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A Lesson Sermon Met on: “Soul and Body” Nov. 17-23, 2003
by Gary Duke, C.S. (St. Louis)

Soul is the 7th Bible Lesson, Soul and Body is the 21st and they are repeated the second half of the year. Have you ever pondered Mrs. Eddy’s inclusion of both?

Golden Text (Glorify God): Since all true qualities are derived from God, may we ever take personal credit for any good? Rather, like a truthful writer, we should accurately quote, footnote, and acknowledge the Source. “…glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
(I Cor. 6:20) A modern day preacher said, “Do not seek glory for yourself; the quiet reward is sweeter.” (Henri Nouwen, Sentinel 11/10/2003, p.22)

Responsive Reading (Peace): If we’re glorifying God to the best of our ability, the RR says we find peace in many ways:
1. Forget Past: “forgetting those things which are behind” (living in the now; forgiveness of sin ~ 3rd Tenet);
2. Revelation: “God shall reveal even this unto you” (we can trust God will reveal what we need to know, when we need to know it);
3. Conversation: “for our conversation is from heaven” (we don’t worry about what we’re going to say or if we’re going to be perceived as intelligent, funny, clever or cool);
4. Glorious Body: “change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body” (acknowledge and radiate comeliness)
5. Rejoice: “rejoice in the Lord alway” (there’s never an excuse why we can’t rejoice with the omnipresent goodness of God at hand).

Section 1 (Identity): Who are you? “Identity is the reflection of Spirit, the reflection in multifarious forms of the living Principle, Love. Soul is the substance, Life, and intelligence of man, which is individualized, but not in matter. Soul can never reflect anything inferior to Spirit.” (#4 S&H 477:20) Until one identifies himself spiritually, material consciousness provides a matter based script and directs the various actors starring as sinners, those who are sick and dying. Why experience the grief and snarls of wrong identity? Instead, strive to know Soul ~ true substance, Life and intelligence which have nothing to do with matter.

Section 2 (Body is Mortal Mind): “The material body, which you call me, is mortal mind, and this mind is material in sensation…” (#7 S&H 416:16) How come we can feel so relaxed around loved ones and dear friends? Isn’t it because we’re cherishing spiritual qualities and being cherished rather than focusing on body, judgment and comparison? This concept is captured in the following statement by Mrs. Eddy, “One marvels that a friend can ever seem less than beautiful.” (S&H 248:4) Children are naturally oblivious to the body and express genuine Soul. So what’s the solution? “Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 18:3,4)

Section 3 (Observe Mind Not Body): Sometimes, aren’t we more interested in form over substance? Like just wanting good grades instead of knowledge and wisdom; or wanting to be seen with a certain person rather than just for the pleasure of their company; or being known for what we wear or have, rather than who we are? King Jeroboam of Israel had the same challenge. (#10 I Kings 13) He was more worried about maintaining power than doing right, which lead him to encourage his people to worship golden calves. When a holy man confronted Jeroboam, the king’s arm became paralyzed. After appealing to the holy man, the arm of King Jeroboam was restored. In like manner, if we become paralyzed in some way in the worship of our golden calves, we too can appeal to Mind, our true substance, and find restoration.

Section 4 (Grace Overcomes Sensualism): When feeling lustful, we can pray fervently for growth in grace (S&H 4:3) Mrs. Eddy breaks grace down into 4 elements and let’s see how the citations in this section match up:
1.Patience: “If spiritual sense always guided men, there would grow out of ecstatic moments a higher experience and a better life with more devout self-abnegation and purity.” (#18 S&H 7:18) The reward of patiently (consistently, daily) nurturing spiritual sense is that our ecstatic moments (marital relations; babies born; success at work, home, school or sports…memorable moments) lead away from self and leave us feeling more pure.
2. Meekness: “Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ?… What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (#13 I Cor. 6:15,19) The Message translates this, “The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.” (p. 2073)
3. Love: “The miracle of grace is no miracle to Love.” (#16 S&H 494:15) Let Love be reflected in human love and grace will abound.
4. Good Deeds: “Flee fornication.” (#13 I Cor. 6:18) “The good in human affections must have ascendancy over the evil and the spiritual over the animal, or happiness will never be won. The attainment of this celestial condition would improve our progeny, diminish crime, and give higher aims to ambition.” (#19 S&H 61:4) It’s not enough to know about grace, we must take the human footsteps to “flee” wrongdoing and perform good deeds.

Section 5 (Life and Man Survive Death): Many, me included, have known others declared clinically dead who were revived. During their experiences, the “dead” realized they were still alive while maintaining their own identity, body and proceeding on with life until brought back to this experience. “Death Did Not End My Life,” by Howard Johnson, CSB (Sentinel, 7/2/2001, p.6) illustrates this point, corroborating what Mrs. Eddy says, “If you take away this erring mind, the mortal material body loses all appearance of life or action, and this so-called mind then calls itself dead; but the human mind still holds in belief a body, through which it acts and which appears to the human mind to live, – a body like the one it had before death. This body is put off only as the mortal, erring mind yields to God, immortal Mind, and man is found in His image.” (#24 S&H 187:27)

Section 6 (Transfiguration): Transfiguration is defined as, “A change in form or appearance; metamorphosis…An exalting, glorifying, or spiritual change.” (Webster) Peter, James and John saw this happen to Jesus, with his face shining, his clothes filled with light, talking with Moses and Elijah (Elias in Greek; #22 Matt. 17:1-9) What did it all mean? Paraphrasing Dummelow (The One Volume Bible Commentary, p.683) it had many meanings:
1. Comfort: the disciples could find comfort in this event during the impending trials of the crucifixion and beyond.
2. Son: Christ Jesus was revealed as the Son of God.
3. Purpose: Moses represented law; Elijah the prophets; Jesus the Christ which is “the end of the law and the object to which all prophecy pointed, therefore the great purpose of these had now been fulfilled; all which was declared in the fact that, after their testimony thus given, Moses and Elias disappear, while Christ only remains.”
4. Bright Cloud: divine presence as in the pillar of cloud and fire in the wilderness, the cloud that filled Solomon’s Temple and that which rested upon the ark called the Shechinah.
5. New Testament: “Hear ye him” suggested that the Old Testament was to be superseded by the new.
Daily, we have the privilege of personal transfiguration, finding in the midst of every challenge spiritual comfort, sonship, our Christly purpose, borrowed light from the bright cloud of spirit casting away dark fear and offering a new testament in all we think, say and do.

Section Summary Benediction:
To the degree we glorify God, we find peace. As we correctly identify body as mortal mind and observe Mind not body, we experience grace overcoming sensuality. As we truly understand that Life and man survive death, we will experience daily transfiguration to a greater degree.

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