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Claim the Joy and Authority of At-one-ment!

Kathy Fitzer, St. Louis, MO & Park City, UT
Posted Monday, April 10th, 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.

Claim the Joy and Authority of At-one-ment!
Lesson Application Ideas for "Doctrine of Atonement"April 16, 2006
By Kathy Fitzer, C.S., of St. Louis, MO

In this lesson look for the words grace and glory running throughout. Grace can be thought of as the bubbling forth of God's abundant love, mercy, and gracious influence on man, and reflected by man. Glory can be thought of as the shining of excellence, honor, majesty, and brilliance. The grace of God leads us to the glory of atonement. Doctrine indicates what is taught or the underlying principle of a science. What and how did Jesus teach us about at-one-ment - and thus about healing? We should ask ourselves often, "Am I living his example?" Then, claim your Christliness, know that you ARE at-one with God, and have dominion!

Golden Text: Grace and Truth
Not only did Jesus teach us the truth of God that makes us free, but he demonstrated the grace of God that frees us to be who God has always known us to be. Grace, here, stems from a Greek word with a primary root meaning "cheer"ful or calmly happy. Jesus was calmly happy because he knew the truth about his relationship to God. Following his example, we remain calmly happy, full of grace, at-one with God, claiming victory!

Responsive Reading: Jesus had the best teacher possible
Jesus spoke with authority, yet he had no formal training. How was that? Jesus wasn't sharing his own thoughts, but God's thoughts. God sent Jesus to present the Christ, Truth, in a way that could be understood by the human consciousness. Some started wondering if perhaps this was the Christ. But, then the resistance came (in v. 27). "No, this can't be the Christ. We know this man - Jesus." Jesus' response was great. Paraphrased, he says, "You think you know me and where I'm from? Well, I'm not really from where you think I'm from. I'm not here on my own authority. I was sent directly by God -- that which is real, genuine, and steadfast. The problem is, you don't know God! But, I know Him, and that's why I'm here." (Ref: The Message and Amplified Bible) Perhaps feeling threatened because he spoke with such authority, some tried to arrest him. But they couldn't. It wasn't God's appointed time for that- although that time would come. The rabbis saw a man named Jesus. Jesus saw the Christ - his identity as the divine idea of God, working on behalf of mankind. Let's be careful that we don't view Jesus' teachings (or the words of Science and Health) as just nice words. The power of Jesus' doctrine comes straight from God. Abide in that teaching (stick with it) and you'll know both God and the Messiah or Christ (the Son of God) which comes directly to human consciousness to destroy bodily (incarnate) error.

Section I: Evidence of oneness - demonstration - unchanged through the ages.
Jesus came to show everyone the splendor and excellence (glory) of God. (B-2) The Christ - or Word of God - appeared in a fleshly, human, form so that everyone could see the practicality of the loving-kindness (grace) and truth of God. (B-3) Jesus spoke in terms that people familiar with previous scripture could understand, making reference to the promise of Ezekiel 34:23 that God would send a shepherd to care for his flock. (B-5) Because Jesus understood his oneness with his Father, he was free to heal the sick, forgive sins, and raise the dead. And still people questioned if he was the promised Christ. The Christ remains, today and tomorrow, as in Jesus' day. Do you recognize it? Is your heart established with grace - the divine influence and its reflection in the life? (Strong's) If so, you won't be taken in by the "strange doctrines" of to-day, including the theological, medical, psychological and health theories that would deny the Christ, insisting that man is NOT one with God. "Man-made doctrines" (teachings) are constantly changing. Only Truth - Christ - is reliable and unchanging. The "scholastic theology" of Jesus time (the uninspired thought) kept them from discerning Jesus' and their Christly, spiritual, existence then. The subtle absorption of thought into today's false doctrines - sensuality, pleasure and pain in matter, success measured by the almighty dollar, and obedience to the current diet, health and exercise fads - would keep us from seeing Christ's (our) sonship with God. (B-6 & S-3). Jesus KNEW he and God were inseparable - "I and my Father are one." By demonstrating and explaining this oneness (or co-incidence) he brought salvation (See the def. in S&H p. 593) to everyone, then and now, who truly accepted his teachings. (S-2&4) Don't make the mistake of the rabbis!

Section II: The Doctrine of Christian Science - Source of Jesus' Authority
What a lovely blessing: "May all the gifts and benefits that come from God our Father, and the Master, Jesus Christ, be yours." (B-7, The Message) Grace and peace - gifts and benefits - never include deprivation of anything good. In thinking about how the healing of the "possessed" man could relate to things we deal with today, I thought about "personality" traits or material "pleasures" that we might cling to as being "just who I am" or being too much "fun" to give up. Sometimes we might fall into the trap of thinking that we'll lose something good if we follow Christian Science too completely. But the love of the Christ - the authority of Christ - destroys that temptation and frees us of the shackles of demons - even those that seem desirable. (B-8) Jesus demonstrated Christian Science - the law of God - as he spoke with AUTHORITY. The doctrine of Christian Science, as taught in Science and Health, gave Jesus his authority, and gives us the same authority today. The purpose of every healing is to "prove what God is and what He does for man." (S-8) God loves man. Everything stems from that. Our job? Don't go along with the testimony of the senses - no matter how convincing the testimony is - for good or bad. (B-5) Two things to focus on: (1) the nothingness of material life and intelligence, and (2) the mighty actuality of all-inclusive God, good. (S-7) Because God is all and bestows all gifts and benefits, trying to make something out of the nothingness of matter's false report would simply close our eyes temporarily to God's gifts. Jesus made many human sacrifices to bring us this message - proof that Love was the foundation (the Principle) of all that Jesus did. Our Principle is also Love. All we're ever really giving up is that which would separate us from the abundance of God's grace! Take a careful look at the "doctrine of Christian Science" on p. 304 of S&H. (S-9) Notice the use of the words "cannot" and "can never." There is nothing iffy here. Reversing the negative, we have that Love must be manifested and have an object upon which to shine; joy is a permanent quality - a gift to claim; evil has no source, so good is ever-present; matter has no mind with which to express its feelings; and life is unending, and forever expressed. The key is correct identification. We are the perfect man, governed by God, sinless and eternal. Jesus knew he was one with God, thus this perfect man. Let's know it, too, and accept the authority of Christ!

Section III: Doctrine of Christ's Universal Love
Jesus conquered the world - the false, fleshy, convoluted beliefs of the world. That's great news! (B-9) Jesus taught his disciples. In turn, others (including ourselves) learn from them. Jesus gave us such an example of universal, unconditional love. He didn't just pray that his people - his family, friends, or countrymen - would be blessed. He acknowledged that all people are at-one with God's. His prayer was that everyone could know their oneness with God as he knew it. He prayed that all would feel God's love as he felt it, and be conscious of their Christ-nature as he was conscious of his. (B-10) Paul, too, recognized that we are all the children of God - no division or preferential treatment based on nationality, religion, ethniticity, race, or gender, or even birth-order. The doctrine of Christ is a doctrine of universal love. (B-11)John the Baptist told those asking whether or not he was the Christ that, although the Christ is not someone they had previously met, that "of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace." (B-12) Mrs. Eddy gives a definition of grace in Christian Science versus Pantheism that I think fits here - "the effect of God understood." (p. 10: 23-24) Consider Milton's definition of understand as "to know by experience; to know by instinct." (Student's Reference Dictionary) So, paraphrasing the above sentence, "we have all fully received the gift of the effect of knowing God instinctively and through experience." Through obedience to the teachings (doctrine) of Christ, thought is "prepared to receive Christ, Truth" (S-10) - as soil is prepared to receive seeds sown. Even if an individual doesn't realize he is being prepared, the Christ, the spiritual idea, or reflection of God, does come to human consciousness to reveal the oneness of God and man. (S-10) The first commandment is the key. There is ONE God. And it is this fact that unites all as brethren - in SCIENCE. (S- 11& 12) It is our job to recognize this fact, and live in accord with this ONENESS. This recognition allows evidence of the Christ overcoming the world to be seen. Section IV: Efficacy of the Crucifixion and Resurrection - Evidence of LoveRemember in the Responsive Reading when Jesus couldn't be taken because it wasn't time? Well, the time came. Imagine, after all of Jesus' teachings and healing, the high priest still felt a need to ask Jesus about his doctrine. Jesus refuses to answer questions directly. He simply makes it clear that his "kingdom is not of this world." After he explains his purpose for coming to this world as being to "bear witness unto the truth," Pilate asks what truth is. (B-14) He didn't get it. Which is why Jesus knew from the beginning that it would be necessary to be killed and rise again for the Truth to really be seen - even by his own disciples? This was evidence of his pure expression of Love. His at-one-ment with the Father regenerated him while in the tomb, and rolled the stone away when it was time to make his reappearance (in accordance with prophecy.) It was the women's receptivity that allowed them to accept the resurrection even without seeing Jesus in person. They spread the word with JOY! (B-16) Even the crucifixion couldn't turn joy into sorrow. We don't need to see Jesus in person, to accept the "risen Christ" and similarly respond (at the darkest hour) with joy. In the April Journal, Elaine Follis brings out that if the disciples had known how the story was going to turn out (as we do) they may have responded differently to the crucifixion. She reminds us that since we do know how the story turns out, we can respond to whatever horrific experience we seem to go through with joy and confidence. The love of Christ has enabled us to realize our at-one-ment. Thus we can maintain our joy. The doctrine of sin emphasizes separation from God, which leads down the path of death row. But Jesus Christ revealed God's grace as a bubbling forth of gracious favor poured forth on his son. This grace always leads to eternal life. (B-17) The Science and Health explanation of the efficacy of the crucifixion points out Jesus' unselfishness. He was willing to go through with the crucifixion in order to prove that eternal life is the truth. (S-13) Jesus proved that "Life, Truth, and Love heal the sick and the sinning, and triumph over death through Mind, not matter." (S-16) This was Jesus' ultimate proof of divine Science. Man (that's you and me) doesn't have an "existence or mind separate from God." (S-18) The Christ has rolled the stone of doubt, fear, and limitation away. (S-19) Through God's grace, let's take thought out of the darkness of the tomb and joyously act out our at-one-ment.

Section V: The Holy Ghost - The Ever Presence of Christ
After the resurrection, the disciples were really ready to learn from their master. Jesus knew he wouldn't always be with them bodily. But, he urged them to go out and teach others what he had taught them, and assured them, "I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." (B-18) Doesn't this mean, until we have learned to overcome the world by understanding our at-one-ment with God as Jesus did? After the ascension, the disciples did go forth and teach. But, more importantly, they backed up their words with healing works! (B-19) We need to do the same. The Holy Ghost is the spirit of Christ, or divine Science, that remains with men and enables them to judge according to spiritual evidence, rather than material evidence. The Holy Ghost (the divine Comforter or Christian Science) takes attention away from Jesus' human personality, and focuses it on the eternal Christ. This change of focus allows healing to be done through the grace (spiritual blessing) that is [to be found only] in Christ Jesus, and not in human personality. (S-20 & B-20, The Amplified Bible) Jesus taught us the power of Love. Remember, it is Love that does the work. Our reflected love for God and man must be our motive for healing and teaching. (S-21) It is not a question of which road leads to heaven, harmony. Christian Science elucidates what Jesus showed us: we must know only one reality and be conscious only of good, God and His reflection. (There is the at-one-ment again). In this way, we rise superior (beyond the power or influence of) to the so-called pain and pleasure of the senses. (S-23) It is the conscious "blending with God," the divine Principle of Christ that gives us "dominion over all the earth." (S-24) It is possible for us to overcome the world, as Jesus did - right here and now - by KNOWING our Christly nature - our oneness with God - and thinking out from that basis only.

Section VI: The Grace that Brings Salvation to All
As the disciples shared the good news of the resurrection, they felt the grace - the loving-kindness and favor and goodwill) of God resting on them. (B-21) It is God's grace that enabled the disciples, and enables us, to turn away from all the temptations of the world. (B-22) Does sensualism satisfy long-term? Or does it leave you just wanting more? Do material remedies solve problems, or just fix the immediate symptom? Want a way to always stay ahead? Accept God's grace by obeying His voice. "God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you're ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done." (B-23, The Message) We have to follow Jesus' example. We have to work through tough times, as he did, in order to have our own resurrection experience. (S-25) What does Mrs. Eddy say the ONE thing we need is? (S-26) Jesus showed us how to achieve it. It is a step-by-step process. Watch every thought and every action. Overcome error step by step and your reward is being at-one with Truth and Love. (S-27) Far from being boring, demonstrating this at-one-ment opens up views and opportunities that are completely hidden if your attention is focused on short-term conditions of pleasure (and pleasure's flip-side, pain) in matter. God is the origin and law governing man - man's divine Principle - and man in God's likeness is inseparable from Him. Thus, both God and man are harmonious and eternal because they are forever at-one! (S-28) That is pure joy and reason for speaking with authority!!!

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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