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“The Word of God Made New”
Metaphysical Application Ideas for
The Christian Science Bible Lesson on

 “God
For January 1 – 7, 2024

by Christie C. Hanzlik, C.S.,
 Boulder, CO • ccern@mac.com • 720-331-9356 • christiecs.com


GOLDEN TEXT AND RESPONSIVE READING

The word “word” appears in this week’s Bible Lesson on “God” at least 41 times, making it safe to assume that “word,” as in “the Word was God,” is a theme. The slang term “word” means “to speak the truth.” For example, if someone says, “This is the best day yet,” you could reply, “Word,” which would be the same as saying, “You speak the truth.” Some say the slang term “word” originated from the phrase “my word is my bond,” later shortened to “word is bond,” and then just, “word.”

I cannot help but think of this etymology of “Word” as I read the Golden Text, or main idea, of this week’s Bible Lesson on “God.” The Golden Text comes from the very first sentence of the book of John, and reads, “In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (GT John 1:1, my underlining). In a sense, the Word of God, which is now and always has been, is our Truth-bond. I love the use of “already” in this passage because it makes it clear that there was no starting point for the Word…the truth of all existence. As I understand it, the author of John is affirming that the Word–the truth of all existence–has always already existed.

The Responsive Reading explores the concept of names, which are basically the “word” that identifies each of us. The Responsive Reading begins, “Give to the Lord the glory due his name.” And it continues with a story about Daniel receiving a spiritual vision. The name Daniel means “the Lord is my judge,” but the Babylonians tried to give Daniel another name: “Belteshazzar.” Not only is Belteshazzar more difficult to pronounce, it doesn’t fit Daniel’s identity because it means “Bel’s Prince.” Bel was the principal god of Babylon. The Babylonians hoped that Israelites like Daniel would forget their God and so gave them new names that referenced pagan gods. The story in the Responsive Reading shows that Daniel stayed true to his name, and experiences a spiritual truth-vision from God. In his vision, an angel shares what is noted in the “Scripture of Truth,” which is, in essence, the Word of God (Psalm 96:4, 8; Daniel 10:1-21; 2:20-22, NKJV).


SECTION 1: “O Lord, your word is settled in heaven…”

Notice that the first section continues with the theme of “word.” It opens with citations from Psalms, “For ever, O Lord, your word is settled in heaven…Your word is true from the beginning” (citation B1, Psalm 119:89, 160). And from 1st John, “We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life” (cit B2, 1 John 1: 1-3, NLT).

In correlating citations from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy defines the word “God” with seven divine synonyms and uses these as names for God. She writes, for example, “God is what the Scriptures declare Him to be, — Life, Truth, Love” (citation S1, 330: 19). Note how she uses “Truth” as a synonymous name for God in the tenets of Christian Science, “As adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life.  We acknowledge and adore one supreme and infinite God” (cit S4, 497: 3-6). This central tenet of acknowledging and adoring one supreme and infinite God is just what Daniel had to do to stay true to his name.

In case you’re curious, here are the stats on how often each of the synonyms occurs in this Lesson (note that it is only when these words are capitalized in Science and Health that they are synonyms for the name God)….

Life = 27

Truth = 25

Love = 24

Spirit = 17

Mind = 7

Principle = 5

Soul = 2

Note that Life, Truth, and Love are the synonyms that occur most often and are the focus of the first citation in Science and Health.


SECTION 2: God is Love

The second section contains the story of Daniel and the lion’s den. Daniel’s safety and protection from God throughout the night in the lion’s den further confirms the accuracy of Daniel’s name–the Lord is my Judge–and confirms that Daniel is not governed by Bel nor other false gods of randomness, animalistic antagonism, luck, chance, revenge, or disaster (cit B8: Daniel 6: 1-26). Daniel’s allegiance to the one true God is his salvation. Divine Mind alone governs Daniel.

In 2018, I gave a talk in which I used the story of Daniel in the lion’s den to illustrate “a way to pray.” You can find this talk here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHEHM3QwKQU&feature=youtu.be

Also, here is a pdf document that shows two well-known paintings of Daniel and the Lion’s Den by Briton Riviere that Mary Baker Eddy hung in her home. The pdf includes an explanation from the Mary Baker Eddy Library. These inspired paintings show Daniel turning his back on the lions, which could symbolize animalistic tendencies such as anger, fear, shame, remorse, irritation, frustration, hatred, and so forth.    https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/4fq313dzd0f3400w6kdis/Daniel-and-the-Lions-Den-5.pdf?rlkey=l2pdorrov88cwb9jwo02gcl6p&dl=0 

Daniel’s faith in the “one supreme and infinite God” carried him through the night. His prayer may have been similar to the Psalmist’s prayer, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life” (cit B9, Psalm 27: 1). Daniel’s faith in God was a light in what could have been darkness. As Mary Baker Eddy wrote, “Whatever is governed by God, is never for an instant deprived of the light and might of intelligence and Life” (cit S5, 215:12). We could add, whoever is governed by God (and that is everyone), is never for an instant deprived of the light and might of intelligence and Life.

Just as Daniel stayed true to his name (identity), he also stayed true to the one God. Leaning on God–divine Love–enabled Daniel to feel protection and comfort in a formidable situation. As Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Understanding the control which Love held over all, Daniel felt safe in the lions’ den, and Paul proved the viper to be harmless. All of God’s creatures, moving in the harmony of Science, are harmless, useful, indestructible. A realization of this grand verity was a source of strength to the ancient worthies” (cit S7, 514:26–31). This “grand verity”–or word of Truth–is, of course, just as true now as it was over 2000 years ago.

Note that in this passage about Daniel understanding “the control Love held over all,” Mary Baker Eddy uses the name “Love” for God. Love is another name, or synonym, for God, and of course does not imply that there is more than one God. Mary Baker Eddy describes God with seven “divine synonyms”–Principle, Mind, Soul, Spirit, Life, Truth, and Love. We can use each of these synonyms in place of the word God to bring out different aspects and attributes of God’s omnipotence, and we can use the word “God” when we want to convey all the synonyms at once. In Science and Health, Mary Baker Eddy describes these as Scriptural names for God. She writes, “To grasp the reality and order of being in its Science, you must begin by reckoning God as the divine Principle of all that really is. Spirit, Life, Truth, Love, combine as one, — and are the Scriptural names for God. No wisdom is wise but His wisdom; no truth is true, no love is lovely, no life is Life but the divine; no good is, but the good God bestows” (cit S8, 275:10–14, 17).


SECTION 3: God is Truth

The third section delves further into the word “word.” In this section, we are reminded that the “word of the Lord is right,” and that “the word of the Lord endures for ever” (cit B10, Psalm 33:4; cit B11, I Peter 1: 25). Look for the connection between “word” and “Truth” in this section.

Like with the meaning of the slang term “word,” the word of God includes the bond, the commitment, the truth, the assurance of God. In Ephesians, we’re instructed to put on spiritual armor and carry the “sword of the Spirit,” which is “the word of God.” In the New Living Translation, this citation reads, “ Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (cit B14, Ephesians 6:10, 14, 15, 17 NLT).

With the armor, shield and sword, we can “Serve the Lord with gladness” (cit B15, Psalm 100: 2, 5). The belt of truth and the armor of God’s righteousness are God’s fashionable outfit for us. As Mary Baker Eddy writes, “God fashions all things, after His own likeness. Life is reflected in existence, Truth in truthfulness, God in goodness, which impart their own peace and permanence” (cit S11, 516: 9-12).

Mary Baker Eddy discovered that this “holy influence of Truth” enables us to heal sickness and sin. Her discovery was not guesswork or human intellectualizing, it was a revelation of God’s word, which, as we read in John, already was. Put another way, the truth of God’s Word revealed as the Science of the Christ already existed, and Mary Baker Eddy discovered it anew. As she explains, “The revelation of Truth in the understanding came to me gradually and apparently through divine power” (cit S13, 109: 22-24).

Mary Baker Eddy’s revelations about the Word of God came from Scriptural study. As she writes, “In following these leadings of scientific revelation, the Bible was my only textbook. The Scriptures were illumined; reason and revelation were reconciled, and afterwards the truth of Christian Science was demonstrated” (cit S14: 110:13-17).

Mary Baker Eddy explains that the Word of God–the truth of God–is demonstrable, meaning that it can be demonstrated and experienced as it is known. She quotes John 1:14: and explains, “‘The Word was made flesh.’ Divine Truth must be known by its effects on the body as well as on the mind, before the Science of being can be demonstrated.” One way to understand the phrase, “Science of being,” is to see it as the truth of our existence. Understanding the Word of God, is, in effect, understanding the truth of our existence.

To heal, we can keep in mind the truth (the verity) of our existence. As Mary Baker Eddy states, “Keep in mind the verity of being, — that man is the image and likeness of God, in whom all being is painless and permanent. Remember that man’s perfection is real and unimpeachable, whereas imperfection is blameworthy, unreal, and is not brought about by divine Love” (cit S16, 414: 26).  To “Keep in mind the verity of being,” is to know the Word of God.


SECTION 4: The activity of the Word of God

Section 4 offers examples of Christ Jesus prophesying, being moved with compassion, healing, cleansing, and so forth. Christ Jesus is the pure expression of Life, Truth, Love, Spirit, Soul, Mind, and Principle. The Christ is the pure link–the Word of God speaking to each of us–and Jesus is the purest outward expression of this pure link. Together, Christ + Jesus = the way-shower and demonstrator of the Word of God. As Mary Baker Eddy explains, “Jesus mapped out the path for others. He unveiled the Christ, the spiritual idea of divine Love” (cit S20, 38:24–26).

The Gospel of Luke tells us that Christ Jesus read from the book of the prophet Esaias (Greek for the prophet Isaiah, in Hebrew), saying “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord” (cit B17, Luke 4: 14-21, quoting Isaiah 61:1, 2).

Christ Jesus did not just say these words. He followed through with them. He said it and then did it. He walked the talk. He did what he said he would do. Christ Jesus’s word was his bond. And Christ Jesus proved God’s Word. He was, in short, the full expression of the “Word of God made flesh.”

Christ Jesus was the action verb of God’s Word. In this section alone, look at all the activity. Jesus returned, came, went, stood, opened, said, was moved with compassion, put forth his hand, touched, cleaned, spoke. What I mean is that Christ Jesus was constantly active with the Spirit of God. His was not a dormant and sedentary knowledge of the Word. He lived the Word of God actively. And so can we. In all of our activity, we are expressing Love, Truth, Life, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Mind. We are, like Christ Jesus, the active verbs expressing the activity of the Word of God. We put the “ing” in Love-ing. We are the be-ing of the Word, and Christ Jesus shows us the way to walk in the Word.

Mary Baker Eddy explains, “The attributes of God are justice, mercy, wisdom, goodness, and so on” (cit S17, 465:14). These attributes are further descriptions of how we express the Word of God. As we display “justice, mercy, wisdom, goodness, and so on,” we are living the Word of God.

The Word of God is Law (capitalized) that cannot be broken. As we understand this Law, we can depend on it, rely on it and use it to overturn injustice of any kind. Throughout Science and Health, Mary Baker Eddy states divine Laws such as “Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need” or “In infinite Life and Love there is no sickness, sin, nor death, and the Scriptures declare that we live, move, and have our being in the infinite God.” And then she explains how we can use these Laws in our healing practice. She writes, “Let us banish sickness as an outlaw, and abide by the rule of perpetual harmony, — God’s law” (cit S18, 494:10; cit S19, 381:17).

We can look to Christ Jesus’s work as the example of to how to use the Laws of God to overturn injustice of any kind. As Mary Baker Eddy explains, “Christ Jesus overruled the error which would impose penalties for transgressions of the physical laws of health; he annulled supposed laws of matter, opposed to the harmonies of Spirit, lacking divine authority and having only human approval for their sanction” (cit S19, 381: 27–28).

By studying the word and works of Christ Jesus, we can learn to practice the Science–the Knowledge–of the Christ and learn “how to demonstrate the Christ, Truth, as the healing and saving power” (cit S19, 381: 31).

Like the Way-Shower, Christ Jesus, we can be the activity of the Word of God as we “Stick to the truth of being…Plead with an honest conviction of truth…[and] heal the sick” (cit S23, 418:5–9, 22)


SECTION 5: The Word of God Speaks to Us

In the fifth section, we find the story of the “angel of the Lord” speaking to Philip and enabling him to find the Eunuch, who was studying prophecy, and share the Word of God with him. Note that in the fourth section, Christ Jesus reads the Word of God from the book of Esaias, and now in the fifth section, Philip helps the Eunuch understand prophecy from the book of Esaias (Isaiah 53:7 quoted in citation B21, Acts 8:5 Philip, 6, 26–31, 35).

Philip listened to and obeyed the Word of God prophesied by Esaias, and demonstrated by Christ Jesus. And Philip “preached Christ.”  As Mary Baker Eddy explains, “Christ is the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness” (cit S26, 332:9–11). In other words, Christ is the message, the awareness, the knowledge of the Word of God…the understanding of all spiritual ideas. Philip’s understanding of Christ enabled him to inspire the Eunuch and baptize him.

Philip’s adept listening and follow-through demonstrate that Christ Jesus’s word and works were intended to be carried forward and onward and practiced by all who are willing. Consider taking the words in 1st Timothy as speaking directly to you: “But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work” (cit B22, II Timothy 3:14–17, NLT).

Like Philip revealing the Word of God to the Eunuch, Mary Baker Eddy revealed the Word of God by sharing Christian Science–the Science of the Christ–with the world. As she writes, “Christian Science, understood, coincides with the Scriptures, and sustains logically and demonstratively every point it presents.

It presents the calm and clear verdict of Truth against error, uttered and illustrated by the prophets, by Jesus, by his apostles, as is recorded throughout the Scriptures” (cit S25, 358:9–11, 15).

The Christianity that Christ Jesus practiced, and that Philip shared, is still present today. As Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Christ’s Christianity is the chain of scientific being reappearing in all ages, maintaining its obvious correspondence with the Scriptures and uniting all periods in the design of God” (cit S27, 271:1–5).


SECTION 6: The Promise of the Word

In the Golden Text, we found that “In the beginning the Word already existed.” And it is also true that the Word has continued to exist. And it is also true that the Word will continue to exist endlessly. As the Psalmist wrote, “The goodness of God endures continually” (cit B25, Psalm 52:1).

The consistency and dependability and comfort that comes from the Word of Truth offers us hope. In Romans, we read, “For whatsoever things were written long ago were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost” (cit B23, Romans 15:4, 13). Recall that Mary Baker Eddy defines “Holy Ghost” as, “Divine Science; the development of eternal Life, Truth, and Love” (SHp. 588:7). With this definition in mind, the verse from Romans assures us that that the God of hope fills us with joy and peace in believing, that we may abound in hope, through the power of Divine Science; the development of eternal Life, Truth, and Love.

This is a good promise of hope for the New Year. With this promise, we can expect to have the Word of God made new continually. Each day, we can expand our awareness of God’s Word as we accept Mary Baker Eddy’s instructions to “Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts” (cit S31, 261:4).

The Word of God fills all space, throughout all time. As Mary Baker Baker Eddy states, “The maximum of good is the infinite God and His idea, the All-in-all” (cit S32: 103: 15-16).


P.S. A MET BONUS! More INSIGHTS from TWO RESOURCES SHARED by Christie Hanzlik, CS
[Christie:] ”I found two resources that I’d like to share with you to accompany this week’s Met…

1) The article “What you think counts” by Milton Simon, (Christian Science Journal, June 1967) concludes with this statement, relevant to the theme of the Bible Lesson:

”The spiritual truths we live and think do count, for Christian Science treatment is the Word of God. It carries with it the presence, power, and activity of God. It is the practice of the law of life and harmony. It heals quickly and cannot be reversed. All the power that exists is in divine Mind; and by living in accord with the law of God, we reflect that power. Yes, our human ability to reflect the divine power is unlimited. And our goal is so to reflect it that these immortal words of the widow, whose son Elijah raised from the dead, may be said of us: ”Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in thy mouth is truth.”

2) ”A new church friend pointed out a section in Miscellaneous Writings that is about Philip and the Eunuch, and that is relevant to the Bible Lesson:

”Did the salvation of the eunuch depend merely on his believing that Jesus Christ was the Son of God?

It did; but this believing was more than faith in the fact that Jesus was the Messiah. Here the verb believe took its original meaning, namely, to be firm, — yea, to understand those great truths asserted of the Messiah: it meant to discern and consent to that infinite demand made upon the eunuch in those few words of the apostle. Philip’s requirement was, that he should not only acknowledge the incarnation, — God made manifest through man, — but even the eternal unity of man and God, as the divine Principle and spiritual idea; which is the indissoluble bond of union, the power and presence, in divine Science, of Life, Truth, and Love, to support their ideal man. This is the Father’s great Love that He hath bestowed upon us, and it holds man in endless Life and one eternal round of harmonious being. It guides him by Truth that knows no error, and with supersensual, impartial, and unquenchable Love. To believe is to be firm. In adopting all this vast idea of Christ Jesus, the eunuch was to know in whom he believed. To believe thus was to enter the spiritual sanctuary of Truth, and there learn, in divine Science, somewhat of the All-Father-Mother God. It was to understand God and man: it was sternly to rebuke the mortal belief that man has fallen away from his first estate; that man, made in God’s own likeness, and reflecting Truth, could fall into mortal error; or, that man is the father of man. It was to enter unshod the Holy of Holies, where the miracle of grace appears, and where the miracles of Jesus had their birth, — healing the sick, casting out evils, and resurrecting the human sense to the belief that Life, God, is not buried in matter. This is the spiritual dawn of the Messiah, and the overture of the angels. This is when God is made manifest in the flesh, and thus it destroys all sense of sin, sickness, and death, — when the brightness of His glory encompasseth all being.”
(Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, Mary Baker Eddy, pp. 77:1–6 (np))


GREAT NEWS! Thru 2023, gifts will still be MATCHED to:

  • Complete needed facility RENOVATIONS for CedarS JR. LEADERSHIP’s upcoming 50th summer! (Now less than $8,000 to complete the match!)
  • Support CedarS OPERATIONS excellence, horse program & needed GIVING TREE items

We hope you’ll enjoy a 3-minute video made to inspire donations from “Giving Tuesday” thru year-end with our vision for the JL 50th Project and for CedarS as a whole at these links:
Learn More about the JL 50th Project

Give to the Junior Leadership Renovation Fund

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 GEMs of BIBLE-BASED application ideas (from Cobbey Crisler & others) will be emailed later this week.  You can always check for in-process GEMs before then at CedarS INSPIRATION website, whether or not you’ve  SUBSCRIBED here for this free, inspirational offering.


Also later in the week, look for Ken Cooper’s
”POETIC POSTLUDE”
contributions related to this Bible Lesson.


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