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PRAISE!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for The Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“God the Only Cause and Creator”
for May 30 to June 5, 2022

by Christie C. Hanzlik, C.S. in Boulder, CO
ccern@mac.com • 720-331-9356 • christiecs.com


INTRODUCTION

When we’re feeling lost and overwhelmed and don’t know how we’re going to get through the challenges in our lives or the burdens facing the world, we are at the perfect place to let go of our limited sense of what is going on, and yield to divine Mind as the only Cause and Creator.  Catching even a glimpse of the great good that is the foundation of all existence is enough to offer a sense of hope.  This week’s Bible Lesson on “God the Only Cause and Creator” gives us a glimpse, view, vision and revelation of the foundation of all existence, and this is enough to show us a way out of darkness.

Each section of this Lesson highlights ideas on both “Cause” and “Creator.”  Seeing these terms side-by-side in each section made me consider the difference between them as they relate to God, divine Mind.  As I see it, Cause is the self-existent origin for all movement and activity, whereas Creator is the self-existent origin of all substance.  In other words, divine Mind as Cause propels and impels us forward; divine Mind as Creator unfolds the very essence of our being and existence.  Capitalizing Cause and Creator signifies that they are self-existent and eternal.  Eternal means that there never was a moment in which they did not exist—there never was a start point.  And self-existent means that there never was another force that made them happen.

In the gloom of personal tragedy or disastrous world events like the shootings in Buffalo, New York or Uvalde, Texas, we may feel as if a dark cloud has settled around us, pressing us downward, and that there is no way out.  But there is hope.  Seeing even a pinprick of light pierce the darkness gives us a hint that there is more light, and that we can find more of that light.  When I feel lost, the concepts of Cause and Creator give me an anchor point for my faith, restore my sense of peace, and enable me to move forward.  And I believe that this week’s lesson can do that for all of us.

As I prayed about the tragedy in Texas this past week, I wrote down some ideas, which I recorded in a video here (the text of this prayer is at the end of the written Met):

https://www.dropbox.com/s/fczuzzo3e822n27/IMG_0459.mov?dl=0


GOLDEN TEXT AND RESPONSIVE READING

The Golden Text sets up the idea of God the Only Cause and Creator.  God is great.  God does (causes) wonderous things (creation).  And God is the only…alone in potency.  As it says in Psalms (86:10), “. . . thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone.”

The Responsive Reading reminds us to praise.  We can ask ourselves, “have I taken a moment of pure praise today, praising with my “whole heart”?  (Psalms 111: 1-4) As we look at the Responsive Reading, we could note whether each phrase is about God as Cause (action) or Creator (substance).

Here’s an example:

Cause: “He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered”

Creator: “The works of the Lord are great”

Of course, there is not a right answer about the distinction, and many phrases involve both Cause and Creation.  But I found it a fun way to make me ponder the Responsive Reading more deeply, so you might also.


SECTION 1:  ONLY CAUSE AND CREATOR

The first section highlights each of the terms in the subject of the lesson—“only”, “Cause” and “Creator.”  It continues to remind us to praise—show our gratitude—and defines the terms “Cause” and “Creator” as they relate to God.

In Psalms we find more praises for God and the simple prayer, “Cause his face to shine upon us.” (citation B1, Psalm 67:1-3, 7)

As I read this, it made me think of hymn 457 in the new hymnal, based on Psalm 143—“Cause me to hear your lovingkindness in the morning.” (Christian Science Hymnal, No. 457: 1)

I realized that we can take this one phrase and make a prayer that highlights the word “Cause.”

“Cause me to hear your lovingkindness in the morning.”
Cause me to hear your lovingkindness.
Cause me to hear.
Cause me.
Cause.

In Isaiah, we find the emphasis on God as the “Only,” as in there is no other Cause, no other Creator.  As it says in Isaiah, “I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me.” (Isaiah 45: 5, 6, 8) And Isaiah also describes God as Cause, “let the skies pour down righteousness.” And Isaiah also describes God as Creator, “I the lord hath created it.”   These verses from Isaiah enable us to see how Mary Baker Eddy’s insights for the topics of the Christian Science Bible Lessons derived from Scripture.

Mary Baker Eddy describes God as “the universal cause, the only creator,” and states that “there is no other self-existence.” (cit. S1, 331:18) Her definition of Creator offer us that light of inspiration that can free us from shadow.  Light always beats shadow.  She writes, “CREATORSpirit; Mind; intelligence; the animating divine Principle of all that is real and good; self-existent Life, Truth, and Love; that which is perfect and eternal; the opposite of matter and evil, which have no Principle; God, who made all that was made and could not create an atom or an element the opposite of Himself.” (cit. S2, 583:20)

And she clearly describes God as the only Cause: “All substance, intelligence, wisdom, being, immortality, cause, and effect belong to God.” (cit. S3, 275:14-15)


SECTION 2: THE OUTPOURING OF GOD IS MAN

The second section introduces the concept of man as the outpouring, the expression, the way for us to see the goodness of God.   I always return to the metaphor of the relationship of God and man being like the relationship between the sun and its rays.  God is metaphorically like the sun, which we could not see without its rays.  And the rays could not exist without the sun.  In prayer, I often ponder what a ray looks like from the sun’s perspective.  In other words, from the point of view of the source of all light, what does a beam of light look like?  And then I think, that’s how God sees us!  As it says in Genesis, “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.”  (Genesis 1: 27, 31)   Look at the vision words in the citations from Genesis: image, saw, behold.  The source of all vision is God, the Cause and Creator.

While explaining that Spirit, God, never created matter, Mary Baker Eddy explains the difference between things spiritual and things material.  She writes, “Things spiritual and eternal are substantial. Things material and temporal are insubstantial.” (cit. S5, 335:7) In other words, things spiritual never have a beginning.  Things material have a start and a stop.  But what does it mean that something has a start?  Does a wood chair have a start?  A wood chair came from a tree, which came from a seed, which came from a tree, which came from a seed, and so forth forever.  We do not have a physical science explanation for the first spark of life in the universe that ultimately resulted in either a tree or a seed—physical scientists cannot explain how life (or consciousness, or being) emerged in the universe.  Life in the universe never had a beginning.  It always has been.  There never was a moment in which there was no life, no light, no love….that all was a void…and then—poof!—now there is life, light, love.  So, even when we’re looking at a wood chair, we must question its beginnings, we must look beyond the outward appearance of things to truly understand its beginninglessness.  Soon, as we ponder the beginninglessness of “things,” we begin to realize that there really is no start point to any thing.  There is no temporality to things.  Thus there is no “things material.”

That thought exercise about the beginninglessness of a wood chair is also true for man.  There never was a first moment for man, individually or collectively.  There never was a moment in which the concept of man did not exist, and then—poof!—now it exists.  The being of man always has been.  Existence is beginningless.  As Mary Baker Eddy states, “God’s man, spiritually created, is not material and mortal.”  (cit. S6, 306:30) In other words, God’s man is eternal, beginningless.

Mary Baker Eddy explains that “Man and woman as coexistent and eternal with God forever reflect, in glorified quality, the infinite Father-Mother God.”  (cit. S9, 16: 9 (only))   In other words, we are co-existent and eternal—we are as beginningless as the self-existent and eternal Creator.  There never was a moment in which the all-knowing Creator did not already know us.  Man, and all creation, are the unfoldment of being, the unfoldment of all that already is.

The sentence, “Man and woman as coexistent and eternal with God forever reflect, in glorified quality, the infinite Father-Mother God,” contains the word “reflect.”  Let’s look at three different ways to define the term “reflect” or “reflection”:

  • An image in a mirror. I see my reflection in the mirror; we are the image of divine Mind—the way to see divine Mind—and thus we are divine Mind’s reflection.
  • To hold an idea in thought. I reflect upon a place I visited; divine Mind reflects upon us, and thus we are Mind’s reflection
  • An expression of thought. An artist’s creativity is reflected in her artwork.  Divine Mind’s omniscience is reflected in man, and thus we are Mind’s reflection.

I’ve found that Mary Baker Eddy uses all three definitions throughout Science and Health.  She says, “Few persons comprehend what Christian Science means by the word reflection.” (p. 301:5–6) And then, in the subsequent paragraph she uses the word in a way that blends all three of these definitions. No wonder we need to dig deeper to discover what the powerful ideas behind each  word can mean to us in our demonstration of oneness with the only Cause and Creator!

For me, the third definition of reflection is most useful to understand the relationship between God and man.  The first definition seems to suggest two-ness, as in there are two entities, both a God entity and a man entity, rather than seeing man as the outpouring of God’s goodness.  The second definition seems to suggest that man (or idea) is inside divine Mind, or contained within divine Mind. But the third definition of reflection as “an expression of thought” helps us to see that we are the actual intelligence of divine Mind, the love of Love, the truth of Truth, and so forth.   Using this third definition, reflection means an expression of thought, like a writer’s ideas are reflected in his books.  When we apply this to God, we can say, that divine Mind’s ideas are reflected in man.  Man is the reflection—the expression of—Mind.  As we know that divine Mind is the only Cause and Creator, then we also know that there can be no other reflection—there are not conflicting expressions.  All of divine Mind’s expression must be in harmony.


SECTION 3: CHRIST JESUS DEMONSTRATES THE ONE CAUSE AND CREATOR

In the third section, we find the story of Christ Jesus healing the man with palsy.  Most people would have tried to figure out why the man was palsied, or try to figure out a cause for it.  But Christ Jesus went straight to healing any false belief that this man was ever separate from his Cause and Creator, telling the man his sins are forgiven.  And, of course, the man is completely healed and restored.  (cit. B12, Luke 2:52) As Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Jesus healed sickness and sin by one and the same metaphysical process.” (cit. S11, 210:16)

This story is in the book of Luke, who, as I understand it, was a physician.  As a physician, Luke might have been trained to look for physical causes, which would have made Christ Jesus’ prayer-based treatment of forgiveness significant.

Sometimes Christian Scientists tend to struggle trying to find a cause for illnesses.  We don’t do this in the same way that a physician does it, looking for physical causes.  But we tend to get into a merry-go-round pattern of self-analysis, asking, “what have I done wrong?”  or “what am I thinking that’s wrong?”  While self-knowledge is important, sometimes searching for a cause in this way seems to reify—make real—an illness.  Perhaps a better approach could be to start with God as the Only Cause and Creator, and ponder the full truth of that phrase until it governs our whole existence.  As Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Immortal Mind is the only cause; therefore disease is neither a cause nor an effect. Mind in every case is the eternal God, good. Sin, disease, and death have no foundations in Truth.” (cit. S12, 415: 1-5)   And elsewhere she writes, “Divine Mind is the only cause or Principle of existence. Cause does not exist in matter, in mortal mind, or in physical forms.” (cit. S13, 262:30)

When we yield to the authority of God as the only Cause and Creator, we don’t need to worry that we will harbor diseased or palsied thoughts.  We can trust that divine Truth will uncover any mistakes in our thought, and correct and restore all right action.  My favorite article on this topic is, “Let Truth Uncover Error,” by Paul Stark Seeley (Christian Science Sentinel, 1944)

https://sentinel.christianscience.com/shared/view/a5gxkwegvs?s=e

Note that in the account of the man with palsy, it could be tempting to think that the healing was just about one man’s physical body.  But it was much more than that.  Christ Jesus saw beyond a limited outcome by showing that sin—the belief that we could ever be separate from our Cause and Creator—is easily overturned for all mankind.  Yes, the man with palsy was healed, but so were all the witnesses, including the friends who lowered him down and those who witnessed Jesus’ exchange with the scribes and Pharisees who had “began to reason” incorrectly.  In fact, this healing transcended even the limits of time since even now, we too, can feel the effect of the realization that disease is not caused or created by sin—separation from God—but rather that our understanding that God is our only Cause and Creator overturns both sin and disease.

Here is a modern-day account of paralysis healed:
https://journal.christianscience.com/shared/view/liipxd3mfw?s=e


SECTION 4: CHRIST JESUS DEMONSTRATES THE ONE CAUSE AND CREATOR

The fourth section includes the account of Christ Jesus healing the woman with the issue of blood.  Again, when Christ Jesus saw the woman, he did not look for a physical cause for the issue of blood.  He did not try to figure out where she went wrong in her thinking; he did not try to assess whether it was a congenital condition; nor did he associate the bleeding with her identity, being, or existence.  Instead, he saw her being—her existence—as whole.  Immediately, he addresses her as “Daughter,” signifying her direct relation to “Our Father.”

When we think of “Daughter” of God, it could be tempting to think in terms of two-ness, like there is daughter entity and a separate God entity.  But two-ness is not accurate in divine metaphysics.  God and man are not two entities.   They are two aspects of one entity.  There is the Cause aspect—God—and the effect aspect—man, but both Cause and effect are the same entity, just as the sun and its rays are one.   We could also say there is the Creator aspect—God—and the creation aspect—man, with both Creator and creation being the same entity, just as the sun and its rays are one.

When we think in terms of daughter, or child, of God, this signifies belonging…the child belongs to the divine Parent and the divine Parent belongs to the child—“I am Thine” (Ps. 119:94) and “Thou are mine.”  (Psalm 119:94, Isaiah 43:1) This parent-child relationship is about inseparability and love.  But if we stray into thinking that the child is separated from the divine Parent, or could somehow wander away from the divine Parent, this is where the metaphor needs to be corrected.  God and man are one, not two.

All this to say, that when Christ Jesus addresses the woman with the issue of blood as “Daughter,” he is immediately recognizing her one-ness with the divine Parent, as the expression of goodness, inseparable from her only Cause and Creator.  If we were to make a meme of this exchange, we could have a photo of Christ Jesus with the woman with the caption: You had me at “Daughter” (See PDF picture Download at bottom of online Met.)

In other words, with one word—Daughter—Christ Jesus establishes that the woman and all mankind have only one Cause and Creator.  As Mary Baker Eddy explains, “He knew that the divine Principle, Love, creates and governs all that is real.” (cit. S18, 286:9)


SECTION 5: CHURCH AS THE EFFECT OF A PERFECT CAUSE

The fifth section extends the concept of God as the only Cause and Creator to include institutions.  In particular, the fifth section establishes that God is the only Cause and Creator of church, the “structure of Truth and Love; whatever rests upon and proceeds from divine Principle.”  (SH 583:12) Church is not a human-born institution, caused and created by personalities.  Church “proceeds from divine Principle.”  The only Cause and Creator of church is divine Principle, Truth, Love, Mind, and so forth.

This section includes the account of Christ Jesus asking his disciples if they knew who he is.  In the context of this week’s Bible Lesson, “God the only Cause and Creator,” I’m taking his question to also mean, do you know my cause and how I was created?   Simon Peter did not say, “you come from Mary’s womb” nor did he say that Christ Jesus descended from a prophesied genealogy. Instead, Simon Peter answered Jesus, “Thou art the Christ”— [“the divine communication from God to man”] — “the Son of the living God.” (cit. B19, Matthew 16:13-18)

In other words, Christ Jesus belongs to and is inseparable from the living God.  The term “living God” is a correction to the false sense of an inert and inactive idol, like a gold statue.   The “living God,” in the context of this week’s lesson, could also be understood as the Cause and Creator.  Both Cause and Creator are active—living—words through which we can understand God.  God is not inert, but is the active and living Source of all being.

Christ Jesus loved Simon Peter’s answer, and knew that his answer did not come from a “flesh and blood” source, but rather that the divine Father revealed it to Simon Peter.  And then Christ Jesus blessed Simon Peter (and his answer about God as the only Cause and Creator) as the rock—the foundation—of church.  In other words, the foundation of church is that God is the Cause and Creator.  As Mary Baker Eddy states, “…Jesus purposed founding his society, not on the personal Peter as a mortal, but on the God-power which lay behind Peter’s confession of the true Messiah.” (cit. S25, 137: 8-9, 16-21, 26-9) And from this it follows that God is the only Cause and Creator of church.

It sure can be tempting to think that a bunch of human personalities create church.  But no, true church has only one Cause and one Creator.  And this Cause and Creator unites all.

Currently, my favorite part of this account is that as Christ Jesus establishes the church—structure of Truth and Love—upon the rock of God as the only Cause and Creator, he adds the crucial phrase, “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

I love this.  As we acknowledge that the only Cause and Creator for church is divine Mind—not human personalities—we are protected from the gates of “hell.”  Mary Baker Eddy defines hell as “Mortal belief; error; lust; remorse; hatred; revenge; sickness; death; suffering and self-destruction; self-imposed agony; effects of sin, that which ‘worketh abomination or maketh a lie.” (SH 588:1-4) Thank God that church is safe from all of that hellishness!

As we establish church upon the rock, the gates of “hell” shall not prevail against us.  As Mary Baker Eddy explains, “Our church is built on the divine Principle, Love. We can unite with this church only as we are new-born of Spirit, as we reach the Life which is Truth and the Truth which is Life by bringing forth the fruits of Love, — casting out error and healing the sick.” (cit. S23, 35:19-25)

This section clarifies and protects our concept of church.  And we can now extend these metaphysical principles to other institutions, like marriage, business, and family.  What a healing idea to ground a marriage upon the rock—spiritual foundation—that Principle is the only Cause and Creator of marriage.  Businesses, churches, and families founded upon the rock of Truth that divine Mind is the only Cause and Creator are fortified and protected, and safe from the so-called “gates of hell.”  As we acknowledge divine Mind as the only Cause and Creator, our whole experience, including friendships, marriage, business, and family, are free from “hell.”


SECTION 6: ALL-IN-ALL

The sixth section concludes with a reminder to praise God as the only Cause and Creator.  The Lord—the only Cause and Creator—will give grace and glory.” (cit. B22, Psalm 84:11)   Each of us has our own way to praise, and as we praise we feel more and more of the blessing.  If we see ourselves as the sunbeam shining from the central sun–the only Cause and Creator—the best way to praise is to shine, shine, shine.  And, truly, we cannot help but to shine.

When we shine, we are praising and saying, “How great are his signs! and how mighty are his wonders! his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation.” (cit. B24, Daniel 4:3)

To the sunbeam, the sun is all there is.  The sunbeam knows no source other than the sun.  Man is even greater than the sunbeam, however, because we can be conscious of our Cause and Creator.  The sunbeam is inanimate.  Our conscious awareness of our Cause and Creator makes us animate.  As we understand and become more and more aware of our only Cause and Creator, we feel more and more blessings from our at-one-ment with our divine source of being.  As Mary Baker Eddy explains, “When we learn the way in Christian Science and recognize man’s spiritual being, we shall behold and understand God’s creation, — all the glories of earth and heaven and man.” (cit. S31, 264: 28)


P.S. MY BONUS OFFERING: A PRAYER FOR UVALDE

As a mother and a former Texas elementary school student, my heart is heavy for those most affected by the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.  I agree with those who are fed up with the lack of action to prevent the crisis of school shootings in the US.  It is not OK.  But even if we can take action for the future, the grief hurts now.  We need healing now. I don’t’ believe there is any human logic that can heal our hearts or tend to the wounds we are all feeling.  As I see it, we have no choice but to turn to the Comforter—the source of all light.  Divine Love is an ever-present help in trouble.

As I was praying for the families immediately affected today, I realized that I would never want others to feel sorry for me, to mourn for me, to grieve for me, or to see me as a victim.  For most of us, our innermost desire is to know that people see us as strong, fully supplied, joyous, full of dominion, and blessed.  We want to be seen as divine Love sees us.  We want to be seen as Christ Jesus “beheld” the woman with the issue of blood…as divine Love’s “Daughter,” free of pain and sorrow.  Christ Jesus saw the man with the withered hand as whole.  He saw the “unknown woman” as known.  He saw the man who was born blind as directly descending from “our Father.”  And he had compassion for the multitudes as sheep who needed to know their Shepherd.  He blessed his enemies…”Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”  His blessings of Truth, in the face of what seemed like curses, consistently corrected, comforted and restored those who had seemed like lost sheep.

The same Christ consciousness is available to us today.  We can, like Christ Jesus, love and behold others purely enough to see their strength and dominion in the midst of tragedy.  We can have compassion as we see each and every one affected as having a Shepherd, and affirming that they can hear and feel and know their Shepherd’s voice (Christ) as a comfort in the darkness.  I believe we are loving others most purely as we see them–not as victims or as perpetrators–but as the beloved sheep with a Shepherd who is actively comforting them here and now, and knowing that they can feel the tenderness of our Shepherd.  So, as I pray this prayer, I join with others who practice the Science—the Knowledge—of the Christ, as we “solemnly promise to watch and pray to have that Mind which was also in Christ Jesus, To do unto others as we would have them do unto us, and to be merciful, just and pure.” (SH 497)

Amen.


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GEMs of BIBLE-BASED application ideas from COBBEY CRISLER and others WILL BE POSTEDAND SENT LATER AFTER OUR 160 SOME MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND GUESTS HAVE LEFT. Check on CedarS INSPIRATION website or in your email  if you have  SUBSCRIBED FOR IT HERE.


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