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It’s all about YOU! . . . Your possibilities are endless.
Metaphysical Application Ideas on “Man” (Bible Lesson for Aug. 30-Sept. 4, 2004)
by Julie Ward, C.S. (Westwood, MA)

(“This document is intended to initiate further study. In no way is it definitive or conclusive. The thoughts presented were of interest at the time of writing and thought to give a bit of dimension and background to the topics herein. The Lesson-Sermon speaks individually through the Christ to everyone. You may see something entirely different as you study it, but we hope that you find some of this information useful.”)

Who are you? What is your purpose? How can you be more truly yourself? You’ll find the answers in this lesson, It’s not about some far-off, theoretical guy that you’ve never met. It’s about you!

GOLDEN TEXT – The straight word: we’re God’s children.

We are not servants, hoping against hope that we can earn God’s love. We are His sons and heirs. The word “Abba” is the Aramaic word for father or “daddy.” (It’s often the first word that Hebrew babies are taught to say.)  J.B. Phillips writes in The New Testament in Modern English,, “All who follow the leading of God’s Spirit are God’s own sons. Nor are you meant to relapse into the old slavish attitude of fear – you have been adopted into the very family circle of God and you can say with a full heart, ‘Father, my Father’. The Spirit himself endorses our inward conviction that we really are the children of God. Think what that means. If we are his children, then we are God’s heirs, and all that Christ inherits will belong to all of us as well.” And referring to verse 19, “The whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own.” As we claim our freedom and take our place as the beloved children of God, we’ll see more clearly that the entire creation – including animals, plants, even oceans and rocks – is spiritual, perfect, indestructible. All will be blessed.

SECTION I – We all have one Father and one family name.
God says to each one of us, “I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.” What a wonderful way to heal name-calling! We belong to God, and only the name that He calls us applies to us. So the names that describe mortals (invalid, working poor, sinner, victim, etc.) do not apply to any of God’s children. Every one that is called by His name is here to reflect His glory. Our job is to show forth His praise. How do we do that? By reflecting His qualities in all that we do, say, and think. “Man is the family name for all ideas, – the sons and daughters of God.” (SH1) This frees us from nationalism and tribalism so that we can see one united family with one united purpose: the expression of Love. Seize every opportunity this week to put your name right into the definition of “man” (SH4) and see who you really are. Here’s an example: “[I] am idea, the image, of Love; [I] am not physique.” When you’ve worked through this to identify yourself correctly, try it with members of your family or your church. And it’s particularly good for us to do this for the people that we find hard to love. Try it!

SECTION II – Don’t talk back! We are not our own, but belong to God.
“Know ye that the Lord He is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves.”(B5) We get all turned around in our reasoning when we think that man creates man. God is the only Creator, and His creation must be just like Him – perfect! Isaiah speaks of this mistaken sense that man is a creator as “turning of things upside down.”(B6) It’s like the pot criticizing the potter. This arrogance of mortal mind gets us into all sorts of problems. But we are promised that this “turning of things upside down” will most certainly be righted. “They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding,” and right where there is a denial of our sonship, “there shall they be called the children of the living God.” (B7)

Here’s another great opportunity to put yourself right into a passage describing man (you), “In Science, [I] am the offspring of Spirit. The beautiful, good, and pure constitute [my] ancestry.” (SH7) This really takes care of the fear that we can inherit either good or bad traits from our human ancestors, doesn’t it? We have one perfect origin, and that is Spirit, so we MUST be spiritual. The marginal note for (SH8) reads “Inverted images,” and relates to the “turning of things upside down” in (B6). The section ends with a promise: “The conceptions of mortal, erring thought must give way to the ideal of all that is perfect and eternal.”(SH10) No matter how “upside down” things seem to be, “the immortal and perfect model of God’s creation will finally be seen as the only true conception of being.”(SH10)

SECTION III – Our only heritage is from God.
Let’s put aside that old proverb that says, “The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.” Our only inheritance is from God, so it must be entirely good. Be alert to even the subtle things that suggest, “I have my mother’s eyes,” or “my Dad’s sense of humor.” All that we can ever have comes to us directly from our Father-Mother God. His gifts must be good and perfect, and they can’t vary as time passes or circumstances change (B9). So our future is never in doubt. We can rest assured that this promise is ours (B10), “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” We don’t use them up; we don’t age out of them. Our joy is full and permanent.

I’m very intrigued by the simple rule in (SH11), “Sympathy with error should disappear.” Will you join me this week in learning more about what that means? One thing that occurs to me is that we can watch our thought to be sure that we don’t find evil interesting. We don’t want to “talk it up” or allow thought to drift into the whys and wherefores of error. We also don’t want to be mental garbage cans by supplying a listening ear to those who want to criticize, worry, or forecast evil.

This section calls on us all to be mental freedom-fighters. “It is man’s moral right to annul an unjust sentence, a sentence never inflicted by divine authority.”(SH12) What are some of the unjust sentences that we can annul? How about the “sentences” of hereditary weaknesses or diseases? As our understanding deepens that “nothing is real but the right,” we’ll know that “the right” is all that we could possibly inherit.

SECTION IV – Teach the children who they are!
As Christian Scientists, we have a solemn charge to teach the children of the world who they actually are – the safe and beloved ideas of God. Jesus did this. He loved the children and knew that they were always receptive to good. And this teaching is not just for Sunday School! Our lives teach our children. As our hearts are on fire with love for God, God’s Word will become more and more the substance of our being, “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” (B12) That’s a full-time teaching job, isn’t it?

To teach them, we must remember who they are – “the spiritual thoughts and representatives of Life, Truth, and Love.”(SH 16) Note that this definition has no reference to age. We are all teachable as we embrace the childlike qualities of “freedom from wrong and receptiveness of right.” (SH17)

SECTION V – Christ Jesus showed us what it really means to be the child of God.
We are ALL the children of God, and “faith in Christ Jesus” shows us exactly what that means.(B15) Notice how (B16) echoes the letter to the Romans in our Responsive Reading. Jesus proved to us that man is not just a servant, but a son and an heir. He is our advocate (This Greek word refers to “a party who took one’s side in a lawsuit” IB). Jesus helped us to plead “not guilty” when mortal mind accused us of sin. He knew that man is “born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”(B17) He demonstrated his words, “I and my Father are one,” rebuking the claims of sin and separateness. We, too, have to “subdue sin” in our own thought. As we do, we “find Christ, the real man and his relation to God,” and we “recognize the divine sonship.” It’s already there – we just have to recognize it. 

SECTION VI – No one is left out.
When Peter and John went up into the temple, they came upon a man “lame from his mother’s womb.” Apparently, a hereditary problem had crippled him and left him a beggar, waiting outside of the temple. It was as if he had been left out of all good. He was receptive – “expecting to receive something of them.” Peter didn’t just give him money. He gave him so much more. He healed him “in the name of Jesus Christ.” Do we do our own healing work this way – in the name, or nature, of Christ Jesus? His healing was immediate, and he “entered with them into the temple.” He no longer saw himself as a second-class citizen. He accepted “the glorious liberty of the children of God.”3 Have we accepted it? It’s available to us all, NOW. (See B20 and B21)

Liberty is the birthright of every child of God, and we are ALL His children. What does it mean for us to be “tributary to God, Spirit, and to nothing else”? A tributary is one who pays tribute, and one definition of tribute is “a gift, payment, declaration, or other acknowledgment of gratitude, respect, or admiration.” God deserves all of our gratitude, respect, and admiration. He is all Good, only Good.

Here’s one last opportunity to plug your name right into one of Mrs. Eddy’s descriptions of man: “God expresses in [ME] the infinite idea forever developing itself, broadening and rising higher and higher from a boundless basis.” You have infinite opportunity. You will never level off or run out of steam. Your possibilities are endless.

“Take then the sacred rod;
Thou art not error’s thrall;
Thou hast the gift of God –
Dominion over all.”        (Hymn 382)

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