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Editor’s Note: The following background information and application ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson for this week are offered primarily to help CedarS campers and staff see and demonstrate the great value of daily study of the Christian Science Bible lessons year-round, not just at camp. If more information or the text of this Lesson is desired, please see the Director”s Note at the end. The citations referenced in the “met” (metaphysical application ideas) are taken from the King James Version of the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. The Bible and Science and Health are the ordained pastor of by Churches of Christ, Scientist. The Bible Lesson is the sermon read in Christian Science church services throughout the world. (Other reference books are fully noted at the end.)

Rest in Love; Obey Love, and Be At-one with Love!
Lesson-application ideas for Doctrine of Atonement for Oct. 10-16, 2005
Prepared by Kathy Fitzer, C.S. of St. Louis, MO

God loves you — unconditionally! As you work with this week’s lesson, pay attention to all of the references to Love! Then, live that Love and feel at-one with God!

Golden Text: … be ye reconciled to God.
To reconcile is to make consistent, to bring to agreement; to restore friendship after estrangement. The command is to live consistently with God and see God as our best friend! That’s what Jesus taught us to do – huge rewards follow.

Responsive Reading: Love provides – enjoy a Sabbath experience!
God loves us. He provides for us, and simply requires our obedience. The Sabbath (7th – a number of completeness) is a symbol of Love’s complete provision. One definition of Sabbath (from Webster’s Unabridged) is “a cessation of effort, pain, or care.” The children of Israel were taught to stop working the land every seven years. Verses from the Bible not included here indicate that enough was to be provided the sixth year to last for three years. The 50th year was the jubilee year – a year of celebration, during which families and land were restored, and life began again with a clean slate. What does this have to do with us? Perhaps it symbolizes God’s ongoing love and a provision for each of us. As we learn to rest in and trust God’s love, we are reconciled to Love.

Section I: What does God require?
The law of Moses (with its strict guidelines about sin and burnt offerings) was a “shadow” of what God really requires. (B-1&2) I loved the point made in Hebrews that if these sacrifices were really effective in destroying sin, they wouldn’t have to be made over and over again. I wonder what we, as Christian Scientists, may do that are similar to the burnt offerings of years ago – maybe going to church just because it’s the thing to do, or reading the lesson – without inspiration – just to say we’ve read it, or being proud of our freedom from “visible sins” while harboring the “invisible sins” of envy, disdain, etc? Look for what God really requires of us – what sacrifices he demands. (B-3&4) Action of thought is called for. Notice the verbs (action words), the adverbs (the how of the action), and the adjectives (the quality of thought) called for. Love loves us, and so demands reform – giving up what doesn’t belong to the child of God – in order that we may be free of the limitations of sin. (S-3&4). Instead of just mindlessly doing, we have to understand. Understanding is the fertile soil that produces rich crops, while enabling us to rest – realizing God as the source of all good. (Remember the Responsive Reading.) Check out the qualities of thought that make the soil of our thought rich (S-2). And finally, look at the wonderful promises of the doctrine (instruction; teachings) of Christian Science. (S-5) A perfect God requires perfection – but only because Love provides the means of perfection – through Love’s government of man.

Section II: Truth, light, and understanding available to ALL!
God commanded the children of Israel to make a sanctuary in order for God to dwell in the midst of them. Is that sanctuary (a consecrated place devoted to the keeping of sacred things) a material structure, or is it a place in our heart? (B-7) The Mosaic law provided for priests, elaborately adorned and bearing the responsibility of going into the holy place of God, and making known the will of God to all the children of Israel. The Urim and Thummim were lots (dice) that were used to determine the will of God. (B-8) As time goes on, Job discovers that God gives understanding to each one independently (B-9) and the Psalmist desires that God’s light and truth will lead him – individually. (B-10) Mrs. Eddy discerns that spiritual guidance doesn’t come from tossing dice, but from the light of Love and the demand of divine Science. (S-6&7) So, good isn’t something that comes to us by chance – with the potential that we’ll sometimes have to accept being stuck with the flip-side (evil). By being obedient to the demand of divine Science – to have no intelligence, life, substance, truth, or love but that which is spiritual – we find our unity with divine Love. (S-8&10) And Love loves to give us good! Atonement (at-one-ment) isn’t something we earn – it is ours by reflection. (S-9) Claim it and act it out! Demand the goodness of God by living in the presence of God – always!

Section III: Jesus showed us how – will we respond?
Jesus Christ illustrated man’s oneness with God by healing. He healed 10 lepers, but only one returned to thank him. (B-14) Would you have been that one? What is the best way for us to thank Christ for showing us the way out of sin, disease, and death? Isn’t it to think as Jesus taught us to think and to love as Jesus taught us to love? (B-12&13) Jesus taught us to love one God supremely – to acknowledge no other power but God. (S-11&12) He made countless human sacrifices for us because he naturally loved – as the offspring of Love. Unlike the Mosaic priesthood – emphasizing the separation of God and man – Jesus taught his followers to enter with him into the presence of God – teaching them their inherent oneness with the Father by showing them the power of Love to heal. (S-14&15) Let’s show our gratitude by acknowledging our oneness with God and, in that way, heal. Stop thinking about doing things the “right” way (humanly) and pray to know the God-way of doing things – even if it means some sacrifice of “form” for “spirit.”

Section IV: Trials and self-denials – but not suffering – requisite
Jesus loved. He prayed that his message (the Christ) would be received by all – not just his immediate disciples – and that all would realize their oneness with God. (B-15) Jesus was willing to do whatever was necessary in order to accomplish this goal. Betrayed by Judas, Jesus was first taken to Annas – who absolutely controlled the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin were so stuck in their ways, they couldn’t see beyond the letter of the law to find the true relationship of God and man as Father and son. They had such preconceived notions of what the Messiah would look like, that they missed it when it came. If Jesus had changed his story in order to avoid crucifixion, the Christ would have been lost to human consciousness. Instead, with forgiveness in his heart and on his lips, Jesus went through the supreme trial of crucifixion in order that all could see that his life could not be destroyed. Caiaphas had no idea how true his assessment was that “it was expedient that one man should die for the people.”(B-16&17) Jesus’ supreme expression of Love was seen in his willingness to go through the crucifixion. (S-16) Are we willing to go through our own trials and deny our mortal selfhood in order to recognize our oneness with the Father – in order to get to know (be reconciled) to Love? (S-17) To all mortal appearance, he suffered greatly. But, isn’t there a difference between struggle and suffering? An athlete struggles during a hard work-out. A good student, an accomplished musician, actor, artist, or dancer struggles and sacrifices in order to become really good. But, if the high goal is always kept in thought – and if one loves what one is doing enough, must the struggle be synonymous with “suffering”? Mrs. Eddy tells us, “suffering is an error of sinful sense which Truth destroys…” (S-19) Don’t confuse struggle with suffering. Jesus’ goal was to reconcile “man to God by giving man a truer sense of Love … and this truer sense of Love redeems man from the law of matter, sin, and death by the law of Spirit, – the law of divine Love.” (S-18) (Remember, one definition of Sabbath is a cessation of effort, pain, or care.) Could it be that Jesus was showing us the true sense of Sabbath – resting in completeness? Don’t be afraid to work out spiritually as diligently as you work out in other areas of your life! You are safe.

Section V: Resurrection leads to salvation for all
Jesus’ resurrection revealed God’s grace for all. Freedom from the limitations of sin, disease, and death is available to each one who will “call on the name of the Lord” and accept God’s gift of “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away.” Our inheritance – our oneness with our Father doesn’t decay, can’t be polluted, and will never disappear. (B-18&20) We never fall from God’s grace – are never separated from Christ. Mrs. Eddy speaks of the “malignity of brutal persecutors” being overruled by divine Love. Jesus had human persecutors. Our persecutors may also appear as personality issues – misunderstandings, jealousy, etc. but they also may come in the form of a malignant growth, effects of an accident, even poor coordination or test anxiety. Each of these beliefs would try to “hide Truth and Love in a sepulchre” – try to hide God’s image from view. BUT, Christ (the divine manifestation of God, which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error – S&H p. 583) has “rolled away the stone from the door of human hope and faith.” Jesus’ example showed us that we can never be boxed in. The stone of mortal belief has been rolled away. Nothing is keeping us from having a resurrection experience every day. Leave behind the doubts, fears, and persecution and walk forward in your “at-one-ment with the spiritual idea of man and his divine Principle, Love.” (S-23)

Section VI: In an effort to become reconciled to God, the Israelites sacrificed lambs and goats.
To demonstrate His love for man, God provided the ultimate sacrificial lamb – His Son. Jesus’ life was sacrificed to save others from believing in a limited mortal existence, and to reconcile them to God. (B-21) We have been made “free from the law of sin and death.” (B-22) So, now what??? Don’t we have to accept that freedom, and act in accord with it in order to honor God? Don’t we have to make our own sacrifices of mortal sense? Christ bestowed a great gift on Paul as he turned him from persecuting Jesus’ followers to ministering to them. And Paul then became an example to others. (B-23) From hate to love. Denying sin – the belief in separation from God. That’s what it’s really all about. Jesus sacrificed in order that we might learn to love. (S-26) Wasn’t that Mrs. Eddy’s hope, too? And it included realizing “God’s omnipotence and the healing power of the divine Love.” (S-27) We have a race to run and a fight to fight. Are you living Love in everything you do? Are you ruling judgment, anger, jealousy, fear, retaliation, selfishness, etc. out of your thought completely? What about believing that you or another can be sick or sinful? Look for other ideas in this section about overcoming error in your daily life. We must watch thought. If we are constantly turning away from material sense and gaining a little more spiritual sense each day we WILL finish our “course with joy.” (S-25&28) Keep going – make a game of it! It is actually very fun to see how in tune with the law of Spirit you can be, and thus how free from the (so-called) law of sin and death you are! Happy Sabbath!

Camp Director’s Note: The above sharing is the latest in a long series of CedarS Bible Lesson “mets” (metaphysical application ideas) contributed weekly by a rotation of CedarS Resident Practitioners and occasionally by other metaphysicians.  This document is intended to initiate further study as well as to encourage the application of ideas found in the Weekly Bible Lessons as printed in the Christian Science Quarterly and as available at Christian Science Reading Rooms.Originally sent JUST 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 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 in the books. The thoughts presented are the inspiration of the moment and are offered to give a bit more dimension, background and daily applicability to some of the ideas and passages being studied. 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 these 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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