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Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

February 14, 2016

by Rick Stewart C.S., Dresden, Germany +49 351 312 4736

I moved to Germany virtually illiterate in the German language. Like most Americans I knew the word, “Gesundheit,” it was what we said when someone sneezes. But really nothing else. I learned German a little at a time as I took care of Noah. Playgrounds and grocery stores were my class rooms. I learned just like a small child would learn a language. Full understanding was seldom. I would pick up bits and pieces in a conversation. And every day I learned a little bit more. But there is one event that stands out clearly to me as an example of the light dawning and of complete understanding.

It was in a Sunday morning church service my first year in Germany in an Evangelical Lutheran church, Zionskirche, located here in Dresden's Sudvorstadt.

The Pastor was my wife's uncle, Michael Kanig. He was preaching on a Bible topic that was very familiar to me and I was getting the complete message. But it was not that I understood every word that made the message clear. It was the messenger. Uncle Michael spoke with a constant glitter of delight in his eyes. A smile accompanied every word he spoke. It was as if a light burned inside him and just poured forth. The message was not dark, difficult to understand, or sad. The message of that sermon gleamed, glistened, glittered, through every fiber of Uncle Michael's being. I understood and I found myself gleaming right back in delight and understanding. I found myself rejoicing in thought that this is exactly how the Gospel should be preached, reflecting the Light, the Glory, of the Good News. It reminded me of Bible examples, when Moses came down from the mountain with the Ten Commandments—or when Jesus came down from the mount of transfiguration. (Both experiences are in this week's lesson, citations B3 and B12!)

This is the “glistering” in this week's Bible Lesson. As we read the explanation of the original word translated as glistering, from Strong's Exhaustive Concordance. Greek, ἐξαστράπτω, exastrapto. To flash or gleam like lightning, be radiant.

It also was a radiant example of the Light that pours out through the entire Bible when it is read with understanding. The glistering, glistening, radiant, bright, presence of Soul shining forth right into daily existence and right through the dark, destructive elements of mortal existence.

It was this kind of appreciation for the shining, burning message of the Bible that inspired Pastor and Bible Scholar Eugene Peterson to write “The Message” paraphrase of the Bible. The Message does not rely on other English Bible versions, but was translated or paraphrased directly from the original Greek or Hebrew by Peterson. He writes of his work:

“While I was teaching a class on Galatians, I began to realize that the adults in my class weren't feeling the vitality and directness that I sensed as I read and studied the New Testament in its original Greek. Writing straight from the original text, I began to attempt to bring into English the rhythms and idioms of the original language. I knew that the early readers of the New Testament were captured and engaged by these writings and I wanted my congregation to be impacted in the same way. I hoped to bring the New Testament to life for two different types of people: those who hadn't read the Bible because it seemed too distant and irrelevant and those who had read the Bible so much that it had become “old hat.” “

“When Paul of Tarsus wrote a letter, the people who received it understood it instantly, When the prophet Isaiah preached a sermon, I can't imagine that people went to the library to figure it out. That was the basic premise under which I worked. I began with the New Testament in the Greek — a rough and jagged language, not so grammatically clean. I just typed out a page the way I thought it would have sounded to the Galatians.”[5]

The Message was published piecemeal over a nine-year period. The New Testament was published in 1993. The Hebrew Bible Wisdom Books were published in 1998. The Hebrew Bible Prophets were published in 2000. The Hebrew Bible Pentateuch were released in 2001. The Books of History came out in 2002. The entire Bible was released the same year and follows the traditional Protestant Biblical canon.”

And the wonderful thing is many people you would not necessarily expect were impacted by this glistering translation. In June 2002 the Navigators, the ministry group behind "The Message" publication, held a celebration which included showing videotaped testimonials from various fans of the book .The rock band U2 liked it! Lead singer Bono sent this greeting:

"Hi Mr. Peterson, Eugene. My name is Bono. I'm a singer with the group U2. I wanted to sort of video message you my thanks, and our thanks in the band, for this remarkable work you've done translating the Scriptures. Really, really a remarkable work."
"As a songwriter, it was very clear to me that you were a poet as well as a scholar. You brought the musicality to God's Word that I'm sure was there, was always there in intention.
"There have been some great translations, some very literary translations, but no translations that I've read that speaks to me in my own language. So I want to thank you for that."
"And it's been ten years, that's a long time, so take a rest now, won't you? Bye."

There was a similar effect when Mary Baker Eddy first published Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures in 1875! People wrote to her telling how their lives had been changed and how the Scriptures had come alive for them. The last 100 pages of Science and Health are made up of testimonies written by those healed simply by reading the book. And for 141 years this ongoing flow of healings has not ceased.

This enlightening effect of understanding more about God is also what this special lesson on Soul is all about. It lights us all up. An understanding of God as Soul shines through this whole lesson. It collects wonderful examples of Soul at work throughout the Bible: through Moses, Elijah, Jesus, and Paul. And it shows us how that same glistering, lightning flash is available for us right now, right where we are so we can also shine bright like a diamond. Enjoy!

Golden Text Isa. 60:1 [Download pic of prayer shawl 100s have worn in CedarS Bible Lands Park]
KJV – Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.

MSG (Message) – 1 Get out of bed, Jerusalem! Wake up. Put your face in the sunlight. God’s bright glory has risen for you.

NLT – “Arise, Jerusalem! Let your light shine for all to see. For the glory of the Lord rises to shine on you.

AMP – 1 Arise [from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you—rise to a new life]! Shine (be radiant with the glory of the Lord), for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you!

Responsive Reading Isaiah 60:19-21 and Matthew 5:14-16* The Message (MSG)

You’ll have no more need of the sun by day
nor the brightness of the moon at night.
God will be your eternal light,
your God will bathe you in splendor.
Your sun will never go down,
your moon will never fade.
I will be your eternal light.
Your days of grieving are over.

Matt 5:14-16 (The Message MSG)
"Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”

I remember a particular fishing trip with my father on the west coast of Florida near Ozello. Early in the day we had driven our boat to one of the last islands just before the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico. We anchored on the Gulf side of this small island and fished a small bay on the other side. In the early afternoon we walked the 100 yards back to our boat only to find it high and dry. The tide had gone out and left the boat on dry land. We were safe but unable to launch for the ride back to the mainland. Finally around midnight we had enough water under us to launch forth. It was a dark night and we had several miles to travel through an archipelago of small islands, oyster and mud shoals, and winding channels. Many times I went overboard to wade through the shallows and pull the boat with the motor raised. My dad and I were praying and listening the whole time. It is amazing what darkness can do to turn a familiar place into an unfamiliar labyrinth.

Our progress was slow. As I prayed, the idea of unerring direction from God came to mind. Remember in Psalms where it says, “even the night shall be light about me.” At this time it was about 2 a.m. Suddenly out of the pitch black I noticed a little light in the distance. I said to dad, “Let's steer to that light.” In about a half hour of motoring and at times wading through the water pulling the boat we were almost to the little light. We chugged into a small harbor about ten yards in diameter and tied up to a small dock. A man came out. It was about 2:30. We thanked him for his little light shining in the dark. He explained that he had been unable to sleep and had gotten up to read. His light? A 100 watt bare bulb hanging on his front porch. But it was enough. He explained we were only about 200 yards from where our car and boat trailer were parked. We had come five miles in the pitch black with only God as our guide and ended up 200 yards from our car! Even though we were close to our car we had to travel about a mile by water to the boat landing where we parked. The man jumped on board and knowing every channel drove us safely to the boat ramp.

You can imagine how grateful we were for that little light burning in the night! How important it can be to someone traveling in the dark of mortal existence that we heed the Master's call, “shine.” Like the song says, “This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine!” Glistering!

Section 1: Moses glistering in the Light of the Lord!
Citation B1 is from Psalms 84:11, “The Lord God is a sun and shield…” Warren, CedarS Executive Director and editor for these Met Newsletters says “that means no sun-damage with God a built-in shield or sun screen.”

This section tells us of the wonderful experience of Moses going up into Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments. “And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him. And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone;” (B3) [*Cobbey Crisler’s downloadable comments on B3 includes B5 too]

Citation B4 continues the theme “God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us” (Psalms 67:1) Have you ever noticed someone watching a brilliant sunrise or sunset? They often are so taken by the awesome beauty they are speechless and bathed in reflected light. Catching a glimpse of the Light of the Lord, glistering in the reflection of the Almighty is a little like that to me.

The citations from Science and Health for this section amplify this concept of God as the Sun,

“Spirit is God, Soul; therefore Soul is not in matter. The universe reflects and expresses the divine substance or Mind; therefore God is seen only in the spiritual universe and spiritual man, as the sun is seen in the ray of light which goes out from it. “ (S3) 300:23 (only), 28–31

“SUN. The symbol of Soul governing man, — of Truth, Life, and Love.” (S5) 595:1 1

Thinking of God as shining forth and man reflecting this Light of the Lord as Moses did lift us out of the belief of soul as a little, indwelling spirit.

Section 2: Elijah and Jesus, The still, small voice calling Peace, be still.
Wow, what a section! This is like a concert with two headliners! Elijah and the “still, small voice” and Jesus with the “Peace, be still.”

How does this theme of God's stillness and peace ending chaos fit into our concept of Soul as shining forth in the universe? Well, let's look at some of the Science and Health citations.

S 10 | 559:8–12 “ The “still, small voice” of scientific thought reaches over continent and ocean to the globe’s remotest bound. The inaudible voice of Truth is, to the human mind, “as when a lion roareth.” It is heard in the desert and in dark places of fear.

S 11 | 96:11–15, 27 “The darkest hour precedes the dawn.” This material world is even now becoming the arena for conflicting forces. On one side there will be discord and dismay; on the other side there will be Science and peace. “

There was a wonderful posting on TMC Youth from the Mother Church this week. It was in answer to the question, Is God real? When things seem completely out of control, chaos seems to reign supreme is it possible to find an answer to that question. Well, there is nothing quite like personal experience on that one! Jennifer McLaughlin, a practitioner, [CedarS Main Camp camper,] and Publishers Agent for the Writings of Mary Baker Eddy, shared her experience from college times.

Jen wrote, “Yes, God is real. (And totally good.) But the more-important question is, Why is this important? What difference will it make to you?”

My sophomore year in college, I was convinced there wasn’t a God. Although I’d been raised in a Christian Science Sunday School, life at that time was really hard: A physical problem diagnosed as incurable, parents divorcing, crew practice grueling, hard classes, no friends. In short, I was miserable and blamed it all on the fact that, surely, there must not be a God.

For about 6 months I continued being miserable. But then, out of desperation after being sick for a week, I called a Christian Science practitioner. She prodded me to actively consider what I was grateful for and be proactive about it. I resisted at first, thinking it was lame, but then over the course of several days I saw the value in that type of thinking and how it was shifting my overall perspective.

I realized how much I could thank God for, and everything changed. I mean everything. I’d been sick in bed for a week and after one phone call with this practitioner, I was healed and immediately got out of bed. School became fun; crew improved. My parents’ divorce was friendly (and right). Years later I was healed through Christian Science prayers of that supposedly “incurable” disease. I’ve had hundreds more convincing proofs of God’s presence and goodness.

Now, I’m totally confident God is real. How am I so sure? Well, it’s a feel. It’s a certainty of goodness, warmth, love. I just know God is present. The times I feel closest to God are when I’m still so I can hear His voice. Sometimes that quiet voice has led me to something awesome, other times it’s kept me from doing something stupid. God’s always talking to us—the question is, are we listening? Are we willing to put aside human will and plans and really listen to God’s good, guiding voice? What goodness in your life points to the fact that God is real?

Section 3: The glistering glow, a glimpse of Soul's immortality?
Okay, what is this glister, this glow, this Light of Soul? Isn't it a glimpse, a moment of eternity, of the spiritual laws of the universe shining through? In this section Jesus empowers his disciples to heal, encourages them to deny a false, mortal sense of existence and to take up the cross daily and follow him. Where was he leading? What did he show them? Elias (Elijah) and Moses. Elijah lived in the 9th century B.C. Moses some say was born, 1393, others living in 1500 B.C. Jesus dates the Christian era, so he would have been born around the change from B.C. to A.D. So isn't there a special glow of immortality, life not limited by bodily existence, or defined in bodily terms? Something to think about for sure.

Citation B12 states “Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me… after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering. And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias:” Luke 9:1, 2, 23, 28–30 after, 32–35 [* See CC comments on the coming together of the law, prophets and gospel in this Transfiguration experience.]

Science and Health citations continue to explain the reason for our immortal glow: “Only by losing the false sense of Soul can we gain the eternal unfolding of Life as immortality brought to light.” (S19) 335:22

“Mortals must follow Jesus’ sayings and his demonstrations, which dominate the flesh. Man is the idea of Spirit; he reflects the beatific presence, illuming the universe with light. Man is deathless, spiritual. He is above sin or frailty. He does not cross the barriers of time into the vast forever of Life, but he coexists with God and the universe.” (S20) 266:24–25, 27 24

Section 4: Saul becomes Paul in a flash of Light! And the world changes.
How powerful is this Light of the Christ. Well let's really think about what happened when Saul of Tarsus was converted to Paul the Apostle. [* In Acts 9 (B13)] we read that Saul of Tarsus, a very devout Jew, was doing everything he could to bring down the movement of those following Christ Jesus. He was totally committed to what he saw as a divine mission.

For example, Acts 7*, when Stephen was martyred, “they all rushed at him (Stephen), dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul… And Saul was there, giving approval to his death. Acts 8*, “Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison.” Acts 22, “I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, as also the high priest and all the Council can testify. I even obtained letters from them to their brothers in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.”

This persecution of Christians, as portrayed in the book of Acts via his own testimony, was relentless—though he thought sincerely he was doing Jehovah’s will (23:1; 26:9). Pursuing the saints even unto foreign cities (26:11), he beat, imprisoned, and had them put to death (22:19). Later he would write that “beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and made havoc of it” (Galatians 1:13). The horrible memories of these vicious attacks would linger with the apostle the rest of his life. (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:9; Ephesians 3:8; 1 Timothy 1:15).

But we know that Paul's aim to exterminate Christianity from the face of the earth was to radically change. And the record of how that occurred is as amazing as it is inspiring. The flash of light that blinded Paul? Mrs. Eddy writes about Paul's experience, ”When the truth first appeared to him in Science, Paul was made blind, and his blindness was felt; but spiritual light soon enabled him to follow the example and teachings of Jesus, healing the sick and preaching Christianity throughout Asia Minor, Greece, and even in imperial Rome.“ (S23) 324:20

“It is the illumination of the spiritual understanding which demonstrates the capacity of Soul, not of material sense. This Soul-sense comes to the human mind when the latter yields to the divine Mind.” (S25) 85:2

I guess you could say there is hope for all of us, right? There is no limit to the power of the Lord God Almighty to bring us all to the Light. I remember my brother Scott saying to me one time after he had had a remarkable healing and would afterwards apply for and take class instruction in Christian Science, “Well you know some of us just have to get hit on the head,” or come to the Light!

Section 5: “The Light is spiritual Life… which is “the light of men.”
The line of Light… Arise, shine; for thy light is come… Get out of bed, Jerusalem! Wake up. Put your face in the sunlight. God’s bright glory has risen for you…”Ye are the light of the world…Let you light so shine before men, that they may see your good works… the Lord God is a sun and shield…when they saw Moses, behold the skin of his face shone… Sun. The symbol of Soul governing man…Immortality, exempt from age or decay has a glory of its own, –the radiance of Soul…not in the wind, not in the earthquake, not in the fire…in the “still, small voice… Peace, be still… the reality of Life, the control of Soul over sense… And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering… And, behold there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias… And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son; hear him… Man is the idea of Spirit; he reflects the beatific presence, illuming the universe with light… Man is deathless, spiritual… as Paul journeyed suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven… Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost… spiritual light soon enabled him to follow the example and teachings of Jesus, healing the sick and preaching Christianity… It is the illumination of the spiritual understanding which demonstrates the capacity of Soul… and there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars… And there appeared another wonder in heaven, a great red dragon… and the great dragon was cast out… And the earth helped the woman… The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?… The woman in the Apocalypse symbolizes generic man, the spiritual idea of God… The spiritual idea is clad with the radiance of spiritual Truth… The light portrayed is really neither solar nor lunar, but spiritual Life, which is the “light of men… in this age the earth will help the woman; the spiritual idea will be understood… Man is the expression of Soul.

The healing that brought my family to Christian Science took place in 1919. My mom, 18 months old, was acutely ill with a fever that the local doctor thought would prove fatal. He told my grandmother that if by any chance her little girl survived the night, she would never walk. During this time my grandmother thought of a fellow Czech immigrant and called asking for her prayers. This woman had a copy of Science and Health. My mom did not die and she was not crippled, she was healed. How grateful my grandmother must have been that this new student of Christian Science was willing to let her little light shine. The darkness of hopelessness was shattered with the light of hope and healing. This little Light.

I often think of my father and I trying to find our way home at night through the maze of channels and islands at the edge of the Gulf of Mexico. Our Father's guidance and one man turning on a 100-watt light bulb in the middle of the night brought us safely home. This little Light.

Some years ago a dear friend, Sarah Hedin, was serving as Senior Flight Attendant on a flight from Los Angeles returning to London. Half of the cabin crew, including Sarah, was on a break and in their bunks in the tail of the 747. Suddenly the aircraft encountered heavy turbulence and as Sarah expressed it, “started to dance around rather vibrantly.” And it just seemed to get more and more violent and loud. Sarah started to pray big time. She thought of Mrs. Eddy's poem, that we know as Hymn 207, “O Gentle Presence.” She was really feeling and being each word, “O Gentle presence, PEACE and JOY and POWER: She let each idea occupy her thought, more than the violent jumping around of the plane. The aircraft suddenly dropped and Sarah had a feeling of letting go. As Sarah checked on her other colleagues and reassured them the plane came out of the turbulence. A little while later one of the young stewardesses said to her, “I was really frightened and then I looked at you and you were smiling and it was OK.” Sarah told me, “That smile I believe to be those angel thoughts of peace and joy and power shining through me.”

I would have loved to see Sarah's face as she contemplated those truths. This little Light.

Hymn 51 from the Christian Science Hymnal tells us, “Man is the noblest work, His beauty, power, and grace, Immortal; perfect as his Mind, Reflected face to face.”

I would have loved to have seen Moses' face as he came down from the Mount. I would have loved to see Elijah's face as he stood at the entrance to the cave. I would have loved to see Jesus' face as he spoke with Moses and Elias. I would have loved to see Paul's face as Ananias spoke to him of Jesus.

But after all, each was just reflecting Soul's clear light and we can do that also. So, I look forward to our next meeting, because I know that the next time we meet, you are going to let your little Light shine. I bet you will be really glistering!

* [W: You can download insightful, Bible commentaries by B. Cobbey Crisler on this and other citations as listed in the upper right corner of CedarS online version of this Met. I hope to add more CC insights from Acts & Revelation throughout Monday, February 8th.]

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