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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 see and demonstrate the great value of daily study of the Christian Science Bible lessons year-round, not just at camp.

Mind is Your Shepherd – You Shall Not Want!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Bible Lesson for February 19, 2006 Prepared by Kathy Fitzer, C.S. of St. Louis, MO

Subject: Mind

Golden Text: Mind and Mind’s idea
Look at the attributes of Mind mentioned here – wisdom, knowledge, judgment. Mind is God and everything is under the control of Mind. The New English Bible translates the last sentence of the Golden Text this way: “Source, Guide, and Goal of all that is – to him be glory for ever! Amen.” What more could we need?

Responsive Reading: One desire: To dwell in the consciousness of Mind
Do we desire above all else to dwell (remain constant) in the house (the consciousness) of God, to see His beauty, and to seek Him (and find him) even while in the presence of enemies? Do we acknowledge our role as sheep, or sometimes think we should try our hand at shepherding?

Note: The timeless message of the 23rd Psalm runs through this lesson, illustrating how God cares for us, His children, as a good shepherd cares for his sheep. By exploring, line by line, section by section, how this poem describes the care a shepherd gave his sheep in Bible times, we’ll also see how God shepherds each of us – always, enabling us to safely “dwell in the house of the Lord.” The background on shepherds and their sheep was taken from the little book, The Song of our Syrian Guest by William Allen Knight.

Section I: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
A shepherd takes care of every need of his sheep – with love. By establishing His oneness and “onliness,” God makes it clear that He directs all the ways of man – every detail. (B-1) Compare all that God does for us to what a shepherd does for his sheep. God has searched us – knows us intimately. In order to meet the needs of each individual sheep, the shepherd has to really know each one of them. God really knows each of us. We are each special! Wherever we go, God is with us, providing for us. His thoughts of us are more than we can imagine and when we awake He’s still there. (B-2) That’s how the shepherd is with the sheep. And just as sheep listen to their shepherd’s voice and trust the shepherd, so we must put our entire trust in God. (B-3) And what does this have to do with the subject – Mind? Mind knows. Mind knows us — individually! And look at how Mrs. Eddy has connected Mind to Love. (S-1) There is one Mind – one Ego – but that Mind is reflected completely and uniquely in each individual idea. Think about the relationship of Mind and idea. Can anyone come in and change an idea that you are holding safe in your thought? Similarly, you are safe as an idea coexistent and coeternal with Mind. Your consciousness and your unique individual nature are reflections of that Mind – expressions of divine thought. (S-3) Memorize the last citation of Science and Health. (S-4) The realization that the divine understanding reigns, is all, and that there is no other consciousness, allows you to feel confident that nothing can intrude on your thought that isn’t good (fear, doubt, dissatisfaction, envy, etc) nor can you ever lose a thought – no forgetting, no memory loss at all – ever!

Section II: Obedience allows us to lie down in green pastures – be refreshed with still waters
Obediently following the shepherd to eat of the good provided, the sheep are properly nourished. It has been said that the highlight of the Shepherd’s day was providing water for his sheep. It wasn’t an easy task. Water was scarce and inaccessible. Sometimes it needed to be pooled and channeled. While the shepherd worked on their behalf, the sheep obediently waited. Sometimes, streams rushed so fast that the sheep refused to drink, afraid of falling in and being swept away because of their heavy wool. Ever watchful, the shepherd stopped the rush with a dam, forming a quiet pool. Obedient to the shepherd’s voice, following his commands, the sheep were safe and refreshed. Our shepherd provides quiet refreshment in the midst of hurried lives, but we must be obedient to his voice. Adam – disobediently eating of the forbidden fruit, the knowledge of good and evil – felt vulnerable (naked) and afraid. The Lord God’s question to him, “Who told thee that thou was naked?” is an interesting one. (B-6) Did the sense of vulnerability come from Mind – or from the belief of a sinning mortality dwelling outside of Mind? Our shepherd – Love/Mind – speaks to us continually, and commands us to follow. If we listen and follow His voice, we will find ourselves safely following a good path. (B-7) And, as we strive to be obedient, even if we stray, our shepherd seeks us out and brings us back to safety. (B-8) Mrs. Eddy speaks of error’s rumblings (din), blackness, and chaos. (S-5) Without their shepherd, that’s how the wilderness must appear to the sheep. When we, like Adam, disregard the voice of our shepherd we tend to look for “happiness and life in the body.” (S-5) Seeking knowledge, satisfaction or relief in matter, we find only confusion, fear, and shame. (S-6) Why? Because we have turned from the safety of our shepherd – the ONE MIND – that provides only good. Responding to the voice of Mind, we turn from the “inverted images” and find the truth of Science – find that we truly are correlated (mutually related) to our maker and “real consciousness is cognizant (knows) only of the things of God.” (S-7&9)

Section III: ONE God restores souls and leads in the right path.
The ark served as a symbol of God’s presence to the Hebrews. It assured them of their safety, and formed the center of their lives. (B-10) The Philistines put their faith in other gods, Dagon in this case. They stole the ark from the Hebrews and tried to add it to their collection. They didn’t realize that God doesn’t mix with other gods. Dagon fell flat on his face. The Philistines saw for themselves the supremacy of the God of Israel. (B-12) Even when there appears to be unbelief, God is leading and restoring souls. Idolatry stems from “the supposed existence of more than one mind.” (S-10) Listening only to Mind, we are kept on “the paths of righteousness.” Mrs. Eddy says, “The human mind has been an idolater from the beginning.” (S-11) What are the gods – the theories mortal mind comes up with – that tempt us? Practice identifying the idols that would try to stand along side God in your thought. What about specific disease-crazes, fads and fears that go along with different ages, and just the belief that you have a sentient (feeling) body? Be alert so that none go undetected. (S-11& 12) Now, as during Bible times, the truth that God, good, is the only Mind exterminates error. (S-13) Christian Science – the law of God – destroys the suppositional material foundations of life and intelligence and whatever idols we’re clinging to will fall on their faces. (S-14) Sheep have a tendency to stray and wander. The shepherd perpetually puts them back on the right track. And our Shepherd brings us back. A Syrian hymn says, “He restores me when wandering.” (Source: The Song of Our Syrian Guest) Mind restores our unhealthy wanderings that would lead us into the realm of mortal mind, and the day-dreaming wanderings of complacency or idleness. Mind/Love leads us in the paths of righteousness – restored.

Section IV: You can walk through the valley of the shadow of death without fear, responding to the voice of the shepherd, cared for by rod and staff, and comforted by his presence.
Life isn’t without its challenges. But, no matter what, the shepherd has an answer. The woman with an issue of blood had searched everywhere else for healing. Finally, turning to her Shepherd – the Christ, Truth – she found healing. (B-14) The Christ, as our shepherd, responds to mortal mind’s call for help – now, as then. The shepherd’s response to a wolf in the midst of a flock of sheep is an interesting one. Terrified, the sheep run and jump so much that the shepherd can’t physically reach the wolf. However, climbing on a rock, the shepherd makes a distinct sound and quiets the animals’ fear. The sheep stop their frantic ramblings and respond by rushing together into a solid mass, crushing the wolf (the enemy) in their midst. When our thoughts seem scattered with fear, Christ quiets them, and the power of Good destroys error. All we have to do is have the courage to reach out – as the woman did. Then, we can stop and respond with authority to the seemingly disordered body … “Hey, matter, who do you think you are – talking back to Spirit?” When you are in a position of authority, do you just crumble when someone with no authority – and no knowledge – comes in and tries to tell you how things should be done? I doubt it! Spirit doesn’t cave to matter, either. (S-16) Just as the sheep destroy the wolf by responding to the voice of their shepherd, we are able to overcome all problems – no matter how large or how small – by responding to Mind’s direction and knowing that error and discord don’t have a chance! (S-17) The rod and staff represent the shepherd’s tools for protecting his sheep. The staff is for guiding during the journey and the rod is a club for defending against intruders. “Science and consciousness are now at work in the economy (management) of being” and this is what guides us and protects us. And comfort? The sheep respond to a particular call of the shepherd, running to him and cuddling around him – totally comforted by his presence. Respond to your shepherd’s voice. Run and cuddle with the Mind that is Love! The promise still stands – even for you guys – “Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.” (B-14)

Section V: The table is prepared in the presence of your enemies, your head is anointed with oil, and you cup is running over.
Sheep were never expected to figure out for themselves where or what to eat. Their shepherd had to find a safe feeding area for his sheep, avoiding areas of poisonous grass, driving away snakes, and blocking up dens or killing wild beasts that would endanger the flock. Similarly, our shepherd prepares for us to eat safely, even while surrounded with the enemies of erroneous health laws and rules of diet. Jesus taught us not to think about what we’re eating. (B-15) That would certainly include not thinking about food, period – whether out of fear for what it can do to us, hope for what it can do for us, or dreaming of how much pleasure it brings us. God provides our food for now – until the spiritual transformation is complete – and what he prepares is just right. (B-18, S-22) The man described in Science and Health had to learn that God never dictated food as medicine, nor can food cause disease. (S-20) Believing that food has power to do anything to us is one of the fruits of that tree that got Adam in trouble in the first place. (S-19) The citation from I Corinthians (B-17) seems to me to be saying – watch your motives for eating. Eat whatever is put before you, without giving it a thought. But be alert to what those around you are saying about their own beliefs concerning what is being served. The food won’t hurt you, but having it look like you’re buying in on their beliefs can be dangerous. In the Corinthians’ case, the potential problem concerned food that was offered to idols. Eating lamb wasn’t the issue, but having someone think that they were in support of idol worship (making sacrifices to idols) was a problem. Watch it when you are tempted by the low-this and the low-that food crazes. Eating the food isn’t the problem. Buying in on the theories behind eating or not eating certain foods is.

At the close of the day, at the door of the sheepfold, the shepherd allows one sheep in at a time and examines it. He anoints scratches and bruises or simply bathes the head of a sheep worn from exhaustion. And, having brought refreshing water, allows a weary sheep to freely drink from his cup. Close your day by letting Love go over you, care for you, and refresh you, too.

Section VI: Dwell in the house – the consciousness (that’s Mind) of Love — for ever. Goodness and mercy will always follow.
As the day ends, the sheep rest peacefully, assured of their presence in the shepherd’s fold, confident that the watchful shepherd will always care for their every need. If we are dwelling in the consciousness of Love we can’t very well be dwelling on problems – our own or those of others in the world. We can’t be dwelling on how we’re built or imperfections of the body or who’s going out with whom or on the terror so seemingly rampant in the world. When we come to dwell (hold thought constantly) in the consciousness of Love, we will, like John, behold the new heaven and the new earth. In this state of consciousness we fully realize our inseparability from the tabernacle of God and will no longer be conscious of the existence of matter or error, but right here and now see only the goodness of God’s creation. (B-23, S-23) Such thought-dwelling heals. The key is to understand the relation of God and man. (S-24) When we realize our inseparability from God, when we realize that God is in charge of taking care of our every need (as described in the 23rd psalm), we’ll see that we can have ONLY the Mind of God. Isn’t this what is meant by the fear (reverence) of the Lord and the knowledge of the holy being the beginning of wisdom and understanding? (B-19) We can know only what God knows. And that is ALL GOOD! God’s mercy takes us (and all – even our enemies) where we are, teaches us, and leads us to where we need to be. What more can we ask!

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. If more information or the text of this Lesson is desired, please see the Director”s Note at the end. The citations referenced in the “met” (metaphysical application ideas) are taken from the King James Version of the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. 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         
The CedarS Camps Office
1314 Parkview Valley
Manchester, MO 63011
(636) 394-6162

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