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Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on:

“God the Preserver of Man”
for June 11—17, 2018

By Craig L. Ghislin, C.S., Glen Ellyn, Illinois (Bartlett) / (630-830-8683

Most of the people who subscribe to the CedarS Lesson Application Ideas, or “Mets,” as we call them, do so through their computers. Anyone who has a device connected to the Internet often receives notices of security updates for their computer, tablet, or other handheld device. These are meant to protect us from the myriad efforts by unscrupulous criminals intending to electronically rob, cheat, deceive us, or to corrupt our computers, and disrupt our lives. Recently there has been a spate of notices regarding changes in “terms of use” designed to provide another layer of protection. Finding true security for our computers and other devices is a never-ending battle in which the good guys are constantly trying to adapt to, and stay ahead of the bad guys. However valiant the effort, we will never have complete electronic security.

In fact, there is a great need for security in every area of our lives—health, home, environment, food supply, economics, and so on. Fortunately, there is a Source of security that is unfailing, unchanging, and always, “ahead of the game.” Of course, I’m talking about our Father-Mother God. Each section of the Lesson this week, addresses an aspect of security. Hopefully as you study, you’ll find a deeper sense of calm, trust, and an assurance that God is able to preserve you in every situation.

The Golden Text is the first verse of a well-known priestly blessing. The second and third verses of the blessing continue into the Responsive Reading. Theologian Adam Clarke (circa 1760-1832) finds three forms of blessing in these verses. The first is a prayer that God would preserve us in the possession of all the good we have, and protect us from all the evil that may threaten us. The second is a promise that our hearts will be illumined with self-knowledge, and the knowledge of God, and that grace will free us from sin, and support our true nature. The third is the hope for constant communion with God, living lives worthy of His approval, and finding prosperity in all our affairs.

An alternate word for “keep” is “preserve.” To me this conjures a picture of making jelly or preserving fruits or vegetables. The jars and lids need to be clean, and sterilized. Once the jars are filled, they need to be sealed tightly to keep the good things in, and the contaminants out. Making preserves by hand takes a lot of care and attention, and I would venture to say, a fair amount of love. Evidence of God’s love for us is recounted in the verses from Psalms, reminding the children of Israel of their deliverance from bondage, and God’s care in the wilderness.

Section 1: Father-Mother God

The Scriptures are filled with practical examples, metaphors, and analogies of God’s love, protection, and power. Describing divinity to human sense can be difficult. But one example we can all relate to is the love of a parent for a child. I realize that humanly speaking, not all parent/child relationships are what they’re supposed to be, but we all have an idea of what it should be. And when it’s working, it’s the strongest bond there is. When a mom and dad look on a newborn you can just see the love pouring out of them onto that little one. This is just a tiny glimpse of how our Father-Mother God beholds us. A loving parent will do anything to protect, guide, and help his or her child.

The Bible tells us that God is the Father of all (B1). The Fatherhood of God is expressed in protection, provision, wisdom, and guidance. God alone created, maintains, and preserves all (B2). God is also our Mother (B3). The Motherhood of God is found in tenderness, attentiveness, comfort, and love. The psalmist uses many images to convey the deep love, and care God has for His/Her children (B4). The phrase, “The apple of the eye” has an interesting origin: “The eyeball, or globe of the eye, with pupil in center, called "apple" from its round shape. Its great value and careful protection by the eyelids automatically closing when there is the least possibility of danger made it the emblem of that which was most precious and jealously protected” (

God’s lovingkindness, His power and willingness to save, the image of hiding under the shadow of His wing, and being the apple of His eye—all of these, and others, just begin to describe the tender relationship of God to His/Her offspring. The psalmist says, God knows us completely, and we have the hand of God “behind and before” us (B5). That reminds me of a parent holding a baby as they take their first steps, or staying close by as a child is riding a bike on two wheels for the first time—running right along side ready to catch you if you fall.

The Section 1 citations from our textbook, Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy, contain several powerful “one-liners.” We might say the first one serves as a calibration check as to where we find our true security: “To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, to-day is big with blessings” (S1). That’s quite a promise! And who better to lean on than our tender “Father-Mother”? (S2). The Father-Mother maintains all identities “from a blade of grass to a star” (S3). God and man as His likeness are inseparable, co-existent—not the same, but forever at one (S4). The true spiritual ideal is the perfect man, sinless, healthy, and deathless (S5). And finally, “The relations of God and man…are indestructible”—never leaving harmony, nor returning to it. That’s a key point. No matter what condition we seem to be in, there is never a lapse from harmony.

Section 2: Safe Passage on Firm Ground

The prophets and psalmist regularly remind us of the unchanging, and everlasting nature of God’s love for us (B7). According to Clarke, the image of the “beloved of the Lord” dwelling “between His shoulders” (B8) is a reference to Jerusalem being situated between Mount Moriah and Mount Zion. But to me, it brings to mind the image of a loving parent carrying a little child. The parent is always holding on so the child doesn’t fall, and the child holding on tight is delighted with a higher viewpoint of the world. The passage that mentions preserving “thy going out and coming in” (B9) is another common blessing given to those travelling to and from the temple.

Bible citations B10 and B11 tell the story of Joshua crossing the Jordan River on dry ground. This was the last stage in a forty-year trip through the wilderness. The account tells us that Joshua has assumed the leadership roll previously held by Moses. Again we turn to Adam Clarke for some background on the story. He writes, the word “servant” used for Moses and Joshua had a particular meaning. It designated the person through whom God issued his orders and purpose. “No person ever bore this title in the like sense but the Redeemer of mankind, of whom Moses and Joshua were types” (Clarke). This title was not without its responsibilities. Joshua is bidden to be courageous. As Clarke puts it, he is to “play the man to the uttermost.” To do that, he needed to rely wholly on the “book of the law.” He had to stick to the law, and never turn from it in any direction. Doing so ensures prosperity and safety. We would do well to remember this ourselves. We often get so busy with the everyday tasks of life that we forget to consult our “book of the law.” Then we wonder why we’ve run into difficulties. Even if we take the occasional glimpse at our “book,” we sometimes miss the connection to our daily lives, and fail to implement our theory in practical action.

Before finally crossing back over the Jordan, the children of Israel needed to first, “sanctify” themselves. They needed to cleanse themselves of the dust of their journey and start with a fresh, clean outlook, figuratively and literally. The priests carried the ark, and when they stepped into the water it receded, and they stood on dry ground. As they went forward they stood there until the whole company of people passed over safely on dry ground. Clarke tells us that some scholars of his day downplayed the significance of this event by saying the Jordan at that location is not a very formidable obstacle. But Clarke says, at the time of year described in the biblical record, the Jordan regularly overflowed its banks, and therefore it was unmistakably the power of God that drew back the waters.

Sometimes when we have demonstrations of God’s power, those who doubt us, try to pass it off as something not too significant, or that the body would have healed itself anyway. We can’t let their lack of faith bother us. We know that when we’re governed by God, all things are possible (S7). Citation S9 refers to Christian Science as “the “true Logos.” You may recall that the definition of the Greek word Logos, means the thought, and the thought expressed or manifested. This idea is figuratively illustrated by passing over the Jordan on dry ground. Symbolically, water represents thought—fluid and moving. The dry ground represents the solid fact—terra firma—concrete, practical demonstration. What seems to be a miracle is actually an instance of the theory of the Law of God being proven as fact.

Divine Love moves us forward in our endeavors—inspiring, illumining, designating, and leading the way (S10). Just as Joshua needed to accept the mantle of manhood, and lead the people based on the law, we need to accept responsibility, sacrifice whatever is holding us back, and turn our theory into practice, walking “securely in the only practical road to holiness” (S11). We do this step-by-step, not all at once (S12). But, remember we have to take the step in order to progress. When the priests actually stepped into the water, the water drew back allowing the whole company to cross. As we “carry the ark”—take the law of God with us—our forward progress will make it possible to bless others, and help everyone turn theory into practice.

Section 3: The Security That All Needs Are Met

One of the things I love about the psalms is that they are so down to earth. The psalmist isn’t “perfect.” He struggles, and sometimes doubts, but his trust always sees him through (B13, B14). Of all the insecurities we face, where our next meal will come from may not be a huge issue for many, but worldwide, it is often a real concern. Remember, hunger and thirst aren’t luxuries, they’re necessities.

Jesus didn’t confine his ministry to teaching and healing. He also met practical needs. A case in point is the feeding of the multitude (B15). As we’ve said in previous “Mets,” there are those who try to rationalize this event by supposing that Jesus’ example of sharing his own food prompted the rest of the crowd to do the same. This view diminishes the possibility that the fishes and loaves were in fact, multiplied. Such a doubt shouldn’t concern us. There are always going to be those who dispute God’s power. When we see this account from a spiritually scientific basis, we can see how indeed this so-called miracle, was an example of the Logos—the theory made practical. Understanding this, we can place our hope securely in the Father-Mother’s hands with confident assurance that our needs are always being met irrespective of circumstances.

As the children of Israel all received the benefit of Joshua’s guidance and trust, each person of the multitude received the benefit of Jesus’ understanding of the Father-Mother’s provision. “Whatever blesses one blesses all” (S13). While food and drink are legitimate needs, they are but one example of how all needs are met. Jesus counsels us: “Take no thought” for our needs, but to trust the Father-Mother to supply us (S14). In virtually every Christian Science church we read on the wall, “Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need” (S15). The Science of being practiced by Christ Jesus is still viable, working for each one of us at all times. While God knows nothing of lack or need from a scientific viewpoint, the Love of God still provides us with, what is manifested to our consciousness, as daily supplies (S16). The point here is to never limit God. One way, or another, there is always an avenue for our needs to be met. “The rich in spirit help the poor in one grand brotherhood” (S17).

Section 4: Preserving Memory

The purpose of security is to protect from malicious intent. We have security for our computers, and phones, and tablets, as well as our property. In essence, we take security measures regarding our health too. We generally want to keep free of toxins, and only ingest things that are healthy. We should do the same regarding all the suggestions of evil that make their way to the door of our consciousness. As careful as we are about taking measures that our computer’s hard drives don’t become corrupted, we should be even more vigilant about protecting our consciousness. One of the most toxic, and prevalent suggestions of our time is the belief that man can lose his memory, and indeed, his consciousness altogether. The Scriptures provide security against that too. The prophet represents God as giving us thoughts of peace, and an “expected end” (B17). The psalmist prays specifically to be clear-minded even into old age (B18). He doesn’t expect decay of body or mind, but rather, increased power and greatness. This security, or peace of mind, comes from God, and surpasses all human understanding (B19).

Our textbook promises that divine Mind maintains us as His image and likeness (S18). God’s likeness cannot be lost, and neither can our consciousness. We tend to think that the power of thinking is ours, and that we are the ones doing the thinking. But in Science, God is the only Mind. Man is coexistent with Mind, and is therefore, spiritual. “The spiritual man’s consciousness and individuality are reflections of God” (S19). That means God is expressing us: we are not expressing ourselves. Consciousness neither originates, nor resides within the brain. Our true consciousness can never be cut off from the Christ (S20). The Christ is always speaking to us, and Mrs. Eddy explains, “When we fully understand our relation to the Divine, we can have no other Mind but His…” (S21).

Our Leader tells us point blank, to contradict the argument, “I have lost my memory” (S22). We have to utilize our security system, and allow only the perfect model into our thoughts. We have to put up the “firewall,” so to speak, in order to keep out the “demoralized opposite” of our real being. Rather than diminishing in clarity, our mental faculties improve, and get stronger with each year. We need to, “shape our views of existence into loveliness, freshness, and continuity, rather than into age and blight” (S23). This elevated viewpoint calms us, bringing a peace and security beyond anything we could ever ask for (S24).

Section 5: Real Life Insurance

I don’t know how it is in other parts of the world, but in the United States, a lot of “infomercials” focus on alarming people into worrying whether they’ll have enough savings to last through retirement, and whether or not they have enough investments to leave loved ones a comfortable living when they’re no longer around to care for them. To a degree, these are legitimate concerns, but the method of selling these financial products often plays on people’s fears.

There are really two issues. First, people want to live as long as possible, and second, they want to make sure their family will be supplied after they’re gone. The Bible handles both of these concerns with one stroke. Regarding the first concern, it recognizes the power of God to save us from the grave entirely. The psalmist shares many prayers of when he was in dire straights, and how he was delivered from the grave (B20). The second concern is addressed with the assurance that God continues to take care of everyone even if they seem to be left alone without anyone to help them (B21). The apostle John goes one step further, making both concerns moot. He teaches that knowing God and His Son is the way to eternal life, thereby eliminating death altogether (B23). He bases his teaching on his personal experience of accompanying Jesus throughout his ministry, and personally witnessing proofs of Jesus’ power over death.

One of these occasions was when Jesus came upon a funeral procession were a widow’s only son was being carried to his burial (B24). In those days the widow would have been facing a serious situation with no male relatives to care for her. Jesus didn’t get drawn in to the sadness, and console her. Instead, he rose above the human picture, stopped the procession, revived the son, and returned him to his mother.

Our Leader writes, “Jesus demonstrated the inability of corporeality, as well as the infinite ability of Spirit, thus helping human sense to flee from its own convictions and seek safety in divine Science” (S25). That type of safety brings real security that material means can’t deliver. Even though the media continually uses fear tactics to induce us into purchasing products promising security, nothing but the spiritual sense of being relieves our fears by actually removing the lie that’s causing them.

I can’t help but think of Mrs. Eddy’s reply to a question about life insurance. When a delegation of judges came to question Mrs. Eddy during the “Next Friends Suit,” they asked her opinion on life insurance as a wise investment. She replied, “God insures my life.” To be sure she understood the question, they slightly rephrased the question. She said she understood that some people may need insurance, but she didn’t. The interchange went on:

[Mrs. Eddy]: “Shall I tell you my ideas?”

Question: “Yes.”

Answer: “Trust in God. God is life. God is infinite. Therefore, if we are the image and the likeness of Infinity, we have no beginning and no end, and are His image and likeness, that is my life insurance.”

(Boston Post, Thursday, August 15, 1907)

I love that idea. It brings us peace, and puts our life, and the security of our loved ones in God’s capable hands. We need not fear death, because Christ, Truth overcomes it (S26). The whole death process is an erroneous belief. Life isn’t even in matter to begin with. Life is God, and you and I are Life’s expression. When we have the true idea of Life, we gain true security enabling us to drop the belief of death (S27).

Section 6: Our Keeper Is the Lord

As is often the case, this Lesson closes in a similar way that it opened: “The Lord is thy keeper… [He] shall preserve thee from all evil” (B25). Then we circle back to another image of tender love—God as a Shepherd seeking out His sheep, feeding and caring for them (B26). The tender, loving Shepherd is our Father-Mother God showering us with all that is good and beautiful.

Our textbook reminds us that Soul has infinite resources to bless us (S28). There’s really no reason to look elsewhere for happiness. We have one more reminder that, “Man is indestructible and eternal” (S29), and that brings us to the closing citation: “Security for the claims of harmonious and eternal being is found only in divine Science” (S30). That’s a clear, concise, and strong statement that says it all. That’s a security update we don’t want to miss!

"The Widow of Nain" (on citation B24) is an inspiring offering with illustrations and a map.

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