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Maintain a Higher Point of View!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Mortals and Immortals”
May 14—20, 2018

By Craig L. Ghislin, C.S. Glen Ellyn, Illinois (Bartlett)
craig.ghislincs@icloud.com / (630) 830-8683

[Download “I AM THE PROOF” (of PERFECT IMMORTALITY!); it's an insightful poem by Ken Cooper (referring to the last citation in the Responsive Reading) by going to the online version and clicking on the file in upper right.
Ken writes of citation B6, "I have always loved the story of Caleb, and … agelessness . The thought of the bud and blossom co-existing in Mind is so relevant, – we don't have to wait to be what we are! https://sentinel.christianscience.com/issues/2015/4/117-17/the-rosebud ]

How would you describe your general level of expectancy? Do you initially take a darker view? Or do you tend to look on the brighter side of things? Depending on how things are going for us at the time, most of us are probably somewhere in the middle. But that’s the problem—our outlook often depends on the way things are going. Mortal belief generally holds that events and circumstances happen outside of us, and there’s not much we can do about them other than react. Some people seem to have “all the luck,” and others not so much. But luck has nothing to do with it; and in fact, nothing is really happening to us from “out there.”

From a spiritual standpoint, and even according to some secular theories, everything originates in thought. The question is, “Are we viewing things from the mortal, or immortal point of view?” The quality and direction of our thought determines the conditions and events of our lives. The Golden Text mentions “eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.” This expectation is a point of view that rests on information gathered through spiritual sense. It’s an immortal viewpoint that directly opposes the mortal view.

This immortal view is always uplifting. It’s like the light shining out of darkness mentioned by Paul in the Responsive Reading. The mortal view of things is biblically represented as darkness, and generally focuses on troubles. When referring to the sometimes sorry state of man, we often hear the phrase, “That’s life!” Well that’s not life as God knows it. God is Life, and though the material sense of life perishes—the “outward man” as Paul calls it—,the “inward man,” or the real man made by God, is new each day.

To those who take the immortal viewpoint, the perplexing troubles facing them are but temporary blips compared to the glories of eternal reality. But, those hardships actually compel us to learn more about God, and our unbroken relationship to Him. Waking up to our true being in Christ makes us a “new creature.” The material and mortal pass away, and everything becomes new as the spiritual and immortal come into focus.

Those whose lives are governed by the Spirit of God, are attuned to their spiritual sonship. Throughout this Lesson we will see how the terrors of material belief that bind us to fear are dissolved by the immortal view that reveals us as loved children of God.

Section 1: Higher Views Required

Before going further, let’s be clear from the beginning that the title of the Lesson: “Mortals and Immortals” may make it seem like there are two types of beings. But really there are only immortals. A so-called mortal is only the name of a belief, or a type of thinking outside of God. So-called “mortals” always look at things from a limited standpoint. The children of Israel had a habit of thinking like mortals. That’s why the prophets had to remind them often of how God had cared for them and guided them throughout their history (B1). In the wilderness they seemed to repeatedly forget how much God helped them. They actually complained, and wished they were back in Egypt! The author of Job poses the question to all of us: “Shall mortal man be more just than God? Shall a man be more pure than his maker?” (B2) Who do we think we are, that we think we know more than the Creator? The psalmist, recognizing mankind’s audacity, asks, “What is man, that thou takest knowledge of him!” (B3) The psalmist is acutely aware that mortals need to literally “change their tune,” and “sing a new song” to God—a song of praise and expectancy. Paul too, observes that we need to “put on the new man” (B4).

Mrs. Eddy was fully aware that God could not be “understood aright through mortal concepts” (S1). It’s interesting that our Leader writes, “A finite and material sense of God leads to formalism and narrowness…” Often people complain that religious ideas are restrictive, but this passage indicates the opposite. An infinite, spiritual sense of God, actually leads to unlimited possibilities of freedom and expression. It’s not religious ideas that are restrictive; it’s materially based thinking. Mortals always have limited views (S2). Science and Health tells us that finite, mortal conceptions are incapable of grasping the “glories of limitless, incorporeal Life and Love” (S3).

As the psalmist was aware of the need for a higher view of God and man, Mrs. Eddy fully expected that mortal conceptions would eventually yield to spiritual understanding (S4). She acknowledged that it may take several generations to figure it out, but the truth will come to light. Then, as usual, she takes it one step further. She says it isn’t enough to see this as a future possibility. We have to see man’s perfection as the present fact (S5).

Section 2: What Are You Looking At?

The author of Job poses an interesting question. To paraphrase: Can you find out anything about God or reality starting from a material standpoint, and by using material methods? (B5) If you view things spiritually, you’ll maintain your purity, poise, balance, courage, and vigor. If you view things materially you’re headed for all the pitfalls that come along with an aging mortal belief.

Caleb and Joshua lived forty years beyond their mission to spy out the promised land (B6). They maintained their strength and vigor, and eventually won their way to the promised land precisely because they had a higher vision than the other ten in their twelve-man reconnaissance mission. Those who were afraid of the opposition never made it to the promised land. But Joshua and Caleb were living proof of Isaiah’s declaration that those who “wait upon the Lord…shall renew their strength…they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint” (B7). Those who expect, look for, and hope in God, are strengthened and emboldened. Their holy endeavors make them stronger, and able to endure whatever it takes to complete their objective. Time, as we know it, is meaningless when viewed from a spiritual perspective. To God, a day might as well be a thousand years, and vice versa (B8). Remember, that even from a mortal standpoint, time is relative to one’s point of view. In space, the time on earth becomes meaningless. Time has no intrinsic reality. It’s only a framework invented by mortals.

Mrs. Eddy, always taking the immortal view, defines a “year” in our textbook as “a space for repentance” while acknowledging time to be only a “mortal thought.” (S6). In her definition of “Day” on page 584, Mrs. Eddy says “Mind measures time according to the good that is unfolded.” But as far as the mortal belief of “Time” goes, it’s only a measurement of mortal events (S7). Every man-made theory is finite, based on limitation. If we think we are mortals maneuvering through a material space-time universe, we are limiting our spiritual outlook (S8). Along with that limitation we believe we wear out, get tired, grow old, deteriorate, and die.

The fact is we don’t wear out because we aren’t the “doers” at all. God is the Doer, and we are what is being done. We are God’s doing. He is Cause, and we are effect. When we realize that, we don’t wear out (S9). We just live in the groove of God’s omni-action. God is literally, our Life. This changes our view, and strengthens our trust in God (S10). I love this simple spiritual fact: “Life is not limited” (S11). That’s because Life is God, and man, is God’s immortal likeness (S12). We can’t help it. It’s just the way it is.

Section 3: The Higher View Brings Freedom

The gospel of Luke reports John the Baptist sending a couple of his disciples to confirm that Jesus is indeed the Messiah (B10). Having been the one who foretold Jesus’ Messiahship, it might seem strange that John would question it. But think of John’s situation. Haven’t we all been tempted to ask those kind of questions when we are engulfed by darkness? He was in a filthy dungeon, and may have been feeling pretty weighed down by his dim prospects. He might have wondered if his efforts and struggles were for naught.

John was operating from a limited viewpoint. He didn’t know the outcome of what Jesus’ mission would be. He didn’t know what Jesus knew, and he didn’t even know what you and I know today—that Jesus would overcome death through the resurrection, and the belief of mortal life itself through the ascension. Jesus replied giving him the most current information he could, citing the many healings that were the result of his mission—the overcoming of death, and the gospel being preached to the poor. No doubt this proof of the healing power of Truth, as well as the fulfillment of other aspects of Messianic prophesy, gave John a measure of peace, and freed him a bit from the oppressive darkness he was facing. Jesus himself underscored that we need to continue in his word—we need to maintain the immortal viewpoint; and doing so we will find freedom (B11).

Our textbook states, “Truth brings the elements of liberty” (S13). We should remember that Mrs. Eddy knew well the healing and liberating power of Truth. She could have kept her discoveries somewhat private, but she yearned for everyone to feel the freedom of maintaining an immortal viewpoint (S14). The validity of the healing power of truth is proved by results. Jesus’ healing ability was the result of his consistently immortal point of view. Irrespective of the challenge, he always saw beyond the mortal picture to the immortal reality (S15).

The immortal view is the truth, and as such it “casts out all evils and materialistic methods with the actual spiritual law” (S16). Mrs. Eddy puts it as plainly as possible: “Truth is immortal; error is mortal. Truth is limitless; error is limited” (S17). She also reiterates that the limited senses cannot comprehend the real picture of the spiritual man; and that trying to find life and truth in matter can have deadly consequences (S18). Our Leader likens it to diving headfirst into the shallows (S19). To find the immortal view, we have to rise “above the mortal to the immortal idea of God.” These “clearer, higher views” make all the difference.

Section 4: There’s Only One Side to the Scale

The raising of Lazarus (B12) is a clear example of what a powerful effect of maintaining an immortal view can have. The scriptural account points out that Jesus loved Lazarus and his whole family. Jesus surely had love and compassion for all those in need, but this was a personal relationship. Anyone who has prayed for a friend or close family member knows that to human sense, there is often an added element of urgency in these situations. Again, not that every case isn’t met with the same level of devotion, but in these situations there are added layers to pray about. The mortal view always comes with certain elements that seem to make our situation more complex. It’s like having a word problem in school where there is a lot of extraneous information that needs to be set aside in order to focus on the rule for the problem. When meeting challenges through prayer, each of these layers of complexity are phases of mortal belief.

Jesus had to be consistent in rising above all of them. It is reasonable to surmise that Mary and Martha expected Jesus to come quickly. After all, Lazarus was a loved friend. Jesus needed to rise above the personal sense of the sisters, as well what must have been the disciples’ curiosity at Jesus’ unhurried approach to what appeared to be an urgent situation. Then there were the obvious elements when he arrives at the scene: The disappointment of the sisters; the onlookers mourning the loss; the apparent finality of what looked like a lost opportunity; the theological belief of the time that after four days the spirit was fully departed from the body; the physical evidence of decay; and the weight of his own heart as he beheld the sadness of the human picture. It’s safe to say it was a case in which the mortal evidence was wholly stacked against him.

However none of these things fazed Jesus. He maintained the spiritual fact that Lazarus had never died or lived in the body. He knew immortality was the fact of being, and that time played no part in the reality of things. While all those around were bound by the weight of their belief that Lazarus was dead, Lazarus himself was literally bound in grave clothes and sealed in a tomb. Jesus literally and figuratively had the stone removed and freed Lazarus from the mortal illusion that he had died. He told them to “Loose him, and let him go.”

Paul expected that eventually we all would be freed from the bondage of death, and that what seems to be a corruptible mortal form, would be changed for an incorruptible, immortal sense of ourselves (B13).

Truly, only Christian Science can adequately explain the reason Jesus could raise the dead. To begin with, in Christian Science, we are taught that Life is God, and that it is impossible for Life, God, to be contained or confined in a finite material form called a body. Mrs. Eddy reasons that if life were in mortal man, it would indeed end in death (S20). The textbook explains that “Jesus restored Lazarus by the understanding that Lazarus had never died…” [emphasis added] (S21). This is a key point. Everyone else was operating from the mortal viewpoint, and therefore couldn’t see through their illusion. Jesus however, had an immortal outlook. This immortal standpoint overruled everyone else’s illusion because the immortal view was true, and the mortal view was false. The immortal view always improves the false sense of things (S22).

It’s important to note that Jesus wasn’t weighing the immortal view against the mortal. That’s what it seems like, but that is not Christian Science. Jesus knew there was only one truth—one side—the immortal side. If we try to “weigh the human in the scale with the divine,” we are defeated from the outset. A belief in two sides of the scale renders “the divine law of healing obscure and void” (S23). Re-read citation S23 carefully. We cannot operate from two standpoints and expect to succeed.

Some things are simply non-negotiable. “God cannot become finite, and be limited within material bounds” (S24). When we understand that Life is infinite God, good, we will see it immediately. We won’t have to wait any longer. We will realize that life was never in a finite form even for a nanosecond. Every aspect of the mortal picture is unreal. When we understand the immortal view, the mortal lie loses all supposed power (S25). It is worth repeating that Christian Science alone reveals these things, and frees us from the mortal view. “The eternal Truth destroys what mortals seem to have learned from error, and man’s real existence as a child of God comes to light” (S26). This isn’t a wish, a theory, or a hope. It’s a simple fact.

Section 5: “If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.”

Over the years I’ve looked extensively at various theological interpretations of biblical passages and ideas. Truthfully, when it comes to the topic of immortality and victory over death, Christian Science is unique. Mrs. Eddy takes Jesus at his word when he says, “If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death” (B15). Jesus truly had “power over all flesh” and had the ability to “give eternal life” (B16) not because he was “God in the flesh,” as traditional Christian theology maintains, but because on the contrary, Jesus understood God as never in the flesh. God is Life itself, never dependent on flesh, and having nothing to do with it. Flesh is mortal. Life is immortal.

We never need to fear the mortal picture because if we understand the allness and power of God who is Life and Love, we have nothing to be afraid of. Jesus “abolished death” and “brought life and immortality to light” (B17) not just for himself, and those raised during his ministry, but for all time. Paul also writes, “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (B18). This statement isn’t figurative; it’s literal.

To my knowledge, nobody but Mary Baker Eddy ever took Jesus at his word when he said, “If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.” She writes: “This statement is not confined to spiritual life, but includes all the phenomena of existence” (S27). Our Leader cast off the mortal picture as a sham, and put all her faith in the immortal evidence that man is eternal (S28). She accepted and taught the infinitude of God, and His ideas; and that God is the Father of all (S29). Man is not bound by mortal limitations. Man reflects infinity. Mrs. Eddy’s devotion to the higher, immortal view of man enabled her to write, “God expresses in man the infinite idea forever developing itself, broadening and rising higher and higher from a boundless basis” (S30). There’s no hint of mortal limitations there!

The last sentence in the Lesson refers to “the perfect and immortal” as “the eternal likeness of their Maker” (S31). That’s talking about you and me! That’s what we can expect. And that’s what we’ll see when we hold to the immortal view.

For Your Information and Support, PLEASE:
1. MORE CAMPERSHIP FUNDS ARE NEEDED AS MORE APPLICATIONS COME IN DAILY! Thank you for giving camperships that are so much needed and appreciated for our fast approaching summer of 2018. Especially helpful are your much-needed MONTHLY gifts, past and ongoing, that can be started and adjusted as you wish at:www.cedarscamps.org/giving ] All of your gifts add up to big blessings in the lives of today's Sunday School students!

2. CedarS “Adopt the Herd” Matching Fund is close to being met!

In the time since Giving Tuesday you helped raise over $60k for the Riding Program, which will be doubled through the Adopt the Herd Matching Fund, for a total of $120k to help feed and care for CedarS wonderful horses. We still have ~$5k to raise to take advantage of the $65k Adopt the Herd match. (More info at http://www.cedarscamps.org/giving/adopt-the-herd/)

With advance and ongoing gratitude and love,
Warren, Gay, Holly & your CedarS Family

P.S. If you haven't yet given, or are blessed with more to give, we still have many needs, big and small, that you can help meet by clicking on https://www.cedarscamps.org/giving/tree/.

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[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. However, current and planned gifts are a huge proof of your ongoing LOVE made visible and are greatly appreciated!! They not only defray the costs of running this service but also provide greatly needed camperships and essential program and operations support.

[The Met application ideas above 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! YOU CAN ALSO SIGN UP for weekly emails from past CedarS staff of possible ways to share Bible Lesson applications with older, as well as younger, Sunday School classes by clicking the "Subscribe Now" button (lower left) at http://www.cedarscamps.org/metaphysical/

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