Thank you for another best summer yet!

Shine with the reflected light of Spirit!

 

Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

Spirit

February 3-10, 2013

Prepared by Kathy Fitzer, CS

kathyfitzer@gmail.com      314-323-4083

 

As I studied this lesson on Spirit, I was struck by all the references to light and illumination, but also by the many references to the “spirit of God” or the “spirit of the Lord.”  We often think of Spirit (or of that which is spiritual) in contrast to matter (or that which is material.)  But, I have found that just thinking about Spirit as the “opposite” of matter can seem nebulous and abstract to me.  And, I KNOW that is not the case.  Spirit is very substantial.  It is the very essence of being.  So, I have searched for a way that can make it seem more real and tangible to me.  I love how this lesson ties Spirit to light, because I can really identify with light.  I can see light and see the effects of the presence of light.  I realized I can also feel the presence of a spirited individual.  Such a person enlivens (and enlightens) the atmosphere of a room.  How visible — and what light the spirit of fans bring to a sporting event (like the “Super Bowl” that just grabbed the attention of so many in the United States.)  Between the dictionary and the list published by MyBibleLesson a couple of years ago, I enjoyed considering these words associated with Spirit: enthusiasm, fervor, zeal;  courage, bravery, fortitude; motivating force, essence, standards; morale; light, dominion, gratitude, renewal, substance, omnipresence, omnipotence, endurance, unfoldment (and many others!)  Spirit is NOT abstract!  Its light reveals reality — and sets us free from all bondage!

 

Golden Text:  It shouldn’t be surprising that, in Job, the life given to us by Spirit is linked to the “breath of the Almighty.”  The English word spirit comes from the Latin spiritus, which means “breath.”  We breathe because we are alive. We live because God lives. And if infinite God gives us breath, what could possibly take it away, impair, or limit it?   What God gives never changes!  Do we breathe through lungs, or are we dependent on a material heart and blood to carry oxygen through our bodies?  No. Rather, the human expression of body appears to have properly functioning lungs and oxygen freely flowing through blood because God has given us breath.  The mortal picture is a counterfeit of the original.  We shouldn’t judge our well-being (be it good or bad,) according to the counterfeit, but stay focused on God’s creation.  Bring the mortal picture in line with that.  God’s gift is forever, and forever unlimited!  Accept this bountiful gift!  And, see the breath of the Almighty in everything… health that doesn’t decline, a job or career that can’t stagnate, vibrant relationships, negotiations that don’t stall, and an economy that can’t fail.  The omnipresent gusto of the Almighty gives life to ALL!

 

Responsive Reading:  Light seems to be such an important factor in how we view things and in how we feel.  I really admire those who live in areas that spend months in long hours of relative darkness.  Those who thrive in those conditions must have learned something about what Isaiah speaks of here…. the sun doesn’t give you light (not even light bulbs give us light 😉 but “the Lord will be your everlasting light.” (Isa. 60: 19 NIV)  “The spirit of the Lord God is upon me” is recognition that we have been anointed with the fullness of God’s blessings.  It is this anointing, and the unity that we have with God, that fill us with the light that inspires, lifts, and invigorates us, regardless of the climate or other conditions surrounding us.  The last verses show us all the reasons we have for rejoicing.  God is graciously and abundantly caring for His people, and will certainly cause us to prosper as a well-fertilized garden flourishes and brings forth fruit.  Rejoicing (singing praises for the least and biggest blessings, even those yet unseen) fills our hearts with light as naturally as turning on the brightest spotlight fills a room with light and reveals the fullness of Spirit’s creation.

 

Section 1: Spirit’s creative illumination

We read in Genesis that light was the first thing created as “the spirit of God moved upon the face of the [dark] waters of the earth.” (B-1)  Why was that so important?  Because without light, things present can’t be seen, and without light there is no reflection.  The Psalmist assures us that “the glory of the Lord [God’s shining magnificence] shall endure for ever.” (B-2)  There is only one creative force… only one Mind, one Spirit… and no other “might or Mind” exists in this allness. (S-2)  Man reflects this creative Spirit.  As we read in Job, “there is a spirit in man”… Spirit reflected in man and fully expressed by him… “and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.” (B-3)  The Christian Science textbook explains that “Man is the idea of Spirit; he reflects the beatific presence, illuming the universe with light.” (S-7)  This reflected light is seen as inspiration, hope, wisdom, creativity, etc.  The light, the insight and understanding, doesn’t come from us, from brain-power or accumulated human experience.  Matter couldn’t have been made by Spirit (its opposite) so it can’t have anything to do with the expression of Spirit’s light (inspiration.)  Because it is Spirit that animates us, we can’t do anything of ourselves.  Why yield to the temptation to feel the pressure, or the pride, to come up with some brilliant answer or solution?  Our job is to respond to the light of Spirit, not try to re-create light.  Comics often illustrate someone having a good idea by showing a light bulb above the character’s head.  Think about continually having the light of Spirit shining all around you…. enabling you to reflect inspired thoughts and enlightened understanding.  No more moments of impenetrable darkness or dead-ends because “Spirit is the life, substance, and continuity of all things.” (S-1)  Continuity… with no blackouts, no interruptions, no loss.  Nothing can prevent your shining!!

 

Section 2:  The shielding presence of the light of Love

As a Christian Scientist, are you ever tempted to feel alone in your stand to honor Spirit only in your refusals to bow down to the multitude of matter’s “image[s] of gold?”  The three young Hebrew men [all about 18 years old] would have saved themselves a lot of hassle if they had just gone along with the crowd and bowed to the image of King Nebuchadnezzar while knowing in their hearts that they would never really honor anything but their Hebrew God.  But, if they hadn’t been willing to go through this fiery experience, would they have known for sure that their God was powerful enough to save them?  And, certainly the king would not have seen such clear evidence of God’s presence. (B-5)  I hadn’t before associated this story with Paul’s instructions to the Thessalonians.  The command to “rejoice evermore” includes the message to maintain our joy “in the midst of affliction.” (New Interpreter’s Bible)  The Hebrew teens did that.  “Quench not the Spirit.”  Whenever we “go along” with the currents of matter, we’re more or less siding with matter’s limitations.  And, to one degree or another, we are quenching (or stifling) the authority of Spirit.  Paul instructs us to “prove all things.”  The Greek for “prove” can be translated, try or examine.  So, Paul isn’t saying to blindly accept anything.  It’s good to think for yourself.  Look at your options, but be wie and honest about that examination (rather than being sucked in by advertisements, empty promises, or the apparent glamour of something.)  And then, hold on to what is really good, consistently good, without ups and downs.  Isn’t this what the Hebrew young men did?  And, by doing so, their “whole spirit and soul and body” was “preserved blameless.” (B-6)  Not even the smell of smoke remained… no scar or lingering memory, [“no portion, nor right, nor memorial” (Neh. 2:20].  We can have the same experience.  The fourth “man” that the king saw in the fire was identified as “like the Son of God.” [B-5, Dan. 3:25]  Might we think of this “fourth man” as the light of Christ… as an illumination so bright that no darkness (death or injury) could possibly quench (extinguish) it or harm those in its presence?  Mrs. Eddy says we need to “love God supremely” if we want to “avail [ourselves] of the power of Spirit.” (S-8, 167:17)  Whether you believe that this Bible story really happened or not, we have plenty of other examples (in our own experience, or the experiences of others) of being in the fire but only being blessed by the experience… with only the bindings being burned off.  I think it’s safe to say that we are all tempted to bounce back and forth at times between relying on matter and relying on Spirit.  We do the best we can do at each moment.  But, ultimately there’s only one reliable “master.”  The more carefully we obey the law of God (starting with the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount), the more we are “with the Lord” and “absolutely governed by divine Love, — by Spirit, not by matter.” (S-9)  And the more we dwell secure in the light of Love, — the light of Christ.

 

Section 3: Oneness with Spirit — forever and always

Jesus demonstrated through his healing works the inseparable nature of God and man.  His teachings also consistently emphasized this indivisible oneness.  It is likely that Jesus chose to read Isaiah’s prophecy not only to show the Jews that the Messiah had come, but to help them understand that everything Jesus did was only possible because of his unity with his Father.  He read, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me …”  Thinking again of the attributes of Spirit, we  can translate this to mean that the inspiration, goodness, power, dominion, light, and presence of God was on Jesus — enabling him to preach and to heal. (B-7)  Later, when helping his disciples understand what they must do to follow his example, he told them plainly, “It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless.  The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” (B-8, NRSV)  His life-giving words were words of illumination, permanency, freedom, which revealed the permanence, omnipresence, and omnipotence of an incorporeal God.  We can’t base our understanding or actions on what the flesh (corporeal body or limited view) is telling us.  Matter is darkness.  Jesus identified himself as the “light of the world.” This light reveals the reality that mortal mind’s opacity would try to hide.  Jesus understood his oneness with God, His Father… his oneness with Spirit.  This expressed oneness is the Christ that has always existed… “before Abraham” and for always! (B-9 & B-10, S-15) Jesus hoped that his crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension (his being lifted up) would reveal beyond a doubt that God was the authority behind the works.  Oneness is inherent in the concept of reflection.  A reflection is an idea expressed, or an image of an original that always moves in accord with that original and can’t do or be anything that the original is not or doesn’t do.  If the surface on which the reflection is seen is disturbed or marred, the reflection may appear to be different from the original, but the problem is in the reflective surface (the mirror)… not with the original or the reflection.  So, if we are always looking in the mirror of Science (the mirror of Truth, or the essence of God) we won’t be fooled by distorted appearances. (S-16)  To me, the most helpful illustration of our oneness with God remains the metaphor of the ray of light and the sun.  You just can’t have one without the other; and they can NOT be separated.  That’s our relationship to God.  Hymn 14 tells us to “arise and shine” because the day has already dawned on us. It continues, “God is thy sun, and Christ thy light, Be thou a steadfast ray.”  As long as we start from the basis of our oneness (our harmony) with God, being a steadfast ray isn’t ever too hard!  As I remember Warren saying often, “Nothing is as stress-free as a reflection.”  So, know that the Spirit is always on YOU, as it was on Jesus…. and you, too, will shine and sparkle with borrowed light!

 

Section 4: The liberty of Spirit

What can be more liberating than the realization that we are all governed by a law of Good, — the law of Spirit?  The Bible tells us that the woman who had been ill for 18 years couldn’t lift up herself. (B-12)  No, — we can’t lift up (heal) ourselves.  Jesus was clear that God, Spirit, does the healing.  So, in laying his hands on her, wasn’t he simply acknowledging her independence from anything that isn’t good, — identifying her properly as the child of God?  Sometimes we give someone who’s having trouble a hug or a pat on the back, in an attempt to encourage them.  What if that touch was accompanied with the authority and light of Christ? — With a genuine recognition that God has made all of His children free, –given them light!  (B-11)  Paul wrote to the Corinthians “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (B-14, NRSV)  Mrs. Eddy quotes this verse at the end of a statement that we’ve had in our Lessons a lot lately… “Man is tributary to God, Spirit, and to nothing else.  God’s being is infinity, freedom, harmony, and boundless bliss.” (S-19)  In other words, we are free because we are subject to, and only under the control of: infinity (inexhaustibility and boundlessness); freedom (the unlimited state of not being imprisoned or enslaved); harmony (agreement or concord); and boundless bliss (perfect happiness or spiritual blessedness.) (S-19, 481:3)  Wherever any condition of inharmony appears to exist, we should respond by joyously acknowledging the tangible presence of Spirit… filling all space and touching every consciousness.  All we’re ever dealing with is thought!  “A material body only expresses a material and mortal mind.” (S-22)  The body is just an objective state of thought.  So, whether we’re dealing with a physical body, a governmental or church body, the body of a business or relationship, we can “embrace” that body in thought and “delineate” (draw) on it thoughts of health, and not sickness.  In taking charge this way and identifying Mind as the only cause, we are able to see the effect of Christian Science (the Science of Christ) on the body.  The “sunlight of Truth” (the Christ-light) “stir(s) the human mind” (S-23)… lifting it above the layers of dirt, dust and mud that would obscure reality.  In the presence of this light, nothing unlike God, Spirit, can survive.  [See the end of a 2009 Thanksgiving Met for Warren’s healing of cancer with word by word application and inspiration of citation S-23, p. 162]  Regardless of what the distortion calls itself, no matter what scary name has been attached to the darkness, it is no match for the light of Christ.  Bathed in this light, all must experience freedom from every form of bondage!

 

Section 5:  The light of spiritual sense

Remember the [cartoon] “light bulb” of inspiration?  Spirit shines and illumines consciousness so Christ, Truth, can be seen.  Jesus illustrated the fullness of God’s nature (the Christ).  And now, the Holy Spirit continues to reveal that nature, but not through human knowledge.  The knowledge of Spirit is the freely-given gift from God to all.  We all have access to it. (B-17)  The gift is a light that is so omnipresent and so good that all darkness and evil are completely eliminated by it. (B-18)  This light can only be perceived by the spiritual senses (what we feel and know and have been taught through Christ.)  We all have spiritual sense.  We just need to exercise it.  There’s lots of talk today about exercising our bodies in order to make them strong and toned.  If we as diligently exercise (consistently use) the information given to us by the “spirit which is of God”, we will discover the limitless, enduring good that is inherent in Spirit, — and that is truly substantial, with no down side. (S-27)  We read in the Christian Science textbook that in order to advance spiritually, we must strive to enter “the presence and power of the Most High.” (S-28 & S-29)  The door is open, — in fact, this presence is all there really is.  We don’t need to stay in the dark.  God, Spirit, is infinite light and has commanded that light to shine!  The Christ-light comes to the human consciousness and naturally dispels all darkness.  No darkness can resist such light!  That’s God’s story!  Let’s stick to it!


[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 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:

CedarS Camps Office,
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Or for calling us at 
636-394-6162 to give a monthly pledge or a single, credit or debit card gift.]

[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, 12-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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