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[Find the light and watch the imprisoning darkness of unreality disappear!]
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on


April 3, 2016

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

[Click for PDF & larger-type options in CedarS online Met with these features on top.]

One thing I always ask myself with this lesson subject is, "why "reality" as well as "unreality"? Doesn't knowing one make us recognize the second? Each time I ask I get at least some slightly new answer to that question. Maybe sometime I won't need to ask it anymore! As I see it, once we truly realize that something is unreal, we are never fooled into accepting it again as true. Whatever that unreal thing is, it loses its power over us, it cannot influence us, or make us afraid. This particular Bible lesson uses light and darkness to symbolize the real and unreal. Light reveals. We don't trip over things or run into things so often when the light is on or the sun is shining. But it is important to recognize when something comes to us pretending to be "light"/real. There are many examples of this (sin, sickness, death being the major categories). All stem from the suggestion that man is a mixture of matter and Spirit—that we are imprisoned in a material body that contains within it some spiritual thinking or perception. This can be a tempting model to accept, and it is certainly a widely acknowledged one. It can sometimes feel like swimming upstream to maintain the facts that we understand in Christian Science about reality. But this week's lesson gives us some ideas to help us do just that—to find the light and watch the imprisoning darkness disappear. I can't help but be reminded of caving. Some of you may have experienced Panther Cave on the CedarS property. I have also taken my boys to a nearby cave on a few occasions. It is breathtaking when you walk back to the cave entrance from the complete darkness of the cave. It is almost overwhelming to see the open mouth of the cave and the light streaming in like it is from a different world altogether. One trick to finding your way out of a cave if you lose your way in some passage, is to follow the current of the stream that is nearly always present in the cave. It flows out the mouth of the cave. In this particular instance you might say that making your way to the light, the truth of man's nature and God's power and reality, is as simple as drifting down stream rather that the aforementioned fight upstream! It might seem like darkness is a power, that it can displace light. But, in fact, darkness is not a power at all. It always fades and disappears in the presence of light. All this is to say: It is genuinely important to be able to recognize whatever is unreal so that we can dismiss it, replace it with the truth. Knowing that God is the only source, and only good, gets us on the right path to differentiating the real from the unreal.

Golden Text and Responsive Reading: A flashlight can look pretty bright if you are in a dark place, like a cave. But it doesn't compare with the brightness of the day, or even the dawn. This is how prophecy is compared to its fulfillment in Jesus' life. The prophecy in Isaiah really was like a light that proclaimed the coming Messiah. But when Jesus arrived (and he referred to himself as the "daystar", "The bright and morning star"), that simple lantern, or flashlight of prophecy was completely eclipsed by the full sunlight of Jesus' works. As we let that full sunlight into our own heart or consciousness, we dissipate the darkness of material consciousness and experience the harmony of reality.

Section 1: Unreality is what was not made by God.

How did things start off? What did God create, was it a beautiful material creation? Or was it light, which allows us to see form, shape, color? Citation B1 tells us that the earth had no form and was empty until God said "Let there be light". What a beautiful statement revealing that light is not, in reality, from the sun. The sun is a representation of spiritual light, the true source of Life and being. We could hide from the light of the sun right? We could go deep into a cave, hide in a closet, cover our head with a pillow. But we cannot escape from the light of God, even if we seem to be humanly blind, the light of God is revealing the truth of our being to spiritual consciousness. When we dabble in a material sense of creation, and this is easy to do, we find ourselves afraid, confused and ultimately coming to a material end. Citation S4 pretty much sums up this sort of confusion. Mrs. Eddy calls it being "Befogged in error (the error of believing that matter can be intelligent for good or evil)…" The ability to recognize the unreality of sickness or any other inharmony, comes through demonstrating what we know of Christ healing. A recent healing in our family came from not focusing on the problem (painful warts on the foot), but rather on hearing God's voice. James was so distressed by this wart that had been hanging around for a couple of years. It had expanded into several warts on his big toe. He was in tears about it one day and we talked about having a healing of this condition. He felt frustrated that while he'd heard kids in his Sunday School class talk about hearing God, and had heard them speak of hearing God at CedarS, he had "never heard God's voice". So we decided that the problem wasn't really warts at all, rather it was listening for God's voice. I warned him that we weren't going to let this go until he was sure he was hearing God! And we also touched on the fact that we weren't "getting rid of warts", that is, we weren't removing something real. So for awhile we talked briefly every day about how we were hearing God. We hear God when we do something obediently without complaint. We hear his voice if we make our bed or brush our teeth without being asked. Pretty soon he was hearing God everywhere, multiple times a day. One day, a couple of months later, I noticed there was a testimony in the Christian Science Sentinel that was included at the end of the "MyBibleLesson" page, about a healing of warts. I asked him if he wanted me to read him this testimony about her healing of warts and he said "You don't need to mommy, those warts disappeared awhile ago" (yah, that made me laugh too). The unreality of those growths was revealed in the light of hearing God speak to him every day. In this way, the darkness or lie of a wart was dispelled by the light of God or Truth.

Section 2: Light reveals freedom.

You know, I never thought about the story of the Hebrews gaining their freedom from Egypt being a story of the unreality of slavery. But here this slavery is juxtaposed with statements like: "The human thought must free itself from self-imposed materiality and bondage." and "The enslavement of man is not legitimate. It will cease when man enters into his heritage of freedom, his God-given dominion over the material senses." (S7 & S8). Moses helped the nation of Israel to become more spiritual in their worship and understanding of God. This more spiritual understanding gave them laws that made them a great nation, ultimately leading to an even deeper understanding of God and man when Christ Jesus came along. (S6 and S7). The enlightenment that came with Moses' understanding gave the Children of Israel light even when the terrible darkness of the ninth plague darkened every Egyptian home. Even as they wandered through the wilderness for all those years they followed a "pillar of fire", a light from God, as they traveled. How is this light coming to us today as we take our own wilderness journeys? Every Bible story has its modern parallel! How is the light that we are receiving from God vibrant as that pillar of fire that led the way across the desert? Our own prayers and study can bring us a long way toward seeing the unreal nature of material enslavement.

Section 3: The flashlight of spiritual fact.

Jesus' demonstrations showed disease to be unreal. Mrs. Eddy learned of this from the Bible and demonstrated disease of all kinds to be unreal, powerless, as well. She followed Jesus' example and so can we! His demonstrations (and hers) are just like lights, shining for us to see and follow. The story of Kaspar Hauser was popular in Mrs. Eddy's day. It is now thought to be a hoax. But elements of the story are none the less instructional taken as an example. It is certainly true that mortal mind is easily imprisoned by the lies of darkness and isolation. Belief in the reality of man as a material creation creates a very tangible prison in which we can find ourselves if we are not alert to the fact that this is merely a suggestion rather than a truth. It is certainly true that the less education we receive the less enlightened we generally are, the more subject to fear of people that are different from ourselves, ideas that are new, change, etc. Just so, when we remain in the darkness of a "material reality", we find ourselves bound to so-called material law, not spiritual fact. Certainly that bread and water diet did not represent healthy and delicious food, nor would constant darkness be a joyous way to live. But one could see that if we were only exposed to this way of life, we might mistakenly believe that this was a good way to live. It's important to get those "spiritual facts of being" (S11), in order to feel the warmth and light of spiritual reality.

Section 4: Jesus' light erased the darkness and finality of the tomb.

On the heels of the Easter story of his own resurrection, we have the great story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. [B15**] Jesus answers the disciples' fears about re-entering Judaea where they had recently tried to stone him, by explaining that we have nothing to fear in the light. We can confidently walk forward without stumbling because we are surrounded by light. Those that walk in the darkness of material belief stumble about and are powerless. He goes on to roll away the hardened stone of unbelief from the thought of all those around Lazarus, and from those reading his story today, to raise Lazarus from the dark cave of material belief in death, and to release him from the grave-clothes of false belief binding man to the fear of life and death in matter.

Section 5: Salvation is found in God's home of light and harmony.

Salvation is found in the Kingdom of heaven, where God "lives/dwells". [See B19**] That's where we want to live too, and, in reality, that is our present home. The darkness of unreality, of the belief of a separate life from God, in matter, sometimes causes us to be blind to the presence of that kingdom right where we are. Understanding or light, the kind of light that Moses and Jesus shed in this Bible lesson, makes God and man's real nature clear to us. This understanding is salvation! (S21) If God's very home is made of light, can it ever emit darkness? Can Good create evil? Once again we are back to that early example of creation being only good, only light, no darkness. Whatever, to sense, seems dark, must then be unreal and powerless. We experience salvation every time we have a healing or even a lovely spiritual revelation. Salvation is the joy of understanding that goodness is power, the only power, and it is bearing witness to the light of God.

Section 6: Divine Science is the Word of God that shines on us all.

There is no healing word of God that can contain even a scrap of evil or darkness/unreality. You cannot have something be "a little unreal". It is either real or unreal. Matter will always try to tell us that we are a mixture, that we are sometimes good and sometimes bad. But this is a lie. Everything that tells us we are less than spiritual and perfect is the confusion of darkness. "The confidence inspired by Science lies in the fact that Truth is real and error is unreal." (S26) We can proceed with confidence and peace in the face of such darkness or unreality, knowing that the light of Truth will burn right through that fog of error. Accepting God's all-goodness is a wonderfully freeing step out of the imprisonment and slavery of unreality. We may have to turn away from the presentations that unreality tries to make. Many a healing has come about by not looking at the lie, or acknowledging it in any way. One of the simple healing aids that we employed together when James and I were working on that earlier healing was to think about how God was speaking to us every time we were tempted to look at or think about the wart. In that way we were turning towards the light every time darkness knocked on our thought! It certainly brought healing for us. It will for everyone who follows that light.

[** See Online version of this Met (upper right) for Cobbey Crisler commentary Downloads on a couple of Bible citations for this Bible Lesson.]

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