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Walk in the Pathway of Life!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Probation After Death”
October 19—25, 2020

by Craig L. Ghislin, C.S. of Glen Ellyn, Illinois (Bartlett)
craig.ghislincs@icloud.com / (630) 830-8683 / (630) 234-3987 cell/text

[Click here for an audio version of Craig’s Metaphysical Application ideas, read by him.
Listeners can find the location of referenced citations in this emailed and in CedarS online text version of it.]

Have you ever wondered what happens after death? It’s a common question asked not only in religious and philosophical circles, but even in popular television sitcoms such as The Good Place.

I recently attended a Christian celebration of life in which there seemed to be no question in the minds of the minister or the several participating speakers that life certainly continues, and that death brings freedom from suffering. They each solidly expected that the individual’s earthly life of faith would usher him into the presence of the Saints in heaven.

On the surface, this week’s Golden Text can be taken as a promise that, with God’s guidance, we continue our existential journeys forever. The scriptural context, however, provides a little different meaning. The Interpreter’s One-Volume Bible Commentary reads it as a prophesy that, “whatever the pagan leanings of the surrounding peoples, Judah’s fidelity to the one God will abide forever.” John Calvin (1509-1564) sees it a bit more metaphorically as well:

…what the Prophet had in view was to raise up into confidence the minds of the godly in the midst not only of troubles, but of utter confusion. … We know how violent a thing is public consent; for when the majority conspire together, the small number, who entertain a different opinion, are, as it were, instantly swallowed up. It is not then without reason that the Prophet exhorts the faithful here to an invincible firmness of mind, that they might triumph over all the nations. …How much soever, then, the whole world may oppose God, our faith ought not to be changeable, but remain firm on this strong foundation, — that God, who cannot deceive, has spoken.

Well, what does this interpretation mean for us? We might paraphrase Calvin’s last sentence: No matter how the rest of the world views what happens after death, we will rest in the assurance of divine Love, walking securely in the path of Life throughout eternity.

The Responsive Reading establishes the premise that God is the creator of all, and the giver of all life, and promises that walking in the light of His path will keep us always safe. Although we have an unbroken link to divine Spirit our Creator, we, like the Children of Israel who habitually strayed, sometimes forget that link. But, God doesn’t hold it against us. No matter how far we stray, God always calls His children back. The New English Bible translates it this way: “Come back, keep peace, and you will be safe; in stillness and in staying quiet, there lies your strength…the Lord is waiting to show you his favour, yet he yearns to have pity on you; for the Lord is a God of justice…If you stray from the road to the right or left you shall hear with your own ears a voice behind you saying, This is the way, follow it.”

As many worthies in the Bible have, you might feel far from God right now. But that’s no obstacle to God. You’re still being called to walk in His path. As the prophet tells us, we hear God’s call and direction out of quietness and silence. The apostle Paul, having experienced the redemptive power of the Christ himself, knew firsthand, that while remaining in the backroads of sin leads to death, we have infinite opportunity to correct that course by listening to that inner voice, and following divine direction to the path of everlasting life.

Section 1: Following God without Hesitation

Those who have hope in God are constant in their faith. They have no doubt that they will always walk with God, and God will always be with them. The Revelator foresaw it (B1), and the psalmist aspired to it (B2-B4). He knows that though he may feel far from God, he will always be shown a way out of whatever trouble he encounters. He also knows that whatever joys the path of sin may promise, they are nothing compared to the eternal joys found along the path of righteousness. He knows that there is nothing to fear from the flesh, and prays that God will keep him on the right path.

Take note that the psalmist is fully aware that the journey is fraught with dangers and temptations, but he has full confidence that God will continually lead him, if he seeks that guidance.

Those who walk in the light find their path illuminated, and in turn, they reflect the light for others (S1). As God’s reflection, the spiritual man has no light of his own, but is an emanation of the one light (S2). This real, immortal man never was material, but always has been spiritual.

The textbook tells us “Life is deathless” (S3). This seems obvious by definition. Traditional theology often teaches that though life is a gift from God, we have to go through death in order to wake up to the eternal life beyond. Mary Baker Eddy tells us that we can’t get to Life through death. We originate in Life, and we gain the realization of it as we follow the pathway of Truth—both before and after death.

While traditional theology considers death as an accelerated ticket to eternal life, irrespective of whatever difficulties we have before death, Christian Science teaches that we wake from death in the same condition we were beforehand (S4). Rather than the traditional final day of judgment as taught in many Christian faiths, Christian Science teaches that judgment is an ongoing process that continues until we let go of all erroneous material beliefs.

But Christian Science goes even further than that—in Christian Science, matter itself, as well as the belief of death, are “mortal illusions” (S5). The only realities are Spirit and its creation. Life doesn’t dwell in matter. Life is God, and is therefore eternal. Nor does Life spring from matter. Life is self-existent—“the everlasting I AM, the Being who was and is and shall be, whom nothing can erase.”

Section 2: Walking in the Light of God

The Scriptures encourage us to always walk in God’s ways in order to achieve eternal life. (B5). Enoch is our great Old Testament example (B6). As you know, Enoch was the first recorded case of ascension in the Bible. That means he didn’t die out of the body. His body simply disappeared.

Though to human sense, this is a very rare occurrence, Mary Baker Eddy accepted the account as fact. She explains that this was possible because Enoch saw beyond the evidence of the material senses (S6). Science and Health tells us that our only real senses are spiritual, and that they come from God, divine Mind (S7). Throughout the centuries, Christian theologians have debated whether eternal life in heaven is earned, or whether it’s a gift. Over and over, Mary Baker Eddy reminds us that eternal life isn’t just something that happens magically after we die, if we’re good people on earth. Nor that it’s an undeserved gift for believers. Eternal life is a law of our being. It’s true here and now, through time and eternity (S8).

The textbook tells us that holiness is achievable, if we have a desire for it and are willing to “sacrifice everything for it” (S9). So, does that mean we have to earn it? Or is eternal Life a fact? Well it seems the textbook says it’s both. It is a fact, but we can’t recognize, or realize it unless we are exercising spiritual sense. To do that, we have to live pure, spiritually based lives. That doesn’t mean we can’t have good, clean fun, but that we do our best to keep everything we do geared toward a spiritual end. Both the Bible and our textbook remind us that the way to eternal life is a straight and narrow path. We don’t just leap into it. We get there through practice. Conquering sin, disease, and death is a prerequisite to ascension (S10).

Section 3: Another Ascension

Throughout history prophets have preached the benefits of walking in God’s ways, and adhering to His laws (B8). Elijah poses a question we can all consider: “How long halt ye between two opinions?” (B9). Elijah is an interesting case study. He had his share of problems. He had a temper, yet he healed, and raised the dead. He went overboard in his zeal and presided over the killing of the prophets of Baal. He was a bit of a show-boater against Ahab and Jezebel. He also exaggerated his predicament saying he was the only loyal prophet left when in fact, there were several thousand still around. During his flight from Jezebel, he got so depressed he wished he’d die. But yet, despite all these problems, he found his way along God’s path to ascend (B10). So if you think it’s impossible to ascend because your life seems messed up, remember Elijah. His life wasn’t all sweetness either. He had tough challenges personally and professionally, yet he accomplished what might be called the ultimate victory over the flesh.

In II Timothy we get helpful counsel for our spiritual journey. “As for you, be calm and cool and steady, accept and suffer unflinchingly every hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fully perform all the duties of your ministry” (The Amplified Bible).

Mary Baker Eddy reminds us that, “the human footsteps leading up to perfection are indispensable” (S12). This certainly was the case with Elijah—as it is for each of us. For anyone brought up in Christian Science, the phrase “you’re God’s perfect child” is probably heard more often than any other. This phrase can offer consolation, but it can also create the feeling of resistance in us. In God’s eyes, we may be perfect and complete spiritual ideas, but we know that we all make many mistakes, and that there’s no human way to ever measure up to that high ideal.

Let’s consider that the biblical definition of the word “perfect” means mature. Each of us can certainly accomplish maturity. But note that Mary Baker Eddy says perfection isn’t required “until the battle between Spirit and flesh is fought and the victory won.”

This demands that we allow God to direct our path one step at a time, as we earnestly and righteously seek Truth. Notice that she admits that mortals are imperfect, and that the path to spiritual perfection is slow, and even entering the path is accomplishing quite a lot (S13). She concedes that “absolute Christian Science [In this case she’s referring to ascension] may not be achieved prior to the change called death…”—but “may not” isn’t the same as “can not!” So rather than not even trying, we should take up the work and do whatever we can to get as far as we’re able right now. Giving up the belief in death is a great step toward accelerating our progress (S14).

The beginning of citation 15 in Science and Health is one of my favorites. “We must look where we would walk, and we must act as possessing all power from Him in whom we have our being.” If we want to get there, we have to keep our eye on the prize. The clearer that view of spiritual reality becomes, the more untold spiritual ideas are brought to light. Eventually, this spiritual view expands our understanding to the point where all we need is God, and material belief dissolves away completely. That’s ascension.

Section 4: Overcoming the Belief of Death Is a Step in the Right Direction

Ascension is a beautiful concept. The prophet describes how seeing the light of Truth leads us out of the darkness of death and into the light of Life (B12). However, as we discussed in the previous section, we shouldn’t expect to get there in one leap. There are intermediate steps to accomplish first—overcoming sin, disease, and death. Yes—it says, “death.” To many, overcoming sin and disease may seem difficult enough, but overcoming death seems almost beyond comprehension. To material sense, death is the end of the road. But the Bible has several instances of death overcome. Christ Jesus’ message includes the promise of everlasting life (B14). To Jesus, overcoming death wasn’t theoretical. It was provable—such that, his commission to his disciples included the command to raise the dead (B15). This can be taken metaphorically, but Jesus actually did it as with the healing of the widow’s son at Nain (B16).

Jesus expected his disciples to follow his example in raising the dead, and so did Mary Baker Eddy (S16, S17). She didn’t take this command lightly. She herself raised the dying and the dead. As mentioned earlier, we shouldn’t expect to get there in one leap, but we get there through an ongoing practice of “repentance, spiritual baptism, and regeneration” (S18). There is no question that Mary Baker Eddy felt raising the dead was possible, and that we would ultimately rise to the point where we would overcome death (S19). She was convinced that the power of Christ, Truth overcame death in her practice, and that death isn’t the “end” it’s thought to be. Sin, disease, and death itself can be overcome through the understanding and demonstration of the spiritual truths found in the Bible. She calls death no more than a mortal illusion. She tells us, “to the real man and the real universe there is no death process” (S20).

Do you believe this? Early in my marriage my wife called out in the middle of the night saying she needed help getting back to the bedroom. I went to her to help and she was very unsteady on her feet. She took maybe four small steps with my help and then she dropped like a rock to the floor. She was unresponsive and not breathing. I tried to hold her up but she was, as they say, “dead weight.” I didn’t panic. I spoke to her directly, refusing to accept the picture before my eyes. I gently laid her down and called a practitioner. The practitioner began praying, and I went back to her, and began singing hymns as she remained lifeless in my arms. I decided to pray the Lord’s Prayer. I should say I wasn’t really afraid, but I was fully focused on seeing nothing but life being expressed. Half way through the prayer, her body shuddered and she joined me in the prayer. She didn’t know where she was, and I just told her she was all right, and that God was right there. After a bit I called the practitioner back, and then went back to my wife who was still on the floor in the hallway and resumed singing hymns to her. She joined in too. After she felt fully present, I helped her to bed, and we continued singing hymns. We fell asleep praying and woke in the morning with gratitude for her healing.

I asked her if she remembered anything during the time she was unconscious and not breathing. She said, she was in general darkness but there was a presence there, and to herself she was conscious.

Throughout this experience both of us held “the consciousness of existence” to be unbroken and inviolable. We refused to accept a picture of untimely death. We weren’t sure what brought on this challenge, but irrespective of the cause, it was definitely an instance of the proof of man’s immortality and the nothingness of death.

Our textbook reminds us that the evidence of our immortality will become more apparent as we give up material beliefs and admit the immortal facts of being (S21). We are living witnesses to this fact.

Section 5: Nobody Said It Would Be Easy

Most of the time we’d expect that those who remain faithful to God would have their efforts rewarded somehow. But strangely, that is not always the case. In fact, philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, felt that it’s remiss to teach budding Christians that their faith will be an easy path. He felt we should warn people up front that following Christ is not easy at all. As far as following a Christian path goes, the Bible tells us Stephen was doing everything right (B18). He performed what the Scriptures call “wonders and miracles among the people.” He was for all intents and purposes following all the directions Christ Jesus gave to his followers, but not everyone was impressed. There were those who were deeply offended by Stephen’s good works, and they called him to task for it. They not only confronted him directly, but started a smear campaign against him, and got him apprehended and brought to the council.

Stephen’s adversaries watched him intently expecting him to show signs of weakness, but he was serene and calm, and his face appeared angelic. He didn’t get pulled down to their level and begin arguing with them; but he recounted that prophets have been generally persecuted throughout history, and pointed out that Jesus, whom he called, “the Just One,” had been betrayed and murdered. They became enraged and sought to kill him. Here, Stephen doesn’t run for his life. Instead he is filled with the Holy Ghost and looks to heaven envisioning Jesus at God’s right hand. At this point his adversaries couldn’t contain themselves, and fell upon him. He kneels down asking God to forgive them, but they kill him making him a martyr (B19).

Perhaps Paul who stood by as a witness to Stephen’s stoning, was moved in some way by Stephen’s unwavering expectation of God’s love as he faced such hatred against him. After converting to Christianity himself, Paul writes, “There is…no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (B20). Further he writes to the Corinthians that just as God, raised Jesus from the dead, he will also raise us. Even though the outward man may perish, the inward man is renewed day by day (B21).

At this point in time, it’s rare for Christians to find their lives threatened because of their faith, but persecution in various forms still takes place. Mary Baker Eddy never pretended the Christian life would be easy. Her path was very difficult, and she did everything she could to prepare us for the challenges we might face. She does offer hope that we will eventually reap rewards of faithfulness. “The God-inspired walk calmly on though it be with bleeding footprints…” (S22). That doesn’t sound very pleasant, and certainly doesn’t sound easy. The key to maintaining a calm, courageous adherence to the path leading to God, is being unafraid of death (S23). When we aren’t afraid of death nothing can cause us to flinch in our faith. She tells us point blank that everyone is going to have to grapple with the belief of a power opposed to God (S24). Notice that she adds the phrase, “here, or hereafter.” That means even if we think we’ll get through this life experience without confronting that challenge, we will still have to face it in the hereafter. It seems it’s a requisite step in our journey.

As we said earlier, she fully expects that we will all eventually overcome the belief of life in the flesh, and that we begin this challenge by choosing good, moment by moment, hour by hour, and day by day (S25). But we don’t do it just for the reward. We do it because we love good. Our honesty and earnest desire to walk in God’s path irrespective of reward brings us steadily closer to eternal life. And yes, she fully expects us to joyfully complete the challenge.

Section 6: Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

So, is it really possible to rise above all the challenges of the flesh, and find eternal life? That’s a central point of the Christian message. Most of us gauge our fitness to reach this spiritual goal by our current lack of spirituality. We feel there is so much we’ve already done wrong, that it seems almost ridiculous to think we might ever actually ascend. Remember though, the people in the Bible weren’t angels all their lives either. Elijah had big problems, and Paul actually oversaw the arrest and persecution of Christians, so he had a ton of baggage to worry about. But he tells us to forget the past and look to the future. Just keep pressing toward the prize (B22). Other New Testament writers remind us that they will pray for us, that the gospel itself is working on our behalf, and that every good work we do makes a difference (B23). Peter—the same impetuous guy who denied Jesus three times—promises that we will be ministered to abundantly as we enter the kingdom (B24).

As the Founder and Leader of the Christian Science Movement, Mary Baker Eddy appeals to us to begin our own process, assuring us that this heavenly existence will not be forever unseen (S26). She tells us it will be work. Salvation from the flesh is unattainable without a probationary period. She teaches that heaven isn’t a place, but “a divine state of Mind” where harmony reigns. Everything in this heavenly state exists in Mind—God. Ascending is becoming fully aware of that.

The last two citations in the Lesson represent where we seem to be, and where we really are. It seems that we’re working to get to heaven. In order to get there, we have to walk in the direction we’re looking (S28). If our motives are pure, and our hopes are driven by our love for God, they will bear the fruits of Spirit. Though it seems like we’re working to get there, the fact is that we are already deathless (S29). In reality there is no journey because we are always there—coexistent with God. Our job is to walk in that path of light and life, and act like we mean it!

CLICK LINKS below for more APPLICATION IDEAS from CedarS-team for this Lesson:

  • Click on Enoch ever walks with God to see the beauty of each synonym that are ALL with us when we walk with Love.
  • Click on The Widow Of Nain to welcome in the Christ consciousness that stops the procession of mortal mind and re-establishes the progression of divine Life.
  • View in-progress, ONLINE GEMs being sent soon with insights and application ideas from Cobbey Crisler and others that help us to stop the steady procession toward the grave outlined for mortals with the steady progression that is God-ordained for you. It is a pathway of "growth in grace express(ed), that we may know how Love divine for ever waits to bless" (Hymn 270).


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Our ongoing Fall “Take CedarS Home” Zoom sessions for grade grouping of campers continue each week into December to prove the healing power of childlike thought receptive to remote prayer. These Zoom session gifts to children and their families could be thought of as prayers to put love into action through practicing CedarS Five Fundamental concepts. [Great fruitage from summer and fall Zoom sessions is available. For
: US and Canada, please apply to The Campership Fund. They have funds available to support up to full tuition, as needed. International applicants, please apply directly to CedarS Camperships. CLICK FOR DETAILS, A VIDEO AND ENROLLMENT OPTIONS.

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