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Mission Possible-Reality Is a Wonder-ful Thing! Lesson application ideas for: Reality

Craig L. Ghislin, C.S., Glen Ellyn (Bartlett), IL
Posted Sunday, March 19th, 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.

Mission Possible-Reality Is a Wonder-ful Thing!
Lesson application ideas for: Reality
March 20-26, 2006
by Craig L. Ghislin, C.S. Bartlett, Illinois

Golden Text
This quote is taken from a hymn of praise for God's mighty acts. It is sung in anticipation of the final victory over evil in Revelation. It glories in the fulfillment and execution of God's righteous judgment. Some have thought that this hymn may be an allusion to the "Song of Moses" in which Moses and Israel sang a song of deliverance after having passed through the Red Sea (The Interpreter's One Volume Commentary on the Bible). This interpretation works well for this Lesson. The children of Israel were in an apparently hopeless situation, but God saved them.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation that seemed impossible? Have you ever felt you were up against a wall with no escape or help in sight? Well this Lesson is for you! It includes several instances of seemingly impossible situations being overruled and healed by the power of God. The human mind sees limits and failure everywhere with no chance of victory. But the understanding of reality-of what God knows and does-brings harmony to discord of every sort. Mrs. Eddy knew that the carnal mind is not of itself capable of seeing things from the standpoint of reality. In Miscellaneous Writings, page 5: 12-21 she writes these assuring words.

"The healing power is Truth and Love, and these do not fail in the greatest emergencies.Materia medica says, 'I can do no more. I have done all that can be done. There is nothing to build upon. There is no longer any reason for hope.' Then metaphysics comes in, armed with the power of Spirit, not matter, takes up the case hopefully and builds on the stone that the builders have rejected, and is successful."

The metaphysics referred to is the awareness of spiritual reality. When we understand what God has done, is doing, and is capable of doing we begin to glimpse reality. This view of things is powerful and brings healing to the most difficult circumstances.

Responsive Reading
Ps. 19:1-6 is called, "The Symphony of the Heavens" (The Abingdon Bible Commentary). The majestic nature of God is the theme. Even though they have no audible voice, the heavens and stars "know and declare that they were created and are kept in their places by the authoritative word of God" (Interpreter's). The work and word of God transcends language. His work isn't a random thing. Everything God does declares His omnipotence. God does wonders. In other words, He accomplishes the "hard" and "hidden" things (Strong's Exhaustive Concordance to the Bible). Sometimes those wonderful marvels are called miracles. The Student's Reference Dictionary defines a miracle as "an event or effect contrary to the established constitution and course of things, or a deviation from the known laws o f nature." As noted above, this Lesson is full of situations in which the understanding of reality produces a "deviation" from laws of nature. They prove to us that no matter how improbable, every mission of God is possible!

Section I-Behold the Wonder
"There is none like thee..." (B1). These words of David were in recognition of the fact that God is the only creative power. David had planned to build a temple, but God said that not David, but his seed would build the temple. David's response acknowledges the singular majesty of God. Nothing compares to God. He decides what is going to be and what is not. He decides what is real and what isn't. If God didn't make it, it wasn't made (B2). In Genesis (B3, 4) we're given an account of what God made. "God needs no physical means or material agency; his word suffices. The whole narrative is an expression of the supreme truth that God is the author of the universe..." (Abingdon). Creation is not evolutionary. In other words, it cannot be explained by what has gone before. Look for this as a recurring theme. God's work cannot be explained humanly. It is truly original and it is the only reality.

Everything God makes is harmonious and good (S1). Mrs. Eddy says we "must begin by reckoning God as the divine Principle of all that really is" (S2). Moses Maimonides, a 12th Century Jewish scholar had a similar idea. He wrote, "The foundation of foundations and the pillar of all wisdom is to know that the First Being is, and that He giveth existence to everything that exists" (The One Volume Bible Commentary, J.R. Dummelow). God as ever-present, all-knowing and all-powerful reveals the perfect state of creation in Genesis to be the only reality (S3). The purpose of the first chapter in Genesis is to teach that the creation of the universe is "not a necessary development of the forces inherent in Matter... but the harmonious result of Wisdom" (Ibid.). God's thoughts are the only realities (S4). If He doesn't think it-it isn't real. In S-5 Mrs. Eddy reiterates that nothing was made without the Word. "The Word is God's self-revealing activity within God himself before the world was, distinguished but not separate from God within the creation of all things" (Abingdon).

Section II-The Wonder of Omniscience
In this section God is revealed as the only Source of creation. Many women in our times have had trouble conceiving a child. As anyone who has ever been in this situation can tell you, sometimes it seems like an impossible situation. Huge amounts of money have been spent to remedy the problem through medical means, and a considerable number of people have addressed the issue through prayer as well. Now many of you may be thinking, "What does this have to do with me?" Even if you're not trying to have children, you may be trying to "conceive" a new idea for a school or work project. You may be searching for an enlightened way to get out of debt or repair a relationship. In all cases understanding God as the only creative power and as the all-knowing Father-Mother can break the cycle of frustration and reveal wonderful things.

Abram and Sarai had given up the hope of having a child. But God reveals Himself to Abram as "El-Shaddai"- the all-knowing God (B8). This new understanding of God gives Abraham encouragement to accept the promise of having a son at such an advanced age. Nothing is too hard for God (B9). If creation were material, it might well seem impossible for a child to be conceived at ninety years old. But "Mind, not matter, is the creator" (S6). God is the only creator and Father and Mother of all. The marvelous thing is that God's children are already made (S7). We recognize them only as we find "the truth of being" (S9). Understanding God as "all-knowing" gave Abram a truer sense of God's being. In turn, as Abraham and Sarah realized more of their true nature, symbolized by receiving new names, they were able to see a new "object of creation, which before was invisible" (S10). They were able to behold their son Isaac. The marginal heading for that paragraph (S10) is "Self-completeness." So the more they knew of themselves, the more they could see that God was the only Creator and therefore, see more of His creation.

Section III-The Wonder of Healing
"Stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God" (B11). Note that all of God's work is complete and harmonious. The directions in Job are to behold and magnify what God has already done. Jesus did his healing work because God was with him (B13, 14). He wasn't making sick people well. He was seeing things from the standpoint of reality. He was seeing that they already were well. He magnified the reality and as a result, everyone beheld it.

God maintains His likeness in perfect harmony (S11). All real being is harmonious. Nothing inharmonious originates in God. Therefore sickness, sin, and death are not real (S12). Evil seems to be real and to have an identity but it doesn't. Looking to the body for evidence of reality is a losing proposition. We can't find Life, Truth or Spirit in matter (S13). So often we are tempted to pray to change things. We get so caught up in denying evil that we end up making something out of nothing. We inadvertently create our own impossible situation. But Mrs. Eddy directs us to "realize the presence of health" (S14). To realize is "to impress upon the mind as a reality; to believe, consider or treat as real...to bring home to one's own case or experience; to consider as one's own; to feel in all its force" (SRD). This is what we have to do in order to experience reality. Rather than being enslaved by false beliefs, and then flail around trying to break free, we can stand still and behold our present freedom with wonder. We can control our bodies through understanding the unreality of discord and the reality of harmony (S 15).

Section IV-The Wonder of Omnipresence
To lose an oldest son "was regarded as the greatest possible misfortune" (Abingdon). To the woman in the story all hope was lost. There was no way out of the situation and the whole town mourned with her (B18). Jesus acted purely from his compassion for the situation. The Israelites had seen prophets raise the dead before, but only as the result of serious prayer and struggle with God. Jesus however, seemed to do it effortlessly by just speaking the word. The presence of the Holy Spirit was the governing force behind his entire ministry (B17). Do you suppose that Jesus' ability to heal with authority bore a direct relation to the fact that he identified so strongly with God? God spoke the word and the word was made known. It accomplished its purpose. Jesus acted with the same authority. He was at one with the Almighty, the all-knowing Father-Mother. Life and harmony are not only initiated by God, but sustained by Him as well. The all-presence of God meant Life was ever present as well. The understanding of this enabled Jesus to restore what appeared to be loss of life. God's gift is "eternal life" (B19). This comes through a realization of the true Son of God.

Mrs. Eddy states it very succinctly. "All the real is eternal" (S16). God and man coexist. The Creator can never be separated from the creation (S17). Jesus "overcame death" (S18). "In reality man never dies" (S19). We can't have it both ways. Sin, sickness, and death would disappear if we understood their nothingness (S20). We do so by understanding there can only be one reality. Vapor doesn't change the sun. It temporarily obscures it from our point of view. The sun, ever the same, melts the vapor away. Then the sun appears as it always was. No matter how many are taken in by a lie, a lie is never true. Choosing the real view brings the truth to light.

Section V-The Wonder of Omnipotence
Once again, we have what to material sense seems an impossible situation. There is much debate about the particulars of the feeding of the multitude (B20). Some scholars say that Jesus didn't actually multiply the loaves and fish, but by blessing and sharing what was available, he inspired the rest of the multitude to share as well. In the end everyone was satisfied. Whenever there is a healing of a situation that has no human solution the pundits try to explain it away. They rationalize the circumstance from human reasoning because they aren't willing to accept a truly spiritual resolution. But seeing the spiritual reality of things does have remarkable effects. God is the only source of all supply (B21).

Someone who understood the power of reality was Mrs. Eddy. She found feeding the multitudes by actually multiplying the food perfectly accoftable. She knew that Jesus was operating by the divine law of infinite supply (S22). By acknowledging that God governs all that is real, Jesus swept aside all material law and limitation (S23). Mrs. Eddy knew that man has whatever he needs, regardless of the circumstances. Every need is supplied by God (S25). The passage on page 494 (S26) is one of the best-known statements in the entire book. It's printed on the wall of nearly every Christian Science church. Divine Love meets the need wherever or whatever it is. Human sense calls it "miraculous," and so it may seem. But to divine Love it is normal and natural. Nothing is too hard for God.

Section VI-The Wonder of Perfection
We conclude this Lesson with three hymns of God's perfection and power. God is our Rock (B22, 23). This expresses His "absolute and unwavering faithfulness" (Dummelow). God is perfect. The last citation (B24) brings us back to where we began-with God acknowledged as Almighty-not sharing power with anything else. Mrs. Eddy writes, "Everything in God's universe expresses Him" (S27). Everything that exists is made "through Mind" and it is "perfect and eternal" (S28). Perfection may seem the most impossible mission of all. After all, the saying goes, "Nobody's perfect." But in reality, all of creation is perfect. Could God's creation be anything less than perfect? A perfect God must have a perfect creation. Human sense may think that God's universe is far off. But Mrs. Eddy didn't reason from the material universe full of variables and improbabilities. She reasoned directly from God. She promises that when we understand spiritual being, we will find man in this perfect state of being (S29). The final sentence says it all. "Perfection underlies reality" (S30). What can be clearer? No matter how dire or impossible our circumstances may seem, the understanding of this reality makes every mission possible-and that is really a wonderful thing!

Resources: The reference books used in this met were:
Student's Reference Dictionary (SRD)
The Abingdon Bible Commentary (Abingdon)
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.
The Interpreter's One-Volume Commentary on the Bible (Interpreter's)
Webster's Dictionary 1828

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
CedarS Camps Office
1314 Parkview Valley
Manchester, MO 63011
(636) 394-6162

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