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Good [ “It’s ALL Good!” ]
Metaphysical Application Ideas for The Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“God”
for December 26, 2022 through January 1st 2023

by Christie C. Hanzlik, C.S. in Boulder, CO
ccern@mac.com • 720-331-9356 • christiecs.com


INTRODUCTION: GOLDEN TEXT AND RESPONSIVE READING

Each year, the first Christian Science Bible Lesson is on “God,” which is a great way to start out our healing practice for the new year. Clarifying our definition of God can serve as a metaphysical reboot, renewal, restart, rebirth, and so forth. As Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “The starting-point of divine Science is that God, Spirit, is All-in-all…” (p. 275:6)

 In past CedarS Mets, I’ve cautioned that the word “God,” when loosely defined, can be problematic because the term seems to make us falsely imagine a man-like being that is separate from us, separate from our experience, that has a variable will, is either watching over us or not, that is either meeting our needs or not. But this would be a false, limited, and inverted understanding of God. God is not a man-like being. God is Love without limit, Life without beginning, Truth without opposition, Principle without effort, Spirit without friction, Soul without counterfeits. God is all. And God is good.

Consider that when we say “God is good,” it is not the same as saying “cake is good*. When we say that cake is good, we’re using “good” as an adjective to describe cake. In contrast, when we say that God is good, we are using good as a noun, like God actually IS good. God is good and good is God. If this clarification doesn’t make sense at first, ponder the concept. God’s goodness is the outpouring of good as a noun. We can be clear that God is good, not merely described as good. And yet, we can also use good as an attribute for God. In other words, good is both a term for God and an attribute for God, so we could be grateful for the good of good. We have ample opportunity to ponder this and other ideas about “good” in this week’s Bible Lesson as it contains the terms good and goodness over 60 times. *Thank you to my friend and fellow Met writer, John Biggs, CS, for this example about cake that he shared with me about a decade ago while we were sitting on the edge of the stage in the lodge at CedarS.

The Golden Text, or main idea, of the Bible Lesson, begins with the Psalm, “For you answer our prayers. All of us must come to you” and adds that God crowns our year with “goodness.”. Goodness is the outpouring and expression of good, so, as I understand it, the Psalmist is rejoicing that the year is crowned with goodness—the outpouring of good, God. (GT, Psalm 65: 2, 11 NLT and KJV)

Note the use of the words good and goodness in the Responsive Reading.  Also note that at least four terms in the Responsive Reading are words Mary Baker Eddy defines in the “Glossary” of Science and Health. These terms include wilderness, children, heaven(s), earth. As a project, consider looking up these terms in the “Glossary.” As I did this and pondered the spiritual significance of these terms in the context of the Responsive Reading, it became clearer and clearer that the goodness of good endures, redeems, delivers, satisfies, fills, heals, reigns, and rejoices in every aspect of our experience. (RR, Psalm 107: 1-20, I Chronicles 16: 27-34)


SECTION 1: GOOD AS A TERM FOR GOD

The first section of the Bible Lesson starts by describing God as the Alpha and Omega—the beginning and end—the all of existence. (citation B1, Rev. 1: 8) And then reminds us to give thanks, rejoice, and be glad that God is good. (cit. B2, Psalm 118:1; cit. B3, Psalm 100: 1-5; cit. B5, Psalm 54: 6)

Mary Baker Eddy defines the term “Good”: “Good. God; Spirit; omnipotence; omniscience; omnipresence; omni-action.” (cit. S1, 587:19) She states that in at least 20 languages, “good is the term for God.” (cit. S2, 286:16-19) Etymologists explain that the term “good” is not just the word “God” with an extra “o”…the terms are homomorphic, meaning they sound similar, but this doesn’t mean that they were once considered the same words. Etymologists still debate the origins of the word “God,” but appear in agreement that it does not share roots with the word “good.” There is more to explore, but, as I read it, the etymology of good and God does not negate what Mary Baker Eddy states in Science and Health. As I read it, she is saying that the terms God and good are interchangeable. Elsewhere she states that “Soul is a term for Deity,” “Principle is found to be the only term that fully conveys the ideas of God…,” “Love is the generic term for God,” and so forth. (Misc. 75:15-17; No 20:11-13; My. 185:14)

It is difficult to find words adequate to describe God. Mary Baker Eddy laments the inadequacy of the English language to convey the infinitude of Spirit. (SH 114:17, 117:10) Thus, as we read about the goodness of good, God, we can pray to accept the inspiration behind the ideas. You may enjoy exploring the roots of the words “good” and “God” with an etymological resource such as https://www.etymonline.com

In some places in her writing, Mary Baker Eddy uses good as a term for God. And elsewhere she uses good as an attribute for God, as with the sentence, “No wisdom is wise but His wisdom; no truth is true, no love is lovely, no life is Life but the divine; no good is, but the good God bestows. (cit. S3, 275:10) Mary Baker Eddy’s explanation of good as both a term for God and an attribute of God reminds me of her elucidation on the word “love.” As she explains, “A misplaced word changes the sense and misstates the Science of the Scriptures, as, for instance, to name Love as merely an attribute of God; but we can by special and proper capitalization speak of the love of Love, meaning by that what the beloved disciple meant in one of his epistles, when he said, ‘God is love.’”  (SH, pp. 319:27–1) We could look at that same paragraph with the word “good” in place for love and thus speak of the good of Good.

Understanding good to be both an attribute and a term for God brings clarity to the statement, “God, Spirit, alone created all, and called it good.” (cit. 6, 339:8-9)


SECTION 2: GOODNESS AS THE OUTPOURING OF GOOD/GOD

The second section shares ideas on how God, good, is shown or revealed to us. It focuses on how we see good and asks, “Who will show us any good?” (cit. B6, Psalms 4: 6) As a response to this question, the section includes the story of Elijah hearing the good—the “still, small voice”—over the noise of the earthquake wind and fire. (cit. 8, I Kings 18:46; I Kings 19: 9-12) In other words, Elijah heard the goodness of God as comfort amidst the troubles of the world.

We can all hear the “still, small voice,” the goodness, of God.  As Mary Baker Eddy explains, “Spirit, God, is heard when the senses are silent.” (cit. S7, 89:20-21)

In my experience, the “voice” of good has come in the form of an insight, a glimpse of Truth, an audible message, a gentle knowing, and so forth. The “voice” of good stands out because it carries with it a clear sense of comfort and assurance. It is loud in its quietness. As Mary Baker Eddy explains, “The ‘still, small voice’ of scientific thought reaches over continent and ocean to the globe’s remotest bound. The inaudible voice of Truth is, to the human mind, ‘as when a lion roareth. It is heard in the desert and in dark places of fear.”  (cit. S11, 559:8-12)


SECTION 3: WE ARE APPOINTED TO DO GOOD

The third section highlights the role of the Wayshower, Christ Jesus, to do good and show the works of God. In the previous section, Elijah hearing the “still, small voice” exemplifies the outpouring of good. In this section, the outpouring of good is illustrated by the deeds and acts of Christ Jesus.

Christ Jesus went about “doing good” and exemplified God’s goodness so perfectly that he has been confused with God ever since. Christ Jesus is the pure expression, the clearest example of God’s goodness that that we have. And God and Christ Jesus are inseparable, similar to how good and goodness, the source and the outflow, the cause and the effect, are inseparable, and yet God and Christ Jesus have distinct roles. As Christ Jesus stated, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” (cit. B12, Luke 4:16-21) In short, God anointed and appointed Christ Jesus to do the good of God.

When someone called Christ Jesus “Good Master,” Christ Jesus didn’t accept the title. He didn’t accept someone describing him as the cause or source of good, and was clear that God is the only source of all good. As Christ Jesus stated, “Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.” (cit. B14, Matthew 19:16-17)

Christ Jesus gives us our clearest example of Christ—the outpouring of good. Christ is what makes us aware of good, aware of God. And Christ Jesus was purely and constantly aware of good, aware of God. Mary Baker Eddy explains the inseparable connection between Christ and Jesus. She writes, “Christ is the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness… Jesus demonstrated Christ; he proved that Christ is the divine idea of God — the Holy Ghost, or Comforter, revealing the divine Principle, Love, and leading into all truth.” (cit. S15, 332:9-11) Christ Jesus is our role model, our Wayshower, to demonstrate how we too can do good, and heal the brokenhearted.

We are appointed by God to do good. And we can accept our appointment. In a Christian Science Sentinel article called “No dis-appointment,” Andrew Wilson writes, “The counter fact to any disappointment in our lives is the spiritual fact that God’s man, generically, can never be dis-appointed because God has appointed us—and His appointment is always good and cannot be reversed. For that reason, I came to the conclusion some years ago that appointment is the antidote to disappointment, and have embodied that fact in my thinking and living ever since—to good effect.” (CSS January 14, 2014) https://sentinel.christianscience.com/shared/view/1agto7youeg?s=copylink

As we accept God’s appointment to do good, we have “enlisted to lessen evil, disease, and death; and [we] will overcome them by understanding their nothingness and the allness of God, or good. Sickness to [us] is no less a temptation than is sin, and [we] heal them both by understanding God’s power over them.” (cit. S17, 450:19-24) Like Christ Jesus, we can say, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because [God] hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; [God has] sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” (cit. B12, Luke 4:16-21)

Our appointment to do good may come with challenges, but we can meet these challenges with gratitude, joy, dominion and expectation of good. We have good instruction in the textbook of Christian Science for how to fulfill our appointment. Mary Baker Eddy writes, for example, “When the illusion of sickness or sin tempts you, cling steadfastly to God and [God’s] idea. Allow nothing but [God’s] likeness to abide in your thought….Let Christian Science, instead of corporeal sense, support your understanding of being, and this understanding will supplant error with Truth, replace mortality with immortality, and silence discord with harmony.” (cit. S18, 495:14-16, 20)


SECTION 4: GOOD’S GOODNESS ENDURES CONTINUALLY

The fourth section celebrates the goodness of God that pours out and meets every need. The section opens with the Psalm, “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! For [God] satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.” (cit. B15, Psalm 107:8, 9) God is good.  And God’s goodness is pouring out for us. “God sets the solitary in families.” (cit. B16, Psalm 68:6) And, as the Psalmist proclaimed, “the goodness of God endures continually.” (cit. B19, Psalm 52:1)

God is good, as the Psalmist states, but this section also poses the question, how can we trust in God’s goodness when our experiences are challenging?

Paul the Apostle, who faced hardship and persecution while sharing the Christ-message with others, stood by his conviction to the enduring goodness of good. Nothing could persuade Paul that God was less than good or that we could be separated from God’s goodness. Paul wrote, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come…Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (cit. B18, Romans 8:38, 39)

Mary Baker Eddy understood Paul’s struggle and also understood our innate inseparability from good’s goodness that Paul preached. She wrote, “Spiritual man is the image or idea of God, an idea which cannot be lost nor separated from its divine Principle. When the evidence before the material senses yielded to spiritual sense, the apostle [Paul] declared that nothing could alienate him from God, from the sweet sense and presence of Life and Truth.… It is ignorance and false belief, based on a material sense of things, which hide spiritual beauty and goodness. Understanding this, Paul said: “Neither death, nor life, . . . nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God.” (cit. S20, 303:28-9)

Like Paul, Mary Baker Eddy understood the blessing that comes from hardship, the blessing that comes from the realization that the goodness of God endures continually. As she explained, “Who that has felt the loss of human peace has not gained stronger desires for spiritual joy? The aspiration after heavenly good comes even before we discover what belongs to wisdom and Love.” (cit. S19, 265:23-26)

It is often in our deepest struggles—in the moments in which we become willing to let go of limited human opinions—that we discover and are able to fully lean upon the strength of God’s goodness. The goodness of good is always pouring out for us, and yet we often don’t realize it until we let go of trying to do everything ourselves. And yet we can accept the goodness of good as a good guest accepts the hospitality of a good host. As Mary Baker Eddy poetically reminds us, “Pilgrim on earth, thy home is heaven; stranger, thou art the guest of God.” (cit. S23, 254:31)

God’s good is pouring forth and we can accept it.


SECTION 5: GOODNESS OFTEN COMES IN UNEXPECTED WAYS

The fifth section includes the story of when Peter and John healed the man who was lame and who was laid daily at the temple gate. Each day the man asked alms from those entering the temple. The man sought goodness in the form of alms.

But Peter and John offered an unexpected form of goodness. Instead of offering him coins, Peter said essentially, “I don’t have silver and gold for you, but I will give you the good I do have: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” Of course, the man was healed and praised God for the goodness he received. (cit. B20, Acts 3:1-9) The man’s praises may have sounded a lot like the Psalmists words: “Praise you the Lord. Praise you the name of the Lord; praise [God], O ye servants of the Lord. You that stand in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God” (cit. B21, Psalm 135:1-3)

Mary Baker Eddy understood physical healing as the overturning of a false sense of God, as overturning a limited sense of good. She explained, “The Scripture declares, ‘The Lord He is God [good]; there is none else beside Him.’ Even so, harmony is universal, and discord is unreal. Christian Science declares that Mind is substance, also that matter neither feels, suffers, nor enjoys. Hold these points strongly in view. Keep in mind the verity of being, — that man is the image and likeness of God, in whom all being is painless and permanent.” (cit. S24, 414:21-28)

God is good and is not the source of bad. God is only good and is not the cause of bad. That which appears as discordant or inharmonious or bad is a limited and distorted view that, when corrected, expands our understanding and restores right activity. As Mary Baker Eddy explains, “Inasmuch as God is good and the fount of all being, He does not produce moral or physical deformity; therefore such deformity is not real, but is illusion, the mirage of error.”  (cit. S25, 243:32-3) The man at the temple gate had seemed to accept his lameness as the truth of his being and so had limited his sense of what good he could receive. As he saw it, the only good he could beg for was alms. But Peter and John saw him differently. They saw the lame man as fully receptive of good, able to receive a full dose of good, and thus able to accept a renewed view, a healed sense of being. The man was able to receive God’s goodness even when it came in an unexpected way.

Mary Baker Eddy offers concrete steps for how to overturn inharmony or badness. She writes, “Mentally insist that harmony is the fact, and that sickness is a temporal dream. Realize the presence of health and the fact of harmonious being, until the body corresponds with the normal conditions of health and harmony.” (cit. S28, 412:23) Elsewhere she instructs us to “Rise in the strength of Spirit to resist all that is unlike good. God has made man capable of this, and nothing can vitiate the ability and power divinely bestowed on man.” (cit. S28, 393:12)

Her instructions are not mere human opinion. These instructions are based on the truth of being, the law of good that states, “All that God imparts moves in accord with Him, reflecting goodness and power.” (cit. S29: 515:22) God’s goodness is reflected in us the same way an artist’s talent is reflected in their artwork. We are the good work of God.


SECTION 6: THE GOODNESS OF GOD SURROUNDS US

The first citation of the sixth section Jeremiah records God as saying, “my people shall be satisfied with my goodness” (cit. B22, Jeremiah 31:14 my)

We are all surrounded by the goodness of God, immersed in it, like a drop of water at one with the ocean, so too are we at one with God’s goodness. As we read in Zechariah, “For how great is [G]od’s goodness, and how great is [God’s] beauty!” (cit. B24, Zechariah 9:17)

We are so surrounded by goodness that we cannot always determine from whence it cometh.  As Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Spirit blesses man, but man cannot ‘tell whence it cometh.’ By it the sick are healed, the sorrowing are comforted, and the sinning are reformed. These are the effects of one universal God, the invisible good dwelling in eternal Science” (cit. S30, 78:28).

We can each strive to notice the good more, to acknowledge it and give God praise for ever-present goodness. This goodness is present for each of us. Every one of God’s ideas is worthy of goodness. As Mary Baker Eddy states, “Love giveth to the least spiritual idea might, immortality, and goodness, which shine through all as the blossom shines through the bud. All the varied expressions of God reflect health, holiness, immortality — infinite Life, Truth, and Love.” (cit. S31, 518:19)

We can all hear the “still, small voice,” the goodness, of God above what seems like the clamor of the world.

We are not separate from the goodness of God. We are actually part of this goodness. We are the goodness, the outpouring of good, God. The knowledge of our role as the goodness of God gives us a renewed sense of purpose. We can accept this appointment—to be the goodness! —and live it today and throughout the upcoming year. As we face each of our challenges, we can see it as the opportunity to overturn the limited and distorted sense of good, and gain a clearer and deeper sense that God is good and God is all. As Mary Baker Eddy states, “The maximum of good is the infinite God and His idea, the All-in-all.” (cit. S32, 103:15-16)


WELCOME-IN THE NEW YEAR WITH A CEDARS HYMN SING!
SUNDAY, JANUARY 1, 2023 the Jenkins Family will start the
Hymn Sing Prelude at 6:45pm Central Time (CT).
At 7pm CT for the Hymn Sing, we hope you will join
hundreds of like-minded singers from all 50 states again
and from over 20 countries again as we
SING OUR PRAYERS & PRAISE TO GOD FOR A BEST NEW YEAR YET!
Details & a Zoom link WILL FOLLOW for all who
SIGN-UP AT Hymn Sings – CedarS Camps.


GEMs of BIBLE-BASED application ideas from COBBEY CRISLER & others will be POSTED and EMAILED later this week, so check your email (or junk mail) for them.  You can always check the  current GEMs at CedarS INSPIRATION website, whether or not you’ve  SUBSCRIBED here to receive this free offering.


Also later in the week, look for Ken Cooper’s “POETIC POSTLUDE”
contributions related to this Bible Lesson.


DEAR POTENTIAL YEAR-END DONORS, CLICK HERE and Scroll down to hear  “What our Donors Say” about the reasons they support CedarS.  You’ll also be able to see a video of campers and staff sharing LOTS OF HUMBLE, HEARTFELT GRATITUDE for all that you difference-making DONORS DO TO HELP US FEED & SHOE OUR HORSES, MAINTAIN & UPGRADE OUR FACILITIES, GIVE CAMPERSHIPS,
KEEP OUR OPERATIONS “GREEN”  & MORE!

Thanks to you and to God, CedarS had another best-summer and fall yet!  Your needed, ongoing support — whether it’s one-time, monthly, or forever (though an Endowment Matched gift), will help us continue to “love into view”  SUSTAINABLE, DIFFERENCE-MAKING BLESSINGS for hundreds of families and thousands of individuals, for generations to come, all across the U.S. and the world.

After hosting this Fall another wonderful Bible Study Workshop, a touching and joyous Celebration of Life Service, and a great Methodist Women’s Retreat, CEDARS IS SEEKING TO UPGRADE OUR NORTH STAR DINING ROOM TO BE A MISSION-WORTHY CONFERENCE CENTER TO SERVE other SUCH EVENTS. For more about supporting this upgrade, or about making a planned gift, a required IRA distribution or an endowment gift (that will all be MATCHED), feel free to call or text me (Warren Huff)
anytime at 314-378-2574

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