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It’s All About God; And It’s All Good!

Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on “God” for December 31-January 6, 2007
by Craig L. Ghislin, C.S. of
Glen Ellyn, Illinois

Editor’s Note:  The following application ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson for this week are offered primarily to help CedarS campers and staff (as well as friends) see and demonstrate the great value of daily study and application of the Christian Science Bible lessons year-round, not just at camp!  You can sign up to have them emailed to you free — in English by Monday of each week.  Or by Wednesday you can get a FREE TRANSLATION in French by Pascal or in Spanish by Ana:  JUST SIGN UP at www.cedarscamps.org/newsletters

The Golden Text of this week’s Lesson seems simple enough.  So simple in fact, that we might be tempted to just gloss over it because we’ve heard it so often before.  The Abingdon Bible Commentary points out that Psalm118 is the “last of the ‘Hallel’ psalms.”  They are called that because of their frequent use of the term Hallelujah or “Praise the Lord.”  In this psalm, “all Israel is urged to praise Jehovah because of his unfailing goodness.”  This is key to our Lesson.  [Possible Sunday School Topics (P.S.S.T.):]  How do you define what is good?  Where does it come from?  Is our experience merely the result of chance?  Or is it the effect of some higher, overarching cause?  [Are we being ushered into an Unhappy New Year by “putting something in place of God that isn’t up to the job?  Because if we do, we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment.” Hear Barry Huff‘s whole Sunday School podcast on The 1st Commandment by clicking here.]

The Responsive Reading includes the creation story from the first chapter of Genesis.  Again, we are very familiar with these citations.  But when you think about it, it is really remarkable that mankind has sought out some divine explanation for their existence.  The Interpreter’s One-Volume Commentary on the Bible remarks that the story presents, “a conception of God which remains worthy of man’s noblest thought and profoundest reverence…”  The word “create” is the Hebrew word bara.  In the Old Testament it is a word that is only applied to God’s activity.  The term is used to “describe an element which cannot be explained by what has gone before” (Abingdon).  The creation of heaven and earth, the creation of animal life, and the creation of man are the three major acts of creation or “bara.”  “Creation begins when God imposes order on primeval, nonpersonal chaos” (Interpreter’s).  When man is introduced, he is distinct from everything else.  Although he shares many attributes with the rest of creation, man alone is “created in the image of God, and, unlike any other being, has something possessed by the Creator and not merely by creation” (Abingdon).  Everything God created was good.  That is, it was “perfect for the purpose for which God designed it” (Dummelow).  [Possible Uplifting Sunday School Homework  (P.U.S.S.H.):  Enjoy reflecting God this week by helping to bring completion and order to some confusion (Hebrew word  pronounced tow’-who in Gen 1:2)  and a more meaningful sense of purpose to a sense of emptiness.  (Hebrew word  pronounced bow’-who in Gen 1:2)  “Spirit breathes into life the inner architect in everyone. … Prayer can help us experience in life’s many activities the architect-like Spirit qualities of harmony, balance, and structure.  Prayer can help us remodel our thoughts and experience healing.  Prayer can tune us into God’s plan – life-design – for us.”  (CS Journal January 2008, “The Inner Architect” by Gabriela Meyer, p. 62)]

Section 1: God Is Known by His Good Works
When Albert Einstein was asked if he believed in God, he replied, “I’m not an atheist. I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist.  The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds.  We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages.  The child knows someone must have written those books.  It does not know how.  It does not understand the languages in which they are written.  The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what it is…We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws” (Time Magazine, April 16, 2007).  This is similar to the situation Moses was in (B1).  Moses wasn’t able to see God directly, but saw God pass by-he saw the effects of goodness, grace, and mercy.  Abingdon calls it a parable “of the incompleteness and limitations of human knowledge…”  God is made manifest in a multitude of loving acts to mankind (B2).  “The wise man can learn useful lessons from observing the providential acts of God” (Ibid.)  God’s majesty and goodness are seen in His works.  The fullness of His greatness is beyond human comprehension (B3).  The constant in all of God’s works is goodness (B4).

Mary Baker Eddy writes that in order to grasp the “order of being” we “must begin by reckoning God as the divine Principle of all that really is” (S1).  The rest of the section (S2-4) presents the argument that since God is good.  His creation must be good as well.  There is no way that anything evil can come of good.  Evil or error has no creator.  Therefore, without a creator evil is unreal.  Everything God created is like Him.  Einstein’s example of a child in a library unable to explain how the books came to be written or ordered might describe the point at which humanity stood before the revelation of Christian Science.  Moses’ revelation advanced Israel‘s understanding of God.  Dummelow notes that Moses’ seeing God “face to face” symbolized Moses’ understanding as “distinct from a revelation by means of dreams or visions.”  Moses had first-hand proof of God’s presence and power.  Likewise, Christian Science is a revelation that offers solid proof.  In this age, through Mrs. Eddy’s discovery, we have been blessed with an enlightened understanding of God. 

[P.S.S.T.  If Christian Science reiterates St. Paul‘s teaching, we, as Christian Scientists, should give to the world convincing proof of the validity of this scientific statement of being. Having perceived, in advance of others, this scientific fact, we owe to ourselves and to the world a struggle for its demonstration.” Ret. 93:22  Through what kind of struggles and convincing proofs can we pay our debt for our advance perception of Christian Science?  FYI, Einstein witnessed a convincing, “medically-impossible,” healing of massive radiation exposure by Christian Science treatment alone of Dr. Underwood, one of the principal engineers on the “Manhattan Project.” He also saw another demonstration through Christian Science prayer alone of Underwood’s daughter, Nancy Kiefer who had full use of her arm and leg two- and-a-half hours after they had been broken.  “Einstein became especially interested in the ‘Scientific Statement of Being’ given in Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures (p-468), (S10) and commented (in substance) that the statement was ‘the most profound statement uttered by mankind;’ and wondered if this could be the long-sought-after answer to his unified theory!”  (Physics, Metaphysics and GOD, Jack W. Geis,2nd Edition, 2006,  p-220)]

Section 2: God Blesses His Creation
The Bible promises that God will bless us and keep us (B5).  The leaders of Israel had failed to adequately care for their nation.  They were like evil shepherds who sought their own selfish ends (B6).  Ezekiel represents God as coming to Israel‘s aid to replace the false shepherds and take care of His creation.  God will feed, guide, heal, and protect His flock.  God makes everything a blessing.  Not just a little trickle of good things, but abundant showers!  In (B7) even a year full of blessings is finished with more blessings.

When Christians are asked, “How are you doing?” many respond, “I’m blessed.” Do you feel blessed?  [Even “too blessed to be stressed?”]  Being blessed isn’t just being happy about human circumstances.  No human circumstance can bless us.  True blessedness [supreme happiness] comes only from God.  [P.U.S.S.H.  Memorize all the verses to Hymn 263 “Only God can bring us gladness” It will help when you’re in despair like the exiles and are having a hard time seeing the goodness of God in your situation. “Boundless bliss”] is a natural effect of God’s being. (S&H 481:4 and S5).  [P.S.S.T.]  Do you ever feel that you need to remind God to take care of you?  There’s no need.  Nothing you can do will ever change the outpouring of goodness that comes our way from our heavenly Father-Mother God (S6).  This is one of the advanced realizations about God that we learn through the revelation of Christian Science.  God is Love itself.  Our textbook teaches us that God is Spirit, taking care of every aspect of creation (S7).  God is also Soul, blessing mankind with “infinite resources” (S8).  The more we understand the true nature of God, the more natural it will be to lean on Him for every need. That is truly a blessing.

Section 3: God Is All-Knowing Mind
Paul realizes that the understanding of God is beyond all human logic.  God is the Source of all creation, the Sustainer of all, and the Ultimate Goal to which all things return (B8).  All things work together for our good (B9).  The goal toward which the divine purpose moves us brings us into “conformity to the image or character of Christ” (Abingdon).  Those who understand something of God’s nature look to Him confidently in every situation.  Once, king Nebuchadnezzar was troubled by a dream he had.  He not only wanted the dreams interpreted, he wanted his magicians and astrologers to also tell him what the dreams were (B10).  This seems to be an impossible request.  Some believe that the king was purposely withholding information to test the powers of his advisors.  This demand was really more than could ever be reasonably expected.  But the king was so insecure that rather than admit he had asked too much, he ordered his advisors to be executed.  [P.S.S.T.]   Have you ever felt in a pinch because unreasonable demands have been made on you?  Perhaps a school or work assignment?  Your life may not have been in jeopardy, but you might have been threatened with failing an important class or losing your job.  What do you do?  Who do you turn to?  Although Daniel wasn’t one of the original men consulted, he and his friends were among those facing execution.  Daniel turned to his God.  The Babylonian astrologers and sorcerers thought they could manipulate their gods through magic.  Essentially their gods were a deification of nature.  “But the God of Israel is absolutely other than the creation which he himself has brought into being.  Behind the mystery of life his loving purpose is unfolding.  He who knows the mind of God therefore learns something of that purpose and thus is given wisdom and strength” (Interpreter’s).  Daniel fulfills the king’s request and saves the lives of everyone.  He knew that God is the only source of wisdom.  [P.S.S.T. Daniel’s understanding of God’s control over all helped him later also by getting out of the lion’s den untouched.  How can applying this understanding (from S&H 514:26 ) help you feel safe in all “lion’s dens” and prove all poison harmless.]

Our Leader referred to God as Mind.  This Mind knows all things and nothing is new to all-knowing Mind (S11).  Science and Health points out that those in “rapport with this Mind” have ability to “foresee and foretell events” (S15).  This spiritual understanding is not dependent on education (S12).  It’s not an intellectual process (S13).  [P.U.S.S.H] Many people have had seemingly unanswerable problems solved when they turn whole-heartedly to the divine Mind for direction.  The next time you are in such a circumstance, remember to turn to God who is the only Mind.

Section 4: God Is the Only Healing Power
The Bible plainly declares the glorious power of God over all conditions (B12).  Jesus was particularly attuned to the power of the Holy Ghost and utilized this power to heal (B13).  The story of the man in the synagogue who was healed of a “spirit of an unclean devil” (B14) is an example of the healing power at work.  In the story, the evil spirit cries out in defiance of the Christ presence.  Have you ever faced a situation like that?  Sometimes the picture of disease seems to take on a personality, or rather, we seem to give it one.  We may slip and imagine that our challenge is a personal battle with a personal evil.  We even talk about “it” as if the disease had a mind of its own that is capable of resisting and maybe even outsmarting us.  Jesus didn’t fall for that.  He rebuked that notion, and the personified evil departed.

In this same way, the discoverer of Christian Science teaches that God is omnipotent (S16).  It would do us well to remember that omnipotence doesn’t just mean the biggest power; it means the ONLY power.  This includes all seeming other powers including sickness.  Understanding God, establishes health (S17).  God never gave sickness power, nor does sickness have power of itself.  We’re told that sickness cannot cope “astutely with Mind” (S18).  To “cope” means to “contend with on equal terms” (Student’s Reference Dictionary).  When you think about it, isn’t it absurd to conceive of a power equal to God that is capable of opposing Him?  Sin, sickness, and death have no standing at all, much less the ability to fight it out against God.  Mrs. Eddy writes they must “quail before the divine rights of intelligence” (S20).  To “quail” means, “to sink into dejection” (Ibid.).  As Christian Scientists, we overcome evil and disease by “understanding their nothingness and the allness of God…” (S21).  So we don’t have to fight with error.  Understanding the allness of God simply eliminates it.  [P.U.S.S.H.  Metaphysically treat both a personal and a global problem, (like recent events in Pakistan) by following Jesus’ healing method and the structure of the Scientific Statement of Being (not of Becoming). Give them both Christian Science treatments — alternating affirmations of God, good’s “mighty actuality” and allness with denials of the somethingness “of material life and intelligence. …  These were the two cardinal points of Mind-healing, or Christian Science which armed him (Christ Jesus) with Love.” S&H 52:22)]

Section 5: The Only Health Law Is God’s Law
As noted earlier, man’s relationship with God is not merely an intellectual exercise.  God has made a covenant or agreement with man (B15).  Abingdon writes, “For a covenant to endure, the law which every such covenant brings with it must cease to be something imposed from without. It must be loved and accepted as the law of life.”  Truly understanding God, we naturally desire our lives to be governed by Him.  Jesus once asked, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath day?” (B17).  He wasn’t really asking permission to heal.  He actually put the Pharisees on the spot.  How could they object?  Jesus knew that the only law governing man was the law of God.  This law brought health in the face of all opposition.

Our Leader found that the healing law of God is still applicable today (S22).  While we don’t need to ask the Pharisees for permission to heal, we are sometimes tempted to mentally consult the so-called laws of matter to determine the feasibility of success.  Medical science has declared many laws of health that in fact, condemn man to sickness and suffering.  These so-called health laws have never made man healthier (S23).  More often than not they make man sicker.  God never made these laws.  Sometimes we might be afraid of breaking common health laws.  But Science and Health tells us that the fear of breaking the laws is itself the danger (S24).  God never made such laws, and we are completely within our divine rights to banish them.  Page 390 of our textbook tells us what to do when symptoms of disease first appear:  “Dispute the testimony of material senses with divine Science” (S25).  We’re supposed to “dismiss it.”  Notice it doesn’t say, “double check the symptoms and their possible causes with medical advertisements, articles, and Internet websites so you can deduce whether or not it is ‘wisdom’ to pray about it or to seek medical attention.”  That’s rubbish!  Seek the law of God and dispute the testimony of the senses.  That’s what we’re taught.  That’s really the safest, wisest thing to do because the spiritual law is forever unchanged.  The covenant maintaining the “relations of God and man…are indestructible” (S26).  [P.U.S.S.H.]  Understand your unbroken relationship to God, and affirm not only that “God is my Life,” but also declare, “God is my health.”

Section 6: “It’s All Good”
The Psalmist recognizes that God is good and only does good (B20).  Dummelow calls Psalm 150 (B21) the “grand finale.”  Abingdon writes, “The answer to all questions and all conditions of life and experience is “Praise God!”  Deuteronomy confirms, “there is none else” (B22).  What else could anyone want?  This Lesson has examined God’s goodness and the many ways God blesses us.  It has shown that God is the only Mind, the only power and the only lawgiver.  If you find yourself in the position of that child in the library wondering what it all means, you can know conclusively that the answer to every question lies in understanding God.  [P.U.S.S.H.]  In the book of Job (B23) we are told to get acquainted with God.  This will bring us peace and open up the channels of goodness in our lives.  To “acquaint” means, “to grow used to as an intimate friend” (Ibid.).  Can you imagine anything better [than to have this be a goal and foundation of your happiest New Year yet?]

Mrs. Eddy writes, “The maximum of good is the infinite God and His idea, the All-in-all” (S27).  Can there be more than the maximum?  Everything made expresses Him (S28).  Our Leader gives us three great verities or “truths” about Spirit, God.  God possesses all power, fills all space, and constitutes all Science (the comprehension or understanding of truth) (SRD).  To top it off, all that’s made is God’s work and it’s all good (S30).  All the good we ever have or could have has its source in God.  That source is reliable, inexhaustible, and abundant.  There’s a popular phrase used by young people today: “It’s all good.”  The teachings of Christian Science inform us that as we come to understand God, we can make that declaration with conviction and spiritual authority.

Camp Director’s Note: The above sharing is the latest in a series of CedarS Bible Lesson “mets” (metaphysical application ideas) contributed weekly by a rotation of CedarS Resident Practitioners and occasionally by other metaphysicians [with bracketed, italicized notes and “Possible Sunday School Topics” and Homework offered by me as editor and sometimes by the author]. 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, application 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. 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 citations referenced (i.e. B1 and S28) from this week’s Bible Lesson in the “met” (metaphysical application ideas) are taken from the King James Version of the Bible (B1-24) and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. (S1-30) 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 these ideas helpful in your daily spiritual journey, in your deeper digging in the books and in closer bonding with your Comforter and Pastor. Have fun unwrapping, cherishing and sharing your special, spiritual gift(s)!  
Enjoy!
Warren Huff, Camp Director       director@cedarscamps.org       (636) 394-6162
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Go to  www.myBibleLesson.com  to check out this visually-oriented and very helpful study resource for the weekly Christian Science Bible Lesson.  It’s being produced by The Christian Science Publishing Society.  What a great auxiliary to lesson study – and to reading beyond citation markers using the handsome new student books now in Reading Rooms.  MyBibleLesson contains word definitions, Bible background Notes, fun topical cartoons, timelines and translations, plus many healing ideas to use.  Why not check out this vehicle to help bring new meaning and life to each beloved Bible lesson and so bless the youthful thinker and Sunday School student (and teacher) in us all!

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