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Be Blessed with Peace, well-being, happiness, friendliness, health, prosperity, and rest!

Craig L. Ghislin, C.S., Glen Ellyn (Bartlett), IL
Posted Sunday, November 26th, 2006

Be Blessed with Peace, well-being, happiness, friendliness, health, prosperity, and rest!

Christian Science Bible Lesson application ideas for: "God the Only Cause and Creator" for Nov. 27 -Dec. 3, 2006

by Craig L. Ghislin, C.S.  Bartlett, Illinois

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

This Lesson is just as much about effect as cause. The effect of acknowledging God as the only Cause is great peace. "Lord, Thou wilt ordain peace for us." To ordain means to set or establish. As Creator, God establishes peace. This peace is the Hebrew Shalom. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible gives peace a broader definition than we might expect. Peace includes safety (well-being, happiness, friendliness) and welfare (health, prosperity, and rest).

 

Responsive Reading

The recognition of God as the only Cause and Creator implies continuity throughout time. God is with us as He was with our predecessors. That's really the only logical way it could be. How could an eternal Cause be active in only in certain time periods? Sometimes the temptation comes to us, as Christian Scientists, to think that the early workers had some advantage we don't. But God is a constant. The passage from First Kings indicates that as God's creation, the Children of Israel had  "a mission to discharge to the other nations of the world...by exhibiting conspicuously in its fortunes the moral principles on which God governed mankind..." (The One Volume Bible Commentary, J. R. Dummelow). We, as Christian Scientists, have the same mission. God exhibits His love in healing. If God can number and name the stars, He will have no trouble in caring for His people. There is no limit to His understanding. His power and love "are manifested in his moral government of the world" (The Abingdon Bible Commentary). He supplies every need, blesses children, and gives peace to His people. Every blessing we receive has its source in God.

 

Section I: God Is Cause; Peace Is Effect

Mrs. Eddy writes, "To grasp the reality and order of being in its Science, you must begin by reckoning God as the divine Principle of all that really is" (S1). The Bible very simply states that there is only one God (B1). All creation is called to sing praise to Him (B2). Everything that exists is the fulfillment of His will and purpose. Awareness of God's creative power is a source of strength to us (B3). To be fully aware of this removes all anxiety over whatever might come our way. If God is in charge, we need expect nothing less than good. This spiritual awareness brings us peace.

 

In Science and Health, our Leader reiterates that God is the only creator (S2). The passage on page 516 of the textbook (S3) poetically describes the creative power of God. When we get anxious over our lives, it isn't a bad idea to remember that God is the one in charge. He made everything and made it good. As noted above, in order to grasp the reality of being, we "must begin" by acknowledging God as the Principle of all. Principle means, "the cause, source, or origin, of any thing; that from which a thing proceeds" (Student's Reference Dictionary). The next time you get worried or anxious over something, take some time to begin with the beginning. Remember what God is and see what peace it brings.

 

Section II: With God as Cause, Competition Is Eliminated

"Peace" in citation B4 means, "complete spiritual and physical well-being" (The Interpreter's One-Volume Commentary on the Bible). B5 is a prayer for guidance. Consider Isaac's situation (B6). In spite of a famine, he still had been quite productive. Yet, he was asked to move on. In his new location his men re-dug the well used in his father's time. As in earlier days, the well filled with water. The native herdmen of the land felt the water was theirs. Isaac named it Esek meaning "contention" and moved on. He dug another well with the same results. Before moving on, he named it Sitnah meaning "enmity." Isaac left behind the first two wells, letting go of waters fouled by strife.  Undaunted, persistent, and expectant, he found another well and named it Rehoboth which means "enlargement or room to settle" (Dummelow). Abimelech, who had asked him to leave the first time, approached Isaac with an army. Isaac naturally, concluded they had come for a fight, but instead they wanted to make a pact with him. They left in peace. How might you react in that situation? Would you become indignant at having others move in on your place and claim the fruits of your labors? This sort of thing happens all the time. Isaac just kept on trusting God. He didn't fight for his "rights." He did what was right. There is a difference. The result was peace. Would you be as peaceful in your approach?

 

Understanding God as the "only cause" (S4) gives one a different perspective on life. For Isaac, God wasn't the cause of just one productive well. God was the constant source for all needs. Isaac must have known that if he left one well behind, God would provide another. Mrs. Eddy writes that the law of loving our neighbor is unfolded when we realize that there is only one Mind-one source for all good (S5). Selfishness is based on a belief of many minds in competition with each other. There's no need for selfishness when there is only one. These two views (a belief of many and the understanding of oneness) are opposed to each other (S6). On one side there is constant worry and turmoil over everything-resources, food, jobs, money, housing, potential mates, and so on. There is never enough to go around. But on the other side, everyone is supplied. All is harmonious (S7). Which side do you want to be on?

 

Section III: God Is the Only Source of Life

Isaiah 65 (B9) is a prophesy of the Messianic Age. It indicates the coming of, "a new created order, a new creation like that described in Genesis 1..." (Interpreter's). The story of the conception of John the Baptist is as much about the conception of spiritual ideas as it is about the conception of a human child. In addition to the formation of an embryo in the womb, to conceive means to form an idea in mind, or to understand it. The recognition of God as the only creator of man, opened the door to the vision that God is the source of all right ideas. Prophets conceived these right ideas through exercising their spiritual sense. Dummelow notes that prior to the coming of Jesus, prophecy was silent for four hundred years. Zacharias' experience while offering the incense before the Holy of Holies was the beginning of the restoration of direct communications from God to man. Joseph, Mary, Elizabeth, Simeon, Anna, the shepherds, and the Magi all received direct messages from God. John the Baptist left no written prophecies. Yet, Jesus called him "the greatest of the prophets." Interpreter's says that the Messianic Age had dawned with the prophetic activity of John.

 

The coming of Jesus was direct evidence that God is the true author of man and of the eternal relationship between God and man. The power of spiritual insight was shown in the conception and birth of John. Mrs. Eddy points out that the only creative power of the universe is divine Principle (S11). She also notes that, "mortal sense inverts" the spiritual appearing and "calls ideas material." She states in no uncertain terms that it is impossible for man to be "conceived and evolved both spiritually and materially" (S12). The understanding of God as the only creator can be adapted to many areas of life: artistic expression and problem solving among them. But we cannot overlook the human need to have children. The drive to have children is natural but it causes great anxiety to many hopeful parents. Millions of dollars are spent in vain each year on fertility treatments. The only reliable solution is to understand that man is not conceived in a test tube, Petri dish, or the womb. Man is conceived in God. Mortals will ultimately realize this (S13). As they do, they will find peace and learn to be expectant of the creative power of God.

 

Section IV: Recognition of God as Cause Brings the Peace of Health

The peace described in Isaiah 57 (B11) denotes health. Put yourself in the place of the woman who had been suffering for twelve years (B12). She had spent everything she had on physicians and only grew worse. There is little doubt that not only were her finances drained, but most likely, the bulk of her time was spent worrying about her condition. Commentaries suggest that her reaching for the hem of Jesus' garment indicated that her faith wasn't exactly pure. "It was the belief of the time that even the garments of eminent personalities had power to heal" (Abingdon). Jesus not only answered her need, but blessed her with peace. "Go in peace, free for ever from this trouble" (New English Bible). Can you imagine the relief she must have felt?

 

The woman may have spent countless hours wondering where her disease came from, why it was happening to her, or what she had done to deserve it. Sometimes we're tempted to think like that too. Jesus wasn't concerned with material cause (S15). He knew that God "creates and governs all that is real." Science and Health explains that a material body is only the result of material thinking. Contemplating the cause of disease does not benefit the sufferer. We are taught to delineate upon our bodies "thoughts of health, not of sickness" (S17). Nothing is beyond God's control. "Normal and natural" conditions will be manifested as thought changes (S18). Holding our thought to the harmonious and peace-giving facts of being ensures our victory over all ills (S19). When we consider the "one question"-spiritual causation- (S20) we will be ready for progress. In this state of awareness, we will find health and peace.

 

Section V: Peace Amid the Storm

"Thou rulest the raging of the sea" (B14). This is a reference to God's overcoming the "powers of chaos" when creating the universe (Interpreter's). According to Abingdon, the sea symbolized unrest. In Christian Science, the sea is sometimes used as an analogy for one's thought or the mental atmosphere. Jesus' calming of the sea (B16) demonstrates that all things are under the subjection of divine Mind. "By stilling the storm Christ showed that, behind the inexorable and awful manifestations of nature, storm, pestilence...which seem to treat man's sufferings with indifference, there is a loving hand of divine providence. In the last resort nature is subject to God's holy and righteous will" (Dummelow). Some theologians also feel the story serves as a parable of how the Christ brings peace and safety to individuals and the church. Notice too, that the disciple's boat wasn't the only one struggling in the storm. There were "other little ships" with them. The calming of the storm benefited not only those traveling with the Christ, but everyone on the sea with them. This ties in to the Responsive Reading, which emphasizes the broader mission of Israel to help all the nations.

 

The citations from Science and Health can be applied literally or figuratively. Astronomers recently discovered evidence to support Einstein's theory that there must be some force in the universe that keeps it from collapsing on itself due to gravitational forces. They've termed it "dark energy." Mrs. Eddy writes that while "human knowledge calls them forces of matter" Science declares these forces "belong wholly to divine Mind" (S22). Violent acts of nature are often termed "acts of God." Science shows that God has nothing to do with them, but His power overcomes all evil and proves it powerless (S23). "The real jurisdiction of the world is in Mind" (S24). I find that very comforting and it definitely gives me peace. Einstein was right in that without something overruling the law of gravity, everything would collapse. But Mrs. Eddy points out that the "something" is Mind, the intelligence that keeps everything in perfect harmony and order (S25).

 

Section VI: Thoughts Focused on God Bring Peace

The peace of God is beyond all human understanding and reason. Those things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, gracious, virtuous, and worthy of praise are the things we should think on (B17). Keeping our thoughts focused on things such as these bring us peace amid all storms of life. God's peace transcends comprehension because it comes in the midst of difficulties and guards our thinking (Interpreter's). The angelic pronouncement of "peace on earth" (B18) is due to the coming of a new order based on God as the Creator and Author of all.

 

As we practice "spiritual living" we will fulfill the mission of the prophets. Recognizing "true existence"-we will see things spiritually-and will feel the "unspeakable peace" that goes with it (S27). Living as a prophet-acknowledging God as the only Cause; and being constantly mindful of our unbroken communion with God-brings a calm that cannot be surpassed (S28). It frees us from worry over limited resources. It gives us confidence to know our deepest needs will always be supplied. It assures continuity throughout all generations. It supplies dominion and authority to trust God in times of sickness. It gives us a poise and buoyancy to ride over the waves of mortal belief. So start living like a prophet. Let the recognition of God as the only Cause and Creator bless you with peace.

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

CedarS Camps Office  (where you can now mail support or requests till the office moves back to camp in May)
1314 Parkview Valley
Manchester, MO 63011
(636) 394-6162


The 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 giving contributions are a big help and are greatly appreciated in defraying the costs of running this service and of providing needed camperships,programs and operations support.  Click http://www.cedarscamps.org/giving for more about how you can provide support online or to get information about how to confer privately about making a special gift to help perpetuate CedarS good work. You can also just mail your tax-deductible support to: The CedarS Camps, Inc., 1314 Parkview Valley, Manchester, MO 63011.  And, we're thrilled to announce that, until January 1, 2007, a Matching Fund Grant will double your gifts (up to $25,000) for needed "Maintenance Musts!"

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Another GREAT, new, visually-oriented resource for study of the weekly Bible Lesson is being produced by The Christian Science Publishing Society and can be found at: myBibleLesson.com.  Why not check out a free copy and sign up for updates on this effort to bless the youthful thinker and Sunday School student in everyone!

 

 

 

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