Join us for the best summer yet!

Wake Up from the Dream of Unreality!
Application ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on: “Unreality”
September 29-October 5, 2008
by Craig L. Ghislin, C.S. Glen Ellyn, Illinois

Editor’s Note: The following application ideas for this week and Possible Sunday School Topics that follow are offered primarily to help CEDARS campers and staff (as well as friends) see and demonstrate the great value of daily study and application of the Christian Science Bible lessons year-round, not just at camp! You can sign up to have them emailed to you free — in English by Monday or Tuesday each week, or by each Wednesday you can get a FREE TRANSLATION in French from Pascal or in Spanish from Ana. (We no longer have a translator available for German.) JUST SIGN UP at www.cedarscamps.org/newsletters

Have you ever had a dream? Of course you have. Some of them might be filled with beauty, and others might be nightmares fraught with danger or fear. But whatever the case, the dreams are never real and even though they may linger a bit in memory, they vanish when you wake up. The events, good or bad, were never real and they have no power to affect the day.

You can’t miss the message of this week’s Lesson unless you’re asleep. The message: WAKE UP! The night, darkness, sleep, and dreams are all symbols for the unreality of the belief of life in matter. To wake up from this dream of material existence we need to spiritualize our consciousness. Paul’s letter to the Romans contains specific directions to Christians. They are urged to put off the “works of darkness” which The Abingdon Bible Commentary defines as “Reckless, riotous living and factious or envious bickering.” Instead, they are to conduct themselves as those who belong to the kingdom of light and behave with dignity. The Interpreter’s One-Volume Commentary on the Bible paraphrases the Golden Text: “The Christian has something better to live for than ease and sleep…The life of faith and Christian engagement is like rising eagerly to meet a new day which is the new life Christ makes possible.”

In the two letters to the early church communities found in the Responsive Reading, the terms darkness, night, and sleep refer to ignorance, sin, and alienation from the life of God. Everything outside of Christianity, including paganism, was considered darkness. The message of Christianity brings light to the world like the dawning day. Christians are urged to be ready for the dawning day of Christ. As “children of the day” they should be alert to the demands of the times in which they live and arm themselves with faith, hope, and love. “The degradation of reasoning faculties goes hand in hand with moral corruption” (Abingdon). Christian teaching reverses that corruption calling for “a radical moral change-the abandonment of evil desires, a transformation of moral values, and the assumption of a new character exhibiting the divine ideal of righteousness, holiness, and truth” (Ibid.). Christians are expected to put off the old man and works of darkness like old, useless, dirty clothes, and put on fresh garments of holiness.

Are you ready to be children of the day? As you study this week’s Lesson, examine your life to see if there are any dirty old clothes or “works of darkness” you might be clinging to that should really be thrown out. But don’t stop there. Next, replace the old stuff by putting on fresh garments of righteousness so you’ll be ready for the new day of spiritual awakening.

Section 1: Is Our Origin in Light and Order? Or in Mist and Chaos?
New Testament concepts of light and darkness refer most often to Christian vs. non-Christian teachings and behavior. In the Old Testament, light and darkness have the broader implication of order and disorder, good and evil, the real and unreal. “Beginning” means “the principal thing” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance to the Bible). God is the fundamental cause or Principle of all that is real. The first act of creation begins when “God imposes order on primeval, nonpersonal chaos by calling light into existence” (Dummelow). The formation of light is essential for bringing order and progress into being. The “light stands in eternal contrast and opposition to the darkness” (Abingdon). The description of the spiritual creation (B1) climaxes with the creation of man, male and female, in the image and likeness of God. “Man is the crown and supreme glory of the whole universe” (Ibid.) Everything made “has come from his hand precisely as he intended and it is very good. The chaos has been effectively restrained, and order prevails; the world is furnished and populated, and mankind has been brought into being to maintain God’s created order.”
(Ibid.)

In the second chapter of Genesis (B2) creation seems to begin again. This time everything starts from mist and dust. In this creation the order is different. Man “of the dust of the ground” is the first thing made instead of being the pinnacle of creation. Additionally, in the first version, man is “created.” In the second version he is “formed.” The word “created” is a word applied in the Old Testament as exclusively meaning the activity of God. The word “formed” is a common word referring to a potter molding clay. As this section concludes, Adam falls into a deep sleep. It’s interesting to note that in the story it never really mentions Adam waking up.

Science and Health intimates that the world is still asleep (S1). Mrs. Eddy likened the whole of mortal experience to being in the darkness and oblivion of sleep (S2). Mrs. Eddy discerned along with other scholars that the Bible contains two distinct stories of creation (S3). She saw the first chapter of Genesis as containing the spiritual view of reality. God is in charge and everything is good. But the second account arises from mist and confusion. “Everything comes from beneath, not from above” (S4). She notes that God is called by different names in each version. Trusting in divine logic, she poses several questions to the reader pointing out the discrepancies between the creation accounts (S5). She concludes that the first account depicts the reality of creation, while the second depicts the unreality.

Section 2: Reasoning from a False Basis Shuts Man Out from the Presence of God
Believing that man is the product of the dust of the ground is like being asleep. The story of Cain and Abel (B3) shows the inevitable tragic result of believing in such a state. Dummelow’s description puts it very well: “Its details enable us to see how jealousy, when indulged, leads to hatred and murder, and violates not only the ties of humanity, but those of family affection; how the sinner casts off all regard for the truth and for his natural obligations; how progress in sin adds to the misery of man’s lot; and ‘conscience doth make cowards of us all.'” Are you caught up in the dream that you live independently from God? If so, you may find yourself cherishing fears that there isn’t enough good to go around and you have to do whatever it takes to “get your due.” This dream leads to sin. Cain’s selfishness caused him to lose any regard for right and wrong. He polluted the ground with his brother’s blood. The ground no longer cooperating with him, he became unproductive and was reduced to a wanderer, without home or family.

This whole story is the tragic tale of mortal man (S7). Everything about this false belief is murderous, and it leads to trouble. The belief that man is material shuts him out from the presence of God (S10). Neither matter nor the material senses can recognize or understand God. All those who labor under the belief that they are of the dust-of matter-are dwelling in a dream. Science, or the reality of being, is engaged against this false belief in a “warfare of extermination.” That is a pretty strong statement. It is a battle of the real versus the unreal, of Spirit versus matter, of Life verses death. Page 531 of our textbook expresses the hope that one day the human mind will exchange human concepts for spiritual perception and divine consciousness (S11). A concept is an image formed in the mind, or an idea formed of an absent object. To perceive something is to actually see the object in front of you. “When we see an object with our eyes open, we have a perception of it; when the same object is presented to the mind with the eyes shut, in idea only, or in memory, we have a conception of it” (Student’s Reference Dictionary). Thus we can see that the human concept is viewing reality with your eyes shut, still asleep and dreaming. When we wake up, we spiritually perceive what’s really there.

Section 3: Dreams Are Unreal
Laziness and sloth have always been frowned upon. The proverb asks, “How long will you sleep O sluggard?” (B4). In The Amplified Bible Eccl. 5:7 reads, “For in a multitude of dreams there is futility and worthlessness, and ruin in a flood of words…” (B5). God lights our candle (B6). He wakes us up out of our darkness and promises that we’ll find Him when we search for Him (B7). Do you ever feel too lazy to pray? Sometimes we find ourselves in a stupor just dreaming away the time. Some of those dreamy hours may seem pleasant, but allowing ourselves to drift aimlessly, we lose our anchor to reality and our dreams can quickly turn unpleasant.

Science and Health tells us that the whole of mortal existence is a dream of pain and pleasure in matter (S12). Just as in the night dream, our waking experience is a state of mind in which it looks and feels like the body is experiencing pleasure or suffering. The circumstances of a dream disappear when we wake up. Just so, the sufferings of mortal belief dissolve when we wake up to the truth (S13). Designating the whole history of error as a dream is a bold statement (S14). She writes that the dream and the dreamer are one and the same, and neither one are real. The solution is fairly straightforward. All we have to do to remedy the sufferings of the mortal dream is to wake up.

Section 4: Opposites Never Coincide
Spirit and matter, light and darkness, good and evil, being opposites, never mix. Isaiah instructs us to stop looking to material man for that which only God can give. “Cease to trust in [weak, frail, and dying] man, whose breath is in his nostrils [for so short a time]; in what sense can he be counted as having intrinsic worth?” (Amplified). The world of dreams has nothing to do with God’s creation. Last week’s Lesson focused on true prophecy-seeing what is spiritually real. This Lesson teaches that false prophets are steeped in the unreal. They tell their dreams but their dreams, are products of their own minds, not oracles from God (B10). These dreams are counterfeits. The word of God provides true direction and nourishment (B11). The fleshly nature is corrupt but the spiritual nature is pure and holy (B12).

Are you tempted to blur the lines between the real and unreal? Do you think it would be easier if there were gray areas in which we didn’t have to be so precise in our metaphysics? Christian metaphysics underscore the utter incompatibility between spirit and matter-the real and the unreal (S16, 17). It’s a waste of time to try to mix them. The real and unreal never have any contact at all. Every aspect of experience opposed to the omnipotence of God is designated as part of the “Adam-dream” (S18), and is never real. We give up the belief in a life apart from God proportionately as we understand more of God’s true nature. Spirit never dreams, makes mistakes, nor merely believes. Spirit is never born into matter, nor does Spirit die out of it (S19). Man as the image and likeness of Spirit described in the first chapter of Genesis reflects only the qualities of his Maker. Why would we want it any other way?

Section 5: Material Living and Death Are Both Dreams
When in pitch darkness the psalmist turns to God to lighten his eyes (B13). As one’s eyes brighten with a return of health, the light of Truth lifts the glaze of death from mortal man. The raising of Lazarus is considered by scholars to be a seminal event in Jesus’ ministry. It was believed there was no possible way to revive someone after being dead for four days. Nothing but miraculous power could explain it. It is also viewed as a precursor to Jesus’ own resurrection. Jesus required faith in others in order for them to be healed, and he demonstrated his own complete faith as an active agent in his healing work as well. Lazarus represents all believers. Lazarus’ release symbolizes “release from the stony heart of sin; let go to life in God” (Interpreter’s). This event emboldened the disciple’s faith, too. It showed that the Christ destroys sin, sickness and death.

Mrs. Eddy calls death “But another phase of the dream that existence can be material.” (S20) As Spirit and matter-the real and unreal-have nothing to do with each other, so life has nothing to do with death. Life never enters matter in the first place. (S21) Death is just part of the dream that it does. The understanding that Life is God not only eliminates the belief of death, it destroys the belief of life in matter too. Jesus knew that Lazarus had never died nor lived in the flesh. (S22) Jesus was awake and this enabled him to wake up Lazarus. [It is recorded someplace that I can’t find yet that Mrs. Eddy’s students once failed to resuscitate someone who had died. Upon questioning her as to the reason for their failure, she replied that their failure was because they were trying to bring the person “back.” They needed to understand that he had never gone anywhere to begin with.] (See also Twelve Years with Mary Baker Eddy (Amplified Edition) by Irving C. Tomlinson, p. 64 as referenced by myBibleLesson.com) Mrs. Eddy affirms that death is the illusion and life is the reality. (S23)  She expected us to be able to prove it. As we do, we will “reopen the gates of Paradise which human beliefs have closed.” (S24) This isn’t theoretical. It is demonstrable. It may seem to be way beyond most of us, but we can start proving the reality of life right now. We can wake up more each day and never agree with the dream of death wherever it seems to be.

[Editor’s Note: There’s a wonderful solo, “Lazarus,” written and sung by Susan Mack of The Solo Committee on their great new CD entitled “Humility.” See www.solocommittee.com]

Section 6: It’s Time to Wake Up!
The last section reiterates the themes in the Responsive Reading. We are all being called to wake up and rise from the dust of the dream of material existence (B16). As Christians, we called upon to be watchful. The life that is in Christ arms us against temptation and unfolds to us true living as opposed to merely existing (B17). Darkness and light represent mortality and immortality. As Christians we are expected to let our light shine in our daily activities thus, lighting the way for others (B18). Have you ever noticed how the birds start chirping and singing away before break of dawn? They are up and expectant while it’s still dark outside. In our hours of darkness, do we sing hymns of praise before the light dawns? The psalmist does. He is up and singing regardless of his circumstances because he has an abiding faith that God will sustain him through every difficulty (B19). He’s no dreamer. He wants to wake up. The only satisfaction he ever finds is in his fellowship with God (B20). Are you ready to wake up?

Our textbook promises that as we wake up to the truth of being the mortal dream will disappear (S25). Page 356 (S26) points out that “Matter is not the vestibule of Spirit.” A “vestibule” is a passage or entryway. Often material existence is portrayed as a stepping-stone to immortality. That somehow we are temporarily “housed” in a material body and eventually we leave the material body to live in spirit. Christian Science rejects this claim as being a dream. Flesh and Spirit do not contribute in “any way to each other’s happiness and existence.” Life in matter is impossible. Living in matter is like being under a spell (S27). Truth wakes us up from this dreamlike trance. Christ is the same forever and we live in Spirit, God today and always. God never sleeps. Neither can man made in His likeness-the real man-ever fall asleep and dream of life in matter (S28). You are not of the dust. Accept the Truth of being. You’re not a dreamer. Arise! Awake! The day is at hand.
________________________________________________________________
This weekly Metaphysical Newsletter is provided at no charge to the 1,200 campers & staff blessed each summer at CEDARS, as well as to CEDARS alumni, families and friends who request it. However, current and planned gifts are needed to help cover the costs of running this service and of providing camperships, and support for operations and special programs. Click http://www.cedarscamps.org/giving to read fruitage due to your help; to review current Operational needs; to see our Annual Appeal; and to find more about how you can give online or talk privately about how to make a special gift to help perpetuate CEDARS work.
MATCHING GIFT OPPORTUNITY! If contributions of $25,000 for “Maintenance Must” projects are received by the end of the year, we will receive a matching $25,000! This will cover replacing roofs over PAL House (for our CSP & CSN) and several cabins. It will also help us start to replace the original Girls Store Building in a new Girls Camp Center. (more to come)

Your always-welcome, tax-deductible support can be mailed to:
CEDARS Camps
19772 Sugar Drive
Lebanon, MO 65536

Camp Director’s Note: This sharing is the latest in an ongoing, seven-year series of CedarS Bible Lesson “mets” (metaphysical application ideas) contributed weekly by a rotation of CedarS Resident Practitioners and occasionally by other metaphysicians. (To keep the flow of the practitioner’s ideas intact and to allow for more selective printing, the “Possible Sunday School Topics” will come on a following page or subsequent email.) This weekly email (and website posting) is intended to encourage further study and application of ideas in the lesson and to invigorate Sunday School participation by students and by the budding teachers on our staff. Originally sent JUST to my Sunday School students and 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, application 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. The thoughts presented are the inspiration of the moment and are offered to give a bit more dimension, background and new angles on daily applicability to some of the ideas and passages being studied. The weekly Bible Lessons are copyrighted by the Christian Science Publishing Society and are printed in the Christian Science Quarterly as available at Christian Science Reading Rooms or online at eBibleLesson.com or myBibleLesson.com. The citations referenced (i.e. B1 and S28) from this week’s Bible Lesson in the “met” (metaphysical application ideas) are taken from the King James Version of the Bible (B1-24) and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. (S1-30) 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. 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.
Enjoy!
Warren Huff, Camp Director, director@cedarscamps.org (636) 394-6162

———————————————————————————————————-
Possible Sunday School Topics by Merrill Boudreaux [& a fellow teacher]
for the Christian Science Bible Lesson: “Unreality” for Oct. 5, 2008

Possible Sunday School Topic [P.S.S.T. – Golden Text] – Look up and memorize the definitions of Night, Morning, and Day from the Glossary of Science and Health. [How can these spiritual sense views help you today?]

Possible Sunday School Topic [P.S.S.T. – Responsive Reading] – This may be a good time to create a “New Year’s” or “New You” Resolution. You and your students may complete for yourselves a statement of the trait(s) you are willing to put off, or those you are willing to put on.

Possible Sunday School Topic [P.S.S.T. – Sections 1 and 2] – The key word in this section is “sleep.” What is the purpose of sleep? How much of it is needed each night? Can one be considered “asleep” while being wide awake? Write out the differences in the two stories in Genesis in the Bible portions of Sections 1 and 2. Place a “T “by those events that are true and an “F” by those that are false. [See anger & dejection as False for you and all.]

Possible Sunday School Topic [P.S.S.T. – Section 3] – Identify the results of being in a “dream” in the Science and Health portion of Section 3. Does one dream only when asleep? What other kinds of dreams are there? Which is real, that which occurs in the sleeping dream, or that which occurs in the waking dream? Or? [“Hope and a future?” New International Version for “an expected end” in the King James Version, Jeremiah 29:11, B7]

Possible Sunday School Topic [P.S.S.T. – Section 4] – List the difference between the real and the unreal as stated in the Science and Health part. [Quickness is part of spirit, the real. (B11) Where do you want to be quicker?]

Possible Sunday School Topic [P.S.S.T. – Section 5] – This is a great opportunity to role play the Lazarus story. Have students give a verbal Christian Science treatment before declaring “Lazarus, come forth.” [Make sure each treatment includes the key Christian element of gratitude-in-advance that Jesus spoke aloud for us. Identify all claims of death and of being too late: deadlines, dead-end relationships, discouragement …]

Possible Sunday School Topic [P.S.S.T. – Section 6] – Write a verse to a poem or song about the glory of being “awake” in God, Spirit. This can be done individually or by group. [“I’m alive, alert, awake, enthusiastic!” camp song]

 

 

American Camp Association

MAIN OFFICE
(November - May)
410 Sovereign Court #8
Ballwin, MO 63011
(636) 394-6162

CAMP OFFICE
(Memorial Day Weekend - October)
19772 Sugar Dr.
Lebanon, MO 65536
(417) 532-6699

Support our mission!

CedarS Camps

Back
to top