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Explore your innate ability for leadership and good self-government!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“Ancient and Modern Necromancy, alias Mesmerism and Hypnotism, Denounced”
for November 28, 2021

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 Bible Lesson has some valuable ideas on leadership — from good leaders that make poor moral choices, to awful leaders that turn a country in a downward trajectory, to excellent leaders such as Christ Jesus who heal and save. It shows the necessity of watching what is governing our thought; watching what is governing our actions.

The ideas in this Sentinel article True Leadership offer a great supplement to this week’s Bible Lesson. The author writes in part:
“It isn’t a matter of forcing one’s own ideas on another, but rather of having the humility to be a transparency for God’s purpose in a given situation. A desire to do God’s will, whatever that may be, opens the way for outcomes that bless all involved and lead to truly just and merciful results. That’s true leadership.” (Christian Science Sentinel, October 8, 2018)


GOLDEN TEXT
“…be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might…” (Eph 6:10) I love this. Be strong in goodness; be strong in courage; be strong in what God is telling you to do. Be faithful and proactive. It doesn’t depend on our personal ability. Some of the best leaders in the Bible were people who did not initially have outstanding abilities or a perfect track record. Our ability to shine God’s qualities and nature comes from responding to what God is asking us to do. That takes a lot of weight and stress off of us actually, because it shows us that we have a pillar to stand on — a mighty force backing us.

The second part shows that we wrestle not with people — “flesh and blood” — but with the animal magnetism or the antichrist that tries to get us off track. We will see a lot of examples of this in this week’s Lesson. Looking at the many kings who ruled in Israel and Judah in Biblical context, how many did that “which was right in the sight of the Lord?” Surprisingly, not many. Why is this? Because they wrestled with “spiritual wickedness in high places”.

How do we remedy this? Mary Baker Eddy tells us:
“Beloved Christian Scientists, keep your minds so filled with Truth and Love, that sin, disease, and death cannot enter them. It is plain that nothing can be added to the mind already full. There is no door through which evil can enter, and no space for evil to fill in a mind filled with goodness. Good thoughts are an impervious armor; clad therewith you are completely shielded from the attacks of error of every sort…
The evil thinker is the proud talker and doer. The right thinker abides under the shadow of the Almighty. His thoughts can only reflect peace, good will towards men, health, and holiness.”
(Miscellany, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 210)


RESPONSIVE READING
These passages from Jeremiah 23 are a warning against the false leaders or shepherds that led the people of Israel and Judah away from worshiping God. In Jeremiah’s 30 year ministry he was instructed by God to give warning messages to the people to urge them to change their ways. We will read a bit more about this in Section 4 with Manasseh. These passages in Jeremiah then shift in tone from being an indictment against the false shepherds to a comforting promise that God Himself will shepherd them and also appoint true shepherds — or true leaders — to guide. We then have the Messianic verses of the promised coming of Christ Jesus, who is often referred to as the Good Shepherd, who provides a model for us throughout all time. He shows us the Christly qualities needed to live in harmony and peace with one another.

Christ Jesus offers a completely different view of leadership. His form of leadership is a servant-based leadership which includes sacrificing himself to prove the eternality of life, kneeling and washing the feet of his disciples, healing people from all walks of life, preaching to and feeding the poor, and transforming people’s lives from sin to moral courage.

Jesus’ model for leadership includes sentiments such as: “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me” (John 5:30). Whether we are in a large leadership role or not, following Jesus’ example enables us to be a leader and have dominion over many aspects of our lives. It enables us to govern and control our thinking harmoniously – to embody the dominion and self-control that God gave to us. It enables us to seek not our own will, but God’s will, which blesses our homes, families, and churches. If we are in a leadership role in a business, this enables us to lead with poise, grace, and humility. It enables us to listen to the divine Word for every thought and action, and realize the innate ability in each employee and colleague to hear and respond to the Christ message.


SECTION 1 – THE ALLNESS OF GOD, GOOD
This is a short section to introduce God’s supremacy and totality. What does this have to do with leadership? It helps us see that God, good, has to govern. We have the authority to know and declare that. Knowing this allows us to see God manifested in a variety of ways. It also enables us to bring every “thought into captivity with Christ.” (2 Cor 10:5) This is the power that commanded the waves to be still, restored people to wholeness, and took down religious hypocrisy in the temples.

The allness and oneness of God are two essential points in Christian Science. It establishes the allness of God, infinite Spirit, as the only power and authority governing our lives. It also recognizes our beautiful oneness with this infinite Spirit, as the spiritual idea of God – that we have a spiritual identity and an eternal life. It recognizes that there isn’t another power or authority but of God  — and that whatever appears to be so is a temporary phase of nothingness that falls.

Mary Baker Eddy uses divine logic here: “God, good, being ever present, it follows in divine logic that evil, the suppositional opposite of good, is never present.” (citation S1, p. 72) Our spiritual practices incorporate this same divine logic as we pray and awaken to the allness of Spirit, yield to this gentle power, and allow only good to govern and control every aspect of our lives and the world.


SECTION 2 – VALUABLE LESSONS ON LEADERSHIP FROM SAUL
In these comforting passages from Jeremiah – often known as oracles of hope and restoration — we have this beautiful verse: “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” (cit. B2, Jeremiah 29:13)

I often like to think of this passage by Mary Baker Eddy as a correlative statement: “God is understandable, knowable, and applicable to every human need.”
(Miscellany, p. 238:21–22)

I love the idea that God wants to be known. God is tenderly helping us and aiding us in knowing more about God, awakening to our oneness with God, to our exemption from sin and discord, to the promise of health and salvation, and to our inherent worth and value as loved daughters and sons of God. God knows that when we know the allness and totality of God – that is the “death blow” to the phases of sin, disease, and death. They are no more!

Moving forward with Saul’s example of leadership. Saul was a very reluctant leader from the get-go. When the prophet Samuel tells Saul that he is going to be the next king, he tells Samuel “but I’m only from the tribe of Benjamin, the smallest tribe in Israel, and my family is the least important of all the families of that tribe! Why are you talking like this to me?” (I Samuel 9:21 NLT) These feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness are something that many of us relate to. Why is God calling me? Why is God asking me to do this thing? How can I ever succeed? The prophet gives Samuel a few signs to confirm that what he is saying is right and true. But when Saul arrives home, he doesn’t even tell his family about his ordination. When coronation day comes and the tribe of Benjamin is called forward, they can’t find Saul anywhere. He is hiding among the baggage! I like to think about that baggage metaphorically – what is some of the baggage we might hide behind? What are the reasons we might be replaying in our head about reasons we can’t be a leader? We don’t come from the right family, we don’t know enough, we don’t have enough money, we don’t speak eloquently enough, etc.

Each of us has the power to overcome this negative “self-talk” with “real self-talk” about who and what we really are, what we are made of (all Spirit), and who we belong to (our Father-Mother in heaven). It is the Christ – “the true idea voicing good” (SH, p. 332) in our consciousness that we can listen to. This tells us about our worth, our integrity, our spiritual talents, our ability to succeed and shine a light for God. This is the voice that truly knows us and tells us what is spiritually true about ourselves. So, let’s tune in to that voice more often!

Moving forward with Saul’s leadership story, Saul has initial success, but his repeated disobedience to the instructions of the prophet Samuel and the subsequent rift in their relationship lead to the downfall of Saul’s leadership. Samuel tells Saul, “the Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you, and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you” (1st Sam 15:28). Samuel then secretly anoints David to be the next king of Israel. As David gains more success, Saul becomes infuriated and alienates himself from the people around him that matter most – Jonathan, Samuel, and David. He also feels alienated from God “who will not communicate with him through ‘normal’ prophetic channels…” (The Old Testament, Stephen L. Harris, p. 188)

The Christian Science Sentinel’s Bible Lens Research then has this to share about the end of this story of Saul:

“Though anointed king by Samuel, Saul has repeatedly ignored the prophet’s guidance and been told that his kingship is doomed (see 13:5–14; 15:26). Now, on the eve of battle with the Philistines, he is no longer able to hear God’s messages.

“In an effort to gain access to the deceased prophet, Saul violates Hebrew law and his own edict against necromancy (see Leviticus 19:31; 20:6, 27; Deuteronomy 18:10–12; I Samuel 28:3). Secretly approaching a spiritualist at En-dor (probably north of the Philistines’ camp at Shunem), he requests a séance. Samuel does appear, but only to assert that Saul’s days as king are numbered. Shortly afterward, Saul takes his own life when injured by an enemy archer (see I Samuel 31:1–4).”

So, even in Saul’s shortcomings and subsequent downfall, we still learn valuable lessons on leadership. Always listen for God’s guidance and be obedient to what God tells you to do. When you have a successor, value their contributions and support them in their new role of leadership. Encourage others to succeed for the greater good and be humble enough to accept a peaceful transition of power.


SECTION 3 – HEALING SIN AND FINDING A LASTING ATTRACTION TO GOOD
 Manasseh reigned the longest out of all of the kings in the Davidic monarchy – 55 years (696-642 BC). Although he had such a long reign, he is considered to have been one of the most evil kings in Judah’s history – leading the nation astray, overturning many of the religious reforms instituted by his father, King Hezekiah, reinstating Baalistic worship, astrological worship, and human sacrifice. Many Israelites believed that his sins led to the destruction of Judah/Israel and the overtaking of Jerusalem by Babylon.

It’s interesting to note that the book of Kings does not include the account of Manasseh’s repentance, so the authenticity of this addition in Chronicles has been questioned by scholars. Even so, we can see why repentance is so important.  Mary Baker Eddy writes: “Only those, who repent of sin and forsake the unreal, can fully understand the unreality of evil.” (SH, p. 339:17) Wow, only those who repent of sin can fully understand the unreality of evil. The forsaking of sin proves that sin/evil is nothingness – it is not pleasurable or enticing. It shows that all that sin promises is actually an illusion. When we recognize that, we naturally turn from it because we realize God’s love is so much better, so much more satisfying, and much more enduring.

This role of the prophets in this period is really to call the people back to their covenantal relationship with God. God wants a relationship with creation. God wants to be the loving Father-Mother that provides all that they need. The book of Jeremiah, for instance, uses beautiful imagery of God as shepherding, mothering, and a wedding relationship between God and the people. The desire is always there to bring the attention, focus, and attraction back to God, Spirit, which is really fulfilling and sustaining because God loves us.

“The pointing of the needle to the pole symbolizes this all-embracing power or the attraction of God, divine Mind.”  (SH p. 102:9)

This podcast on JSH Online has helpful ideas: Healing sin — why and how


SECTION 4 – RECOGNIZING WHAT IS RIGHT, AND STANDING UP FOR WHAT IS RIGHT
 Here’s some helpful context from the Christian Science Sentinel’s Bible Lens Research:

“David has just sent his army to battle while he stays behind in Jerusalem (see v. 1). After seeing the beautiful Bath-sheba, he confirms that her husband is one of the soldiers he has sent away. Apparently feeling free to have sexual relations with her in Uriah’s absence, he compels Bath-sheba to come to him. Then, hearing of her pregnancy, David compounds his wrongdoing by arranging for Uriah’s death—going so far as to send these instructions by Uriah’s own hand.

Little is known about Uriah. Identified as a Hittite, he likely came from Anatolia (present-day Turkey), where polytheism was the rule. But he must have embraced the Jewish faith, taking a Hebrew name meaning “Yahweh is my light” and serving as one of David’s “mighty men” (see 23:8–39).”

 One thing I find so fascinating about this story, is that it’s in the Bible at all. The writers of these Bible books were very different from their contemporary historians and record-keepers in other societies! For us reading this today, we are (rightfully) appalled at David’s behavior and there is much to learn from his example (or rather, non-example). But back then, what king DIDN’T act this way? If he saw something he liked, he took it. Whether it was called a divine mandate, or kingly authority, or whatever, leadership back then meant that whatever you wanted, you got. So, for the Bible writers to include this account as something to be noted, speaks volumes about the expectation of being held to a higher standard. They were writing from the standpoint that God, divine good, is the King, Shepherd and Governor of all His creation. Therefore, the expectation was that human leaders (or anyone in a position of authority) did NOT have the mandate or right to ‘do whatever they want.’ A position of leadership is, actually, a position of servitude to one’s community. Jesus demonstrated this in washing his disciples’ feet, and in commanding them to love others as he loved them.

A manager in a workplace is in a position to serve her or his staff – making sure they have what’s needed to fulfill their roles. A ‘head of household’ serves her or his family, ensuring their capacity and safety. A Reader in a church serves the congregation through their faithful transparency for God’s light through our Pastor. A coach serves her or his team by creating environments that challenge and uplift their character and drive. When these environments are not being nurtured and supported by those in charge, it’s helpful to remember that not only are we instructed to “…master [our] propensities…” but also to firmly admit and watch for how we can “…hold hatred in abeyance with kindness…conquer lust with chastity, revenge with charity, and…overcome deceit with honesty.” (cit. S14, p. 405). This doesn’t mean we sit idly by when injustice is happening; it’s a reminder that in our active steps for justice, we can equip ourselves with the true power and leadership that God gives us.


SECTION 5 – WHAT DOES THE ARMOR DO?
If you’re going to put on armor, you should know how and where to put it on! This passage from Ephesians (cit. B13) is a favorite for many younger Sunday School classes to draw, color, and write about. It’s worth keeping in mind no matter what Sunday School class you’re in, or even however long ago you graduated from Sunday School! And it’s worth considering, too: why are you putting on this armor? Certainly, the armor protects you. Another role for the armor is to help you feel confident in carrying out the task you were assigned. For instance, American football players feel more confident making their tackles and executing their blocks when their ‘armor’ – their pads and helmet – are properly fitted and worn.

One thing the armor doesn’t do, though, is suddenly make you feel as if you can win the battle (or the football game or whatever) all by yourself. That final Bible citation (cit. B14, Psalm 46) in this section is critical: GOD is with us. GOD makes wars cease. Be still – confident in your stillness because you know you’re safe in your armor – but be still, and “know that I am God.” We are still, always, yielding to and honoring God.

I used to think I was praying to be able to heal all on my own. I used to think that my prayers and practice of Christian Science had an end goal of me being able to heal immediately all by myself. Now I don’t know where I got that idea – I certainly wasn’t taught it in class instruction or in Mary Baker Eddy’s writings or in the Bible – but I think I had soaked up this idea, so prevalent in Western civilization, of focus on the individual, on the might and capacity of the person – rugged individualism. We’re supposed to take personal ownership of and pride in our accomplishments – career, success, etc. – and the things that are lacking in our lives we are either supposed to ignore or try to cover up. So, in healing, I’d started to think that God was a super helpful resource for me, and I was going to keep praying to hear stuff from God so I could keep learning more, and eventually I’d sure be a quick, individual healer! And I wasn’t even focused on or interested in fame or getting more people to call me; I just thought that God was a big help and I was really grateful, and soon I’d be fine on my own.

There came a stretch of time, though, when I was engaging frequently with college students – I had transitioned out of the public practice of Christian Science and was working at a residential college for Christian Scientists – and these college students were just not at all interested in what I personally had to say! I realized that I had gotten used to people agreeing with me, thinking I was pretty cool, because I was a tattooed young practitioner, and I wasn’t used to people talking back to me. As I was now discovering, though, when you put yourself first, ahead of God, that’s no foundation at all. Everything can tumble down because your sense of yourself is entirely built on changeable opinion. However, an interesting thing kept happening: in my conversations with the students, whenever I just put my own personal stories and expectations on the backburner and really humbly just let God shine out in my demeanor and words, the students listened. Now, I experienced no pride from this – I didn’t feel better about myself because they listened – because I knew they were listening to God, with me. I quickly figured out this was a much better way of conducting my life!

Well, one year in that role was enough for me and I was very grateful to be able to serve again in my calling as a Christian Science practitioner. But that lesson really stuck with me: I could never again think that I was trying to do things without God. God is not just, a big help, is He? God is the only Life we’ll ever have! Now, I’ve learned that seeking God first, keeping His righteousness foremost in thought (as Jesus instructed), is the only satisfying way, the only way at all, to be who we are really made to be.


SECTION 6 – HEALING BECAUSE OF GOD’S GOVERNMENT
 While there were other healers in Israel during Jesus’ time, they did their work more on a basis of personal power and without any degree of certainty. One source describes that, at that time, “…belief in the miraculous was widespread in ancient times.” Now, Jesus’ work was certainly well-known in the country and surrounding area, so for the nobleman in this section’s story to send for Jesus was not a mysterious thing. He specifically asked for Jesus to come down, to personally come and heal his son; this tells us that perhaps the nobleman believed that the power to heal was, like the other local folk healers, a personal power or some kind of magic. You can almost hear Jesus’ exasperation with this belief: “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.” However, this was not a test for the man and his family – Jesus wasn’t asking him to “prove” anything before he would help them. He calmly assured the man that his son lived. Jesus’ healing was not a personal power or magic at all; as he said elsewhere in the Gospel of John “… I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.” (John 8:28) His works were demonstrations of the way God works – of the way things work in heaven. In other words, Jesus’ healings demonstrated the present nature, power and law of the kingdom of heaven – the reign of God.

Now, ‘Christian Science’ is, among other things, the title that Mary Baker Eddy gave to her discovery that what Jesus taught was still active and present today and throughout all time. Science and Health (cit. S24) illustrates this point about the presence and permanence of Heaven’s nature. Healing happened during Jesus’ ministry because of what we might call the ‘in-breaking’ or revealing of heaven; God’s kingdom, with all His governance and love, is STILL present today, so healing still happens. It’s so comforting to know that healing does not happen according to, or in proportion to, one’s own personal power. Healing is the revealing of what God has already done, and Christian Science explains, illustrates, and points us to the perfect effects and nature of God’s supremacy. Mary Baker Eddy instructs us in Science and Health that, “God will heal the sick through man, whenever man is governed by God.” (495:1–2) God’s perfect and supreme leadership, His infinite governance, is the primary feature of healing.


 SECTION 7 – ONE GOVERNMENT, ONE LIFE, ONE GOD
 One of the most comforting things about the oneness of God, is that we don’t have to scatter around, wondering where to look for our satisfaction, salvation, health and direction. No matter where we are, or where we feel like we are – lost, hurt, apathetic, scared, or even prideful or just thinking we’re skating along just fine – how good it is to know that we can always look to God. God maintains Himself – He doesn’t exist merely because of our belief – and so no matter what is going on or what we’re questioning or re-considering, God, divine Love, is here. The kingdom of heaven is not a democracy! Love is the supreme, the Shepherd and Governor and Source of all. It’s interesting to think of God as ‘the governor among the nations’ (cit. B19, Psalm 22:28); perhaps we think of a human governor trying to enact laws and then sending representatives around to enforce His laws. But this isn’t the way Love, the Principle of the universe, works!

Think, rather, of the principle of the lever: it doesn’t work hard to make sure that every fulcrum properly provides tipping points for every beam. The principle of the lever means that levers work, period. It’s still not a perfect analogy, but it’s a much closer illustration of how divine Principle operates! Love IS; therefore, reality is the effect of that vibrant Being. If something isn’t representative of the order and health of Love, then that thing is not legitimate. All reality follows the King, the Shepherd, perfect Love. It’s our joy to consciously and intentionally follow after Love’s call and show what Love is like! It’s what we were made to do.

Have a blessed week!


CLICK HERE for more application ideas & Bible-based GEMs from Cobbey Crisler & others! [This is almost done but may have additions before it is emailed.]


Click on the titles of these insightful Ken Cooper poems to hear an awesome ANNOUNCEMENT & detailed DENOUNCEMENT of flimsy fables read on YouTube by Ken:

  • The YouTube poem/video, “The sword of the Spirit is the (s)word of God,” takes the verses from Ephesians  (Golden Text & Section 5) and presents them as the confirmation of: “Christian Scientists, be a law to yourselves that mental malpractice cannot harm you either when asleep or when awake”. (citation S21/442:30);
  • In the YouTube poem/video, “The Balloon,” we have an illustration of the pretend power of evil again completely obliterated!

PDF copies are available under Downloads in the online version of  this Met.


THANKING ALL WATERSPORTS SUPPORTERS!
We’ve been praying about the need to update CedarS 2008 Malibu ski boat and about boat shortages and the resultant high prices.  A practitioner on the case was inspired to make a timely, inquiry call to a past CedarS Ski Camp coach and found out that his ski club was about to advertise  their one-owner, prime condition 2020 Malibu with relatively low hours at a very reasonable price.  We need commitments of “only” $12,900 more WITHIN THE NEXT 2 WEEKS to make this demonstration complete! It will bless hundreds of campers & staff for years to come!  To help us seal the deal, please give online whatever you can and then text or call me at 314-378-2574 — or email warren@cedarscamps.org — that  the intent of your tax-deductible gift is to help us secure the ongoing excellence of CedarS watersports fleet.


YOUR HELP IN OTHER AREAS IS ALSO MUCH NEEDED & APPRECIATED!

 Operations Support: Especially during this year, tuition will cover less than half the cost of running camp. Donations are needed for facilities maintenance, horse care and preparation for summer 2022.
Endowment Matching Grant: Support current and future generations of Christian Science youth by helping CedarS to meet our $1,000,000 Endowment matching grant. We’re about halfway to our match!

With heartfelt gratitude for and to all you, greatly NEEDED and precious supporters, who continue to help CedarS give LIFELONG, DIFFERENCE-MAKING BLESSINGS to hundreds of families and thousands of individuals all across the U.S. and the world. To discuss how to play a vital, ongoing role in our work, feel free to call or text me (Warren Huff) at 314-378-2574 with your pledge or intent to give a planned gift, required IRA distribution or an endowment gift (that will be MATCHED!). Your ongoing support is needed to help us “love into view” continued, lasting blessings and legacies of love each year.

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