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[Thanksgiving BONUS: Celebrate that God reigns with power and goodness!]
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

for November 23, 2017

by Kerry Jenkins, CS, House Springs, MO
kerry.helen.jenkins@gmail.com (314) 406-0041

The Scriptures are full of assurances of God's goodness. They are full of references to God's omnipotence. And our Golden Text gives us reason to give thanks because Almighty God/Good reigns with this power! There is no room for a flawed creation that slipped up when God "turned His back". There is no room in this lesson for crippling genetic disorders, for lack, for anything that would claim that His creation is anything less than blessed. Christian Science reveals these facts to us. It replaces what the physical senses tell us we are lacking and calls us to "Look on us", (B12), to look with our spiritual senses at the abundant good that is raining down on us, His beloved children. As we stop looking to physical sense, for the paltry "alms" that come from mere human pity, the paycheck to support us, the car to transport us…and turn to the infinite supply of Love, we find that this infinitude is truly "enough!" as Mary Baker Eddy says in citation S21. We, like the crippled man in Section 3, can leap up, praising and rejoicing in this infinite Love that renovates our thought so we can see the presence of Christ that heals.

Amidst every challenge that comes into our experience, we are assured in this Responsive Reading, that God will keep us "…in perfect peace…" when our consciousness remains fixed in God, in Truth. God is "…a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall." This sounds to me like a pretty good description of a truly difficult time. It could present itself as a period in our lives where we feel besieged on every side by hatred, ruthlessness, stark lack, abandonment. And yet, this passage tells us that God is a refuge from every iteration of mortal mind's suggestion of despair. Love fills every nook and cranny with goodness, and the false suggestion of evil, like any storm, blows itself out and is found to be nothing in the face of the peace that is bestowed on us when we continue to keep our thought on God: "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." It is also made clear in the Responsive Reading that the only wealth/riches we can have come from God—are they not spiritual riches then? Does that make them any less substantial or useful? The only power that exists is God's, the only greatness to be had is bestowed upon us by God. These things are an extension of that omnipotent goodness that is governing, reigning, and blessing us.

Section 1: God's gifts of intelligence, substance, immortality, vigor, joy, honesty, love…these are bestowed without end.

Many of us are familiar with the beautiful statement from James in citation B2 about how "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above,…". The "shadow of turning" is a term from Greek astronomy. But it reminds me of the old time measurements taken with a sundial. The shadows change with the angle of the sun. This suggests to me that God's gifts of vigor, energy, curiosity, childlikeness, hope, agility, and other qualities that we might associate with youth, never change or decline, as the shadows cast by the sun might be seen doing each day. Instead they are the "…eternal manifestations of the infinite divine Principle, Love." (S3) As such, they are always available in abundance. These are the powers that we are subject to, and not physique. "Let us rejoice that we are subject to the divine "powers that be." Such is the true Science of being." (S5) We can "unwrap" these gifts and give thanks for them all day long, every day!

Section 2: Rejoice in the guidance and provision of the Shepherd.

The passage from Ezekiel (B7) is paired here, with the passage from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount about taking no thought for our food, etc. and seeking first the kingdom of God, as well as the Beatitude about hungering and thirsting after righteousness. The sheep look to the shepherd for their care, their safety, for guidance. While one might stray, inadvertently, they have no goal in mind that would thwart the shepherd's care for them. Mrs. Eddy defines sheep in her Glossary on p. 594 of Science and Health as: "Innocence; inoffensiveness; those who follow their leader." In this age where we think of strength, decisiveness and leadership as qualities that are highly valued and admired, it might be hard to think of innocence and inoffensiveness and willingness to follow, as qualities to which we should aspire. But clearly this is the intent of her definition. Innocence, an attribute of Truth, is a powerful force. It prevents us from being influenced by bad thought, from the suggestion of infection, irritation, and from many seeming "penalties" that come with the belief that man is subject to laws of matter. Inoffensiveness is a way of saying that we are simply a clear reflection of God/Mind. Could God ever offend? Is there more than one Mind? How could Mind be offended by something that has no power, is not intelligent, does not proceed from the only cause, Principle? Inoffensiveness is a quality that makes us ideally suited to helping and blessing others, to comforting, parenting, being a good friend. All this because we are not inserting some belief that we have a mind separate from God, however entertaining, witty, smart, talented, that mind might appear to be. Mind is something that we can be grateful that we reflect. We never possess of ourselves something that is "more" than Mind! With that thought, we can see that innocence and inoffensiveness clear the path for us to recognize the one true Leader, God, and to be willing to follow God, to seek first the kingdom. This kind of following is, in fact, one of the most powerful forms of leadership. By recognizing the clear path of Truth, and following it, we lead all who see our example. Hence, we become the best leaders ourselves, in humbly following God/Mind. We can certainly be grateful for, rejoice in, the fact that Mind is providing us with all the guidance, love and protection to follow the path that leads us into the kingdom of heaven! Heavenly blessings await there!!

Section 3: Be grateful for the present day gift of healing that Jesus left for us–that Christian Science continues to make clear to us.

In this section Mrs. Eddy references the statement of the angels at Jesus' birth –"on earth peace, good-will toward men"—drawing the connection between the kind of healing we do today in Christian Science and the kind of healing that Jesus did more than 2,000 years ago. We can be so grateful that this kind of powerful goodness in the form of physical healing is still with us today. It stems from the goodness of God and His creation, from His reigning omnipotence. Not only are we given reason to be grateful for God's goodness and His reign of harmony, illustrated in the story in citation B12, but we are reminded that this goodness is something that we are meant to share with others who are seeking. We are meant to take what we know and understand of the harmony that is God-bestowed, and share it with those that are waiting at the "gate of the temple" for healing. Many that we meet might not know that this is what they are waiting for. They may think they are there for alms, for a kind word, for a job, for friends, for a better position in society. But in reality, anyone who is waiting at the "gate of the temple" is someone who is looking for that "cup of cold water" spoken of in citation S16. In praying for a way to help with the Syrian refugee crisis a couple of years ago, I was lamenting that I didn't have the resources or space to welcome in a family, even host one temporarily. Every bedroom in our house is packed with people, and there is only one bathroom. I reasoned that my prayer had to have its manifestation. I know that all prayer is effective, though we may not easily see the results. Many times the results happen somewhere we cannot see or know about. In this case, I feel that that one visible result came when we found that a friend who wasn't in great health and had no nearby family to look in on him, needed someplace to live. He owned a large motor home; we had space to park a motor home! In this way, we were able to provide a "refuge" for someone who needed a better sense of safety, companionship, belonging. He came inside for family suppers, watched the boys mechanic in the garage, and travelled with us to church and for groceries. It is a modest example, but I continue to be so grateful for the glimpse it gave me of God/Love's infinite provision for His children. He is always supplying harmony!

Section 4: A more correct view of God and man really gives us something to be grateful for!

Look at all the ways man is described in citations B15 and B16: "blessed" (not cursed!), "chosen", "holy", "without blame", "accepted in the beloved", "faultless". This may not be what things look like to material sense. Citation S17 encourages us to "…rejoice in secret beauty and bounty, hidden from the world, but known to God." This "secret beauty and bounty" is hidden from physical sense/the world. Remember the "riches and honor" that come from God, referenced in the Responsive Reading? When we “seek first the kingdom of God,” as our Master advised, we begin to discern the abundant good that is ever bestowed on us. This good includes health, food, clothing, housing, happiness, satisfaction. Maybe it won't look like "everyone else's" good. It might even be completely unique and even a little "weird", like having someone live in your yard in their motor home and share evening meals with you. But you can bet that it will be more than enough to satisfy and enrich your sense of life and being. That's something to be grateful for!

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