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[Discover what it means to seek God with all your heart.]
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“God”
for December30-January 5, 2019

by Kerry Jenkins CS, House Springs, MO
Kerry.helen.jenkins@gmail.com (314) 406-0041

What does it mean to "seek" or "search for [God] with all your heart"? This can sound daunting, even unrealistic. Even if we are battling what we might call "lesser" temptations—such as overeating, a temper, procrastination— putting God first in our heart, that is, truly wanting to keep our consciousness alert to the presence of the divine can challenge us. It isn't that we don't have the desire to love God, it's that mortal thought, mortal mind, as Mary Baker Eddy calls it, is distracting. Sometimes this distraction can be inviting, a fascinating career, an invigorating social life, even stimulating educational opportunities. None of these are evil, of course. [W: Ruth E. Huff, my mom would remind me: “The greatest enemy of choosing the best and achieving it, is to choose and settle for the humanly good.” See also My. 165.] Mortal mind is easily distracted and entertained by such [humanly good] things, and seeking for a deeper understanding of God can become a side endeavor at best—nonexistent at worst.

Then, there are the distractions that are distinctly uninviting, bringing deep unhappiness, poverty of spiritual sense, disappointment. These evils take many material forms such as depression, addiction, materialistic pursuits. Frankly, sometimes these kinds of "distractions" lead us more quickly and deeply home to God because they are, or lead to such unpleasantness. But either way, there is no barrier to searching for and finding God when we genuinely have the desire to do this. The real question we have to ask ourselves, regularly, is do we have that desire, above the temptations of what we might call "human living"?

I actually ask myself this question frequently. So, don't think that this is meant to be a process designed to bring on feelings of guilt! If I find that my answer is not a whole hearted "yes", I don't beat myself up over it, I just know that I need to "up my game" so to speak. This, for me, means being very intentional about what I am prioritizing in both my thought, and my actions in a day. I know I need to sit still and take the physical time to listen in quiet prayer for just whatever God is revealing–not as it relates to a specific need—but only to hear what is revealed.

I know that I need to make sure that I am not rushing to "accomplish" a task, whatever it may be, but am making all that I do an act of prayer. This is, of course, easier said than done, but so very rewarding when I make that effort! Funny how, when I do this, there is less anxiety, less impatience, and I notice how much I love certain specific qualities about those around me. This leads to deeper fulfillment and often to better health! Let's look into this lesson to see how this is possible for each of us.

Here is how I've been rewording the Golden Text: "…set what you treasure and love, and your spiritual sense perception of what is real, to seek for God in all that you see and do." This is a kind of prayer. Our Responsive Reading instructs us that all the wisdom, might, wealth that is real, is from God. Another way to see this is to realize that all of these things are only gained through an understanding that these qualities describe God to us.

It isn't a stretch to view the entirety of the Bible lesson this week from the vantage point of this idea that our only real wisdom, might and wealth come from God as we reflect what He is. As we are devoting ourselves to seeing God in all that we do, we are seeking spiritual reality, which is the kingdom within that Jesus referred to (Luke 17:21). In this kingdom we see more clearly the activity of God, His "lovingkindness, judgement, and righteousness, in the earth…". We find that a knowledge of God is satisfying in a way that the entertainments and distractions of matter can never equal, and we find greater health/harmony.

Section 1: Find God within our spiritual consciousness.

When we try to humanly circumscribe God, that is understand His being and nature through our understanding of the human experience, we are going to have a hard time really getting a sense of God that is powerful (mighty), wise, loving. We are stuck with a very human estimation of God that cannot stand up as practical in our day to day experience. This kind of human understanding is what Mary Baker Eddy (MARY BAKER EDDY ) is referring to in citation S3.

Our spiritual understanding of our Father-Mother God is that "…spirit in man…" that is spoken of in Job, citation B3. This spirit is within His creation (us), though we sometimes go years at a time unaware of it. When we reach into this divine consciousness within we find that we already possess a deep desire to love, obey, and understand God. This discovery is "riches" indeed, not to mention "wisdom" and "might"!

Try this next time you are feeling that you are lacking something: affirm in your thought that you are in the presence of infinite Love, a divine Law who never withholds good. Affirm that in fact, at this very moment you have all that you need, right now. Then, "Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people." (B1)—give gratitude for all that you are aware of at that moment of any goodness you see or experience. It can be something you deem insignificant such as a nice smelling hand soap in your bathroom, but get started on this process of recognition, it will grow!

Focus on the riches that are measured spiritually as in citation B5, the riches of the "wisdom and knowledge of God". Acknowledge that you have that wisdom and knowledge because all that you are is reflection of that God. If you are standing in front of a mirror it reflects back an image of you. As God's reflection you are no less His image. Only material sense will try to fool us into thinking that we are lacking.

If you don't feel you are seeing riches, consider carefully whether you have a too specific sense of what these riches should look like. Are you expecting a check? An apology? Be careful to allow Love to "fill in the blank" and not your human concept of how things should look! Continue this process and if you feel you are struggling for focus, try writing down these ideas in a list or sentences. Keep your focus on your present consciousness, not on past or future. This practice, done with regularity, will bring spiritual, rewarding, true riches into our experience, guaranteed!

Section 2: Only spiritual sense will reveal God's power as the only power.

Asa was a king known for his faithfulness to God. He was successful in his military campaigns, and ruled long and well. In this story we are getting an illustration of how a continued seeking for, and obedience to God blesses mankind. Mary Baker Eddy states the dilemma perfectly in citation S10: "The facts of divine Science should be admitted—although the evidence as to these facts is not supported by evil, by matter, or by material sense—because the evidence that God and man coexist is fully sustained by spiritual sense." (italics added)

Remember the exercise in the last section? This is an exercise in using spiritual sense to counteract the evidence of material sense. It seems, sometimes, as if we are staring at a movie screen that plays a story of material existence that is limited, powerless, evil, and so on. By turning away from that screen, maybe walking out of that theater, we start to see the harmony of spiritual reality in our experience right here and now.

Mary Baker Eddy tells us in citation S11 that the First Commandment is her favorite text. We can continue our exercise to encompass the practice of only recognizing that God is all good, all powerful; that there can be no other "gods" that would persuade us to believe the messages on the movie screen that tell us of the naturalness of evil in all its forms. I have found this successfully to heal a challenging period of sadness. In retrospect it might have been diagnosed to be "post-partum depression". It seemed a really tough and intransigent struggle to see past the darkness—and it was not helped along by taking place in the backdrop of a northern Alaskan winter. There are about 4 hours of real daylight in the winter, bookended by a couple of hours twilight. I know that it was a genuine spiritual healing because it turned quite suddenly with help from my husband, by recognizing the power of only one God. Part of the healing came through a recognition of the greater need across the globe, for a sense of joy and feeling of God's power. But that too is the power of having only one God, of worshiping only the God who has established good for Her creation, throughout the universe. We are each a needed part of that spiritual creation. Our devotion to the broader implications of worshiping one God, as MARY BAKER EDDY lists in S11, are deep and powerful!

Section 3: What is prayer, what does it do?

Ever wondered how to pray to God? A great place to start is with Jesus' prayer from the chapter of Luke, here, it is citation B10. One thing I love about the Lord's Prayer is that it's often one that we learn from an early age, so it's right there whenever we need it. Mary Baker Eddy gave us a spiritual interpretation on p. 16-17 of Science and Health, but we don't have to stop there.

We can continue to spiritually interpret the Lord’s Prayer so that it meets our every need when we use it daily to pray. The key here is that it is not an exercise, but a heartfelt longing to know God, to hear something new. Mary Baker Eddy says it this way: "We can do more for ourselves by humble fervent petitions, but the All-loving does not grant them simply on the ground of lip-service, for He already knows all."

Isn't "lip-service" the antithesis of the heart felt seeking that we have been learning of in this lesson? "Prayer cannot change the Science of being, but it tends to bring us into harmony with it." says Mary Baker Eddy (S13). This is a critical understanding of how God works and one that might be unique to Christian Science. God has established harmony and good for Her creation. Our task, which certainly requires devotion of heart, is only to tune-in to that harmony and good that is ours by design.

Our divinely ordained harmony and good is found through this practice of using our spiritual senses. Prayer is a way to hone those senses. Look at citation S16 for two more ways to bring us "into harmony" with Good: "Prayer, watching, and working, combined with self-immolation, are God's gracious means for accomplishing whatever has been successfully done for the Christianization and health of mankind." (italics are added to point out the "two more ways").

Section 4: What are we really seeking when we pray?

The story in citation B14 can seem like a tough one. In the context of this Bible lesson, I love how it points to the mother's sincere and humble prayer and desire to know God's healing power and goodness. She was certainly putting forth a "heart felt" petition to the Master. Let's look at the qualities that made her prayer and petition so successful in bringing harmony and healing. What qualities did she show? [W: Listen to a Ken Cooper poem from this mother’s perspective at https://youtu.be/sL8rmP-UwTM ]

Certainly, this dear mother was persistent. She had been asking for help so persistently that the disciples were annoyed enough, that they asked Jesus to send her away! Then, she was deeply humble. She was not deterred by what seemed like a real insult, no matter how you translate the word for "dogs". (Some think the word closer to puppies, but I don't see why that matters…). Finally, Jesus points out that she had a deep "faith".

Her deep faith might be thought of as a certain sense that there was a spiritual reality behind Jesus' work that might not align with human experience, but was nonetheless powerfully active and present. I also see her as having unselfish and pure motives, her deep love for her daughter. Persistence, humility, faith, pure motives…can we imbibe some of these qualities to find ourselves a deeper understanding of God?!

The other element of importance in this story is expanded on in the Science and Health portion of the section. We see a shift in Jesus' preaching and mission towards more inclusivity after his encounter with this Canaanite woman. While the feeding of the multitudes story that occurred before this encounter yielded 12 baskets of leftovers, representing the 12 tribes of Israel, the next opportunity to feed multitudes yielded 7 baskets, thought to represent the nations—a broadening of this blessing! This ties in well with the broad blessing that comes from obeying the First Commandment as stated in citation S11!

We know that a false, egoistical sense of self is involved when we ask questions like "why haven't I gotten my healing?" or when we feel that "we have failed" or "Christian Science has failed us", or even "God has failed us." We can check our humility, faith, pure motives and finally, we can persist in a heartfelt desire to know our Father-Mother, Love. Like this woman, we can bow low enough to be willing to gather "the crumbs" that only the "dogs" would eat—the quiet and powerful Christ messages of healing, available to all.

Section 5: God has promised us that he is right here.

God is not hidden. Christian Science has made this so clear. God is Good, available, powerful. Love bestows Her wisdom and riches on Her reflection, man. A misleading understanding of God as more like a powerful or "spiritual" human, causes us to feel confused, alone, vulnerable, helpless against the suggestions of material sense. This beautiful lesson helps us move closer to a clear sense of God as the law of Love that brings to us peace, satisfaction, health, joy, wisdom and "might". The very act of ever seeking for a deeper understanding of divine Love, Mind, Truth and so on, leads us to healing, joy, and unlimited good.


Check-out online Precious GEMs from C.A.M.P.! — (Christ’s Animating Mindset Practiced) mined from applying this Christian Science Bible Lesson to enrich you and all mankind every day.


Your Current, Monthly and Planned gifts are ongoing proofs of infinite “LOVE made visible”! Gifts to the Endowment Fund and Adopt the Herd Fund are currently being MATCHED! They help provide CedarS essential services and programs & bring big blessings to the lives of today's Sunday School students –tomorrow's joyous workers in our Christ-centered Movement!

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Please let us know if you feel that a sharing of CedarS new video and program possibilities by Warren or Holly and/or CedarS new Ambassadors, Larry Patterson Jr. and/or Emma Dixon would be both welcomed and worthwhile! Thanks for emailing director@cedarscamps.org or calling 636-394-6162 to discuss options and details!

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