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Editor’s Note: The following background information and application ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson for this week are offered primarily to help CedarS campers and staff see and demonstrate the great value of daily study of the Christian Science Bible lessons year-round, not just at camp. If more information or the text of this Lesson is desired, please see the Director’s Note at the end. The citations referenced in the “met” (metaphysical application ideas) are taken from the King James Version of the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. The Bible and Science and Health are the ordained pastor of Churches of Christ, Scientist. The Bible Lesson is the sermon read in Christian Science church services throughout the world. (Other reference books are fully noted at the end.)

“Word of Revelation”  — Application ideas for the Bible Lesson on “Christian Science” for June 20-June 26, 2005
by Craig L. Ghislin, C.S. of Bartlett, Illinois

Golden Text
Everything we could ever know of truth is revealed to us through God’s word. The Psalmist’s intention is to learn the way of God and to walk in His truth. Sometimes, Christian Science is criticized (misunderstood) because it is perceived as Mrs. Eddy’s invention. On the contrary, Mrs. Eddy felt her discovery was the result of God’s revealing to her the spiritual meaning of the Scriptures and of the life of Christ Jesus.  This Lesson explores the meaning of revelation and the Biblical basis of Christian Science.

Responsive Reading
“The Lord spake…” is a phrase that distinguished Hebrew literature from that of other nations. “It is, in fact, one of the most obvious indications of that which we call inspiration” (Dummelow). In other words, what was about to be said could be considered as true, because it came directly from God. So we have divine authority preceding a directive; and a promise of protection. Verses 7, 8, and 9 tell us our part in the process. We are to stick to the Scriptures for instruction and follow it’s teaching.

Section I – Revelation
“Truth is a revelation” (S&H 1). Have you ever had a completely original thought? A thought that even though related to things you may have been aware of previously was a brand new view? If so, you have a sense of what it means to have a “revelation.” In the New Testament the word comes from the Greek, apokalupsis meaning “disclosure:-appearing, coming, lighten, manifestation…” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible). This is why we call the book of Revelation the “Apocalypse.” Modern usage connects such “disclosure or communication of truth to men” as being from “God himself, or by his authorized agents, the prophets and apostles” (Student’s Reference Dictionary).  In citation B1, an angel rouses Daniel after being struck down by a powerful vision. The angel said he came because Daniel had “set [his] heart to understand.” Daniel was ready to listen and learn. In B2 the people are waiting to hear from the “book of the law”. The word of God “lightens” our darkness (B3). As in the Old Testament citations, so Paul in the New Testament “certifies” that his message came directly from God (B5).

Mary Baker Eddy likewise, certifies, “declares in writing” (SRD) that her discovery had come directly from God. It was a revelation. Like Daniel, she had been “Graciously prepared” and her heart was set to receive it (S&H 2). The truth of Being had been disclosed to her through “divine power” (S&H 3). Each of us have the task of following in her footsteps and discovering new truths for ourselves so we in turn, can take our place in the thread of revelation to future generations (S&H 5, 6).

Section II — Scriptures as Foundation
Paul recognized that the Scriptures were the basis of all truth. “When read in the light of the faith of Christ Jesus and with trust in Him” they give “sufficient instruction for salvation” (B6) (Dummelow). Paul felt that everything should be seen and done through the lens of Christ’s teaching and example. The Scriptures were the foundation of what Jesus taught, but without Jesus’ teachings, the Scriptures were incomplete. So looking at the Old Testament with an awareness of the New Testament uncovers layers of meaning that we wouldn’t otherwise understand. In B7 Paul declares that the Old Testament writings were not intended just for the ancients. He felt they were “intended for Christians, who need their teaching” (Abingdon’s One Volume Bible Commentary).

Just as Jesus’ teachings brought new light to the Old Testament, so does Christian Science bring new light to the teachings of Jesus. Each successive revelation uncovers another layer of truth about man’s relationship to God. Christian Science “coincides with the Scriptures” (S&H 7). Coincide means, “To fall or meet at the same point…to concur; to be consistent with; to agree” (SRD). We will be able to see these connections by looking at the Bible texts in their original meaning. We should be willing to give up some traditional ways of interpreting the Scriptures because the original meanings are often covered up with layers of theology, imposed by the doctrinal standpoints of those who translated them (S&H 8). Mrs. Eddy’s discovery, following the pattern of revelation, enabled her to peel back layers of doctrinal imposition to see the original spiritual meaning that is still demonstrable today (S&H 10). So her revelation was not independent of the Bible, but an enlightenment of it. She states that it was her “only guide” in the “way of Truth” (S&H 11).

Section III — The Narrow Way
Although Jesus was definitely “original” in his understanding of God and man, he didn’t come to destroy the law (the scripture of his time) he came to fulfill it (B10). Jesus’ teaching “expands the moral and spiritual principles of the O.T. to their full development…he superceded the Law and the Prophets by fulfilling them…” (Dummelow). The way Jesus taught was not an easy path (B11). There already existed “a highly developed tradition of two ways open to man, one leading to vindication by God and the other to destruction” (Interpreter’s). The concept of a narrow path to salvation was voiced by Maximus in 150 B.C. (Dummelow). This narrow way consisted of not merely accepting the moral law, but putting it into daily practice. In Paul’s first letter to Timothy he underscores the importance of adherence to the scriptures (B12). This adherence to scriptural precedent is described by Vincentius as keeping not that which is invented, devised, or assumed by the teacher, but that which is committed to, received of, and is a product of tradition. The way is “a thing brought to thee, not brought forth of thee; wherein thou must not be an author, but a keeper; not a founder, but an observer; not a leader, but a follower” (ibid.).

Our Leader says also that Christian Science is reached by a “straight and narrow” path (S&H 12). As Jesus fulfilled the law by demanding moral adherence to it, so we as Christian Scientists can’t succeed by merely following the letter of the law (S&H 13). We need the spirit. Mrs. Eddy states that there is only “one way to heaven.” The way is indeed narrow. “It is to know no other reality – to have no other consciousness of life – than good, God and His reflection, and to rise superior to the so-called pain and pleasure of the senses” (S&H 15).

Section IV — Revelation Brings Light
Citation B14 describes the “ideal servant.” Dummelow says, “Two purposes of the Servant’s call indicated, (a) to be the embodiment of a new covenant with Israel (the people), (b) to be the instrument of a revelation to the Gentiles.” Remember, a “revelation” peels back coverings and enlightens with truth. He notes also that the Servant is called “in righteousness, i.e. in faithfulness to [God’s] purpose as declared in [God’s] promises.” This section gives a specific example of an individual being touched by the healing light of truth. But there are also some larger issues implied. “The incurable spiritual blindness of the Jews is now dramatically illustrated in the great sign of healing of a man born blind” (Interpreter’s). This larger view is supported by noting that the pool in which the man is told to wash was mentioned in Isaiah 8:5-8. “Israel refused these waters and hence would be overwhelmed by the waters of another river…. Men struggle in darkness since the sin of Adam, preferring evil to good, blind to their own condition, until the light comes to open their eyes to God” (ibid.). The process of light revealing what has always been there is revelation in action.

The healing activity of Christian Science typifies revelation. It pierces the dark veil of sickness disclosing the reality of health that was there all along. Christian Science follows the path of Jesus, and as students of this Science, so do we (S&H 16, 17). But as we learned in the previous section the law must be internalized and practiced. So in order to heal, we have to embody the spirit of the teaching through love (S&H 18). Citations 19 and 20 in Science and Health continue to describe how applying the truths of Christian Science enlighten thoughts darkened with sickness and sin. Christian Science, as an “emanation” directly from God, confirms that there is no situation beyond the possibility of healing. It is a “divine utterance” leading to truth.

Section V — Obedience Blesses Us
In order to gain the blessings of the revelation of truth, we need to pay attention to it. In Malachi (B18) the dishonesty of the Jews holding back their tithes had caused a drought and a curse on the people. The prophet urges obedience to “bring all the tithes into the storehouse.” Doing so will bless the nation. In the feeding of the multitudes (B19) obedience was required of the multitudes to sit down. But the disciples needed to be obedient too. If you were in their place, what would you think of Jesus’ command? Would you believe what your senses were telling you or the potential of what Jesus inferred? The disciples “are immersed in the material, while [Jesus] rises from the material to the spiritual” (Abingdon). Jesus proved there was a reality beyond what they could see. Ephesians (B20) speaks of “spiritual blessings in heavenly places.” According to Abingdon, “Spiritual blessings means more than blessings belonging to the non-material sphere…the most real life of the Christian is not that ostensible existence which is still involved with material conditions, but the life in which he communes with eternal realities.” This is describing spiritual existence, which is the ultimate of revelation.

All blessings come from God and are available to all (S&H 21). The blessings we receive are the effect of the “invisible good” (S&H 22). There are millions of people ready to accept the blessings of Christian Science (S&H 24). Do we doubt this as the disciples at first doubted sufficient supply for the multitudes? Remember that the multitudes didn’t express doubt. They simply obeyed. Mrs. Eddy tells us that the “only” way to “recognize true existence” is to live spiritually (S&H 25). In other words, when we obey completely, we will behold the revealing of “all the glories of earth and heaven and man.”

Section VI — Love-The Way to Revelation
The prophet speaks (B21) of “the way in which God as teacher of his people will reveal himself. They will not be permitted to turn aside from the true way” (Interpreter’s). The “true way” that lights the path to revelation is love. In citation B22 we have the way described as “a life of love, modeled after God’s love revealed in Christ’s sacrificial death” (ibid.) The thinking behind this statement is based on the doctrine that “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son…” (John). The point being that true un-selfed love sacrifices even that which is most dear for the benefit of others. This is born out in the last two citations. 1st John (B23) gives us a description of this Christian love: “…its existence in practice must be demonstrated concretely within the circle to which the individual belongs” (Abingdon’s). Romans 13 (B24) sums up Christian love as “the identification of self with God’s interest in others; and where it is present, it puts it beyond possibility that we would inflict injury on our neighbors of any form or kind” (ibid.). Those are pretty strong demands.

Science and Health reiterates those demands (S&H 26, 27). Doing so demonstrates the undeniable connection of Christian Science with Scripture. Following these strong demands will enable us to “realize God’s omnipotence” (S&H 28). In complete agreement with Scripture, “Love is the divine way in Christian Science” (S&H 29). There really isn’t a whole lot to add to that. We have our orders. We have been promised the blessings of obedience. Now it’s up to us to do it!

Camp Director’s Note: The above sharing is the latest in a long series of CedarS Bible Lesson “mets” (metaphysical application ideas) contributed weekly by a rotation of CedarS Resident Practitioners and occasionally by other metaphysicians.  This document is intended to initiate further study as well as to encourage the application of ideas found in the Weekly Bible Lessons as printed in the Christian Science Quarterly and as available at Christian Science Reading Rooms.Originally sent JUST 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 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 in the books. The thoughts presented are the inspiration of the moment and are offered to give a bit more dimension, background and daily applicability to some of the ideas and passages being studied. 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.)  

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