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[Get rid of the "do-it-yourself" life, and live the life of Spirit to the fullest!]
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

for Sunday, August 7, 2016

by Kerry Jenkins, CS, House Springs, MO
(314) 406-0041

In thinking through this beautiful lesson on Spirit I came across these passages in the New Living Translation, and in The Message. One part of them is included in citation B23, but it is only a small part. So I hope you'll forgive this lengthy inclusion of both translations of this passage: NLV—Romans 8:12-17 (“dear" to 2nd.) "…dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God's Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him "Abba, Father." For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God's children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God's glory."

The Message: "So don't you see that we don't owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There's nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God's Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!

This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It's adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike "What's next Papa?" God's Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what's coming to us—unbelievable inheritance!"

So why this quotation? This lesson is full of the inspiration (breath) of Spirit, the wealth and satisfaction of Spirit, the health bestowing power, the creative power and understanding bestowed on man by Spirit. So living life to the fullest through understanding God as Spirit is expressed beautifully in these verses, they set us up well for what is to come.

Of course the Golden Text is the "short version" of these verses, telling us that we are created by Spirit; Spirit is that which animates us. And our Responsive Reading from Paul encourages us to understand that it is Spirit which is the power behind our demonstrations of healing and wholeness. All the good we stand to do comes from God/Spirit. Spirit is the "life" of man (that which makes us active) and Paul is making it clear here that it is not about the wisdom of man, but the "…demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." This is a great reminder that it is Christian healing/demonstration, that undergirds our faith…making it less "faith," and more understanding in the end.

Section 1: Spirit is the Creator.

We are told among the first lessons in Christian Science, that man is the "image and likeness" of God (based on citation B3). But maybe we take that for granted? If God is Spirit, His man cannot possibly be matter, or material. Matter just isn't the reflection or image of Spirit. (S3) And here we see that Spirit is substance and not matter, as the senses are wont to tell us. Man does not develop into nor pass out of matter. This is contrary to material sense, but not to spiritual sense, with which we discern and feel God's/Spirit's presence. And guess what? The Bible really helps us discern Spirit in a meaningful and demonstrable way (through spiritual sense), as this section also points out! (B4 and S1)

Section 2: We look to the "prophet" within, to discern present good.

Maybe we don't think of ourselves as prophets, but we probably should! When we check out the definition of "prophet" in citation S10, we see that this is something we must demonstrate individually. The woman in this story happened to look to Elisha the prophet. But there is an "Elisha" within each one of us to help us see the "conscious facts of spiritual Truth", God's ever present good. Elisha demands that this woman declare what she "has in the house". What, of Spirit's goodness, is she already conscious of possessing? Well, she has some oil…see citation S7. Now, she must borrow empty vessels, she must build on her little inspiration and love (S7) by seeing the multiplication of these qualities as coming entirely from God/Spirit. There are countless examples in the Bible of Spirit's supply counteracting the typical laws of matter. The loaves and fishes that Jesus shared with the multitudes, the rock yielding water that Moses shared with the Children of Israel along with the manna of course, the food Elijah had left for him twice by God in the wilderness while he slept, the widow and her little bit of oil and meal lasting through the drought—there are many more. The Bible encourages us to look beyond matter, to what Spirit does and is doing right now for man. My husband has two small businesses. Most of his income these days comes from his logging business. He buys the trees and cuts them, skids them, cuts them to length, decks them and sells to several different wood businesses. Last year we encountered a devastating amount of rain. It started in the winter, even the fall before, and just never let up. Rain really impacts logging. When it's muddy you just can't get the logs out of the woods to sell. We kept thinking it would stop, especially in the summer, but it just didn't. While we did incur debt, we kept on praying and rejoicing in Spirit's infinitude. Our income was really reduced, but somehow we just kept paying the bills, even if a month behind (sometimes more). Nothing got shut off, no one went hungry. Along in late spring when things were looking dire, I commented that it just didn't seem humanly possible that we were able to continue buying groceries, and paying the usual bills. The income didn't seem like it squared with the expenses. (Don't worry, very careful books are kept). We both rejoiced that while some things remained to be caught up on at some point, we were witnessing Spirit's gentle and constant care for our family. Today, we have simple plans that are in action to gradually pay off the debt. It may not sound like a grand demonstration. There were no unexpected checks in the mail, no surprise monetary gifts. But each day has been one of rejoicing and gratitude. Those pots of oil continue to be filled, our needs met, and most of all, we have retained a deep sense of peace. While this woman's experience was more amazing, many of us can certainly attest to the fact that an abiding sense of peace whilst struggling financially is also a significant feat, and one to be very grateful for! Having a spiritual sense of reality keeps us steady and peaceful as we progress through the material suggestions of want and need.

Section 3: Spiritual life is one of inspiration, joy and holiness, it's never ordinary.

This section expounds on CedarS’ theme this summer of finding our wholeness through following "the way of holiness". It employs the story of Jesus turning water into wine at the wedding in Cana. To understand the spiritual significance, we once again need that spiritual view of the Bible which Mrs. Eddy really helps us to glean. Jesus brings "inspiration; understanding" to this simple wedding (S14). He turns the ordinary pots of water, into extraordinary wine. One way to think of this is to see the trajectory of this couple's marriage and thinking in terms not of the passion and joy of newlyweds, but rather an expansion and deepening of love and understanding as the marriage proceeds (saving the best "wine" for the end). This need not apply only to a marriage. It can signify a growing sense of passion and verve as we proceed through life. "This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It's adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike "What's next Papa?" Remember this from that passage from Romans in The Message, at the beginning of the met? Doesn't that capture the way that Spirit's path is an expansive and joy-filled one? We discover our true selfhood when we see that man is of Spirit's making, complete, "tributary to God, Spirit, and to nothing else." (S18)

Section 4: Toiling in matter is a vain exercise.

The disciples learned, on more than one occasion, that the above statement is true. After following Jesus, seeing all the healing work that he did and even healing others themselves, they went right back to this toil after his crucifixion. Here, in this section, Jesus borrows Simon's ship to preach to the multitudes on the shore. When he suggests that Peter go on out and let down his nets once again after a fruitless night of fishing. The Bible states: "Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets" (B17) Doesn't it seem like we sometimes need to go deeper with our spiritual "nets", even after "toiling all night"? Our "toil", if you will, is fruitful, when it is deepened by Spirit's inspiration—by the understanding we get from deep yearning for God's message, and not for the material gain of a "healing", or in this story, a net full of fish. Notice that he tells Peter to head out to fish more only after he is done preaching. In other words, Peter has listened to the message of Spirit and is fishing with deeper insight and spiritual inspiration. Of course, with that newfound inspiration, Peter goes on to heal and bless in his own right, as we see in the next section!

Section 5: Seeing the body as spiritual, the temple of God.

We are freed from the limitations of matter and the body, as we recognize the kingdom of heaven within. Spirit formed man of spiritual substance and matter has absolutely nothing to do with Spirit. That fact does not leave us "begging outside the temple", stuck in a lame or sick body. We are asked to "look on" the Christ truth [B21 and W’s PS and fuller Download (in upper right) of Cobbey’s insights on Acts 3]. We are called to "Stick to the truth of being in contradistinction to the error that life, substance, or intelligence can be in matter." (S29) Spiritual substance is something that we can discern and Spirit blesses us with that ability. Spirit's inspiration lifts thought to see even material things in a higher, more spiritually elevated way (S26). Things around us often hint at the more spiritually true reality. We can nurture in ourselves the spiritual enthusiasm that we gain in places like CedarS. Tend those more spiritual thoughts. Water that spiritual consciousness. Watch what comes of "[divesting] thought of false trusts and material evidences in order that the spiritual facts of being may appear…" (S30). We do this a bit at a time, throughout time and eternity. It yields deep satisfaction, steady joy, inspired prayer and demonstration.

Section 6: Understand Spirit's allness and only-ness.

Spirit is not in competition with matter. God has given each of us an understanding of Him. There are not some shut out, some too bad, or too dumb or too anything to receive the messages of Spirit. That's because all there is (or ever was) is Spirit and Spirit's creation. You are one of those creations. You have the "Mind of Christ": Unity of Good p.33:10 "…matter testifies of itself:"I am matter;" but unless matter is mind, it cannot talk or testify; and if it is mind, it is certainly not the Mind of Christ, not the Mind that is identical with Truth." Matter will seem to fight for its own existence, separateness, and identity. But Spirit is power; it is the only power. We can yield to that fact and "learn the way in Christian Science" (S31). Last week we learned how much God loves Her creation. We can accept that this Love communicates through Spirit, to Her own loved child, in just the way that child can understand and demonstrate.

[W's PS of excerpts of Cobbey Crisler insights on citation B21
(all of Acts 3 in Download at upper right of online version):

"… There at the temple — now notice the juxtaposition here of the “physical structure that’s represented the worship of one God, the temple here, and outside it, a man needing help.” (See below, Paraphrased)

Religion had not been able to address itself to his problems, as yet. “He had been lame from the moment of birth, and every single day, his outlook was merely to survive through other’s charity.” (See below, Paraphrased)

Acts 3:2 And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple;

So, Peter and John were just two other faces. And they walked by, and “he asked for alms.” (See above, Paraphrased)

Now, for some the highest view of religion is social service and would give such alms. And often such alms are helpful and humanitarian. He didn’t ask for healing. Perhaps he might have given up on that, or considered it just wasn’t possible.

“But, Peter, fastening his eyes upon him” – now that kind of focus is something, probably, more than physical, wouldn’t you say? (See below)

Acts 3:4 And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.

You remember when the woman who had the infirmity of eighteen years? Jesus looked on that woman, and everyone else had looked on that woman, but Jesus looked at that woman and said…(he) found something apparently already there that no one else had seen, namely that that “Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.” (See below, Luke 13:12)

Luke 13:11 And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself.

Luke 13:12 And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.

Luke 13:13 And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.

How did Jesus look at people? How did he see them that enabled him to get such tremendous results — just the opposite of the human sympathy that religion had felt was virtually the highest contribution it could make to the ills of mankind?

If Peter and John, having witnessed Jesus healing in many cases, “fastens his eyes upon him on John, said, Look on us.” (See below, Paraphrased)

Acts 3:4 And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us.

Now, immediately, he got his attention. Now, to study the sequence that led to the healing that the text often gives you. What’s needed in human mentality to bring the healing into the experience of the individual?

“Look on us,” is apparently requirement one – away from the alms, the masses, the crowds, the helpless condition – “look on us.” (See above)

You know the story about – if you want the donkey to move, you have to get his attention first. You know (the story), you hit him between the eyes. You know, in a way, this is getting the attention of the patient.

“Look on us.” (See above)

“He gave heed unto them….” (See below) So, we have the condition of what? Receptivity and expectation, expecting to receive – there are your two words. (He was) expecting to receive something of them.

Acts 3:5 And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them.

“Then Peter said, Disabuse yourself of any hope that I’m going to hand you out the coin of the realm, but what I have I’m going to give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” (See below, Paraphrased partially)

Acts 3:6 Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.

Peter, to encourage his thought and the possibility of it, for that man had sat there daily in that condition, to help him separate himself from that condition, he “takes him by the right hand, lifts him up: and immediately on his feet, he feels his feet and ankle bones receiving the strength” – simply an endorsement of what Peter and John had already seen was there. (See below, Paraphrased)

Acts 3:7 And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.

So, I thought you might be interested in seeing this first, specific miracle, so-called, that occurs after Jesus’ departure – the first specific one. We’d been told that “signs and wonders” had occurred. (Samples below of “signs and wonders wrought by the apostles)

Acts 3:43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.

Acts 5:12  And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch.

Here’s how the Anchor Bible has described the concept of miracle: “Of course, one may assume such miracles cannot occur, but it cannot be doubted that they were of decisive importance to primitive Christianity. We shall not be able to understand the latter unless we take the accounts of these healings seriously.”

The first thing this man does, before he even walks, is what? In verse eight? (“his feet and ankle bones” — Murmurs) Before he walks, “he leaps.” (See below, paraphrased) Not that’s even harder than walking for someone who has been in that condition. (Laughter) “He leaping up stood, and walked…” – those are three different things requiring his feet and ankle bones to support that activity — “leaping first, standing, walking and entering into the temple,” a relationship now between church and mankind healed, a church that can bring results! (See below, paraphrased)

Acts 3:8 And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.

“Walking, and leaping, and praising God.” (See above)

Remember this is the same temple the man at the pool of Bethesda enters after Jesus had healed him. (See John 5:7-9)

And also, this – if we’re going to understand the scripture in terms of prophecy — if God indicates to humanity through His inspired word through prophecy that this is exactly what humanity should be doing — increasing their understanding of divinity to such a point that these obstacles, these ills that have plagued mankind for centuries unchallenged, should be wiped out of human experience.

Well, I don’t think the mention of the word, “leaping” in verse eight is a coincidence. (See below, repeated here for convenience)

Acts 3:8 And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.

Turn to Isaiah 35, verse 6, Isa 35:6 and you will see that prophecy embraces healing the sick. Now, you know, we could almost say the same thing as Paul said about the villainous of those who went every Sabbath Day and heard the prophets and then went away and instead fulfills the prophets by condemning Jesus.

Isa 35:6 Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert."
[Excerpts from A Talk by B. Cobbey Crisler, “After the Master What? – The Book of Acts” transcribed from CDs available from Daycroft School Foundation . For a full transcript of this and other talks email Cobbey’s wife, Janet, at ]

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