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Daily harvest and feast on abundant, "immortal fruits!"

Janet Hegarty, C.S., St. Louis, MO
Posted Monday, July 31st, 2006

Daily harvest and feast on abundant, "immortal fruits!"
Application ideas for the lesson on "Spirit" for July 31 - August 6, 2006
by Janet Hegarty, CS St. Louis, Missouri

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
Choose "goodness and righteousness and truth."  These bear fruit abundantly. Mary Baker Eddy asks, "Which of these two theories concerning man are you ready to accept? One is the mortal testimony, changing, dying, unreal. The other is the eternal and real evidence, bearing Truth's signet, its lap piled high with immortal fruits" (Science & Health 494:25).  Whenever affections are famished, harvesting and feasting on "immortal fruits" satisfies like nothing else can.
 
Responsive Reading 
The "truth of the gospel" does bear fruit in your life! Epaphras traveled from Colossae to visit Paul while he was a prisoner in Rome. Epaphras told Paul of the good works and pure desires of the Colossians (The New Westminster Dictionary of the Bible). Paul then sent his letter to the Colossians, which includes the beautiful passage in this week's Responsive Reading. Paul declares his constant prayers for those with faith in Christ Jesus who have taken the message of the gospel to heart. The desire of his prayer is that each be filled with spiritual understanding and as a result be fruitful in doing good.
 
Section 1: You are the fruitful child of Spirit. 
"...Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest" (B1). (Editor's note: It will indeed be just a very little while (Labor Day Weekend) and the CedarS (Camps) of Lebanon (MO) will also be very fruitful for all college and university students and faculty attending the CSO Spiritual Activism Summit here sponsored by The Mother Church.  See its focus on the book of Acts and the details at http://www.cedarscamps.org/information/programs.htm?id=25) The verses in Isaiah that precede this verse point out the habit of the people to worship God in a very formal way, but without any real feeling. (Editor's note: The "frozen chosen" won't cut it as spiritual activists in any age!) This verse is a promise that the real sincere and heartfelt worship of God will be restored in the hearts of the people (Interpreter's One-Volume Commentary). This restoration comes with a right understanding of God as the only creator together with the realization that man is made in the image of God, Spirit. This promise of change in Lebanon is a promise that each of us can leave old unfruitful habits behind, and revolutionize the world like that small group of disciples did in the book of Acts. We, like they, have been made perfect by the spirit of God. Rejoice - God, Spirit, goodness, is the only power. "It is only by acknowledging that supremacy of Spirit...that mortals can lay off mortality..." (S5). Seek your truly fruitful identity "...forever in the divine likeness," never separated from God (S5).
 
Section 2: Bring in the "firstfruits" of the harvest everyday. 
Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a member of the highest government body. The Pharisees were widely considered to be a self-righteous and hypocritical group. However, Nicodemus was an original thinker. He was aware of Jesus' healing works and convinced that Jesus was a great teacher from God (The New Westminster Dictionary of the Bible). It had to take great courage, spiritual insight and humility for Nicodemus to step apart from his fellow Pharisees and seek to learn from Jesus. Nicodemus was willing to be "born again" -- made new through spiritual understanding. His humility changed him from a stale, rigid Pharisee into a firstfruit of the Spirit. Later, when the Pharisees wanted to have Jesus arrested and imprisoned without a trial, Nicodemus pointed out that the law required that every man have a hearing. This silenced the Pharisee's argument against Jesus for a time. Made in the image of God, you have the courage, spiritual insight, energy and humility to get rid of stale views of yourself each day and be changed, "born again," as a firstfruit of the Spirit. If Nicodemus had kept the model that the Pharisees represented as the only model for his life, he would have missed the wonder and joys of spiritual living that daily await each of us. Instead, he sought after the newness-of-life model that Jesus presented. As we "feel the divine energies of Spirit," (S10), we can do this, too!  Ask yourself, "What is the model before mortal mind?" (S9)
 
Section 3: The prayer that bears fruit. 
Would you like Jesus to teach you how to pray? Jesus taught the disciples how to pray and you can learn from him, too. When the disciples asked Jesus how to pray, he taught them The Lord's Prayer. You already know this prayer. Take a fresh look at it and ask yourself, "What does The Lord's Prayer show me about how we should pray?" If you take a close look at this prayer, your efforts are bound to bear fruit - result in healing. Mary Baker Eddy tells us that this is the "prayer which covers all human needs" (S15). The Lord's Prayer turns our thought from matter to Spirit, to the realization that only God has power. Let go of matter-based, self-centered thinking and your prayer will bear fruit. Mary Baker Eddy has given us a promise that if we do this we will "reach the heaven-born aspiration and spiritual consciousness, which is indicated in the Lord's Prayer and which instantaneously heals the sick" (S15). That is a goal well worth pursuing!
 
Section 4: The fruit is already complete in the blossom, full fruition is unstoppable. God, Spirit demands the "fruit of the spirit" be delivered whole and glorious. Spirit equips man with spiritual weapons: wisdom, understanding, truth, righteousness, faith, and salvation. These spiritual weapons provide a sure defense against the false belief that evil is real and can oppose God. By the power of God, with the strength of His spiritual weapons, you can successfully wield that sword of the Spirit. You can cast out false beliefs and demonstrate truth. This sword, "which is the word of God" is also described in other Bible translations as, "the Message of God," (The Twentieth Century New Testament) and "the voice of God" (Goodspeed).  It pays to memorize favorite gems to be always armed with this "sword of the Spirit," ... "the word of God." (B13)
 
In Science and Health we are encouraged to "Emerge gently from matter into Spirit" (S17). The plant emerges gently from the seed, bit-by-bit, day-by-day, patiently unfolding. The seed does not suddenly erupt into a full-grown tree. Spiritual growth is the outcome of consistent, patient, daily effort to demonstrate scientific truth. If you see you have more to demonstrate, don't be discouraged. The power and love of God are your daily helpers, watching over you, watering, feeding, and encouraging with spiritual ideas (S19). With that kind of nurturing, you are bound to succeed!  
 
Section 5: Spiritual goals produce good fruit. 
Through his example Christ Jesus has shown the wisdom and healing power that comes from pursuing spiritual goals. Paul gives us a great list of spiritual goals: "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance"(B14). These spiritual goals counteract and destroy the earthbound goals of the fleshly lusts, of hatred, self-pity, agitation, impatience, harshness, evil, doubt, aggression and indulgence. God is your governing Principle (S23). The men and women of God's creating can only find real satisfaction in spiritual pursuits. As Paul advises, "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." (B14) You can reach for the true gold today, and not be tricked by "smooth-tongued villainy" or "the gorgeousness of matter" (S24) into going after "fool's gold!" Look to the things of Spirit and you walk in the direction where you will find everlasting spiritual treasure (S22).

Section 6: Spirit pours out its bounty of "good fruits" for all mankind to harvest each day. Do we expect to receive "good fruits" today? Are we awake early -- alive to and enthusiastic about the good each day will bring? (Editor's application idea: Let your life sing with this affirmation/wake-up song from camp: "I'm alive, alert, awake, enthusiastic!")  When you awake at dawn and remember (give loving attention to) God's promise from the book of Joel, expecting a great day! "Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the Lord will do great things." "...I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh" (B16). In the citations from Ephesians that follow we find another of Paul's inspiring prayers. The New Testament in Modern English by J. B. Phillips translates part of Paul's letter this way: "Accept life with humility and patience, generously making allowances for each other because you love each other. Make it your aim to be at one in the Spirit, and you will be bound together in peace."  Humility, patience, generosity, peace - truly the "good fruits" that mankind needs today. 

You can and will bring in a fruitful harvest today with your God-guaranteed spirituality. These ideas from Science and Health that explain your true identity are your guarantee: "...real consciousness is cognizant only of the things of God"  "....realize true existence and feel the unspeakable peace which comes from an all-absorbing spiritual love." (S25). "Spirit and its formations are the only realities of being." (S26) "Man is the offspring, not of the lowest, but of the highest qualities of Mind" (S26).  "This scientific sense of being, forsaking matter for Spirit, by no means suggest man's absorption into Deity and the loss of his identity, but confers upon man enlarged individuality, a wider sphere of thought and action, a more expansive love, a higher and more permanent peace." (S27). (Editor's application questions: Ask yourself: How can I better express my enlarged (more infinite) individuality today? What "stretchy thoughts" can I think and new activities can I do today to get out of my ruts (graves with the ends kicked out)?  How can I reach out today to those I haven't previously included in my love?  What worries (ingratitudes in advance) will be wiped out by my newfound, lasting peace from God?)  May you peacefully rejoice in harvesting and feasting on these fruits today and everyday! 

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
19772 Sugar Drive
Lebanon, MO 65536
(417) 532-6699

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