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Gain understanding of God through Scripture
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on:
July 1-7, 2019

Kerry Jenkins CS. House Springs, House Springs, MO (314) 406-0041

[Click for Postscripts of Cobbey Crisler & Ken Cooper insights and
audio/video offerings on select passages for this week's lesson.]

Of late, it has become increasingly important to me to distinguish in my thought between what I've always thought, and what is really written about God, about Christian Science (according to its discoverer), about church, about prayer and healing, and so on. It is easy to fall into a pattern of thinking that "this is the way it is" simply because, in fact, this is just how we've always done it or seen it done. One useful thing that I learned from Christian Science class instruction, was that we should always test things we hear, ideas that come to us, things we read about, against Scripture, or against Mary Baker Eddy's writing. In this way we can determine the difference between what "sounds good" and what is part of universal Truth. This might seem simple, but in fact can be the source of much discord as we may have a differing interpretation of writings!! I truly may read something and see it spiritually one way, while another equally prayerful and devoted student might see it another way. Wars have been started over less than this kind of interpretative difference!!

One way to avoid strife over our spiritual revelation is to keep the Commandment "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (NRSV Bible). This is the "second great Commandment" according to Jesus, in Matthew 22:39. Of course, the first is "The Lord our God is one Lord" and is included in this week's lesson in citation B12. If we all truly worshiped one and the same God, by whatever name, we could only have that one Mind and be prevented from having the strife of conflicting views. But essentially, if we can learn to love our neighbor as ourselves, we can search and strive throughout life to understand God, Love, more deeply, and this can only draw us closer to one another. An alternate way of saying this is from Science and Health p.9:5-7 where Mary Baker Eddy (MBE) tells us: "The test of all prayer lies in the answer to these questions: do we love our neighbor better because of this asking?" She goes on with more questions, but this one can help us to answer whether our views of God are true, inspired, spiritual.

Mary Baker Eddy makes it clear that the only way that we can benefit from Scripture is by interpreting it spiritually. "The Bible teaches transformation of the body by the renewal of the Spirit. Take away the spiritual signification of Scripture, and that compilation can do no more for mortals than can moonbeams to melt a river of ice. The error of the ages is preaching without practice." (SH 241:13)

Notice that MBE uses a capital S on Spirit. Does that denote a renewed understanding of God/Spirit? Certainly, it's not a renewal of God, since God needs no "renewing"! But I love the idea that the Bible is ever encouraging us to renew our sense of God, of Christ, of everything to do with man. And, notice that the Scriptures must "transform" through this renewal, this is our "practice", and the only way to worship God in a joyful and honest way.

Speaking of this worship, the Golden Text gives us direction for how we can acknowledge God. And Isaiah in the Responsive Reading tells us that we have nothing to fear from God because God calls us each "by name", by our true identity. God gathers us, saves us leads us governs us, forms us, takes us through challenges (wilderness), and is infinitely powerful. These are just a few of the qualities and ways that God appears in our lesson this week.

Section 1: God, Life, Truth, Love, Spirit, infinite, All-in-all—speaks to us through scripture.

It can be tempting to feel like the writings of MBE are outdated when we look at her language. And Scripture!? It is thousands of years old! But if we read with our ears open to how God speaks to us, we can find a host of contemporary, vitally fresh ideas filling our consciousness. This is because these writings contain universal truth within them. The age of the language cannot be a barrier to this truth. Daniel represents the thought that is ever listening for direct guidance from God, fearlessly, confidently, joyfully. Surely, we can learn from this type of character as he is represented in the Bible? What other qualities does Daniel represent? Faithfulness, steadfast devotion.

Think of the situations that Daniel was subjected to. When he was singled out and told to eat the king's food, he stood up to the man in charge and through his practice of his faith, he demonstrated that God sustains man under every circumstance. When he was thrown to lions after refusing to worship any but the one God, he demonstrated through his practice that God protects and saves. The list continues and there are other qualities such as innocence that you can add. These are qualities illustrated in Scripture, that we can practice today to find healing and to hear God's voice directing and comforting us.

Daniel wasn't spared the challenges that come to us in human experience. He took the knowledge he had of God and put this knowledge, love, trust, understanding, to work. And he found himself interpreting dreams, and working as a leader in a foreign government, and helping others to understand God's power and goodness. God is revealed to us through spiritual sense, just as He is in this scriptural text of Daniel. Daniel didn't try to look "beyond" God. He always turned to God for answers. In this way the infinitude of God's power was revealed. "…there can be nothing beyond illimitable divinity." as MBE says in citation S6!

Section 2: "…Christian Science brings God much nearer to man…" See W's PS#2 on B8]

One weapon that I've heard a number of times leveled against Christian Science, is that because we don't view Jesus as God Himself, we have taken away the "humanity", the human comfort that one might find in God. At least for me, nothing could be further from the truth! Because we know God as Love, we see and feel Him everywhere present in the love of those around us. Because we know God as Truth, we value and recognize integrity as the very expression of God's being in us and in mankind.

Because we know God as Life, we recognize our energy, joy, grace, flexibility, strength, all are expressions of God as Life and so are all around us, infinitely expressed. You get the idea here. In the grocery store a few days ago, I found myself short on cash by several dollars. It would not have been a tragedy to put a few items back and I started to do so when the man behind me in line insisted on paying the difference. I had never met this man! This was a tangible expression of God as Love right there. I rejoiced in this expression many times that day and since!

Look at what the Bible says in citation B8:"…he satisfieth the hungry soul with goodness…He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions." These are promises that have been born out in human life. They are not distant, pleasant statements that apply to "someone else". Since we read in the Responsive Reading already that he calls us each by our true identity, we know that God knows us and cares for us individually. He is All-in-all.

Section 3: Jesus set the example of interpreting Scripture spiritually. See W's PS#3 & #4 on B10 & B11]

In this section we are given a perfect example of spiritual interpretation of Scripture. Jesus himself reinterpreted much of the Old Testament, while never straying from the true spiritual intent of the law. He did this not for the sake of modernity, but in order to reveal a truer sense of God and man. In other words, his spiritual understanding of Scripture led to a deeper obedience to the first and second great Commandments that we mentioned. (As an aside, this is a great measuring rod when we are renewing our understanding of Scriptural law. What is our motive? Are we trying to deepen our understanding of God? Or, are we simply looking for a personal advantage? Clearly, Jesus was never looking for a "way around" law! He, in fact, took important laws, such as the Ten Commandments, and showed how we could deepen them to a spiritual level of consciousness and not just rote human behavior.

The Sadducees were a sect of Jews that were very concerned about the interpretation of Scripture that dealt with resurrection. They chose to focus on one interpretation that they saw as declaring that there was no resurrection. Jesus met their challenge with the statement in citation B12. He pointed out that God, in the Bible, declares Himself to be the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Doesn't this imply that they are living, otherwise He would have to be the God of "the dead"? These church elites would have been among the powerful leaders of the day. Jesus recognized only the power of Mind, God. With that Mind he always knew how to respond spiritually to trickery. He knew the qualities of God were useful, comforting, intelligent, healing, and powerful. They were not intellectual or erudite. I love verse B9 that tells us that God is speaking to us, that He is calling "the earth", telling humanity, mortal thought, that "I am God, even thy God". To me this speaks of God's nearness and tenderness, meeting us where we are in thought. This is the all-power of Love.

Section 4: Acknowledge God's goodness with praise, sing gratitude and see. [See W's PS#1 on B17]

What is the "new song" that is spoken of in citation B14? Isn't it the constant discovery and acknowledgement of the glorious goodness of Love? We find that gratitude in "the beauty of holiness" (B14), and by being "still" (B15). We "choose" to "fast" (B16) from what the material senses tell us, so that we can be more discerning of Life's presence, of Love's wealth toward us.

Do you know what a "rereward" is as mentioned in citation B16? It is the rear guard in the army that protects from any enemy who might be sneaking up behind us. Love surrounds us with harmony, good, and the ability to perceive that good.

In the story in citation B17 of Jesus healing the ten lepers, we find only one who turns around to acknowledge God as the source of all good when he finds himself healed. This one person is despised by the Jews as a Samaritan—half Jew, half Gentile, due to intermarriages during the Assyrian captivity. But he is a man of gratitude and perception, is he not?!! Who was most deeply blessed in this story? We will find that we are most satisfied and consistently joyful when we are able to continuously perceive and acknowledge God's power and goodness around us (even in times of deep challenge–think of Daniel).

Acknowledgement is a way of recognizing the power of something. If we don't acknowledge something, we are essentially denying the presence and power of that thing. Sometimes, as in the case of sickness, this lack of acknowledgement is a good thing. But when it is God we want to train our consciousness to be aware and alert to the goodness so that we are ready to perceive more and more of this ever-present Good. Acknowledgement brings good things that are always present, (health, joy, supply) into view.

I have mentioned a graphic instance of the ever-presence of good with my office, which I desperately needed. After more than a year of cherishing this desire in thought/praying about this need, I suddenly saw that there was the perfect little building sitting on our property, even hooked up to electricity so that it could be heated and cooled! Here I am today, typing away inside it. Yesterday a little bird even came and perched two feet from my face on the window sill! I still "turn back" every time I sit in this office, and give glory to Love who supplied this need for me.

Section 5: Repent/rethink our views of God, see the power of Love reflected in man.
[See W's PS#5, PS#6 and PS#7 on B19, B20 & B21]

There are parallels in this story of Jesus raising the young man from his funeral bier, with Elijah and Elisha raising sons and giving them back to their mothers. (1 Kings:17 and ll Kings:4). Isn't that an awesome example of the timeless laws of Love and Life in operation?

In the notes from the Harper Collins Study Bible of the NRSV it tells us passionately that: "The death of an only son was an economic catastrophe for a widow. She would have no legal inheritance and, deprived of her son's economic support, would be dependent upon charity. Jesus' compassion is here depicted as a deep visceral response (Greek esplanchnisthe). It reflects God's compassion. Touching the bier (coffin) was a dramatic act, violating Jewish purity laws. Rise! Jesus' word is again efficacious. Jesus gave him to his mother, an exact quote from 1 Kings 17:23." Don't you think, in using the same words as Elijah, that Jesus was recalling the enduring Love of God as infinite, timeless? Wasn't he reminding us of the timeless nature of the Scriptures' depiction of God's goodness, power and ever-presence?

Mary Baker Eddy tells us in citation S23 "Jesus taught the way of Life by demonstration, that we may understand how this divine Principle heals the sick, casts out error, and triumphs over death." He demonstrated that God is not the cause of inharmony, but the source of good for all mankind. We can rethink our sense of catastrophes, rethink the idea that they are "natural". It's true that matter is a mess, but God did not establish a universe of suffering and evil. And because God did not make that, we can rethink our sense of its supposed power to fool us into believing it.

Consider accepting and rejoicing today in the God of Love that Jesus revealed when he raised this widow's son. We can find our peace, joy, health, restored and clearly visible in our own experience through this Christ view of Love.

Section 6: We can feel God's magnificence by reading/understanding/demonstrating Scripture.

I probably can't convince anyone here through writing, that the Bible is a contemporary source of deep Love and healing power. That can only happen as we do as Jesus did and put that understanding into practice (see the introduction of this Met SH 241:14-18).

One of the most impressive healings in my family came through simply reading the Bible at random during a time of great need. Our daughter Holly, was about two at the time and was unresponsive and very sick one night. I had awakened my husband because she wasn't breathing properly. I was scared. We were both reaching out to God, wanting to know what the right action was to take and Doug opened his Bible and began to read where he had last left off. I don't even remember what he read, but I took in every word at the time. I do know that the two feelings I had that brought me a great sense of authority were—one, that this was an eternal and universal truth that I was hearing in that it had brought healing to millions over centuries, even millennia—and two, that Holly, as God's divine manifestation, had a holy and eternal purpose to fulfill, just as many of the characters in the Bible did. These were just two of the ideas that filled me with Love's presence and confidence. I stood with Holly in my arms as Doug read. And over a period of minutes, I don't remember how long, Holly began to sleep peacefully. She was up the next day with joy and energy and I vividly remember her running down the road in front of me in her mint green snowsuit with her sister. This is the power of the Scriptures to bring us an understanding of Love that heals.

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