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Let Christ turn your stumbling blocks into building blocks -"Christ Jesus," February 20-26, 2006

Gary Duke, C.S., St. Louis, MO
Posted Monday, February 20th, 2006

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.

Let Christ turn your stumbling blocks into building blocks -
Lesson Application Ideas on "Christ Jesus,"
February 20-26, 2006
By Gary Duke, C.S., Saint Louis, Missouri

Golden Text: Head Stone and Builders.
Originally, Psalm 118:22 referred to Israel as the "head stone," and the nations of the world were "the builders" who rejected the head stone. The association with Christianity was natural. In the 1500s Martin Luther found great solace during his trials and said he owed more to Psalm 118 than all the princes and friends who supported him! (Ref. 5) When we stand up for what is spiritually true and are rejected by the world, we too are like Israel, the prophets, Jesus, Peter, Paul, Martin Luther and Mrs. Eddy--headstones, building blocks of the church triumphant.

Responsive Reading: Wise and Foolish Builders.
To the degree we consult God first in all we do, aren't we building our life on a rock-solid foundation? But if we depend primarily on human intellect and human reasoning, aren't we limited, by the very definition of human? It is like building our house upon a shaky foundation of sand which is easily washed away by a storm or even a high tide, thereby displacing even the most impressive of structures.

"Tried stone" is a stone tested by the masons for strength; (Ref. 2)

"Repent" is to feel sorry; change one's mind and entire attitude toward God; (Ref. 4)

Section 1: Origin.

What are you doing? Mary essentially Why is there so much emphasis on the origin of Jesus and why is it important to contemplate our own? Isaiah prophesied the Messiah about 700 years prior to Jesus (B1). Mary and Joseph would have known that prophesy and Jesus learned about it as well. That must have given each of them great comfort, promise, and illumination of spiritual sense, all of which "put to silence material law and its order of generation" (S&H 2). That is our promise as well, as Jesus told us we all have the same Father, God. Is that silence just regarding birth?  No, Jesus silenced all material law and showed us how to do so the same."privily" means without specifying the cause for divorce; (Ref. 5)

B1: "Immanuel" means God with us-the Greek form is Emmanuel; (Ref. 4) "Butter and honey shall he eat" means the Messiah will appear in the flesh and will be reared in the same manner that children commonly are; (Ref. 2)

B2: "Gabriel" means God has shown himself mighty;4 "espoused" means pledged to be married and often took place soon after puberty, so Mary may have been in her early teens when she gave birth to Jesus-only divorce or death could sever this legal relationship; (Ref. 2)

B3: "just man" means a kind man; (Ref. 2) "public example" means specifying the cause for divorce which legally could result in stoning if one were unchaste;(Ref. 5)  "privily" means divorce without specifying the cause for divorce; (Ref. 5)

Section 2: Father's Business.
What are you doing? Mary essentially asked Jesus, her 12 year old, the same question after searching for him many days, to which he responded, "I must be about my Father's business" (B4). To the degree we answer in kind, whatever we are doing (homework, sports, date, job, paying bills, housework, etc.) we will be free from "ties of the flesh" (S&H 7). We will be free not only from limiting familial ties, but free from any limitations of the flesh.

B4: "went to Jerusalem," about 70 miles from Nazareth;(Ref. 2) "doctors" means scribes or rabbis; (Ref. 5)

Section 3: Proof of Messiahship.
Jesus referred to scripture to describe his identity as the Messiah and his mission of healing, teaching and preaching to the people (B6). He proceeded to prove his claims through healing, much to the displeasure of the scribes and Pharisees  (B7). Neither their "pride, prejudice, bigotry, nor envy" could wash away the Christ foundation and demonstration (S&H 13).

B6: "stood up for to read" means Jesus was invited to read as a guest rabbi would have been asked; (Ref. 2) "Esaias" is Greek for Isaiah;(Ref. 4)

Section 4: Christ-Healing Church.
Imagine yourself as one of the disciples whom Jesus sent out "two and two" amongst the villages to heal. Great crowds formed everywhere you and the other disciples went, so much so that it drew the attention of King Herod who thought it must be the resurrection of John the Baptist, responsible for these great works (B8). Others thought it might be another resurrected prophet. Jesus asked the disciples a question which is vital for each of us to also answer, "But whom say ye that I am" (B9)? The living of our lives is our true answer. If we truly understand Jesus to be the Messiah, as Simon answered in effect, then Love and its fruits are the building blocks of our lives. And in turn, each of us experience transformation like Jacob was transformed to Israel, Simon to Peter, Saul to Paul, and Mary into an effective Christian Scientist. We become the building blocks upon whom the living church is continuously being built (S&H 15-17).

B8: "two and two" for mutual support and testimony of more than one witness; (Ref. 2)

B9: "Elias" is Greek for Elijah;(Ref. 4)

Section 5: Crucifixion, Resurrection, Ascension.
Are the crucifixion (B11), resurrection and ascension (B12) historical events unique to Jesus, or are they story of our life? Aren't we also figuratively "crucified" daily, due to our limited concept of God, when our focus on the illusions of person, place or thing make us feel we have a huge cross to bear, from which we are left hanging? We may even feel our problems are so big that we're buried by them and our fate is sealed by the gigantic rock of insurmountable challenges. Well, we are in good company as Paul said, "I die daily" (I Cor.15:31); but to die so regularly, he must have also had frequent resurrections! As Christ-ideas we too are privileged to prove Truth, and rise higher (S&H 19). Then the gigantic rock of cold and stubborn belief melts away, revealing a rock that is a protection from world beliefs and a foundational, spiritual, stepping stone to higher views of Truth (S20). Perhaps ascension occurs when the time between our crucifixions and resurrections lessen to the point we know, like Jesus knew, "he could no more be separated from his spiritual Life than God could be extinguished" (S&H 22).

B11: "Joses" is Greek for Joseph, one of Jesus' brothers;(Ref. 2)

B12: "Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils" indicates the severity of her disease, not her wickedness;(Ref. 5)

Section 6: Eternal Life.
When exactly, do we experience eternal life? "This is life eternal," says Jesus (S&H 28). Is he referring to those times when we feel "in the zone," purely loving and being our best in whatever moment we are experiencing? How do we recognize eternal life more continuously? Demonstration-praying, loving, healing just as Jesus, the disciples, the prophets and Mrs. Eddy did and encouraged us to do in EVERY ASPECT of our life from the minutia to the grand. "Sweep away the false and give place to the true" (S&H 25). Each victory in Science gives us that hint of the eternal, whereby we relate better to the truths of the scriptures and S&H, being "no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints" (B14). As we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our fellow man and those who went before, we are the "lively stones" of the living church (B15). "All believers are made kings and priests unto God" (B16, S&H 27) "which results in infinite blessings" (S&H 24).

Section Summary Benediction:
Christ is the headstone, the essential life building block, in all that we think, say and do. Let us be wise builders, like Jesus and Mrs. Eddy, as evidenced by their everlasting influence for good, versus the foolish builders who may sway thought temporarily, but fall. If we realize our origin and that of everyone else to be offspring of God, we will be about our Father's business, offering proofs of our mission via healing in all its forms. We will enlist to go "two and two" establishing the true meaning of church in all we do and wherever the Christ directs us. Crucifixion in some form is inevitable with frequent resurrections assured as we understand the Christ along with the promise of ascension. We experience life eternal NOW to the degree we follow the example of Christ Jesus.

Resources: (Ref. #)
1. American Dictionary of the English Language, by Noah Webster 1828, 800-352-3223, website www.face.net

2. Researched Bible Guide, 561-776-5711, e-mail DayBreakPlease@cs.com

3. The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language, by Eugene H. Peterson,
NavPress 800-366-7788, website www.MessageBible.com

4. The New Westminster Dictionary of the Bible, by Henry Gehman

5. The One Volume Bible Commentary, by J.R. Dummelow

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 in the "met" (metaphysical application ideas) are taken from the King James Version of the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. 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
The CedarS Camps Office
1314 Parkview Valley
Manchester, MO 63011
(636) 394-6162

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