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SEE THE LIFE OF CHRIST COME TO LIGHT THROUGH DEVOTION & DEMONSTRATION!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for The Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“Life”

for July 12 – July 18, 2021

 

by Kathy Fitzer in Lake St. Louis, Missouri

kathyfitzer@gmail.com

 

INTRODUCTION

 As presented in Christian Science, Life is a synonym (or name) for God.  So, whenever you read God in this week’s Lesson, you can substitute Life.  I noticed a lot this week about the indestructible nature of man, hid in Christ, at-one with God, or Life itself.  Prayer brings this unity of God and man to light, debunking the belief of death as a possibility. In this Lesson we hear about Daniel being safe in the lion’s den, Elijah and Moses appearing with Jesus at the transfiguration, and Jesus raising Lazarus from the grave.  The same confidence expressed by Daniel and Jesus, can be ours, too.  They each turned to God (their Father) to see the reality of ever-present, unending Life— and we can too. It is our Christly nature to see things through the lens of reality and not be disturbed by physical evidence.  I found it enlightening to re-read the article, “The Activity of the Christ” by L. Ivimy Gwalter.  Here is a link (with an audio link too): https://sentinel.christianscience.com/shared/view/29no6303k3c?s=e

 

I found some specific ideas in the article especially helpful in clarifying thoughts in this week’s Lesson about Christ being our life. (see citations B8/Col. 3:4; S18/545:31-1; B11/Rom. 6:23; B12/Rom. 8:1, 2; B14/II Cor. 5:17, 18).  The author writes: “The Christ is the presence of the power of God and the power of the presence of God.  The Christ is never static.  The manifestation of God’s functioning residence, which is the Christ, never ceases.  It is never congested; it is never confused, obscured, obstructed; nor can it ever be reversed.  It never comes to an end, never overworks, never wavers, never stops.  Thus being never grows old; it never wears out; intelligence never lapses into senility and disease; Love never changes into hate; Life never ends in death.  The Christ, God’s divine power and action, is present under all circumstances, at all times, in all conditions.  The Christ is law to every situation.  Jesus demonstrated the Christ as man’s spiritual selfhood. … So, you and I as persons, and all the persons who form our universe — friends, family, fellow church members, world dictators, and others — are human concepts of the real man, the Christ, concepts evolved by the so-called human mind.  As through the Science of Christ the human mind yields to the divine Mind, the human concept improves until it finally disappears in the radiance of God’s likeness.  Man’s individuality and identity, being wholly spiritual, exist apart from materiality and are always intact and complete.”

 

GOLDEN TEXT AND RESPONSIVE READING

 

I found several helpful translations of the GOLDEN TEXT on the website, biblegateway.com. Two that I especially like are:  “… you are kind, and at night you give me a song as my prayer to you, the living Lord God.” (CEV) and “…the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life. (NLT). I love the idea that Love is giving us all we need, including hope and joy in the form of a song with which to reach out in prayer when faced with night (or dark situations of any kind).

 

I’m reminded of Hymn 533.  The second verse reads, “What though my human comforts die, / The Lord my Savior liveth; / What though the darkness gather round, / Songs in the night God giveth. / No storm can shake my inmost calm / While to that Rock I’m clinging; / Since Love is God of heaven and earth, / How can I keep from singing?”  We can’t be separated from Life!

 

Putting our trust in God (rather than in our own strength or wisdom), turning to Him to experience the fullness of Life, we will find that “no good thing will he withhold” (Responsive Reading, v. 11).  Desiring to serve God and bear witness to Him, we reach out in praise and prayer and know that there is nothing to fear.  To me, the last line of the RESPONSIVE READING sums up our purpose in life … “to walk before God in the light of the living.”  As the New Living Translation puts it, “For you have rescued me from death; you have kept my feet from slipping. So now I can walk in your presence, O God, in your life-giving light.”  We have the right and responsibility to let the light of Life shine through us so that others may also realize God’s love.

This happens in each of the examples and experiences of those featured in the Bible stories this week.

 

SECTION 1: LIFE IS GOD

 

The Bible refers to God as “the living God” that has made man and given him life and breath (citations B1/Jeremiah 10:10 and B2/Job 33:4).  The third citation elaborates on the psalm that the Golden Text was part of.  Here, the psalmist talks about our response to Life’s gift of life.  We praise God — reach out to God and give Him thanks.   We “thirst for God” and recognize God — or Life itself — as our “health”.  Here, health includes the ideas of safety, salvation, prosperity, and deliverance.  Basically, all that is good comes from God who is our Life — the only Life (cit. B3/Psalms 42:1, 2, 11).  We can’t truly be separated from this Life.  But, how important to remember, too, that it is natural (for all) to want to feel this connection!

 

Based on the testimony of the physical senses, it looks like our lives and health are at the mercy of physical circumstances.  But that’s not what the Bible teaches.  And Christian Science — which goes below the surface and reveals what is really going on — teaches plainly that “Life is God” (citations S3/496:9; S2/487:27; and S5/103:31-32).  What does that mean?  That there is no true life outside of the scope of the allness of God, good, which has made everything in “His own likeness.”    The likeness of Life (or being) itself, fully expresses qualities such as eternity, vitality, wholeness, ability, mobility, infinity, readiness, accomplishment, energy, renewal, omni-action, health, permanence, etc.  Nothing lacking!  As we learn this, limits fall away and we are able to drop the fear that our life or anyone else’s can possibly be interrupted or destroyed.  Then we are free to live life to the fullest — recognizing the source of all good to be infinite Life itself!  No boundaries, no fears, no limits!

 

SECTION 2:  DANIEL’S FEARLESS DEVOTION TO GOD PROVIDES SAFETY FOR ALL

 

The story of Daniel and the lion’s den is a familiar one.  But, there are always new insights to gleaned.  What struck me this time is the absolute devotion to God and lack of fear that Daniel expressed, and how the stand that he took blessed the entire kingdom.  And, also, the lesson the King had the opportunity to learn about the importance of not going along with the advice of others just because a suggestion has been made by people that you generally trust.

 

In Daniel’s case, it wasn’t that making petition of the king would necessarily be bad. But Daniel was being asked to turn away from God, to stop turning to God for guidance, to stop worshipping (praising and giving thanks to God), or communing with God. And that just wasn’t going to happen.  Daniel’s steadfast devotion to and unwavering trust in this one supreme and infinite God (the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob— our God — the only true God) dispelled the possibility of something devouring him — lions in this case (cit. B5/Daniel 6:1-26).

 

As I thought about this story I found myself wondering about my devotion. Am I to going to God on a regular basis throughout the day — not in regard to a specific need, but just to acknowledge God’s perpetual presence and control, and to thank Him for being all there really is?  Wouldn’t the world try to squeeze God out of our lives by insisting that most of our attention needs to be focused on human activities, or that we need to listen to human opinions, medical theories, statistical analysis, or other such things to make responsible decisions?  But, turning from those material measurements, and maintaining our steadfast devotion to the Giver of Life, we can expect that the modern lions of competition, lack, accident, disease, violence, statistical inevitability, etc.  will be proved harmless in our lives as well.  The key is in “understanding the control which Love [holds] over all”.  Then, we, too, will be safe regardless of human circumstances and find the vipers of hate, malice, natural disasters, chance, or illness to be harmless (cit. S7/514:26-28).  As we read in the Christian Science textbook, “Every law of matter or the body, supposed to govern man, is rendered null and void by the law of Life, God” (cit. S8/380:28-1).

 

And, let’s not forget about King Darius.  To me, a big take-away from his experience is that even if we do make a mistake … even if we do listen to false advisors, God (Life) is still in charge.  Much to the king’s relief, Daniel was safe!  And the end result was that a new decree was issued that everyone would now worship Daniel’s God.  Each one would still have to devote themselves to God.  But, what a blessing that must have been for the kingdom.  No penalties for turning to God … even if mistakes are initially made.

 

SECTION 3: MAN’S EXISTENCE — THE REFLECTION OF LIFE — IS INTACT ETERNALLY

 

The transfiguration illustrates the fact that the identity of individuals remains intact forever, and in a recognizable form.  That’s one take-away.  But, what other lessons can we learn from this story?  Jesus had shared with his disciples that he was headed to Jerusalem and that he would surely face crucifixion there.  I had fun looking at some insights shared by Bible scholar, William Barclay on this scripture.  He pointed out that Jesus always went to his Father to make sure his plans were in line with God’s will.  Perhaps he had gone to this mountainside to pray — to ask God if it was right to go to Jerusalem.  In response, Moses and Elijah spoke with him. Their appearance served to assure both Jesus and his disciples of the glory awaiting him after the cross.  And, it may have been the sign he needed to reassure him that he was doing the right thing, moving on to the unknown as Moses and Elijah had been asked to do, but advancing God’s message of care for His children in the process.   Jesus’ identity as the Messiah (of whom Elijah was to be a forerunner and herald) was also clearly revealed in the form of an actual voice.  This must have helped the disciples, even though it wasn’t until Jesus’ resurrection that they truly understood the meaning of all that Jesus was to go through (cit. B7/Matthew 17:1-9).

 

So, what does this have to do with us?  One, we can learn to not be deluded by the testimony of the physical senses.  We read, “the evidence before the corporeal senses is not the Science of immortal man” (cit. S11/417:18).  Sticking with Science, or the reality of being, Jesus was able to see and recognize Moses and Elijah because he wasn’t fooled by the belief that life ends in death.  The more we understand that Life is independent of matter — having no birth, no material life, and no death — we will be free to see what is and to experience God’s plans for us, without fear of whatever stumbling blocks may appear along the way (cit. S16/288:20).

 

Can you imagine a 2 ever not being a 2, or a middle C ever not being a middle C — whether or not the number or note is currently being seen or used in our experience?  The identity of a number or note isn’t dependent on physical representation. Neither is our identity — or that of anyone. We each have a unique place and position in the universe of divine Life.  Christ is our life.  When we see that, we will see the glory of God expressed in ourselves and others. (cit. B8/Col. 3:4)  Recognizing our true nature to be a ray of God’s shine allows us to be about our Father’s business, remaining safe and eternally alive, no matter what we are called on to do.

 

And, the other lesson I see is the benefit of consulting with God about every detail of every day — as Jesus did, and as Daniel did in worshipping God throughout the day.   What we need to know will be revealed as we turn to God — and sometimes in a very unusual way.

 

SECTION 4:  TAKE AWAY THE STONE AND LET THE CHRIST BE SET FREE

 

Lazarus had been dead four days before Jesus arrived.  It was believed that at this point his soul was now completely gone, and could not return to the body.  Jesus was first unimpressed by the suggestion that Lazarus was sick. And understanding that one’s soul (or identity) is never in a mortal body, but is the very expression of Life, Soul, itself, he was also totally unimpressed by the evidence that Lazarus had died.  We see Jesus’ humanity and compassion coming through. He wept with, and for, his friends.  But he didn’t let that emotion interfere with his clear view.  He thanked God out loud for hearing his prayers, so that there would be no doubt that he was crediting God as the power behind the restoration of life.  And then he commanded the stone of mortal belief to be rolled away and called on Lazarus to come forth!

 

So, again, what can we learn from this story?  To me, the obvious answer is the example set for us that we must not believe that man (us or anyone) has ever truly lived in a mortal body, and thus be subject to sickness or death.  We, too, can have the confidence to roll away the stone or mortal limitations — no matter how long they seem to have been there.  And call forth the real man!  The fact is that man “is, not shall be, perfect and immortal”, and “being immortal, has a perfect indestructible life” (cit. S22/428:29-23 and S21/209:1-2).  Learning — truly accepting — the fact that each of us has an indestructible, eternal life in which our identities are intact makes it possible for the dead to be raised today.

 

But, even if we haven’t yet made that demonstration, to me it brings great comfort to know that death doesn’t mean the end to anything.  We love to humanly be with those we love, so it’s hard when something happens and we no longer have that human connection.  But, we don’t have to feel empty, or at a real loss, when faced with that kind of separation.  I remember feeling soooo sure that my mom and my dad were simply continuing their journey when they passed that I was confident all was well with them.

 

The opportunity that the belief of death brings is for us to know that God is meeting the needs of those still “here” just as much as those who have gone on.  No one is left “behind.” With so much on the news about things like shootings, buildings collapsing, disease, and fires taking the lives of people, we have much to contribute by maintaining a clear view of the indestructible Christ-nature of everyone!  One of the first years I was teaching the hearing impaired, I came to school one morning to learn that one of my students who was deaf had been hit by a car the night before and killed.  My grief was deep — my first thought being, “Who is going to help him? He doesn’t have language and can’t hear!”  I called a practitioner for help that evening and was gently reminded that God had never known him to be limited and was certainly caring for his every need, as He always had! I had made the mistake of defining him by physical evidence.  That evidence had never defined him — and never could!  I was grateful to be released from all concern — although 45 years or so later, I still have a sweet mental picture of Henry! Life, unchanging and unchanged, goes on!

 

SECTION 5:  EXPUNGE THE BELIEF THAT MAN CAN BE SEPARATED FROM GOD — LIFE!

 

Everyone wants to be free of limitations, of fear, of the threat of destruction, hate, division, and death.  Is it possible?  Absolutely! It does take a shift of thought, but Christ, “the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness” sheds the necessary light to enable everyone to make that shift. The Christ “[dispels] the illusions of the senses” and enables the truth of Life as God to be seen and fully reflected (cit. S23/332:9-15).

 

The Amplified Bible, Classic Edition translates citation B12/Romans 8:1,2 this way: “Therefore, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty or wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has freed me from the law of sin and of death.”  The author of Ephesians encouraged his readers to put off the “old man” and be “renewed” (cit. B10/Eph. 4:22, 23).  The same idea was expressed by the discoverer of Christian Science this way, “Let us rid ourselves of the belief that man is separated from God, and obey only the divine Principle, Life and Love.”  She goes on to say, “Here is the great point of departure for all true spiritual growth” (cit. S27/91:5).

 

We all need to be consciously growing mentally and spiritually all the time.  As children naturally grow out of their clothes and grow out of stages, we can consciously grow out of bad thought patterns, limitations, fears, divisive and judgmental thoughts, and false beliefs about life as originating and being trapped in matter.  It’s best to alertly “choke these errors in their early stages, if you would not cherish an army of conspirators against health, happiness, and success”, as Mary Baker Eddy encourages us to do (cit. S25/405:5-11, 18).

 

It’s easier to pull out a little weed than a big one that has had a chance to put down deep roots. But, because the Christ is ever-present and Love is infinite, it is never too late to change our view.  No matter how long you have looked out one window and seen only the clouds, it takes only an instant to turn, and discover the sunshine in the other direction.  It’s the same thing in mentally turning from the images of limited life in matter to see the infinitude and freedom of Life in Christ.  And what a game-changer it is to shift that thought (whether physical evidence has changed, or not)!  Eternal life is God’s gift — embodied by Jesus, our Master and Wayshower, and continually revealed by the living Christ. (cit. B11/ Rom. 6:23)

 

SECTION 6:  START NOW TO SHINE OUT A NEW SENSE OF LIFE IN CHRIST

 

I invite you to join me in pledging to be more alert in acknowledging the oneness with Life that is true for everyone.  As we check-in with God regularly (seek Mind’s direction, thank and praise our Source), we will find it more natural to respond to the light of the Christ and bear witness to the fuller and freer lives that are the expression of Life itself — and God’s gift.

 

Material circumstances have no power! Material testimony must be seen through as simply a distorted view! I’ll never forget the lessons I learned from watching a sunrise on a beach.  First, it seemed that the clouds were too thick. But, as I was about to give up, the sun rose above the clouds.  And then I learned the larger lesson as I observed how the rays of the sun moved as I moved, following me wherever I went.

 

The divine light of the Christ acts in the same way.  It enlightens the consciousness of each one of God’s ideas in just the way that is needed.  It took me a few days to witness this phenomenon because initially I was content to observe briefly through the window and then crawl back under the covers.  Getting up and standing in the light was worth the effort!  If only I could remember that all the time!  But, God’s grace is sufficient to break through the darkness of mortal belief.

 

As we desire to accept God’s gift, the light of Life that can’t be put out will shine brighter and brighter.  I love the encouragement that comes in this section (as we’ve seen elsewhere at other times) … “a knowledge of [the fact that “being is holiness, harmony, immortality”] even in a small degree, will uplift the physical and moral standard of mortals, will increase longevity, will purify and elevate character.  Thus progress will finally destroy all error, and bring immortality to light” (cit. S29/492:7-12). We don’t have to get it all right now.  But, the sooner we start and the more steadfast we are, the grander the view!  “The glory (light) of the Lord is risen upon YOU!” (cit. B13/Isa 60:1).  Nothing can stop the dawn!


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