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You are dearly loved and saved from punishment by God's grace!

Janet Hegarty, C.S., St. Louis, MO
Posted Sunday, October 22nd, 2006

You are dearly loved and saved from punishment by God's grace!
Application ideas for the lesson on "Everlasting Punishment," October 23 through October 29, 2006
By Janet Hegarty, CS, St. Louis, MO
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 (as well as friends) see and demonstrate the great value of daily study of the Christian Science Bible lessons year-round, not just at camp.
 
Golden Text
God's grace is the wind in your sails!!! Humbly let it move you from "sense to Soul."
The New Westminster Dictionary of the Bible explains, that grace "refers to the unmerited and freely given redeeming action of God through Christ by which sin is forgiven and its power broken, and believers are upheld and strengthened in their Christian life." In the glossary of Science and Health Mrs. Eddy defines wind as "that which indicates the might of omnipotence and the movements of God's spiritual government, encompassing all things."
 
Responsive Reading
Love is the attraction. It draws us away from material aims and sends us on our way to seek after pure and spiritual goals. The gift of grace has "appeared to all men"(Titus 2:11). The grace of God has come to men through the life of Christ Jesus, lifting mankind up to the understanding of Love. 
 
St. Paul knew the action of grace and the dramatic changes it made in his character. In Ephesian 3: 7-8 he explains, "...I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ."
 
The gift of grace is evident in Mary Baker Eddy's experience, also. She quotes Paul when she explains how the revelation of Christian Science came to her: "Whence came to me this heavenly conviction, - a conviction antagonistic to the testimony of the physical senses? According to St. Paul, it was "the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of His power" (S&H 108:1). Read page 107 for deeper insight into how the action of grace opened her eyes to spiritual reality.
 
Section 1
"Love's work and Love must fit" (Hymn 51). Could God -- who has "loved thee with an everlasting love(B1)"; whose "compassions fail not" (B2); who has called us "the sons of God" (B3) -- have put in us a desire for the very things that would steal our happiness, limit our abilities, and eventually destroy us? Absolutely not! "Man is the expression of God's being" (S6). God has made man inclined to do good. Because of this we will never find satisfaction or comfort in evil thoughts or actions. Evil is a void. It cannot satisfy.
 
Through the gift of grace we are satisfied. Share the blessings of grace freely. Dummelow explains Paul's thought in 2 Cor 4:15 this way, "And all my experiences are a source of blessing to you, because as the grace of God enables me to overcome my difficulties, many of you are inspired by my testimony to rise to higher levels of Christian life, and to give thanks to God for so many mercies." Share your experiences generously so that we can all enjoy the blessing! The more that you give the more you will receive so that you will have more to give again. Tell your experience this Wednesday at the evening meeting - then "the thanksgiving of many" will overflow "to the glory of God" (B4).
 
Section 2
Humility is the key. The Student's Reference Dictionary defines humility as "freedom from pride and arrogance; humbleness of mind; a modest estimate of one's own worth." also "lowliness of mind, a deep sense of one's own unworthiness in the sight of God, self-abasement, penitence for sin, and submission to the divine will." Jesus valued humility and used the parable of the Pharisee (pride and arrogance) and the publican (humility and submission) to teach the value of humility. Publicans were tax collectors. They were contracted to collect a small fraction more than the actual taxes in order to pay themselves for their work but often temptation led them to require the people to pay much more than they were due.  Because of this publicans were considered to be thieves and were looked down upon. The Interpreter's One-Volume Commentary explains the sentiment of publican's prayer: "To repay fraud, a persistent temptation of his position, the tax collector must return the original amount plus 20%; this he is unable to do. He can simply cast himself on the mercy of God and confess his sinfulness." Jesus commends the honest and humble prayer of the publican, while rebuking the Pharisee's arrogance. This arrogance claims to give one a sense of personal satisfaction but is spiritually worthless because it results in eyes that are closed to God and ears that are dull of hearing inspiration (Matt 13:15). The publican has started on Mrs. Eddy's four step program for growth in grace --- "patience, meekness, love, and good deeds"(S10). Do you want to grow in grace? Join the four step program today. Results are guaranteed.
 
Section 3
For smooth sailing go with the wind! In childlike humility - be "teachable, ready to choose (God's) way" (Hymn 318) I love the childlikeness of Zacchaeus, another publican. This was his greatest asset, his true wealth. It opened the way for him to receive the Christ, Truth into his home (consciousness). He wasn't too proud to climb a tree. Like a child he clamored up the tree ready to discover something new - to catch a glimpse of the divine idea of man and discover his own Christlike innocence.  Dummelow suggests that vs. 8, where Zacchaeus repents from his habit of hording wealth and collecting excess taxes, probably actually occurred the next day. It is likely that Zacchaeus' change of thought was a result of what Jesus had taught him the night before. He put what he had learned into action. He gave up his evil doing and gave generous compensation to those whom he had injured and neglected. The citations from Science and Health indicate what Zacchaeus had learned: "we must learn to loathe" wrongdoing, "one must pay fully and fairly the utmost farthing"(S13), "there is no abiding pleasure in evil," "divine Mind can and does destroy the false beliefs of pleasure, pain or fear and all the sinful appetites of the human mind"(S15). Zacchaeus readily went with the wind ( God's Truth) and this set him on a good course.
 
Section 4
To see clearly, lift your head above the clouds and look through Jesus' eyes. There is no law of sin and sickness.  God is the lawgiver and God's law is the law of goodness and wholeness. Jesus' vision was clear, to him man could only be pure and holy. The disciples vision was clouded by material beliefs and a poor sense of God's law. They were ready to condemn the blind man and his parents. Influenced by the popular belief of hereditary punishment -- "The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge" (B12), the disciples made the false assumption that sin could make what God could not possibly have made - a blind man. Jesus only accepted God's love as causative. This allowed him to perceive that the only power of blindness was in its destruction which demonstrated God's perfect love for mankind. Jesus' clear vision brought to "light the scientific action of the divine Mind on human minds and bodies and giving a better understanding of Soul and salvation" (S16). What eyes do we look through - the eyes of materia medica or the eyes of Christ, Truth? Be sure to lift your head above the clouds and discern spiritually.
 
Section 5
"Love, the Golden Rule of living"(Hymn 178). Jesus' parable of the debtor demonstrates the Golden Rule. J. B. Phillips translates the rule this way "Treat men exactly as you would like them to treat you" Luke 6:31 (B16). This is a good standard for living. We desire God's mercy. To be ready to receive more of God's mercy we will want to be sure we are being merciful to others. How can we be ready for mercy if we do not practice it (value it) ourselves? Add to this the popular adage - Mind your own business. Just imagine how the world would change if everyone would use the time they waste passing judgment on others actions to study and correct their own actions. This rule is "golden" and Mrs. Eddy has underscored its importance to the Christian Scientist by including it in the sixth tenet (S26). On page 337 of Science and Health she also says, "For true happiness, man must harmonize with his Principle, divine Love; the Son must be in accord with the Father, in conformity with Christ." 
To discover more of your God-given happiness this week - practice the Golden Rule!
 
Section 6
Catch the wind of God's grace. Put it into action. The wind is of no use to the sailor if he fails to adjust his sails to use it to the best advantage. To soar with God's grace we must do the same. The Interpreter's Bible highlights Paul's instructions for smooth sailing found in this section: "But though grace is free and man cannot claim that he earns salvation, this never removes the need of human response and diligence. So Paul works and the hearers must believe. Working together with God, Paul entreats or appeals to the Corinthians who have responded in faith to the gospel message, not to receive this grace of God in vain, to no profit. All that God has done, all the labor of the preachers, will go for nothing unless the response is sincere and continued" (B20). Put grace into action. Share grace generously and you will always have an abundance. "God is able to reward and, Paul believes, will reward generous giving with abundant spiritual and material prosperity, so that the giver can give still more" (Interpreter's Bible, 2 Cor 9:8, B 21).
 
Mrs. Eddy's statement, "The purpose and motive to live aright can be gained now"(S28), is the promise of salvation to all. It is never too late to turn from sin.  Do it now, adjust your sails and God's grace will carry you forward.
 

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 citations referenced (i.e. B1and S28) from this week's Bible Lesson in the "met" (metaphysical application ideas) are taken from the King James Version of the Bible (B1-24) and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. (S1-30) The Bible and Science and Health are the ordained pastor of the Churches of Christ, Scientist. The Bible Lesson is the sermon read in Christian Science church services throughout the world. 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.)

 
Enjoy!
Warren Huff, Director        director@cedarscamps.org

 

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