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Prepare the Soil for a Fruitful Yield!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for Christian Science Bible Lesson: Spirit
February 1-7, 2010
By Craig L. Ghislin, C.S., of Glen Ellyn, Illinois [bracketed italics by Warren Huff]

[Editor's Note: The following application ideas for this week and the Possible Sunday School Topics that follow are offered primarily to help CEDARS campers and staff (as well as friends) see and demonstrate the great value of daily study and application of the Christian Science Bible lessons year-round, not just at camp! You can sign up to have them emailed to you free — in English by Monday each week, or by each Wednesday you can get a FREE TRANSLATION in French from Pascal or in Spanish from Ana. Soon a free German translation will be available again from Helga. SIGN UP at]

The Twentieth Century New Testament renders the Golden Text, “for the outcome of life in the Light may be seen in every form of goodness, righteousness, and sincerity.” It's really nice to think of the “fruit of the Spirit” as “the outcome of life in the Light.” Just as the light coaxes the seed to sprout, so the ever-presence of Spirit causes our seeds of faith to sprout, grow, and eventually come to fruition. The fruit is the effect, or product of the seed.
This Lesson is all about seeds and fruit. Seeds can be started just about anywhere there's moisture-a gutter, a puddle, a glass of water, or a paper towel. But in order for the seed to really grow and mature the roots need something good to sink into. In biblical times, they didn't have vermiculite and all the modern substrates available to us today. They just had good old-fashioned, healthy soil.
If you want healthy plants you need quality soil to grow them in. It's the same with the Word of God. Thinking of the Word as a seed is natural, because even as the tiny seed has potential for much growth and the production of fruit, so the Word of God is capable of transforming barren lives into productive ones. In the parable of the sower, found in the Responsive Reading, the seed falls all over the place and it doesn't always fall in the best place for growing. This would indicate that as followers of Jesus' teachings we're expected to be sowing the good seed wherever we go. Some of our efforts may appear to be a waste of time, but the benefits of sowing the good seed in good soil, far outweigh occasional disappointments.

Section 1: Hear Ye…the Parable of the Sower
The biblical explanation of the parable of the sower (B-1) details a range of states of readiness for those receiving the Word of God. The various soil qualities are representative not only of our potential listeners, but of us as listeners too. Sometimes our hearts are not as receptive to the Word as they should be. As we consider the explanation of each soil type, we can take note of the type of thinking that lead to resistance or receptivity in our hearts.
The wayside is a path everybody walks on. It is trampled, hard, and compacted. This is the heart that is continuously paying attention to everything worldly. Business, society, and other affairs of the world have so compressed the soil that there is no place for the seed to take root. Then the winds of worldly thought sweep away the seed. Dummelow says it's like someone listening to a sermon, but even during the sermon they can't stop thinking about material things. When the sermon is over the first contact with the world sweeps it all away. The “stony places” represent those who listen superficially. They readily accept the Word, but they have no spiritual stamina; and though they are enthusiastic at first, if they face challenges to their faith, their enthusiasm wanes and they lose interest. The soil full of “thorns” is good ground, and fully capable of productivity, but the weeds of multitudinous interests in material riches and cares of the world leave no time or place for spiritual pursuits and choke out what would be an otherwise fruitful life. The “good soil” symbolizes those fully receptive and responsive to the Word and therefore capable of a fruitful yield. Note-not everyone produces equally, but each according to his or her unique ability-“some an hundred fold, some sixty, some thirty.”
God's righteous Word is just, and straight (B-2). The Word is spoken by “the breath of his mouth.” Breath is another way to translate the word spirit. Spirit is the animating force behind all that exists (B-3).
God called His creation “good” (S-1). The same Spirit that breathed creation into existence speaks to us today and every day uplifting our consciousness (S-2). The spiritual sense required to understand God's Word is the good soil. As the sprouting seed reaches for the light, our spiritual understanding grows in response to the Spirit. We can't manufacture spiritual understanding intellectually. It comes directly from God. The language of Spirit is spiritual (S-3). The material senses can't comprehend the spiritual. Every time we understand a new spiritual idea, we are discerning it through our ever-developing spiritual sense.
[“CedarS purpose is to give each camper an appreciation of spiritual sense and an abundance of wholesome, joyous activity.”]
Hard, compacted soil needs to be overturned and loosened to provide a better place for seeds to grow. Sometimes soil needs to be augmented with nutrients that help plants grow. Some of the nutrients we need to develop our spiritual sense are honesty, unselfishness, love, and meekness (S-4). If the soil of our hearts is well-tilled, fortified with spiritual nutrients, and our lives cleared of the stones and weeds of material mindedness, there will be nothing to hinder our progress as the light of Spirit beckons us to yield a harvest bountiful with fruit.
Section 2: You Can't Keep a Good Sprout Down
Jesus was the prime example of the seed reaching its full potential.  Hints of man's oneness with his Creator can be found throughout the scriptures: The Psalmist looks confidently to God for guidance and finds happiness only in fellowship with God (B-4, B-5).  The prophets too, were keenly aware of the gifts of the Spirit.  In Isaiah we find another allusion to a sprout reaching toward the light. In Isaiah 11:1 (B-6) we read of a rod coming out of a stem.  Dummelow points out that this passage contrasts the Assyrians with the house of David.  The former are like trees cut down but sending no new shoots out.  The house of David is like the oak that even though cut down, remains full of life with new shoots springing up.  This new Branch has the gifts of the spirit.  The prophet mentions three categories of these gifts: First, the intellectual or conceptual; second the practical; third the spiritual.  So we could say the new Branch knows what to do, how to do it, and where the power to do it comes from.  It also illuminates judgment far beyond what any earthly king has ever done. This concept is right in line with the verse from Hebrews (B-7).  This little phrase about the continuity of Christ is part of a discussion of worldly leaders, and though human leaders come and go, Christ is forever the same.
In Christian Science, man is understood to be spiritual and perfect, the image and likeness of God (S-6).  He doesn't sprout from material heritage or parentage.  He is the offspring of Spirit (S-7).  As shown in the healing of the palsy (B-8), Jesus exercised his God-given ability to heal and save based on the understanding of man's real spiritual nature.  He operated on a different level than the scribes.  The scribes just didn't get it.  They were stuck in a material sense of hierarchy and priesthood (S-8). Jesus only saw things from the standpoint of Spirit (S-9).  It was natural for him to do so, for he embodied the spiritual qualities and endowments named by the prophets.  He fulfilled the hope of the Branch bearing much fruit (S-10).

Section 3: Watch Out for Those Challenging Rocks
One of the key nutrients for healthy spiritual soil is righteousness.  Righteousness leads to life (B-9).  Jesus was the highest example the world has ever seen of a perfect seed and perfect soil coming together to full fruitage.  He was the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy (B-11).  However this fulfillment didn't occur in a vacuum.  It was evidenced in complete adherence to the Law of God.  The Interpreter's One-Volume Commentary on the Bible points out that this fulfillment is “far more than that Jesus is acting out a role laid down for him in the words and predictions of the prophets of Israel.  It is rather the declaration that both the purpose of God disclosed through the prophets and the demands of God that his people obey him have found their fulfillment Jesus.”  Additionally, Jesus expected his followers to do better than the scribes and Pharisees in carrying out the demands of the Law.  This can't be done superficially.  As disciples, we need to experience a change from within.  Jesus knew that we would be faced with challenges to our righteousness.  He knew that our budding spiritual growth would not be sustainable in the rocky soil of worldly temptations (B-12).  [Click to read more about CedarS goal of helping youth make their spiritual sense sustainable.]  Paul enumerates the list of temptations that hamper our spirituality.  The Abingdon Bible Commentary categorizes Paul's list into four basic areas: 1.) sexual vices; 2.) vices associated with heathen worship;  3.) sins of faction; 4.) sins of appetite.  Just fighting these temptations merely out of a sense of duty to the Law can be an exhausting endeavor.  But the fruits of the Spirit are the virtues of life springing effortlessly and spontaneously from the Spirit.
Our Leader knew well the rewards of patiently waiting on God-honestly and sincerely following the leadings of Truth (S-11).  When we are with God, the stony challenges of material thinking have no influence on us.  We are governed absolutely by Spirit (S-12).  Keeping our mental “soil” clean of impurities spiritualizes our thinking and lives (S-13).  Consciously holding on to our purest, highest sense of righteousness and living it hourly is proof that the Christ is taking root in our hearts.  Make no mistake – this requires work (S-14).  Mrs. Eddy suggests that we regularly examine our lives and see how we're doing (S-15).  As our spirituality grows stronger and takes deeper root in our consciousness, the audacity of evil becomes apparent and gives place to the blooms of demonstration–thus proving our new understanding (S-16).
Section 4: Thorns of Worldly Cares Inhibit Our Fruitfulness
We can't expect to live fruitful Christian lives, if we are indulging in activities that lead us away from spirituality.  It is only logical that if we accept the premise that God is Spirit, our worship must reflect and include everything in harmony with Spirit (B-14). Jesus is the model for the fruitful Christian life.  He referred to himself as “the vine” (B-16).  We are the branches.  If the branch separates from the vine, it is incapable of bearing fruit.  Worldly thinking – lusts, ambitions, pursuit of luxuries – make us unfruitful and effectively cut us off from the vine.  If we maintain our communion with the vine, we will be consistently nourished by grace.  Dummelow writes, “Nourished by the life of Christ, the believer's soul is cleansed, sanctified, and made fruitful in all good works.”  A key element of maintaining our unity with Christ is our love for one another.  The maxim “we serve what we love” holds true.  If we love God and our Master, Christ Jesus, we will follow all his commandments and lead fruitful lives.
Jesus showed us the way to fruitful living.  His life was governed by the law of Spirit (S-17).  Jesus was fully aware of his unbreakable bond with his Father.  This bond was the power behind everything he did (S-18).  If we would be fruitful, we must follow his teachings (S-19).  Mrs. Eddy urges us to grow in grace by consciously expressing “patience, meekness, love, and good deeds” (S-20).  These fruits can only be realized if our love is genuine.  Acting holy isn't enough.  We have to be holy. The more we love holiness, the less apt we will be to succumb to the pull of worldly thinking.  Citation S-22 is another reminder that the seed needs good soil in order to be fruitful.  Material hopes, pleasures, and pursuits are not conducive to spiritual development.  Maintaining a conscious relation with the holy, good, and pure, assures an ever-flowing supply of spiritual nutrients leading to the unfolding of spiritual fruit untainted by the cares of the world.
Section 5: Break Up the Clods of Resistance to Healing
Jesus was such a fruitful healer because he fully acknowledged that his authority to preach and to heal was the direct result of his anointing by the Holy Spirit as prophesied in Isaiah (B-17).  It animated everything he did and enabled him to challenge every over-worn path of traditionalism.  In the healing of the woman “bowed together” (B-19), Jesus challenged not only her longstanding belief of illness, but also the religious hypocrisy that would keep her bound to suffering. Have you ever felt like you were up against an evil so entrenched that it seemed impossible to break through it?  Jesus cultivated that hard ground in both the thought of the woman bowed – compressed – by years of illness, and in the thought of his detractors – dense with dogmatic ritualism.
Mrs. Eddy gives us the liberating promise that we are tributary to nothing but God, Spirit (S-23).  The Spirit of the Lord liberates us from all evil.  Sometimes faith in matter and material conditions may seem impenetrable, but spiritual understanding breaks up the clods of seemingly unmovable fears (S-25).  As we read our Leader's directions to rise, overthrow, blot out, and contradict the complaints of the body (S-26, S-27) we can easily imagine a gardener using pick, shovel, pitch fork, and hoe to break up the hard ground with gusto preparing the ground for the seed.  Then the gardener adds the necessary nutrients and peat; turning the plot until the hard gray clay is transformed into a rich, deep, soft bed ready to accept and support the new seed.  When faced with hard obstacles, feel free to dig in and turn them over and finish by pouring in a good dose of the Truth.  Then you'll be well on the way to bearing the fruit of healing.

Section 6: As With the Individual, So It is With the Church
The early Christian church came into being by the fruits of healing (B-20).  The disciples didn't get their healing abilities from worldly wisdom.  Nor did they concede or bow down to worldly methods.  They were led by the “spirit which is of God” (B-21).  Neither did they keep their healing abilities to themselves.  They demonstrated the healing power throughout the world, and they were unified in their efforts (B-22).  Abingdon comments on Paul's message to the Colossians, “There were in the first century, as today, many little local esoteric sects, with fancy religions of their own.  If the ‘heretics' had their way, the Colossian church might well become such an eccentric local cult.  But Christianity, as Paul conceived it, is a faith that lives in the open, making a universal appeal, and ready to prove itself in contact with the varying conditions and outlook of men in all parts of the world.”  These are encouraging words for us today.
Jesus built his church on the “supremacy of Spirit” (S-28).  We are under the same orders as the apostles were-to heal the sick and sinning.  The Founder of Christian Science tells us we can unite with this church only “by bringing forth the fruits of Love,-casting out error and healing the sick” (S-29).  To do this, she says we have to be “newborn of Spirit.”  The key to bringing this goal to fruition is the realization that “Life is Spirit, never in nor of matter” (S-30).  Think for a minute about what she is saying. “Life IS Spirit, NEVER IN nor of MATTER.”  Is the soil in your heart ready to accept that?  It's huge.  It flies in the face of everything the senses tell us.  It stands in opposition to every system of medicine, to every sensual pleasure, to every dogmatic ritual.  It is literally the “pick” that strikes the cold, hard ground of materialism and begins to transform it into a fruitful field.  A friend of mine once told me that she had an instructor that made a clear distinction between dirt and soil. Plants don't grow in dirt.  They grow in soil.  Where is the seed falling in your heart?

 [This weekly Metaphysical Newsletter is provided at no charge to the 1,200 campers and staff who were blessed this summer at CEDARS–as well as to thousands of CEDARS alumni, families and friends who request it, or who find it weekly on our website.  But, current and planned gifts are much-needed to cover the costs of running this service and of providing camperships for such inspirational opportunities.  Your support is always tax-deductible and welcomed–but during the economic downturn, your help has been and continues to be especially needed and appreciated!  Two ongoing needs are to raise significant dollars:
1)  to underwrite camperships for the hundreds of campers now applying for aid; and, 2) to support caring for our large herd of horses now being fed on top of 6″ of snow.  “Adopt the Herd” donations will be matched!
To make a tax-deductible donation:
1) Write a check payable to CedarS Camps and mail it to the office: 1314 Parkview Valley, Manchester, MO 63011; or
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[Camp Director's Note: This sharing is the latest in an ongoing, 9-year series of CedarS Bible Lesson “mets” (metaphysical application ideas) contributed weekly by a rotation of CedarS Resident Practitioners and occasionally by other metaphysicians. (To keep the flow of the practitioner's ideas intact and to allow for more selective printing the “Possible Sunday School Topics” come in a subsequent email.) This weekly offering is intended to encourage further study and application of ideas in the lesson and to invigorate Sunday School participation by students and by the budding teachers on our staff. Originally sent JUST to my Sunday School students and 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, application 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. The thoughts presented are the inspiration of the moment and are offered to give a bit more dimension and background as well as new angles on the daily applicability of some of the ideas and passages being studied. The weekly Bible Lessons are copyrighted by the Christian Science Publishing Society and are printed in the Christian Science Quarterly as available at Christian Science Reading Rooms or online at or The citations referenced (i.e. B-1 and S-28) from this week's Bible Lesson in the “met” (metaphysical application ideas) are taken from the Bible (B-1 thru B-24) and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy (S-1 thru S-30). 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 the 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, Camp Director      (636) 394-6162

[P.S.S.T.-Tips for a fruitful SS class, church and life.]
Possible Sunday School Topics by Merrill Boudreaux
for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on “Spirit”  for February 7, 2010
P.S.S.T. Golden Text (GT) — What do you make of this phrasing lifted from Paul's writing to the church at Ephesus? How does fruit arrive on the tree or bush? What propagates or creates it? What is the result of most fruit, what is its purpose? It must be consumed, taken in. When the fruit of the spirit is consumed, imbibed, taken in, accepted, what is the result? Is fruit only consumed by the mouth? Can it be taken in other ways? Think about the fruit of labor of the artist, mechanic, teacher, barber, clothes designer, architect, camp counselor. If fruit is not consumed, what happens to it? What are the uses of the seeds of the fruit?   
P.S.S.T. Responsive Reading (RR) — Jesus uses the parable of the sower to further demonstrate results of seeds sown. Look at the four examples. Relate those to the answers you arrived at in the GT. What is the command at the close of the RR?
P.S.S.T. – Section 1 — What are you doing each day to prepare the soil, your thought, for the seed? What are you doing to stay receptive? Are you ever close-minded? The Spirit sends forth fruit continuously. What is your job? What is the result when you pick and eat the fruit? See S-4
P.S.S.T. – Section 2 — What is going on in the story in B-8? What kind of fruit is in evidence? Trust, faith, confidence, commitment, dedication, assurance, hope. What principle or law was evidenced with this healing? (S-9) If this healing was not a miracle, what was it? (S-10) Once again we have a statement about the good soil. As followers of Jesus and accepters of the Christ, what is expected of us? Can you, will you?
P.S.S.T. – Section 3 — There are some key words in the Bible portion of this section. What do these words mean: righteousness, repent, destroy, fulfill, jot, tittle, watch, pray, manifest. The S&H portion of this section asks a key question in S-15. Also S-13 and S-14 provide statements of how to live so.
P.S.S.T. – Section 4 — How like Jesus' lesson in B-16 is the organization of the Mother Church and its Branches? What fruits do The Mother Church send forth to feed or sustain the Branches, its members, and any receptive heart anywhere on the globe? How do these aid our spiritual development? See S-22. See another command at the end of this Bible section.
P.S.S.T. – Section 5 — Jesus healing of the woman occurs in a synagogue. The original meaning of synagogue is “meeting place”. One might consider it a gathering place — interesting use of the words gathering or gather, as a place to collect or receive, not just congregate. Where do individuals “gather” today, even in cyber space? What is collected or received there? We get to choose where we gather and thus what is received. Choose wisely. What did the woman receive? What did you receive when reading this story?
P.S.S.T. – Section 6 — What fruits are given to each of us in B-22? Grace, peace, thanks, praying, hope, gospel (good news), knowledge of God. How is our church today receiving these fruits as we meet or gather together? Most importantly what are we doing with the fruit so freely given to us? (See definition of Church in S&H 583: 12-19)
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