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Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on


for Sunday, January 10, 2016

by Rick Stewart, C.S. Dresden, Germany +49 351 312 4736

Sunday afternoon my girls, Alma and Martha, and I were enjoying one of my favorite episodes of the old TV series, "The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh." Actually it was research for this MET! I had been reminded of the episode, "How much is that rabbit in the window?" In this episode, one of Winnie the Pooh's best friends, Rabbit, is feeling very put upon. It seems to him that everyone is just taking advantage of him and then to top it all off, he thinks that all of his friends have forgotten his birthday! He is miserable, feels like nobody cares about him, and so he decides to leave, to run away. "I'll go some place far away. Some place where I'll really be special." And so he heads out. Just a few steps from home he is picked up by a thrift shop owner and placed in the shop window. The owner puts a big tag on Rabbit, "Special!" Rabbit is thrilled with his tag. At the same time all of rabbit's friends, including Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin, come looking for him. Christopher Robin pulls together all of his piggy bank money and comes with all of Rabbit's friends to buy Rabbit back. The only thing is, all the money Christopher Robin puts on the shop counter is not enough, that is, until he adds, "And a whole bunch of love." With that the shop owner agrees that is "enough for a very special rabbit."

We all need to know how special we are. You can watch Rabbit's discovery yourself to you see how this cartoon relates to this Bible lesson and to you at: You see this week's Bible Lesson is all about being special. We learn in this lesson on Sacrament how very special our Savior, Jesus Christ is, he is the "anointed." Citation B4 states "God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows." (Hebrews 1:9) But through the lesson we see that although Jesus was anointed, chosen as a one of a kind, "special," his entire life and mission was to reveal to you and me how special we are. How very special you are to God, to yourself, to your family, to your friends, and to the world. But first…………..

Have you ever wondered where the wonderfully inspiring Bible Lessons in the Christian Science Quarterly come from? Did you know that a committee appointed by the Christian Science Board of Directors dedicates themselves, week after week, to coming up with these inspired lessons? And then the Christian Science Publishing Society makes them available in many formats to people around the world, including you and me.

All of this was begun by Mary Baker Eddy as she was led step by step in founding and establishing the various aspects of the Christian Science movement. In the Manual of The Mother Church she describes her view of the value of these Lessons,

As with so many aspects of the Christian Science church organization our Bible Lessons and the Quarterly's development was a step by step unfoldment. The following was prepared by the Mary Baker Eddy Library in Boston giving the history of the Bible Lessons.

"Below is a timeline of the development of the Christian Science Quarterly, the weekly lesson distributed by the Christian Science Publishing Society designed and instigated by Mary Baker Eddy for study outside of Church services.

1885: Christian Science Sunday Schools, mainly adult classes, use The Pilgrim Quarterly for Senior Classes, an interdenominational Bible study publication.

1888 August: “Bible Lessons” are published in The Christian Science Journal, and are based on the International Series (an interdenominational Bible study publication). They include notes by Frank E. Mason, Assistant Pastor of the Church of Christ, Scientist, Boston.

1890 January: Christian Science Bible Lessons prepared by a committee are published in a separate periodical, at first monthly. Beginning in April 1890, this periodical appears quarterly. The committee uses the scriptural texts of the International Series adding citations from Science and Health.

1894 December: Mrs. Eddy ordains the Bible and Science and Health as Pastor of The Mother Church. The Bible Lessons in the Quarterly are used for Sunday sermons (starting in January 1895).

1895 April: The Bible and Science and Health become Pastor for all Churches of Christ, Scientist.

1898 Spring: Mrs. Eddy develops the twenty-six Lesson-Sermon subjects, which first appear in the July-September Quarterly. The Quarterly continues carrying the lessons based on the International Series for use in a second Sunday service where there is one (until April 1899).

See also: Julia Michael Johnston, Mary Baker Eddy: Her Mission and Triumph (1998 edition), 120-21; William P. McKenzie, “Mrs. Eddy’s Plan for Public Services and Bible Teaching,” Journal, Volume 59 (August 1941), 241-49; Clifford P. Smith,Historical Sketches, 202-04; Irving C. Tomlinson, Twelve Years with Mary Baker Eddy (Amplified Edition), 182-88; We Knew Mary Baker Eddy (1979 edition), 123."

And currently a Bible Lesson Committee appointed by the Board of Directors continues this wonderful work. So let's get started with this Bible Lesson discovering how very special both Jesus and you are.

The Golden Text starts us out giving the theme for the whole lesson: Psalms 92:4, 10

"For thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy work:…I shall be anointed with fresh oil." KJV

CEB – "you’ve made me happy, Lord, by your acts. I’m soaked in precious ointment."
NLT –"thrill me, Lord, with all you have done for me! …You have anointed me with the finest oil."

God's Word Translation – " You made me find joy in what you have done, O Lord… and soothing lotion is poured on me."

Now that sounds like a little pampering to me. You are very special to God. You get what might be called the "S.P.A." treatment, Specially Prepared and Anointed!

The Responsive Reading is from Mark 1:14,15; Mark 6 and from Psalms 40.
In Mark 1:14, 15 Jesus begins to preach, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of heaven is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." [An inspiring commentary by Cobbey Crisler is available as a PDF Download in CedarS online version of this Met.]

In The Message paraphrase the scene from Mark 6 is described in some interesting language! "On the Sabbath, he gave a lecture in the meeting place. He made a real hit, impressing everyone. “We had no idea he was this good!” they said. “How did he get so wise all of a sudden, get such ability?” But in the next breath they were cutting him down: “He’s just a carpenter—Mary’s boy. We’ve known him since he was a kid. We know his brothers, James, Justus, Jude, and Simon, and his sisters. Who does he think he is?” They tripped over what little they knew about him and fell, sprawling. And they never got any further. Jesus told them, “A prophet has little honor in his hometown, among his relatives, on the streets he played in as a child.” Jesus wasn’t able to do much of anything there—he laid hands on a few sick people and healed them, that’s all. He couldn’t get over their stubbornness. He left and made a circuit of the other villages, teaching."

It seems that his local folks did not think Jesus was so special. But he was not deterred, he went out to "the other villages, teaching." And then he sent out his disciples to preach repentance, to cast out devils, anoint with oil, and heal!

The Message paraphrase further states: Jesus called the Twelve to him, and sent them out in pairs. He gave them authority and power to deal with the evil opposition. He sent them off with these instructions: “Don’t think you need a lot of extra equipment for this. You are the equipment. No special appeals for funds. Keep it simple. “And no luxury inns. Get a modest place and be content there until you leave. “If you’re not welcomed, not listened to, quietly withdraw. Don’t make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and be on your way.” Then they were on the road. They preached with joyful urgency that life can be radically different; right and left they sent the demons packing; they brought wellness to the sick, anointing their bodies, healing their spirits.“

I guess we could surmise that even if we are "special," we can't always expect others to see that or acknowledge that fact. We have to first accept for ourselves and be willing to share with others.

Section 1: "As a Shepherd cares for his flock, so God, Love cares for and anoints us.
Bible citation B2 from Psalm 23, and its spiritual interpretation in Science and Health (S2) tell us how we each are cared for and anointed by our Shepherd! In research at different times I have found very interesting links on the internet with insights from real shepherds. A new one for me was not from a Palestinian shepherd but one closer to home, Phillip Keller. His thoughts and ideas are most interesting. The following link takes you to a website with excerpts from the book, "A shepherd looks at the 23rd Psalm, by Phillip Keller."

One of the ideas in the original 23rd Psalm is the following, "thou anointest my head with oil." In Mrs. Eddy's interpretation that line becomes, "Love anointeth my head with oil." In citation S1 we read Mrs. Eddy's spiritual interpretation of "Oil" from the glossary of Science and Health. "OIL. Consecration; charity; gentleness; prayer; heavenly inspiration."

These ideas were crucial to me in making it possible to actually even work on this Met. Saturday night it appeared that my left eye was becoming inflamed. It was painful, I did not seem to be able to bear the slightest light and the eye eventually was completely shut. My prayers were immediate, prayers, but no reading was possible. I awakened Sunday morning very early, while it was still completely dark. In the darkness I was able to drive to church and set up the room for the Sunday Service. I let my co-workers in the Sunday School know that I would not be able to be there. And then I spent the day listening to the Bible Lesson and praying in the dark. I had made a personal recording of the upcoming Lesson on Sacrament and so was I was able to hear it two or three times through. Progress was being made. As the day wore on I found myself thinking of this section of the Lesson. I knew many people would have thought an ointment of some kind would have been the thing for my eye. But as I thought of the anointing in this lesson, I realized there was my answer. I thought about the definition of oil referred to above. And also the line from Mrs. Eddy that "Love anointeth my head with oil!" Love was the ointment, the anointing I would choose. By dinner time I was able to eat with the family. During the night progress continued. And when dawn broke I was able to see clearly, face the morning light with joy not pain, and drive the kids to school and kindergarten. Soon complete freedom allowed me to take up work on the computer for this Met.

Section 2: The woman anoints Jesus feet (Luke 7)
Citations B3 and B4 are all about the special anointing of our beloved Master, Wayshower, and Savior, Christ Jesus.

With citation B5, Luke 7, we add to the Biblical verses referring to Jesus anointing, the great love and pure affection of someone reaching out to the Master in complete humility and repentance. What struck me was this woman's clear recognition of Jesus' specialness. And in that glimpse she was healed, restored, redeemed, forgiven.

The citations from the Bible and from Science and Health give a clear picture of this event and the mental atmosphere surrounding it. As I studied this event it became to me an aspect of our recognizing Jesus' specialness. That was clearly evident in the thought of this woman.

Was this woman the last sinner to be renewed, reformed, anointed with redemption? As Jesus described her, "Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much:" And he said to the woman, "Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace."

This redemption, this salvation continues today. Of course Mary Magdalene was not the last sinner turned to a new path. Absolutely not. I look at my own experience and the great grace and love that redeems us all every single day!

The following links tell the story of a man, Roy Olmstead, who went from law enforcement, to law breaking, to discovery of the law of the Christ, Truth. After a life of crime, being in prison, and then finding Christian Science he devoted himself to the healing ministry of Christian Science. And in that ministry every Monday he would visit Seattle-area prisons continuing a long prison ministry. The anointing of the Christ knows no barriers in redeeming lives of those who discover the specialness embodied in the life of Christ Jesus.

In a brief article,"From bootlegger to healer," by Bill Scott, from the December 5, 2011 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.

"Did you catch the PBS series on Prohibition? As the “King of the Puget Sound Bootleggers,” Seattle’s legendary Roy Olmstead made an appearance in the second episode of this three-part series. But there was more to his story after he was arrested and convicted of bootlegging.

When Olmstead was sent to prison in 1928, he used his time in confinement to improve himself. According to Philip Metcalfe, author ofWhispering Wires: The tragic Tale of an American Bootlegger, “The man who arrived in 1928 was not the man who departed three years later.”

Metcalfe further writes, “Olmstead first sought relief in books on psychology and philosophy, but was not satisfied until a cellmate lent him a copy of Science and Health [with Key to the Scriptures] by Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science. . . . Slowly, over time, he became a devout Christian Scientist, customarily rising every morning at 5:00 to read and reflect.”

Once out of prison, Olmstead and his family lived modestly, turning down lucrative offers to work in the liquor industry. He gave up smoking and drinking, but always maintained his sense of humor. He sought out the friendship of Judge Jeremiah Neterer, who had sent him to prison. They would joke occasionally, but mostly Olmstead wanted to talk seriously about the nature of man and the world.

He gave lectures against drinking and began visiting prisons ministering to inmates—a practice he began soon after his release from McNeil Island Federal Penitentiary in 1931.

Olmstead never really lost his celebrity status in Seattle and was asked throughout his life if he was the famed bootlegger from Prohibition days. He was usually quoted as saying, “The old Roy Olmstead is dead. He no longer exists.”

Given the student of the Bible Olmstead became in prison, I would guess he was following this guidance from St. Paul’s biblical passage in Colossians, chapter 3: “Put off the old man with his deeds; and . . . put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.”

In a previous blog post I wrote last year, “The Redemption of Roy Olmstead,” I received the following comment from Doug Wood:

“I met Roy Olmstead when I was about 15. He talked to a bunch of us Sunday School kids. I still remember his stories helping/healing prisoners and telling us all about his bootlegging days. He was a fun, funny guy. When he was asked to do an interview he would always agree provided they gave credit to Christian Science.”

Olmstead was a full-time Christian Science practitioner in downtown Seattle for 18 years until shortly before his death in 1966 at the age of 79.

If you are able to watch the PBS portrayal of Olmstead, I hope you’ll think of the exemplary life he led in his last 35 years. I think this is how he would have preferred to be remembered.

Bill Scott
Christian Science Committee on Publication for Washington State"

Section 3: Jesus example to bathe others in Love
As we read the moving story in citation B9 (John 13) of Jesus humbly and lovingly bathing the feet of his disciples, we might ask, How do we duplicate the real significance of that act today?

You see in Jesus day people walked every where they went. The roads were rocky, dusty and there were not convenience stores on every corner offering refreshments. So Jesus humbled himself, the disciples' Master, and he cared in a tender loving way for their needs, and demonstrated that as we serve, we live, as we serve, we love.

The following link leads to a Bible Gateway commentary on Jesus' foot washing.

[In citation S9 Mary Baker Eddy notes the “divinely royal“ specialness of our servant leader Jesus Christ: “The term Christ Jesus, or Jesus the Christ (to give the full and proper translation of the Greek), may be rendered “Jesus the anointed,” Jesus the God-crowned or the divinely royal man, as it is said of him in the first chapter of Hebrews: — Therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee With the oil of gladness above thy fellows.“ (S9, 313: 1-8) This gladness of the Lord is mentioned in the Golden Text is what anoints us with “fresh oil“ as we are ready to humbly serve in the Christ-spirit as Jesus instructed all his disciples to do. (B9) Furthermore, “In healing the sick and sinning, Jesus elaborated the fact that the healing effect followed the understanding of the divine Principle and of the Christ-spirit which governed the corporeal Jesus. For this Principle there is no dynasty, no ecclesiastical monopoly. Its only crowned head is immortal sovereignty. Its only priest is the spiritualized man. The Bible declares that all believers are made “kings and priests unto God.” The outsiders did not then, and do not now, understand this ruling of the Christ; therefore they cannot demonstrate God’s healing power. Neither can this manifestation of Christ be comprehended, until its divine Principle is scientifically understood.“ (Science and Health 141:13-26)
CedarS counselors, campers, Bible Lands Park visitors and Christian Science Nursing Network conference attendees all discovered first-hand that only by imbibing the Christ-spirit of humble serving and joyous giving can we hope to duplicate today the significance of Jesus‘ foot-washing and the effectiveness of his spiritual healing work.]

Section 4: The Last Supper at Passover
For many this account of the Last Supper in Matthew, Mark, and Luke is their concept of Sacrament that for many is referred to as the Holy Communion. Warren has prepared a download about several citations from Cobbey Crisler including citation B12, Matthew 26 that gives wonderful insights into this story. You will find these helpful study aids by at the right side of the Met on CedarS Website.

In citation S14 Mrs. Eddy writes, "Our Eucharist is spiritual communion with the one God. Our bread, "which cometh down from heaven," is Truth. Our cup is the cross. Our wine the inspiration of Love, the draught our Master drank and commended to his followers."

The Last Supper is what we call the last meal Jesus ate with His disciples before His betrayal and arrest. The Last Supper is recorded in the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew 26:17–30; Mark 14:12–26; Luke 22:7–30). It was more than Jesus’ last meal; it was a Passover meal, as well.

The following poem by Mary Baker Eddy many of us know as a Hymn from the Christian Science Hymnal, 298 – 302. It echoes with the spiritual depth of Mrs. Eddy's understanding of the Sacrament.

Communion Hymn

Saw ye my Saviour? Heard ye the glad sound?
Felt ye the power of the Word?
'Twas the Truth that made us free,
And was found by you and me
In the life and the love of our Lord.

Mourner, it calls you, — "Come to my bosom,
Love wipes your tears all away,
And will lift the shade of gloom,
And for you make radiant room
Midst the glories of one endless day."

Sinner, it calls you, — "Come to this fountain,
Cleanse the foul senses within;
'Tis the Spirit that makes pure,
That exalts thee, and will cure
All thy sorrow and sickness and sin."

Strongest deliverer, friend of the friendless,
Life of all being divine:
Thou the Christ, and not the creed;
Thou the Truth in thought and deed;
Thou the water, the bread, and the wine.

(Poems by Mary Baker Eddy, p. 75)

“Communion Hymn” was first printed in the Lynn Transcript on December 2, 1876, titled “Hymn of Science.” It appeared in the Journal in March 1885, and after Eddy revised it and gave it the title “Communion. — Hymn of Christian Science,” reappeared in the issue of February 1889

Section 5: The Morning Meal with Jesus after his resurrection.
I think it would be difficult to understand the depth of sorrow, gloom, depression and perhaps even anger that Jesus' disciples felt… Anger at others, anger at themselves. A great sense of loss and frustration.

But even more astounding is the specialness of the Love their Master demonstrated. Wasn't it the depth of this infinite, divine Love that was allowing him to make this demonstration or rising from the grave and rising above all mortality. Here the Master stood on the shore, peacefully making breakfast for his hungering students. Did he just feed them fish? Or, did he feed them from the depth of his love for them and for all of us? Wasn't it this incredible, indescribable Love that made his demonstration possible?

I love Mary Baker Eddy's description of this scene on the shore of the Galilean Sea. In Science and Heath citations in this section she writes, "What a contrast between our Lord's last supper and his last spiritual breakfast with his disciples in the bright morning hours at the joyful meeting on the shore of the Galilean Sea! His gloom had passed into glory, and his disciple's grief into repentance, — hearts chastened and pride rebuked." (S19)

"Discerning Christ, Truth anew on the shore of time, they were enabled to rise somewhat from mortal sensuousness, or the burial of mind in matter, into newness of life as Spirit.
This spiritual meeting withh our Lord in the dawn of a new light is the morning meal which Christian Scientists commemorate. They bow before Christ, Truth, to receive more of his reappearing and silently to commune with the divine Principle, Love." (S20)

Section 6: Living the Love that Christ Jesus lived, anoints us in the special Love that is God.
Citation B19 states: “Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts." (2 Cor. 1:21-22, KJV)

It is clear, Jesus was God's work and we are God's work. Our Master was anointed with the "oil of gladness" and through his love and humble shepherding, the Good Shepherd anoints each of us. Our worship, our Christian practice rises above ceremony and ritual as we live the love our Master taught and lived.

Citation S23 tells us that "Universal Love is the divine way in Christian Science."

The Good News Translation of citation B19 [captures the unique specialness of being anointed in Christ‘s divine way of living to love]: “It is God himself who makes us, together with you, sure of our life in union with Christ; it is God himself who has set us apart, who has placed his mark of ownership upon us, and who has given us the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the guarantee of all that he has in store for us." 2 Cor. 1:21-22 Good News Translation (GNT)

The wonderful promise of God anointing all creation as a tender Shepherd caring for his flock is an image that comforts and encourages. This promise allows us to acknowledge the wonderful specialness of our Lord and Master, our Savior, Christ Jesus. And as we accept that specialness, we are also anointed, bathed in the special "mark of ownership" that God has place upon us.

Mary Baker Eddy writes, "There is a special joy in knowing that one is gaining constantly in the knowledge of Truth and divine Love." (Mis. 160:10-11)

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[CedarS weekly Metaphysical Newsletter is provided at no charge to the 1,200 campers and staff blessed each summer at CedarS, as well as to CedarS alumni, families and friends who have requested it. However, current and planned gifts are a big help and are greatly appreciated in defraying the costs of running this service and of providing needed camperships, programs and operations support.

[The Met application ideas above are provided primarily to help CedarS campers and staff (as well as friends) see and daily demonstrate the great value of studying and applying the Christian Science Bible lessons throughout the year, not just at camp! YOU CAN ALSO SIGN UP for weekly emails from past CedarS staff of possible ways to share Bible Lesson applications with older, as well as younger, Sunday School classes by clicking the "Subscribe Now" button (lower left) at ]

[For additional "Director's Notes" on the history, development & 4 translations of CedarS weekly Bible Lesson "Mets" go to Notes in our online version of it.]

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