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Our deliverance from this triad, lies in demonstrating their falsehood.
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“ARE SIN, DISEASE, AND DEATH REAL?”
for Sunday, September 11, 2022

by Kerry Jenkins, CS, of House Springs, MO
kerry.helen.jenkins@gmail.com • 314-406-0041


INTRODUCTION

As I write, it’s one of those extraordinary fall days, office door open, breeze gently blowing, and insects singing their last. It feels like a peak to the crescendo that has been building to a full commitment to crisper fall days. This Bible Lesson feels like that same peak to a different crescendo that has built through some of the last few lessons on “Substance”, “Reality” and “Unreality”. It’s as if we need to fully anchor ourselves in the big picture of just what comprises reality before we can face the challenging test of looking sin, disease, and death in the face and claiming their nothingness with confidence and demonstrating this nothingness as Jesus did.

It’s exciting to learn more of the reality of Spirit and things spiritual, and the nothingness, or lies, that material sense presents. We have many scientific resources today that confirm the fickle nature of matter’s “substance” as based on subjective material observation. But it can feel very difficult to maintain that excitement when we are facing directly the material suggestions of sin, disease, and death in our daily experience. That is what this lesson helps us to do.


GOLDEN TEXT AND RESPONSIVE READING

Our Golden Text from Jer. 17:14 is “Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise.” This says to me that all healing is from God. This is expanded upon in our lesson, describing and illustrating God’s power, presence, and wisdom.

It may be a stretch to see the Responsive Reading in this light, but I can see it fitting nicely with each section of our lesson if you break it down. The first verse from Isa 40:10 has God reassuring us that He is Principle, the source of all that is good—that which strengthens, encourages, helps, and upholds. This first section encourages us to look to God, not to matter for our help. And it reaffirms that man, as a spiritual idea, is not subject to sin, disease, and death. The next verses from Isa. 41: 11, 12 declare that everything and everyone who opposes good will be nothing. This easily corresponds with our second section where we are addressing the false claims of our “enemy”, mortal sense. Verse 13 and Isa. 35:3 speak to handling the fear of human weakness that would seem to cause us to accept that we are vulnerable to sin (Section 3). and Isa 35: 4-8 and 10 help us travel through the fourth and fifth sections where we are addressing the erroneous suggestions of disease and death. When we understand that the Christ is present now in our human experience, we too can leap from the lameness of life limited in matter, see, where we were once blindly following material sense, and sing for joy, where we might once have accepted the idea that sadness or resentment can silence our spiritually natural sense of gladness.


SECTION 1: GOD IS OUR SOURCE OF SALVATION.

God is the source of good for man. Love does not cause anything like sin, disease, or death. This triad is a part of the dream of existence in matter. Whenever we are tempted to feel that any of these errors are taking from us our comfort, peace, or fearless being, it is time for us to turn towards the light of spiritual consciousness. “Look unto me, and be ye saved…” it says in citation B1/Isa 45:22.

It can be tempting to find our security and peace in physically seeing a certain amount of money in the bank, or feeling less discomfort physically, or even having someone present in our lives that is no longer here. But Truth is our salvation, our “preservation or deliverance from harm, ruin, or loss.” (Oxford dictionary) Our deliverance does not come through material means, even though we sometimes see evidence of expanded thought, humanly, in forms of supply—monetary, health, and so on.

When we pray for deliverance, or salvation from material lack of any kind and we are strictly looking at it from a vantage point of lack, then we are trying to “fix” material lack and create material abundance. Spiritual abundance is a present fact. Our Scientific prayer is one that looks with confidence to our constant Source, knowing that material sense lies. Anyone who has experienced joy and gratitude in a situation where things seem dire and difficult, knows what this is like. Fixing our thought on God, looking only to God/Truth/Love for a clear picture, will bring the light of joy and peace to any situation, no matter how difficult.


SECTION 2: OUR “ENEMIES” ARE THE FALSE CLAIMS OF MATERIAL SENSE.

Fundamentally, we need to accept that material sense is a “false witness”. Claims of darkness, doubt, incurability, despair, pain and so on, must be regarded as false witnesses, rather than “honest assessments” of human circumstances. Are we willing to do this? These painful assessments of our experience are the result of a “subjective state of mortal mind”, or matter “shutting out the true sense of Spirit.” (cit. S6/108:19)

As has been pointed out repeatedly over the last two weeks of Bible lessons, the material senses are not reliable witnesses to truth. Material sense would “…daily swallow [us] up:” (cit. B5/Ps.56:2-4 ) if we decide to trust it! Many, if not most times that we experience the profound salvation of spiritual understanding, it is while standing in “the shadow of the death-valley” as Mary Baker Eddy quotes from the 23rd Psalm (cit. S6/108:19).

What if we allow Science, instead of material sense, to “support our understanding of being”? What if we let this Science instead of frustration, defeat, hopelessness, and anxiety, (all forms of corporeal sense), “supplant [these] errors with Truth,” God?  “Let [this]… Science replace” a mortal sense of life with an immortal and unlimited one, and “silence [the] discord” of hopelessness and fear “with harmony,” love, safety, abundance, intelligence, capability. (all adapted and amplified from citation S10/495:14)


SECTION 3: JESUS’ PURPOSE WAS TO FREE US FROM SIN.

Christian Scientists often shy from this kind of statement about sin. We focus on man as sinless, as God created ideas, and this is not wrong! But we also cannot ignore the need to heal the suggestions of sin—because healing sin was Jesus’ mission. Notice citation B10 from 1st John: “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” (1st John 3:8 For this.) If that is the case, then we should be working daily to eliminate anything that would separate us from a sense of ourselves as the loved, valued, whole ideas, or children, of God. In the Amplified Bible, the beginning of that verse states: “The one who practices sin [separating himself from God, and offending Him by acts of disobedience, indifference, or rebellion] is of the devil [and takes from him his inner character and moral values from him, not God]” We do not tend to interpret the Bible in such a way as to see God as someone who gets “offended”. But we can look at this verse and consider that our persistent “acts of disobedience, indifference, or rebellion”, small and naturally “human” as they often are, cause us to feel a terrible gulf, or separation from Love that we constantly fight against.

All that makes us feel sad, angry, resentful, unforgiving, hateful…all these things and many others, are really acts of disobedience to the laws of Christ that Jesus clearly stated in his preaching and healing, and especially in his Sermon on the Mount. In recent months I have found much joy in working to overcome sin as a means to experience more spiritual progress and unfoldment. As I resist the temptation to give in to small things that would keep me feeling separate, I find readier inspiration and joy, quicker healing, and more grounded trust in Truth. I am excited to continue this progress, even when I experience setbacks!


SECTION 4: JESUS PROVED DISEASE WAS NOT FROM GOD.

Have you ever heard someone say that God is “proving us” when we are experiencing a difficult illness or situation of some kind? Well, God does not give us sickness or problems to somehow prove His existence. Jesus came and healed all kinds of disease. Why would he have done that if God gave them those diseases as some kind of burden to bear?

Certainly, we can welcome the opportunity we have when we experience illness, to understand more deeply God’s love and care for us, but we don’t start this healing process by understanding the illness to spring from some kind of god who tests our faith or understanding. God/Love is not the source of illness or evil of any kind.

I love how Paul tells us, from his personal experience, that “God…commanded the light to shine out of darkness, [and] hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (cit. B14/II Cor. 4:6) His desert revelation of light and of the power of the Christ, showed to him that the light of Truth displaces the ignorance of bigotry, and in this section, the seeming power of disease. He then went on to prove this power by healing and spreading the word of Christ throughout Asia Minor.

The passages from Matthew (cit. B16/ Matt. 11:2-6 and  cit. B17/Matt. 5:16, 17) encourage us to make our own efforts to prove through healing, like Jesus and his disciples proved, that disease is not a law of God, but a “mortal dream, or illusion” (cit. S18/230:1). We can do this every single day without waiting for an obvious illness or “problem” to arise.

We can demonstrate in small ways, the victorious laws of Christ’s light when we bring joy to whatever setting we are in, when we look to bless others in a myriad of small ways, when we relinquish any bad mood we may be harboring. These are not insignificant ways of obeying Christ’s command to heal the sick!


SECTION 5: THE DREAM OF LIFE IN MATTER HAS “PHASES”, ONE OF THOSE PHASES IS “DEATH”.  (cit. S24/427:13-16)

Do we accept the idea that we go through “phases” in life? Birth, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, old age, death? This is certainly what appears to us as the progression! How can we see it otherwise? Jesus overcame this belief on several occasions. In this week’s lesson he freed not only a young man from death, but also this man’s mother from a life of begging or worse. (cit. B20/Luke 7:11-15)

Mary Baker Eddy tells us that this such a proof in one instance “…shows that what appears to the senses to be death is but a mortal illusion, for to the real man and the real universe there is no death-process.” (cit. S22/289:14). We must constantly prove this, not because we want to live a materially eternal life, there is no such thing, but because we want to experience freedom from a dream existence.

We want to experience more of spiritual reality here and now! This is possible. We can welcome in freshness each day. We can relish childlike wonder and curiosity, and we can abandon overly strong human opinions. We can relinquish our human history, our resentments (based in the past), our anxiety (based in the future), for that childlike trust that Love is, in the ever-present now, holding our hand as we walk forward through limitless, eternal being.  We can expect each day to be our “best yet” – just as staff and campers are encouraged to expectantly claim that every summer and every session at CedarS will be the “best yet”. That expectation is a deathless demonstration of Life’s eternity.


SECTION 6: OUR SALVATION COMES THROUGH OVERCOMING SIN, SICKNESS, AND DEATH.

Here’s what Jesus’ requested of us: “Heal the sick, cleanse the leper, raise the dead, cast out devils.” (cit. B21/Matt. 10:8) If this seems out of reach, consider starting by thinking about opportunities to overcome whatever would make us feel dead to God’s love, or vigor, or intelligence. What gaps do matter or material things seem to create between us and the peace of God? Do we have, for example, too many possessions to feel lightness and joy? Are we too often consumed by “getting” things, or even “needing” things—by a sense of lack?

Let’s not “receive the grace of God in vain” (cit. B24/2 Cor. 6:1,2). Here is how this is put in The Message: “Companions as we are in this work with you, we beg you, please don’t squander one bit of this marvelous life God has given us. God reminds us, ‘I heard your call in the nick of time; The day you needed me, I was there to help.’ Well, now is the right time to listen, the day to be helped. Don’t put it off; don’t frustrate God’s work by showing up late, throwing a question mark over everything we’re doing. Our work as God’s servants gets validated—or not—in the details.”

I We can each love this call to action, in the “details”. We can start right where we are, not in grand gestures, but in each every-day detail. It is “enough” to take up whatever challenge we are facing in the moment, to conquer impatience, unhappiness, or intolerance, for example. This is where we find our salvation, in healing as Jesus did.

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