Thank you for another best summer yet!

Ken Cooper’s “POETIC PRELUDE” shares Bible EXAMPLES of Spirit speaking to EACH of us collectively & individually and so blessing each and ALL of us!
from the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on “Spirit” for February 6, 2022

(CedarS Met with audio by Christie is coming soon and should be emailed yet tonight.) 

 [Ken writes:] “When you love someone, don’t you listen to them with full attention? To love God, is indeed to “Be still” and listen. And why not? God, the WORD, SPIRIT, is always speaking, and man by reflection both hears and understands. This week’s lesson is all about hearing and responding, knowing what we are and proving what we are, utterly overcoming the falsities which suggest anything else. On this basis, our CHURCH fulfils its mission, – “elevating the race, rousing the dormant understanding”, in unity, “casting out devils and healing the sick” (see citation S5/583:12-19).

“The one whose heart is open is the one who hears, – so let them hear what the breath of Spirit is breathing gently to the churches, that God’s Word be heard and understood.” (Golden Text combined translations.) When we listen, we have the assurance of understanding being ours to prove. Understanding is demonstration.

This statement “He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” occurs seven times in Revelation, one for each letter written to the seven churches which are in Asia. In her book “STUDIES in the APOCALYPSE OF JOHN of PATMOS”, Edith Hoyt analyses the purpose of these letters, making the point that each first establishes a quality of spiritual man, defines what needs correcting at each church, and then gives the reward of dealing with the challenges besetting them. Hoyt notes the importance of “seven” runs throughout Revelation, and the number “four” is the most important, acting as the keystone of an arch, held by three numbers either side. With these letters to the churches, the fourth is to THYATIRA (see Section 4). It shows the spiritual vision and understanding of man overshadowed by blatant malpractice, manipulation and domination, as exemplified by Jezebel, but overcome by the dominion of the all-powerful Christ. The warning is that the unfaithfulness of EPHESUS (Section 1) and the apathy of LAODICEA (Section 7) act as a wedge to open the door to greater evil. Hence the plea to each church, LISTEN, BE ALERT! “The time is at hand.” (Responsive Reading). Action is required now. Spirit is the breath of Life, “Love is the liberator.” (last week’s lesson)

My poem “The Sword of the Spirit” shows how watchful we must be, for every letter to the churches identified failings that were and are too easy by which we can be trapped. (see the penultimate paragraph) The poem starts:

Everyone just stay alert!
With God’s full armour be well girt!
The devil’s watching for your glance,
He’s waiting for just half a chance!

In other words, who or what are we listening too! John is sending his wake-up call to each of the churches, but the beauty of the letters is that they each end with confirmation of man’s true status:

Spirit is your powerful sword!
Nothing can withstand God’s WORD!
With Spirit, you will win the fight!
Untouched by wrong, you prove ALL RIGHT!

What could be more “ALL RIGHT” than the recognition of man in the kingdom of heaven! Salvation earned and realised!

 The letter to the church in Philadelphia was necessary because they were failing to demonstrate what they knew, – “for thou hast little strength”, – little and inadequate expression of all the good that is possible. All that is needed is to walk through the open door which is before us all. The poem “I HAVE SET BEFORE THEE AN OPEN DOOR AND NO MAN CAN SHUT IT” takes us that one step.  Just the one is needed to launch us in to the kingdom of heaven, — the full sense and recognition of what man can do. It is an escape from the false dream of matter into the real(m) of Spirit. Fulfilling the need to listen we see the result:

“I listened and obeyed. One step to Him I trod,
My true home found at last: my life at one with God.”

This life, at one with God, is our present reality, what we indeed have now. It is the essence of Church.

Peter saw this clearly. In Section 6 we have a lame man seeking a material answer to his problems, but Peter understood what was required: “Look On Us” takes the story of the man at the Beautiful Gate in Section 6, and reveals it’s not just ears which need to be attuned to God but eyes also! And the result was immediate!

“And he saw too, lifted up by Peter’s knowing praise
To see himself as whole indeed, no longer to live
Upon the alms of man, but in the freedom of the Lord”

As with every letter, the result of turning attention to God was the revealing of the true man, Christ-like, free. This is the purpose and power of CHURCH resting in action! It is not a physical structure, but the demonstration of the kingdom of heaven at hand. “And he, leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them in to the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.” (Bible citation 21). An example to us all.

When considering this lesson, the following message was heard. When we keep our sword in its scabbard, we are like the seven churches, – the potential is there but not being used. We have to hold the sword in our hand, ready for instant use, so that when any issues or seeming problems arise the sharp edge of Spirit readily annuls them. With the sword of the Spirit in the scabbard, we are like the seven churches were. As Hoyt notes, unfaithfulness (Ephesus), lukewarmness (Laodicea), false teaching (Smyrna), inaction (Philadelphia), sensuality (Pergamus), apathy (Sardis), all building up to false domination, (Thyatira) are all exposed. But this is a false dormant view of Spirit, for we understand and prove that Spirit is ever active. When we see this,  we fulfill Scripture, and the blessing of CHURCH is fulfilled. The call of John was to “AWAKE!” Listening actively to God, our response is always immediate, and the (S)WORD of God declares the omnipotence of God, understood, and proved.  Man lives and moves and has his being in the kingdom of heaven.

As it says in Proverbs (20:12)  “The hearing ear and the seeing eye, God hath made both of them”. We are always hearing and seeing God. Therefore “Man is tributary to God and to nothing else” (S citation 24) What can be more perfect, making our Church joyous and full!


Copies of the poems are available in pdf format in color and B&W as DOWNLOADS at the top right of the online version of this Poetic Prelude to this week’s Bible Lesson as well as of CedarS online Met this week.  (Audio of the Met has been added online, so the email will following soon.) The full range of Ken’s videos on YouTube can be found on KenGCooperPoetry.  All Ken’s poetry and other writings can be found on Ken Cooper Poetry.

Ken’s email is kengcooper@btinternet.com.

 

 

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