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"Hold fast" to Good!
Metaphysical application ideas on the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“Are Sin, Disease, and Death Real?”
for April 5-11, 2021

by Kerry Jenkins, CS, of House Springs, MO • 314-406-0041

Click on: Audio Met "'Hold fast' to Good!" by Kerry Jenkins, CS mp3 – CedarS Camps to hear Kerry read her Metaphysical Application Ideas for this week’s Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson. Or, paste in your browser the address below:

The subjects of the past two weeks Bible lessons, “Reality,” and “Unreality,” have set the stage for this more specific look into what makes God's goodness real. How do we square what we can often see before us that is decidedly not good, with what we know of a God who is all-powerful goodness? First, we don't. That is, we don't try to "square" evil with an all-good God; it's not possible. Second, we have to make the jump in thought to consider whether our material senses are a reliable monitor of reality. Perhaps you are one who does not enjoy the metaphysical contortions of pondering just how real/unreal matter is. If that is the case, there is still enough in this lesson about the power of Good, to add positively to your daily experience!

If you are on the lookout for a radical change in your life, you might find it helpful, when thinking about the unreality of evil, to contemplate the question of why Jesus came for the brief period of a few years. The Bible tells us that it was to take away our sins; and it was. But Jesus healed multitudes during his tenure on earth! Was it just a series of amazing miracles so that we could see how special he was, to prove how powerful God was during that three-year time of his preaching? That falls short of the vast reach that his great work has had in the intervening centuries.

"Christ, Truth, was demonstrated through Jesus to prove the power of Spirit over the flesh, — to show that Truth is made manifest by its effects upon the human mind and body, healing sickness and destroying sin." (citation S8/316:7) and…"It is not well to imagine that Jesus demonstrated the divine power to heal only for a select number or for a limited period of time, since to all mankind and in every hour, divine Love supplies all good." (cit. S17/494:11) The reality of all-goodness is something we can learn to perceive as we study Jesus' life work and practice it. Gradually our perception of the all-presence of good replaces any inharmony we are experiencing. And, with practice, inharmony that appears to us, (and it does), will be less and less impressive, less substantial, as we don the lens of Christ that Jesus donned, and practice "holding fast" to good as the reality, while willingly letting evil of any kind evaporate in the sunlight of God's goodness.

The Golden Text this week gives us a great command to put into practice. "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." or, from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible "But test everything; hold fast what is good." (I Thess. 5:21) There is not a great difference here but I love that we are being told to "test" or check each suggestion that comes to us in our daily life. If what appears to us is "sin, disease, or death", then let it go, but "hold fast", stick to, keep, whatever is good!

One of the challenges that is common to people struggling with depression, especially when trauma-related, is that they tend to only remember the worst things from their lives. The metaphysics we are learning here in this lesson do not tell us to "ignore" such histories, or see the half-full glass, rather, we learn to see good as the true power, ever present, even in our worst moments. Gradually (or quickly!) this practice of holding fast to the presence of Good, causes a shift in consciousness, so that our feelings of well-being are no longer subject to these past difficult experiences. Rather the power of Good becomes the overriding presence which leaves no more room for the evil, much as turning on a light leaves no darkness in a room.

The Responsive Reading makes clear that God has established goodness for man, giving us reason to praise and rejoice in being!

Section 1: Find harmonious and eternal being in God/Good.

Where do we look for goodness? It's a little like asking where we look for light. In the daytime, we can see light, even during a storm, when we turn toward the sun's location in the sky. At night we might turn to a light in our home. Psalm 100 (verses 1,2,4) tells us just what it takes to come before God, into His presence, and how to enter his "gates" and "courts". The answer is to "serve with gladness" to "sing" (this can be metaphorical!), to enter with gratitude, or thanksgiving and praise! (citation B1) This is our ticket to seeing and experiencing God's goodness. Like looking to the sun for light, we can expect gratitude, joy, song, and blessing to bring God's goodness into our experience in tangible ways.

I have mentioned this before, but whenever we find ourselves paying attention to something, we tend to start seeing it everywhere, whether it is a new kind of car, wildflowers, bird species, babies… Suddenly, whatever it is that is in our consciousness, we find everywhere. Try this for yourself!

When I planted a prairie in our yard many years ago, I was looking to fill it with native plants. Where before I had thought there were only a handful of such varieties, I suddenly found that as I looked, they were everywhere! There were dozens of varieties along my driveway alone, in the woods, along the meadows, next to the creek! The numbers were astounding to me. Now that my eyes are opened (and I thought I had a real appreciation before!), I can never be blind again to the great variety, color, subtlety even, of these beautiful jewels of nature. Interestingly, I am not even an expert. I don't remember all their names! But I can still enjoy, appreciate and feel the wonder of these lovely plants. In the same way, we don't have to know the exact nature of God's goodness around us, rather, we need to be alert, open, aware that it exists, and really look for it. In that way, we reap the blessings of joy, health, harmony.

Section 2: Behold man's goodness.

It is often said that we should love people despite their flaws. This is fine, as far as it goes. But wouldn't it be radically better if we take the extra measure to see another's complete and full being as Jesus did, and as is declared in the first section, in Genesis, where God saw everything that He had made and it was "very good"? (cit. B4/Gen. 1:27, 31) I think this might be what Jesus was doing when he was writing in the dirt when confronted by church elders to take action against the adulterous woman. (cit. B7/John 8:1-11) His view of the entire scene was wholly different than that of anyone else there! Rather than a sinful woman, or judgmental and callous men, might he have been acknowledging the completeness and oneness of God's creation, not as humanly perfect, but divinely excellent—as the Hebrew word for "very good" from Genesis 1:31 more accurately translates?

This section opens with: “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:" (cit. B5/I John 3:1) Is this statement suggesting that God's love is amazing because he loves us "despite" our flaws? In this opening verse of 1st John, 3rd chapter, that Mary Baker Eddy called the “correlative Scripture” to her “Scientific Statement of Being,” (SH 468:8)
I hear an echo of Psalm 8:4. "What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?" The man that God made, the one to whom he gave dominion, cannot be one prone to sin, disease and death. These Biblical statements are not sarcastic, they are not marveling at the nature of a God who could love such a messed-up creation! The marvel is God's creation, including man!

Now think of the situation when Jesus is presented with the woman taken in adultery. (cit. B7/John 8:1-11) Was Jesus marveling at the woman's sin? Was he disgusted with the cruelty of the men who were condemning her? I think he might have been sticking to God's good creation and encouraging everyone there to look in that direction with him. The scribes and Pharisees brought him a "bad" woman. Jesus' actions toward them reflected his advice from his Sermon on the Mount, cast the beam out of our own eye before the mote in another's. (Matt. 7:5) This need to humbly address sin within ourselves each and every day needn't cause us to be overwhelmed with how "bad" we are. Rather, we can more easily and honestly see sin as the "nothingness" that it is. In this way we can "behold" our true identity as God's son or daughter.

Section 3: Know in advance that the evil you seek to uproot is just an illusion. Choose good as real.

It might not seem like this is a "choice", but good is ever present. There are countless stories of people in dire circumstances who witnessed the presence of good, even in prison camps, during violent situations, and in the midst of tragedy. There are modern accounts of this in our periodicals, and there are many accounts in the Bible! We are not ignoring the evil, we are turning the bright light of truth on our circumstance in order to cause the error to evaporate into nothingness. Sometimes healing of sickness occurs in this way.

I've had a number of experiences where I was struggling with severe symptoms that very suddenly disappeared when I persistently held to good as the only real. Injuries also can yield with this same practice. We may have to hold more stubbornly to truth at times before the lie disappears, but knowing in advance that what we are working to uproot is an illusion helps us to move forward. We don't give the same weight, level of fear, to something that we really know is not true! Choose truth because it is true. Choose Good because goodness blesses and only gives good. Choose good because goodness is real.

Section 4: The goodness of Jesus' healing is forever, insist on it!

There is not very much purpose in looking at the life of Christ Jesus if we don't emulate him. His life, in the brief space of the three years he preached, is a model for how to respond to hatred, how to love, how to bless, how to heal, in short, how to recognize the practical power of good, of God. Because the appearance of evil in many forms seems pretty insistent, we must be even more adamant in our insistence that good is the only power, the only reality.

If Jesus is just an important historical figure, then his life is only of interest historically. But most of us reading this Met would probably agree that his life meant more than that. Our task is to follow his example daily in any way that we can. The passages in Science and Health included in this section contain phrases such as "mentally and silently plead the case …for Truth." "…be thoroughly persuaded in your own mind concerning the truth which you think or speak…"insist vehemently on the great fact which covers the whole ground, that God, Spirit is all, and that there is none beside Him. There is no disease." This is not always easy.

When I find myself struggling with what might be considered a "chronic" problem I find that a humble, but not self-condemnatory approach gives me answers. Much as Jesus appealed to the humility of all involved in the case of the adulterous woman, we can ask ourselves questions such as: "How am I thinking of this challenge? Have I given it a real Christian Science treatment every. single. day.— or just thrown a few "truths" in the general direction of the problem? Am I grateful for the opportunity to love God more deeply? How sincerely can I answer that last question, or do I really just want to be done with the pain/inconvenience/distress, or simply get back to "the way things used to be"?

A poem I come back to regularly by Godfrey John, titled "Ask Soon," deftly and beautifully challenges us on these points. Here is a link to that poem!

We don't often discuss what we might call "unhealed" challenges among ourselves. Church is an opportunity to share healing, progress, victory, insight. But I hope that we can all find encouragement in our journeys forward into the harmony of spiritual good, knowing that through our joyful insistence we can find peace in the daily battle. This is not a complacent peace, a mental acquiescence to aging, for instance. This is a peace that invites rigorous, joyful, mental engagement each and every day with any suggestion that we are not whole, spiritual, eternal expressions of God's being!

Section 5: The true idea of being is indestructible.

This section includes a story of Paul and Barnabas preaching the gospel to Jews and Gentiles through a wide area—way beyond Israel. They met with substantial hatred and resistance as well as joyful interest. (cit. B19 and B20/Acts 13:43, 49 and 14:1, 2, 6,19-21,27) In these chapters of The Acts of the Apostles, Paul and Barnabas fled Iconium to Lystra and Derbe. But people who wished them ill followed them there and led a crowd to stone Paul for his preaching. (It is helpful to notice this passage: "But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren." Compare this to this lesson citation from Psalms "There be many that say, Who will shew us any good?" (cit. B12/Ps.4:6) It is helpful to remember that there are always voices that will say that evil is real, that good is the lie, that good is transient. This is not a new voice.)

Look what Paul does after rising up from his apparent death from stoning. He preaches the next day in that city, and then returns to Lystra and Iconium to continue his preaching – right where he met such hateful resistance! Talk about bold insistence! And Paul also was the author of the passage Mary Baker Eddy quotes from Romans in "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. S27/303:30-9) His life was a testament to the challenges that can come to us— beatings, stonings, imprisonment, shipwreck, venomous snake bite… And yet Paul did more than any single person to spread Jesus' gospel of healing. His rising here from death is a perfect symbol of the indestructibility of life, of spiritual being, and of Jesus' message of Truth and Love!

Section 6: Give thanks to God for "invisible good" that is made visible in healing.

When we accept that life is not in matter we are no longer trying to make material existence "conform" to God's established goodness. We can look to God for all our being—for our joy, sustenance, love, peace, intelligence, usefulness, skill, and so on. We can stop the pointless struggle to understand evil's place in God's creation, in spiritual reality.

Gradually we glimpse that every suggestion of evil is an error, is without the substance of good. From that standpoint we can argue our case for good. We can see what might seem invisible. Like those "suddenly" abundant wildflowers, we can no longer miss the signs of God's abundant goodness.
A beautiful statement from Science and Health encompasses this idea best: "Let unselfishness, goodness, mercy, justice, health, holiness, love—the kingdom of heaven—reign within us, and sin, disease, and death will diminish until they finally disappear." (248:29) Stick to this goodness, "hold fast" to God's good, kingdom within.

Please join us each week for a 7pm CDT Hymn Sing! You can sing along with CedarS host musicians and hundreds of worldwide friends the hymns that you all request. Click here for a link and fuller details.

Invite family, church and other friends and even neighbors to join us by Zoom EVERY week at 7pm Central Time for CedarS Sunday Hymn Sings. (A precious prelude precedes each sing at 6:45pm Central Daylight-savings Time (CDT.) We encourage singing along in Zoom’s gallery view to share the joy of seeing dear ones in virtual family-church reunions that bless all generations.

To protect privacy and copyrights, these “brief, but spectacular” sessions are NOT recorded. So, calibrate your time-zone clocks, mark your calendars, and remind friends, so that no one misses any of these inspiring, weekly reminders of our precious, spiritual oneness with each other and with our ever-loving, Father-Mother God who owns and embraces us all!

Lovingly singing prayers and praise to God for 30 minutes each Sunday is such a warm, “Welcome Home” tradition to bless the start of each week with joyous, peaceful GRACE. (Our 2021 theme.) We have loved singing-in this grace with longtime as well as first-time friends—not only from ALL 50 of the United States, but also from 21 other countries! So far, our “Hymn Sing family” has clicked or dialed-in from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, England, Germany, Ghana, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, New Zealand, Pakistan, Paraguay, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Scotland, Spain, South Africa, Switzerland, as well as from each of the United States! In the universal language of divine Love, thestill, small voice’ of scientific thought reaches over continent and ocean to the globe's remotest bound.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 559:8–10)

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