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TURN TOWARDS THE LIGHT OF CHRIST AND FIND LIFE!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“Probation After Death”
for April 18-24, 2022

by John & Lindsey Biggs, C.S. of Maryland Heights, MO
541 418 1176 johnbiggscs@gmail.com
541 460 3515 biggs.lindsey@gmail.com


INTRODUCTION

Life and light are important themes throughout the Bible, and spiritual light plays an essential role in bringing healing to our experience. Light provides illumination, enlightenment, spiritual clarity, spiritual understanding, revelation, harmony, and joy. God is the light in whose “light shall we see light.” (Psalm 36:9) The light of Christ shows us what is real and true.

From Elijah ascending to heaven to Paul restoring Eutychus to life, this Lesson is full of inspiring accounts of the power and presence of Christ – the light of Life, Truth and Love – to heal, refresh, uplift and save.


GOLDEN TEXT – GOD IS THE LIGHT THAT SHINES IN US!

[Isaiah 9:2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.”]

God is light itself! “… God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” (I John 1:5)

God gives us light –illumination, understanding, revelation, guidance, uplift, and direction.
So, if things ever seem dark, abstract, etc. turn more towards the light!

The simplicity of the Christ is here and ready to show us our true, spiritual nature, and reveal who we really are! We are all “children of light”!

Here are some additional references:

“While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light.” (John 12:36)

“For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:” (Ephesians 5:8)

“Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.” (I Thessalonians 5:5)

It’s natural for us to respond to the light. Just as plants turn their faces towards the sunlight, we are like plants with natural receptivity that turn us more towards the light of Christ. The Christ, Truth, is natural, normal, and inherent in us! It’s normal for us to feel close to God. This gives us the stability, assurance, beauty, life, health, joy and supply we need!

“This also shows that there is no place where God’s light is not seen, since Truth, Life, and Love fill immensity and are ever-present.” (Science and Health, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 504)


RESPONSIVE READING – GOD’S LOVE IS EVER-SATISFYING

This Psalm 27 is beautiful! God is our light, salvation, and strength!

“One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.” (Psalm 27:4)

Isn’t that so pure and holy? That one desire – to behold God and to dwell forever in His “house” can only come from truly “tasting” and “seeing” how good God is. There isn’t any satisfaction in matter. There is nothing that can be more beautiful, everlasting, and healing than perceiving the divine reality and dwelling in the house, or the consciousness, of the Lord.

“Home is the consciousness of good
That holds us in its wide embrace;
The steady light that comforts us
In every path our footsteps trace.”
(Christian Science Hymnal, No.  497:1)

Our true “home” – dwelling in the house of God – is where we feel safe and loved. It is the spiritual consciousness where we all truly dwell. It is always beautiful, harmonious, abundant, and joyful. It is the mental place of tranquility and spiritual reality where we dwell safely and securely as spiritual ideas of God – always at one with our Father, Mother Love. Is there anything more satisfying? No, there couldn’t be. Since Spirit is all – matter isn’t included in this creation. This land of Spirit includes all the supply, joy, and satisfaction we could ever need.

“They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.” (Psalms 36:5)

It is the only place where we truly dwell. And as we open up to this light, we will naturally see more and more of these spiritual views of the divine reality in our prayers.

From the Bible Lens Commentary:

“Another commentator notes that being sheltered in ‘the secret of his tabernacle’ [Psalms 27:5] carries the sweet significance of a guest given access to his host’s most private rooms: ‘He would not merely admit him to His premises; . . . but he would admit him to the private apartments—the place to which He Himself withdrew to be alone, and where no stranger, and not even one of the family, would venture to intrude.’…
The Psalmist urges expectant waiting on God, as a second scholar suggests [in Psalm 27:14]: ‘Wait at his door with prayer; wait at his foot with humility; wait at his table with service; wait at his window with expectancy.’” (Bible Lens, Christian Science Sentinel)


SECTION 1 – SIMPLY PRAISING GOD

“I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever.” (Ps 145:1, citation B1)

Extol: to praise; to exalt in commendation; to magnify. (Webster Dictionary 1828)

Praising God feels good! It opens our hearts and minds with gratitude! It fills us with light and chases away the clouds of error.

Have you sung Hymn 595 recently? The author of this hymn tells us that praising God is a simple prayer we can do anytime, anywhere, and it brings the courage, comfort, and stillness we need.
Here is the refrain:
“Praise the creator. Let all within me sing!
For that’s what I am made to do,
and comfort [courage, stillness] it will bring.
(Christian Science Hymnal, No.  595)

We can extol, praise, magnify God’s name forever. And why do we do this? Because “The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.” (Psalm 145:9, cit. B1)

“Tenderness accompanies all the might imparted by Spirit.” (Science and Health, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 514) This reminds us of the gentle, strong nature of God.

It’s important to remember that God is good! God doesn’t send evil, sickness, etc. so these have no real authority. Waking up to reality means remembering who and what we are as the image and likeness of God, and the authority that Christ Jesus came to show us.

“We are sometimes led to believe that darkness is as real as light; but Science affirms darkness to be only a mortal sense of the absence of light, at the coming of which darkness loses the appearance of reality.” (citation S2/SH p. 215)

Let’s not be led to believe that something other than God, good, is true. Remember to turn towards the light to gain a clearer sense of what God sees and knows.


SECTION 2 – HOLD TO THE PERFECT MODEL IN THOUGHT, AND GO, AND DO LIKEWISE

“O Lord my God, you have performed many wonders for us. Your plans for us are too

numerous to list. You have no equal. If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds, I would never come to the end of them.  . . . Let your unfailing love and faithfulness always protect me.” (cit. B6, Psalm 40:5, 11 NLT)

From the 1828 Webster Dictionary:

Preserve: To keep or save from injury or destruction; to defend from evil. To uphold; to sustain. To save from decay; to keep in a sound state; To keep or defend from corruption.

“Let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me.” (cit. B6, Psalm 40:11)

Elijah certainly demonstrated the life-preserving power of his consecration to God – from eliminating idol worship, to being sustained by ravens in the wilderness, to ascending to heaven. No wonder, Elisha, his student, assistant, and successor wanted to be an eye-witness to what Elijah would do next. His loyalty reminds me a bit of Ruth “… for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:” (Ruth 1:16)

Elijah has promised Elisha that if he sees him when he ascends up to heaven, then he will receive a double-portion of the Spirit that was on Elijah. They cross over the Jordan River together, after Elijah divides the waters so they can cross more freely. And, there, Elijah is taken up by the horses and chariots of fire, which Elisha witnesses. Apparently, the other prophets in the area knew, also, that Elijah was getting ready to leave, as they stood afar off in the distance. After Elijah leaves, Elisha takes his mantle to see if the Spirit is with him. He calls on God’s name to divide the waters and cross back over the Jordan with Elijah’s mantle, which he does. Interestingly, the other prophets want to go look for Elijah to see if the Spirit may have dropped him off on a mountain nearby. Elisha knows they don’t need to go look for him, but they do anyway. Of course, they aren’t able to find him, and Elisha begins his new ministry right away. (cit. B8, II Kings 2:1-11)

“Elijah’s mantle, or cloak, symbolizes his spiritual authority. He used it to confer the prophetic office on Elisha (see I Kings 19:19), and Elisha later wielded it to divide the Jordan River (see II Kings 2:13, 14). Communities of prophets had been established at Bethel and Jericho, sites Elijah visits on his farewell journey (see II Kings 2:2–5). The fifty younger seers, hoping to witness Elijah’s departure, show respect by waiting at a distance…A vision of fiery horses and chariots occurs again in Dothan, in answer to Elisha’s prayer when Syrians surround the city (see II Kings 6:17).” (Bible Lens, Christian Science Sentinel)

“Elisha is here introduced as the successor to Elijah’s spirit. He received not only Elijah’s mantle with its mystic powers but also the legacy of a firstborn son, a double portion of his spirit. He thus becomes the leader of the prophetic bands.” (The Interpreter’s One-Volume Commentary on the Bible, p. 197)

Elisha is evidence of keeping that “perfect model” (cit. S10/ 407) before thought. He keeps the model of Elijah literally in view, by not leaving his side while he is with him, and keeps that model spiritually and mentally in view after Elijah has ascended and continues following God’s Word.

Sometimes we all need a role model! Something to hold to, to strive for, to show us the good that is possible. We may have people in our lives that represent that, or perhaps it is Christ Jesus himself that represents that model for us. Holding to a true model helps uplift our thought. It lets in the light of Christ into our consciousness and gives us purer, holier views.
In another part of Science and Health, Mary Baker Eddy mentions this again:

“We must form perfect models in thought and look at them continually, or we shall never carve them out in grand and noble lives.” (Science and Health, p. 248)


SECTION 3 – THE LIGHT OF COMPASSION

In Luke 7, and here in Bible citation 7, we read the story of ‘the widow of Nain.’ Notice how often in this passage there’s reference made to the mother: “Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.”

Jesus was very moved by the grief of the mother, and the Bible records that he had compassion on her. That word ‘compassion’ in verse 13 is the same word that Luke used in Jesus’ parable of the good Samaritan, when the Samaritan sees the hurt man in the ditch, and is also the term used for the father’s reaction in the parable of the prodigal son when the son returns home. “In all three cases, the reaction is a response to a presumed death or loss; it signals the drive to restore wholeness.” (p. 95 of Short Stories by Jesus, by Amy-Jill Levine)

This is the action of Christ, the illuminating action of the light of God: in illuminating the ever-intact wholeness and unity of God and man, the suffering human sense of things is redeemed and healed, and a clearer sense of already-present wholeness is restored. In other words, the light of Christ is not just ‘think happy thoughts!’ It’s actively transforming our sense of things, allowing us to see what God has already done. Think of when you’ve been awakened by light streaming in through your windows. That light didn’t strictly change the dream you’d been having; instead, it awakened you to what was already real. Similarly, the light of Christ reveals what God has done – including His perfect work and creation in man – and transforms, awakens, our sense of things to see this present truth.

Healing – revealing what God has already done – is the result. Not because death was changed back into life, but because Life and its expression never ceases from its fundamental nature as Life. When we see discord around us, we can be moved with this same compassion – not just pity for a sad situation, but the compassion that sees with Love, that sees Love and Her expression, forever united and whole.


SECTION 4 – SEEING WHAT IS REALLY GOING ON

 God’s salvation is all that really happens in this section, isn’t it? ! It’s easy to get caught up in the close calls that the apostles had, and it could be tempting to grumble about the attitudes of the various groups who tried to oppose the apostles. (cits. B13, B14, Acts 13 & 14)  At the very least, shouldn’t we be angry about the people who stoned Paul?! They really hurt him! Well…yes, that’s the story from one perspective. But from another perspective – God’s perspective – we see courage, faithfulness, persistence, and salvation. That’s what really happened, isn’t it? The message of the apostles was heard, lives were changed, and the apostles kept being true to the active nature of their calling and mission.

It feels pretty bad when people ignore you or ‘despitefully use you,’ to use Bible language, when all you’re trying to do is share something you love – whether it’s a hobby, a new idea, or the Gospel. And the more you care about that thing you’re trying to share, the more it’s tempting to feel hurt when people don’t seem to join you in caring. Several years ago, I was participating in an interfaith fair on a university campus. This event was designed to introduce local faith groups to the on-campus community so that these students and faculty could be aware of where they might be welcome to join. During this event, I enjoyed chatting with representatives from other faith communities as well. This event was such a nice thing, in part because the representatives were forbidden from trying to proselytize or otherwise ‘make converts;’ all we were there for was to introduce our respective faith communities to the students and faculty.

Well, I ended up getting into a conversation with a member of another faith group, and after a little while it ended up seeming like a really challenging conversation. We were each sharing ideas with each other, and I was feeling frustrated because the gentleman didn’t seem to be approaching our conversation from an honest standpoint – he just seemed to want to proselytize and convince me that his faith was the most correct and inclusive of everyone. That’s all well and good, but it just felt strange to be railroaded instead of politely spoken with!

Well, anyway, we came to a point where we had been talking about how we pray in our different faiths, and he asked if we could just pray quietly together for a little bit. I said, “Yes, please!” and started to pray. Immediately, I was filled with an assurance of God’s love for this man. I wasn’t praying specifically for him, but I was simply provided with overwhelming assurances of God’s love. I was so happy to hear this! My concerns about our weird conversation completely melted away and I was just very present, right there with this man and with God. When I opened my eyes, I saw him staring at me, and he exclaimed, “My back doesn’t hurt anymore!” He hadn’t mentioned anything about this during our conversation, but he said that when we started praying together, he felt a wave of peace go through him and he was freed from a consistent back pain he’d been having. I said how glad I was, and remarked that divine Love was a truly healing power. He smiled and agreed, and sincerely thanked me for praying with him and sharing ideas with him.

Wow – I hadn’t thought he’d heard anything I’d said, and I certainly hadn’t specifically prayed for him, but the presence and power of Love bore witness to Love’s work and Love’s children, and Love was felt. As I’ve continued to consider this experience, I’ve been really moved by how Love healed me as well – healed me of resentment, annoyance, and pettiness. All that happened that day was Love’s salvation. There was no other story worth holding on to.


SECTION 5 – LOVING NOT BLAMING

It could be tempting to get into blaming when we are confronted with a tough situation. For instance:

Oh, Eutychus. Too bored to stay awake during this inspiring sermon? Stayed up too late the night before? And now you’ve fallen, badly hurt, maybe dead. If only you had paid better attention! (cit. B17, Acts 17:7-12)

Or…

Oh, Paul. So excited about your own talking that you just kept talking, and talking, and talking. Yes, it’s all good and true…but did you have to talk so much? Couldn’t you have kept it simpler? That would have helped Eutychus (and who knows who else) stay awake.

Or…

What a sad thing, that the community allowed this young man to fall. Someone should have been there with him, seen that he was sleepy and incoherent! Someone should have caught him! Where were those who knew Eutychus best? Why couldn’t they have helped?

It’s very easy to blame when things go wrong. The motive is sometimes good; we want to know what happened and why, so it doesn’t happen again. But does blaming ever actually help?

Blaming in this way actually distracts from the heart of the story: that no matter what, Life is expressed, and Life’s expression is saved from any belief in cessation or death.
Since the Bible is “a chart of life” (see Science and Health p. 24), then it absolutely offers insight into every single arena in which we may find ourselves. There are certainly plenty of situations we may get into, where it might seem very tempting to get into blame, fault-finding, or anything other than healing. So, I believe this story helps show us the way out of those temptations by reminding us of what the real substance of our lives is about. When reading this story, we don’t get distracted by those strange viewpoints I listed above; likewise, we don’t need to get distracted by divergent viewpoints and claims of separation in any aspect of our lives.

I remember a brief experience I had a while ago. I was visiting my uncle’s farm in South Africa and had become friendly with some of the farm workers who were mostly Xhosa. I asked if I could join them in their weekly soccer matches against neighboring farms, and I was immediately rebuffed. It was clear from the turn the conversation took that this had been an inappropriate thing for me to ask. Hurt, I later asked my cousin why this reaction had happened, and he said it was just because I was part of the boss’s family, and these soccer games were meant to be for the workers only. Well, I spent a good portion of the day trying to consider things from their perspective, and while I could understand wanting to keep something special that was just for one group, I didn’t really like taking such an effort to try to buy into what was essentially a racial and class-based division; this dear country had already had quite enough of that! What came to me as I prayed later in the day, though, was that I could actually leave the whole mess behind.

Of course, it’s good to understand where people are coming from – not ignoring the history or context, – but in this particular moment, my only role was just to see how I could love more, and how I could look to God more. This was really freeing for me because I didn’t want to just “get what I wanted” without regard to others’ feelings.  I was so happy to gain this view of my proper role – to just be on the lookout for love. And, it was so fun because the next week, one of the workers I’d become friends with was running by, and he saw me sitting on the porch and called out to see if I could join them for the game since they were short a man. I got a few funny looks when I walked on the field, but we had such a fun time. Afterwards the team captains said they were really glad I joined them, and I’d be welcome for the rest of the time I was there. For me, the healing wasn’t that I got to play soccer; the healing was that our viewpoints were all raised from the hurt of miscommunication into the newness of lived Love.

Whether we’re raising lives, raising families or raising viewpoints, it’s a pleasure to be single-mindedly focused on the transformative and healing power of Love alone.


SECTION 6 – SEEING WHAT WE’VE BEEN GIVEN

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (cit. B21, II Tim 1:7)

What God has given us, is all we get. Think of a smile, the expression of happiness; think of a song, the expression of a singer; think of a painting, the expression of an artist. The expression is what naturally happens because the creator exists. The expression is like an emanation, an outflow, the outcome, of the existence of the creator. So, you are what happens because God exists. What God has given, then, is of vital importance – and we must be able to know what we have been given.

Knowledge is one of the fundamental effects of light, isn’t it? If I turn on the light in my room, I can see where the dresser is so I don’t run into it, and I can effectively interact with things. Likewise, one reason that many people don’t like walking in the forest at night is because you can’t see very well, and so an over-active imagination can take over and make us think that every little noise is SOMETHING out there. This, by the way, is how fear and hypnotism work, through giving suggestions of ‘what might be,’ and sometimes people forget that just because something is presented or suggested to us, doesn’t mean that thing is real.

And this is why the light of Christ saves us: by showing us what God is doing and what God has already given us permanently. In the presence of Christ, there cannot exist darkness or hurt or fear. Christ is risen and is here – the action of God forever embracing man – and this lived Love heals and reveals the forever-safety of man in God. By the light of Christ, we receive true knowledge as to what is actually happening. We don’t need to fear what may come; let us be here, with God, in the light of His Christ, looking to Him alone for who and how we are.

I hope you enjoy this poem “Artists for God: Psalm” by Godfrey John, CSB (from his collection of poems and essays called Five Seasons). I think it speaks to the joy and never-ending liveliness that this Bible Lesson inspires.

“Artists for God: Psalm”
by Godfrey John, CSB

“Are you not sons of one Soul,
made in God’s imaging?
His hand moves yours
to witness His creating.
Now are you all artists for God.
Speak in parables of light;
write that men may feel joy
walking upon the waters, rising up.

These words in you are His doing.
Every hour
Soul brings to your heart an awakening, a fresh
fashioning of His love;
Soul plants pure desires along your days.
And there shall be no night in all your going.
Your feet shall strike sparks from the rock,
For Soul is the strength of your horizon.
Even now you stand at the resurrection of tenderness:
your shadows shall be long and cool
in the noonday of the Philistine.

Behold, the keepers of His Word.
Soul pours out His vision before your opening eyes;
the interpreting of your hand shall be
the design of His will upon the canvas of the morning.
Because of your praise they shall remember.
Your days shall continually break into leaf
like the laughter of grateful men.
And none of your works shall perish.”


A Ken Cooper POETIC POSTLUDE related to this Bible Lesson should be POSTED soon on CedarS INSPIRATION website & will be EMAILED TO THOSE WHO SUBSCRIBE FOR IT HERE.


GEMs of BIBLE-BASED application ideas from COBBEY CRISLER and others are yet to be fully excavated and refined and so should be POSTED later this week on CedarS INSPIRATION website & EMAILED TO THOSE WHO SUBSCRIBE FOR IT HERE.


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