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Editor’s Note: The following background information and application ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson for this week are offered primarily to help CedarS campers and staff see and demonstrate the great value of daily study of the Christian Science Bible lessons year-round, not just at camp. If more information or the text of this Lesson is desired, please see the Director”s Note at the end. The citations referenced in the “met” (metaphysical application ideas) are taken from the King James Version of the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. 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. (Other reference books are fully noted at the end.)

The Radiance of Soul – That’s You!
Lesson Application Ideas for Lesson on “Soul and Body” for Nov. 14-20, 2005
Prepared by Kathy Fitzer, CS of St. Louis, MO

Is the body material? Is the body separate from Soul? Could God, Spirit, co-exist with matter? No to all of the above. We need to change our perception of body from a material to a spiritual basis. Let’s see how Soul and its expression – individual identity (YOU) – coexist. There is no mortal body that can rebel and act contrary to the control of Soul – Spirit, Truth, Love.

Golden Text: To sanctify is to make pure or holy. Your entire being – the embodiment of your identity – is kept sound and blameless (complete, strong, and pure) until Christ (the divine manifestation of God, which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate (embodied in flesh) error – S&H 583) dawns in consciousness. Christian Science is the promised Comforter – which Jesus promised when he said he would come again, and which God revealed to Mrs. Eddy – to reveal man’s blameless, holy, spiritual nature.

Responsive Reading: All good is evidence of God’s grace – the divine influence on the heart, and its reflection in the life (Strong’s def of original Greek). Paul expresses gratitude (an element of grace) to the people of Corinth for the way their words and their actions have testified to the power of Christ in their lives. Do our friends recognize the Christ in our words and actions? Paul promises that Christ will strengthen them and make them pure and blameless (unaccused). Whenever we’re feeling sick or hurt, or disturbed in any way, isn’t that mortal mind’s accusation that we are limited? But Jesus revealed the Christ that frees us from the bondage of sin (the belief that we can be separated from God’s perfection) and makes us pure – free of disease or discord of any kind. Our bodies are the temple (the dwelling place) of the Holy Ghost (the spiritual idea of the divine Principle, Love – Mess. of ’01 p. 8). Could the Holy Ghost (Divine Science – S&H p. 588) dwell in a material structure? Or is our body really God’s expression of Himself, without any material, limited, confining elements to it – regardless of what the physical senses would have us believe?

Section I: Health – Found through correct identification work
Everything we need to know about God and healing is in the Bible, but to get the recipe right we must interpret the Scriptures in the language of Spirit. (S-1&2) If we read the Bible from a material perspective, we’re going to get it wrong. We have to use spiritual sense. Science and Health teaches us how. As used in the Bible (B-2&4; S-2), does the word flesh always mean material skin? The original Hebrew for this word (in Job and Psalms) comes from a root word that means fresh and is translated as messenger. The Hebrew word for flesh can also be translated as body, person, or self. Mrs. Eddy perceives that the passage in Job refers to God healing fleshly – bodily – ills, rather than thinking that man’s identity is actually material flesh. In I Cor. 15: 50 Paul uses a Greek word for flesh that can also be translated carnal. A carnal concept of identity (made of flesh and blood) can’t enter heaven – harmony. (S-2) We have to be clear about our identity. (S-3 & 4) Are you made of a material body that can fall apart, or is your identity completely unique, but not dependent on matter for expression? Is an idea dependent on matter to be expressed – to be complete? You’ll go down a dead-end street if you start with sense – with a mortal sense of body – to determine who you are. Start with a perfect Principle – Mind – and see man as the idea or expression of that Mind – spiritual, eternal, and perfect. This idea – this identity – is governed by infinite Soul (God) – not by limiting sense, the so-called laws of matter. The sooner we stop focusing on making matter happy, and concentrate on getting close to Soul – God – the sooner we will find our freedom from sin and disease. (S-5)

Section II: Acknowledge the authority of Soul to govern the body and live!!!
King Hezekiah chose God – chose Life! At the beginning of his reign he cleansed the nation’s temples of the worship of idols. With the aid of the prophet Isaiah, Hezekiah turned to God for everything and trusted Him completely. (II Kings 18) Having seen the effects of trusting God with other things, Hezekiah turned to Him with all his heart when he was deathly ill. And God was “ready”, and answered his prayers – of course God was ready. God is always ready! (B-6&7) Another important thing to note is that Hezekiah acknowledged God as the healing power. Remember to give thanks – before and after a healing! (B-8) Read the citations in Science and Health, looking for what is required in order to experience this kind of healing. We have to get the relationship right. Soul with a capital S is in control and is not in a material body or even in man. Man reflects Soul – man is the shine of Soul (S-6&11). Matter, death, disease, sickness, and sin are human concepts. They don’t have power to destroy life. (S-8) Matter has no control over you whatsoever. Death and disease aren’t to be feared, nor is death ever to be considered a friend or an escape (S-9&10). Get it right … Soul governs man! Practice being faithful to God by rejecting the temptation to honor the idol of material law ever and you find safety – even when things seem serious. Start NOW!

Section III: Immortal beauty is yours
Remember, we’re learning that the body is subject to Soul – not the other way around. And we’re being alert not to make a god of the body. So, what about beauty and fashion? The Bible tells us that God made everything beautiful and that beauty is forever. (B-1) Is that only an inner beauty that has to be helped along to make the body beautiful? Does God need our help? I don’t think so! How, then, do we see the beauty expressed on the body? By acknowledging the fact that “man coexists with and reflects Soul, God, for man is God’s image.” (S-15) And that this man is the only man and is completely tangible. If you would like to feel more confident about your looks, or if your skin is not as clear as you’d like it to be (whether from the beliefs of youth or age related issues) your answer lies in realizing more and more of man’s immortal nature as the radiant shining of God. It is said that every bride is beautiful. Is that because of the dress, hair, and make-up, or is the radiance of Love shining through? It has to be the latter. God sees each and every one of His ideas as radiantly beautiful – shining, fair, pleasant, spotless. God says to each of us, “thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.” (B-12) I’m struck by the idea of no spots in us. Never are we concerned with outward appearances. Healing comes from the inside out (just like getting dents out of cans). Look at the definition of beauty given on p. 247 of S&H (S-14). It is all qualities. Expression, form, outline, and color are in thought – they’re not dependent on matter. Can’t you form and shape ideas, outline how something looks and even paint your ideas with beautiful color – and never have it be expressed in a material form? God’s beauty stays in Mind. We are ideas – in Mind, in Soul. Mind and Soul are not in body. Trying to make ourselves beautiful by adding to or taking away (depending on what the fashion fad is), instead of realizing the presence of God’s grace completely expressed in man, totally confuses the issue. (S-14) Just love and you’ll see the loveliness of Love in yourself and in others – just like God sees it in all.

Section IV: Beware of sin! Don’t diminish your value by giving in to it.
You are valued beyond measure by your dear Father-Mother God. “…the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” (B-16) If God cares for the birds (the sparrows that were sold in the temple) surely he cares for each of us. Jesus came to proclaim to the people how much God loved and cared for them, but also to help them see that they must keep themselves untarnished by “fleshly lusts.” (B-14) Jesus thought of the people as sheep that didn’t have a shepherd to show them the right way to go. He had compassion on them and taught them how to be obedient to Soul, rather than material sense (or soul with a small s). (B-15) We should all learn to have that same sense of compassion when dealing with ourselves or others who are struggling. Man – the image of God – is governed by Soul and Soul is sinless and eternal. (S-20) Material sense makes sin seem very appealing, and suggests that it is something that you really can’t escape – especially when you’re young – so it’s okay to party hard in college, for instance, because you’ll grow out of it eventually. (S-16) There is a problem here, though. This position basically says it is okay to reject the belief that Soul governs man and to allow yourself to be subject to all of the claims of sense – not only sin, but disease and death, too – for a little while. And what about the “ageless” sins of criticism, jealousy, or lust? Is it okay to entertain those, but still expect the body to act as if it is governed by Soul, while we allow the thought to be governed by sense? (S-17) Look carefully at Mrs. Eddy’s explanation of Jesus’ comments about our need to fear that which is “able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (B-16 & S-18) A false sense or material consciousness will be destroyed – ultimately. Why not let it be destroyed naturally by the grace and goodness of Soul, rather than struggling with the subtle (or not so subtle) problems ultimately associated with sin (the belief that there is more than one God.) If we understand that Soul is outside the body and governing every detail of our lives harmoniously, we won’t be tempted to think that soul is in body (as if the one Ego could get divided up and stuffed into non-intelligent matter). And then we won’t get bounced around like a cork in water – and sometimes feel like we’re drowning. “Sin shall not have dominion over you”! (B-17) Be its master and recognize your value! There is no such thing as a “little” poison.

Section V: Don’t give up – Humble steadfastness leads to freedom and health
Paul speaks of times when he was so close to God that he was in a trance and unaware of his material surroundings. Yet, he was plagued with a physical pain that reminded him that he couldn’t do anything by himself. Paul asked that the pain just go away, but God’s message to him was that His grace was all he needed and that when Paul was weak, he more readily accepted the strength of God. Paul’s response, rather than getting angry or wondering why, was to have a greater desire to know and serve God. (B-20) Is this to say that God wants us to suffer or sends suffering? Not according to III John (B-18), or according to Paul himself. He urges the Corinthians to not give up because their “labour is not in vain in the Lord.” (B-20) And Paul healed others – including the man at Lystra who had been crippled all his life(B-22). Surely Paul must have seen that this man’s origin was not in limited matter, but that he was subject to the freedom of Soul. There is only one reality. Man does not have a “sentient material form” that is subject to limitations and disease. He does have a “sensationless body” that is governed by Mind. This body is the idea of God – and is forever harmonious. Because God is the Soul (the identity) of man and of all existence, and because God’s individuality, harmony, and immortality are perpetual (continuing without intermission), then man’s (OUR) individuality, harmony, and immortality are also perpetual – without interruption. (S-23) And we’ll see this truth expressed in our lives as we persist in changing the standpoint from which we look at things from a material to a spiritual standpoint. (S-24) Just because the body is arguing loudly against this fact, don’t give in. Continue to “have no other consciousness of life than good, God and His reflection…. Rise superior to the so-called pain and pleasure or the senses S-22). Paul did. So can we.

Section VI: Jesus’ enduring gift to us – Choose the progressive path of purification.
Jesus didn’t just serve the people of his time. He demonstrated Christ, Truth, for all time. And Jesus’ prayer for his followers (including us) wasn’t that we escape the experiences of the world, but that we would be so sanctified (so purified) that we wouldn’t be touched by the world – that we would see the unreality of evil and so overcome it. (B-23) Christian Science teaches us how to “recognize man’s spiritual being” and so see and understand God’s creation of harmony. Jesus showed us the difference between man, the offspring of Soul, and suppositional mortal man, the offspring of material sense. As long as we accept the “world of error” or the “world or sensation” we are subject to the claims of error and sensation. (S-26) But there is a way out. Just like if you’re in a deep canyon. You’re not stuck – leave behind the landmarks down in the bottom and start walking towards the rim, discovering new landmarks as you go. (S-29) Be glad to leave behind the “comforts” as well as the pains of mortal sense – the limited beliefs of soul in matter – and with an “all-absorbing spiritual love” recognize God’s blessings.” (S-28) The good is there – look for it! The Golden Text is repeated as the last citation of the Bible, followed by the benediction, “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” (B-24) The divine influence is ever with us, and can be felt in the body – the expression of Soul.

Camp Director’s Note: The above sharing is the latest in a long series of CedarS Bible Lesson “mets” (metaphysical application ideas) contributed weekly by a rotation of CedarS Resident Practitioners and occasionally by other metaphysicians.  This document is intended to initiate further study as well as to encourage the application of ideas found in the Weekly Bible Lessons as printed in the Christian Science Quarterly and as available at Christian Science Reading Rooms.Originally sent JUST 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 and inspiration they had felt at camp, CedarS lesson “mets” are in no way meant to be definitive or conclusive or in any way a substitute for daily study of the lesson in the books. The thoughts presented are the inspiration of the moment and are offered to give a bit more dimension, background and daily applicability to some of the ideas and passages being studied. 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 these 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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