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[See in God's created substance that nothing can ever be lost, taken, or incomplete!]
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

Substance
for March 16, 2014

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

[Bracketed italics by CedarS Director Warren Huff.  Life-transforming camperships needed!]

Throughout this week's lesson we are implicitly reminded (and sometimes explicitly) that “…the goodness of God endureth continually.”  This is our Golden Text, and while we have example after example of situations where it certainly didn't initially appear as if God's goodness was enduring, this statement of fact was ultimately proven in each case.

Why did Jesus ask the disciples to “gather up the fragments… that nothing be lost”?  I found myself asking this question after pondering this well-known story of abundance in the Responsive Reading (R.R.).  The technical answer is that apparently Jewish law regarded bread as a gift from God— (think Manna in the great exodus from Egypt).  All scraps had to be gathered up in order to be respectful of God's gift.  But even more, it seems symbolic here, when Jesus asks his disciples to do this.  These are the “remaining” fragments, do they possibly symbolize the ideas that the multitudes may not have quite been ready to receive.  These fragments were precious.  Who gathered them?  The disciples… and there were the same number of baskets as there were disciples to gather them.  Not only that, but each basket was full.  Maybe this sustaining truth that Jesus shared had more within these “fragments” to offer those ready for it, and the disciples might have been the ready ones.  (Please know that these are just my thoughts on this subject, I am no Bible expert, but I found inspiration in contemplating this story in this way and am merely suggesting these thoughts as a possible interpretation.)

Section 1establishes the fact that God is substance and the His substance is good.  All that man can expect to receive and all that man is, is substantial, eternal, good, is not material.  It also introduces the thought that that goodness and substance is not often visible in matter (S2).  It is manifest in reflection, which requires light (S3, S4).  Think about the substance of light.  Can you hold it?  Can you capture it in a box?  No, but you can distribute it merely by allowing it to radiate freely.  This is the substance of the healing Christ.  We don't “possess” it personally, we share it freely with all.

Section 2: Here's a story where all appeared to be lost!  (“The false evidence of material sense contrasts strikingly with the testimony of Spirit.” (S8)  David came, with his army, to a village where the Amalakites preceded him and not only burned the town to the ground, but took everything of value, including all the remaining people that lived there (and two of David's wives).  His own army was so devastated that, looking for anyone to blame in their grief, they wanted to stone David!  It is noteworthy in this lesson on substance that David didn't try to sway public opinion.  Rather he went straight to the temple to pray and ask God for direction.  He was looking for a divine solution (a substantive one), a spiritual way to proceed that would be successful.  He didn't act from vengeance or fear or despair, “…but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” (B6)  Today we might think of it as going to God and saying something like… “Here’s what things look like, but what do You see?” (and then really listening, not substituting our own panicked thought for prayerful listening).  The lesson for us in this story, after they recover everything from the Amalakites, (“…nothing lacking to them… David recovered all.”) is that we truly cannot lose anything of substance.  And this lesson is repeated in the stories in sections 3-5 and in the Bible text of section 6 (B21).  In reading the story further I found it inspiring that the guidance David received from God continued to inspire his decisions even after he won the battle to retrieve his people and their possessions.  As he went after the Amalakites he came to a ravine or valley that was challenging to cross.  Many of his army were exhausted and couldn't continue on in the chase.  He left them in charge of the supplies and proceeded on with 400 men.  After they succeeded, they headed back.  When they reached the men that were too tired to go on, the men that travelled with David didn't want to share the plunder.  They urged David to merely restore to them their family members, but to share the rest of the spoils only among the men who fought to get them back.  David's response shows his spiritual wisdom, spiritual-mindedness, and his understanding of true substance.  He responded that the plunder was God's provision, as such, it must be shared freely.  He made them divide it among all, including many leaders in other parts of the country.  Like the bread in the R.R., God's goodness is available to all, not to those “in power”.  (A good thing to keep in mind in the world scene today!)  We could be fooled into thinking that this story is about recovering “stuff”.  But the way in which David proceeded, the way he recognized God as the source of all good, serves to underscore the Science and Health portion of this section that points out that there is no material substance (S5).  I came across a blog entry that I found inspiring and thought it appropriate in the context of this story, and its carry-over, that there is no material substance.  Enjoy if you are interested!  http://theaccidentalmissionary.wordpress.com/2014/02/20/the-one-things-christians-should-stop-saying/

Section 3:  Here we have Jesus teaching the multitudes about the substance of love, and of Love. The parables are started off by announcing that Jesus was speaking to tax collectors (publicans) and sinners.  It is not included in the citations for this lesson, but he was eating with them.  This is a more intimate act–think of having people over for dinner.  He wasn't merely talking with them, but sharing a meal.  This brought the criticism of the church elders.  And Jesus shares these parables to illustrate the substance of God's love for man vs. the “Jewish law” kind of love that had no practical value—no substance, at least not as it was interpreted by the Pharisees and scribes.  The first parable is about the woman searching for a lost piece of silver, and the second is the story of the Prodigal son.  Both illustrate a kind of loss of substance—one accidental or perhaps irresponsible, the other willful or forfeited.  In each we find that true substance is never actually lost, always intact and whole.  We may have to search, inquire, dig deep, but it is always there.  In the Prodigal's story the son “takes all”, leaves nothing behind to come back to.  But finds that in the end he comes back to all—he hasn't lost anything, only gained a deeper sense of love and of his sonship, the only true substance.  We can never leave this heritage, we can't lose it through mistakes or bad choices.  It is our substance to claim and God is always welcoming us to take it.  Every step we take toward goodness, toward substance, is a step away from materiality (S17).

Section 4:  In this section we are presented with an image of loss when we come across two blind men loudly imploring Jesus to restore their sight.  It would seem that not only have they experienced the substantive loss of eyesight, but, being blind, they were likely without income (or substance) either, and had to depend on begging for their sustenance.  Their recognition of the good that Jesus could bestow on them, and their persistence in asking for it over the crowd, shows tenacity similar to that of the woman searching for the piece of silver in Jesus' parable in section 3.  Jesus proves again that substance isn't in matter, sight is not in human eyeballs.  Citation S18 points out that “Jesus represented Christ, the true idea of God.” This true idea is the substance of God, the active healing power of God that demonstrates His love for man.  As we see/understand more of man's immortal substance, we begin to demonstrate the Biblical promise from citation B13: “And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”  Mortal sense will be unable to perceive this substance… it is “…revealed only through divine Science.” (S19)

Section 5: Our purpose or mission might be described as the substance of our life.  This purpose is bestowed on each of us by our Father-Mother. Paul's mission to spread the gospel of Christ cannot be thwarted by the intense storm and a shipwreck described in Acts 27. (B16)  Even though the entire ship and its cargo were lost in the storm, the true substance, the life of every passenger, was kept safe and intact.  God creates man with purpose, usefulness, blessing…  This purpose is unselfish; it is powerful and healing.  Our job is to discover that individual purpose and live it!  This is the substance of our being, our existence and nothing can take that away because it is spiritual and eternal.  We are given encouragement in our search in citation S28: “Spirit, God, gathers unformed thoughts into their proper channels, and unfolds these thoughts into their proper channels, even as He opens the petals of a holy purpose in order that their purpose may appear.”  God is doing this for each of us!

Section 6: This section eloquently summarizes the whole Lesson sermon.  Citation B21 speaks to our completeness, our wholeness.  It harkens back to David's full recovery of his people and their belongings, of the parables that Jesus shared—the silver, and the Prodigal's wholeness on returning, of the men's blindness being revealed as a false claim that man can lack or be incomplete, and of Paul's experience with the ship wreck.  Nothing lost!  God's complete creation exists eternally.  The Lesson closes with citation S30, emphasizing that when we “subordinate the false testimony” of material sense, we will see that nothing can ever be lost, taken, or incomplete.  God's creation reflects His substance, and substance is complete, enduring, and good.


[The Met application ideas above are provided primarily to help CedarS campers and staff (as well as friends) see and daily demonstrate the great value of studying and applying 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/ ]

 [THANK YOU in advance for MAKING A TAX-DEDUCTIBLE GIFT ONLINE,
BY PHONE at 636-394-6162
OR BY MAIL at:
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[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 Manfred and Jeanette; or in Spanish, thanks to a team of Ana, Erick, Claudia and Patricio, or in Portuguese, thanks to helpers of Orlando Trentini in Brazil.  A voluntary French translation by Rodger Glokpor, a Christian Scientist from Togo (West Africa) has been contributed.  Thank you, Rodger and all translators! Go to http://www.cedarscamps.org/ and click "Newsletters" to sign-up for a free translation into these languages.  This sharing is the latest in an ongoing, 13-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 emails to follow.) 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 serve as 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 and in a variety of useful formats 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-26) and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy (S-1 thru S-32). 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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