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Keep “raising the bar” for a Golden Performance in Life
CedarS Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson for the week of April 22 – 29, 2013

Subject:  Probation After Death

Prepared by: RickStewart, C.S. (rickstewartcs@aol.com)

A friend just called and mentioned how much he had enjoyed the Bible Lesson for this week.  (I was thrilled to hear that he had already taken a look at it.  I knew that would insure his spiritual progress. )  And he said. “Even though this particular subject is not one of my favorites, I found it a great help.”

Well, “Probation After Death,” does sound a little frightening.  But just remember that Mrs. Eddy chose several Bible Lesson subjects that were actually intended to refute several dogmatic or doctrinal beliefs regarding God and our relationship to Him.  And this is one of those subjects.  So it might sound frightening, but it is really an inspiring lesson.  As a matter of fact after just a few read-throughs last week, I had a really inspiring idea based on the lesson.  It was in the form of a little imagined story.

Picture with me an aspiring Olympic athlete.  He or she happens to be a high jumper, a good high jumper.  This high jumper progressed continually from being good in Junior High School, a champion in High School, and a high-flying standout in university.  There were lots of tests and many challenging competitions.  But this high jumper kept excelling and qualified for the Olympic team along the way.  Leading the way at each level was the dream of a gold medal performance at the Olympic Games.

Now this high jumper had a personal best in Junior High School.  And it was pretty high.  But you know even though that personal best was pretty high, it would not have been high enough to win Olympic Gold.  A “Golden Performance” in the Olympics requires you to be a barrier breakerYou simply have to match the higher expectations of the high jump officials as they “keep raising the bar” [for you to clear.  You have to drop all merely mortal limits and earth-weights to continually] elevate your performance.  That goal you want to achieve, an Olympic gold medal, requires that you remain willing to always raise the bar.  You have to strive to exceed limits and expect success.  You have to continually “raise the bar” on what you expect of yourself.

This week’s Bible Lesson is a little like that athlete’s desire to excel.  In this Lesson we learn that we have to always “raise the bar.”  Old ways of thinking, old ways of living, old non-productive habits have to be put aside.  We have to “raise the bar” on our personal expectations and desires.  This week’s Bible Lesson helps us to “raise the bar” spiritually and thereby discover the golden moments of a life lived with God’s inspiration.  Our golden moment will be even greater than an Olympic golden moment, it will be our expected achievement of life everlasting and the peace that goes with it.

The Golden Text encourages us along these lines and provides the key idea to the whole Lesson.

Golden Text :
 “to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” 
Romans 8:6, KJV           

English Standard Translation:  “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 

Common English Bible:   “The attitude that comes from selfishness leads to death, but the attitude that comes from the Spirit leads to life and peace”

J. B. Phillip’s: “The carnal man sees no further than carnal things.  The former attitude means, bluntly, death:  *”

And “The Message” interpretation rings with athletic terms:   “Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! “   http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=romans%208:6&version=MSG

This Golden Text keynote will take what might seem a scary Bible Lesson subject, and turn it into a wonderful way to learn more about the kind of thinking that brings eternal life into our everyday.

A beautiful example of this is found in the life of four-time Olympic gold medalist, Missy Franklin.  Missy, who excelled as a swimmer in the London Olympics and will turn 18 in May was asked,   “How has your faith in God specifically helped you deal with the challenges you’ve faced as an Olympic hopeful?”

“God is always there for me. I talk with Him before, during and after practice and competitions.  I pray to Him for guidance.  I thank Him for this talent He has given me and promise to be a positive role model for young athletes in all sports.”
Read more: http://blog.beliefnet.com/inspiringathletes/2012/06/a-conversation-with-u-s-olympian-missy-franklin.html#ixzz2R8EDWaay

Responsive Reading: Matthew 17:1-9
What a [high-bar] introduction to our Lesson – right from the “Mount of Transfiguration”!  You could say that Jesus was giving the three disciples he took with him a glimpse of what is possible with the highest level of spiritual thinking.  The limits seemingly imposed by time, space, the grave, all mortality… simply melted before the Christ-consciousness.  And what a gift the Master gave his friends as they were allowed to glimpse his heavenly communication with Moses and Elias [and a divine demand to hear God’s beloved Son].  Moses had lived 1400 years before Jesus and Elijah (Elias) about 900 years before Jesus.  But these seeming time limits just melted before the spiritual consciousness of our Master.  There was no question of time, material decomposition, declining mental capacities, there was just the manifestation of the eternal nature of Life that is sourced in God and expressed by man.

A wonderful introduction to the main body of our Bible Lesson!

Section 1: Enoch: walking with God in daily life and eternally
In this section we read about Enoch as mentioned in: Genesis 5:21 – 24 (B-3) and Hebrews 11:5 (B-4)  Enoch lived to be 365 years old and according to Scripture then “walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.”  Most Bible scholars interpret that to mean that Enoch was “translated” or rose to spiritual existence without going through a death process.  (As is also demonstrated in Jesus’ ascension.)

Just as Olympic athletes demonstrate a level of achievement that inspires and is above our own at present, so Enoch and Jesus demonstrated what is possible at the highest level of performance.  Does that need to make us think, “Oh, I can never aspire to that”?  Or like a young child being inspired to look to possible Olympic gold, can’t we also aspire to this golden possibility?

As Science and Health puts it in citation S2, 451:
“Man walks in the direction towards which he looks, and where his treasure is, there will his heart be also.  If our hopes and affections are spiritual, they come from above, not from beneath, and they bears as of old the fruits of Spirit.”

We should not limit our experience by limiting our expectations.  “If Enoch’s perception had been confined to the evidence before his material senses, he could never have “alked with God,” nor been guided into the demonstration of life eternal.” (S-3)

Section 2: “Why die?” “Put on immortality.” (B-8)
In Bible citation B-7 the Prophet Ezekiel encourages us to begin to turn from “death” and “life” by turning from evil.  Ezekiel’s words are translated in “The Message” as follows:   ‘As sure as I am the living God, I take no pleasure from the death of the wicked.  I want the wicked to change their ways and live.  Turn your life around! Reverse your evil ways!  Why die, Israel?’

Good question, why die?  The Apostle Paul in citation B-8, I Corinthians 15: 54 states clearly, “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

And from The Message: “But let me tell you something wonderful, a mystery I’ll probably never fully understand.  We’re not all going to die—but we are all going to be changed.  You hear a blast to end all blasts from a trumpet, and in the time that you look up and blink your eyes—it’s over.  On signal from that trumpet from heaven, the dead will be up and out of their graves, beyond the reach of death, never to die again.  At the same moment and in the same way, we’ll all be changed.  In the resurrection scheme of things, this has to happen: everything perishable taken off the shelves and replaced by the imperishable, this mortal replaced by the immortal.  Then the saying will come true:
Death swallowed by triumphant Life!
Who got the last word, oh, Death?
Oh, Death, who’s afraid of you now?"

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=I%20Corinthians%2015&version=MSG

The accompanying citations from Science and Health reinforce these conclusions.  But I find great comfort in Mrs. Eddy’s words in citation S-9: ”Emerge gently from matter into Spirit. Think not to thwart the spiritual ultimate of all things, but come naturally into Spirit through better health and morals and as the result of spiritual growth.  Not death, but the understanding of Life, makes man immortal.” (485:14-19)

The great victory over death begins with improving our thinking.  This is the starting point.  And any coach will tell you a “good start” is really important in any race.

Section 3:  David and Saul: “learn the lessons of Christian Science” (S-13)
Citation B-10 (I Samuel 18) outlines a portion of the relationship between David and Saul – a relationship that at times was a great support and comfort to Saul.   But also a relationship that due to the worst of human passions, ended up with Saul trying to kill David.  How much better it would have been for Saul to get a grip on himself, [drop his earth weights] and continue to treasure his relationship with David.  A good example of how important it is to handle jealousy, envy, fear, hatred, revenge and deceit.

In citation S-11 Mrs. Eddy explains the nature of “mortal mind.”  She uncovers the mental elements of mortal mind that lead to depravity.  And the additional citations in this section equip the prospective “gold medalist” with instructions how to defeat these mortal passions. 

Many top athletes in today’s sporting world regularly employ a sport psychologist.  This is with the goal of getting better control of their emotions and remaining positive in their attitude.  And there is nothing quite as effective in that harmonious control as the “psychology of Spirit.”  Along with the Science and Health citations in the lesson, there are other areas where Mrs. Eddy refers to “psychology”.   
In Science and Health she states: “The prophylactic and therapeutic (that is, the preventive and curative) arts belong emphatically to Christian Science, as would be readily seen, if psychology, or the Science of Spirit, God, was understood.” (p. 369)
And in Miscellaneous Writings, she says: “ Hence the deep demand for the Science of psychology to meet sin, and uncover it; thus to annihilate hallucination.” (p. 3)

A tiny illustration I had in my sporting years.  I was captain of the high school swim team and had certain events that were “mine.”  I felt they were my best events and that my position kind of guaranteed that I could choose what I wanted to swim.  Then came a swim meet when my coach asked me to take another event.  It meant I had to swim in two events back to back with little rest.  And it also meant that I gave up one of my accustomed events to a junior swimmer.  I was not particularly happy.  I felt my turf, my seniority, was being challenged.  I had some mortal passions to deal with.  My approach was always to try and use Christian Science in my swimming.  So I prayed about the request and also mostly handled my own reaction to this situation.  I was able to find my mental peace.  And something very interesting happened.  The event I was asked to swim became my favorite and most successful event for the next several years.  I qualified for state competition in the event and really loved to swim it.  If my personal desires had governed I would never have experienced the joy this event brought me.  No Olympic gold, but there is a little “rest of the story” for later.

Be willing to handle your emotions, your passions with the “psychology of Spirit,” and you will never regret it.

Section 4:   Don’t conform to limitations!  Gravitate God-ward!
Think over [the nonconformity nuances] in these translations of citation Romans 12:2 (B-12):
New Living Translation – “but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
J. B. Phillips – “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-make you so that your whole attitude of mind is changed.  Thus you will prove in practice that the will of God is good, acceptable to him and perfect.”   
New International Version– “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Amplified BibleDo not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].

Oh, this section is just full of wonderful, supportive, edifying qualities of thought.  And this section makes it clear how we can begin to include these thoughts in our daily life.  We do not have to wait for eternity.  We can include them here and hereafter.  A phrase I hear a lot of these days as Alma and I read lots of princess stories is, “fur immer and ewig.”  It is the German version of “and they lived happily ever after,” or actually “forever and ever.”  The joy of a happy ending begins right here and continues forever.

How important are these good qualities of thought.  Can’t we trick God and even though we are holding evil motives expect things to work out for us?  Well it is not about God not answering because we are not being honest with ourselves.  It is simply that the quality of our thought determines our openness to the good that comes from God.  Maybe a little like ordering a pizza from home and then slamming the door in the delivery boy’s face.  If you want the yummy pizza, open the door for the delivery.

This preparation of thought for receiving good is the process going on in citation S-16, Science and Health page 115.
Second Degree: Evil beliefs disappearing.
MORAL.  Humanity, honesty, affection, compassion, hope, faith, meekness, temperance.”

It is an active event as in citation S-17: “It is the spiritualization of thought and Christianization of daily life, in contrast with the results of the ghastly farce of material existence; it is chastity and purity, in contrast with the downward tendencies and earthward gravitation of sensualism and impurity, which really attest the divine origin and operation of Christian Science.” (p. 272)

Section 5:  “Understanding is a wellspring of life…”
It always helps to have an understanding of a situation.  Misunderstanding or misreading a situation often leads to an incorrect response.  For example:  Back in the 1980s I lived for several years in a log cabin far from my nearest human neighbor.  But I did have a neighbor in the beautiful little pond right by my cabin, a five foot alligator.  I enjoyed seeing him during the day, but it did occur to me that he was almost big enough to pose a threat to my dog, a Gordon Setter named Black Jack.  One evening as I was eating dinner on my front porch I was alerted by Black Jack’s frantic barking.  I looked toward the pond and there was Black Jack out in the middle of the pond and struggling to keep his head above water.  I immediately raced out my front door and ran into the pond.  My plan was to get to Black Jack and at least hold him up to keep his head above water.  The alligator evidently was trying to pull him under.  I prayed, I ran, I swam, and I yelled at the top of my voice, “No, no, no.”  As I reached the middle of the pond and stood in neck deep water I suddenly began to “understand” what was really going on.  There was no alligator eating my dog.  Black Jack, a breed of bird dog, was doing his best to catch the “Purple Martins,” a kind of swallow that were flying low and skimming the surface of the pond.  There were no alligator jaws, only a dog swimming with his paws coming out of the water trying to catch a bird.  I immediately went from fear and panic to dumbfounded anger as I stood there in all my clothes in the middle of the pond.

In the 5th chapter of Mark (B-16) is recounted another example of misreading a situation that was even more terrifying.  A father felt he was losing his beloved 12 year old daughter; she was “at the point of death.”  He came to Jesus and asked for help.  Then “there came from the ruler of the synagogues house certain which said, “Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further?” (Mark 5:35)

Jesus replied with a complete “understanding” of the situation.  He told Jairus, the father, “Be not afraid, only believe.”  There were two important actions that Jesus took.  He did not allow a curious, stirred up mob to follow him.  Only three disciples, Peter, James, and John came with them [the same 3 who later witnessed his transfiguration as told of in the Responsive Reading].  And when he got to the scene Jesus declared, “The damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.”  When those standing by laughed him to scorn he put them out.  He only allowed the parents and his disciples to come in with him.

This understanding or correct estimation of the foundation of Life is what we find in an understanding of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  In  citation B-17 (I John 5:20) we read, “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, the we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ.  This is the true God and eternal life.”

The citations from Science and Health in this section prepare our thought to understand what is really going on.  Then through this understanding we are protected from making a mistake based on a misreading of a situation. 

Science and Health citation S-23 [firmly grounds us in an expectation to perceive immortality]: ”The admission to one’s self that man is God’s own likeness sets man free to master the infinite idea. This conviction shuts the door on death, and opens it wide towards immortality.  The understanding and recognition of Spirit must finally come, and we may as well improve our time in solving the mysteries of being through an apprehension of divine Principle.” (p. 90)

Don’t we want to “improve our time” like a training Olympian to develop the understanding of Life?  Then maybe like Peter, James, and John we will get the invitation from the Christ to join in with the demonstrations of Life eternal.

Section 6:  “We are walking in the light of God…” (Hymn 460)
You will love this wonderful concluding section of our Bible Lesson this week.  And you will see that there is nothing to fear in “Probation After Death,” only Life brought to light.  That is where we are walking.  We are walking in the light of Life now and always.

As our Master assures us in citation B-18 (John 12:35, 46):  “Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you:  I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.”

In citation B-19 (John 14:1, 2) [Jesus offers additional training encouragements and promises]:  “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.  In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.”

[Citation B-20 in the first chapter of Acts describes Jesus sharing his final “golden moment” with his disciples in his Ascension 40 days after his Easter Resurrection and 10 days before the Pentecostal coming of the Holy Ghost on the anniversary of God’s deliverance of the 10 Commandments to the Hebrews 50 days after their Exodus from Egypt.  See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentecost  and Acts 2 for the rest of the story that we can commemorate with the rest of our Christian family on May 19, 50 days after Easter 2013.]

[Mrs. Eddy describes the Ascension and its relation to our “Probation After Death” Lesson topic] in citation S-26: “Jesus’ unchanged physical condition after what seemed to be death was followed by his exaltation above all material conditions; and this exaltation explained his ascension, and revealed unmistakably a probationary and progressive state beyond the grave.
In his final demonstration, called the ascension, which closed the earthly record of Jesus, he rose above the physical knowledge of his disciples, and the material senses saw him no more.
His students then received the Holy Ghost.” (p. 46)

Mrs. Eddy shares her prayer for us and all Christians today in citation S-27: “May the Christians of to-day take up the more practical import of that career!  It is possible, — yea, it is the duty and privilege of every child, man, and woman, — to follow in some degree the example of the Master by the demonstration of Truth and Life, of health and holiness.” (p. 37)

Wouldn’t you like to add your voice to Christian Scientists around the world in rejoicing in the divine facts of Life?  Our Leader writes in Science and Health, “Let neither fear nor doubt overshadow your clear sense and calm trust, that the recognition of life harmonious – as Life eternally is — can destroy any painful sense of that which Life is not.  Let Christian Science, instead of corporeal sense, support your understanding of being, and this understanding will supplant error with Truth, replace mortality with immortality, and silence discord with harmony.” (p. 495)

Christian Scientists on three continents join voices on this traditional Zulu song which is Hymn 460 in the Christian Science Hymnal Supplement.  To hear and see this recording that was produced, recorded, and orchestrated by Peter Link, just follow this link

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnRpMYaUZZw

If you happen to be among CedarS beloved friends and subscribers who do not have a computer you can perhaps visit your local Christian Science Reading Room to see and hear it – or just give me a call.  I will call you right back and play this remarkable hymn over the phone for you for you to hear.  We can all add our voices to the Golden Symphony of Life eternal!


[The application ideas above are from a Christian Science Practitioner who has served as a Resident Practitioner at CedarS Camps. They are provided primarily to help CedarS campers and staff (as well as friends) see and daily demonstrate the great value of study and application of the Christian Science Bible lessons throughout the year, not just at camp!  YOU CAN ALSO SIGN UP for weekly emails from past CedarS staff of possible ways to share Bible Lesson applications with older, as well as younger, Sunday School classes by clicking the "Subscribe Now" button (lower left) at http://www.cedarscamps.org/metaphysical/

Warren Huff, CedarS Director & editor of these notes & writer of its bracketed, italic additions.]

[Check out CedarS Camps in the beautiful Missouri Ozarks with Unique Features that transform lives by “raising the bar” and dropping the earth weights through:

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[Additional Director's Note: You can sign up to have these application ideas emailed to you free — by Monday each week in English; or by each Wednesday you can get a FREE TRANSLATION: in German, thanks to Helga and Manfred; or in Spanish, thanks to a team of Ana, Erick, Claudia and Patricio.  A voluntary French translation by Pascal or Denise cannot be guaranteed due to their busy schedules. An "official" version of the weekly Portuguese translation is now available for CedarS Mets, thanks to helpers of Orlando Trentini in Brazil.  Go to http://www.cedarscamps.org/ and click "Newsletters" to sign-up for the Portuguese version.  This sharing is the latest in an ongoing, 13-year series of CedarS Bible Lesson "Mets" (Metaphysical application ideas) contributed weekly by a rotation of CedarS Resident Practitioners and occasionally by other metaphysicians.  (Ask and look for "Possible Sunday School Topics "and "Possible Younger Class Lessons" in subsequent emails.) These weekly offerings are 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 "and Sunday School ideas 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 (and angels) 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 eBibleLesson.com or myBibleLesson.com. 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.]

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