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Magnify the Name of the Lord!
CedarS Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Weekly Bible Lesson on "God" for June 26—July 2, 2006
by Craig L. Ghislin, C.S. of Bartlett, Illinois
Editor’s Note: The following background information and 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 of the Christian Science Bible lessons year-round, not just at camp.
Golden Text
What’s in a name? Quite a lot according to The Interpreter’s One-Volume Commentary of the Bible. "In Hebrew a name is more than a title by which a person or thing is designated. It summarizes and contains the nature and character of its bearer."  The Lesson opens with God revealing Himself to Moses as, "I AM."  Regarding the name "I AM" Interpreter’s states, "The Hebrew verb denotes, not abstract being, but manifestation in a definite character, or name; and its form indicates habitual manifestation in past, present, or future…The famous declaration signifies that God is known in his dynamic confrontation of man and in man’s active response to God." As we think about blessing and magnifying the name of the Lord this week, let’s remember to keep in mind His character, His nature, and what we can do to actively respond to it.
Responsive Reading
These citations set the tone for ways in which we can actively respond to God. We are encouraged to give God glory and strength; to worship in the beauty of holiness; and praise Him. Everyone, young and old, male and female, rich and powerful, and poor and meek are to bless God in everything they do.
"The voice of the Lord" means thunder. We all know what it’s like to be in the presence of thunder. Sometimes it can make us jump right out of our seats. The Abingdon Bible Commentary notes, "No other physical phenomenon made so deep an impression upon the Hebrew heart as thunder." In our world of constant noise, including jets, sonic booms, booming double-bass car stereos, and fireworks, our hearts can still be set to pounding when we hear thunder. Imagine living in a world with no machines or gunpowder. The only banging you might hear would be of a hammer or perhaps a drum or other musical instrument. A thunderclap in that context—in "a world lit only by fire"—would be more than impressive. It is with the same power and majesty that we should regard the "name"—the character and nature—of God. And our active response should be as automatic as jumping when we hear a loud clap of thunder.
SECTION I: Living Large
There is one phrase that recurs in each section of the Lesson. "O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together."  The Hebrew word for "magnify" means " to be large as in mind, body, estate, or honor…advance…bring up…exceed, increase…promote…" (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible). As we think about this week’s Lesson, let’s ask ourselves, "Am I "living large" in the divine sense? Am I consciously working to actively witness and express the character and nature of God? If not, how can I begin to do this?"
Moses was out doing his own thing when he happened upon a "burning bush" (B2). Up to that time, since he had fled Egypt, he wasn’t exactly living up to his potential. He wasn’t doing anything particularly wrong. He was learning some lessons, but he hadn’t yet really found out who he was. You might say he hadn’t yet realized his true character and nature. This seems to be true for most of humanity today, too. According to recent Gallup studies, globally "only 20 percent of employees working in large organizations…feel that their strengths are in play every day" (Now, Discover Your Strengths, Buckingham and Clifton). As you read this, you may be struggling to find your true "calling." For Moses, the burning bush was one of those moments where one says, "Aha! I have a purpose." Moses turned aside to take in the vision. Are we willing to turn aside from everyday tasks to see what God has for us to do?
As Moses drew near to the bush he was told to take off his shoes because he was approaching holy ground. In the East one of the reasons they take off their shoes before entering a temple is to symbolize leaving the dirt of the world at the door. When you first get a glimpse of a holy thought, do you leave the dirt of the world at the door?
Once Moses gets his commission, he says what most of us might say. "I can’t do that! Who am I?" But then he gets the answer that is brought home to us for the rest of this Lesson. "Certainly I (God) will be with thee." Then God reveals Himself as I AM.
The significance of this begins to unfold in Science and Health. "I AM" is defined as "God…the only Ego" (S1). It goes on to say that this Ego doesn’t exist in matter, but is ever "reflected in all spiritual individuality" (S2). We do not have a material personality apart from God. God is the only I AM. The power of this concept can’t really be explained. It has to be experienced in one’s own life through our individual "burning bush" experiences. Pray to be alert to these moments. They are unmistakable when they occur. As the rest of the lesson will point out, the realization that there is only one Ego opens the door to infinite possibilities.
SECTION II: Not Enough Confidence (Who’s the "I" Here?)
Moses balked at the plausibility of his mission to Pharaoh. But God, not Moses is the true power behind this and every mission. "The creator is able to make what he has created effective for his purpose" (Interpreter’s). Remembering that God has revealed Himself as I AM, what’s wrong with the following sentence? "I am slow of speech and of a slow tongue." If God is the only I am, how can He be slow of speech or of a slow tongue?
Science and Health declares, "There is but one I, or Us" (S6). This means that contrary to popular opinion, we do not have a material personality apart from God. Therefore, the disabilities and deficiencies we call our own have no basis in fact. "Material personality is not realism" (S7). Think about it. When the suggestions come that, "I am afraid; I am weak; I am too young, I am too old; I am untalented, I am incapable, or I’m sick, etc." who’s doing the talking? Not God! Not the I AM! "Error says, ‘I am man;" but this belief is mortal and far from actual"(S8). "We run into error when we divide Soul into souls…" (S9). There are not many minds. There is only One. Mortality says, "It is I," but it is lying. Spirit is the only Ego. The next time you are tempted with false "I am" suggestions remember this: "I can" is the son of I am. "I can’t" is the son of I ain’t!
SECTION III: Too Much Confidence
In contrast to Moses, Nebuchadnezzar thought he was "all that and a bag of chips." As Proverbs 16:18 reads, "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall." Nebuchadnezzar found himself eating not only his proud words, but grass as well! Abingdon’s says the purpose of the story is "to teach the futility of human pride and of opposition to the will of God." You might remember our recent Olympic snowboard competitor going for the gold, hot dogging on the last mogul before finding herself sitting in the snow watching the second place racer speed by. We all need to remember that just as mortal personality has no legitimate claim to failure, it has no claim to victory either. Strictly speaking there is no mortal personality at all. The only power or presence is God.
"To acknowledge any other power is to dishonor God" (S10). After pulling out your figurative "plum," have you ever been tempted to think, "what a good boy [girl] am I?" "Mortals are egotists" (S11). When we start thinking of ourselves as the source behind our accomplishments, we lose sight of our true Source—God. Human will is a self-delusion. Thinking that we can do anything without God is like a ray of sunlight thinking it can exist without the sun. The only activity that ever takes place is what God is doing. God is "The great I AM…" (S14). Everyone can recall a time when this fact has slipped into the background. We’ve all paid the price. Pay attention to what degree you are acknowledging God as the Source of your abilities. Then see what a difference it makes when God is acknowledged as the only power.
SECTION IV: Artistic Expression
Do you remember when you were little, and you felt so filled with joy that you just spontaneously skipped and danced around? (Of course, Cedars campers do that at any age.) But, Soul "confers a freedom" (S17) that has to be expressed. There are a couple of things we might think about in this section. First of all, David wasn’t shy about expressing himself (B13). He didn’t really care what others might think of him. In fact, his wife was appalled at him dancing around in what was basically his underwear. As the king, she thought it unseemly that he not be in his royal robes. But he had a purpose. He was moving the ark of God back to its rightful place. He followed a strict procedure after making a mistake on the first try. He was determined to get it right and he gave all the glory to God. The passage from Habakkuk (B14) is notable because in context, it was a declaration that "whatever [the prophet] may suffer, whatever may be taken from him, he will continue to be joyful in this great God" (Interpreter’s). That sounds like someone willing to suffer for his art doesn’t it?
Sometimes when trying to be all "holy and spiritual," we feel inhibited in our artistic expression. But the citations in Science and Health reveal that God is the Source of all real art and God’s art is good. These citations can also be applied to skills of sport or poetry. All creative endeavor can find its blessing through connection with the character of God. It’s been said that Beethoven put on his tuxedo when composing, because he felt he was in the presence of his Maker. He knew God was the Source of music. Mind has infinite ideas that "run and disport themselves" (S15) The Student’s Reference Dictionary defines "disport" as "To play; to wanton; to move lightly without restraint." Doesn’t that sound great? God expresses "the infinite idea forever developing itself…from a boundless basis" (S16). The rest of the citations have a similar ring to them. The marginal heading in S 18 reads, "Music, rhythm of head and heart." As you ponder these words, realize that freedom that Soul confers. Learn to love and appreciate every honest expression of God’s beauty.
SECTION V: Like Father, Like Son
Out of the house of David a "righteous branch" shall come (B16). This branch means a "sprout or shoot; that which is immediately connected to the root" (Dummelow). We find this moving description of Jesus" ministry in Abingdon: "The ministry of Jesus was a veritable dayspring from on high whose aim it was to bring beauty and loveliness to the gray, drab lives of men, to call forth the latent powers of the soul, to inspire in the hearts of men the psalm of praise and to prompt men with the desire to minister to others." But how did Jesus do it? He recognized that the Son could "do nothing of himself" (B19). He could only do what the Father was doing. Jesus was "entirely dependant on and obedient to God" (Ibid.). It’s natural for children to imitate their parents. As God’s children, the only power we have is the reflected power of God.
Mrs. Eddy notes that Jesus was persecuted for this very thing—making himself "equal with God" (S20). Jesus gave all the glory to God (S21). He took absolutely no credit for himself. When Jesus used the term "I" he knew that God was the only "I AM’. God is the only Ego—the only Person. God is "infinite individuality" (S22). Everything we have and are is God expressed. This divine image is the Christ, the spiritual identity of each of us (S23). Jesus saw it as his only identity. Have you ever thought of yourself that way? Try it right now. What will this Christ-like identity do today? How will it behave? What blessings will it bring?
SECTION VI: Show Us the Father
Jesus found his motivation in God alone. He might answer the questions posed above through his healing works. He gave no heed to rabbinical or any other restrictions. Only God influenced his character and actions. He loved and healed and that was that. The commentaries indicate that when Phillip asked to be shown the Father, he was asking for what is termed a theophany—a manifestation or appearance of God to man (B21). Jesus had been showing them all along that "the words spoken were God’s and the deeds done God’s" (Abingdon). The "me" that Jesus expected us to believe in was not his human personality, but the "I or Ego" that was God. If the relation of God and man is understood, there is nothing that cannot be accomplished. In Proverbs (B22) "name" once again, means manifestation of God’s character.
Mrs. Eddy reiterates that if "God were understood instead of being merely believed," health would be established (S24). The body we call "me" is nothing but mortal mind (S25). We tend to be very bound up in our sense of personality and body. We identify ourselves by what we think we see in the mirror. But that’s not who we are. That’s what mortal mind is seeing and thinking about itself. Detaching sense from the body (S26) will help us learn "the meaning of God." Breaking away from the body will not cause us to lose anything. Rather, we will begin to gain our true identity. The well-known passage in S27 is usually used when thinking about healing sickness. But it is true in any situation. Recognizing that "the Ego is absent from the body, and present with Truth and Love," frees us from all sense of limitation. God is all there is. So "live large." Magnify His name—express his character and nature—in everything you do.

Camp Director’s Note: The above sharing is the latest in a long series of CedarS Bible Lesson "mets" (metaphysical application ideas) contributed weekly by a rotation of CedarS Resident Practitioners and occasionally by other metaphysicians. 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 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 in the books. 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. B1and 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.)

Warren Huff, Director
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