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WE ARE PRESERVED, CARED FOR, SAFE. “HIS ARM ENCIRCLES ME, AND MINE, AND ALL.” (Mis. 389:13)
Metaphysical application ideas for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“God the Preserver of Man”
for the week ending December 12, 2021

by Kerry Jenkins C.S. from House Springs, MO (and Steve Levey of Fairbanks, AK)
kerry.helen.jenkins@gmail.com • 314-406-0041


Mary Baker Eddy’s poem/hymn, “Mother’s Evening Prayer” (Mis. 389:13/Hymn 207 & 539) is a wonderful companion to this week’s lesson. That may seem obvious, since it is based in the 91st Psalm, a piece of which is in our Responsive Reading this week, but even more, it touches upon all the usual material arguments that come to us when we are faced with the statement that Mary Baker Eddy makes on page 494 of Science and Health with key to the Scriptures, “Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need.” Isn’t that the ultimate statement of God’s care and protection? “But…” we are tempted to say. And here is where we are given several of these  “but” arguments in Mary Baker Eddy’s poem: even when we are facing fear for our children as they make their own mistakes, their own forays into the world, even as we face “the snare, the pit, the fall”, “hope deferred, ingratitude, disdain”, “hatred, snare, pestilence, or pain”…even as we seem to face these challenges, we can “fear no ill, —since God is good, and loss is gain.” The stories and verses in this week’s Bible lesson perfectly illustrate this idea that “man’s extremity is God’s opportunity” (citation S17/266:13-15).

My brother (Steve Levey) is an angel contributor to this week’s Met. On an early morning inspiration, Steve sent me his own ideas for this week’s lesson. He writes: “Who isn’t interested in self-preservation? Problems come up. We get into trouble with our finances, our relationships, our health…the dramas of life, and then we wake up one day and say “OH MY GOSH! Where am I?  How did I get here?” This lesson is both the wakeup call and the vehicle to take us back home to what is described in “Mother’s Evening Prayer” as heavenly harmony. This harmony is a gift, the gift of grace you have been given to help you actualize this state of well-being, of thought, action and experience. From the song “Simple Gifts,” an early American Shaker tune, it is “that place just right””. Here’s a link to a gorgeous rendition of that song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxDZjg_Igoc

So, let’s look at this lesson as an opportunity to “come home”, (much as we are welcomed by the big sign above Dawn Lodge at CedarS Camps)—as an opportunity to remember to put the law of Love to work in our lives. It is this law of Love that brings harmony into our lives. Steve points out that the Golden Rule, while not explicitly stated in this lesson, is the anchor for our preservation!  I see it as the light that shines in the darkest corners of our human experiences.  It is the light that is with us in the “valley of the shadow of death”, the light that accompanies us when we wake in despair or fear in the night. It is that light that shines in our “wilderness” walks where all human help seems to be torn from us. From Steve I have: “The nature of Love is to protect and heal. If we can figure out how to apply—really feel the presence of Love, fear dissipates immediately and circumstances begin to shift in truly dramatic ways. What we begin seeing as our human drama becomes a divine drama—the true story of the universe hidden by our mistaken impressions.”

Our GOLDEN TEXT tells us that “I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;”.
What an image! I looked up “inscribed”, even though I felt like I knew what this verse meant by that term. And, yes, it does mean marked in a “durable or conspicuous way”—which it would have to be if it were on the palm of God’s hand! This image of being that close, that “in front” of Love’s consciousness, is powerful. I also loved this final definition of “inscribed” as a kind of bonus image, it is a geometry term meaning “to draw or delineate one figure within another so that the inner lies entirely within the boundary of the outer, touching it at as many points as possible, (inscribe a circle within a square). This is, of course, a limited image, but the sense of being entirely encompassed by God/Love is touched on repeatedly in our Bible Lesson this week. Just take a look at our RESPONSIVE READING. We are described as dwelling “in safety by him”, as being covered by Him, and as dwelling “between his shoulders.” (Deut. 33:12). And in our 1st section: Ps 139:1,3,5/cit. B4: “Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.”


SECTION 1: A FINITE CONCEPTION of GOD MUST YIELD to an UNLIMITED and UNIVERSAL CONCEPT of LOVE.
How do we do this yielding? We must fix “our gaze on the realities supernal” (cit. S5/261:27) After successfully securing Israel’s boundaries David asks this question of his people: “Is not the Lord your God with you? and hath he not given you rest on every side?” (I Chronicles 22:18/cit. B2) The question for us, as we read such a passage today, is always, “how does this apply to me today?” Isn’t Love with me today? How has Love given me rest, peace, on every side? What am I allowing into my consciousness that would cloud that peace? If we are looking at our day to day, seeing only the “trees” and not the “forest”, we will find our views limited to “tree bark”, to the rough and tumble of anxiety, stress, burden of mortal existence. If we are willing to fix our gaze on Love—on Love’s “impartial and universal… bestowals,” (citation S1/13:2) —we begin to experience abundance from that “open fount”, available to all who are searching with importunity. Then, our limited sense of Love’s presence and power yields to the infinite abundance of Good for all mankind.


SECTION 2: “LOSS IS GAIN”
Looking back at “Mother’s Evening Prayer” (Mis. 389:13/Hymn 207 & 539), we have this verse about “loss” actually being “gain” [or about seeing a painful “past through Wisdom’s eyes as a blessing in disguise” as Desiree Goyette describes it.] Most of us have experienced such a painful, yet inspiring “blessing” at one time or another! Hagar is the slave girl who bore Abraham his first son, and here, she and her son are given a bottle of water and sent off into the desert with no material prospects for survival. Steve adds here “From hopelessness to “a great nation”—the hero’s journey (your story at some point in your life) always begins with this kind of total desperation for survival. This desperation activates the requisite yielding that elicits an awakening to divine presence, The Preserver!

Literal and figurative wilderness experiences are where we go to practice “fixing our gaze” (cit. S5/261:27) to become receptive to “the great facts of existence.” (cit. S7/597:16) This awakening is like a doorway into a room you can never leave. Once in, you discover two things: 1) You have always been here and just didn’t know it. 2) You experience oneness with your divine, and are safe and loved within this room, it is “the place just right”, “heavenly harmony.” But like any discipline, the disciple must go through the journey, your hero’s journey. Section 2 describes a standard version of this personal epic into oneness with divine Love. “Pilgrim…thou art the guest of God.”” (cit. S11/254:31 & Hymn 278)

It is the “stranger”, the outcast, homeless and hopeless that find themselves the “guest of God/Love” (cit. S11/254:31).  We see this tale told over and over throughout the Scriptures: the woman gathering a few sticks to cook her last meal for herself and her son, the woman whose child has died and seeks the prophet miles away to heal him, Hagar in this week’s Lesson, Elijah at the cave in the wilderness, the woman who washed Jesus’ feet, and so many more! But more than simple desperation, there is a component of love for God that, I think, permeates these stories. Somewhere in consciousness, within each of us, there is a spark of deep love for our Father-Mother, our true preserver in every circumstance. [Again as Desiree Goyette puts it in her “Let It Go” song, “Just one spark can erase the dark.”] This is that light that I referred to in our introduction. That divine spark is there; we must open our consciousness to it. It is an always instantaneous way to get to the “home and heaven … within” us. (Hymn 278)


SECTION 3: INNOCENCE AND OBEDIENCE PRESERVE!
Here David is found asking God directly for guidance. Will Saul destroy the city he is hiding in so that he can find David? Will the people of that city betray him, even after he delivered them from the Philistines when they threatened this city? God answers him clearly and he is able to avoid that betrayal, and capture or death at the hands of Saul. It is surely a great example of the Golden Rule obeyed—even before it is stated in words. This obedience, as well as David’s innocence against Saul, saved him, allowing him to hear the directions that he needed in order to preserve himself from evil in this case. I have seen the avoidance of this kind of evil come through Love’s guidance on many occasions. But I have also found that even when we seem to experience the trial of such an evil, we can expect and experience preservation and healing from any and all aftereffects, whether injury (mental or physical), or grief, disease, or any other apparent evil.  Again, we have the wilderness experience of Hagar as one such example!

It is the trials that we face that “…teach mortals not to lean on a material staff, —a broken reed, which pierces the heart.” (cit. S16/66:6) If matter were better at supporting us, we wouldn’t find the joys of the infinite grace that Love has to offer! Here are Steve’s thoughts: “Can we face this “destruction” of our delusions, our mortal mind concepts, even the ones we like, such as our creature comforts? This is yielding, or giving up false concepts, the broken reeds that pierce our heart. Brace for impact, because one sign of progress is that it looks like you are in for a rough landing, for an “extremity (that) is God’s opportunity”! Why? Because we are more open to yielding our false concepts when they are not serving us. What is not serving you right now? You can face this lie because you are “clad in the panoply of Love.” (cit. S18/571) Fix your gaze on this image of being clad in the arms of love, pick up a pen and draw this picture, keep looking at it. This is what it takes!”


SECTION 4: PRACTICE CHRIST HEALING, EXPERIENCE LOVE’S PRESERVATION.
And “…he knew their thoughts…” (Luke 6:6-10, 12/B13) More from Steve: “We continue with this elevated awareness that comes with the purity of living within the bounds of the Golden Rule: If you want healing, heal others. If you want unconditional love, love unconditionally. If you want prosperity, give generously. The Christ practice is that simple. Jesus lived inside that panoply of Love on which we are fixing our gaze. In this space, he perceived thoughts and needs. He healed—and was protected from the Pharisees and all jealousy, hatred, and eventually from the consequences of death itself. This section ends by sending his disciples (you) off to do the same. This disciple process is accessible to us. Willingness to be a student, fixing our gaze on “supernal” realities, allowing nothing to “vitiate (destroy, impair) the ability divinely bestowed on man.”—these practices yield healing and divine preservation.”

Jesus’ practice was a practice motivated solely by love/Love. He was not interested in societal norms, religious rituals, but in loving God and mankind, and helping mankind to understand God as Love who preserves! He asks us today to experience this same healing and preserving Love through our own practice of Christ healing.


SECTION 5:  THE CHRIST COMMUNICATES GOD’S LOVE TO MAN.
Jesus’ appearance to man was the clearest, most abundant embodiment of the power of Christ to save. But this section tells us that we can still hear this voice speaking to us today, as David heard it, as Hagar heard it, and as many others before and since! A right view, a Christ-like view of Love, gives man peace. We get peace when we follow the Golden Rule of doing to others what we want done to ourselves, no holds barred, no excuses, no self-justification. This peace is founded on the understanding of Love’s power and presence. Mary Baker Eddy’s spiritual interpretation of the 23rd Psalm in this section is a bottomless well of inspiration when handling fear of any kind. It communicates our safety, and Love’s preserving power.

Steve’s words on this section emphasize our role in experiencing Love’s power to preserve. “This isn’t about Jesus, it is about us. We must think of ourselves as Jesus’ disciples, commissioned to be healers today. (Luke 9:1,2/cit. B14) If we aren’t this healer, who is? The second coming is our ongoing discovery of our own Christ consciousness and Christlike being. This is the magnificent import of Jesus’ prayer, this is a promise and perception of spiritual actuality, divine reality. This “oneness” Jesus speaks of (John 17:11/cit. B18) is our full awareness of Mind, consciousness as one, and all-loving. Mary Baker Eddy hangs all of her teachings on a spiritual sense of God and of all that the Bible has to offer in her summative ending to Science and Health. (cit. S28/577:32-18) This is worth meditating upon. She teaches what it means to FIX OUR GAZE and go beyond words, philosophy, culture, all mortal constructs, and into the realm supernal to awaken to and “dwell in … [the consciousness of Love] for ever.” (cit. S28/577:32-18)


SECTION 6: WE FIND OUR INFINITE SECURITY, JOY, HEALTH, IN STEP BY STEP TRUST IN LOVE.
With infinite gratitude, I will give Steve the last word. “Step by step” we will “go out with joy and be led forth with peace:” into this new room, our inner room or closet, where all refuge, preservation, transformation, love, “bathes all in beauty and light.” (cit. S29/444:10; cit. B20/Isa. 55:12; cit. S30/516:9)


CLICK HERE for more application ideas & Bible-based GEMs from Cobbey Crisler & others! [This is partially complete but may have additions before it is emailed.]


Click on insightful a Ken Cooper poem and monologues to hear them read by Ken or his wife Sue:

  • The YouTube monologue/video, “Hagar Forgiven” tells her fascinating story. (cit. B7/Genesis 21:9-20);
  • The YouTube poem/video, “The Good Shepherd, thou art mine” illustrates how divine Love already embraces every sheep in the infinity of the One fold, no matter what.
  • The YouTube monologue/video, “The Withered Hand Restored” is a testimony of the healed man’s best friend, – the amazement at what he saw/experienced, – the power of Love that changed both their lives.

PDF copies are available under Downloads in the online version of  this Met.


THANKING ALL WATERSPORTS SUPPORTERS!
All our prayers about the need to update CedarS 2008 Malibu ski boat have brought steady and much appreciated progress!!   We now need only $6,900 by year end to seal the deal. If it’s a right idea for you to give online whatever you can or by check please just text or call me at 314-378-2574 — or email warren@cedarscamps.org — that  the intent of your tax-deductible gift is to help us secure the ongoing excellence of CedarS watersports fleet. Virtual hugs in advance!!


YOUR NEEDED HELP IN OTHER AREAS IS ALSO MUCH APPRECIATED & WILL BE MATCHED!

 GIFTS for Operations Support of up to $150,000are are being matched by year-end and we only need $36,000 more!  These gifts for facilities maintenance, horse care will help us prepare for everyone’s “best summer yet” of 2022.
We’re also VERY grateful for a multi-year Endowment Matching Grant!
We’re about halfway to our match and making steady planned giving progress.

To discuss how to join me and many others in playing a vital, ongoing role in our work, feel free to call or text me (Warren Huff) at 314-378-2574 with your pledge or intent to give a planned gift, required IRA distribution or an endowment gift (that will be MATCHED!). Your ongoing support is needed to help us “love into view” continued, lasting blessings and legacies of love each year.  With heartfelt gratitude for and to all you, greatly NEEDED and precious supporters, who continue to help CedarS give LIFELONG, DIFFERENCE-MAKING BLESSINGS to hundreds of families and thousands of individuals all across the U.S. and the world.

Just click here to learn more and/or to give.

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