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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 C.S. 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. These two books 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.)

You are redeeemed! Just…Shine!   Lesson Application Ideas on “Probation After Death”  April 18-24, 2005

By Gary Duke, C.S., Saint Louis, Missouri
Golden Text:  Just…Shine! 


“…the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day” (Prov.4:18).

Is the quality of being “just” active love, or merely avoiding wrong doing?  This Weekly Bible Lesson suggests it is the former, active love, which shines and finds more ways to shine until the “perfect day” when all sin is destroyed.  As the light of the sun shines on all, perhaps we too can let our Christly light shine unconditionally.

Responsive Reading:  Resurrection Uplifts Faith and Gives Meaning to Trials. 
If we understand we can’t die out of anything because there is resurrection and therefore eternal life, we’ll get busy right now nurturing the spiritual as our first aid rather than our last resort.  Faith is then uplifted and trials cease to be insurmountable obstacles but rather occasions to demonstrate dominion with eager anticipation and gratitude for seeing our salvation working out step-by-step.  “The trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth… might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (I Peter 1:7). 

Section 1:  Commandment ~ Everlasting Life.
Many know and perhaps often ponder what Jesus stressed as the two great commandments, love the Lord thy God…and love thy neighbor… (Matt.22:37-40); in this section we find another imperative from Jesus “…His commandment is life everlasting” (B4).

What advantage is there to understanding that life is everlasting?  “The relinquishment of all faith in death and also of the fear of its sting would raise the standard of health and morals far beyond its present elevation…” (S3).  As for health, we understand that removal of fear is key to healing ~ “…always begin your treatment by allaying the fear of patients…” (S&H 411:27-28).  Regarding morals, if we understand we are eternal we also understand we are spiritual, not material, and so we seek happiness in spirit, not matter.

Section 2:  No Birth, No Death, No Final Judgment.
Jesus claimed to exist before the physical appearance of Abraham, who predated Jesus by two millennia.  This caused quite a stir amongst the Pharisees who said, “Thou art not yet fifty years old (retirement age of Levites – RBG) and hast thou seen Abraham?” (B6).  The Pharisees believed in resurrection so they should have understood better what Jesus meant. 

Mrs. Eddy clears up the dilemma by explaining, “If we live after death and are immortal, we must have lived before birth…” (S7).  This understanding gives new meaning to God being truly the parent of all because our children predate us human parents too! 
What happens to the “Day of Judgment” if there is no death?  Mrs. Eddy says (S8), “No final judgment awaits mortals, for the judgment of wisdom comes hourly and continually….”  Good news, there’s no thumbs down final judgment awaiting us where we’ll roast eternally in hell if we’ve been bad.  But we’re not off the hook until we’re “divested of all material error” because sin punishes itself. 




Section 3:  Sin and Death versus Sinless Life.
It is NOT God’s plan for us to die, “For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God:  wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye” (B10).  

But how do we “turn” from this illusion of death?  “Sin brought death, and death will disappear with the disappearance of sin” (S11). 

Ok, then how do we stop sinning?  Practice.  We practice integrating the ideas of active, unconditional love for God and man into our lives and then get tested in the stream of life.  That testing is also known as probation.  When the test or trial is passed, one has progressed and is free to go up higher in their probation.  “Universal salvation rests on progression and probation and is unattainable without them” (S14).

Section 4:  Active Love Demonstrates Eternal Life.
It’s been said a rut is just a grave with the ends kicked out!  Do we sometimes get in a rut of just trying to get by, selfishly closing ourselves off from the good we could do by substituting knowing for doing?  We are then in a living grave of our own making.  What’s the antidote?  Active love!  “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren” (B13). 

In what ways should we love?  (B12) includes many ideas.  If someone is:

Hungry ~ feed them; perhaps they’re hungering for the truth as well and we could give them a copy of S&H or invite them to a lecture;


Thirsty ~ give them drink; also “give them a cup of cold water in Christ’s name and never fear the consequences” (S&H 570:16-18);


A Stranger ~ take them in; if someone is new or not part of the “in crowd” at school, the work place, a sports team do we make them feel special or do we leave them feeling like a stranger?


Naked ~ clothe them; how many in the world feel vulnerable, exposed to the cruelty of worldly ways and could use the cloak of affection, kindness, dignity, etc.?


Sick ~ visit; a dad felt so cared for when someone said, “Does your family like to eat ‘x’ or ‘y’?” and then organized friends to consistently provide dinners while his wife was incapacitated.  The dad said afterwards, he had turned down the general requests, “Can I do anything to help?” because he didn’t want to be a burden to anyone but he gratefully accepted the person with an action plan!


In Prison ~ come; we can sign up for the institution committee and serve literally in a prison or we can help others get out of the prisons of their own making.  Perhaps most importantly, we can be sensitive to the prisons we create for others and ourselves through avoiding condemnation.

To the degree we love the least advantaged in society is the degree we’re really professing our appreciation for and love of God, Jesus, his disciples of whatever era, and the Christ within each individual.  “Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (B12).     

“If selfishness has given place to kindness, we shall regard our neighbor unselfishly” (S19).  “Let unselfishness, goodness, mercy, justice, health, holiness, love – the kingdom of heaven – reign within us, and sin, disease, and death will diminish until they finally disappear” (S20).  


The rewards are great ~ the feeling of truly being alive is a taste of eternal life.

Section 5:  Prove Immortality Here and Now.
The raising of Lazarus from death by Jesus proved that an understanding and demonstration of immortality was attainable on this plane of existence (B15).  Let’s analyze what other lessons can be inferred:


Death must be challenged and not accepted with resignation ~ as students of Christian Science, do we place more emphasis on the healing of sin and sickness but regard death as inevitable after a certain age?  “The dream of death must be mastered by Mind here or hereafter” (S22).  We can begin with the simpler demonstrations of immortality such as challenging the death of a relationship, reclaiming a talent we possessed but now feel is out of reach, taking up a sport we used to play ~ all can be resurrected.  In the news it was recently reported, a lady currently 101 years old graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Oklahoma in 1992, actively manages a ranch in Oklahoma and is resurrecting her stage career by dancing in an upcoming Broadway musical!

Superstition regarding death can also be dispelled ~ the Jews believed the soul of an individual would try and reenter the body for three days after death and on the fourth, decomposition would begin, hence Jesus waited four days to come to Bethany (Dummelow).  What superstitions have we accepted regarding death?  “Whatever is governed by God, is never for an instant deprived of the light and might of intelligence and Life” (S21);

Perfection isn’t some goal far off in the future but it is here and now ~ Martha wished that Jesus had come sooner to prevent her brother’s death but found comfort in the belief that Lazarus would rise again on the Day of Judgment.  Isn’t that how mortal mind works, postponing good and its effects to some future time when all conditions are just right e.g. sufficient time, more money, better appearance, etc.  Jesus nipped that limited thinking by claiming, “I am the resurrection, and the life:  he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:” (B15).  As we understand the Christ and claim it for ourselves we operate from the standpoint of perfection and not working up to perfection.  Mrs. Eddy states, “The great spiritual fact must be brought out that man is, not shall be, perfect and immortal” (S25).  Why wait!

Section 6:  Redeemed!
Those who have turned to God and the example of Christ Jesus throughout their tribulation are rewarded with eternal life where, “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat” (B18).  The garment of the redeemed is a white robe.

Though “we soil our garments with conservatism” ~ perhaps timid about our faith and actions, all is not lost!  “Afterwards we must wash them clean” by living unconditional love as demonstrated by Christ Jesus and his true followers (S&H 452:20-22).  Then, “the robes of Spirit are ‘white and glistering,’ like the raiment of Christ” (S26).

Section Summary Benediction:
Those who are just, shine, and do so while being more and more active in love.  Resurrection uplifts faith and gives fresh meaning to trials.  Jesus added another commandment; know everlasting life which includes no birth, no death and no final judgment.  Sin leads to death, whereas eternal life is sinless, demonstrated by active love.  Prove immortality here and now which leads to redemption!


 


 


Resources: 


Researched Bible Guide, 561-776-5711 or e-mail DayBreakPlease@cs.com


 


The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language by Eugene H. Peterson,                 


NavPress 800-366-7788, website  www.MessageBible.com


 


The One Volume Bible Commentary, by J.R. Dummelow

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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