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Give God the Honor for His Glorious Works!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for CedarS campers and friends from the Christian Science Bible Lesson Sermon for December 1 – 7, 2008: “God the Only Cause and Creator”
by Craig L. Ghislin, C.S. Glen Ellyn, Illinois

Editor’s Note: The following application ideas for this week and Possible Sunday School Topics that follow are offered primarily to help CEDARS campers and staff (as well as friends) see and demonstrate the great value of daily study and application of the Christian Science Bible lessons year-round, not just at camp! You can sign up to have them emailed to you free — in English by Monday or Tuesday each week, or by each Wednesday you can get a FREE TRANSLATION in French from Pascal or in Spanish from Ana. (We no longer have a translator available for German.) JUST SIGN UP at www.cedarscamps.org/newsletters

Throughout time men have wondered, “How did I come to be?” and “What is my purpose?”  This week’s Lesson clearly points out all that exists is the product of God and that everything made is for His glory. This Lesson invites us to consider the magnificence, splendor, grandeur, excellence, and majesty of His mighty works. The Living Bible translates the Golden Text this way: “I want to express publicly before his people my heartfelt thanks to God for his mighty miracles. All who are thankful should ponder them with me.  For his miracles demonstrate his honor, majesty, and eternal goodness.”

Experience shows that it doesn’t always look or feel like God is the only Creator and Cause. Sometimes we just don’t get how God is working. For instance in the Responsive Reading, the children of Israel are being chided for their incredulity over the fact that Cyrus, a foreign leader, was chosen to be instrumental in their deliverance from exile.  The prophet asks, “How dare they question God?”  He reminds them that Cyrus was acting “under divine impulsion, for it is God alone who acts, and everything is within His grasp. There is no room for dualistic thought about the ordering of the universe.” (The Interpreter’s One-Volume Commentary on the Bible)  God created all things and is the only motivating Cause. The prophet promises that God will bring all His sons (and daughters) from all places where they have been scattered to be gathered again into His house, for they were created by Him and for Him.  In other words, whether we are near or far from God, and whether or not we agree with His methods, God is in charge and nothing can change it.  God is Director, Producer, Casting Agent, Designer, Writer, and in fact, the only Actor and Audience.  Man and the universe are perfect and eternal and God created everything for His honor and glory.  God is the “Doer,” and man is what God does.

Section 1: God Is the Sole, Creative Force and His Creation is Spiritual
While the debate goes on over the big bang theory, and creationism vs. evolution, spiritual understanding reveals God to be the only creative force. But unlike in the creationist theory, God did not create matter.  God, being Spirit, made His creation spiritually and everything was made for His pleasure (B1) . Neither is creation a one-time event.  Every returning spring, every birth insures the continuity of God’s work.  “The psalmist,” notes Abingdon, “cries out in wonder at the complexity of God’s works and the wisdom exhibited in them all.” (B2)  The glory of God is revealed through the heavens and all nature (B3).  God’s work is established – fixed and it will endure forever (B4).  God didn’t need any help to start with and He doesn’t need help to keep things going.  He is first and last.  There is no other (B5).

Mrs. Eddy saw that if God is the only Creator and God is Spirit, creation too, must be spiritual (S1).  It’s impossible to think of God in limited human terms. He is the universal Cause of all things.  Since God is Spirit, His creation cannot be material (S2).  Matter seems to be real but it isn’t.  Divine Science “excludes matter, resolves things into thoughts, and replaces the objects of material sense with the spiritual ideas” (S3).  If God is the only Creator and God is Spirit that means matter was never part of creation.  “There is nothing in Spirit out of which matter could be made” (S4).  This has huge implications and is a vast departure from the usual theories about God’s role as Creator.  Matter has none of the characteristics of Spirit.  Therefore, God could not have created it.  All that God made is, “spiritual, harmonious, immutable, immortal, divine, eternal.” (S4)  [These six qualities of reality form an outline for the six sections of this lesson.]

Section 2: Disease Is No Part of God’s Harmonious Creation
Paul’s letter to the Romans reminds us that “all things work together for good” to those who are called (B6).   “The goal toward which the Divine purpose moves is … bringing [us] into conformity to the image or character of Christ.” (The Abingdon Bible Commentary)  All those who enter into the courts of the Lord come within the sphere of His blessing (B7).  God will not destroy or allow to be harmed that which He has created.  As we humbly turn to our Creator, we are blessed with healing (B8).  These are encouraging thoughts, but to one struggling with sickness they may seem hard to believe.  Hezekiah was struggling with disease and was particularly downhearted because it looked to him like he might not survive (B9).  Only “the living, he shall praise thee,” cries Hezekiah.  Abingdon points out that for the Old Testament Hebrews, death meant the loss of communion with God. “They would not know God as they knew Him here.” Hezekiah was really discouraged over his dim prospects. Sometimes a dim human outlook may discourage us. But reasoning spiritually, we can realize that God has nothing to do with disease, and that He is able to revive our contrite hearts, and heal us.

When you’re in the thick of it, physical ills can seem mighty real. But the Bible says, “There is none else beside Him.” Therefore, the “discord is unreal” (S5). God is the only Cause, and “disease is neither a cause nor an effect” (S6). What is it that pretends to act as a cause and operate outside of God? Our Leader reassures us that it’s nothing “but an error of belief” (S7). It isn’t in accord with God’s character to make us sick and leave us on our own to figure it out. She says it’s “absurd” to think “that matter can both cause and cure disease.” It’s equally absurd to think God causes disease. The sufferer doesn’t always see through the problem, so the healer is urged to turn the thoughts of the sick away from their bodies and to teach them that Spirit, not matter, sustains them (S8). The healer is to “mentally insist that harmony is the fact,” to “realize the presence of health,” to maintain the facts of Christian Science,” and to “hold [their] ground” with “unshaken understanding” (S9, 10). The realization that “all causation is Mind, acting through spiritual law” eliminates false fears, resulting in healing.

Section 3: God’s Promise Is Immutable
Several citations in the Lesson declare God, the Creator, to be honorable. Honor is something earned by reputation.  Do you know anybody whom you would consider honorable?  You’ve heard the saying, “His word is his bond?”  God goes way beyond that.  His Word is Law and God’s promise is immutable.  His Word never changes.  But since doubting mortals crave reassurance, God condescends and confirms His promise with “an oath.” (B10)  When men make a deal they often seal it by calling upon a third party to be a witness.  To claim God as one’s witness makes it doubly sure that the contract will not be breached because to do so would be an affront not only to the other party, but to God as well.  When God made His promise to Abraham, there was no higher power to call on, so God swore by Himself.  That was meant to “seal the deal” beyond question.  Just so, Christians have a promise that is secured by God.  “Both promise and oath are immutable and inviolable.” (Abingdon)  Unlike the “sons of Jacob” who had a reputation for being deceptive, God is changeless (B11).  His promise ensured protection.  The three Hebrew boys threatened with the fiery furnace (B12) held fast to that promise.  They knew that their God was constant, and their faith too, was unwavering.

Their refusal to bow down to the statue at the sound of the music can be likened to our refusal to bow down to the material God of medicine when the symptoms play their suffering song.  Mortal mind takes offense at this and threatens to throw us into the fire – into more suffering.  It threatens to make the fire “seven times” hotter.  “Seven times” means “to the ‘nth’ degree.”  That’s pretty hot.  But even though we face possible suffering, we are “not careful to answer” in this matter.  Abingdon paraphrases this response: “We need not waste any words in discussing this matter with you.”  We don’t need to argue with mortal mind.  The three boys said they wouldn’t bow down whether God saved them or not.  If we are as true to God as they, we too can emerge from the fire untouched.  Note that the king, symbolizing material laws, changes his decree – whereas, God’s promise remained unchanged.

Science and Health affirms that God does not change and causes “no evil, disease, nor death.” (S11)  God has saved men from extreme difficulty “in every age” and will continue to do so (S12).  No matter how hot the fire is, Science remains “undisturbed.”  While the boys were in the furnace there was a “fourth” there, and they were all loose and walking in the midst of the fire unharmed.  This “fourth” is the Christ that still unfolds the truth to us today (S13).  God’s creation is immutable and immortal.  The mutable, mortal, and imperfect never touch what God has made (S14, 15).  The boys in the furnace were untouched by the flames.  Mrs. Eddy writes, God’s image “cannot be effaced.” (S16)  No matter how traumatic a situation might seem for us, we can rely on God without wavering and know that we too will emerge unscathed.

Section 4: The Real, Immortal Creation Is Always with God
How is it that the man God made cannot be touched by evil of any kind?  It is because our “life is hid with Christ in God.” (B13)  Though the material view of life seems to obscure this fact, our only real life is secure and safe in God.  The belief of man as material is inherently corruptible and perishable.  It can’t comprehend nor does it ever come into contact with the real incorruptible man of God.  The only way to realize our true spiritual identity is to put off the corrupted view by putting on the immortal man of God’s creating (B14).

Mortals tend to look for truth where they can see it and feel it, but we can never find Truth in mortal belief (S17).  In Christian Science, we don’t reason from the material to the spiritual.  We have to start with the spiritual and stay with it.  We can only find what God has created by reasoning spiritually.  Man is immortal because God is immortal (S18).  Now, here is a trick of mortal mind:  Mortal belief first tries to turn a spiritual creation into a material man, and then says the material man needs to become spiritual again.  But Mrs. Eddy tells us “mortals are not like immortals.” (S19)  The real man is always spiritual, and the lie that says man is material must eventually disappear.  This correlates exactly with Paul’s letter to the Corinthians (B14).  Paul felt that our immortal nature was entirely apart from anything related to our mortal existence.  The old needs to be put off completely, in order for the spiritual to appear.

Section 5: A Perfect, Divine Creator Means a Perfect, Divine Creation
One’s “name” contains the “nature and character of its bearer.”  God’s name is excellent and His character is manifested through all the earth in His perfect, glorious creation (B15).  Jesus demonstrated the glory of God, and through his example Christians have been called to live a life of “glory and virtue.” (B18)  In doing so, we grow continually in our comprehension and fellowship with God; and in turn, this growth manifests itself in more divine and elevated human experience.  Jesus’ demonstration made it possible for us to escape the corrupting life of the flesh and to elevate our “experience to a new and higher plane where worldly lusts no longer have power….” (Abingdon).  This process isn’t merely an academic exercise.  As we embrace Jesus’ teachings and practice them, we will find the road to salvation.

Mrs. Eddy teaches that man and God have been forever at one: Man is God’s reflection and is as perfect as his original (S21).  “Man is not absorbed in Deity” as in Eastern thought.  Because he isn’t a portion or segment of the infinite, individual man maintains a distinct identity – not to be confused with isolation.  The Christ-like view of being includes perfect God and perfect man (S22).  Jesus best expressed this perfect man, and his instructions teach us how to overcome all evil (S23).  No matter what we run into, we can overcome evil with good (S24).  Our good life will protect us from all attacks.  Jesus provided our model for life.  He demonstrated his divinity through being a living example of the highest humanity (S25).

Section 6: God’s Creation Is Perfect and Eternal
Jesus was completely aware that God was his Creator.  He proved it through everything he did (B19).  Those who place their trust in his teachings are planting themselves in the truth of being.  Hearing and obeying Truth, we cannot be separated from it. Dummelow writes, “the Father is superior to all hostile powers, and therefore, believers can never be lost through the power of the enemy.”  Eternal life consists of knowing God and recognizing that Jesus is the Way-shower (B20).  Paul saw the Christ message being spread through the world like fragrant incense going before a Roman military procession (B21).  The last Bible citation once again gives all honor and glory to God (B22). Interpreter’s reminds us that Paul’s view of a singular eternal God was in marked contrast to the prevalent polytheistic views of the time.  In our modern age of competing theories of creation, evolution, and everything in between it is just as remarkable today.

Our Leader was firm in her view that Jesus was indeed the way to eternal life (S26).  She consistently reasoned from the divine perspective.  If God is perfect and eternal, so is His creation. Man is not the offspring of flesh, but of Spirit (S27). She defines “Creator” not in material, but in spiritual terms. Everything made must be as good as the Creator. God couldn’t make anything unlike Himself (S28). She is sure that eventually, mortal beliefs will be given up and the “perfect model of God’s creation will finally be seen as the only true conception of being.” (S29) So as the camp song goes, “Rise and shine, and give God the glory.”  It seems quite simple, but the message is profound.  Knowing that God is the only Cause eliminates disease and protects us from danger.  God’s Word is changeless and our true being is only found in God.  Following the example of Christ Jesus allows us to live uprightly, and as we do, our examples will shine throughout the world, giving God the honor and the glory.
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Camp Director’s Note: This sharing is the latest in an ongoing, seven-year series of CedarS Bible Lesson “mets” (metaphysical application ideas) contributed weekly by a rotation of CedarS Resident Practitioners and occasionally by other metaphysicians. (To keep the flow of the practitioner’s ideas intact and to allow for more selective printing the “Possible Sunday School Topics” come on a following page or subsequent email.) This weekly email (and website posting) is intended to encourage further study and application of ideas in the lesson and to invigorate Sunday School participation by students and by the budding teachers on our staff. Originally sent JUST to my Sunday School students and to campers, staff and CedarS families who wanted to continue at home and in their home Sunday Schools the same type of focused Lesson study, application and inspiration they had felt at camp, CedarS lesson “mets” are in no way meant to be definitive or conclusive or in any way a substitute for daily study of the lesson. The thoughts presented are the inspiration of the moment and are offered to give a bit more dimension, background and new angles on daily applicability to some of the ideas and passages being studied. The weekly Bible Lessons are copyrighted by the Christian Science Publishing Society and are printed in the Christian Science Quarterly as available at Christian Science Reading Rooms or online at eBibleLesson.com or myBibleLesson.com. The citations referenced (i.e. B1 and S28) from this week’s Bible Lesson in the “met” (metaphysical application ideas) are taken from the King James Version of the Bible (B1-24) and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. (S1-30) The Bible and Science and Health are the ordained pastor of the Churches of Christ, Scientist. The Bible Lesson is the sermon read in Christian Science church services throughout the world. The Lesson-Sermon speaks individually through the Christ to everyone, providing unique insights and tailor-made applications for each one. We are glad you requested this metaphysical sharing and hope that you find some of these ideas helpful in your daily spiritual journey, in your deeper digging in the books and in closer bonding with your Comforter and Pastor.
Enjoy!
Warren Huff, Camp Director, director@cedarscamps.org (636) 394-6162

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Possible Sunday School Topics from CedarS Sunday School teacher, Warren Huff, for the Christian Science Bible Lesson: “God the Only Cause and Creator” for Dec. 1-7, 2008

Possible Sunday School Topic (P.S.S.T. – Golden Text & Responsive Reading) – Look to the Golden Text and Responsive Reading to identify yourself as one of God’s best works, honorable and glorious, divinely “called” and directed. God says about you: “I will direct all his ways.” (Isa. 45:13) In what areas of your life would you most like God’s guidance? In making the highest and best choice: of what to say next or what to do next; of what gifts to buy or make; of what friends to hang out with; of what colleges to apply to? Note that “G.U.I.-Dance” could stand for “God, U & I dance!” How is that better than “Dancing with the Stars?” All pressure and fear of elimination are gone because your dance partner is “the all-knowing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal.” (S&H 587:5) So smile and “honor your partner!”

Possible Sunday School Topic (P.S.S.T. – Section 1) – In this section the spiritual nature of all of creation is explained and explored. Even physical scientists point out the illusory nature of matter. They tell us the human body would fit on the head of a pin if the space were removed between the body’s atomic particles (electrons, neutrons and protons). (You may want to bring a pin cushion to class to illustrate this.) So how big on that pinhead called your body is that injured body part (or worshipped one)? Think about the fact that atomic particles are themselves more than 99% space. “Honey, I shrunk the kids” again! What seemed so solid and convincing is suddenly much less impressive. Seeing the spiritual nature of your body and of all makes it easier to see seemingly injured or diseased matter as merely a suggestion. Put it on a falsely mental basis where it is “amenable to Spirit only.” (S&H 434:31) What material misperception will you correct now with spiritual sense?

Possible Sunday School Topic (P.S.S.T. – Section 2) – In this section the harmonious (and humble) nature of all of creation is explained and explored.  I have recently been cherishing a paragraph in Science and Health that ends with this sentence about harmony. “The effect of this Science is to stir the human mind to a change of base, on which it may yield to the harmony of the divine Mind.” (S&H 162:9) Has anything or anyone stirred you up lately? Are you ready to change a willful stand based on human opinion and “yield (give way, give up, surrender, give in) to the harmony of the divine Mind?” Such humble yielding brought healing to Hezekiah (B9) and countless others as highlighted in the December 1, 2008 Christian Science Sentinel and in Sentinel Radio program #848, both on “Humility & Healing.”
For visual learners in your class, you might consider bringing in blank traffic signs: a yellow one in triangular shape; and, a red one in an octagonal shape. Ask the students to identify them by shape and color as they would be asked to do on any driver’s license exam. You could write the quote from S&H 162 on the back of the yield sign (yellow, triangle). On the back of the stop sign (red, octagon) you could write from Miscellany these lines that are especially helpful during the holidays: “Goodness and benevolence never tire. They maintain themselves and others and never stop from exhaustion.” (My. 165:24)

Possible Sunday School Topic (P.S.S.T. – Section 3) – In this section the immutable nature of all of creation is explained and explored. The fact that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fiery furnace totally unchanged, without even the smell of smoke on them, proves that the forever Christ can keep us untouched and victorious over “every adverse circumstance.” (S&H 419:16) For this coming Sunday I developed a script (see addendum) to re-enact the fiery furnace Bible event with our students. They had fun Nov. 30th with the script we developed to re-enact with them Peter and John healing the lame man. (I always say: “If you’re not having fun practicing Christian Science, you’re not practicing Christian Science.”) Discussion questions that engaged our students on 11-30 ended with how they could apply to their lives (as Peter and John did) the essence of Mrs. Eddy’s motto: “Do Right and Fear Not!” (This was hung over a doorway in her home.) A similar question can be asked next Sunday: How did Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego live the essence of this motto? How can you live it in your life? (By standing up to peer pressure to do the wrong thing? …) What music or sounds might trigger the worship of something other than God? What are some of the things people worship today? How about TV shows and stars (I’m bring an old, gold-painted TV set to bow down to); the body, its shape and feelings; the latest technological gadgets and games; sporting events and star athletes; substances to make you well, high, sleepy, firm, thin, bulky… ?

Possible Sunday School Topic (P.S.S.T. – Section 4) – In this section the immortal nature of all of creation is explained and explored. In this week’s CedarS Lesson “Met,” Craig Ghislin writes: “The only way to realize our true spiritual identity is to put off the corrupted view by putting on the immortal man of God’s creating. … The old needed to be put off completely, in order for the spiritual to appear.” (B14) One mortal habit to put off is being mindful and focused on the body for Paul says “to be carnally (bodily) minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (Romans 8:6)

“Aren’t you glad you use dial (the Christ)? Don’t you wish everyone did?” A bar of d.i.a.l. soap is a fun, memory helper that I love to share with students. I tell them it stands for “the Christ … the divine image and likeness” (S&H 332:11) which “invigorates and purifies.” (S&H 162:5) In this week’s lesson “immortals, created in God’s own image” and “man in the likeness of God … cannot help being immortal.” (S19, S18)

Possible Sunday School Topic (P.S.S.T. – Section 5) – In this section the divine nature of all of creation is explained and explored. “He has bestowed on us His precious and exceedingly great promises, so that through them you may escape … from the moral decay (rottenness and corruption) that is in the world because of covetousness (lust and greed), and become sharers (partakers) of the divine nature.” (B18, 2 Peter 1:4, Amplified Version) I like to divide the word partakers into part-takers and think of each of us playing our parts in fully expressing the divine. Here’s your part on the basketball team, the social scene, or … : “Know thyself (as divine image -added) and God will supply the wisdom (ability) and occasion (opportunity) for a victory over evil.” (S&H #24, p. 571:16) You will never have ability without an opportunity to express it, nor will you have an opportunity without the ability needed — as long as you know yourself as divine (image and likeness). Why not put on this completely protective “armor of divinity?” (Marginal heading for S&H #24, p. 571) How can you make your divinity more visible (manifest) in your humanity today? (S&H #25, p. 25:31)

Possible Sunday School Topic (P.S.S.T. – Section 6) – In this section the eternal nature of all of creation is explained and explored. Jesus defines eternal life “as a present knowledge of his Father and of himself.” (S&H #26, p. 410:5) It is awesome and liberating to know that all individuals and all good are eternal and therefore exist for all time, without beginning or end. Please share with your class or congregation how you have overcome sorrow over a dear one’s passing or over the seeming loss of any right idea and seen that “lamentation is needless and causeless. We shall perceive this to be true when we grow into the understanding of Life, and know that there is no death.” (S&H 386:32) Whether it is a sense of lost supply or of lost happiness, companionship or completeness, we can sing from Hymn 238:
“all of good the past hath had
Remains to make our own time glad,
Our common, daily life divine,
And every land a Palestine.

Henceforth my heart shall sigh no more
For olden time and holier shore:
God’s love and blessing, then and there,
Are now and here and everywhere.”

Addendum: (Possible Script for re-enacting the Section 3 story of the fiery furnace)
4 Men in the Furnace – Dan. 3:1-28 –
Tell a quick version of this familiar story to be acted out

Cast from Sunday School: Get volunteers & hand out scripts with parts highlighted in advance
King Nebuchadnezzar
“All the important people”
(Teachers?)
Herald
Band members playing whatever instruments you come up with
Narrator
2-3 Babylonian fortuneteller(s)/ King’s Advisors (later)
Shadrach
Meshach
Abednego
The Fourth Man
who looks like the Son/Daughter of God
2-3 Guards/Strong guys from the army who carry Shad, Mesh and Abed to the furnace

Possible Props: a king’s crown; golden statue or image like TV monitor, poster of star, large charge card, …; 2-7 musical instruments as available;

King Nebuchadnezzar: “Build a gold statue, ninety feet high and nine feet wide. Set it up on the Dura plain in the province of Babylon. Order everybody who is anybody to come to the dedication ceremony for it.” (Most text adapted from The Message Bible)

All the important people for the dedication take their places before the statue.

Herald (in a loud voice): “Attention, everyone! Every race, color, and creed, listen! When you hear the band strike up – (Name all instruments on hand) the trumpet, trombone, tuba, baritone, drum, cymbal, flute, zither, lyre, harp, dulcimer, bagpipe and all kinds of music – fall to your knees and worship the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. Anyone who does not kneel and worship shall be thrown immediately into a roaring furnace.”

Narrator: “The band starts to play, a huge band equipped with all the musical instruments of Babylon, and everyone – every race, color, and creed – falls to their knees and worship the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Some of the king’s fortunetellers tattle on Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego as follows.”

Babylonian fortuneteller(s) to King Nebuchadnezzar: “Long live the king! You gave strict orders, O king, that when the big band started playing, everyone had to fall to their knees and worship the gold statue, and whoever did not go to their knees and worship it had to be pitched into a roaring furnace. Well, there are some Jews here-Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego-whom you have placed in high positions in the province of Babylon. These men are ignoring you, O king. They don’t respect your gods and they won’t worship the gold statue you set up.”

Furious, King Nebuchadnezzar says (to his guards): “Get Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and bring them here right now!”
Nebuchadnezzar (when the men are brought in) asks: “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you don’t respect my gods and refuse to worship the gold statue that I have set up? I’m giving you a second chance-but from now on, when the big band strikes up you must go to your knees and worship the statue I have made. If you don’t worship it, you will be pitched into a roaring furnace, no questions asked. Who is the god who can rescue you from my power?”

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego together answer King Nebuchadnezzar,
“Your threat means nothing to us.”

Shadrach: “If you throw us in the fire, the God we serve can rescue us from your roaring furnace and anything else you might cook up, O king.”

Meshach: “But even if he doesn’t, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference, O king.”

Abednego: “We still wouldn’t serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.”

Nebuchadnezzar, his face purple with anger, cuts off Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
“Fire up the furnace seven times hotter than usual. You strong guards, tie them up, hands and feet, and throw them into the roaring furnace.”

Narrator: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, are bound hand and foot, fully dressed from head to toe, and are pitched into the roaring fire. Because the king is in such a hurry and the furnace is so hot, flames from the furnace kill the men who carried Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to it, while the fire rages around Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Only the bonds are burned off as a fourth figure walks with them – radiant “like some holy thing.”

Alarmed, King Nebuchadnezzar suddenly jumps up and says to his advisors:
“Didn’t we throw three men, bound hand and foot, into the fire?”

King’s Advisors: “That’s right, O king.”

Nebuchadnezzar: “But look! I see four men, walking around freely in the fire, completely unharmed! And the fourth man looks like the Son of God!”
Nebuchadnezzar (going to the door of the roaring furnace and calls in):
“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the High God, come out here!”

Narrator: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walk out of the fire. All the important people, the government leaders and king’s counselors, gather around to examine them and discover that the fire hadn’t so much as touched the three men-not a hair singed, not a scorch mark on their clothes, not even the smell of smoke had clung to them!”

Nebuchadnezzar: “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel and rescued his servants who trusted in him! They ignored the king’s orders and laid their bodies on the line rather than serve or worship any god but their own.”

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Teachers’ follow-up questions/answers: Q. How did Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego live the essence of Mrs. Eddy’s motto: “Do Right and Fear Not!”? (This was hung over a doorway in her home.) Q. How can you live it in your life? (A. By standing up to peer pressure to do the wrong thing? …) Q. What music or sounds might trigger the worship of something other than God? Q. What are some of the things people worship today?  A. How about TV shows and stars (I’m bring an old, gold-painted TV set to bow down to); the body, its shape and feelings; the latest technological gadgets and games; sporting events and star athletes; substances to make you well, high, sleepy, firm, thin, bulky… ?  Q. How were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego able to withstand temptation, and what can we learn from this story about how to stop worshiping anything other than God in our own lives?

 

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