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Turn to God to see the immortal right where the mortal appears! ("Mortals and Immortals")

Kathy Fitzer, St. Louis, MO & Park City, UT
Posted Tuesday, May 11th, 2004

Turn to God to see the immortal right where the mortal appears!
Application ideas for the "Mortals and Immortals" lesson for May 10-16
Prepared by: Kathy Fitzer, CS of St. Louis, MO

Mortals and Immortals - opposite views. The mortal view is the inverted image that gets in the way of the only real man, the immortal son of God. As we turn to God, the view changes. The immortal is seen where the mortal appeared to be.

In many ways this lesson is a continuation of last week's. We learned there that the report of creation presented in Genesis I is the only real one. The rest of the story, in Genesis 2 and on, is a record of the mortal sense of man - a sense not based on Science, but rather on the evidence of the material senses. The lesson this week reveals the Science of the Christ which redeems man from the limitations of mortality - the belief that our origin is in matter and human parentage. The Christ, Truth (as demonstrated by Jesus) reveals immortal man, and God - the divine Principle - as the Father of us all. Our job is to recognize the Christ and then realign our view in order to see what has always been. How do we do that? We must rely on Science and "lose sight of mortal selfhood to find Christ, the real man and his relation to God, and to recognize the divine sonship" (Section VI, #29, S&H 316.)

Some definitions to get us started:
Mortal
- subject to death; destined to die. (Who wants that?) Immortal - having no principle of alteration or corruption; exempt from death (That's better!) Death - perpetual separation from God; state of being without life, energy or activity. (Webster) And according to the glossary in Science and Health, "an illusion, the lie of life in matter; that which frets itself free from one belief only to be fettered by another, until every belief of life where Life is not yields to eternal Life." (p. 584)

Golden Text: (Rom. 9: 26) Paul quotes here from Hosea 1:10, which appears in the sixth section of the lesson. Hosea refers to God's mercy restoring the tribes of Israel and fulfilling the promise of earthly greatness that had been made to Abraham. Further, it is believed that Hosea was looking forward to an even closer relation to God being established in the form of sonship. Paul recognizes the reality of this sonship, as revealed by Jesus Christ. In Christian Science we realize that what is being restored is our innocence and freedom as immortals - right where the limited mortal view appears to be. As we turn understandingly to God we gain a clearer view of reality.

Responsive Reading: (Jer. 31&34) A promise is given here. Everything is going to be OK. It ends with a familiar covenant (or agreement), "ye shall be my people, and I will be your God." We have the assurance that our faithfulness will be rewarded and God will forgive, have mercy, take care of, bring us home, and keep us safe.

Section I: Science Reverses the Evidence of the Material (Mortal) Senses.
As long as we accept the testimony of the material senses, we will never see things as they are. It's like looking at the world standing on your head and expecting to see things right side up. Isaiah uses the metaphor of the absurdity of clay talking back or giving instructions to the potter. (B#2) The potter is in charge and determines the nature of the clay - not the other way around. Isaiah 45 (B #3) suggests that the fragments of broken pottery (potsherds) should talk to themselves, but that we should go to God to find out who we really are. It is helpful to remember that analogy when we feel things are crashing down around us or we are dealing with broken relationships or broken bodies. Let yourself be molded, shaped by, God - listening for and responding to God's direction. In this way, you are not fooled by what seems to be, but respond to what is. The inverted images of mortal sense, Mrs. Eddy calls "deflections of matter." A deflection deviates from the source. She goes on to compare this to the "Science of spiritual reflection." When something is reflected it is bent back in order to show an image of its source. Just as we have to depend on science to know that the earth moves, rather than the sun, we must turn to Christian Science (the Science of the Christ, or Truth) to recognize the immortal nature of man.

Section II & III: Strife Healed as God Acknowledged as Father of All
These two sections are as one. The theme: when God is obeyed and trusted, the needs of all are met. When Abraham (Isaac's dad) was faced with famine, he went to Egypt where there was plenty. He had already demonstrated his dedication to following the directions of God and had been promised that his children would be forever blessed. When Isaac was faced with famine, it seemed reasonable for him to head to Egypt, as well. However, God told him to stay where he was - in a land occupied by the Philistines - and that God would take care of him right there. (Gen. 26 - B#5&6) A lesson for all of us - we don't need to run from challenges, or feel that we have to go someplace to make everything better. That is the mortal - limited - view. God is with us wherever we are, and meets our needs completely as we turn to Him. All went well for Isaac - so well that Abimelech (king of the Philistines) felt threatened and insisted that Isaac leave the area. Did Isaac fuss about how that wasn't "fair"? Did he worry that he wouldn't be able to make it someplace else? Did he resent Abimilech or worry about him "malpracticing" him? Not that we can tell. He trusted God to take him all the way. As he traveled and re-opened wells that his father, Abraham, had dug, Abimilech's men followed him and claimed a right to the water (even though the Philistines had previously filled in the wells.) Again, Isaac didn't waste his energy getting upset about how unreasonable all of this was, or wondering why he hadn't just gone to Egypt. He was obedient. He must have known that, as we read in Science and Health (#9,p. 12), "Love is impartial and universal in its adaptation and bestowals." By the third well, Abimilech recognized the fact that God was taking care of Isaac and that he was not going to be able to bully him into fighting with him. He came to Isaac and asked that they come to an agreement. This they did and parted peaceably - after a feast prepared by Isaac. Would you go that far - prepare a feast for someone who had been bugging you when you had done nothing to deserve the grief? That's what it takes to really be a peacemaker. And the beatitude (Matt. 5 B#8) promises that peacemakers are blessed "for they shall be called the children of God." That is what it takes to recognize immortal man. The Science and Health citations certainly give great ideas for praying about peace in our world today. No individual or nation needs to feel threatened, for we all have one Father and this "one infinite God, good, unifies men and nations ...." (S&H #15, p. 340) Let us follow Isaac's example and "live peaceably with all men." (B #7 Rom. 12) That is the nature of immortal man. Challenging experiences lead to progress, and as mortal man "ripens" (softens) the mortal sense disappears and the immortal is found right where the mortal picture appeared to be. (S&H #14, p. 296)

Section IV: Importance of Recognizing Man's Immortal Birthright
We read in the Bible of Azariah reigning over Judah starting at 16 years old (B#12) and Josiah at eight (B#13). This is a good reminder to parents not to limit their children, and to young people not to limit themselves. Immortal man is ageless. The New English Bible translates Ps. 144: 11-12 (B #11) this way: "snatch me from the power of foreign foes, whose every word is false and all their oaths are perjury. Happy are we whose sons in their early prime stand like tall towers, our daughters like sculptured pillars at the corners of a palace." Mortal theories - lies - are what limit. Immortal man is already complete. Mrs. Eddy says, "The offspring of heavenly-minded parents inherit more intellect, better balanced minds, and sounder constitutions." (S&H 61:11; #16) This is reasonable, because only mortal sense would limit. The understanding that there is one Mind destroys the errors of mortal sense and reveals the truth of immortal sense. (S&H #18, p. 216) In turn, this frees us all to more completely express the fullness of our birthright as God's immortal child!

Section V: Immortal Nature of the Christ Demonstrated Through Works
Jesus did many good works, healing all kinds of sickness and sin and even death. (B#14) In addition, he gave his disciples power to heal through the activity of the Christ. (B#15) Yet, in his own city, all the people could see was the mortal Jesus - the son of mortal parents. This hid from them the perception of the Christ or the healing Truth demonstrated by Jesus. As a result, healing did not take place. (B#16) Even John the Baptist missed the point. He wanted a verbal acknowledgement that Jesus was the Christ, when Jesus had already demonstrated the Christ-nature through his healing. His response, "blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me." (B#17) The original Greek of the word translated "offended" means to be tripped up or stumble. Was Jesus saying, don't get tripped up (or hung up) by the mortal appearance - look deeper and see the immortal idea? Sin, sickness and death are part of the mortal dream. As the immortal nature of man is seen, the mortal sense must disappear. (S&H #25) It is impossible to look in opposite directions at the same time. We all must choose. "Learn this, O mortal, and earnestly seek the spiritual status of man, which is outside of all material selfhood." (S&H #25) As we look outside of the upside-down mortal view, and correct it with Science, the immortal truth of being will appear right where the mortal seemed to be. Accept the Christ!

Section VI: The Grace of God Redeems Man - Accept the Promise!
The Golden Text is repeated in the original verse from Hosea, with the assurance that we are the sons of the living God - having every need taken care of. (B#18) Romans 6:14 (B#19) assures us that sin will not have dominion over us because we are not under the law, but under grace. The original Greek for the word translated law speaks not only in terms of regulations, but means "to parcel out." Grace on the other hand intimates an expansive sense - unlimited. Thus, we are not under mortal (limited, corrupted) law, but rather man reflects the expansive nature of unlimited immortal law. Galations 4(B#20) speaks of God sending Jesus in a form mortals could relate to (having been born of a human mother) with the mission of redeeming them from being under the law, so they might receive the adoption of sons. To redeem means to rescue from loss. This enables us to be free to inherit the fullness of God's - our Father's - blessings. The Christ comes to mortals to show them their immortal nature, as one might help someone dressed in a costume remove that costume to reveal their true identity. Here is a key to receiving this revelation: "Mortal man can never rise from the temporal debris ("ruins or fragments" - interesting correlation with "to parcel out") of error, belief in sin, sickness, and death, until he learns that God is the only Life." (S&H #28, p. 289) The real man is linked by Science to God. (S&H #29, p. 316) In order to find our sonship we just have to "lose sight of mortal selfhood, find Christ, the real man and his relation to God, and recognize the divine sonship. (S&H 29) Recognition of God as our Father-Mother enables our sonship to be realized and the light of the Christ removes the shadows of mortality.

Summary: There are no servants in God's house, only sons and daughters. Put off all mortal sense-testimony, realizing its unreality; and see the immortal man, linked to God, and redeemed from sin, sickness, and death.

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