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[Show your true ID as God’s spiritual MAN—powerful, good, greatly beloved!]
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

for Sunday, September 2, 2017

Prepared by Kerry Jenkins, CS
House Springs, MO

Golden Text and Responsive Reading:

"…you are greatly beloved;"! So our lesson on man begins, with the fact that we are greatly beloved of God. Our Responsive Reading then lists the ways in which this love for man is shown: comforting, giving us all that we need to do good, establishing us in Christ, anointing us, walking with us, receiving us, and being a Father to us! We are immediately seeing that man was never a mortal separated from God by sin, never abandoned to his own resources or wits. In fact, we are "…the temple of the living God…". Temple can be interchangeable with "body". If you set this passage next to citation S10 for a moment, you can see that "Identity is the reflection of…the living [God]" (I substituted "God", for "Principle", to coincide with that passage from II Corinthians. Principle is one of the seven synonyms for God that we learn of in Christian Science.) Why "living God"? Because God is active, alive, and expresses this liveliness through His idea, man. Think of temple/body in the way Mrs. Eddy defines church on page 583 of Science and Health as: "The structure of Truth and Love;". We, man, are that structure of God, of whatever has integrity, uprightness, purity, affection, tenderness, unselfishness, and healing power. Do these qualities remind you of the qualities of the Christ from last week's Bible lesson? They should! In that lesson, we heard, among other passages, that "Christ is the divine idea voicing good…" (SH p.332:9) In this lesson we see that "Man is idea, the image, of Love; he is not physique." (S11, italics added). There are many passages in this lesson where man is referred to as "idea" (S2, S4, S9, S22, S27, S28, S29) – and maybe more! The Christ is the ideal man. Jesus best embodied this ideal. Man, when embracing that Christ spirit, is the idea that God created and continuously upholds.

Section 1: Man=image of God=spiritual.

An image of something spiritual must be spiritual as well. God, who is Spirit, created His likeness to be spiritual. Citation B3 says "I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images." Graven images are material, made of matter… God would not make an image of Himself out of matter. In a feeble attempt to make God and man more comprehensible, man has consistently, over the ages, tried to "make" God more material, maybe in order to explain the contradictions of a mortal, flawed concept of man. But in this section we are asked to consider man's infinite, amazing, delightful, glorious nature that is a clear reflection of God, our Father-Mother. If we "shew forth my [God's] praise" (B4), it is certainly not in matter, which can sin, become sick, cruel, violent, and ultimately, die. We cannot attribute these abilities to Love, God. Christian Science helps us to recognize and understand man's spiritual being, and see and feel deep spiritual satisfaction and joy in this realization. (S5)

Section 2: The truest man is the Christ man.

When we leave behind those recurring questions (voiced in citation B5), of our supposed material nature, we start to hear that voice of the Christ (see quote in the opening paragraph of page 332:9 in Science and Health). It shines through our consciousness. We start to comprehend that our wholeness is found in the Christ man, the ideal sense of God's man. And through healing, demonstrating the laws of God and God's man, we find ourselves bearing witness to the truth of this spiritual nature (B8). We see that it is not an ethereal, impractical, or lofty ideal—but a pragmatic, powerful, useful, healing ideal. There is no passivity in this reflection man—he reflects "…the living Principle, Love." (S10, italics added) We don't have to settle for anything less than wholeness. We find that man "…reflects spiritually all that belongs to his Maker." (S11) What a true and rich man is that?! When we are focusing on spiritual man—Christ-like man—we are not caught up in issues of genetics, environment, even gender (S9). While these issues may be brought to our experience in a variety of ways, they are met, in each case by Love, they are not our identity. Our identity remains richly rooted in Spirit. It is whole, satisfied and complete. This treatment of such issues does not ignore the very real human challenges that come to us, but turns us away from making them the focus of living. As reflection, we shine with God's qualities and Life. This is who we are. In this we rejoice.

Section 3: There is one true man; this true man has dominion over the false man.

The story of Nabal and Abigail is juxtaposed to some beautifully illuminating citations from Science and Health in this section. This story is usually viewed as a story of a nasty man who gets his "just desserts" after refusing, in a particularly ugly fashion, to share his bounty with David and his soldiers. In this lesson it expands to illustrate the message that Nabal represents "mankind", a type of man, the Adamic race mentioned in Section 2, citation S8. And Abigail becomes the spiritual man (no gender involved—again mentioned in Section 2, citation S9. She represents the union of the masculine and feminine qualities, completeness (S13)—a full representation of God. This completeness meets the need, provides peaceful resolution in the face of offense, anger, vengeance. This is what the "One infinite God, good…" (S16) does as we understand how He is reflected in spiritual man! Abigail brings forward the Christ-man, and by doing so she reveals that there is nothing that needs to "…sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed." (S16) The false sense of man—Nabal—is revealed to be powerless—a beautiful lesson for us to take to our prayers for the world. And ultimately he is destroyed, though that part of the story is not included in this lesson.

I have shared this beautiful healing before, but it is a modern illustration of this same lesson. When our younger daughter was ten or eleven, she was out one late afternoon helping a neighbor by walking her small dog for her. As she neared the far end of the block where we then lived, a man pulled up alongside her in his car and began speaking to her, becoming increasingly inappropriate. She picked up her pace, hoping to just reach our house and go inside, but the man kept pace with her in his car, eventually parking and getting out. When he grabbed her, she screamed, but simultaneously three other people, (two of whom, unbeknownst to her, were following at a distance) yelled for this man to "let that girl go!" He ran to his car and drove off. This could be just a story of a "bad man" who luckily was thwarted by good people … just as Nabal and Abigail's story might be read. But in praying together about this event with Holly, our daughter, a much deeper and more holy experience unfolded to our family. In the immediate aftermath of this event, while making a police report, the three other women sat on our porch with us and also told the police what they had seen. We had never met two of these women who lived at the far end of the block. They had seen our daughter walking down the sidewalk, and the man driving beside her. They had stopped their activities and left their homes to make sure that she was okay. One woman said she just had a feeling that something was wrong with that scene and she stopped washing her dishes and came out of her apartment to make sure Holly was safe.

The next day, I asked Holly "Where was God when you needed him yesterday?" She, somewhat tearfully replied, "I don't know." "He was there" I noted, "in those women who left their sinks of dishes and followed you down the block—and He was there in your friend that you knew, who was coming towards you from the other end of the block." It's not that God was "in" those women, but man reflects God and we, as Christian Scientists, acknowledge that every day and are given opportunities to see that. The so-called "bad man" who tried to grab her, is powerless against the deep knowledge that man is spiritual, good, and a brilliant reflection of Spirit, Love. This is demonstrable. This is something to which we can bear witness on a daily basis as we look for it.

Section 4: Perfection is man's nature.

Most of you probably know by now that perfection in the Bible means completeness. Naturally, the true, spiritual man who reflects God must be perfect, complete. In Section 4, Jesus shows this perfection by healing Peter's mother in law of a fever. (B11, Cobbey PS#2) He does this by beholding "…the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Savior saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick." (S17) Here is an example for us to follow in our own practice of Christ healing. One way we might enjoy thinking of the Christ that Jesus embodied, is as the activity of God in man. Mrs. Eddy tells us that "Christ presents the indestructible man,… Christ illustrates that blending with God…which gives man dominion over all the earth." (S19) These terms imply activity! No wonder we reflect "…the beatific presence, illuming the universe with light." That's a powerful image of man, made practical by understanding man's perfection/completeness in Spirit.

Section 5: God's man can achieve all good.

Because we reflect God, it is easy to see, intellectually at least, that infinite good, infinite ability is ours, as God's reflection. Passages such as citations B12 and B13 from Job reaffirm this truth. From a point of victory and understanding, after deep wrestling and loss, Job comes to the conclusion that it is Spirit that animates man, and that it is God/Spirit that actually constitutes man's well being and life itself. Paul encourages the Corinthians and us to discover our abilities by understanding what Christ Jesus did for us—and then following his example. This is our gift from God. (B14) The true idea of God is unlimited in his expression of intelligence, strength, creativity, joy, health and so on. The doors of possibility open wide when we understand spiritually that "…he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him." (B13) This reads in the NRSV Bible: "…he will complete what he appoints for me; and many such things are in his mind." I love that idea that God completes what he appoints for us!! We can trust that promise.

Section 6: An ever higher view of man.

The woman in Revelation, citation B16, Mrs. Eddy tells us, is symbolic of "generic man". (S28) This woman of the Apocalypse rises above the suggestion of either man or woman, to a level of greater spiritual identity, wearing her crown of twelve stars. These twelve stars, a number that represents completeness in many instances in the Bible, reveal her complete dominion. This crown, ruling with justice, compassion and dominion over matter, the dragon, even the floods, (as in the Houston, TX area) crowns the mother of the "man child". She is bringing forth the “new-old idea” (S29). This birth is always ongoing in consciousness, nullifying the suggestion that we are subject to a material sense of manhood. It is a "great wonder" that can come to our consciousness even every day as we cherish our own spiritual nature. Man is not a victim. While mortal sense will try to "flood" our thought, will try to overwhelm us, we can remember that we wear a crown; we have the victory over the "Adam man". Christ Jesus showed us this through his healing ministry that we read about last week. Christian Science teaches us this and interprets the Bible in a way that gives us deeper insight into this spiritual man.

Section 7: Man is blessed/happy, only when he understands his spiritual identity.

We can find our deepest satisfaction and clearest sense of identity when we stop looking into matter, and trust and hope in God. (B19) We then see that we are built of substance, true, spiritual substance—the kind that provides shelter and safety. This understanding gives us peace and dominion, because all that we are the offspring of infinite Good and not of limited matter or physique. Our blessedness rests not on "personal ability", "personal goodness", "gender identity", or any other mortal measurement. Truly, with this understanding, we can feel the blessing of the Golden Text "…you are greatly beloved." Yes, we all are!

Click to enjoy CedarS Online version of Cobbey Crisler insights on select Bible citations from this Christian Science Bible Lesson on “Man” for September 3, 2017. (More will be posted and emailed after it has been transcribed.)


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