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Find Your Heart Connection and Unite with Soul!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

for February 10-16, 2020

by Craig L. Ghislin, C.S. Glen Ellyn, IL (Bartlett)
craig.ghislincs@icloud.com / (630) 830-8683

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What does “Soul” mean to you? The most bizarre description I’ve ever heard is when someone said they always imagined soul as, “a vaporous white spot behind the heart that got splattered with a black spot for every sin.” Christian Scientists have an entirely different view of soul. Christian Science does not teach soul is a personal organ inside a body; nor do we feel that a soul is a personal identity within the body. In Christian Science Soul is a synonym for God. Yet, throughout my nearly thirty years as a Journal-listed Christian Science Practitioner, I have found that of all the seven synonyms Mary Baker Eddy has for God, Soul is the one that most people have questions about.

I’m not sure why Soul seems difficult to understand. Perhaps the answer lies in the question. Soul isn’t really related to intellect or understanding—Soul has to do with feeling and emotions. This can be seen in art, music, sport, and all creative activity. One can play a musical composition with machine-like precision, but so can a computer. It’s the soul of the individual that breathes life and feeling into the performance, and can move us to tears with its beauty. Soul is the essence that makes a performance, work of art, speech, composition, and even a meal memorable. To my sense, Soul is the heart of things—the foundation of our emotional life. The Leader and Founder of the Christian Science church, Mary Baker Eddy, reminds us quite often that intellectual proficiency pales in comparison to heartfelt compassion and love.

Being Valentine’s week it’s not surprising that there are several references in this Lesson that, at first glance, relate to love and marriage. This makes sense because as synonyms for God, Love and Soul go hand in hand. They both are about feeling rather than thinking, and you can’t have one without the other. As with a performance, one could also say that a person could mechanically do all the things they’re expected to do in a relationship, but the partner could still feel unloved if there is no Soul. In other words, if the heart connection just isn’t there, something is missing. The same goes with our relationship with God. God as Soul loves us authentically and unconditionally, but we need to have “soul” or heart, in our love for God too.

The Golden Text appears very pleasant and simple on the surface. But if you’ve ever read Hosea’s story, you will know that is not at all the case. We will explore the context of this passage further in Section 1, but for the moment, let’s look at the word “betroth.”

God is promising to pledge Himself to Israel as a husband to a pure young bride. John Calvin (1509-1564) also sees this passage as Christ’s espousal promise to his followers and his church:

"…all that Christ is, and has, are theirs; and a most marvellous and wondrous thing it is that he should betroth them to himself… and this relation will continue "for ever": the marriage covenant or contract is an everlasting one; the bond of union, which is everlasting and unchangeable love, is indissoluble; death cannot take place in either party; both shall live forever…"

Here we can certainly see the “heart connection” between God and man.

In the Responsive Reading the prophet Isaiah declares that the Spirit of God is upon him. Such a promise surely warms the heart, and fills us with a sense of safety, and trust in our Maker’s care and protection. Continuing the metaphor of the bride and bridegroom, Isaiah rejoices in this union with God.

John Gill (1697-1771) points out that this rejoicing:

"… is not a carnal one, or the joy of a carnal man in carnal things, it is spiritual; nor a pharisaical joy, a rejoicing in a man's self, in his own works of righteousness, for this "is in the Lord"; nor is it a hypocritical one, or only externally, for it is the soul that rejoices; and it is the joy of faith, or in the Lord, as "my God"; and a very great one it is, joy unspeakable, and full of glory…"

This is the joy that comes from our union with Soul. It purifies, embraces, sustains, protects, and loves us unconditionally. Unconditional love is an important point because to human sense, we, like the children of Israel, often behave without any regard for God. But that doesn’t stop God from caring for us. The robe of righteousness is lovingly placed around us to cover us, defend us from sin and evil, and lead us to salvation.

Isaiah also likens our relationship with God to the springing forth of new buds. We commonly think of buds as coming out on flowers, plants, and trees as they prepare to bloom. But the Hebrew meaning refers to “the germ or shoot, or the young tender plant as it comes up from the earth; that which first appears from the seed (Albert Barnes 1798-1870). Whether we think of our relationship with God as in a state of “winter,” or as a blade of new life emerging from the soil, the Love of Soul nurtures, and encourages us to bloom.

Everything in these verses, gives the impression of freshness. We’re even promised a “new name.” Another meaning of the Hebrew word translated as “name” is “character,” or “nature.” So, irrespective of where we are, Soul is ready to take us as His / Her own, and cherish us eternally. Even if it were possible for our “souls” to be splattered with the blackness of sin, God, the Soul of all, loves us as a groom betroths a bride, and sees us in our pure, unadulterated perfection [as did Jesus in the GEM of a wedding in Cana (B14, John 2).]

Section 1: Coexistence

This pure state of man is holiness—a condition that unites us with God, the Holy One (B1). That’s a beautiful thought. But despite a clear record of God’s care for them, the children of Israel had to be reminded regularly to be obedient, and to maintain a holy course (B2). We, too, need reminders. God promises to be with us, and that we would be with Him. But what do we do if we have strayed? Well, like the Israelites, we can start by keeping the Sabbath. More than going to church on Sunday, keeping the Sabbath is remembering to pause to spend time with God—to consecrate some portion of our lives to contemplation, prayer, and communion with God, and to nurture our heart connection with Him / Her.

Before going further it’s time to look at the context of the beautiful promise in the book of Hosea (B3). Though the image of God being betrothed to Israel is lovely, the fact is that the children of Israel were way “off the rails” as far as their devotions to God. It was so bad that Hosea refers to Israel as a harlot. The introduction to the book of Hosea in The Amplified Bible gives us a tempered down version of the situation: “Instead of responding in gratitude and love to God’s grace extended to them in material blessings, the Israelites used their crops in making offerings to idols. The injustice, bribery, mistreatment of others—all these reflect their laxity of love toward God as well as their fellow citizens.”

Hosea’s characterization of God as offering to betroth Israel is remarkable because it implies beginning again with a clean slate. It’s not a question of God forgiving the sins and misdeeds of Israel—it’s completely starting over with no mention of the past. Albert Barnes eloquently describes the relationship:

"…Hereafter God would make her wholly His, and become wholly hers, by an union nearer and closer than the closest bond of parent and child, that, whereby they are “no more twain, but one flesh;” and through this oneness, formed by His own indwelling in her, giving her Himself, and taking her into Himself, and so bestowing on her a title to all which is His. And this, forever."

This is an entirely new beginning. Have you ever felt that you’ve betrayed, or been estranged from God? If so, it’s a wonderful thing to realize God is ready to receive us unconditionally. And how do we return that love? With all our heart, and soul and might (B4). Deuteronomy 6:4, 5 contains what’s known as the Shema. Barnes explains: “This weighty text contains far more than a mere declaration of the unity of God as against polytheism; … It asserts that the Lord God of Israel is absolutely God, and none other. He, and He alone, is Jehovah (Yahweh) the absolute, …; the One who had, by His election of them, made Himself known to Israel.”

Heart, soul, and might had significant meaning for the Hebrews. The “heart” is mentioned as the seat of the understanding; the “soul” as the center of will and personality; the “might” as representing the outgoings and energies of all the vital powers. As strong as our love for God should be, God’s love for us is characterized as being like the sun. The phrase “Be as the sun” (B5)— refers to the noonday when the sun is hottest, the light is greatest, and in the summer solstice when it’s up the longest.

The relation of God and man are characterized as a marriage. Christ wed to the church, and man wed to the Christ, God as husband and creation as wife. In Hosea Israel, the wife, has been disloyal, and yet, God renews the relationship afresh as a groom betrothing a new bride. There’s no mention of past wrongs—just a complete fresh start. And God is one with man.

In Hosea, God is represented as being totally devoted to us. In Deuteronomy, man is returning the devotion and being asked to love God with all his heart, soul, and might. Mary Baker Eddy asks us, if we really know what that means, and if we are really willing to do it? (S2). Nothing we can say is clearer than our Leader’s own words in citations S3 through 5.

We exist in Soul, and we are Soul’s expression. We are one with Soul. It’s impossible to be divorced from this spiritual union because God and man coexist (S6).

Section 2: Going About Things the Right Way

That loving reciprocal bond between God and man—that heart connection that unifies us with the vitality of Soul—is the ideal. It’s great to contemplate, but as we all know we don’t always feel that way. Most of us are afraid to admit this because we have been taught to never admit vulnerability, and we don’t want to be judged as being weak, or not spiritual enough. But the psalmist is always completely in touch with his feelings. He regularly petitions God to hear him, and pours his heart out. He admits he is as thirsty for God as a parched land during a drought (B6). When he asks God to show him the way he is admitting he doesn’t know the way without God’s help.

So many of us are embarrassed that we don’t know the way. We think we should, and because we don’t, we worry that we must be doing something wrong. Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Honesty is spiritual power. Dishonesty is human weakness, which forfeits divine help” (SH 453:16-17). There is no shame in admitting you are puzzled, or feeling unsure about things. The Scriptures urge us to admit it, and then turn wholeheartedly to God for help.

To stretch out one’s hands to God is to assume the posture of a beggar. Anglican Bible Commentator John Trapp (1601-1669), points out that in this case, being a beggar isn’t the easiest and poorest trade, but the hardest and richest of all, because it assumes complete openness, humility, and recognition of the need for God’s help. Yet so many of us insist on doing things our way, and we suffer for it.

We can turn with outstretched hands to God in any situation. Abraham sends his servant out to find Isaac a wife (B7). The first thing he does is to pray for guidance. God orchestrates the entire journey. Also, everyone involved is spiritually responsive and listening to God. It’s no coincidence that the servant is led to Rebekah, and that she offers drink to the servant and the camels. She is clearly led by God to do so. It’s also important to notice that they gave her a choice whether or not to go with the servant. We always have a choice. She wasn’t coerced, or ordered to follow. Nor do we get the impression that she did “what she thought she should do.” She was simply following her heart and spiritual intuition.

Meanwhile, Isaac was praying deeply and devotedly. He had chosen a quiet place so he could be still and commune with God. Commenting on the virtues of a prayerful approach to our activities, theologian Adam Clarke (c1760-1832) writes:

"…How honorable in the sight of God is simplicity of heart! It has nothing to fear, and all good to hope for; whereas a spirit warped by self-interest and worldly views is always uncertain and agitated, as it is ever seeking that from its own counsels, projects, and schemes, which should be sought in God alone. In every place the upright man meets with his God; his heart acknowledges his Maker, and his Maker acknowledges him; …"

Mind, the Soul of all, governs all (S7). Soul is our essence and nature. Everyone in the account of the search for Isaac’s wife expresses qualities of obedience and goodness, purity and sweetness of character. You can’t have an understanding of Soul without having a connection to Love. Divine Love restores our spiritual sense—enables us to recognize goodness and virtue. Love leads in paths of righteousness (S8). Illumination of spiritual understanding is a capacity provided through Soul, which is recognized when human mind yields to the divine Mind (S9). Spirit imparts the understanding that leads to discernment of spiritual good (S10).

Scientific morale of marriage is spiritual unity. (S11). Unity is oneness—hence a union is making two into one. This is as true for God and man as it is in marriage. Webster also makes a distinction between a union and a connection, in that a connection implies an intervening body, as a cord or a chain, whereas a union is two things becoming one without anything in between. That’s significant because it doesn’t mean spouses are chained to each other, but that you are united in a way that supports each other’s wholeness. This applies equally to our relationship with God.

All true happiness is spiritual, and it’s unselfish. Spiritual happiness has to be shared (S12). Nothing in the spiritual qualities mentioned (S13) for true happiness has anything to do with wealth or status. It may seem that yielding personal will to God, and following divine law is restrictive, but the contrary is true. Soul is infinite, and therefore, when we yield to Soul’s direction we find unparalleled freedom.

Section 3: Contentment

When we’re listening to God and things are going smoothly we feel great. But what about when things aren’t exactly as we’d like? Contemporary commentator, Dr. Thomas Constable, writes, “Waiting is very difficult for most people, for it is an admission that there is nothing we can do at the moment to achieve our ends. Yet that admission is the first requirement for spiritual blessing. Until we have admitted that we cannot save ourselves, God cannot save us.”

At first glance, waiting for God, “in the way of [His] judgments” (B8) appears like something we would be happy to do. Desiring God “in the night”—the dark times— indicates a constancy of prayer. But several commentators suggest that “the way of his judgments” imply that God’s judgment, which may seem severe to us, is designed to turn us back to Him for help.

To think that God inflicts punishment with the intention of leading the people to righteousness is not quite how we would look at it in Christian Science. We know that God doesn’t make life hard so we will seek Him. However, we certainly tend to seek God more when life gets difficult. Much of our consternation comes from bitterness about our perception that though we have to be patient and wait for God, it feels to us like everyone else is getting whatever they want right away. The book of Hebrews cautions us about falling into this trap (B9). The author encourages us to keep an eye on the tenor of our conduct (B10), and to “Desire nothing more than what God has given you; and especially covet nothing which the Divine Providence has given to another man…” (Clarke).

Seventeenth century biblical expositor William Burkitt (1650-1703) expands on this idea: “Contentment is a gracious disposition of mind, whereby the Christian rests satisfied with that portion of the good things of this life which the wisdom of God assigns him, without complaining of the little which God gives to him, or envying the much which God bestows on others.”

It can be hard to be patient, and trust God’s care, when circumstances around us seem inequitable and unfair. But we can take comfort in Isaiah’s promise that “thy Maker is thine husband” and though “the mountains may depart and the hills be far removed…[God’s] kindness shall not depart from thee…” (B11). Once again, the analogy of God as a caring spouse eliminates the need for covetousness, jealousy, or impatience because God meets all our needs. Human spouses may leave, and mountains may wear away, but God’s love will never abandon us.

Mary Baker Eddy never pretended that we wouldn’t have disappointments and difficult times. Quite the contrary, she says, “The pains of sense are salutary” (S14), and she often warns us of the precariousness of human happiness. Her point is that while God doesn’t send the troubles to teach us life-lessons in order to turn us back to Him as traditional theology suggests, when troubles do come along for whatever reason, God is right at hand to save us. And let’s be honest, if everything always went smoothly, we would probably end up getting too comfortable, and start slacking in our prayer.

It doesn’t help us to compare ourselves to others. Mary Baker Eddy says, we run into trouble “when we divide Soul into souls and multiply Mind into minds” (S15). There is only one God, one Soul, and one Mind. So, there’s no need to worry about what others are doing, or thinking. With one Mind, one Soul, there’s no need for jealousy, envy, or criticism. When you think about it, all those bitter thoughts about others boil down to fear. Fear that we won’t get what we deserve, or that someone else is going to get what we want for ourselves.

One Mind leads away from covetousness and selfishness (S16). Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all be content in God and never want anything that isn’t ours? Material sense misunderstands, misinterprets, and mistakes what harmony and happiness is, and where they are. Physical sense can’t recognize what is good. But spiritual or, soul sense does. Soul’s resources are infinite, and we’ll be happier if we look to Soul for everything (S17).

Section 4: Christ Brings Inspiration to Every Situation

Isaiah represents God as having a delighted soul in His servant (B12). Some synonyms for “delight” are to adore, or to love. This brings to thought more marital or parental (we delight in our children) imagery. It’s a comfort to know that God adores us. Jeremiah likens God’s care for us to a watered garden (B13). Gardens need lots of care and attention. A well-tended, and watered garden is truly a labor of love.

What is the significance of Jesus’ turning the water into wine at the marriage in Cana (B14)? Scholars seem to focus on the details of why Jesus was at the wedding to begin with. They also point out that this is Jesus’ first miracle, and that while Jesus first mildly rebuked Mary’s mention of the wine, she soon backed off her role of mother, and quickly adopted a more reverential approach—calling for the servants to do whatever Jesus required of them. But what is the purpose of having this story in our Lesson this week?

I don’t know what the compilers had in mind, but for me, this story is a case in point of how the Christ is always present to improve a situation, and meet every need. Thomas Constable says it would have been a disgrace “never to be forgotten” if someone neglected to provide enough wine for wedding guests, therefore Mary knew that Jesus would be compassionate, and help to solve the problem. Constable also points out that Mary didn’t pressure Jesus, but she told the servants to cooperate if Jesus decided to act.

Commentators rightly point out as well, that this account is an example of how Christ is always present in every place; and on all festival occasions our deportment should be such as that we should welcome the presence of the Christ.

Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Jesus was the highest human concept of the perfect man” (S18). That’s because Jesus was truly at one with Soul—his true identity. You and I also find our true identity in Soul. Remember, it’s the essence of who we are. Jesus couldn’t separate himself from Soul, and therefore every situation he came upon was uplifted.

Our textbook defines “wine” as “inspiration and understanding” (S20). Not only weddings, but every activity we engage in could use some inspiration. We could also use some of that inspiration as we are wedded to each new spiritual idea that comes to us (S19). These inspirations change our standpoints of life, and we realize that Soul governs every aspect of our experience harmoniously. Jesus applied this Christly inspiration in his healing of sickness and sin (S22). Our Leader expected us to follow Jesus’ example (S23). So, take the time as you grow to let the Christ come to inspire you, and purify everything you do.

Section 5: Soul Never Dies

The psalmist truly has a “heart connection” with God. He blesses God with his soul—his whole being. Representing God in majestic attire, he recognizes the beauty and artistry embodied in Soul (B16). Lifting his soul to God also indicates a deep connection to God (B17). Trapp says this inscription has been found on synagogue walls: “a prayer without the intention of the affection, is like a body without a soul.”

We’ve touched on the need for the heart connection as an expression of Soul in performance, art, and prayer. It’s safe to assume that Dorcas (or Tabitha) certainly had that connection given her reputation for creating beautiful garments (B18). There’s quite a bit in the Lesson about beautiful garments. Mary Baker Eddy once spoke of putting on the Christly garments in order to heal as well. The beauty of a garment is a product of Soul. There is artistry there that reveals a true connection with spiritual ideas. Clothing is a personal statement. Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld said, “A respectable appearance is sufficient to make people more interested in your soul.” It’s been said that wearing the right clothes under the right circumstances is all about love—love for those around you, as well as love for yourself. Whatever we wear should be appropriate for the occasion, and not call attention to the outfit, but lead us to understand something of the person wearing it.

No doubt Dorcas was a marvelous talent, and she must have loved making her beautiful garments (B18). It’s clear that her fine work was an extension of her love for others. They in turn, surely loved her. Peter must have understood that heart/Soul connection as well. We can suppose that he truly lifted up his soul to God in prayer to understand that our works and our talents never expire.

Soul is immortal and so are we (S24). Mary Baker Eddy dismissed the general belief that man can be separated from God through death for even an instant. It’s curious that she uses the term “divorce” to describe this separation. There is no seam or rent in our relation to God, or to our talents (S25). Man’s identity is entirely spiritual. Every talent, every strength we have is a direct result of our oneness with God. We have no material form to lose or die out of. Our life is Soul, and as Soul’s reflection our individuality perpetually unfolds (S26). Admitting that we are God’s idea is like saying “I do” in a marriage. We are accepting our oneness with Him / Her. Our betrothal is forever, and our relationship is unbreakable (S27). Our identity, and our shining moments are all the radiance of Soul (S28).

Section 6: Rejoicing In the Holy Union

So get ready for a wedding! Put on those beautiful garments—your true identity—and be prepared for the Christ to turn some water into wine.

Isaiah again depicts our raiment as that of a bride and bridegroom decked out for a wedding (B19). It’s generally thought that this verse describes God’s relation to the church, but we are the church aren’t we? The bridegroom symbolizes strength and constancy, and the bride fruitfulness, beauty, and glory (Trapp). The robe also symbolizes protection from evil. We might say, “God’s got us covered!”

In context, the angelic victory cry comes after the enemy has fallen. It foreshadows the time when all will come together in the full acknowledgment of our eternal relationship with our Maker (B20).

When our textbook asks, “When will man pass through the open gate of Christian Science into the heaven of Soul?” (S29), I don’t get the feeling the author is wondering when God will come save us. It’s much more likely that she’s asking us when will we be ready to accept the proposal! One way, or another we will eventually turn from sense to Soul. Mary Baker Eddy intimates that God will compel us toward these changes (S30). This brings us back to what we considered in the beginning. God doesn’t send us problems to compel us into action. But the problems we face compel us to look to God for the solutions.

When we truly understand that God is the only creator, and the indelible nature of that relationship, we’ll see that we can never be divorced, or separated from good (S31) because we’re bound heart and soul to our Father-Mother—Husband-Wife—God.

Alleluia! Salvation is here, and our eternal union with Soul is realized!!

Mine precious GEMs from this Bible Lesson meant for you and yours! .[For more than two decades Warren Huff has enjoyed freely offering Christianly scientific application ideas from insights shared by Bible scholar Cobbey Crisler, poet Ken Cooper and others.] Blessings are "bound to abound" to all whenever we daily invite the application of priceless, inspiring gems from God's Word to "enrich the affections of all mankind and govern them" ("Daily Prayer," Church Manual, Mary Baker Eddy).


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