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We can only see the real.
Metaphysical Application Ideas for The Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Are Sin, Disease, and Death Real?”
or October 11, 2020

by Christie C. Hanzlik, C.S., Boulder, CO
ccern@mac.com • 720-331-9356 • christiecs.com

Click here for an audio version of Christie’s Metaphysical Application ideas, read by her.

I can’t think of another one of our Christian Science Bible Lessons for which clear definitions of terms are more important than they are for this one. Without clear definitions, the subject “Are Sin, Disease, and Death Real?” may sound obscure and out of touch with a world in which newspaper headlines report shocking violence, a pandemic, and statistics of over 1,000,000 virus-related fatalities worldwide. But we can address these issues through prayer, and it is becoming more and more clear that we can only address these issues through prayer. Let’s begin by defining some terms.

To define the terms in the subject of this week’s Bible Lesson, I’m going to use a perfect circle to symbolize the “real,” and illustrating “real” means perfect, whole, and complete. Hopefully these definitions are helpful for you too, but you should obviously feel free to come up with your own definitions.

• real – symbolized by a circle; that which is eternal, without beginning or end; whole and complete; indestructible good, undiminishable; established by limitless Mind, Soul, Spirit, Principle, Love, Truth, and Life

• unreal – symbolized by the imitation of a circle; limited, distorted, undependable

• sin – the belief that we can exist outside of the realm of good, and that we are a broken circle. As a verb, sin is that which makes us believe that we can exist outside the realm of good, or that we are a broken circle

• disease – the belief of a distorted, incomplete or wobbly circle that needs repair

• death – the belief in a point at which the circle stops existing or being a circle


The Golden Text of this week’s lesson doesn’t deny that difficulties seem to come into our experience, but it does promises that God, divine Love, will wipe away our tears, and promises us comfort when we feel rebuked and condemned. (GT. Isiah 25:8) To put this in “circle terms”—the Golden Text promises that divine Love will correct and govern our clear sense that we are a whole circle without blemish or fault.

The Responsive Reading offers the comforting reassurance that we are safe, as inhabitants of a holy place. God, divine Principle, governs and protects the order of our existence. We are promised, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you: when you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; neither will the flame kindle upon you.” (Isaiah 43: 2)

This comforting assurance of divine Principle’s protective governance reminds me of a Journal article a friend pointed out last week, “Where do we live: Chaos or Cosmos?” by Richard Fremont Brooks, in which the author concludes. “We can all learn how to see through and beyond the chaos to the security of God's cosmos—learn to see the actual presence of God's kingdom here on earth. Step by step, we can demonstrate that we are equally secure in the fixity of divine Mind's cosmos, where the ultimately illusory fury of matter or matter forces—alias mortal mind—cannot touch us. Through demonstration of divine Science, the chaos of mortal mind can truly be made ‘the stepping-stone to the cosmos of immortal Mind.’”

From the December 1990 issue of The Christian Science Journal


SECTION 1: Start with God’s viEW to DETERMINE WHAt IS REAl

As I’m understanding it, the first section of the lesson sets up our foundation of what is “real,” as we defined earlier. To determine what is real, we start with God’s vision because divine Mind’s view is complete, whole, clear, and accurate. The book of Habakkuk describes God’s view, “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity.” (B1, Hab. 1: 13) God’s truth is true and unquestionable. It is everlasting…permanent. God’s truth is real. (B2, Ps. 10:5)

How long is everlasting? From before the mountains and before the formation of earth…that’s just a hint of what it means that the reality of good is beginningless—from everlasting to everlasting. (B3)

Mary Baker Eddy expands on God as the foundation for what is real– beginningless and omnipotent good. As she states, “…good is the term for God.” (S1)

If God = good then God could not create sin, sickness/disease, or death. (S2) This trio of beliefs is “outside the focal distance” of divine Mind, and an inversion or distortion of what is real. (S3)

Here are four pictures to symbolize this idea…

The first image symbolizes the perfect view…God’s view, which is, in truth, also our view. The perfect circle symbolizes the “real.” In the next three images, the circle is obscured in various ways. In the first picture—perhaps symbolizing “sin”—the circle is broken and needs to be restored. In the second picture—perhaps symbolizing disease—the circle is blurred. And in the third picture—perhaps symbolizing death—the circle is entirely covered up.

Now, we know that the circle is whole and complete and present in all four of the photos. Is it less real when it is partly hidden? No. Is there a way to make the circle more real? No because is already, by definition, real. All that we need to do is recognize the powerlessness of the paper to make the circle any less real.

Mary Baker Eddy’s writing is clear and precise and does not need to be altered to be understood. That said, it may be helpful to put the last citation of the first section into the “circle terms” used here…

“Through many generations human beliefs [of paper getting in the way of the circle] will be attaining diviner conceptions [of a clear and pure view of the circle], and the immortal and perfect model of God's creation [the circle] will finally be seen as the only true conception of being.” (S4)

For me, this is what prayer is for. It is for seeing the circle and not being deceived by the tricky trio of paper—sin, disease, and death.

SECTION 2: When the “REal” and the counterfeit appear side by side

In the second section, we find the parable of the tares and the wheat, which, in the context of this lesson, is, about distinguishing the real from the unreal even when the unreal is clamoring for our attention.

Christ Jesus’s counsel in this parable is that we need not be afraid of confusing the two. We can be alert and make the separation. As we focus on the real and keep our attention dedicated to God’s view, then we will not be fooled by the unreal, even when its tenacious like a weed. And, of course, once we determine what is indeed a weed, we burn it.

Here are circle photos to illustrate the parable:

In the first photo, the circle can be seen, but it may not yet be clear that there is a counterfeit, also known as a rubber band, growing alongside it because the paper—symbolizing limited view—obscures it. This symbolizes the hidden nature of “sin”—the belief that the perfect circle can be broken or altered. In the second photo, it is clearer that there is a counterfeit mimicking the circle—the false belief of sin has been revealed. And in the third photo, the rubber band has been moved away from the circle so is now clear and ready to be burned. Once sin is exposed it can be destroyed. I suppose I could have shown a fourth photo of the rubber band burning, but I thought the smell would be gross and it might have singed my desk. We can imagine the conflagration of the counterfeit.

The rubber band in the photos above represent the tares, which Mary Baker Eddy defines as “mortality; error; sin; sickness; disease; death.” (S7) The paper represents a limited and fearful view. Once we remove the limited and fearful view, we see what is really happening.

In reality, the perfect circle and the rubber band never mingle, just as Life never intermingles with sin and death. (S6)

Christ Jesus’s clarity of vision revealed for all mankind the lies of sin and death. Christ Jesus saw as God saw and shared that vision with us through “parable and argument.” We too can see the real, symbolized by the wheat and the unbroken circle. By learning the Science of the Christ we too can learn how to uncover the false view, and make the separation between the real and unreal.

SECTION 3: Striving for that Higher and More Correct View

In the third section, we find the account of Zacchæus, who climbed a tree to see Christ Jesus passing by crowds. Zacchæus’s willingness to see Christ Jesus and to strive for a new perspective demonstrates his willingness to know the “real”—the true view of God. Whereas many people labeled Zacchæus as a “sinner”—a person who is separate from good—the man’s strong desire to learn more about God through Christ Jesus shows his at-one-ment. In truth, and in reality, Zacchæus never was separate from good, and, of course, Christ Jesus acknowledged this as he went to the home of Zacchæus.

As Mary Baker Eddy discovered, “In divine Science, God and the real man are inseparable as divine Principle and idea.” (S15) God and Zacchæus were and are inseparable, and God and we are inseparable also. Christ Jesus knew this fact of our atonement so clearly that he could heal sin—the belief of separation from God.

Going back to our circle pictures, many people saw Zacchæus as if he were a mere rubber band, not quite a perfect circle. But Jesus beheld the clear view where everyone else (and probably Zacchæus himself) saw through a piece of paper that distorted the real and perfect circle that was Zacchæus. Jesus’s correct view restored Zacchæus to his rightful circularity. To be clear, Zacchæus was a perfect circle all along, and the Christ-truth made him aware of this fact. Thus Christ Jesus demonstrated Zacchæus’s sinless nature.

Mary Baker Eddy discovered the laws of healing that enable us to overturn sin also. As she explained, “To put down the claim of sin, you must detect it, remove the mask, point out the illusion, and thus get the victory over sin and so prove its unreality.” (S17). In circle terms, to correct the belief that there’s an imperfect circle, you must detect that there’s a piece of paper obscuring the view, remove the paper, point out how the rubber band seemed to attach to the perfect circle, and thus toss away the rubber band and show that it had no power to change the perfection of the circle.

SECTION 4: TRuth Is True Is TRue and needs no convincing

In the fourth section, we find the account of Christ Jesus healing the man who was insane and called himself “Legion.”

To me, this healing is significant in the context of this lesson because the man did not show a desire to know God better nor did he show an earnestness about being healed. And yet, there was a need. And Christ—the true idea of God—was able to meet that need.

In the last section, the story of Zacchæus showed Zacchæus’s strong desire for a higher view of God. And Christ met that need, which is comforting. But isn’t it just as comforting to know that the Christ truth can reveal reality and restore an awareness of perfection even when an individual isn’t desiring it?

Truth is true is true. Reality is real is real. Christ Jesus didn’t make reality true. Instead, he understood reality so clearly that he brought others into his clear understanding. And he told us that we can do this too.

In circle terms, the circle is perfect is perfect. As we know this to be true, no amount of attempted obscuration or paper piled on top of the circle could make the perfectness of the circle any less true.

The story of the swine going of the cliff is a bit shocking and violent, but perhaps this helps us to see that when sin—the belief of separation from good—is stubborn and resistant, we may need to put a bit more oomph into our prayer.

It seems to me that when the suggestion of disease seems especially insistent, we can mentally throw it off a cliff along with all the arguments it tried to use. Particularly insistent “disease” – the belief of a distorted circle that needs repair—is usually labeled “incurable.” As we buy into the suggestion of incurability, we are accepting that some things are beyond the perfect circle. No. Nothing is beyond or separate from the ever-presence of the real and perfect circle.

I once asked another Christian Science Practitioner why mental illness and dementia seemed difficult to heal through prayer when Mary Baker Eddy said that insanity should be the easiest to heal. His answer stuck with me. He reasoned that in recent decades the label of “incurability” had been interwoven with mental illness by medical doctors to an extreme degree. It’s the belief of incurability that seems difficult to heal. Since then, I’ve been striving to get a clearer and clearer understanding that there is no so-called derangement that is incurable.

In circle terms, there is nothing that is more capable of deranging the perfect circle. The perfect circle is real and perfectly round nothing can make it less so. You could get all kinds of different paper to try and cover up the perfectness of the circle, but it still couldn’t change the nature of the perfect circle. Metaphorically, all paper is delusion, just as “All disease [is] a delusion.” (S24)

SECTION 5: What you think counts

Section five includes the account of Mary Baker Eddy healing the dying man in Lynn. (S27, S28) Like with the man who called himself “Legion,” the man in Lynn doesn’t seem to be particularly interested in learning more about God or his relationship to God. We could even label him an “unreceptive patient” in that he wasn’t reaching out with receptivity like Zacchæus did. Mary Baker Eddy wrote that she was “called to visit” the man, but not that he had specifically requested Christian Science treatment.*

The idea of the “unreceptive patient” turns my thought to the Journal article, “What you think counts” by Milton Simon. In that article, the author discusses whether our prayer can heal a patient who is unreceptive. He makes the point, “When a man who is ill or in trouble seeks help from a Christian Scientist, the error is really the dark belief handling that man and not the person. Freedom will be demonstrated if the false claim, calling itself sickness or trouble and arguing to the patient, is destroyed. The same dark belief, which is attempting to mesmerize the patient will, in turn, endeavor to deceive the Scientist. But it is not the man's or the Scientist's belief; it is one belief of mortal mind trying to mesmerize the thought of both.” From the June 1967 issue of The Christian Science Journal


Milton Simon reasons that as the Christian Scientist sees correctly and doesn’t buy into the suggestion of disease, the healer’s alertness awakens the patient also, in the same way that if one person turns on the light in a room, the light illuminates the room for both people.

In circle terms, if you and I were both looking at the circle under a piece of paper, and you removed the paper, the circle would become clear to both of us.

This is a metaphor for what Mary Baker Eddy did for the man in Lynn. As I understand it, she saw the man’s deathless life, his eternal and harmonious being—his perfect circle at one and inseparable from divine Life. She saw this so clearly that her correct view brought the man into awareness of this also. She did not change the facts of being. Her prayer and alertness to Life brought this consciousness to the foreground and thus everyone could see the facts of being more clearly. She saw reality. As she explains, “The author has healed hopeless organic disease, and raised the dying to life and health through the understanding of God as the only Life.” (S26)

*It is worth noting that when Milton Simon is talking about the “unreceptive patient,” he does not necessarily mean someone who has not requested help in Christian Science. As I understand it, he means someone who is clinging stubbornly to limited conceptions and unwilling to let go of the belief that he or she is separate from good. To read more about Mary Baker Eddy’s views against “Obtrusive Mental Healing,” see Miscellaneous Writings, 283:4. What Mary Baker Eddy did for the man in Lynn is well within her statements about when it is appropriate to give Christian Science treatment to someone who has not requested it.

In my experience, we do not need to worry that our prayer for others will contradict Mary Baker Eddy’s admonition to apply the Golden Rule in our application of Christian Science. The same decency that keeps us from barging into our neighbor’s house and digging through his desk drawers and rearranging his living room furniture is the same decency that will stop us before we pray in a way that is intrusive. In circle terms, it would be intrusive to see flaws in how someone else is viewing his circle or to point out the ways in which he should be understanding his circle better if he didn’t ask for the help. But it is not intrusive to see someone as a perfect circle. One way that I pray for others that doesn’t feel intrusive is focusing on my view of them as inseparable from Love, Life, Truth, and seeing them as a ray of light at one with the sun, divine Soul, and living in the realm of ever-present Principle. Just as importantly, I strive to never worry about others because to do so would be a subtle form of malpractice because I would be accepting that a power other than God is present in their lives, or that God’s omnipotence is somehow less present in their experiences. These two types of prayer—refusing to worry about someone, and affirming the ever-presence of Love’s omnipotence in someone’s life—feels appropriate and not intrusive in my experience so far.

SECTION 6: An Emphatic Conclusion

The sixth section is like an exclamation mark on the whole lesson. As we hold to the real—the perfect view—the mesmerism of sin, disease, and death lose their hold.

It sometimes seems difficult to maintain a clear view of limitless perfection when we’re bombarded by media reports of death statistics and turmoil around the world. But I’ve found that keeping our terms clearly defined—with a sharp and crisp understanding of what is “real,” helps the correct view stay in focus. We can follow the instructions in Thessalonians, and “pray without ceasing” to maintain our sharp and crisp understanding of what is “real.” We can maintain a clear view of that metaphorical perfect circle and “hold fast to that which is good.” (B17, 1 Thess 5) And, of course, if we feel like we’re losing focus from that perfect view, we can look to the example of Christ Jesus to learn more about seeing the reality of God’s creation.

Mary Baker Eddy offers kind counsel to us as we strive for more and more clarity about what is “real.” She writes, “What we most need is the prayer of fervent desire for growth in grace, expressed in patience, meekness, love, and good deeds.” (S29) Grace is the awareness that we are loved even when we don’t think we deserve it. And, as Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Grace and Truth are potent beyond all other means and methods.” (S30)

Our clear view of reality is needed. With this clear focus on what is real, we are delivered from the belief of separation from good, the belief that good could be distorted or need fixing, or the belief that good could ever end. We can only see the real.

CLICK LINKS below for more CedarS team APPLICATION IDEAS for this Bible lesson:

  • Apply insights from Ken Cooper’s YouTube monologues, read by Ken himself. In the story of Zacchaeus, I AM GOD'S TREASURE, we see a man made rich through a false understanding of treasure, with The Gadarene, a man consumed with self-pity.
  • View in-progress, ONLINE GEMs being sent soon with insights and application ideas from Cobbey Crisler and others that give us glimpses of "Unreality" and how to reverse its seemingly nonstop curses.


Our ongoing Fall “Take CedarS Home” Zoom sessions for grade grouping of campers continue each week till 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 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.

2. Invite family, friends and neighbors to join us by Zoom for CedarS Sunday Hymn Sings: To start each week we’ve loved singing our prayers and praise to God for 30 minutes with friends of all-generation from all 50 of the United States as well as from 16 more countries! They include Australia, Brazil, Canada, Democratic Republic of Congo, England, Ghana, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Scotland, Spain, South Africa, and Switzerland.

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