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[Continue Easter gladness every day by looking away from the tomb!]
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

for Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018 [No foolin’!]

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

[To download "What Did Jesus Do", a poem by Ken Cooper for this Easter Sunday Bible Lesson, go to CedarS online Met and click on the Download file in upper right.]

How wonderful to have Easter this year fall during the Bible lesson week with the subject of "Reality". Imagine if you lived in Jesus' day. You knew who Jesus was, had heard of his works, but saw him being crucified alongside two criminals (the Bible calls them "malefactors"). What might you think of this? Wouldn't it look like the end of any amazing things that this man had done? Wouldn't it look like failure?

The choice of crucifixion was considered an especially humiliating, not to mention agonizing, way to punish people in those days. They grouped this greatest of all men, with criminals. It sure looked to all material sense testimony like Jesus had died, and it looked as if that was the end of any good his presence might have brought to mankind. His disciples certainly thought so—his closest followers who heard his most profound words, and parables and saw his healing works. After the crucifixion they went back to their old jobs, they must have thought that the whole experience with Jesus was just a profoundly sad and disappointing period since he couldn't possibly be the promised Messiah they'd thought he was.

On the surface, many things that we experience in human existence can feel deeply troubling. Maybe they don't reach the level of crucifixion, but they can often be painful, agonizing, challenging. Some illnesses can lead to what we might be tempted to deem "failure". Maybe we struggle with some variety of deep lack, or of the results of some apparent accident. But, fortunately for us, Jesus' story doesn't end with the crucifixion!

The reality of spiritual and infinite Life, reflected in Jesus' resurrection and ultimate ascension, is the true story. This is the story that causes Jesus' life to be celebrated thousands of years later. We can look at this story of triumph, and take its message to our own troubling experiences. We can learn to turn our face to the light of Christ that is ever present for each of us, shining its message of healing on all mankind. Seeing this light of the true reality of God's everlasting love and grace, we can "Arise, shine…" as our Golden Text this week commands us to do. We can glimpse the glory of God's goodness and care, even in the midst of the trials that matter seems to set before us.

The Golden Text for the subject "Reality" tells us that spiritual light reveals reality. Christ Jesus best embodied the ability to reflect this spiritual light in his works of healing. But the Christ that he expressed is available throughout time and gives each of us the ability and power to demonstrate that this reality, spiritual harmony, eternal Life, Love, is present today and can be experienced. This is the "…glory of the Lord [that] rises upon you."!

As reflectors of God's light we can elevate our consciousness of God and His goodness so that we perceive this glorious spiritual reality as present and tangible. Like mountain peaks that are touched by the rising sun so much sooner than the valleys, we can lift our thought towards those warm rays of reality that are ever shining on all of God's creation. When we "arise", we are taller, we are actively reaching up from the valley of material, depressing, or dark thinking. In our new "height" our thought can perceive those warming rays and discern God's goodness and the presence of His Christ.

This process of elevating thought is an active one. It requires us to act according to what Jesus taught. This idea is embraced in the citations from the Responsive Reading. Jesus' chief message was one of love. To experience spiritual reality, we must live our lives caring for one another, and hence caring for the Master himself. In this way we are "…passed from death to life, because we love each other." Why would that be? Well, because it is in love for God and man demonstrated that we best express the eternal qualities of Life and Love. Therefore we are living now eternally, in the kingdom of heaven/God. We are experiencing the message of Easter—ascending spiritual consciousness.

Section 1: Reality contradicts matter.

The Bible selections for this section are powerful poetic statements of the fact that many times human experience does not appear to line up with Biblical statements of God's power and love.

Christians of all stripes struggle with the contradictions posed by the suffering of good people. Christian Science has the best explanation that I know for why things appear to be the way they are. Spiritual reality simply is not coordinate with the lie of material existence. Yet, I've found that many of us look at the material situation we are in ( or another is in), and are tempted, like the friends of Job in the Bible, to think that we (or someone else), must have done something wrong to deserve the challenge that we are experiencing.

Yet we have abundant examples in the Bible of people who were deeply good, innocent, pure, and were certainly not spared the sometimes brutal experiences of material existence. This week, we have the greatest man that ever lived being crucified. But even in the last few weeks of Bible lessons we have had the examples of both Daniel, a deeply devout and good man, being thrown into the lion's den, and we have the three Hebrew men being sent to the fiery furnace. Neither was spared the experience, and yet, none were eaten or burned!

So the point is not to be kept from ever having trouble, but rather to emerge from such trouble with a deeper sense of God's love for us—a better sense of the presence of the Christ throughout. In fact, what we really are after is a recognition that matter and its ugliness cannot triumph over spiritual reality, even here and now. Christian Science is the science of consciousness that, as Mrs. Eddy says (S1) contradicts sense. It makes the desolate experience of pain, loneliness, sadness, "…bud and blossom as the rose."

Some years ago, when my husband Doug was working one day felling trees (he's a logger), he lodged one in the branches of another and left it to fall in its own sweet time. This "time" came later in the day when he was standing under it and cutting down another tree nearby. (By the way, he now has a careful process set up to prevent this mistake!) When I got a phone call from him that consisted of loud moans, I was tempted to be alarmed. The only words he used were "my babies, by babies." (Later he explained that in the moment of the accident, all he could think about was his love for his children and his role as their daddy!)

Well, I knew that none of our children were with him, and I knew where he was logging, only a few minutes from our house. I jumped in the car and, while driving, contacted a Christian Science practitioner, and the EMT's . He was working on a very sharp grade, I knew I wasn't going to be able to get him out of there by myself! But more important than these calls, I checked my thought. The suggestion "could this be the end?" was tempting to take in. But I had years of thinking and praying about spiritual reality. I was ready to admit that this might be one of those times where we seem to be in a furnace, of sorts, but we were going to walk right through it. (continued (con't) later*)

Section 2: Be like Simeon, let the light of Christ uphold your conviction of reality.

It is better to let our faith rest on conviction that rises from demonstration. The light that was mentioned in the Golden Text is the brilliance of the Christ in our consciousness that blots out those dark valleys, deep waters, and fire from Section 1. To see this Christ we have to turn away from the material sense of things.

Simeon knew that he would behold the Messiah. For whatever reason, this was Love's message to him and he accepted it as fact. We can all accept that we too, can receive the Christ presence in daily life. We can receive the inspiration, love, joy, healing power that the Christ brings to bear for all mankind eternally. When the Bible talks about the hazards of relying on our ability to "discern the face of the sky"—this is quoted by Mrs. Eddy in citation S7—we can interpret this more broadly to mean relying on material sense to tell us what is true. (Astrologers and magicians relied on "signs" from the heavens to interpret events.)

Spiritual reality is illuminated not by the sun or moon or stars, weather reports, or even predictions of epidemics of all sorts, but by the Christ truth. If we are waiting, like Simeon, with conviction based on daily demonstration of Truth, we will see this spiritual light dawning in our own consciousness. Its dawning will eradicate the dark—false—convictions of material sense.

*Okay, I'm no Simeon, but I did feel the firm conviction, even before hanging up the phone with Doug, that Love was steering me toward peace, certainty. Love's message was "I am with you, don't look at the material situation, don't take it in, Life is and always has been, eternal"… in essence "my rod and staff are comforting you!" (con't*)

Section 3: Unreality (darkness) does not exist within reality (light).

Jesus showed us the practical nature of God's love for us. His consciousness of spiritual reality revealed man as whole wherever he went. Mrs. Eddy speaks of the mission of Jesus to show that Truth is known by its effect on the body and mind in citation S11 where she speaks about Jesus as "…that life-link forming the connection through which the real reaches the unreal, Soul rebukes sense, and Truth destroys error." This is what Christian Science is doing today.

Wherever the light of Christ goes, darkness disappears (B6). This message was never clearer than in the resurrection after Jesus was crucified. Easter came with the dawn and with the "first day of the week". Couldn't we draw a parallel with God's creation that began with light in Genesis 1? Light is the symbol of spiritual reality, unmixed with evil or darkness.

*I was first on the scene with Doug, using my hands as well as feet to get up the ridge. He was conscious, and clear. When the emergency help arrived, they were asking lots of self-apparent questions about what hurt, and he was able to crack some pretty funny jokes about that. The point for us both was to recognize the presence, right there and then, of the kingdom of heaven—the order, peace, harmony, of God's government, in which there is no chaos, pain, fear. Certainly the loving help reflected that. The concern of the EMT's was apparent, and they were making an effort to analyze the situation behind my back, so as not to alarm me. There was no need. I had made my choice. They airlifted Doug from the bottom of the ridge by helicopter to the hospital. (con't*)

Section 4: Easter is the darkness losing "the appearance of reality" (S19).

Maybe that heading should be a little sunnier, but I think it does encompass a big part of the message of Easter. The time in the Garden of Gethsemane certainly was a dark one. It would be hard to see it any other way. But for all of us, the lesson of being pushed to our absolute limit in order to willingly give up on the idea of any goodness in matter is one that we are learning throughout life.

It is the toughest experiences, bringing us to the brink of despair, that often yield the greatest light. This is not to say that we wish for these times, any more than our Master wanted to experience the agony of crucifixion. But each time we are willing to do God's will, to walk away from satisfaction in matter toward the light of Christ (and true satisfaction!), we glimpse the joy that is embodied in Easter.

Jesus encourages his disciples to watch with him in the garden. They instead fall asleep, as many of us do when faced with a difficult challenge. Mortal sense (darkness) tells us that we are too tired to "fight" this 'suggestion' (you fill in the blank). Darkness can feel comfortable even, and when we are asleep, we can forget the challenge for awhile. But those challenges don't go away until we welcome the light in our consciousness that causes us to wake up! Waking and watching take some practice. [Click for illustrated BibleWise timeline]

Citation B10 was stated not during the garden sojourn, but before that, when Jesus was admonishing his followers to have their thoughts prepared at all times for the coming of the Christ truth. If we are not watchful, we won't recognize the spiritual reality, and the harmony and spiritual ascension that come with it.

*I drove to the hospital to meet Doug. I had some time to pray and reaffirm his relationship with his Father-Mother. When I arrived at the hospital they ushered me into a private room off the Emergency Room. It was about 10' by 10' and had something like 7 boxes of tissues placed on different surfaces. Hmmmm, I guess they were expecting the worst, but I actually laughed out loud, called the practitioner and shared the scene.

It was as if the suggestion of death was just trying to find any entry point possible, "just have a good cry, it's ok to be worried". This is a lot like the serpent suggesting to Eve that she should "go ahead and take a bite of the apple, it's not a big deal"… I was not, however, being somehow stoical, or, in any way hiding my head in the sand. I was relying on years and years of experience with Love holding my hand and showing me exactly who I am, who Doug and my family were. I just didn't even feel tearful. (con't*)

Section 5: Cardinal points of Christian Science: 1. The unreality of matter. 2. the reality of "all-inclusive God, good."

This is from citation S21 and actually reads: "The "man of sorrows" best understood the nothingness of material life and intelligence and the mighty actuality of God, good. These were the two cardinal points of Mind-healing, or Christian Science, which armed him with Love." We are also armed with these facts today!

Even when Jesus was subjected to the ordeal of crucifixion he understood the powerlessness of this ordeal to destroy him and his message. It is interesting that it was the highest representative of religious holiness (Annas the high priest), and the highest local representative of political power (Pilate), that seemed to have the power to determine Jesus' path. Yet, being part of unreality, they had no true power in the end.

The reality of God's goodness and power completely overwhelmed the crucifixion. It even tore the veil in the temple that represented that barrier between God and man—the sense that there had to be a material separation between God and man. In fact, Jesus preached and practiced throughout his life and beyond his crucifixion, that the real man is one with God, inseparable (S22).

We can learn to look past the "stone" and the tomb, to the light of Truth that reveals spiritual reality. The women who first visited his tomb, Simeon, Jesus' own mother, all looked past the unreality of life in matter to some degree, to glimpse the reality of God's goodness and man's eternal being as His expression. Every demonstration over matter as the "law" helps us to experience our own kind of "Easter" light.

*After we asked the back surgeon to wait for the next morning before operating, they moved Doug to a room where I could visit with him. The care he received was invariably kind, practical, and even prayerful. Almost all of the nurses and doctors acknowledged the role and effectiveness of prayer in this healing. Doug spent three nights there, never received actual medical intervention. He had broken his back, a leg, many ribs, a shoulder blade, and sprained ankles. But he still walked out in a boot three days later—no I am not drawing parallels here!!!

We had continued work to do, many nights that were not too restful, and I had to help him to sit up and yo get out of bed. The healing required persistent claiming of the reality of his unbroken relationship with Love. We attended our own association a week later, flying to Boston, walking all around Boston Common the day before. A couple of weeks later, he flew to Western Canada to drive back a semi-tractor trailer, (self-loading log truck), that he'd bought at an auction.

Doug continued to work from then on—even working-off the back surgeon's bill by doing tree work for him about six months later. When the surgeon asked how he coped with the pain he replied "I wish I could say I am really tough, but honestly, there is no pain." Today Doug continues to do heavy logging work, races dirt bikes with his sons through the woods, and is generally as active as ever. The lessons from that experience, looking away from the tomb, continue to bless us.

Section 6: It is the "living Christ" that shows us reality.

While we certainly don't hide from the cruelty and agony of the crucifixion story, reality lies in the eternally living, active, Christ that was demonstrated throughout Jesus' life and in the resurrection and ascension. The lessons of crucifixion lie in identifying the error of thought that leads us to dwell in the "valley of the shadow of death", rather than walking through it.

In citation B15 we are given a list of all the things that "believers" will be able to do. Aren't these signs perfect examples of the unreality of the laws of matter? Jesus' life was the height of praise to the reality of Love and Love's idea. We can drop our "hardness of heart", stubborn adherence to material sense, and welcome the spiritual perception of Christ's light. "Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you." This is true today, and every day.

Happy Easter!

Look for an email coming soon with Warren Huff’s additions of insights and application ideas from Cobbey Crisler on some citations in the Christian Science Bible Lesson on “Reality” for April 1, 2018. Click here for online version now.

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[CedarS weekly Metaphysical Newsletter is provided at no charge to the 1,200 campers and staff blessed each summer at CedarS, as well as to CedarS alumni, families and friends who have requested it. However, current and planned gifts are a huge proof of your ongoing LOVE made visible and are greatly appreciated!! They not only defray the costs of running this service but also provide greatly needed camperships and essential program and operations support.

[The Met application ideas above are provided primarily to help CedarS campers and staff (as well as friends) see and daily demonstrate the great value of studying and applying 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) athttp://www.cedarscamps.org/metaphysical/

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