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"Show-Me Life!" - A Lesson Sermon Met on "Probation After Death" for Oct. 20-26, 2003

Gary Duke, C.S., St. Louis, MO
Posted Monday, October 20th, 2003

"Show-Me Life!" - A Lesson Sermon Met on "Probation After Death"
for Oct. 20-26, 2003 by Gary Duke, C.S.

Probation: subjection of an individual to a period of testing and trial to ascertain fitness (as for a job or school) ~ Merriam-Webster's Dictionary

Paul said, "I die daily," (like a modern day fan of the Cubs or Red Sox :) which means he must also have resurrected daily too! So his probation, or period of testing and trial, occurred day by day in keeping with what Mrs. Eddy says, "No final judgment awaits mortals, for the judgment-day of wisdom comes hourly and continually, even the judgment by which mortal man is divested of all material error." (I Cor. 15:31; S&H 291:28)

Golden Text (No Condemnation): "When you point at someone else, how many fingers are pointing back at you?" is a question which perhaps Jesus heard, as have many others. "God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." (John 3:17) In fact Jesus said, "...condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned..." (Luke 6:37)

Resp. Rdg. (Path of Life): Verses in Psalms 40, 16 and 11 include attributes or occurrences one might find along the path of an inspired life: delighting in God's will; preaching righteousness; gladness; hope; seeing beyond hell and corruption; experiencing trials; uprightness.

Section 1 (Salvation): Haven't most of us thought that certain types of people "have it made" like top athletes and movie stars? Maybe closer to home is the person who's most popular or best looking at school, the stellar performer at work or retiree with sufficient funds and good health. But as we find out more about anyone's life, don't we realize we all must follow the path of Jesus and Mrs. Eddy in some degree to be truly happy? "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;" (Hebrews 5:8) "Universal salvation rests on progression and probation, and is unattainable without them." (S&H 291:12) Perhaps victory is not in the absence of challenges, but rather learning through experience and demonstration how to better handle sin, sickness and death through the understanding of Life, Truth and Love. (definition of salvation 593:20) This dominion allowed Jesus to claim, "For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matt 11:30) So now we see, Jesus is the only type of guy that's "has it made" and how grateful we are to him and Mrs. Eddy for showing us how to do the same!

Section 2 (Turn to Christ): Raise your hand if you've ever played the part of the prodigal (wasteful; lavish) son in the parable of Jesus? Perhaps we haven't spent our capital on "riotous" living as the world defines it, but Mrs. Eddy's definition includes being unprogressive, satisfied with wrong doing and idleness. (S&H 240:19) So unless we're healing like the Master and Mrs. Eddy, shouldn't all hands be up? And if we've ever felt undeserving of forgiveness, as did the prodigal, maybe that's another test for playing the part. Good news! The "arms of divine Love" are waiting unconditionally to receive us like tired children, when we turn to the Christ and want to come back home. (S&H 322:26; 54:8)...... P.S. And it's never too late!

Section 3 (Heaven and Hell): Where are you residing, heaven or hell? Ask most people and the answer might vary depending upon test results or job evaluation; whether they're caught up with their studies or work; if they have a steady relationship or happy marriage; how much money they have, etc. "Heaven is not a locality, but a divine state of Mind in which all the manifestations of Mind are harmonious and immortal..." (S&H 291:13) If all is Mind, harmonious and immortal, that means there truly is no hell and no variableness to our happiness. In other words, as we acknowledge "Thy kingdom is come; Thou art ever-present" we will gracefully express that divine state of Mind, even in the midst of challenges, until harmony is realized. But we must first reside in that heavenly disposition to experience it, or as Mrs. Eddy says, "... we must act as possessing all power from Him in whom we have our being." (S&H 264:10)

Section 4 (Show-Me): On every license plate in Missouri is written Show-Me State. In 1899 a U.S. Congressman made a speech saying, "I come from a state that raises corn and cotton and cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me." John the Baptist wasn't much for "frothy eloquence" either as he sent some disciples to Jesus asking if he was the Messiah. "Jesus answered and said unto them, 'Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.'" It's fun to imagine that if Jesus and John B. lived in our country, they'd want Show-Me on their license plates, which means they'd live in Missouri and serve as practitioners at CedarS!

Section 5 (Eternal Life): What would you be doing differently if you knew there was no death and that your life was eternal? "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, and would enable us to hold the banner of Christianity aloft with unflinching faith in God, in Life eternal." (S&H 426:23) How would this understanding raise the standard of health? Might we be less inclined to believe food, exercise, contagion, age, etc. are determinants of health? And if we truly understood there is no death, how would morals be elevated? If we knew we couldn't miss out on good times and our youth because we are eternal, we might make better moral choices and not settle for what is merely fun, fast and frivolous versus choosing eternal good which gives lasting pleasure. As we live the Truth we realize "Life is deathless. Life is the origin and ultimate of man, never attainable through death, but gained by walking in the pathway of Truth both before and after that which is called death." (S&H 487:3)

Section 6 (Fire): Question: What does smelt mean in relation to this lesson? Multiple Choices: A. small fishes of coastal waters related to trout and salmons. B. melt or fuse in order to separate ~ refine. C. past tense of smell. Answer: B; sorry, no prize except salvation! According to references, the first metal to be smelted in the ancient Middle East was probably copper (by 5000 BC), followed by tin, lead, and silver. Metal is extracted from its ore by heating beyond the melting point with the dross or impurities rising to the top to be removed. Isaiah 48:10 says, "Behold, I have refined thee..." How? Mrs. Eddy says with "Fire...affliction purifying and elevating man." (S&H 586:13) Perhaps our Godlike identity or metal is revealed by probation, also known as refining, either by the heat of suffering or chemicalization of Science, which will eventually lead us into all truth. "Either here or hereafter, suffering or Science must destroy all illusions regarding life and mind, and regenerate material sense and self." (S&H 296:6)

Section Summary Benediction: let's rid ourselves of condemnation which will reveal the path of life leading to salvation. In this way, we'll always be turning to the Christ where we will constantly be residing in heaven, eliminating hell, and demonstrating the healing proof required in the Show-Me State. Eternal life is understood and gained as the fire of affliction purifies and elevates man.

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