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Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson

“Probation After Death”
for October 27, 2013

by Rick Stewart, C.S. Dresden, Germany   +49 351 312 4736

[Bracketed inserts are by CedarS Director, Warren Huff, who prays that you readers can
help CedarS meet a year-end, $25,000 “Maintenance Musts” Challenge Grant!]

 Although the Spanish phrase, “pura vida” literally means pure life, I love the way it is used in one of my favorite countries, Costa Rica.  I first visited Costa Rica in 1987 to give a Christian Science lecture.  And I later returned two times on surfing trips.  Each visit was filled with that uniquely Costa Rican phrase, “pura vida.”  For Costa Ricans “pura vida” is a greeting or motto whose real meaning is more like "plenty of life", "full of life", or "this is living!"

And although this week’s Bible Lesson on the subject, “Probation after Death”, might sound like a very dark topic I find it just the opposite.  This lesson is filled with “pura vida.”  Through the citations from the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures found in this week’s lesson, we can lay to rest a scary, dark religious doctrine and discover the “pura vida” that is found in the Life that is God’s expression.

We can be particularly grateful that the Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, was courageous, insightful, and “incite-ful” enough to challenge long held religious dogmas like this one, “probation after death,” with the truth of being as discovered in a spiritual understanding of the Bible’s message to all.   As when our Master, Christ Jesus, spoke of himself as the “Good Shepherd” (John 10), “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

So let’s not wait any longer, let’s dive right into this week’s Bible Lesson and discover more of the “pura vida” that we each have a right to live.

And just so you don’t think you might be the only one that finds this topic a little bit negative.  You might enjoy watching this video from the TMC Youth media library.  It was posted by Ian and Ethel Baker on October 18, 2010.    Ethel shares how she used to view this Bible Lesson topic as a “downer.”  She describes how she grew to see the importance of this lesson subject in helping us to understand more of Jesus’ teachings about our “eternal life.”

Our Golden Text this week is from Matthew 25:23 (a line from Jesus’ parable of the talents) . . . “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”  (KJV)

Each week I receive an email from a friend and fellow Christian Science Practitioner, Karen Lee.  She researches many Bible translations and sends along examples she has found that might shed light on certain citations from the current Bible Lesson.  For example this week she shared these three translations of our Golden Text.

Matthew 25:23 NLT – ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’

CEB – ‘Well done! You are a good and faithful servant. You’ve been faithful over a little. I’ll put you in charge of much. Come, celebrate with me.’

MSG – ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’

Jesus introduced the parables in Matthew 25 with the phrase, “the kingdom of heaven will be like…”  So since the Golden Text is the theme of the weekly Bible Lesson in a nutshell, we might expect wonderful insights this week as to how we can live our lives to reap the rewards of living in the kingdom of heaven, here, now.  Remember the time you invest in studying this week’s lesson is going to bring you untold riches in “pura vida.” 

With the Responsive Reading we are introduced to the idea of the “trying” (testing) of our faith and “proving” (trying out) all things.  It is not unusual to find this kind of testing in life.  We hear about test pilots that tried out new airplanes and eventually broke the sound barrier.  We go on test drives as we try to pick out a new car.  When we want to buy a new appliance, like a refrigerator, a stove, a stereo, a computer etc, don’t we sometimes read articles and research about test results of these items?

One of my favorite uncles, Scotty Lovejoy, had a long career at General Motors.  Most of his career was in supervising construction projects.  But there was a time period when he actually was a test driver.  Almost his entire career was at the General Motors Proving Grounds in Milford, Michigan.  The Proving Grounds was exactly what it sounds like, a place to try out or test new technology and new cars.

Well, with each of the sections of this Lesson, we are going to see how each of us can learn how to put into practice what we are learning about life eternal.  Rather than a negative topic, we are going to see the incredibly positive aspects of taking Life [divine] out for a test drive!

Section 1: Understand that Life is God.
Well, don’t you think we can expect that this lesson is going to be more about life than death if The Psalmist is quoted in this section as saying, that “He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto God the Lord belong the issues from death” (B-1) and ”Through thy precepts I get understanding… give me understanding and I shall live.”(B-2)?

The citations from Science and Health also make it clear:
“We all must learn that Life is God.” (S-1)  
“Death is not a stepping stone to Life, immortality.” (S-2)
“Not death, but the understanding of Life, makes man immortal.” (S-3) 

For example here is the case of a young man shot with a gun and expected to die. The following affidavit was presented in connection with a legislative hearing on a bill which would have affected the practice of Christian Science healing:

“AFFIDAVIT Commonwealth of Massachusetts, } County of Suffolk.

Joseph C. Mann, being duly sworn, on his oath states:

“In November, 1886, I was accidentally shot with a thirty-two calibre revolver, the ball entering the left breast near the nipple. I immediately became unconscious, was carried into the house and laid on the nearest bed.

"On our doctor’s arrival the family were informed that I had received a fatal wound; indeed so serious did he consider the case that he felt unwilling to father its responsibility alone. Accordingly three more well known and eminent physicians were summoned post haste. One of these was known in the city whence he came as a skilful surgeon. All four are to-day in the field of practice and their standing is considered as good as any in the medical profession, and in the community in which they live they are known as honest men. They examined the wound closely and carefully and concluded it would be useless to probe for the ball for if they should attempt this, or in any way stir me, I would die on their hands.

"They further concluded, that judging from the excessive bleeding, both internally and externally, and the peculiar color of the blood, the ball had touched the heart, and was probably lodged in the pericardium. The doctors informed the family that they were unable to stop the flow of blood, and should they attempt this from without, I would still bleed inwardly, and thus bleed to death.

"After a few hours they held a council in an adjoining room, and then told the family there was no hope, saying to the father: “Mr. Mann, we are sorry, but we can do nothing for your son.” In his sorrow and desperation the father implored them to spare nothing that money might afford, send for any other help that might bring hope; but they said it would be useless. With this verdict the three departed. While our family physician still lingered he kept the family informed that I was gradually dying; the body was growing cold, and before he left the house the eyes were becoming set and the death perspiration stood on the forehead.  As he went out he said to our grieving friends that death was so near, the pulse was scarcely perceptible.  All human help had now left, and the last hope of the family went out with it.  So sure were the doctors of my death that they themselves told our friends and relatives, by the way, that they would never see me alive again.  Telegrams were written and held ready to spread the news that I was dead.

"In this last moment, Christian Science was providentially brought to our door.  The family had never heard of this (to them) new method of healing and refused to admit the Scientist; for, as they said, they wanted no one to experiment on the dying whom the doctors had given up as hopeless.  They were assured, however, that the patient should not be touched or given medicine; and that “man’s extremity has been (is) God’s opportunity.”

"Within about fifteen minutes after (the practitioner) had been admitted into our house I began suddenly to grow warm again under its treatment. My breath was again revived and normal.  I became conscious, opened my eyes and knew I should not die, but would live.

"That same evening I sat up in bed and ate a little steak and toast.  The excruciating pain I had felt during intervals of consciousness while dying, was all gone and I was steadily and rapidly growing strong and well.  Notwithstanding the great loss of blood, I was strong enough the next day to have my blood-saturated garments (which had dried during the night and had to be removed by cutting) exchanged for clean ones.

"Beyond washing the wound and body to cleanse them from the blood, no attention was given them.  The doctors on hearing that I had not died, predicted that gangrene and other evils would yet set in, especially on account of the excessive internal bleeding, and this would certainly produce death.  I however continued to improve.  The same power that had brought me to this point of recovery, forestalled also the bad results which the M. D.’s expected.

"The second day I was out of bed and dressed the greater part of the time; and the third day found me up bright and early and about with the family as though the accident had never occurred.  That our mourning had been turned into joy is true, indeed; and to prove to my many visitors that I was really healed and quite like myself again in so short a time, I took my part with the family in singing our familiar church hymns; all were agreed that my voice was strong and sound.  Relatives who had come to attend the funeral rejoiced with me instead.

"The wound healed inwardly and outwardly without any apparent inflammation, swelling, or suppuration; and meanwhile, from the fourth day on, I walked out to visit friends, rode with the family in carriage and sleigh over rough roads, and in all kinds of weather without sustaining the slightest ill effect therefrom.  Christian Science not only perfectly healed me after the medical doctors had failed and had given me up, but through what understanding I have gained, I have ever since been kept well.  When I was first healed I experienced a little soreness during the first few weeks of my being about, but this soon entirely disappeared, and not a sensation from the wound have I felt since.

"In the village which bears witness to my healing, is the home of my father, John F. Mann, where he has resided for upwards of forty years.  I have no doubt that he, or any honest man, who was a citizen of Broad Brook, town of East Windsor, Hartford Co., Conn., where my healing occurred, will give his testimony to any reader who might wish further evidence than my statement of it.  Any who would personally inquire into this case are kindly invited to call on me at 4I8 Columbus Avenue, Boston, Mass.”

Joseph C. Mann.

Subscribed and sworn to before me this 27th day of February, A.D. 1894. (Seal) Walter L. Church, Notary Public.

The above affidavit is quoted in the reminiscences of Calvin C. Hill as published in We Knew Mary Baker Eddy, Third Series (The Christian Science Publishing Society, 1953).”

Section 2: Use your talents to live the “pura vida.”
This section of the Lesson is built around Jesus parable of the talents, (B-8) Matthew 25.   In this parable Jesus tells of a man who went on a journey.  He entrusted his wealth to three servants.  Each servant received a different amount. The first servant received five talents, the second received two talents, and the third one talent.  You might be interested to know that one talent was equivalent to 20 years of a day laborer’s wages.  So this was no pittance that was entrusted to these servants. 

The Science and Health citations, (S-7) to (S-10) encourage us to discover more of this “Science of Life,” and put into practice what we are learning.  [“The talents He gives we must improve” (S&H 6:6)] so to speak.   In a paragraph that Mrs. Eddy entitles, “Wait for reward,” she writes, “’Work out your own salvation,’ is the demand of Life and Love, for to this end God worketh with you.  ‘Occupy till I come!’ Wait for your reward, and ‘be not weary in well doing.’ If your endeavors are beset by fearful odds, and you receive no present reward, go not back to error, nor become a sluggard in the race.  When the smoke of battle clears away, you will discern the good you have done, and receive according to your deserving.” (S-10, 22:11-20)

Section 3: Don't hang on to unneeded baggage if you want to progress.
This summer my boys and I headed to CedarS for our fifth summer.  We knew it was going to be a glorious summer of spiritual growth and inspiring adventures.  But we have learned from each summer’s travels.  Once again we were travelling on Buddy Passes supplied by a great friend and Delta pilot.  Without his graciousness it would have been very difficult to make the trip.  Travelling with Buddy Passes means “Space Available” seating, or Standby, but they only cost about one fourth of the normal fare.  Since we were travelling at the busiest time of year we prepared for our travel with a great deal of prayer and also some wise steps.  One of the lessons we had learned was that travelling with only carry on suitcases adds to your flexibility.  So we chose wisely what we needed to take.  And we had a very successful trip across the Atlantic both ways.  There were lots of proofs of God’s care and also of the harmony of Life when lived with God at the helm.  And the final pay off was on our return to Germany across the Atlantic.  We were not seated on our first desired flight, but immediately signed in for the next possibility.  And when we were given seats on that next flight, the chief gate attendant let me know that there were two seats in Business Elite.  It was with extreme gratitude and joy that I told her I would love it if my boys could take those seats.  Noah and Johann flew like VIPs.  And I had a wonderful flight in the Economy section.  But those wonderful unfoldments would have been much more difficult to accept if we had been carrying lots of unneeded baggage. 

You will find the citations in this section to be very useful “packing” instructions for your trip through life.  With the help of the ideas from the Bible and Science and Health you will clearly see the mortal elements of thought and sinful indulgences which must be left behind.  “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (B-12)  The progress that we are thereby assured of [when we lose all satisfaction in our transgressions, lusts, and bodily-mindedness, “learn to loathe” them and be convinced to cast them away] will have us flying first-class all the time.  [per B-10, B-11, S-13, S-14 & Romans 8:6] And the nice thing about God’s [gifts and] seating system is that [they come “with… no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (B-11), so that] we all end up with seats in First Class; no one gets left behind

Section 4:  [Learn that} Matter does not hold the “issues of Life.”
Did you know that Lazarus was buried for four days before his friend, Jesus, came and called him forth from the grave?  Four days?  This is such a beautiful example that true Life support has nothing to do with matter.  [See Warren’s addendum at the end for a modern raising of the dead through prayer.]  It was Jesus’ understanding of God as Life that brought forth his friend.  The citations from Science and Health help explain this event.

As citation S-16 states: “Jesus restored Lazarus by the understanding that Lazarus had never died, not by an admission that his body had died and then lived again.  Had Jesus believed that Lazarus had lived or died in his body, the Master would have stood on the same plane of belief as those who buried the body, and he could not have resuscitated it.” [S&H 75:13]

I love to know the follow-up results of this healing or raising of the dead.  The following chapter tells of people who came to see the results of this healing, “Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead.” (John 12: 9)

I remember one afternoon when my mom received a telephone call.  It was from the mother of a boy who had attended our Christian Science Sunday School in Ocala just a few times.  The mother was calling because one of her son’s best friends was about to have his thumb amputated.  The boy had been bitten by a monkey.  The doctor examining the wound felt that if the thumb was not immediately removed it would present a life-threatening situation to the boy.  Mom’s prayerful treatment in Christian Science was requested.  Almost immediately the thumb showed improvement and the surgeon saw no need to operate.  Within a few days the thumb was perfect.

As Mrs. Eddy explains in citation S-17, “The belief that existence is contingent [dependent] on matter must be met and mastered by Science, before Life can be understood and harmony obtained.  Death is but another phase of the dream that existence can be material.  Nothing can interfere with the harmony of being nor end the existence of man in Science.” [S&H 427:7-16]

Section 5: Have hope in the Christ, rising above the false concept of Life in matter.
Hope is a very good thing.  When life appears to present no hope for us where do we go?  How do we restore our hope?  We go right to the very source of hope, the Christ.

Citation B-14 states: “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.  But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.” (I Corinthians 15:19, 20)

Think how Mary’s hope and joy must have soared when she first realized that her beloved friend and Master had not died, but was risen! (B-15, Mark 16:9, 10)   And the disciples?  “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.”  (B-16, John 20:19)

Well, if the grave could not hold him, should we be surprised at his proof of the insubstantiality of matter as he came to the disciples and was not stopped by closed doors?

Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health citation S-22  “To show that the substance of himself was Spirit and the body no more perfect because of death and no less material until the ascension (his further spiritual exaltation),  Jesus waited until the mortal or fleshly sense had relinquished the belief of substance-matter, and spiritual sense had quenched all earthly yearnings.” (p. 313:30-5)

A neighbor stopped me last week in our courtyard.  She was rejoicing and wanted to share her joy.  Sometime back she had told me about a growth that concerned her.  She had been to the doctor and was told of a treatment that might be effective but there was no guarantee that the condition would not spread.  Approximately two years ago I had given her a copy of Science and Health.  And several times she has reported to me that she was reading the book.  And she also reported that she had always thought just like the book was teaching her.  We talked on occasion and shared ideas, but I was not asked to treat her.  The morning she stopped me it was to report that the growth had simply withered away and that the doctor said it posed absolutely no threat to her health.  We both were happy in this proof that the substantiality and harmony of her life was not dependent on matter, but on Spirit!

Section 6:  Run the race of Life with patience.
Today as we drove home from Sunday School we crossed the path of the Dresden Marathon several times.  It is an international marathon that has grown in size every year.  The kids and I talked about marathons a little bit, how long they are, how the runners have to train regularly.  Alma remarked that a five-year-old like her could probably never make it.  I simply said, it all just starts with a willingness to practice.

Then Johann resolved that he would like to run next year.  I guess we will see how his desire measures up to his willingness to practice.  Then I told him about our friend, Rich Eyman.  We had gone fishing with Rich this summer.  I shared with him that Rich and both of his sons would often run in races in Ocala [FL].  And if they could do it, of course he could also.  It was interesting to see how the example of someone he knew actually entering the race made it seem a possibility.  

Isn’t that just a little bit like how the example of our Master and Wayshower, Christ Jesus, works?  As Mrs. Eddy writes, “He mapped out the path for others.” (Science and Health 38:24)  Our last section maps out and encourages that patience and enduring resolve which succeed in all things including the demonstration of Life eternal. 

I find this version of Timothy’s statement so encouraging: “Run hard and fast in the faith. Seize the eternal life, the life you were called to, the life you so fervently embraced in the presence of so many witnesses”. (B-17, I Timothy 6:12, The Message)  [See Warren’s section 6 addendum for an application idea that is “mapped out” each session at CedarS.  (Rick suggested it be shared.)]

This citation from the lesson is very helpful [especially for the two running-related trials in CedarS Torchbearers’ phase of spiritual-growth & probationary stretching as described in Warren's addendum]: “let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.  Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:” (B-18, Hebrews 12:1 let, 2, 12–14)

In citation S-28 our beloved Leader gives us the “Condition of Progress,”   “Ask yourself: Am I living the life that approaches the supreme good?  Am I demonstrating the healing power of Truth and Love? If so, then the way will grow brighter “unto the perfect day.”

And what a joy it is to discover just even a bit more of that wonderful “pura vida”.

[Warren’s addendum for section 4 about a modern day raising of the dead through prayer: The Bible story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead was in the lesson when our daughter’s rabbit Jane passed on at the end of one camp season when Holly was in elementary school.  The rabbit Jane was not breathing and was cold and stiff as a board when it was time to start our drive home.  Holly asked that instead of burying her white Easter bunny at camp we could use our drive time home to bring her back to life with our prayers like Jesus did for his friend Lazarus in the lesson that week.  Holly held Jane in her lap and stroked her and sang and prayed over her on our trip home and within a couple of hours Jane had responded fully, so much so that her character was permanently transformed as well!  Previously Jane had been an attack rabbit anytime that anyone approached her and drew blood several times with her biting.  After being raised from the dead she loved to be coddled and never attacked or bit anyone again. This week we too can experience the Christ touch and have life-saving character transformations by dropping our bad habits that would keep us in a rut of material mindedness that leads straight to our demise.] 

[Warren’s addendum for section 6 was suggested by Rick an application idea “mapped out” each 2-week session by CedarS “Torchbearers”.  They are known by and selected from the over 1,200 Christian Science Sunday School pupils who attend CedarS from around the world each summer. Christie Hanzlik, CS who was a CedarS Torchbearer (and is now a Christian Science Practitioner and Lecturer) described in her February 2013 CedarS Met on Soul: “Each session at the last Thursday council fire, CedarS honors campers who don’t “go with the flow” of materiality by selecting those who distinguish themselves with Soul-filled individuality and excellent leadership qualities to go through a series of symbolic spiritual growth trials to become “torchbearers.”  [A 1-mile run with water in a torchbearer’s mouth symbolizes the holding of good thoughts; a run with a torchbearer mentor is long enough to guarantee a torchbearer’s reliance on God for strength; the keeping of a torchbearer’s tongue and of his or her 3 feathers symbolizes the importance of listening to God, rather than talking without thinking…] At the Friday awards dinner, after successfully completing these trials, torchbearers past, present and future, are invited “individually and collectively” to take a pledge

        • to stand for what is right even though it may not be the popular thing to do;

• to listen for God and obey and use His laws in all my thoughts and actions;

• to speak and act in a straightforward and Christ-like manner, without hypocrisy or malice, for this is the way of the [true Christian*].       

“This pledge is Bible-based and consistent with Christian Science.  It aligns well with various statements made by Mary Baker Eddy, including this one … “Unselfish ambition, noble life-motives, and purity, —these constituents of thought, mingling, constitute individually and collectively true happiness, strength, and permanence.” (S&H p. 58)  As CedarS new Boys Camp Program Director in 1970, Warren Huff felt that the above CedarS torchbearer pledge came to him by “divine dictation.”  Then, and every year since, the pledge is taken at the conclusion of the spiritual growth trials mastered by torchbearer candidates to encourage the continued loving and living of God’s ways when they go home. CedarS torchbearer pledge, which we invite all to join us in joyously living, is posted on our new website

“CedarS torchbearer pledge complements the lesson… because it reminds us to resist “group think” [of carnal-mindedness] by listening for God, and by speaking and acting in a straightforward and Christ-like manner.  Soul governs our identity, maintains our individuality, and—like CedarS torchbearer pledge—protects us from “going with the flow” of mortality.” (by Christie Hanzlik)]

[Warren’s addendum correction for last week’s Met intro with Tony Lobl’s proper job title: “Tony Lobl is currently serving as the District Manager for the Christian Science Committee on Publication in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland and is a regular contributor to the periodicals.  This blog entry includes some thoughts from a rabbi who has a love of Science and Health and includes Mary Baker Eddy's writings in her thoughts about atonement. “]

 [Enjoy a DOUBLE BONUS!]

[BONUS #1: a guest post about the parable of the talents from Christie Hanzlik, CS]
Without spiritual interpretation, the parable of the talents in section two of this week's lesson may sound like the master gives some of us servants more gifts than others and then punishes those with the fewest gifts.   But this would be a false idea of shortage and lack and doesn't make sense with the rest of Jesus' teaching.  Looking more deeply, we can see that the talents relate to our willingness to hear Christ's message.  And there is no shortage of talents.  There is, in fact, a deep spiritual meaning to the parable that strongly counters the false ideas of shortage, lack, and inequality and assures us honest seekers of our ability to understand and use Christ's message of salvation.

To put it in context, Jesus shared this parable of the talents with Jews who were wondering how to get into the Kingdom of Heaven.  He was, in essence, telling them that he–"a man traveling in a far country"–was here and offering them the gift of salvation now.  Those who took what he said and understood and prayed with it would find more and more reward, and would thus be able to receive more.  In contrast, those who ignored Christ's message or didn't try to understand and make it their own, would miss out on the message and thus be stuck in a place of misunderstanding or hell ("self-imposed agony" SH 588).  

In praying about the talents, it occurs to me that they are spiritual qualities relating to our desire to understand Christ–humility, willingness, understanding, gratitude, grace, love, etc.–and that we all have access to these talents.  We must listen to Christ's message to receive and add to our store of talents, and then build on those talents by continuing our spiritual progress.  As we share our qualities with others, we get even more in return.  If we bury them, they don't mean very much to us at all.

I notice that the servant who hid his talent held a very false concept of his master, Christ, and thus a broken–sinful–relationship with him.  He was closed off to the Christ message. He said, "I knew thee that thou art a hard man, reaping where thou has not sown, and gathering where thou has not strawed."  (His description is inaccurate…it does not describe the good and loving master).  The master basically replies, "OK, if you think I am so awful, why didn't you at least go try to exchange your talent for something more useful to you…try to search and find something more until you get Christ's Message."   In the language of Christian Science, this third servant seemed burdened with personal sense, ego, and a limited and material sense of Christ.  He wasn't open to the ideas of Christ, nor was he humble enough to ask, seek, and knock.    He didn't try to  "exchange the pleasures and pains of sense for the joys of Soul." (SH390)  He let greed and close-mindedness overrun him instead of using his talent of spiritual understanding.  He fell victim to a self-centered and "why me?" mentality and wasn't grateful for the spiritual qualities he was given.  In a sense, he had built his own hell out of his own disbelief.  Would God create this hell for him?  No!

If we read further in Matthew, we find this sentence, "For unto every one that hath [a spiritual desire to understand Christ] shall be given [salvation now], and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not [a spiritual desire to understand Christ] shall be taken away even [the limited earthly pleasures] which he hath." (Matthew 25:29).  This was Christ's instruction of how we can all find our place in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Mary Baker Eddy encourages us to continue working to understand Christ's message of salvation and to make it our own.   She writes, "'Work out your own salvation,' is the demand of Life and Love, for to this end God worketh with you. 'Occupy till I come!' Wait for your reward, and 'be not weary in well doing.' If your endeavors are beset by fearful odds, and you receive no present reward, go not back to error, nor become a sluggard in the race. When the smoke of battle clears away, you will discern the good you have done, and receive according to your deserving." (SH p22, S10)

Thus, it is our willingness to understand Christ and willingness to treasure our spiritual qualities that enables us to progress spiritually and discover our full potential of eternal life and salvation now.

Isn't progressing spiritually and discovering our full potential what life is all about?   We are all recognizing that each and every one of us is capable of having and sharing our abundant talents and thus enriching humanity.  Rather than hiding talents away, or competing with one another, actively witnessing Christ's message of salvation encourages the sharing and giving away of talents.   When we see someone else's talent–spiritual understanding–we can say, "that's mine too!"  This is true for all spiritual resources.  There is no shortage of talent in our Divine economy.

Finally, we can all take comfort in Mary Baker Eddy's words helping us to see how to best use our talent of spiritual understanding:   "To do good to all because we love all, and to use in God's service the one talent we all have, is our only means of adding to that talent and the best way to silence a deep discontent with our shortcomings."   (From "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany" p195)

We can each "do good to all because we love all" and thus we have all the talent we need.


[BONUS #2: A Reenactment Skit for Jesus Raising Lazarus (B-13)]

Jesus Brings Lazarus Back from the Dead
A Bible Reenactment Skit by CedarS Bible Park Rangers, Lauren Cornthwaite
 Warren Huff, [with Narrator comments based on a Cobbey Crisler talk called
“Book of John, A Walk with the Beloved Disciple”]

From Bible Verses: John 11:1, 4, 17, 21-26, 30-31, 38, 39, 41-44

Setting: Bethany

Friends of Lazarus and Mary and Martha

Narrator: A friend of Jesus, named Lazarus, is sick.  He lives in a town called Bethany with his sisters Mary and Martha.  This is the same Mary who put aromatic oils on Jesus’ feet and then wiped them with her hair. It is her brother Lazarus who is sick.  When Jesus hears this news, he says:

Jesus: “This sickness is not fatal. It will just be an opportunity to show God’s glory by glorifying God’s Son…  Our friend Lazarus is just in a trance-like sleep.  I’m going to wake him up from this trance.”

Narrator: Two days later Jesus leaves to help his friend.  When he finally gets to Bethany, he finds that Lazarus has been dead for four days already.  Upon hearing that Jesus is coming at last, Martha goes out to meet him. (Mary stays in the house with all the mourners.)  Outside town, Martha says to Jesus:

Martha: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.  But I know, even now that he has been in the tomb for four days, that anything you ask of God, God will answer you.”

Jesus: “Your brother will be raised up.”

Martha: “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the end of time.”

Narrator: Jesus then reveals to Martha’s receptive thought the first-time stated truth that there’s no need to wait till the End, because as he says:

Jesus: “I am, right now, Resurrection and Life. Anyone who believes in me, even though he or she dies, will live. And everyone who lives believing in me does not ultimately die at all.”

Narrator: The mourners follow Mary when she leaves to join Jesus and Martha outside town at Lazarus’ simple tomb.  It’s in a cave behind a big stone.  Jesus says:

Jesus: “Take away the stone.” 

Narrator: After the people roll the stone away from the mouth of the cave, Jesus repeats aloud his gratitude-in-advance, affirmation method of prayer in order that bystanders would hear it and record it as a standard for us to follow.  Just as when Jesus gave thanks in advance before he fed the multitudes, he raises his eyes to heaven and prays:

Jesus: “Father, I’m grateful that you have listened to me. I know you always do listen and answer whatever I ask, but because of this crowd standing around me, I ask aloud so that they may see and believe in your power and that you have sent me.” 

Narrator: After this prayer of affirmation, Jesus shouts:

Jesus: “Lazarus, come out!”

Narrator: [“Obviously, Jesus wouldn’t yell, if he didn’t think Lazarus could hear.”]  But Lazarus does hear and comes out of the cave, a cadaver, wrapped from head to toe, and with a kerchief over his face.  But [there’s another part of the healing that’s necessaryThere is a sense of freedom which is so important. The environment, holding Lazarus in the grave, needs to release him.  So, Jesus turns to those around him and says”]

Jesus: “Loose him, and let him go.”

Follow-up Questions and Application Ideas:

  • Has any good in your life ever seemed to die, or are you worried that it will? If so, and if “worry is just ingratitude in advance”, how can you follow Jesus method of gratitude in advance and of affirming Love’s ever-present care?
  • Mary and Martha had faith in Jesus, and knew that he would heal Lazarus. Do you have any examples that you could share about how your faith in God has brought about healing or the breaking out of a rut? [Remember “A rut is just a grave with the ends kicked out.’]
  • After the healing, what consent to freedom did you (or do you) need to give to make it complete?

The above application ideas are from a Christian Science Practitioner who has served as a Resident Practitioner at CedarS Camps. These ideas are provided primarily to help CedarS campers and staff (as well as friends) see and daily demonstrate the great value of studying and applying the Christian Science Bible lessons throughout the year, not just at camp!  YOU CAN ALSO SIGN UP for weekly emails from past CedarS staff of possible ways to share Bible Lesson applications with older, as well as younger, Sunday School classes by clicking the "Subscribe Now" button (lower left) at ]

[Warren Huff, CedarS Director & editor of these notes & bracketed, italic additions.]

[Please support: CedarS Matched “Maintenance Musts Fund” where $25,000 is needed & will be matched for proper upkeep of mission-critical buildings & equipment; our Matched “Adopt the Herd” fund for year-round horse care; and/or our ongoing  FENCING NEEDS for our herd of wonderful horses that serves campers every day. Just write either “Maintenance Musts, Matched” , "Adopt the Herd, Matched" or “fencing for horses, pre-matched”]

BY PHONE at 636-394-6162
CedarS Camps Inc., 19772 Sugar Drive, Lebanon, MO 65536

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[Additional Director's Note: You can sign up to have these application ideas emailed to you free — by Monday each week in English; or by each Wednesday you can get a FREE TRANSLATION: in German, thanks to Helga and Manfred; or in Spanish, thanks to a team of Ana, Erick, Claudia and Patricio, or in Portuguese, thanks to helpers of Orlando Trentini in Brazil.  A voluntary French translation by Rodger Glokpor, a Christian Scientist from Togo (West Africa) has been contributed.  Thank you, Rodger and all translators! Go to and click "Newsletters" to sign-up for a free translation into these languages.  This sharing is the latest in an ongoing, 13-year series of CedarS Bible Lesson "Mets" (Metaphysical application ideas) contributed weekly by a rotation of CedarS Resident Practitioners and occasionally by other metaphysicians.  (Ask and look for "Possible Sunday School Topics "and "Possible Younger Class Lessons" in emails to follow.) These weekly offerings are intended to encourage further study and application of ideas in the lesson and to invigorate Sunday School participation by students and by the budding teachers on our staff. Originally sent JUST to my Sunday School students and to campers, staff and CedarS families who wanted to continue at home and in their home Sunday Schools the same type of focused Lesson study, application and inspiration they had felt at camp, CedarS lesson "Mets "and Sunday School ideas are in no way meant to be definitive or conclusive or in any way serve as a substitute for daily study of the lesson. The thoughts presented are the inspiration of the moment and are offered to give a bit more dimension and background as well as new angles (and angels) on the daily applicability of some of the ideas and passages being studied. The weekly Bible Lessons are copyrighted by the Christian Science Publishing Society and are printed in the Christian Science Quarterly and in a variety of useful formats as available at Christian Science Reading Rooms or online at or The citations referenced (i.e.B-1 and S-28) from this week's Bible Lesson in the "Met" (Metaphysical application ideas) are taken from the Bible (B-1 thru B-26) and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy (S-1 thru S-32). The Bible and Science and Health are the ordained pastor of the Churches of Christ, Scientist.  The Bible Lesson is the sermon read in Christian Science church services throughout the world. The Lesson-Sermon speaks individually through the Christ to everyone, providing unique insights and tailor-made applications for each one.  We are glad you requested this metaphysical sharing and hope that you find some of the ideas helpful in your daily spiritual journey, in your deeper digging in the books and in closer bonding with your Comforter and Pastor.]

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