Thank you for another best summer yet!

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LET THE LIGHT OF CHRIST SHINE IN YOUR HEARTS AND MINDS!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“REALITY”
for September 19-25, 2022

by John & Lindsey Biggs, C.S. of Maryland Heights, MO
541 418 1176 johnbiggscs@gmail.com
541 460 3515 biggs.lindsey@gmail.com


INTRODUCTION

This week’s Lesson is all about light – illumination, liberty, freshness, spiritual understanding.  God gives us the ability to confront difficult challenges and find victory through the light and love of Christ. Light is power – it is revelation. It helps us see things clearly – to discern spiritual reality so that we aren’t afraid. It shows what our true substance is (beautiful and perfect) and that God holds us safe and secure.

“This understanding is not intellectual, is not the result of scholarly attainments; it is the reality of all things brought to light.”
(Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 505)

Enjoy reading about an experience of someone who did just that! (Catching Light from the Christian Science Sentinel)

This week we can embrace the light of Christ. Let it shine in every corner of our consciousness, extinguishing all darkness, and in every corner of the globe. We will find ourselves uplifted, regenerated and free. Let’s shine the Christ-light together!


GOLDEN TEXT

“. . . God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5)

God is light! Light is absolutely needed — I think we can all agree to that! It would be pretty hard to do anything without light. In the same way, spiritual light is always needed to bring us inspiration and the spiritual discernment of the perfect reality, the perfect universe, that God created. Study, prayer, and revelation open our thought to perceiving what God knows and sees (as stated in Genesis 1).

Receiving this spiritual light eliminates darkness — disappointment, unillumined thought, disease, sin, fear, feeling separate from God, etc. The light extinguishes it immediately!

What cannot God do? Is there any point in limiting the Holy One of Israel? Jesus didn’t. He was certain of the permanent and perfect reality of Spirit, and it healed and corrected situations around him instantly. We, too, can take off our humanly-inscribed limitations of what God can do, and find freedom.


RESPONSIVE READING

I love the disciples’ enthusiasm in these passages! You can hear them saying with joy “we have seen and testify to the Word of Life!” (I John 1:1–4)
Life includes wholeness, sprightliness, agelessness, ability, mobility, health, playfulness, zip, energy, renewal, and accomplishment (see this “Seven Synonyms Poster” for more great qualities).
The disciples have the confidence and conviction from the privilege of getting to walk with Jesus and witness his wonderful healing works. Their doubts and fears have been extinguished by being eye-witnesses to his resurrection and ascension. The next 3 verses of the Responsive Reading are all about the joy that comes from this understanding. The disciples are so clear that their life and substance are in and of God that they aren’t afraid. They shine effortlessly and follow in Jesus’ footsteps courageously.


SECTION 1 – GOD IS THE REALITY OF OUR BEING

“Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” (citation B1, Psalm 119:18) This is a wonderful prayer — a prayer that recognizes God as infinite and all, and able to see things so clearly. We want that humility to be able to see what God is seeing. Even recognizing that our view is not lining up to God’s view is a great first, humble step to prayer.

This citation from Corinthians reiterates this:
“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” (cit. B3, I Corinthians 13:12)

That is the ultimate prayer and desire, isn’t it? To see and know the way God is seeing and knowing. I shall know (with scientific certainty/understanding) and perceive in the divine reality the way that God is seeing me. ”
Reflected face to face” as Hymn 467 says (below).

Mary Baker Eddy gives us some help on knowing how to pray:

“…begin by reckoning God as the divine Principle of all that really is.” (citation S1, 275:10–12) When we start with God, we start with perfection. We see we are not striving for perfection, rather we are witnessing God’s ever-present perfection. This is a much better basis to start from and then our prayers simply emanate out from this point. It means we are perfect spiritual ideas which make up the substance of who we are. This standard of “perfect God, perfect man” is the basis for destroying lies and limitations about health, wellness, finances, etc and revealing the beautiful facts that God already knows and holds so dear.

We can celebrate the facts of being that “Reality is spiritual, harmonious, immutable, immortal, divine, eternal. Nothing unspiritual can be real, harmonious, or eternal.” (cit. S2, 335:27–29) So, we get the gift of looking beyond the clouds of sense to the joys of spiritual discernment.

“Eternal Mind the Potter is,
And thought th’ eternal clay:
The hand that fashions is divine,
His works pass not away.
Man is the noblest work of God,
His beauty, power and grace,
Immortal; perfect as his Mind
Reflected face to face.”

(Christian Science Hymnal, No.  467:1)


SECTION 2 – CELEBRATE AND MOVE FORWARD, INSTEAD OF BLAMING AND LOOKING BACK

How often do we look at the situation around us and cannot even imagine a way forward? The beautiful facet of the light of Christ is that prayer – through actively admitting the presence of God and responding to His love – prayer shows us what is really happening. Even just asking for help, is admitting that help is there. To ask for help is better than just drowning in the fear of the moment. As God’s children, we are never asked to “make it on our own,” for our Father-Mother is always here, guarding and guiding. We aren’t asked to know how it’s all going to work out; we just have the right to avail ourselves of the ever-presence of God.

The promise found on page 596 of Science and Health is so heartening: “Though the way is dark in mortal sense, divine Life and Love illumine it, destroy the unrest of mortal thought, the fear of death, and the supposed reality of error. Christian Science, contradicting sense, maketh the valley to bud and blossom as the rose.” (cit. S5, 596:23)  The way often does seem dark, as it did to Hagar and Ishmael. It could be easy to say that Ishmael brought the trouble upon himself, by teasing Isaac. Or we could say that Hagar brought it upon herself by not keeping better track of Ishmael. Or we could say that Sarah was being unnecessarily harsh and jealous. Or we could say it’s Abraham’s fault for the whole deal in the first place. But the one commonality between all those fault-findings, is that none of those premises factor in the ever-presence of God. God, the Father-Mother of all reality, should never be left out of His own creation. “What is happening now,” can only truly be answered in God’s love. This week, see how you can turn more heartily to the presence of God, rather than to the seeming presence of discord, to see what’s happening – and how you can show what God’s love is like.


SECTION 3 – FREEDOM FROM ANXIETY THROUGH THE CHRIST

 What a promise! You will find me when you seek me with your whole heart, God says. (cit. B6, Jeremiah 29:13) That’s the ultimate satisfaction – to know we are held (already! Not just when our prayers get answered) in our Shepherd’s arms safe and secure for all eternity. What a gift.

Another part of this verse from Jeremiah is one of my favorites. I will share part of a Daily Lift that I wrote which dives a little deeper into this passage:

“…’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

One thing I love about this ….  passage is that the word “prosper” is actually translated from the Hebrew word “shalom”—which means welfare, goodness, prosperity, complete well-being—all in a single word. Think of that! God’s will for each of us is goodness, prosperity, and continuous well-being. I see “God’s will” as an action verb—enforcing health and peace in our lives in every “now” that is today, every “now” that makes up our future….

Whenever we’re tempted to doubt or despair, we can remember and trust that God’s plan, moment by moment, day by day, is goodness, joy, peace, and well-being. This is God’s will for each of us and the power that governs our lives.

(excerpt from Daily Lift podcast, October 24, 2019 “Every ‘now’ makes up our future”)

“Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?” (cit. B7, Isaiah 58:6, 8–11)

Is not this the fast that CHRIST has chosen? You don’t need to do it all by yourself. It’s Christ who loses the bands, breaks the yokes and heavy burdens, and lets the oppressed go free.

Christ is often synonymous with the Holy Spirit – it is the action of Life, Truth and Love in our lives. It is the oomph of our prayers – it brings the healing revelation. It is the Christ in us that responds to the Christian Science treatment. It causes that healing response – just like two magnets coming together. We recognize the Christ in treatment because the Christ in us is our true spiritual identity. So, it’s natural for the Christ in us to respond to goodness, liveliness, childlikeness, inspiration, harmony, joy, peace, courage, and purity.  “Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily:…And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.” (cit. B7, Isaiah 58:6, 8–11)


SECTION 4 – SEEING TRULY

I have often struggled with the Bible story of the healing of the blind man, which is related in this section (cit. B11, Mark 8:22-25). I have wondered if Jesus didn’t quite fully heal the man, or if there was something more the man needed to learn before he could see, or what was going on there. As always, the light of Spirit guides each of us in our study of the Bible Lesson, so I’m not saying THIS is the way this needs to be understood, but here’s what I’ve been enjoying this week as I study. To me, studying this story recently, it seems so tender. Jesus asks the man if he can see anything, and the man says he thinks he sees trees walking around. This dear man hadn’t seen people before! And suddenly being confronted with all these images, he may have been startled and confused. Can’t you just see Jesus smiling lovingly, reaching out again with his hands and his love, and assuring and comforting the man that all was well? To touch someone in the right way, a healing way, is to include them, to show them they’re valuable, that they’re worthy. Mightn’t Jesus have been assuring this man that all was well, that he could see, and would continue to see, and that this man could be patient with himself as he moved forward?

The natural action of light, allows sight. It is not material photons entering material eyeballs which allows true sight. God’s light, spoken of so simply and powerfully in Genesis 1:3 (“And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.”) is the action of certainty and the wondrous nature of creation, able to be fully appreciated. True sight is about appreciation, isn’t it – we go to museums to appreciate creativity, we enjoy sporting events to appreciate skill, we visit with friends to appreciate and feel appreciated. We are able to fully, flawlessly appreciate everything God made – without being blinded by the dream of what He didn’t make. And as we learn to open our eyes more every day, we can be patient and tender with ourselves and others. Love always leads the way.


SECTION 5 – LETTING GOD CALL US, LETTING GOD LEAD THE WAY

Many Bible readers are familiar with Paul’s conversion story from Saul to Paul. However, as folks say, “Familiarity breeds contempt,” so it’s good to not just skate by familiar stories and instead allow ourselves to really dive in to get a fresh view. So, as I’m re-reading this story, something that jumps out at me is Paul’s description of what he heard as his mission from Jesus: “…I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee…” Paul was simply called to share what he had seen, and to keep bearing witness to how he experienced the presence of Christ. He was called to share what he saw through God’s light. Crucially, he was not called to desperately try to convince people of the gospel or to fret about how many people engaged with him. He was called to share the gospel – the presence of heaven and all the implications therefrom.

This is a helpful model for us! It’s good to be clear about what we’re actually called to do. Then we are protected under the shelter of obedience, and able to be clear about each next step. Sometimes we feel burdened by loads of things to do, or how many steps there are before something can be accomplished. We shouldn’t just flat out quit, because that so often smells of willfulness, but it’s good to thoughtfully examine these burdens and see if, perhaps, we are doing things or thinking we are stuck in things that we simply do not need to do or engage in. Mortal mind always gives a very limited view of what’s needed and how we can engage; the light of God and the action of His Christ shows us the wide-open pastures of His glory.

I have often loved the gentle lesson implied in this reflection from someone who had experienced healing through studying Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. This account is found in the Fruitage chapter: “Through reading the textbook I learned that God has given us strength to do all we have to do, and that it is the things we do not have to do (the envying, strife, emulating, vainglorying, and so on) that leave in their wake fatigue and discord.” (SH p. 683:18) How wonderful. God HAS given us strength to do all that’s needed! Let’s make sure we’re not doing something or thinking something that we’re not actually called to. In active obedience, we’ll find everything we need.


SECTION 6 – GOD, ENTIRELY GOOD

There isn’t ‘something else.’ There is God, and there is His expression – forever one with God, as Cause and effect. There is not a veil that God is hidden behind – the Word of God, His light, eternally present, shows us what He has done. I love the purity that is implicit in the closing Bible passage: “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” (cit. B16, I John 1:5)

Earlier this summer, I was struggling with a challenging and painful illness. I was making some progress, but I remember thinking for some reason along these lines, “Boy, I’m really going to learn something important from going through this.” After a couple days of really trying to figure out what I needed to learn from this experience, so that I could get on with it and get better, I suddenly realized that this was not actually the right approach. Of course, we always learn as we avail ourselves of the presence of God, divine Mind, but it is not that we learn FROM the problem.

The learning, the unfoldment to our sense of things, is always the impartation of God, the activity of the light of Christ, showing us what God is doing. But God doesn’t send evil or discord in order to teach a lesson. Material sense does not teach us about the realities of the universe. So, I was actually free to stop thinking that I needed to learn something because of a rough experience, and just be fully present, right here, with the presence of God. In other words, it wasn’t that I needed to learn more, before God would be there. I could enjoy my opportunity to look to God, not a problem, to learn more. This brought a sense of freshness and harmony to my prayers, and I was soon experiencing complete harmony.

God does not use discord or evil to show us how better it is with Him. God is All, and good is all that God is. God’s infinitude does not allow for something other than His nature, something else alongside infinity. We don’t need to fret about trying to understand all of God. But we can love every opportunity to appreciate His presence and to look to Him and to Him alone. He loves you so much, and gives you the ever-present, complete capacity to feel His love.

Have a great week!


GEMs of BIBLE-BASED application ideas from COBBEY CRISLER & others should be POSTED and EMAILED early in the week. Check the  current GEMs at CedarS INSPIRATION website, or later in your email, if you have  SUBSCRIBED on this webpage to receive this offering.


Ken Cooper’s “POETIC POSTLUDE” contributions related to this Bible Lesson will ARRIVE LATER IN THE WEEK. When they do arrive, the poems will be POSTED on CedarS INSPIRATION website & be EMAILED TO THOSE WHO SUBSCRIBE FOR THEM HERE.


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