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Discover true worship
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

for January 6-12, 2020

Prepared by Christie C. Hanzlik, CS, Boulder, CO

Sacramental acts affirm our connection to God. Sacramental acts typically entail humble kneeling, taking communion, or other forms of worship. When we start from the premise that we are inseparable from God, like a sunbeam is inseparable from the sun, we can see that these acts are not what makes us connected. Instead, these acts serve to remind us of our innate, already true at-one-ment with God. A reflection doesn’t need rituals or acts to be more connected to its mirror…it just is connected to the mirror. In fact, the reflection doesn’t exist without the mirror, and the mirror isn’t reflecting without the reflection—they are inseparably connected by definition. The relationship between the mirror and its reflection is what brings meaning and existence to both. Likewise, we are the being, the expression, of God. Without God we would have no source, and without being expressed by man (generically), God would have no entity (SH 470:24–28). God and man are inseparable.

So, while we don’t need rituals or acts to make us connected to God, there are ways in which we can worship and show our affection, and which make the connection more deeply felt. To me, this week’s Bible Lesson on “Sacrament,” emphasizes meaningful worship over ritualistic acts as a way of deepening our understanding of our inseparable relationship with God.

The Golden Text encourages us to give to God/Love an offering, and worship (or truly love) God in the beauty of holiness. The Responsive Reading describes ways that we, “as the people of His pasture” can worship the Shepherd meaningfully:

• let us worship and bow down
• let us kneel
• Give thanks unto the Lord
• call upon his name
• make known his deeds among the people
• Glory ye in his holy name
• let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord
• Seek the Lord and his strength
• seek his face continually
• Be ye mindful always of his covenant
• Sing unto the Lord, all the earth
• O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good for his mercy endureth for ever

Section 1: True Worship

The first section includes more instructions of how we can “exalt the Lord” and worship meaningfully. (B1) We are given a list of ways in which we can show love and honor to our Shepherd: 1) to do justly, 2) to love mercy, 3) to walk humbly with thy God. (B2) Doing these things is worship.

When we worship—“in word or deed”—we are giving thanks, as Jesus would, to our Father, to divine Love, divine Truth. (B5)

True worship, is recognizing our at-one-ment with God in the way that Christ Jesus, our wayshower, taught. As Mary Baker Eddy writes, "We worship [in an unlimited way], only as we cease to worship [in a limited way].” (S1) True worship is done through “spiritual living and blessedness…” (S6)

Section 2 — True Sacrifice

The second section emphasizes different aspects of “sacrifice,” a form of sacrament. With true sacrifice we actually gain more than we give up. As Mary Baker Eddy writes, “loss is gain,” meaning that as we lose a limited sense of something, we gain so much more—a true and unlimited sense. True sacrifice has nothing to do with a ritual, or “burnt offering,” and it has everything to do with giving up a sense of human will, and yielding to divine will—"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart…” (B7) We can give our whole selves over to to infinite Mind, who knows more about us than we know of ourselves. We can let go of our preconceived notions of who we are. As we read in Romans, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, 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.” (B8, NLT) Letting go of a limited view of ourselves to “let God transform” us is true sacrifice. Loss is gain. And, "if we desire holiness [the freedom from self-will] above all else, we shall sacrifice everything for it.” (B8)

Striving, and desiring to serve God in a more and more pure way is a day-to-day sacrifice of human will. We can have this “purpose and motive to live aright” now. As we do this, our path opens up and we can see the “holy purpose” of our existence. To the degree that we sacrifice a limited sense of self, we can see a larger and larger vision of our infinite capacities. (S11, S12, S13)

Section 3 — True Baptism

The third section emphasizes baptism, another form of sacrament. Mary Baker Eddy explains, "Our baptism is a purification from all error.” (S15) I like to think of baptism as being washed clean, being purified of any gunk we’re holding on to or thoughts that we don’t need.

In Mark, we can see the contrast between John the Baptist, who baptized with water, and the baptism that Jesus offers—"he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.” (B9) Jesus baptizes us with the pure ideas of Truth and Love that flush out impurities, regret, resentment, remorse, doubt, anger, etc. (B9) As we accept the renewing baptism that Christ Jesus offers, we can feel like we’re adopting a whole new view, a new understanding of our true nature. We’re washed clean. AS MBE says, "The baptism of Spirit, washing the body of all the impurities of flesh, signifies that the pure in heart see God and are approaching spiritual Life and its demonstration.” (S17)

Section 4 — True Eucharist

The fourth section deepens our understanding of the Eucharist a a form of sacrament. In many churches, the Eucharist is a Christian ceremony commemorating the Last Supper, in which bread and wine are consecrated and consumed. In Science and Health, Mary Baker Eddy delves into the inspired meaning behind the bread and the wine, and the symbolic act of sacrament that Jesus takes with his disciples at the last supper. She explains, "The true sense is spiritually lost, if the sacrament is confined to the use of bread and wine. The disciples had eaten, yet Jesus prayed and gave them bread. This would have been foolish in a literal sense; but in its spiritual signification, it was natural and beautiful. Jesus prayed; he withdrew from the material senses to refresh his heart with brighter, with spiritual views.” As we are instructed in Corinthians, “…let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” (B14)

Do Christian Scientists partake in the Eucharist? Yes. "Our Eucharist is spiritual communion with the one God. Our bread, 'which cometh down from heaven,' is Truth. Our cup is the cross. Our wine the inspiration of Love, the draught our Master drank and commended to his followers.” (S22) The Eucharist, or communion, is not a one-time event, nor a once-a-week ceremony, but rather it is something that we can strive to do each moment. As we accept our Eucharist and take it in fully, "we drink of his cup, partake of his bread, are baptized with his purity; and at last we shall rest, sit down with him, in a full understanding of the divine Principle which triumphs over death.” (S23) Striving to experience only sincerity and truth, it true eucharist.

Section 5 — Christ Jesus’ sacrifice

The fifth section explores the sacrifice Christ Jesus made for us on the cross. Through his demonstration that crucifixion cannot stop the Christ, we witness the eternality of life. From his sacrifice, we are all able to witness that Christ—the clear understanding and awareness of Love’s everpresence—cannot be stopped. Jesus so loved us that he laid down his life for us, so that we could see that life is deathless. Jesus’ “intense human sacrifice" was for us to witness eternal life, and it showed his great love for all of us, for "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (B17, S25)

Fortunately, we won’t find ourselves on a literal cross anytime soon, but do we often find ourselves in situations that can feel a bit like a cross such as hardship, betrayal, struggles difficulties, etc. And, as Mary Baker Eddy writes, we “must work out our salvation in the way Jesus taught.” (S26) Note that she doesn’t stay that we should strive toward salvation, or that we have a choice. In fact, she writes, “we cannot choose for ourselves, but MUST work out our salvation in the way Jesus taught.” (S26) But what does this mean? How can we make the “intense human sacrifice? To follow in the way Christ Jesus taught, and let go of a limited sense of our existence is the sacrifice. We can do this as we "Let unselfishness, goodness, mercy, justice, health, holiness, love — the kingdom of heaven — reign within us, and sin, disease, and death will diminish until they finally disappear.” (S28) Put simply, loss is gain.

Section 6 — The promise of effective sacrifice

Section 6 expands on the idea of sacrificing a limited sense of existence for an enlarged, expanded view. This section uses the example of the disciples dropping their limited sense of their Master, Christ Jesus, and seeing his true being in the resurrection. At first they couldn’t even recognize him because of their limited perception, but ultimately "they changed their methods, turned away from material things, and cast their net on the right side.” (B18, S29)

We can ask ourselves, what limited perspective (mortal view) seems to keep us from seeing the Christ presence more fully? Are we willing to let it go? Are we willing to let go of a limited sense of existence and let divine Mind reveal to us a fuller and more palpable sense of Christ’s presence? Are we willing to cast our nets on the right side, and bring in the multitudes of fish—amazing insights and awareness? (B18)

To worship more effectively, we can bow before Christ. Humbly bowing means letting go of limited human sense and being willing to give up our limited human will. We can "bow before Christ, Truth, to receive more of his reappearing and silently to commune with the divine Principle, Love.” (S29)

Each section of the lesson explored a facet of sacrament. And, the final citation in the lesson leaves us with the strong vision of what is possible when we take sacrament in the fullest possible way: "If all who ever partook of the sacrament had really commemorated the sufferings of Jesus and drunk of his cup, they would have revolutionized the world. If all who seek his commemoration through material symbols will take up the cross, heal the sick, cast out evils, and preach Christ, or Truth, to the poor, — the receptive thought, — they will bring in the millennium.” (S30)

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