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Do what it takes to experience eternal Life now!

Kathy Fitzer, St. Louis, MO & Park City, UT
Posted Sunday, July 9th, 2006

Do what it takes to experience eternal Life now!
CedarS Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Weekly Bible Lesson on "Life" for July 16, 2006
by Kathy Fitzer, C.S., of St. Louis, MO 

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.


Rather than thinking about Eternal life as a measure of how LONG we'll live, or something that comes only after we die, let's consider it as a way of describing life as lived in the unending presence of God (New Interpreter's Bible) and a quality of life that includes a state of celestial bliss (Webster Unabridged 1951) A life eternal is a life "continued without intermission." This life can only be found in understanding the I AM Life that is God!
 
Golden Text: Very clear - ONE God, ONE Life - nothing BUT Life! That is OUR life!
 
Responsive Reading: Covenant is intact!
A covenant (mutual agreement) is in place TODAY between God and each of us. Accompanying God's commands and prohibitions are promises of happiness and well-being that correspond to obedience. The blessed state of eternal life is realized as we stay on the straight and narrow path. But rather than being limited by following this route, we are freed! Look at God's promise in v. 33. God shows us the path to take - the path of life - and PROMISES that the joy and pleasure to be found on that path last forever! (v. 11) If we're not seeing the good, or if we seem to be troubled by disease, lack, sorrow, fear, etc, regardless of how humanly good we're being, has God let us down? Do we just get angry or quit out of discouragement? Or do we keep adjusting the lens until we SEE the good that God IS bestowing. We, too, can hear God's voice out of the midst of the fire and be delivered, like the three Hebrew boys who were literally thrown into the fire, regardless of how humanly good they were being. v. 24) God IS with us. Rejoice!
 
Section I: The First Commandment - love God!
In order to know and feel God's presence, we must love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. (B-5) This is God's first commandment. God identified himself to Moses as "I AM THAT I AM." (B-1) Jesus reminded his disciples of the "I am" God. (B-5) I AM is present tense. This is not a far-off, long-ago God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and Jesus. This is the "everlasting I AM" that can't "be understood aright through mortal concepts." (S-1) In order to understand God (Life) we HAVE to love and honor Life with our whole being. Look at how Mrs. Eddy explains this commandment. (S-3) To know God, we can't accept a mortal life separate from the Life that IS, nor can we know (be acquainted with) evil, because God, Life, is good. Want to feel complete? Then accept and understand the fact that Life is Spirit - having nothing to do with matter. (S-5) Let this understanding of Life without limits EXPAND in your consciousness - let it grow until you really feel the peace of this spiritual love that God has for you and that is reflected in your life as you love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Because Life is deathless (S-6) there is no limit to what we can do - always and forever!
 
Section II: Feed on the word of God - coexist with eternal Life!
Wilderness experiences - times of being hungry - aren't bad. Without them we might forget that it isn't material life that sustains us - but rather the very Word of God. The Children of Israel learned that (B-6), and Jesus was tempted and strengthened in the wilderness (B-8). Look up the definition of Wilderness on p. 597 of S&H. It is a vestibule (a covered, protected space before an entrance). It is in this protection of God's presence that "the material sense of things disappears, and spiritual sense unfolds the great facts of existence." As you go through what seems to be a tough time, appreciate the promise that goes with it. In reality we coexist with God and are fully sustained by Life itself! There is only one Life. Realize that you are united with Life and you can't feel a suppositional unity with mortality (limitation). Life is eternal - without intermission. (S-7) Everlasting life is knowing God and His Christ - knowing Love, Truth, and Life. (B-9 & S-8) To have our experience coincide with reality we have to reason out from the fact of spiritual existence. Knowing even a little bit that being IS (present tense) holiness (perfect purity), harmony (concord; agreement), immortality (unlimited existence) uplifts the standard of human life - physically and morally. We need to expect human life to be longer, fuller, and purer as our immortal nature is seen. (S-10) Think about how life expectancy has increased since Mrs. Eddy's day. Now we need to expect to LIVE (be vibrantly active and productive) - not just hang around - longer. Regardless of your "age," live FULLY by knowing and trusting God! (B7&9)
 
Section III: Easy Isn't the Goal. The Strait Gate is the Only Way to Eternal Life
Have you ever had to take a "not so easy" path to get to a desired destination - a beautiful beach, the Lord's Prayer Room in Panther Cave at Cedars, even an out-of-the way restaurant? Jesus tells us to enter the Kingdom of Heaven - the realm of harmony - at the "strait gate." (B-14) Strait isn't just a different spelling of straight. Strait means narrow or contracted by pressure. It is not easy to navigate -- full of adversity and trials (similar to a wilderness experience). But it is the only gait that leads to eternal Life. Every other path that beckons just leads in circles, or to a dead-end - and wears you down. Because it is narrow and harder to maneuver, the crowd doesn't usually follow this path. (B-13) So if you can't follow the crowd, how do you know where to find this gate leading to Life? By following the Shepherd. (B-11) God's voice will be heard when we stop and listen. (B-10) When someone asked Jesus how to find eternal life, Jesus started by making it clear that he (as a person) was not good - his Father, God, is the Good. We all reflect that goodness. Jesus instructed the man to obey specific commandments that have to do with relating to one another! (B-12) The "golden rule" is in the verse immediately preceding the verses about the strait gate in the Sermon on the Mount. These commands (rules) may not be humanly easy to follow, but the promise of eternal life (life without limits) is worth the effort. If we desire to "live aright" and our motives are truly to love God and man (not just get a physical healing) we are assured that our "Father will open the way." (S-14) Mrs. Eddy speaks of the demands of Christian Science. (S-13) Remember a few weeks ago we read that "Christian Science and Christianity are one"? (S&H 372) Jesus has shown us the way. (S-11) He demonstrated obedience to the demands Mrs. Eddy speaks of here. And the trials along the way - the sharp rocks of the narrow way? They turn us to the arms of Love. (S-15) Otherwise we might start thinking that we are "good," instead of realizing that God alone is good. We have to overcome the temptations that confront us in order to stay on the narrow path. If no striving was demanded, would we attain the spirituality that opens the door "to a higher understanding of the divine Life." (S-16) Hmmmm….. I'm not so sure.
 
Section IV: Death Watch or Life Watch?
How do you think about your family, friends, neighbors, and strangers? Do you see them as sick, poor, dying? Do you accept incurability? Are you holding a death watch for the world - as David felt was being held for him when he faced what was considered an incurable disease? (B-15) Or are you the "messenger", the "interpreter" that will show man his uprightness? (B-16) Jesus was such a messenger, and demonstrated the way of Life to his followers. (B-17 & S-17) Mrs. Eddy was such a messenger, and each of us should be, too. Christian Science teaches us how. Why is there no incurability - why is there no impossibility or "I can't"? Because "Divine Principle is the Life of man." (S-19) Life never dies because Divine Principle never changes. In healing Mr. Clark of a long-standing ailment, Mrs. Eddy demonstrated the fact that "Life is God and that the might of omnipotent Spirit shares not its strength with matter or with human will." (S-20&21) The testimony of matter is always unreliable. And it is not enough to "hope" a condition will improve. That is human will. We get clear instruction on p. 428 of our textbook. What is expected of us - what is the demand in order to enter the strait gate? 1) HOLD FOREVER the consciousness of existence (no intermission). 2) GIVE UP material beliefs and ADMIT the immortal facts. (S-19) What makes this seem difficult is that general human belief is admitting material beliefs and holding the consciousness of evil, disease, and death. Get off that merry-go-round and follow the example of Christ Jesus. Hold a Life watch and EVIDENCE of man's immortality WILL become more apparent!
 
Section V: Be Lifted Up!
Jesus told his disciples he would be crucified. (B-18) But they didn't believe him. It wasn't until after he was risen that the disciples really understood what he was about and started understanding his teachings in a way that enabled them to heal. (B-19)   The Greek and Hebrew verbs translated "lifted up" appear to have a double-meaning indicating crucifixion and exaltation. Moses was instructed to lift up a banner with a serpent on it when the Hebrews were dealing with snake bites. When they looked at the banner, they were healed. Similarly, John indicates that when we look at Jesus' crucifixion and accept the power that led to the resurrection and ascension, we too heal and are healed. Shouldn't we welcome the "hardships" of entering the strait gate, in order to be exalted above material beliefs of limitation? It is the living Christ which continues to roll away the stone that would keep us entombed in material belief. (S-22) Jesus was willing to go through what he did, and we can be willing to go through trials, because he (and we) understood that "matter had no life and that real Life is God." Jesus did all that he did to demonstrate God, "his divine Principle." (S-24) When we have ONE God, one Life (are obedient to the first commandment) we can expect to demonstrate "health, holiness, and life eternal." (S-25)
 
Section VI: Arise from the Debris Field of Sin - Recognize Life Anew!
You're not the servant of sin! As we yield to God (respond to God's righteousness) sin can't have control (dominion) of us. (B-21) Paul recognized how much he owed to the mercy of Christ. He didn't even know he was being sinful while he (as Saul) was busy persecuting Christians. He was upholding the standards he thought were right. But, despite himself, the Christ, Truth, showed him a better way. (B-23) Similarly the Spirit of life embodied in Christ Jesus is with us today, awakening us to eternal life - immortality - sometimes in spite of ourselves, so that we, too, can know the true God. (B-24) "Life and goodness ARE immortal" (S-30) So, why mess around with a debris field of things that are mortal - that lead to a dead-end - things like lust, hatred, envy, hypocrisy, revenge, discord of any sort. (S-27) You decide what governs your human consciousness, so put discord aside and stick with "the harmonious and true sense of Life." By doing that, you find Life that is harmonious and immortal, that includes unlimited goodness without any bodily pleasure or pain. (S-29) There really is no such thing as lasting sinful joy, because bodily pleasure automatically has you buying in to the belief of bodily pain. In order to find this unlimited, eternally good Life, you must live a life that "approaches the supreme good." (S-26) Obviously if you want to be in the presence of something, you have to walk in accord with it. If you want to be free of the limitations of sin, admit that "suffering sinning, dying beliefs are unreal" and understand that they have NO power over you - either to be harmful or attractive - because you live by DIVINE authority! (S-29) Get a fresh view of Life as that which lives you, that to which you respond, and that which keeps you perpetually in a state of harmony. Then when discord suggests itself, you will recognize it as no part of YOUR experience because you only respond to Life! Thus you enter the strait gate and find the Kingdom!

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
1314 Parkview Valley
Manchester, MO 63011
(636) 394-6162
Met Posted : 7/2/2006
www.cedarscamps.org/Metaphysical
Met Posted : 7/2/2006
www.cedarscamps.org/Metaphysical

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