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Answer No … and Understand Why!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson
April 8-14, 2013
Subject:  Are Sin, Disease, and Death Real?

Prepared by Kathy Fitzer, C.S.
kathyfitzer@gmail.com            314-323-4083

As students of the Christian Science Bible Lesson, we are reminded twice each year to carefully consider the question, “ARE sin, disease, and death real?  In actuality we’re challenged by that question many times each day. The physical senses constantly bombard us with testimony that would say that this triad of error is indeed real.  But, the fact remains that it is NOT… and this week’s lesson logically explains why the suppositional reality of sin, disease, and death is an impossibility in light of the allness, the ever-presence, of God, good.  Let’s sing and praise the Lord for His presence!

Golden Text and Responsive Reading:

Notice what happens in the presence of God:  enemies are turned back; they fall and perish; and hills (the mountains of problems that seem to face us at times) melt!  The 91st Psalm elaborates on what this means for anyone who consciously dwells (makes their home) in this presence.  The Amplified Bible translates the first verse this way, and adds a footnote: “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty [Whose power no foe can withstand].  Footnote: Psalm 91:1 The rich promises of this whole chapter are dependent upon one’s meeting exactly the conditions of these first two verses (see Exod. 15:26).”   God eliminates all evil by His very nature as ever-present good.  All we have to do is respond to that unchanging presence by remembering that we live in the realm of the real, in the presence of the Almighty, and loving to keep thought in line with His law.  We may dream crazy dreams some nights, but we awaken to find that they are powerless to move us from our residence.  No dream of evil can move us from the Kingdom, either!
 

Section 1:  In the presence of God — GOOD — there can be no evil

In last week’s lesson, we were asked to choose whom we’ll serve.  Now, we’re being invited not only to serve God, but also to do it with gladness, to come into His presence with singing!  Who wouldn’t want to do just that if they really understood the goodness of God? (B-1)  God is just too purely good to even see evil. (B-2, S-2)  It’s as impossible for God to know evil as it is for day to know night, for light to know darkness.  It is just so logical that if God, good, is always present, evil is never present — has no place in God’s presence. (S-3)  And so we pray, with the Psalmist, to be led by God in His path of goodness, exempt from the influence of evil, and filled with strength and gladness. (B-3, B-4,& B-5)  To be real, things have to have a cause.  So, because God is the only cause — the foundational cause of all things real — there can’t be an effect opposite in nature from that cause.  Again, light doesn’t cause darkness, and the principle of mathematics doesn’t cause 2 plus 2 to equal 5.  An effect without a cause is simply error.  And, as soon as an error is corrected, it ceases to be! (S-4)  Christian Science presents the truth of being.  As students of Christian Science it is our privilege to understand the allness of God, good, and the necessary nothingness of all evil.  It takes alertness, determination and courage, but we can do it!  Whether called sin, sickness, or death, “errors of belief” are destroyed by Truth. (S-5)  So, our job is to stop believing every lie and watch Truth do its work!

 

Sections 2 and 3:  Repentance enables us to demonstrate our sinless nature

Is sin real?  No.  Were we born into sin? No.  But, sometimes we, as Christian Scientists, may speak too “absolutely” by simply denying the reality of sin.  It is certainly important to understand that God’s man (made in the image and likeness of God) truly can’t sin “because he is born of God.”  But, Mrs. Eddy goes on to say that “because he [man] is spiritual and perfect, he must be so understood in Christian Science.”  (B-6, S-6)  And on p. 323 of the textbook we read, “We must recollect that Truth is demonstrable when understood, and that good is not understood until demonstrated.”  So, we need to demonstrate the unreality of sin (anything that would miss the mark of expressing God’s perfection; any belief of separation from God), not just blithely say we don’t “believe” in sin.  Sin is something we have to grapple with, and overcome, in order to express God’s “true likeness.” (S-8)  And, that requires repentance (thinking differently or reconsidering, according to the original Greek, metanoeo.

 

We have Jesus’ parable of what we call “the Prodigal son” in the third section.  This story can be considered from various perspectives… that of the Father, the younger son, the older brother, even the servants.  Perhaps the phrase to pay special attention to this week is when it says of the younger son, “when he came to himself…”  The New International translation reads, “when he came to his senses…”  In other words, when he woke up and recognized what was going on… when he acknowledged his sinful ways and determined to stop sinning.  At that point, he started to think differently.  He made a decision, and headed back home.  It could be argued that he was motivated by the relative comforts he knew waited for him, even as a servant, in his father’s house.  But, when he left that house, all he could think about were the material pleasures alluring him.  Now, in going back, he had to face the humiliation of admitting his mistakes, ask forgiveness for the disrespect he had shown his father, and be satisfied with the position of servant, just to be home. (B-8)  Bible scholar Joachim Jeremias believes “Repentance means learning to say abba [daddy] again, putting one’s whole trust in the heavenly Father, returning to the Father’s house and the Father’s arms.”  (New Interpreter’s Bible)  Regardless of the nature of the sin that has entangled us, regardless of how long we’ve been struggling with it, we, too, can (in a moment) come to ourselves and start the journey back home.  And, we know that as the father in this story was waiting for his son, and ran to greet him, reinstating him to full sonship, so our Daddy God is ever ready to forgive each of us and enable us to see that we have never lost our status as God’s son or daughter.  This relationship enables us to act out that role as His expression.  It is material personality that sins — the counterfeit of man — the belief of an identity turned upside down and living separate from God. (S-11)  But, because “God is everywhere… nothing apart from Him is present or has power.” (S-9) Christ, Truth, destroys sin (the belief of separation from God) and awakens man to his Sonship.  Thus awakened, God’s man naturally turns from the limitations of sin and reaches out to the infinite resources of Soul… and to the “higher enjoyments” that satisfy! (S-15)  We can know this for ourselves.  And we must also know that the Christ awakens all.  Trust loved ones and strangers alike to be led home to their Father!  Sin rules not!

 

Sections 4 and 5 – In the presence of Love, there can be no disease

Is sickness real?  No.  Can we demonstrate the unreality of disease, as Jesus and Mary Baker Eddy did?  Absolutely!  The key?  Maintain residency in the kingdom of Love (B-10, Ps. 91), recognize God as an ever-present refuge and strength for all who trust Him (S-22 & Ps. 46), and vehemently oppose anything that does not correspond to God’s law of good! (S-21)  The story of the man healed at the Pool of Bethesda is always an inspiring one.  The stated fact that the man had been ill for 38 years indicates that he was dealing with what was believed to be an incurable disease.  Why Jesus went to this particular man, we don’t know.  Certainly he didn’t see any of the pictures of infirmity as difficult to heal. (S-18)  When Jesus asked the man if he’d like to be healed, the man became rather defensive.  Based on his limited perspective, he didn’t see how he could  be healed!  But Jesus’ expression of Love was so great, that the man couldn’t help but respond to Jesus’ commands – to his invitation to come into the freeing presence of divine Love.  He rose.  He picked up his bed.  And he walked away whole!  Christ, Truth, overthrew mortal mind’s preconceptions and limited view.  Jesus recognized all suggestions of disease to be illegitimate and unreal… simply the result of education!  (S-19)  Mrs. Eddy discovered the principles (rules) of healing and proved them to be just as effective in modern times as when Jesus lived.  She “restored health” in all kinds of situations… whether the disease appeared to be persistent and incurable (chronic) or more immediately severe (acute.) (S-20)  Just saying sickness can’t touch us isn’t enough.  We have to “agree to disagree” any time the suggestion of disease comes to thought.  By aggressively opposing the inhumanity of disease and understanding that all disease is totally unreal, we can free ourselves and others from the fear, threat, and effect of so-called disease.  Why is disease unreal?  Because something so unlovely can’t exist in the Kingdom of Love.  If ignorance of God “produces apparent discord,” then the remedy lies in understanding God. (S-21)  What better way to understand someone than to get to know them intimately — by living with them!  The 91st psalm tells us that as we make God, Mind, our residence, no plague can get through the door (of consciousness.) (B-10, The Message)  Live with the qualities that define God…. get intimate with at least one quality each day… and respond to the liberating strength of Love.  Disease isn’t real — no matter what!

 

Sections 6 and 7 – No death in the path of life

“Mortals claim that death is inevitable…” (S-23)  It is believed that people die as a result of accidents, injuries, disease, or acts of violence every day.  But, does that make it so… does it mean there is nothing that can be done about it?  We learn from the Bible, as well as modern experience, that death can be overcome.  And we need to have a greater expectation that this is the case.  Is death real?  No!  In this lesson we have the story of Eutychus falling from the third story of an apartment building in Troas, a city in Macedonia, while listening to Paul speak.  This was the last night of a seven-day stay as Paul was making his way to Jerusalem, and then on to Rome.  Paul had just celebrated the Passover in Philippi and now is breaking bread on Sunday, a celebration of the Christian Sabbath, and “a continuing memorial to the Lord’s resurrection.”  (New Interpreter’s Bible, NIB)  There is significance in this as we consider the resurrection of Eutychus.  Christians gathered to break bread to express their spiritual solidarity.  They gathered “for community prayer and to hear inspired teaching.”  Likely, “Paul is engaged in a Bible study, interpreting the Scriptures to show that the risen Jesus is God’s Messiah.” (NIB)  Needing to leave in time to be in Jerusalem for Pentecost, Paul spoke late into the night.  A long speech in a stuffy room, late.  Not surprising the young man fell asleep, falling “to his death.”  Paul went to him, and quietly addressed the need.  He simply affirmed what he knew to be true… his life was in him… because Life can’t be extinguished.  Although Eutychus stayed down, Paul resumed his discussion, confident that all was well.  When daylight came and Paul was finished, he left, and the people were greatly comforted to take Eutychus home alive.  Even if Paul could have stayed and talked for another week, nothing would have brought home his point more than seeing the efficacy of what he was saying in the form of healing and resurrection! (B-17)  So, how do we follow this example?  Start with logic… if Life is real, death can’t be!  No matter how real it seems, we must insist on the fact that it is an illusion.  All of mortal life is an illusion.  We are immortal!  Start and stay there.  We’re told that “the great attainment” is “to divest thought of false trusts and material evidences in order that the spiritual facts of being may appear.” (S-25)  Do we dwell in a material body that can be destroyed?  No.  We dwell in Mind… and can only be touched by what Mind knows! (S-26)  Mind doesn’t know accidents because perfection can’t know imperfection.  Logic!  So, we escape accidents — or find freedom from the effect of apparent accident — by turning away from the accepted beliefs of material cause and effect, to “unite with the one Mind” (dwell in Mind) and experience Mind’s complete control over the body. (S-27)  Existence is not “contingent on matter.”  (S-28)  Matter is simply changeable belief, so can’t support anything!  As we — thought by thought — acknowledge the ever-presence of harmonious Life, we will come to see that death truly is not real!  We will not be fooled!  What we call the physical realm isn’t separate from the only realm, the realm of Spirit, in which immortal Mind, governing all, is supreme and “perpetual motion.” (See S&H 240:14 and 427, S-28)

 

Section 8:  No Escaping God, Good!

Are sin, disease and death real?  NO!!!  Why not?  Because nothing bad can exist in good.  They can’t exist in Truth, Life, and Love and Truth, Life, and Love are all that truly exist.  “I am the Lord (Truth, Life, and Love) and there is none else.”  (see Isa. 45 & Hymn 444)  But, they seem so real!!!!  Yes, but right where this triad of error seems to be, there is God’s dwelling — our true dwelling place!  In the consciousness of this home, we find that God is with us, wiping away our tears, like a mother or father who wipes away the tears of a child terrified of the unreal monsters under his or her bed.  The false beliefs called sin, disease and death will be seen to be “former things” that have “passed away” just as much as monsters pass away as the child grows, and the “flat earth” passed away with the coming of enlightened thought. (B-19)  We are one with God… “in him we live, and move, and have our being.” (B-20)  God knows us… knows each of us as His individual idea… holds our hand more tightly than a parent holds the hand of a young child… and we can’t ever, for a moment, escape the ever-presence of our Father-Mother God, Good! (B-18)  It’s not enough to casually declare  that sin, disease, and death are unreal.  We have the God-given authority to know and understand  that they aren’t real and demonstrate that fact!   Alleluia and Amen!


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 & its bracketed, italic additions.]

[While our herd of horses still needs your "adoptive" support to be fully fed, trained and ready for camp, our focus now goes to filling camp with worthy campers!  Our main funding goals for early 2013 are raising funds for campership applicants and for operations support.  If you'd rather not give online or over the phone,

[Thank you for mailing your checks to:
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Or for calling us at
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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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