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Wake up to the real you today! Application Ideas for Lesson on "Man" Mar. 1-7, 2004

Julie Ward, C.S.B.
Posted Monday, March 1st, 2004

Wake up to the real you today!
Application Ideas for the Lesson on "Man" Mar. 1-7, 2004
By Julie Ward, C.S. (Westwood, Massachusetts)

For the many times that we find ourselves asking, "Who am I? Why am I here?" Mrs. Eddy has provided for us a perfect opportunity to explore our sense of identity and purpose in the lesson on "Man." Remember that the man who is described here is not some far-off, mythical character. It's you and me! And it's who we are today.

GOLDEN TEXT - "What do you want me to do, Father?"
So often when we pose that question, we think we're looking for a particular human action - "Marry that man. Take this job. Move to that city...." But God has already showed us what is good - and what good is! Our job is to live that good, and that living is summed up in three simple steps:
- Do justly
- Love mercy
- Walk humbly with thy God

See how these three steps are demonstrated in the sections that follow. Then see how you can follow these three simple steps as you go through your week.

RESPONSIVE READING - Note how this passage "walks humbly," leaning on God as our strength, our salvation, our protection, our joy. Man is most himself when he gives all the credit to God. "Power belongeth unto God," so we are never running on our own steam. There is no personal power.

SECTION I - What is man?
Compared to the glory of the heavens, man may seem small and insignificant, but this section assures us that we do count. We are precious to God. "For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet." (B1) "...Man is God's spiritual offspring," and he has the abundant inheritance of the offspring of infinite Good. This week, try taking one phrase each day from the definition of man in Recapitulation (475:13) and realizing, "This is me! This is who I actually am today." For instance, "I am 'the compound idea of Spirit, including all right ideas,' so I include the right idea of home, health, happiness, companionship, athletics, and academics TODAY. It isn't outside of me. It isn't something I'm waiting for. I'm complete now." Look for ways in which God expresses Science and art in man, and specifically in you. Be grateful that "Creation is ever appearing, and must ever continue to appear from the nature of its inexhaustible source." (SH3) So you will never run out of strength, inspiration, freshness, newness, progress. Man is never static, and NEVER exhausted.

SECTION II - Man is NOT matter.
...and man finds no satisfaction in matter. The gold becomes dim, the buildings fall into disrepair. We look for love, worth, satisfaction, and fulfillment in all the wrong places when we define ourselves materially. The true happiness comes in understanding and obeying God. As we "do justly...love mercy...walk humbly," we'll recognize ourselves as sons and heirs of God. What is it that tempts us to take a detour in this recognition of joyous selfhood? We become "absorbed in material selfhood." (SH 5) The pleasures or pains of matter, its constant demands for our attention, would have us so busy putting out fires that we fail to see who we really are. Ask yourself: often, "What is it that gets me all entangled in material selfhood? How can I wisely avoid being taken in?" One sure way to avoid that mental detour is to remind yourself often, "I do not live in matter, and matter cannot tell me who I am." You might paraphrase (SH 7) to say, "[I] was not created from a material basis, nor bidden to obey material laws, which Spirit never made; [My] province is in spiritual statutes, in the higher law of Mind."

SECTION III - True manhood and womanhood bound by qualities of God.
Solomon and Sheba were joined together, not by fame and riches, but by wisdom and knowledge. Solomon followed the three requirements - do justly, love mercy, walk humbly with God. Perhaps the most telling observation that Sheba made about Solomon was, "Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom." (I Kings 10:8) Because Solomon's true riches were his wisdom and knowledge, he could share them freely, for the betterment of all. We can do the same. Because they flow from an infinite source, the more we share our spiritual qualities, the more we have them, and this is the basis of all right relationships. Spiritual qualities can't be divided - they can only multiply.

Ask yourself, "How do my 'masculine' qualities support my 'feminine' qualities? How am I reflecting God as Father-Mother?" Don't just look for another person to complete you. Be a Solomon or a Sheba, ready to share your completeness with others. (SH11) Exercise your "inalienable rights, among which are self-government, reason, and conscience." (SH12) No human circumstance (age, immaturity, disease, domination, depression) can rob you of these rights. If you're seeking a greater sense of self-government, begin by seeing that Love alone (not a person) governs and guides you. When you know that you're governed only by the laws of God, all of the qualities of (SH14) are yours to share, including the ever-popular perspicacity ("acuteness of perception, discernment, or understanding" - who wouldn't want that?).

SECTION IV - Wake up!
Do you ever have times when you just walk around in a daze? Are you just waiting for the next opportunity to hit the couch and veg out in front of the tube? Wake up! Slothfulness, apathy, inertia, sleepiness, and mental haziness are nothing more than the outward expression of the dream of life in matter. Mrs. Eddy doesn't mince any words here: "If at present content with idleness, we must become dissatisfied with it." (SH16)

What can we learn from the busy ant? John Phillips writes in Exploring Proverbs, "The ant never seems to be still. The ant colony is built on the twin principles of discipline and work. If the colony is disturbed its activity accelerates to a fever pitch.....Solomon's interest in the ant centered on the colony's work ethic and on the fact that ants do not have to be forced to work. Ants are not slothful. They are an example of industry. They do not need slave drivers to make sure they get up in the morning and fulfill their appointed tasks. Let the slothful man consider that! The ant works without force." And WE work without force. We work because God works, and we love to work.

(SH19) "If divine Love is becoming nearer, dearer, and more real to us, matter is then submitting to Spirit." This is the only real measurement of healing and progress.

SECTION V - Man is not on hold for 38 years or 38 seconds.
Are you waiting for a healing? Has some circumstance beyond your control claimed that it can put you on hold? The man at the pool of Bethesda ( which means "house of grace or lovingkindness") must have felt helpless before his circumstances. What was the error in his reasoning? Wasn't it the mistaken assumption that he had to go somewhere to get his healing, and that he couldn't do that on his own? His perfection was right there all the time, and he didn't have to have an intermediary to help him get to it. He had only to look up to see that Jesus was already there, posing the question we all must ask ourselves: "Wilt thou be made whole?" The Interpreter's Bible says, "This is no idle or unnecessary question....; but central, all-important, radical. And everything depends on our answer." Ask yourself, "Am I actually willing to be made whole, to accept the fact of my own perfection as God's child?" Then take up your bed - all those old thought-habits you've been resting on - and walk humbly with your God.

(SH21) Looking to the body for pleasure, for Truth, or for Spirit, is like looking to the pool for healing. The solution is twofold: "Look AWAY from the body INTO Truth and Love, the Principle of all happiness, harmony, and immortality."

SECTION VI - "God is no respecter of persons."
God spoke to Peter as He spoke to Cornelius, assuring them both that they were able to know Him and to know one another as His ideas. Peter said, "God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean." Not ANY man! So neither should we. "Unto EVERY ONE OF US is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ." No one is left out. And there is no comparison, no competition between ideas. The only measure of any man is perfection - "the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." Don't be tempted to measure yourself or others in any other way. Each one is God's own incomparable idea. Hymn 236 says it perfectly: "As stars in their courses never contend,
As blossoms their hues in harmony blend,
As bird voices mingle in joyful refrain,
So God's loving children in concord remain."

ONE MORE TIME:
Do justly.
Love mercy.
Walk humbly with thy God.
.... And rejoice that you really are the man you're reading about - the perfect man of God's creating.

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