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Lean on “the sustaining infinite” [of Soul] for a today “big with blessings.”
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

for – August 18, 2019

by David L. Price, CS, Denver, Colorado
dlawrenceprice@gmail.com • 720-308-9500

CedarS weekly Metaphysical Newsletter is provided at no charge to the 1,200 campers and staff blessed each summer at CedarS, as well as to CedarS alumni, families and friends who have requested it. The Met application ideas are in no way meant to replace your individual research and study, but rather 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!

For many, the summer is officially over and a transition to something new is underway. Whether you’re starting school, making new friends, trying to fit in, sending kids off to school, beginning a new job, or a new relationship … this sense of newness can be a little daunting. Change isn’t easy for many of us. So, it’s easy to think that the best way to start is with yourself and to try to figure out what changes you might need to make. Should you change your clothes or hairstyle, what about trying to be more cool?

Instead, a really practical way to approach this month of transitions is to start with God, who is ever-present and eternal, who is actually your Creator and Maintainer, including the creation of your very identity. Because if you understand God, you understand yourself.

What’s one way to get people on board for trying something new or different? How about telling them what the benefits or the blessings they will get if they make an honest effort? So, one way to convince you to start with God, in order to better understand yourself, is to explain all of the blessings that occur by taking this holy step. So, as you read this week’s Bible Lesson think about all of the blessings/benefits that are presented, and remember they are presented for you.

The last sentence of the lesson reads “To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, today is big with blessings.” (S32) This sentence is something that most Christian Scientists know by heart. They say it as a prayer. At camp, we saying it as a grace. This sentence is the opening line to Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, and I have heard so many people say that it was reading this statement at the beginning of the book that really changed things around and inspired them to keep reading. That was true of my own experience coming back into Christian Science. Reading that first sentence gave me hope and at the same time a desire to understand. Here are the questions I asked myself when I first read this sentence so many years ago: What does “big with blessings” mean? What is the sustaining infinite? Is it safe to lean, or rely, on God? This week’s Bible Lesson sets out to answer these questions.

Golden Text

This is how the Golden Text reads to me – “I love God. He’s the best. Especially because He made and continues to make me who I am, my very identity. I promise not to forget God and his precious and super great benefits or gifts, not only to me but his gifts to everyone and everything.”

Notice the use of the phrase “forget not all His benefits.” The Psalmist is not so much saying, “you better not forget his benefits,” instead it’s more like “God’s blessings are so good they are unforgettable.”

Responsive Reading –

Sometimes it’s easy to focus on what you are lacking in this moment. And when that starts to percolate, anxiety can creep in; then things can become overwhelming, even fearful. The Responsive Reading from two different chapters of Psalms is a great tool in your toolbelt for overcoming that tendency to start with what you don’t have. The Psalmist writes of the hugeness and almost unfathomableness of God’s creation, not of what you don’t have, but of what God has created: it’s the stars and the universe, it's oceans and seas, mountains and valleys, etc. These are just some of the “fruits” of God’s handiwork. God is the creator, and God’s creation can be seen everywhere.

Attached as a Download in the upper right of this Met's online vrsion is a photo from a ridge in the mountains where I spent the day in late June. Looking up every once and a while from my prayerful time, the mountains above reminded me of how much bigger God’s creative ability was than I might have otherwise been giving God credit for.

Section 1

This section continues with the theme of God’s benefits. Not just one or two, but the sense that you are loaded down with benefits. So much so that you have to say “Blessed be the Lord.” or “Oh man, God is incredible.”

I found it insightful that the command to Love the Lord “…with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (B3) was not used first. If it had been, in a sense, it would almost seem like a bargain. “Okay God, I love You supremely, so since I’ve done that, what are my benefits?” This Bible lesson instead begins with the breadth of God’s blessings towards each of us – including salvation/forgiveness. And the blessings/benefits are so great they make us to rejoice.

So, being first reminded of the depth of God’s blessings makes us turn to God and love God supremely. But, as we all grow in our understanding of God, we begin to understand the truth that as you give God credit for the blessings in your life, and love God supremely, you are actually preparing yourself to receive more (B4, B5).

The same goes for the first few citations in Science and Health where we read that God is Soul and we are Soul’s image and likeness. “Soul, or Spirit, is God, unchangeable and eternal; and man coexists with and reflects Soul, God, for man is God’s image.” (S1) It is only after seeing how to express Soul, even happiness, that we are taught/reminded of some of our responsibilities to God. (It’s feeling God’s presence and care that makes us want to love and serve God/Soul). Mary Baker Eddy’s view of our responsibility to our God is firmly rooted in the Scriptures where she cites following the first Commandment “…to have no other gods before me.” Consider how she expands on the importance of the Scriptural Command to honor and Love God. (S5, S6)

The result of this work and faithfulness to God is better communication with God, and “infinite blessings.”

Before we move on I just want to put in a brief reminder about Soul versus soul.

So often in common culture and religion the normally accepted view is the idea that soul is something we have inside of us, which after death leaves the body behind. In Christian Science we learn there is one Soul and that Soul is God, and the Soul that is God, just like the Love that is God, has innumerable ways to be seen. Each of you as an expression and reflection of Soul, then must reflect the one infinite and eternal Soul, God. This reflection is what makes up your identity. And by understanding Soul you then get a clear idea of yourself as well as the world around you. On a Bible interpretation note Mary Baker Eddy points out “When reading the Scriptures, the substitution of the word sense for soul gives the exact meaning in a majority of cases.”(SH 481:32)

Section 2

Like Section 1, Section 2 again begins with blessings, and the importance of giving thanks. Think of all of the ways God has shown up in stories from the Bible, stories from your family and friends, experiences you’ve had. I often ask myself “Am I giving thanks enough for God’s greatness, presence and power?

I appreciate the last citation from Section 2 in Science & Health (S13) especially the phrase “conception unconfined.” It’s a good reminder that the five physical senses always limit and confine, but the spiritual senses of Soul, are unlimited and unconfined in the expression of your Life.

I had an experience the other week where I felt limited by what seemed to be a pulled muscle in my shoulder and a sore back. Nothing that was debilitating, but enough that discomfort seemed to be a constant acquaintance. As I was praying, feeling God’s presence, the question came to me, “Do you love yourself as a limited or unlimited idea of God?” I’m not sure if I thought much about loving myself as God’s child enough recently, so that was a good change of thought. But as I reasoned through things, I realized that although I wasn’t limiting what God could do, I had put a number of limitations on what healing and forgiveness might look like for me personally. And realizing this, I was able to make the change in thought, which in turn helped me feel God’s Love. I really saw how much bigger healing, health and harmony must appear to God, who is eternal and infinitely wise and intelligent. That feeling was so big that I felt instantaneous healing and was free from both the shoulder and back pain.

Moses must have been in a continual state of humility, witnessing what is possible to and with God. Who would have thought that a rock would turn to water by striking it? “Conception unconfined” would, right? I love that the same rod that turned into a serpent, and parted the Red Sea, was used to turn the rock to water. Mary Baker Eddy refers to that proverbial staff as “a staff upon which to lean.” (351:15-16) Remember “To those leaning on the sustaining infinite…?” (S32)

This lesson for the children of Israel is also a lesson for each of us – that regardless of what the laws of physics or natural science might say, “God is able” (see II Cor 9:8). The same God that was there leading Moses and the children of Israel is right here with you, leading you, providing you a staff to “lean on,” including proverbial water in a dry land. Using the senses of Soul to demand more than what human sense can see, dominion in fact, gives YOU “conception unconfined.”

Section 3

How do you gain a more correct view of God and man? How do you overcome the dark visions created by material sense? Well, it’s certainly not through guessing, or trying to pretend like things are good, even if you don’t believe it. And it’s not because of what your eyes and ears or any of your five physical senses tell you is true. Mary Baker Eddy makes it clear that it’s by looking at things the way Jesus did. She called it “Soul-sense” (S17).

When you are successful at this “correct view,” Mary Baker Eddy, speaking from experience writes, “…multitudinous objects of creation that were invisible will become visible.” (S15) We see this true in the story of Jesus telling Simon to cast his fishing nets on the other side of the boat, even though he and his friends had toiled all night and their nets were empty. Jesus was able to see the big picture, the one that God was revealing. It included a net full of fish, but it included more than that too.

Jesus saw the presence and care and power of God, which he then demonstrated through teaching and revealing salvation. It wasn’t so much the overflowing net of fish that was important, instead it was the example for Simon to see and witness an example he needed in order to see the power of God demonstrated by Jesus. And this example caused Simon to see the error of his ways, to see the goodness and purity Christ Jesus exemplified, and so to repent “Depart from me; for I am a sinful man.” (Luke 5: 8)

Jesus’ way of demonstrating the “facts of Soul” (S16), seeing things how God, Soul, understands them, changes material sense, and through this spiritual perception you will see healing and forgiveness.

Mary Baker Eddy doesn’t say this is a simple task. Quite the contrary, she calls it “immense work.” (S18) Going back to Simon’s interaction with Jesus (B14), when I put myself in his shoes, I see a man who has worked so hard the night before, and I can empathize with the frustration he must have felt. I ask myself, how would I feel if someone, even Jesus, told me after a night of work to start over? Tired and frustrated probably. But like Simon, we ourselves should set aside human pride and opinion, push away tiredness and frustration, in order to listen and receive the blessing it entails.

Finally, when you take up the task to see things spiritually, prayerfully resolve “things into thoughts” (S19), well, that’s where you begin to see and feel healing.

Section 4

There are laws of God, and these laws of God keep you safe and secure, provide you with supply, they also work to reveal your health and your harmony as secure and intact.

When I was younger, the idea of being told what to do was a little difficult, and so I rebelled against authority. Looking back on this, I’m gentler with myself than I used to be. I felt that way because I didn’t trust those laws of God. Part of this section is learning to trust God even despite the injustice of some human laws.

We are reminded in the second Bible citation in Section 4 that God’s laws and statutes are good, that following them brings joy — “rejoices the heart” (Psalms 19:8) — and makes you see yourself as God’s child, the child of Soul, “converting the soul” (Psalms 19:7).

But what are these laws? Well, you of course can name 10 of them, right? And you can come up with another one that’s located on the wall of most C.S. churches, quoted in this section of the lesson, you know, the one about Divine Love and Always Meeting Need, smiling. (S23)

Two more laws in this section are – 1. The law of grace (S23): God loves you unconditionally and eternally, and whether you feel you deserve it or not, God loves and forgives you. 2. You are the expression of Soul, as we’ve said before. (S24)

So, why is the story of the gold coin in the mouth of a fish in this section? Well, a tax collector came to Peter to collect money for Jesus and him as a tax for out of town visitors. That law seemed pretty unfair. It’s a law that would be easy to rebel against. And if you had Jesus at your side, you probably are hoping at this point to just walk through the crowd unseen and not have to pay. But Jesus made it a point to reveal a couple of things. First, it was important to pay the tax. Mary Baker Eddy explains that Jesus “rendered unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s…”(S20) Secondly, while to the five physical sense paying taxes diminishes supply, Jesus wanted to show that God’s law, meeting need, always is more powerful than human law, hence the gold coin in the mouth of the fish.

I found it interesting that this is the only place in the New Testament where a hook is used in fishing, all other references are to fishing nets, the net being the more commercially viable way of making a living as a fisherman. Jesus telling Peter to use a hook meant there was a specific way God had already revealed for the need to be uniquely met. In a sense, had Peter used a fishing net he could have sold his bounty even if he didn’t find that gold coin. But, here no net was used, because Jesus knew, and Peter trusted, that a hook was enough.

Section 5

Recently during a conversation with a Christian Science friend, I expressed my frustration that I had given some advice and it fell on deaf ears. My friend in the gentlest way told me he had felt the same way not long ago, and a friend told him that he had a responsibility as a practitioner to heal deafness. Humbled, I left the conversation with a newfound desire to pray about the voice of God, and how there is nothing that can interfere with hearing any of God’s ideas.

I realized that looking beyond just a mortal feel-good sense of the sound found in conversation, music, sharing, there was a higher spiritual sense. Seeing and feeling that higher sense can never be covered, muted, dimmed or dulled, God’s voice is present for you and for everyone.

In citation B23 in this Section 5 Jesus heals the deaf one who had a speech impediment. This is a healing that really speaks to me. In my own practice, I have used the word “Ephphatha” or “Be opened,” as a declaration of my own willingness and ability to open up to God’s voice, care and love, and to recognize and understand that everyone, whether they know it or not, is always and eternally open to that voice. And, I have used that word literally aloud.

I love the truth that Christ Jesus healed the deafness and the speech impediment quickly and completely. I was also inspired to read that no name was associated with this person—the story didn’t read “deaf Simon” or “Pete the stutterer.” A solid reminder to not associate a material disease or disability with a person, but instead to separate and impersonalize it, and then to destroy what is unlike God’s idea. For example, you could start with deafness: “You have no place”; and to speech impediment: “You can’t replace God’s clear and concise voice.”

But isn’t it sometimes appealing to look at something that’s wrong physically and claim that it’s what’s true for yourself, whether it’s a problem with hearing, feeling sick, suffering from pain, age-related problems, friendship problems, etc. Citation S29 gives a prayerful tool for your toolbelt: in part it is impersonalization, seeing separate and turning from the claim of sickness, but it’s also turning to God who is Truth and Love. If you want to bring a spiritual, real and enduring sense health and harmony into your experience, “Look away from the body into Truth and Love, the Principle of all happiness, harmony, and immortality.” (261:2)

What’s great is that once done, you can then leave “Soul to master the false evidence…and to assert its claims over mortality and disease.” (S29)

Section 6

After reading this lesson, I think we can now really answer those questions from the beginning of this Met – What does “big with blessings” mean? What is the sustaining infinite? Is it safe to lean, or rely on God? And if you can answer those questions in an honest and real way for yourself, well you can’t help but follow what Section 6 sets out to do, praise and thank God for all of God’s goodness, recognize God as the source of infinite strength and wisdom and intelligence for yourself and for the world.

Warren's Post-Scripts to follow:
nsights from Cobbey Crisler, application ideas from Lindsey Biggs, CS along with links ftom her to inspiring CSPS articles, a Lesson specific poem from Ken Cooper and other application ideas for some citations will be available online and emailed as completed.

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