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Editor’s Note: The following background information and application ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson for this week are offered primarily to help CedarS campers and staff see and demonstrate the great value of daily study of the Christian Science Bible lessons year-round, not just at camp. If more information or the text of this Lesson is desired, please see the Director”s Note at the end. The citations referenced in the “met” (metaphysical application ideas) are taken from the King James Version of the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. 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.

It’s a Wonderful Thing!
Lesson application ideas for “Christian Science” for December 19-25, 2005
by Craig L. Ghislin, C.S.Bartlett, Illinois

Golden Text
In this passage Paul quotes Isaiah to emphasize his point that “there is urgent need for worldwide proclamation” of the gospel (The Interpreter’s One Volume Commentary of the Bible). The world needs to be saved. How can they believe unless they are informed as to what they should believe in? The messenger’s coming is beautiful. The message of the presence and power of Christ needs to get out-it cannot go unspoken. As you might guess, the message of salvation to this age is Christian Science.

Responsive Reading
Moving now to Isaiah’s prophecy, we are transported to his vision of the heavenly council and his message of comfort and deliverance. Interpreter’s notes that the significance of this message is in “the strength of the prophet’s sense of being commissioned by God.” This isn’t a casual encounter with God, nor is he offered the option of a voluntary response. God’s hand rests on Isaiah and he “can do no other than accept what is laid on him.” The proclamation by the watchman isn’t timid. He is “crying out in jubilation” (The Abingdon Bible Commentary). The message declares the supreme rule of God and the coming of His servant. Isaiah represents the servant’s exaltation as a “contrast to his former debasement” (ibid.). The contrast is so great that it startles the nations and they will be “unable to speak as they look on the marvel of the triumph which has come out of suffering” (ibid.).

This powerful message of salvation has historically been rejected by the world at large. Isaiah and Paul both knew the resistance in general thought to the power of God. The advent of Jesus made manifest the message two thousand years ago, and the discovery of Christian Science has brought the message to the modern era. The Hebrew prophets, Christ Jesus, and Mrs. Eddy could not help but bring the message to the world. It was their mission. Today, it is our turn to let the message fill our hearts with desire to publish it. Do you feel the irresistible impulsion to declare the message of salvation as Isaiah and Paul did? Study of this Lesson-Sermon should stoke the coals of spiritual desire in our hearts. Hopefully, we will see the immediacy of the Christmas story in our lives today and become more aware of the significance of Immanuel-God with us.

Section I: Small Beginnings
The prophecy in B1 foretells the coming of a great king whose rule would “be guided by a divinely inspired wisdom” (Dummelow). But just as the full sun is first seen in dim rays of morning light, the world’s awareness of this divine ruler would be gradual. Bible scholars and theologians see special meaning in every aspect of Jesus’ birth. Most feel that the humble nature of his birth foreshadowed the reception Jesus would receive during his ministry. The different characters’ responses (B2 & B3) to the coming of Jesus symbolize some of the types of reception the Christ receives today. The innkeepers were natives of Bethlehem. The babe was brought right to their door, but they were too busy to make room for him. They stuck him down with the livestock. The shepherds were busy doing necessary holy work, tending sheep destined for use in the temple, but they weren’t too busy to see the light-a symbol of divine revelation. They paid attention and were blessed. Herod, on the other hand, was jealous and afraid of losing his position of power. He did everything he could to destroy the child. Then there were the magi, men of science in that time, strangers to Bethlehem. They came from far to pay tribute to the child. Abingdon’s says that “men are deservedly called wise who in small beginnings see great possibilities, and realize that life reaches its zenith in adoration of Him who deserves the homage of our hearts…They are also wise who shun that spirit of worldliness whose purpose it is, as illustrated in the spirit of Herod to destroy all that Bethlehem represents in life.” Reflecting upon your own reception of the Christ idea, which type do you identify with?

Science and Health echoes the theme of the gradual emergence of truth on human thought. Those who are looking for the truth see it. They follow it no matter how faint (S&H 1). The wise man of today faces the same obstacles of the past, but eventually he is led to the truth (S&H 2&3). The dawning sun begins with faint rays, but the rising of the full sun is inevitable. So it is with the dawning of truth. Mrs. Eddy’s revelation came to her this way-“gradually” and “through divine power” (S&H 5). We shouldn’t be discouraged if our own awakening to truth follows this pattern of gradual enlightenment. No matter how small the beginning, the potential for truth is unlimited and it’s wonderful!

Section II: The Christ-Mission is Proclaimed
It was the custom to bring a firstborn child to the temple. “A firstborn child is considered holy, or belonging to the Lord” (Interpreter’s). The child was “redeemed” with an offering of five shekels. Male children also were circumcised to symbolize the child’s relation to God through the covenant of Abraham. While in the temple, they met a man named Simeon (B4). He represents yet another type of receptivity to the Christ. He belonged to a group who were humble, devout, and actively looking “for the redemption of Jerusalem.” Dummelow says this group displayed a “Piety very different from that of the scribes…” To them the spiritual teaching of the prophets was a preparation for the coming of Christ. The witnessing of the child was the culmination of Simeon’s lifelong devotion. He could now rest knowing that the light of the whole world had come to fruition. His pronouncement over the child alludes to Zechariah’s prophecy, “In those days ten men of all languages of the nations shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying we will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.” Jesus had a purpose. His ministry was the result of his being anointed with the Holy Spirit (B5). The light Jesus brings gives hope to the people who have walked in darkness for so long (B6).

The voice proclaiming the light of truth to the darkness of the modern age is divine Science (S&H 6). Mrs. Eddy explains the distinction between the man Jesus-born in the flesh, and the Christ-“the divine message” that speaks to mankind throughout all time (S&H 7). This Christ is “incorporeal.” It exists forever, showing us what the child of God really is. It wipes out all illusions and destroys all evils. Jesus’ mission was to “reveal the Science” of being (S&H 8). To reveal means to “disclose; to make known something before unknown or concealed” (Student’s Reference Dictionary). Mrs. Eddy felt that the only way of understanding the full power of God “is found” in the Science she discovered (S&H 9). She also made no apologies for declaring her conviction that what she had discovered was the same truth that Jesus “taught and demonstrated”. Do we revere Christian Science with the same awe and devotion displayed by Simeon for the child Jesus? He was so completely convinced of the truth of his conviction that he was content to see the beginning without ever needing to see the full outcome of Jesus’ mission. Take some time this holiday season to really absorb the importance of Christian Science to the world, and then take note of how your new understanding impacts your life and those around you.

Section III: Demonstration
To demonstrate means, “to show or prove to be certain…to prove in such a manner to reduce the contrary position to evident absurdity” (SRD). That’s what this section is about. The passage from Isaiah (B7) speaks of the mighty power of God to deliver His people from oppression. He cares for His people as a shepherd cares for his flock. Jesus was motivated by that same compassion in his caring for the sufferer (B8). It is interesting that in the healing of the woman with “the spirit of infirmity,” (B10) the woman wasn’t looking to Jesus. The Bible says she was bent over and couldn’t lift herself up. Jesus took the initiative. He called to her and healed her. “Immediately she was made straight.”

Mrs. Eddy felt that the works Jesus did confirmed the prophecies about him (S&H 10) Jesus taught by example. Just as a music teacher demonstrates how the student should play, Jesus showed us how to demonstrate the healing power of God (S&H 11). “The Science of creation” was the impetus behind everything Jesus said and did. His demonstration still has relevance to us today. There are a lot of “must” statements in citation 13 of Science and Health. “Must” is a strong word expressing “physical and moral necessity” (Webster’s Dictionary 1828). As Isaiah had no choice in following the direction of God in the passage from the Responsive Reading, Mrs. Eddy similarly felt that there was no choice in demonstrating Christian Science. It “must” be done!

Section IV: The Comforter
Throughout Jesus’ career the Holy Spirit is acknowledged as being a present, healing force. Jesus promised that this Spirit would continue to heal and bless mankind even after his bodily departure (B12). This Spirit “Inspires what is good and true in conduct, and reveals what is good and true in doctrine” (Dummelow). The word translated as Comforter means “one called alongside” i.e. “to help” (Interpreter’s). There is a magnificent description of the function of this helper from the Manual of Discipline of the Qumran community. To me, it describes much of Christian Science practice.

“Of the Spirit of truth it is said that his function is:to enlighten the heart of man,to make straight the paths of true righteousness,to set fear in his heart of the judgement of God,the spirit of humility and patience,of abundant mercy and eternal goodness,of understanding and intelligence,of mighty wisdom that trusts in God’s deeds and leans on his lovingkindness; the spirit of discernment in every purpose,of zeal for just laws,of holy resolution with steadfastness,of great love toward the sons of truth,and glorious purity that hates unclean idols,of humility sprung from understanding,and prudence concerning the mysteries of God. Such are the counsels of the Spirit to the sons of truth in this world.” (1QS 4:2-6.)

It is also interesting that Dummelow felt that the “promise of divine guidance to the Apostles as teachers, justifies us in accepting their writings as specially inspired.” He goes on to say that this promise “is not exclusive to them, for in all time…the Holy Spirit is guiding the Church into all truth.” 

This same Spirit of Truth justifies us in accepting Mrs. Eddy’s writings as inspired. She saw the Comforter as nothing less than Christian Science (S&H 14). She clearly felt that her discovery was a revelation (S&H 16 – 18). Many of the strongest objections to Christian Science come from opposition to Mrs. Eddy herself. Some feel that Christian Science was a concoction of Mrs. Eddy’s. But Mrs. Eddy declares her discovery of Christian Science to be a revelation from God. She did not make it up. Her revelation consists of both the discovery and its proof. She was convinced that healing was sufficient proof that her discovery was true and from God (S&H 15). There is little question that Mrs. Eddy could demonstrate her discovery with marvelous healing power. In the next section, the burden of proof becomes ours.

Section V: Wake Up and Work
In B16 Zion is “called to reflect the glory of God, who comes as the light of the world and draws the nations to this new dawn” (Interpreter’s). Following, is a reminder to Timothy not to neglect his spiritual gifts (B17). He is urged to practice what he has been taught and be on guard that he does not stray from the path. His efforts will help both himself and others. Paul purposely emphasized salvation through grace as opposed to the traditional Jewish belief of salvation by works. But he also acknowledged that our turning to God which gives the saving grace must be ever “newly actualized in the life of the believer” (ibid.). Good works are a necessary part of Christian life. Jesus commissioned his disciples to do as he did (B19). We are to preach the gospel to “every creature.” The “signs” that follow us will be our ability to handle serpents (evil beliefs) unharmed and to heal the sick.

Science and Health reminds us of Jesus’ commission to us (S&H 19). Mrs. Eddy emphasized that proof through healing was better than a lot of talking. It’s comparatively easy to talk a pretty good game. But talk is cheap. The demand is for us to prove what we claim through healing (S&H 20). Our ability to demonstrate healing comes directly from God. It is through spiritual power that we heal (S&H 21). Mrs. Eddy calls for us to examine how well we are doing in this healing work (S&H 23). But she also reminds us that we are not alone in this endeavor. We are counseled to “hold perpetually” the thought that it is the Holy Ghost which enables us to “demonstrate, with scientific certainty, the rule of healing.”   Isn’t it comforting to know that the same Spirit of Truth that supported Jesus and Mrs. Eddy still supports us today? Try praying with this in mind and see what happens.

Section VI: The Open Book
The last section sings of victory over evil. Those who understand and appreciate the meaning of this victorious song will continue in God’s favor and grace (B21). The Lord secures victory by His simple command, which “shatters the enemy” (Interpreter’s) (B22). The power of the Word to accomplish God’s purpose is prevalent in the scene of the angel with the book open in his hand (B23). The angel, clothed with mercy, represents the invincible power of God. There is no doubt that “God’s whole purpose with respect to the world, will finally be accomplished” (Interpreter’s). The victory is sounded by a chorus of voices speaking with “prophetic certainty” (Abingdon).

Mrs. Eddy saw this prophetic scene as symbolic of the coming of Christian Science to human consciousness. Mankind craves something more than “the history of perpetual evil” (S&H 24). The coming of truth to human consciousness is divine Love’s answer to that craving. To Mrs. Eddy, the angel “prefigures” divine Science, and she asks us to consider if the book the angel held might contain its healing message (S&H 26). She clearly felt that it did and urges everyone to take up Science and Health and read it from cover to cover. She asks us to study it-to set our minds and thoughts upon it, to give it attention and meditation-; and to ponder it-to weigh it in our minds, to see its importance, to deliberate and examine it (SRD). She states that when we apprehend fully the effects of Christian Science (S&H 27), the final fulfillment of the prophecy of evil’s elimination will take place. She boldly concludes with the prediction that the Christ, will eventually “rule all nations and peoples” with divine Science (S&H 28). There is little doubt that the advent of Christian Science was for Mrs. Eddy, the solution to all the world’s woes and the fulfillment of the promised Comforter.

Now that you’ve studied the whole lesson and seen how strongly Mrs. Eddy felt about her discovery, go back to imagining yourself being present during Jesus’ birth, only this time keep in mind that you are present for the advent of Christian Science. Are we willing to take on the mission as without reservation? Do we recognize who’s knocking for admission? Are we willing to take time out from our busy schedules to pay homage to the spiritual idea? Are we ready to demonstrate its healing power? Do we recognize its place as the Comforter? Do we trust the Holy Ghost to sustain our efforts? Will we take the little book, devour it, and witness the victory over evil? Think about it. If we answer, “Yes,” the results will surely be wonderful!

The reference books used in this met were:

Student’s Reference Dictionary (SRD)

The Abingdon Bible Commentary (Abingdon)

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.

Manual of Discipline
of the Qumran community.  (1QS)

The Interpreter’s One-Volume Commentary on the Bible (Interpreter’s)

 Webster’s Dictionary 1828

Camp Director’s Note: The above sharing is the latest in a long series of CedarS Bible Lesson “mets” (metaphysical application ideas) contributed weekly by a rotation of CedarS Resident Practitioners and occasionally by other metaphysicians. This document is intended to initiate further study as well as to encourage the application of ideas found in the Weekly Bible Lessons as printed in the Christian Science Quarterly and as available at Christian Science Reading Rooms.* Originally sent JUST 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 and inspiration they had felt at camp, CedarS lesson “mets” are in no way meant to be definitive or conclusive or in any way a substitute for daily study of the lesson in the books. The thoughts presented are the inspiration of the moment and are offered to give a bit more dimension, background and daily applicability to some of the ideas and passages being studied. 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 these ideas helpful in your daily spiritual journey, in your deeper digging in the books and in closer bonding with your Comforter and Pastor.)

Warren Huff, Director             
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