if they breathed in through prayer and let out through healing. That was the natural sequence, breathing in the facts divinely, then the manifestation of those facts, and utilization of them.

In Verse 17 we're told that John the Baptist is to go as forerunner before the Lord. Notice, it's not what scholars call "Elijah redivivus" or "Elijah reincarnated,” coming back to earth in that sense. Luke very properly says that John the Baptist will "go before the Lord in the spirit and power of Elias, '' which is the Greek form of Elijah, "to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children," and so forth. Where is all that information corning from? The angel is quoted here as giving it to Zacharias in Luke 1:13.

In Malachi notice in Chapter 4, Verse 5, there was an expectation among the Jews based on this verse. Elijah the prophet would prepare the way of the Lord. Then in Verse 6 you see the balance of the quotation that we ran into in Luke (1:17).

Bible scholars will tell you that some of those verses are excerpted for us in the New Testament. We're expected to look them up, not just simply take the verses for granted. If the gospel writers had wanted to tell us everything, they would have probably put in whole chapters. But since no one really has the right to take discovery away from anyone else, we find the gospel writers tantalizing us in some cases, simply adopting a one-liner and then expecting you to look that up. Thus, we are forced to become Scriptural students.

In Malachi 3:1, you will find another well-known verse quoted in the New Testament referring to John the Baptist, "I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way," and so forth.

Luke has now shown us his method of approach. We have everything starting from an angelic method that is absolutely coincident with Bible prophecy…

John the Baptist had been predicted hundreds of years earlier and Zacharias and Elisabeth were to be his human parents. Zacharias, just like Abraham, said, “How can this happen?" In fact, in Verse 18, the question, “Whereby shall I know this?is word-for-word what Abraham said in Genesis 15:8.

The angel Gabriel is used as the name of this angel, identifying the character of the angel. Gabriel also appears in the Book of Daniel. Every time Gabriel appears, this angel has a special characteristic. It appears in order to assist human thought so that it will be able to comprehend,, understand, and yield to the divine.

Gabriel says to Daniel, "I have come that man might understand" (Daniel 9:22), our link, then, to the intelligent, divine plan. Gabriel begins to give some of that plan to Zacharias (Luke 1:19)

…Elisabeth conceives (Verse 24). In Verse 25 you get some hint about how women felt when they were unable to have a child. She calls it "reproach, “that her having a child "takes away her reproach among men."

“Luke the Researcher,” by B. Cobbey Crisler**

GEM#5a: Be receptive to angel messages! Make “radiant room” to receive the reason for the season! Cobbey Crisler on Luke 1:26-47 documenting the Nativity of Christ Jesus (B11):
“Gabriel has another assignment (Verse 26), to go to Nazareth. Luke is a gospel that tells us quite plainly that Mary was a virgin… (Verse 27), “To a virgin espoused to a man.” That means we are dealing with a contract period prior to marriage, an engagement that nevertheless had that sanctity of marriage attached to it legally. If that contract were broken, especially through immorality, it was very severe. A capital execution by stoning could be carried out.
“Gabriel announces to Mary that she is to be the mother of the Messiah. Verse 29 shows that Mary does not take it entirely calmly. She was “troubled at that saying,” and did not really know what to make of it, very similar to what we read of Zacharius.
The human doesn’t know what to do in the presence of angels. Of course, all it needs to do is listen. That’s why it’s so hard for the human mind. But, Gabriel, true to character, begins the conversation (Verse 30) with “Fear not,” calming the fear, any sense of alarm in Mary’s thought.
“The announcement is clear in Verse 31, including the name of Jesus, just as the name of John (later, the Baptist) had been given ahead of time to Zacharius.
“Verse 32 gives us some of the things that actually were synonymous with the Messiah in the expectations of the Jews, namely that he would be “the son of God.”
“Would he be the only son of God? Do we have any Scriptural authority for that, or for its opposite? We do have the announcement (Matthew 3:17) as he came after baptism, “This is my beloved son.” What about unique or “only begotten”?
“When you realize that every Jewish mother prayed daily to be selected for that role, imagine when it came to Mary how overwhelmed and very deeply humble she must have felt.
“Mary, in Verse 34, asks the only reasonable question one can ask, “How can it be possible, an immaculate conception?…
“…Mary yields (in Luke 1:38) to this event, “be it unto me according to thy word.” And the angel leaves.
“Mary immediately goes to help her cousin (Verses 30 and 40). It’s about 100 miles away from Nazareth…”
“Our third use of Holy Ghost. Elisabeth is filled with the Holy Ghost (Luke 1, Verse 41). Imagine that major human laws of life on earth are being set aside… a very precious encounter for the whole human race…
“Mary begins in Verse 46 what the Latin Church refers to as the “Magnificat.” Let’s study some of those words. Mary said, “My soul doth magnify the Lord.” That word “soul” in the Hebrew is very close to our word “identity.” In this case we find that Mary is discussing her being as if it were a lens for God, a magnifying lens. What a beautiful way to describe identity. Would that we ourselves could look through our identity, and every time we did, we only saw the magnification of God and all the qualities associated with the divine nature, increasing more and more as the lens magnifies…”
“Luke the Researcher,” B. Cobbey Crisler**

GEM#5b: Hear on YouTube a custom, moving poem on “The Birth of Jesus (as spiritually conceived by Mary and told in Luke 1:26-47, cit. B11) by Ken Cooper.

[Ken wrote:] The characteristics of a river are determined by its source, that of a painting by its artist, that of an idea by the Mind that thought it. The theory of evolution is governed by the fact that what comes first dictates what comes second. Hence the Word of God dictates the expression of what God is, and the nature of creation is revealed as the nature of God.

Evolution is the infinite unfolding of God’s goodness. There is no material evolution, for there is no matter. “Spirit, God, gathers unformed thoughts into their proper channels, and unfolds these thoughts, even as He opens the petals of a holy purpose in order that the purpose may appear.” (506:18-21). We are the purpose of Spirit.

The infinity of God is the unshakeable status of everything that exists, and the conception of this truth brings the realization “all is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation”. There is therefore no other existence, no other science, nothing else to unfold / evolve but infinite goodness.

“All is infinite Love and its infinite manifestation.” Mary the mother of Jesus knew and expressed the Love of God so deeply that her conception of Jesus was of the Holy Spirit. Throughout what for many would have been the challenging journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, the need to find proper shelter, her awareness of God’s Love gave her all the strength, support and comfort required, and the unfoldment of her resting place for her baby was as Scripture required, and had to be harmonious. God was with her then as much as He is with us now. A mother does not leave her child, and the infinite One cannot and does not leave His / Her Son, for God and man are always One.

Father / Mother, Mum / Dad, “will hold thine hand, and will keep thee”. This would have been felt by Mary and Joseph. It is a love story of beauty and divine fulfilment.

The Birth of Jesus represents the inevitable unfoldment of good, present in all our lives. REJOICE AND BE GLAD!

On YouTube you can hear Ken read the moving poem he calls “The Birth of Jesus.”

The related PDF versions are attached to CedarS online version as upper right Downloads.

GEM#6: To please God, make your own Christ’s new, dry-cleaning” spiritual baptism! Lift-up every mixed-up mess to God to let his Holy Wind be the “separator of fable from fact.” (S5, 586:7 and B8, Isa. 41:16)—
(Matthew 3:11-17, cit. B13 & its prequel) Before starting his healing ministry, Jesus came to his cousin, John the Baptist, for a water baptism. Like Jesus —according to Matthew 3:12—let’s come “with FAN in hand, to thoroughly purge” (or meticulously eliminate) every trace of the “fable” of a bad virus that would aggressively appear to be mixed-in with the God-ordained and maintained “fact” of an all-harmonious universe and all-good creation.

Mary Baker Eddy defines this “FAN” – that we are to have “in hand” so as ready to use early and often (or “promptly and persistently” SH 273:32 )– as “Separator of fable from fact; that which gives action to thought.” (SH 586).
[Warren H: Below are some Cobbey Crisler insights on the baptism of Jesus that have helped me often to lift up a humanly-unsolvable situation to the Spirit of God to separate out and permanently eliminate the mess! [The baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire can be found in Matthew 3:11-17.]

[Cobbey: Verse 11, John the Baptist speaking) “I am baptizing you with water: but the one who is following me (Jesus)… He is going to baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.”… Let me just suggest something… I think it does help to clarify how we can learn from these illustrations by going beneath the surface as much as possible. For instance, in the separation of the chaff from the wheat there are innumerable things that are required for the thresher to do before the results can be successful… We want to get rid of the chaff and get to the useful wheat. Why must we separate them? They’re all mixed. Take that symbolically. If this is all to be happening within us, this kind of baptism, Holy Ghost and fire, is there anything mixed up in us? Of course not, we’re not mixed up. We’re never confused. We never have arrived at a point where we can’t tell the difference between right and wrong. If some of us, a few of us, have that problem of being mixed up on occasion, then the chaff and wheat are together. Is there a way you and I can get out of that mixed up state? Is this the baptism then that is required as far as our thinking is concerned? In order to begin to sort this process of separation, the thresher must first locate a threshing floor. The threshing floor has certain requirements to it for maximum results. What are they? It has to be high, and certainly as level as possible. Why high? Because it needs to be unobstructed. You can’t have structures around it. It would have to be open with minimum obstruction. Hopefully none at all. Open to the wind.

“Here we are on our threshing floor with all the mixture at our feet. Our first responsibility was to get it up to the highest point where there are no obstructions. That’s very interesting because for anyone who is at some mixed up point in his life, the first requirement is to get up to that point.

“Second, what must be done? What’s the next thing the thresher does? Now he’s up there. It’s a beautiful wind. Is he going to put up a hammock and swing in it? He’s got to do something about the mess at his feet. It’s very exact this illustration. What does he do? He uses a fan. What is termed a fan in the King James Version is not the Madame Butterfly fan [or our electric fan] variety, but is like a fork, a pitchfork. He goes right into the mixture of the chaff and wheat and throws it into the air.

“So far, responsibility number one has been ours, to get to the high level in thought, locate the threshing floor. The second responsibility is also ours. To make sure we have that fan in hand to separate the chaff and wheat, to actually dig into that pile and throw it up into the air. But the actual separation occurs by the wind. Not ours. Do you see the difference in the responsibility? The Divine takes care of the separation after the human had gotten to the level where it is willing to work for the Divine and yield to it. The wind, or pneuma, or Holy Ghost, has that defined responsibility of separating the chaff from the wheat in our own thinking.

“Where does the fire come in? If you want to get rid of the chaff, it will be very important to destroy it completely. Because the chaff could, with a change of wind, be mixed back into the wheat. To eliminate that possibility, a thresher will build a fire downwind, the chaff will blow right into the fire and be consumed simultaneously…
“It is through this process of baptism, the meeting of the Holy Ghost and fire, that this deep spiritual cleansing goes on within us. This baptism of thought which requires the fan…
(Verse 13) “At this point, John the Baptist having announced this, Jesus appears and come to be baptized.” (Verse 14) ‘But John says, No, it should be the other way around. I’ve just been talking about this new baptism.’ (Verse 15) ‘Jesus said, permit it for the moment.’ Implying that the human mind has to swallow things piecemeal… the progress of man’s spirituality is a step at a time. Jesus, therefore, receives the water baptism. (Verse 16) But almost immediately we are told that water-baptism is to be superseded, we find that “the Spirit of God descends like a dove upon Jesus…Perhaps that dove was indicating… that the water-baptism is past. Spirit’s baptism must take over in this radical change of thought being required by this new era. (Verse 17) “In the middle of this great event, ‘A voice is heard that says, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’”
“Book of Matthew, Auditing the Master, A Tax Collector’s Report,”
by B. Cobbey Crisler**

[Warren: Consider the lifelong, spiritual confidence our children get from our saying this blessing each night to our beloved children, in whom we and God are well pleased.]

[Cobbey again: “Remember the consistency of the Scripture. This is what turns us into students. The consistency of the Scripture would force us to study in depth how we please God. Here is ‘My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.’ How do we please God? Do you remember any particular Scriptural statements on that?… One of the things that Paul says about it in Romans 8:8 is, ‘They that are in the flesh (they that are earthly minded, who obey the lower nature) cannot please God.’ “
What Mark Recorded,” by B. Cobbey Crisler**

[Warren again: The preceding verses, Romans 8:5-7, with other translations shed more light on the challenge of earthly-minded body worship that seems prevalent today in obsession with fitness, diet, revealing “selfies”… (Verse 5) “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh: but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.” (“People who are controlled by the physical think of what is physical: and people who are controlled by the spiritual think of—give their attention to—what is spiritual.” Goodspeed (Verse 6) “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (“But to set the mind on the flesh brings death, whereas to set the mind on the Spirit brings life and peace.” The New Testament: A New Translation (Olaf M. Norlie)

These passages and several from Mary Baker Eddy have helped heal body-worship and lots of resulting ills and issues: “Paul said, ‘Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.’ Sooner or later we shall learn that the fetters of man's finite capacity are forged by the illusion that he lives in body instead of in Soul, in matter instead of in Spirit.” S&H 223:2

“There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter. All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is All-in-all. Spirit is immortal Truth; matter is mortal error. Spirit is the real and eternal; matter is the unreal and temporal. Spirit is God, and man is His image and likeness. Therefore man is not material; he is spiritual.” (S&H 468:9)

These ideas from Miscellaneous Writings describe the form, color, light, beauty of our world being loved promises and representatives “of the beauty, grandeur, and glory of the immortal Mind.” (87) “My sense of the beauty of the universe is, that beauty typifies holiness, and is something to be desired. Earth is more spiritually beautiful to my gaze now than when it was more earthly to the eyes of Eve. The pleasant sensations of human belief, of form and color, must be spiritualized, until we gain the glorified sense of substance as in the new heaven and earth, the harmony of body and Mind…

“Even the human conception of beauty, grandeur, and utility is something that defies a sneer. It is more than imagination. It is next to divine beauty and the grandeur of Spirit. It lives with our earth-life, and is the subjective state of high thoughts. The atmosphere of mortal mind constitutes our mortal environment. What mortals hear, see, feel, taste, smell, constitutes their present earth and heaven: but we must grow out of even this pleasing thralldom, and find wings to reach the glory of supersensible Life; then we shall soar above, as the bird in the clear ether of the blue temporal sky.

“To take all earth's beauty into one gulp of vacuity and label beauty nothing, is ignorantly to caricature God's creation, which is unjust to human sense and to the divine realism. 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.’" (Miscellaneous Writings. 86:14- 87:14)]

GEM#7: Be part of a religion of problem-solvers!
Cobbey Crisler on Luke 7:19-22 (B16) Use the measuring standard of WORKS that Jesus gave John the Baptist. (See also SH 27:1, cit. S26)

“Jesus responds in the next verses to John the Baptist’s question about whether Jesus really is the Messiah they were waiting for. There is only one answer Jesus has for John. Jesus doesn’t dictate the answer. He tells John the Baptists disciples to just go and look and conclude for themselves what they had seen and heard. Jesus had opened blind eyes, corrected lame limbs, cleansed lepers, enabled the deaf to hear perfectly, raised the dead, and preached the good news of victory to the poor. Then they were to take their observations back to John the Baptist.

That would be the only answer Jesus would give: his works. If that’s the only answer Jesus gave for the effectiveness of theology, I doubt that the rules have changed.

What would be the measure of effective theology to Jesus right here and now, if he looked around at every denomination on the face of the globe? Would they have to come up against that same merciless, yet really merciful, measurement? Are we producing? Are we solving problems?

In the twentieth (and twenty-first) century, problems seem to be multiplying faster than the loaves and fishes did. We have very little time. We can’t afford to waste time on anything that doesn’t work, especially religion.”

[Warren:] As Mary Baker Eddy puts it in this week’s Bible Lesson: “May the Christians of to-day take up the more practical import of that career! It is possible, — yea, it is the duty and privilege of every child, man, and woman, — to follow in some degree the example of the Master by the demonstration of Truth and Life, of health and holiness.
(Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 37:20–25, cit. S27)

“Luke the Researcher,” by B. Cobbey Crisler**

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