Thank you for your loving support this Giving Tuesday!

Click here & then on Listen button to hear Christie read her Met.
FREEDOM FROM ALL THE GLITCHES OF UNREALITY!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for The Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“Unreality”
for Sept. 26 through October 2, 2022

by Christie C. Hanzlik, C.S. of Boulder, Colorado
ccern@mac.com • christiecs.com


INTRODUCTION

There are dozens of popular movies that explore the question, “How do we know what is real?”  Some examples include The Matrix series, Inception, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Source Code, Tron, and lots and lots of Twilight Zone and Dr. Who episodes. Even the protagonists in comedies like Free Guy and Wreck-It-Ralph explore questions of reality. These movies offer ways to contemplate the branch of philosophy called metaphysics—the study of reality and existence. And, in most of these movies, there is a moment in which the protagonist(s) figure out a way to determine what is real versus unreal. These movies show that many people have a deep desire to know what is real with certainty.

For me, these questions about “what is real” are the focus of this week’s Bible Lesson on “Unreality.” In this Met, I relate the plot of these movies to the Bible Lesson not to be disrespectful, of course, but rather to point out that questioning unreality is common theme in popular culture, and to show that the Science of being—the Science of existence—which we discover in Christian Science brings comforting resolution to these questions.

What Christian healer, Mary Baker Eddy, did in the second half of the 1800s was to unite her questions about metaphysics—how do we know what is real versus unreal? —with her biblical questions such as, how do we heal like Christ Jesus did?  This week’s Bible Lesson on “Unreality” gives us ways to ponder these questions and find insight and meaning so we can feel a more and more solid and secure sense of what is real, what is substantive, and what we can rely upon for joy, comfort, meaning, and genuine satisfaction.

Throughout this week’s lesson, we find the words “harmony” and “discord” in connection with the concepts “real” versus “unreal.” Harmony is in the Lesson about 17 times. We could define harmony as the perfect balance and saturation of joy, comfort, meaning, and genuine satisfaction. And we could define discord as the absence or interruption of harmony.  While our limited sense of existence might get confused and mesmerized by discord and unreality, to divine sense, “harmony is the real and discord the unreal.” (citation S20, 563:1-2)


GOLDEN TEXT & RESPONSIVE READING

The Golden Text (GT) starts out with the clear statement: “Let us judge for ourselves what is right; let us decide together what is good.” (GT, Job 34:4, Christian Standard Bible)

As I understand the context of this statement from the allegorical story of Job, it is about Job trying to figure out what is real and where to place his faith in the midst of his life being turned upside down and his friends trying to influence him erroneously.
Like Job, many of us seem to struggle with our faith and knowing the truth about reality when we face tough challenges.

The Responsive Reading offers us a ready-way to determine what is right and good and real.  It reminds us to look to the source to know what is true.  It asks the rhetorical questions, Can a fountain give us both sweet water and bitter water? No!  Can a fig tree produce olive berries?  No!  (James 3:11–13) The author of James is basically saying that we can look to the source of all creation—divine Mind—and then determine whether something is right and good and real.  In short, if divine Mind (Mind without beginning) does not know of it, it’s not real.
For me, the remainder of the Responsive Reading looks like a set of instructions:

Do this                                                Get this

Trust in the Lord, and do good;   so shalt thou dwell in the land…& be fed
Delight thyself also in the Lord;  he shall give thee the desires of thine heart
Commit thy way unto the Lord;   he shall bring it to pass

As we “do this”—align with the source of all good, we “get this”—the right, the good, and the real.  Ultimately, the law of Good is in our heart. (Psalm 37:3-31)


SECTION 1: TRUTH IS THE FOUNDATION

The heroes of many science fiction movies have to find a way to determine what is real in order to advance the plot and solve the problem presented in the movie. For us to “advance the plot” metaphorically, we too need to identify reality and determine what is real.

To discover what is real, a good place to start is at the very beginning…. or, better yet…start with the fact that there was no beginning. Truth never begins. Truth always has been. In the opening line of the Gospel of John, we read, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” There never was a moment before the Word, there never was time before God. God is, by definition, that which has no beginning and that always has been and is good. The concept of beginningless-ness is worth pondering. God is again, by definition, that which has no beginning and that always has been and is good. As I understand it, “the Word,” is the truth of God revealed.  God has always existed and “the Word” is how we know this. And then, from this, it follows “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”… “…and, behold it was very good.” (citation B1, John 1:1-3; cit. B5, Genesis 1:31)

Mary Baker Eddy explained this point well. She writes, “In the Gospel of John, it is declared that all things were made through the Word of God, “and without Him [the logos, or word] was not anything made that was made.” Everything good or worthy, God made. Whatever is valueless or baneful, He did not make, — hence its unreality. In the Science of Genesis we read that He saw everything which He had made, ‘and, behold, it was very good.’” (cit. S1, 525:17-24)

Truth asserts itself.  Truth has power inherent to the fact that it is true. And as we understand the truth of existence—the truth of being—we experience harmony—joy, comfort, meaning, and genuine satisfaction. As Mary Baker Eddy explains, “Truth is affirmative, and confers harmony. All metaphysical logic is inspired by this simple rule of Truth, which governs all reality.” (cit. S4, 417:20-22)

As an analogy, we can see that in most of the science fiction movies about metaphysics, when the protagonist grasps truth—what is real—this truth confers power and they are able to solve the difficulties they face in the movie. Well, the truth that we’re finding here in this Bible Lesson is even greater than that. It is Truth with a capital “T” that indicates it is eternal, infallible, and universal and goes beyond any limited or wavering sense of reality.  The movies can be thought-expanding, but ultimately when we examine them too closely they rest on shaky foundations.  This is true for the material (or limited and distorted) view of existence as well.  It rests on shaky foundations.  In contrast, Truth is Truth and cannot be shaken or contaminated, undermined or distorted.

As Mary Baker Eddy explains, “In Science, Truth is divine, and the infinite God can have no unlikeness. Did God, Truth, create error? No! “Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?” God being everywhere and all-inclusive, how can He be absent or suggest the absence of omnipresence and omnipotence? How can there be more than all?  …  Truth cannot be contaminated by error. The statement that Truth is real necessarily includes the correlated statement, that error, Truth’s unlikeness, is unreal.”  (cit. S5, 287:10, 32)


SECTION 2: “DO JUSTLY, LOVE MERCY, AND WALK HUMBLY”

Another characteristic of the science fiction movies that explore the question, “what is real?” is that the protagonists, who discover the underlying truth and advance the plot, are often good.  The protagonists usually possess characteristics such as wisdom, integrity, alertness, curiosity, uprightness, and duty to something larger than themselves that sets them apart from their counterparts who don’t question their surroundings, thus making the protagonists uniquely suited to solve the problem presented in the movie.

The need to have wisdom, integrity, alertness, curiosity, uprightness, and a duty to something larger than themselves to discover the truth of being are also themes that run through the Bible.

The second section of this week’s Bible Lesson includes several characteristics that we can cultivate to help us better determine the difference between the reality and unreality of existence.  In 2nd Timothy, we’re reminded how to accept “instruction in righteousness” so that we may be “perfect”—perfectly aligned with Truth.  (cit. B7, II Timothy 3:16, 17) In Proverbs, we’re reminded to be good and righteous. (cit. B7, Proverbs 12:2, 5) And in Micah, we’re told that to understand Truth we need to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly. (cit. B8, Micah 6:1, 8)

We could probably analyze the science fiction movies and find the moment in which the protagonists need to discover those characteristics—justice, mercy, and humility—before they can find truth.For us, In the light of Truth with a capital “T,” these characteristics can be a daily practice for us as we “walk the talk” of our solemn 6th Tenet “promise … to be merciful, just and pure.” (Science and Health 497:24-27)

Mary Baker Eddy explains that, in Truth, we are inherently good and perfect. (cit. S6, 414:21-23, 26) Our perfection does not mean a particular body type or a high IQ score or something like that.  Our perfection means that we are perfectly connected to and inseparable from divine Truth, divine Love.

As a ray is connected to and inseparable from the sun, so are we connected to and inseparable from the source of all being, divine Truth.
To find the “ultimate harmony” we need to correct our ignorance of God, our misconception about Truth.  As Mary Baker Eddy explains, “It is our ignorance of God, the divine Principle, which produces apparent discord, and the right understanding of Him restores harmony.”  (cit. S7, 390:7-9)
This sense of harmony—goodness—is natural.  Harmony is a natural characteristic of our existence and we can expect it.  As Mary Baker Eddy explains, “Harmony in man is as beautiful as in music, and discord is unnatural, unreal.”

This reminds me of how in many of the science fiction movies, a “glitch” enables the protagonist to realize that they need to question their surroundings and search for a deeper reality.  A “glitch” is like “discord.”  When harmony is natural, a “glitch” should make us question our surroundings and look for a deeper understanding of the Truth of Harmony that underlies all existence. (cit. S8, 304:16)  From the Matrix to the animated film Wreck it Ralph, when the characters question glitches in their surroundings, they are able to discover more about the true nature of reality and find that they are capable of more than they knew.


SECTION 3: THE WAYSHOWER

Another commonality of the science fiction movies is that they usually include a mentor, who has key insights, to share with the protagonist as they discover the truth about reality.  In the Matrix, the protagonist, Neo, had Morpheus.  In Wreck-It-Ralph, Ralph consulted an ironic truth-sayer, Sour Bill.
In the Bible, which is not fiction but is a collection of insights about Truth with a capital “T,” Christ Jesus is the Wayshower and each one of us is a protagonist, able to learn the lessons of reality and harmony. The third section of the lesson explains that the Jews marveled at Christ Jesus, “saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?” Christ Jesus made it clear that all the truth that he knows is from divine Truth.  He answered, “My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” (cit. B12, John 7:14-16, 24) This reminds me of the insight from the first section that when we want to know the truth of reality, we should look to the source of all Truth, the beginningless Truth.

Christ Jesus demonstrated the truths he spoke. For example, he healed the man with palsy by forgiving his sins. When we understand “sin” to be the false belief that we could be separated from Truth, Christ Jesus healed the man by seeing beyond the belief of separation and declaring the man’s perfection—perfect oneness with Truth, like a ray that is connected to and inseparable from the sun.  (cit. B13, Luke 5:18-25)

Mary Baker Eddy explains that, “As the individual ideal of Truth, Christ Jesus came to rebuke [or correct] rabbinical error and all sin, sickness, and death, — to point out the way of Truth and Life.” (cit. S10, 30:19-21) In other words, Christ Jesus overturned the unreality of the belief of separation from Truth, the belief of discord, and the belief of a start and endpoint to Truth.

Christ Jesus could see through the unreality of discord and inharmony. Here are some word substitutions in a sentence from Science and Healththat further connect this idea to the account of Christ Jesus healing the man from palsy “To Jesus, not [a limited view], but [an unlimited view of our oneness with divine Truth], was the reality of man’s existence, while to the rabbis the [unlimited and expanded view of our oneness with Truth] was the intangible and uncertain, if not the unreal [sense of palsied man].”  (cit. B11, 352:8)

The remainder of the section explains that we can follow the Wayshower to experience healing—the awakening from unreality.  Mary Baker Eddy explains, “Palsy is a belief that matter [or a limited view] governs mortals, and can paralyze the body [our identity], making certain portions of it motionless. Destroy the belief, show mortal mind that muscles [also known as “thought forces”] have no power to be lost, for Mind is supreme, and you cure the palsy [or discord].”  (cit. S15, 375:17-25, with additions in brackets)

As we understand more and more how to discern between unreality and reality, discord and harmony, we can heal like the Wayshower. Healing is not miraculous. It is the natural result of breaking free from the unreality of discord.  As Mary Baker Eddy states, “The realities of being, its normal action, and the origin of all things are unseen to mortal sense; whereas the unreal and imitative movements of mortal belief, which would reverse the immortal modus and action, are styled the real. Whoever contradicts this mortal mind supposition of reality is called a deceiver, or is said to be deceived. Of a man it has been said, “As he thinketh in his heart, so is he;” hence as a man spiritually understandeth, so is he in truth.” (cit. S13, 212:29)


SECTION 4: PRAYER

The science fiction movies that I described in the beginning of this Met explore the question of how we know what is real.  The movies can open up thought and cause us to ask great questions and think in new ways. And yet, they don’t offer any lasting comfort. If anything, they tend to leave us vaguely uncomfortable.  The movies are not grounding, or satisfying in giving us a more real understand of the truth of existence. Sometimes these movies can even make us more uncertain about reality.

In contrast, we can find comfort and certainty in the Scriptures. The fourth section of the Lesson shares ways to pray to feel more grounded and more free from the uncertainty of unreality. For me, the fourth section offers insights on how to pray, how to overturn unreality and align with reality.
The section includes, for example, the simple and humble prayer: “Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee. Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.”  (cit. B17, Psalm 143:7-10)

I have found this prayer—“Cause me to hear your lovingkindness”—crucial because it is often difficult to turn away from discord that feels very,very real. For me, it has not enough been sufficient to lean on human reasoning or intellectualism, but at some point, I have to let go with humility and ask Truth to, “Cause me to hear your lovingkindness.”  Truth is the cause, the cause without beginning.  When I’m praying this prayer, I am essentially letting the Truth of being inform me and affirming that, “Since God is All, there is no room for His unlikeness. God, Spirit, alone created all, and called it good. Therefore evil, being contrary to good, is unreal, and cannot be the product of God.”  (cit. S18, 339:7-10)

Here is a link to this prayer-Psalm as a hymn sung by Matthew Hammond and his family. (Christian Science Hymnal, No. 457)

new link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/2xpengayo2vdx2e/Hymn%20457%20-%20Cause%20Me%20to%20Hear%20%28Matthew%20Hammond%20%26%20Family%29.m4a?dl=0

It is also available as DOWNLOAD at the end of the online Met.

Matthew will be leading the CedarS Virtual Hymn Sing on October 2nd, and also teaches hymn writing workshops at CedarS for campers of all ages. (You will be sent an email with the Zoom link to this healing event and details about it, if you have already signed up.  If not, you can register here:https://cedarscamps.org/programs/type/hymn-sings/  And, here is a link to a hymn project Matthew and his friend Davya and others are working on. (https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-matthew-davya-record-their-1st-duet-album)


SECTION 5: FREEDOM FROM DISCORD

Divine Truth never leaves us feeling uncertain, or like we’re in some kind of mental captivity of confusion or discord.  Truth is always clear, and always directs us where we need to go. Truth frees us from mental discord. Truth frees us from captivity, and awakens us with tender comfort.
The fifth section explains how understanding the truth of existence sets us free from discord and unreality. To demonstrate this point, the section includes the account of the apostle Peter hearing comforting messages while in prison, and walking right out to freedom.  (cit. B21, Acts 12:1-11) This account demonstrates the universal Truth that we can all rely on to overcome of physical or mental captivity. Here is a relatively recent example from journalist Elizabeth Pond of how prayer and angel messages resulted in freedom from a prisoner of war camp controlled by Khmer Rouge guerilla fighters known for their brutality. (https://journal.christianscience.com/shared/view/9llwuebyfs?s=e)  And, here is another account by Elizabeth Pond from January 2022 in which she shares her freedom from physical discomfort (another form of discord) (https://sentinel.christianscience.com/shared/view/2awd6ld1i40?s=copylink)  In this account of physical healing through prayer, Elizabeth Pond refers to the comfort she gained from Mary Baker Eddy’s explanation of “the proof of healing” as “a sweet and certain sense that God is Love” (Science and Healthp. 569).
 
Peter heard angels—God’s thoughts—over 2000 years ago.  Elisabeth Pond felt the comfort of angels in the late 1960s and—I am certain—uncountable ways both before and after her release from captivity. And, of course, the comfort of Truth’s communication is available to each one of us today.  “Angels,” Mary Baker Eddy explains, “are God’s representatives.”  And “By giving earnest heed to these spiritual guides they tarry with us, and we entertain ‘angels unawares.’”  (cit. S24, 299:11-12, 15)

The comforting messages that come from Truth are exemplified by these Psalms:

  • “The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.” (cit. B18, Psalm 103:6)
    • “…they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses.”
    • “He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder.”
    • “He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.” (cit B19, Psalm 107:13-15, 20)
    • “I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.”
    • “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.” (cit. 22, Psalm 91: 2, 11)

And, as we read in the book of John, when we feel as if we are in captivity, we can turn to divine Truth and experience the promise, “ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)

Divine Truth offers us both physical and mental emancipation.  As Mary Baker Eddy explains, “The power of God brings deliverance to the captive. No power can withstand divine Love. What is this supposed power, which opposes itself to God? Whence cometh it? What is it that binds man with iron shackles to sin, sickness, and death? Whatever enslaves man is opposed to the divine government. Truth makes man free.” (cit. S25, 224:29)


SECTION 6: TRUTH IS REVEALED

The sixth section is like an exclamation point at the end of the lesson, driving home the point that Truth makes itself clear to us, corrects a false sense of unreality and separation from good, and frees us from the bondage of physical and mental captivity. Truth is clear and direct.  Truth is never confusing.  Consider hearing these scriptural words as being spoken by omnipotent Truth—not an anthropomorphic being: “Hearken unto me, my people; and give ear unto me, O my nation: for a law shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people.”  (cit. B24, 51:4)  It is comforting to think Truth offering Truth’s judgement to rest for a light of the people. We can see ourselves as walking in the light of Truth.
We are all blessed with an awareness of Truth’s light. And we can accept Christ Jesus’ promise, “blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears for they hear.” (cit. B25, Matthew 13:16)

We can, as the book of Job states, “stand still, and consider the wondrous works of [Truth].”  (cit. 26, Job 27:14, with Truth in place of the word God]
When we seem to see a glitch in harmony, we can—like the protagonists in the science fiction movies—recognize that the glitch is but an alert to tune in to the divine Truth, and to see the unreality of discord.  Harmony is real.  And we can call discord into question, letting Truth’s Law of Harmony correct and overturn misconceptions of any kind.

We never need to be confused or disturbed by unreality. Instead, we can anchor ourselves to the strength of beginningless Truth, and never get pushed around by false theories.

As Mary Baker Eddy writes, “The realization that all inharmony is unreal brings objects and thoughts into human view in their true light, and presents them as beautiful and immortal.” (cit. S30, 276:9-14) “All reality is in God and His creation, harmonious and eternal.”  (cit. S31, 472:24-25)


GEMs of BIBLE-BASED application ideas from COBBEY CRISLER & others should be POSTED and EMAILED by mid-week. Check the  current GEMs at CedarS INSPIRATION website, or later in your email, if you have  SUBSCRIBED on this webpage to receive this offering.


Ken Cooper is away this week on holiday, so do NOT expect “POETIC POSTLUDE” contributions related to this Bible Lesson.


HUMBLE, HEARTFELT THANKS to all you difference-making DONORS WHO  HELP US FEED & SHOE OUR HORSES, MAINTAIN & UPGRADE OUR FACILITIES, GIVE CAMPERSHIPS & MORE!

Thanks to you and to God, CedarS had another best-summer 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”  lasting, DIFFERENCE-MAKING BLESSINGS for hundreds of families and thousands of individuals, for generations to come, all across the U.S. and the world.

For more on making a planned gift, a required IRA distribution or an endowment gift (that will be MATCHED), feel free to call or text me (Warren Huff) at 314-378-2574.

American Camp Association

MAIN OFFICE
(November - May)
410 Sovereign Court #8
Ballwin, MO 63011
(636) 394-6162

CAMP OFFICE
(Memorial Day Weekend - October)
19772 Sugar Dr.
Lebanon, MO 65536
(417) 532-6699

Support our mission!

CedarS Camps

Back
to top