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Demonstrate Unity, Oneness, At-One-Ment!

Christie Hanzlik, C.S., Boulder, CO
Posted Monday, April 16th, 2018

[Demonstrate Unity, Oneness & At-One-Ment]
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Doctrine of Atonement”
For April 16-22, 2018

By Christie C. Hanzlik, C.S. of Boulder, Colorado
ccern@mac.com / 720.331.9356

INTRODUCTION

In Christian theology the “Doctrine of Atonement' states that Christ Jesus died on the cross for our sins. According to Christian Science, Christ Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection are our demonstration of how to overcome sin—the belief that are separate from good, God. The Science of the Christ starts from the premise that we are already at one with God, Divine Love, and that Christ Jesus’ role was to teach us how discover our at-one-ment and overcome sin. This idea is addressed in the fourth tenet of Christian Science, "We acknowledge Jesus' atonement as the evidence of divine, efficacious Love, unfolding man's unity with God through Christ Jesus the Way-shower; and we acknowledge that man is saved through Christ, through Truth, Life, and Love as demonstrated by the Galilean Prophet in healing the sick and overcoming sin and death.” (S25) (Note that there is a historical evolution of the 4th tenet at the end of this Met)

I usually think of atonement—or at-one-ment—with God as our inseparability from God. Lately, I’ve begun to think of atonement as absolute unity, oneness. God is all. There is one substance. And we are the way that substance/God/Mind/Love is expressed. Without us, God would be a power that is unseen, unknown. God is Love, we are love-ing. God is Mind, we are idea. God is Life, we are live-ing. God is Truth, we are honest. We are the evidence that God exists. We are co-existent with God. There is no separation. There is no separation because there is only one substance. As soon as we start to think of ourselves as trying to atone, or trying to become at-one with God, we’ve lost the truth of unity…there is no "becoming at-one" because there is only oneness.

The Science of the Christ begins from the premise of absolute oneness, and as we become aware of our oneness with Mind/Truth/Love, we experience oneness in practical ways, realizing absolute harmony, peace, salvation and health. An understanding of oneness heals the belief of two-ness, the belief of separation from good/God.

And yet, we are not a giant, amorphous lump of a blurry cloud of blended spirits. We each have individuality while being in unity with Divine Spirit, God.

Christ Jesus’ experience on the cross demonstrated his oneness with his Father (Divine Life), but his experience is not our experience because we are each distinct ideas. Each of us must discover our oneness for ourselves…Christ Jesus showed us the way, but didn’t do the work for us. Mary Baker Eddy explains this idea, "Atonement is the exemplification of man's unity with God, whereby man reflects divine Truth, Life, and Love. Jesus of Nazareth taught and demonstrated man's oneness with the Father, and for this we owe him endless homage. His mission was both individual and collective. He did life's work aright not only in justice to himself, but in mercy to mortals, — to show them how to do theirs, but not to do it for them nor to relieve them of a single responsibility.” (S3) His demonstration was individual (about his at-one-ment) and collective (for all of us to see our at-one-ment). So, to put the Doctrine of Atonement in Christianly Scientific terms... Christ Jesus died on the cross [and was resurrected] for our [collective benefit so that we can overcome the belief of separation from God, otherwise known as] sins.

GOLDEN TEXT AND RESPONSIVE READING

Christ Jesus taught and demonstrated the truth that defines our inseparability from God—our at-one-ment. This week’s Bible Lesson is full of ways that Christ Jesus showed us how we are both individually and collectively at-one with infinite good, Divine Mind. The lesson opens with the statement, ". . . there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (GT) Right away, we get the clear message of oneness, and Christ Jesus as the mediator—the one who establishes the relationship—between God and men. God is like the sun, and we are like the rays, we can see that rays are connected and inseparable from the sun. (S18) The role of Christ in this sun-and-ray analogy is to make the rays aware of their inseparability from the sun. Without Christ, the rays (us) would just be inanimate beams of light, but Christ animates the rays (us), Christ makes us aware….Christ animates man. (S14) Jesus, being one of the rays—the very best example of a ray—was so at-one with the Christ-awareness that he gets the singular title Christ Jesus. Jesus is the man (ray), who more than any other man was aware of his oneness with God/Love (the sun).

The most significant demonstration of Christ Jesus’ at-one-ment with eternal Life/God, was the resurrection. With the resurrection, Christ Jesus showed that nothing could interrupt, stop, or end the Christ, which animated him. Nothing, not even “the last enemy" could separate him from Life/God/Truth/Love. The Responsive Reading emphasizes the resurrection and its connection to eternal life. Eternal life means there is no beginning—"glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” (RR) And eternal life has no end, or separation. The resurrection was a demonstration, or proof, of eternal life for each of us: "And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.” (RR) Christ Jesus' demonstration was not just for himself as an individual, but for all mankind, collectively—"I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message.” (RR-NLT, S3)

Christ Jesus, through the resurrection, taught us that we are at-one with God, just as he is: "I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one."(RR-NLT and W’s PS#1)



SECTION 1: Oneness and individuality

We are all at-one with God, in unity and oneness, and yet we are each distinct and individual. The first section offers an analogy for this. It asks the rhetorical questions, "Are we not all children of the same Father? Are we not all created by the same God?” (B2, NLT) To answer these questions, we are all each children created by the same one-and-only Father... And yet it is also true that we are not all the same child.


This section emphasizes that God gave us his son, Christ Jesus, to save us—to show us that we are all the children of God. (B4) We are told that “[we] are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of [us] as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for [we] are all one in Christ Jesus.” (B5)


There is one God, and we are each the expression of this one God—in unity. "Jesus taught but one God, one Spirit, who makes man in the image and likeness of Himself, — of Spirit, not of matter.” (S1) Jesus demonstrated Christ—the awareness of our oneness with God—over 2000 years ago, but "the Christ is without beginning of years or end of days. The divine image, idea, or Christ was, is, and ever will be inseparable from the divine Principle, God.” (S2) God, Christ, Jesus, and man are all inseparable.

This section defines the oneness and unity of God, Christ Jesus, the Holy Ghost (Divine Science, the understanding of our oneness), and man. "We acknowledge and adore one supreme and infinite God. We acknowledge His Son, one Christ; the Holy Ghost or divine Comforter; and man in God's image and likeness.” (S4 & W’s PS#2 for the evolution of the Second Tenet) But, of course, this oneness does not mean that each of these concepts is the same, that they are all lumped together in one mass. These concepts are inseparable from one another, and yet each have a distinct purpose and role. God is not man, for example. But God and man are inseparable—man is the entity of God. In other words, we can be at-one with God without being the same thing as God.

Analogies can help us grasp the concept of being simultaneously at-one with Mind/God and also individualized and identifiable—a distinct idea. Here are some examples from this week’s lesson...

• We are all children of the one Father, and yet we are not all the same child. (B2)
• “as a drop of water is at one with the ocean”—the drop of water is made of water, and the ocean is made of water, and yet the drop of water is individual and identifiable. (S18)
• “as a ray of light is at one with the sun”—the ray and the sun are inseparable, could not exist without one another (coexistent), and yet the ray is not the sun nor is it the same as the other rays. (S18)
• the prodigal son (God’s child) is always welcome home. There is one home and one Father, and each child is distinct and each is infinitely and unconditionally loved. (B8)
• A sheep is part of a shepherd’s flock. The shepherd’s flock is all one—each sheep and the shepherd are one unit, and yet the sheep is not the shepherd, and each sheep is an individual sheep…they are not one big lump of wool. (B12)

And here are some examples not in the lesson…


• a violin is part of a symphony. the symphony is a harmonious whole, and yet each instrument is distinct
• a music note is part of a song, but it is not the song and the song would be incomplete without each note, which work together in harmony and are governed by Soul
• The number 8 is part of the number system. 8 is necessary and crucial and individually recognizable, while also being covered by the principle of mathematics and part of a unified system—and it works perfectly with the other numbers as it is governed by Principle.
(See if you can come up with a list of other examples…)

Section 2: Always at one with our Father and welcome home

Sin is the belief that we can be separate from good, separate from God. Sin would be the opposite of at-one-ment, it would be, at a minimum, at-two-ment. Get it? Well, there is no such thing as at-two-ment, and this section makes this clear. It uses the prodigal-son parable to explain how Christ Jesus helped those of us who feel that we have strayed off of a good path, or otherwise become separated from goodness. (B8, S5) The father in the parable, of course, is God, and we know that God always saw both His sons as part of His home. The prodigal son was always welcome home and always seen as a full member of the household, not a lesser member because he messed up. Likewise, you and I always “dwell in the house of the Lord,” and can always feel perfectly at home. Our Father would never kick us out of the home—"the consciousness of good." (Hymn 497, 2017 Hymnal) If there seem to be moments in which we believe that we are separated from God’s love, we can return at any time to the arms of Divine Love…and we’ll discover that those wonderful arms have been right with us, encircling us all the time even when we didn’t realize it.

Christ Jesus helped us see our at-one-ment by explaining that God is not a punishing and retributive, man-like being, but is an all-loving and infinite Father that always welcomes us home. “Jesus aided in reconciling man to God by giving man a truer sense of Love, the divine Principle of Jesus' teachings, and this truer sense of Love redeems man from the law of matter, sin, and death by the law of Spirit, — the law of divine Love.” (S6)

In fact, not only are we always welcome home with the all-loving Father, but we can actually never leave the comfort and safety of home—“the consciousness of good.” (Hymn 497, 2017 Hymnal) Instead of a process of becoming at one with God, Christian Science teaches that we are already at one with God, and that we cannot be separated. We are Love’s idea…we are Love’s being...we are love-ing...so we can never be separated from Love. As Mary Baker Eddy writes, "This is the doctrine of Christian Science: that divine Love cannot be deprived of its manifestation, or object; that joy cannot be turned into sorrow, for sorrow is not the master of joy; that good can never produce evil; that matter can never produce mind nor life result in death. The perfect man — governed by God, his perfect Principle — is sinless [unable to be separated] and eternal.” (S7)

We are never separated from the harmony of home, so there’s no time when we’re separate from harmony and then have to find it again. Instead, the harmony of ever-present Love is always here and now, framing our very existence—its wonderfully inescapable! "The relations of God and man, divine Principle and idea, are indestructible in Science; and Science knows no lapse from nor return to harmony, but holds the divine order or spiritual law, in which God and all that He creates are perfect and eternal, to have remained unchanged in its eternal history.” (S8)


Section 3: Wash away the belief of separation

One of my least favorite expressions is “God only knows…,” as in, “God only knows when we’ll see each other again…” God is Mind and knows all. But God is not mysterious and does not keep secrets from us. Mind knows all, and we are at-one with Mind, so we can know all that Mind knows. As we come to understand our unity with Mind, we find a deeper sense of prophesy, of seeing truth fully—past, present and future. In the third section, Christ Jesus demonstrates that he had knowledge beyond what he should have known because of his at-one-ment with infinite Mind. As he taught, "The people were surprised when they heard him. 'How does he know so much when he hasn’t been trained?' they asked. So Jesus told them, 'My message is not my own; it comes from God who sent me. Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether my teaching is from God or is merely my own.” (B10, NLT)

Christ Jesus was able to see beyond the so-called human limitations of sin—the belief of separation from God—and even beyond the modern-day lie of heredity that seems so prevalent nowadays. His prophetic understanding of reality is illustrated in this story: "As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins [belief of separation] or his parents’ sins? [belief that they weren’t at-one with God]” “It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him. We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work. But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.” [Jesus is the mediator] Then he spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and spread the mud over the blind man’s eyes. He told him, “Go wash yourself in the pool of Siloam” (Siloam means “sent”). So the man went and washed and came back seeing! (B11, NLT)

The mud was not what healed the blind man. So what was the purpose of the mud? One way of understanding the meaning of the mud, according to Cobbey Crisler, is that the mud symbolizes the false belief that man was created out of the dust of the ground, separate from God, a sinner. So the man puts the mud on his face, and cannot see as he goes down to the pool of Siloam. His face is muddy, he cannot see…this could symbolize the “dust man” or "Genesis 2” man. But then once he washes off the mud-dust—symbolically showing that he is not the “dust man” and is not a sinner, separate from God, and he sees clearly. So, Jesus asked the man to wash off the mud-dust from his thought, to stop thinking of himself as flawed and disconnected from God, and to see his sinless self. As Crisler writes, "In a way, it might even give us a greater hint on what the true meaning of baptism is, the immersion in Spirit, nativity, and washing off every trace of the dust man.” (“Book of John, A Walk with the Beloved Disciple” by B. Cobbey Crisler as quoted in W’s PS#3a. A monologue by the man born blind written by Ken Cooper appears as W’s PS#3b.)

Christ Jesus knew that nothing dusty from the past (heredity) could separate an idea from Divine Mind. We too can understand this truth. We can symbolically wash the mud from our eyes. There is no secret knowledge. If God sees it, we can see it too. And since God knows of our perfect inseparability from good, we can know it too. The absolute truth, the spiritual law that contradicts the belief that we could be separated from God by a human lineage—heredity—is that, "In Science man is the offspring of Spirit. The beautiful, good, and pure constitute his ancestry. His origin is not, like that of mortals, in brute instinct, nor does he pass through material conditions prior to reaching intelligence. Spirit is his primitive and ultimate source of being; God is his Father, and Life is the law of his being.” (S10)

Heredity is the belief that we are not direct children of God, but that we have other intermediaries—human parents—that pass along certain traits to us. It’s the belief in the Adam dream, that we come from dust/mud. But Christ is the only mediator between God and man. No dust! There is no gap between us and God. There isn’t a line of ancestry that follows a line from God to grandparents, to parents, to us, to our children. No. There is a universal oneness. There is a direct connection from God to grandparents, God to parents, God to us, and God to children. It is more accurate to see that God is the Father of us all, and we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. God is the central sun and we are all the rays.

Section 4: The sheep know their Shepherd

The fourth section uses the metaphor of a shepherd and sheep to show how Christ Jesus is the mediator between God and man—the mediator who shows us the way. (GT) The section opens with the story of Jesus talking with a group of Jews who ask him if he is the Christ. Jesus explains to them that he is like a shepherd, and those that hear his voice will be in the flock, they will have eternal life, never perish, and always be safe. (B11) Here is a great story from Cobbey Crisler that explains the role of the shepherd with his flock, "When my wife and I were in Israel, we stopped in a place between Jerusalem and Bethany. I saw what I thought was an unattended flock of sheep. There was also a rock wall with one door or gate. It was an almost complete square. As I wandered around, I was suddenly surprised by the shepherd whom I had disturbed. He rose up. He was stretched across that entry way, getting a few winks.

"Right there I had illustrated what Jesus meant in John 10: 2, 11, 14, “I am the shepherd” and in John 10: 7, 9, “I am the door.” Now there was no confusion at all. With the sheep inside an enclosure and the only possible entrance of wild animals or thieves being that door, you had to get through the shepherd in order to get to the sheep. The shepherd was also the door.
"In Mary Baker Eddy’s poem, 'Feed My Sheep,' there is the statement, 'I will listen for Thy voice.' [Hymn 304] While we were down in that area of Beersheba, we saw many sheep all mixed together. I said to Janet, ‘I wonder how the shepherd is ever going to sort out his sheep. They’re all just mingled together.’ … It wasn’t very long before our shepherd separated himself from the crowd, walked away never looked over his shoulder at the mixed up sheep, but made some kind of identifying click or clack of his tongue or voice.
“Do you know that every one of his sheep separated themselves from that flock and followed him? He never doubted. He never looked back. The sheep did their job.. The sheep knew his voice. 'I will listen for Thy voice.' These lessons are things that in the busy moments of our own twentieth century we need to contemplate. They’re not just symbols. They’re not done just as ancient history. They’re attitudes. They’re states of mind and thought. This is something we often need to consider. In John 10:30, Jesus’ great statement, 'I and my Father are one.' If this is from the Aramaic, then, the Aramaic word would give the meaning, 'I and my Father are in accord.' (B12, notes from Book of John, A Walk with the Beloved Disciple, B. Cobbey Crisler** , W’s PS#4)


Following this idea of the sheep learning the voice of the true shepherd, and Christ Jesus being the mediator between God and men, the crucifixion and resurrection were like a loud shepherd’s horn that got the attention of the sheep—Jews and gentiles alike—and drew them to the true Shepherd. The false voices—the “prince of this world”—was cast out, and the resurrection helped “draw all men unto [Christ].”

He said to his students (which includes us!), "“If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me." (B14, NLT)

Mary Baker Eddy explains what the crucifixion and resurrection meant for Jesus and for our at-one-ment. The resurrection was not what removes our sin--belief of separation--but rather it was the demonstration that we are already at one. We still have to do the work of realizing and understanding our at-one-ment. We still have to take up our cross—belief of imperfection and separation. But at least we have a way shower, Christ Jesus, to show us the way. (S14) Mary Baker Eddy writes, "The Christ was the Spirit which Jesus implied in his own statements: 'I am the way, the truth, and the life;' 'I and my Father are one.' This Christ, or divinity of the man Jesus, was his divine nature, the godliness which animated him.” (S14)

Christ animated Jesus. Christ made Jesus aware of his unity with Divine Love. Christ made Jesus aware of his sinlessness, inseparability. Christ Jesus was sinless and could not be destroyed by a cross—the belief of imperfection and separation.

Following Christ Jesus’ example, "We must resolve to take up the cross [belief of imperfection and separation], and go forth with honest hearts to work and watch for wisdom, Truth, and Love….Christians rejoice in secret beauty and bounty, hidden from the world, but known to God. Self-forgetfulness, purity, and affection are constant prayers.” (S15) "Wisdom and Love may require many sacrifices of self to save us from sin [a belief of imperfection and separation]. One sacrifice, however great, is insufficient to pay the debt of sin [a belief that we are separate]. The atonement requires constant self-immolation on the sinner's part." (S16)


We all will inevitably discover our at-one-ment and unity with Divine Love because it is already true. Our prayer does not make our at-one-ment true. It is already true. Discovering our at-one-ment is the removal of the mud from our eyes. The mud is not what makes us see. The mud is just a symbol of the lie, the error that would seem to keep us from seeing our unity with good.

Baptism, or washing off the mud, is the revelation of our at-one-ment. As Mary Baker Eddy writes, "Through repentance, spiritual baptism, and regeneration, mortals put off their material beliefs and false individuality. It is only a question of time when 'they shall all know Me [God], from the least of them unto the greatest.’ (S17)

Ultimately and inevitably, we all must realize our unity. We will realize that, "As a drop of water is one with the ocean, a ray of light one with the sun, even so God and man, Father and son, are one in being.” (S18)

Section 5: Christ Jesus demonstrates our at-one-ment

The fifth section explains that Christ Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and that he rose again (B16), and "Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” (B17, NLT) It may seem difficult to understand why we must each overcome the cross—belief of imperfection and separation—to find our at-one-ment, but the truth is that as we let go of the belief of separation, we find perfect peace. As Mary Baker Eddy explains, "The atonement is a hard problem in theology, but its scientific explanation is, that suffering is an error of sinful sense which Truth destroys, and that eventually both sin and suffering will fall at the feet of everlasting Love.” (S19) And, "The efficacy of the crucifixion lay in the practical affection and goodness it demonstrated for mankind.” (S20) Our awakening to our perfection and salvation is inevitable…"No power can withstand divine Love.” (S21)

As we come to understand the whole of Christ Jesus’ atonement, our focus shifts from the crucifixion to the whole story…the resurrection. Mary Baker Eddy states, St. Paul said: "For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified." (I Cor. ii. 2.) Christian Science says: I am determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him glorified.” (S23)

It is Christ—our awareness of our at-one-ment with God—that teaches us about our sinless nature and helps us overcome the cross—the belief of imperfection. "Glory be to God, and peace to the struggling hearts! Christ hath rolled away the stone from the door of human hope and faith, and through the revelation and demonstration of life in God, hath elevated them to possible at-one-ment with the spiritual idea of man and his divine Principle, Love.” (S24)


Section 6: We acknowledge Jesus' atonement

The last section summarizes the ideas of the doctrine of atonement according to Christian Science. Christ Jesus successfully demonstrated for each and every one of us that we are at-one with Divine Love, that we cannot be separated by anything. “We have now received the atonement.” (B18, B19, B20)

The section concludes the lesson with the fourth tenet of Christian Science, which states, "We acknowledge Jesus' atonement as the evidence of divine, efficacious Love, unfolding man's unity with God through Christ Jesus the Way-shower; and we acknowledge that man is saved through Christ, through Truth, Life, and Love as demonstrated by the Galilean Prophet in healing the sick and overcoming sin and death.” (S25) (Note that the historical evolution of this tenet is in W’s PS#7.)

We are already at one with Love. Love is all. There is nothing else. Our connection to Love is that we are love-ing, the expression of Love. And we learn this through life-practice—practicing being more and more love-ing, and love-ing more and more purely. Being love-ing is doing Love’s will, and we cannot help but to do Love’s will because it is the only will, the only force. In Mary Baker Eddy’s words, "The scientific unity which exists between God and man must be wrought out in life-practice, and God's will must be universally done.” (S26) While realizing that we are already at-one with God, we can also work toward a deeper understanding of our at-one-ment each and every day. "If Truth is overcoming error in your daily walk and conversation, you can finally say, "I have fought a good fight . . . I have kept the faith," because you are a better man. This is having our part in the at-one-ment with Truth and Love.” (S27)

We are not becoming at-one. We are already at-one because there is only oneness. What a gift that we get to discover the dimensions of this blessing a bit more each moment!


Look for an email coming soon with more Warren Huff additions of insights and application ideas from Cobbey Crisler and The Mary Baker Eddy Library for the Betterment of Mankind on other citations in the Christian Science Bible Lesson on “Doctrine of Atonement” for April 22, 2018. Click here for online version now.


We are VERY grateful to report. . .

Maintenance Musts Progress! (More info)

Adopt the Herd Matching Fund (Match not yet met)

In the time since Giving Tuesday you helped raise over $52.5k for the Riding Program, which will be doubled through the Adopt the Herd Matching Fund, for a total of $105k to help feed and care for CedarS wonderful horses. We still have ~$12.5k to raise to take advantage of the $65k Adopt the Herd match. (More info )

Many other Blessings:

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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 huge proof of your ongoing LOVE made visible and are greatly appreciated!! They not only defray the costs of running this service but also provide greatly needed camperships and essential program 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) athttp://www.cedarscamps.org/metaphysical/

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