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Find REAL happiness today in your Mountaintop kingdom! Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Lesson on Reality

Gary Duke, C.S., St. Louis, MO
Posted Saturday, September 16th, 2006

Find REAL happiness today in your Mountaintop kingdom!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on "Reality," Sept. 18-24, 2006
Prepared by Gary Duke, C.S., Saint 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: Thy Kingdom Is Come.
"...know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand" (Luke 21:31). Nigh means "near in place, time or relationship; nearly, almost" (R2 = Resource #2 listed below at the conclusion). Expectation of the kingdom coming was prevalent during Biblical times just as today. It is similar to what one fish said to another, "I see the coral and the sand, but where is this water everyone keeps talking about?" Good news! Just as the fish resides in the water for which he is looking, we too reside in the kingdom of heaven-"Thy kingdom is come; Thou are ever-present" (S&H 16:31). This Bible Lesson helps us recognize this kingdom and the fact that we, and all mankind, are its privileged residents NOW.
  
Responsive Reading: Understanding is Seeing.
Is seeing believing? No, otherwise the Pharisees would have believed in Jesus and his message. Instead they equated his healing works with Satan-Beelzebub, the prince of the devils. Jesus refuted their argument with the logic, how can Satan (black magic) cast out Satan (sin, sickness, death)? 
 
In the Bible Lesson last week, Nicodemus, a prominent Pharisee, first believed in Jesus and his message of casting out devils by the Spirit of God. Understanding soon followed and then he saw the kingdom of heaven more clearly-truly a humble path for all mankind to follow.
 
Note: Pharisees were one of the three chief Jewish parties, the others being the Sadducees and the Essenes. It was the most conservative party, promising God's grace and resurrection to doers of the law, the letter of which became much more important than the spirit. Pharisaical experts of the law were known as Scribes who exercised great influence in the Sanhedrin, the highest Jewish governing council. Paul and his teacher, Gamaliel were Pharisees (R6).
 
Section 1: Happy When? Today is Big with Blessings!
Our school room for all five sections of this Bible Lesson is on a low, square shaped hill with two summits called the Horns of Hattin, also known as the Mount of Beatitudes, about seven miles SW of Capernaum (R7). Here we are joining the disciples for the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. chapters 5-7) as they are being taught by Jesus about the kingdom of heaven-its laws and how to be righteous citizens of this kingdom (S1,S6). 
 
Jesus instructs us that happiness is vital to our recognition of the kingdom. Doesn't world belief regard happiness as an emotion, often based upon an external event? What if we were to understand that happiness is not a variable emotion but a permanent spiritual fact (S5) based upon God's unconditional love for us? The word Beatitude means, "To make happy; to bless with the completion of celestial enjoyment" (R1), which Jesus describes as eight qualities.
 
The Message (R5) interprets the Beatitudes (B5) as follows:
Poor in spirit: "You're blessed when you‘re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule."
Mourn: "You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you."
Meek: "You're blessed when you're content with just who you are-no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought."
Hunger and Thirst: "You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God. He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat."
Merciful: "You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,' you find yourselves cared for."
Pure: "You're blessed when you get your inside world-your mind and heart-put right. Then you can see God in the outside world."
Peacemakers: "You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family."
Persecuted: "You're blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you deeper into God's kingdom."
 
Any challenge you could possibly face in your day is already met and governed in some form by the laws of happiness/blessedness listed above. So let's not wait for happiness, but instead declare it as law and express it, ESPECIALLY when we're not "feeling" blessed. It's at that moment we'll find we're already in the kingdom of heaven, "leaning on the sustaining infinite" and experiencing the realization that "today is big with blessings" (S7). 
 
Section 2: Ye are the Light of the World!
Who me, the light of the world (B8)? You've got to be kidding! Most of us feel or have felt this way, but look at recent examples of people shining brightly outside of their normal endeavors. In 2004 there was a grade school girl who saw the water recede very quickly from the beach resort in Indonesia where her family was vacationing. She recognized the signs of an impending tsunami, told her folks, who warned the authorities and they cleared the beach in time to save hundreds of people. Who would have thought a decade ago that a popular lead singer, Bono, of an Irish rock band, U2, would become one of the foremost economists of our age and become the prime architect of African debt relief to the tune of $40 billion!  
 
And looking back to the patriarchs, did Moses feel qualified to lead his countrymen out of Egypt and around the desert for forty years? What about Gideon with 300 men fighting the vast armies of Midianites; Solomon having to follow David; and Elijah standing up to the 450 prophets of Baal? You, me, and probably everyone, including our illustrious forefathers, have at one time or another felt inadequate in letting their light shine. 
 
However, the great news is-it's not your light! The second stage of realizing our citizenship in the kingdom is understanding we REFLECT the light (S8) and are not the originators of the light-"thy light is already come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee" (B7). But it's not enough just to know this, we must give witness to the world by our words and especially our actions-"walk in the light and turn away from a false material sense" (S8). It is at this time we realize we are "all the children of light" (B9) and that "each individual must fill his own niche in time and eternity" (Ret. 70:18).  Listen for where and when God wants you to share today and just do it!  Be the salt!
 
Note: (S9) "Salt of the earth"-is interpreted as, "Let me tell you why you are here. You're here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness?" (R5)
 
Section 3: Perfection is Reflection.
"But nobody's perfect!" We've heard ourselves and others say this at some time, trying to excuse some "poor thought-model." And yet Jesus "threw upon mortals the truer reflection of God...perfect God and perfect man, as the basis of thought and demonstration" (S14). 
 
From Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy we find "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth," the legal remedy to address injustices, which was certainly an improvement over the excessive force often being used to avenge a wrong. Jesus instructed us to go up higher, dispensing love in place of injustice-turn the other cheek, give the cloak also, walk the extra mile, love your enemies...in other words, "be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect" (B12). In this way we'll be recognizing the presence of perfection via the love of God-thy kingdom come-versus being the judge and jury of who's not measuring up and therefore not worthy of partaking in the kingdom.
 
Does this ability to go up higher come all at once? It may take some practice (S19), but "let patience have her perfect work" (B10, S18) and then we find ourselves yielding and simply reflecting God's love impartially.
 
Note: (B12) "let him have thy cloak also"-cloak was the outer garment and coat was the inner garment e.g. a vest or shirt (R7); "go with him twain"-Roman soldiers could legally require civilians to carry their packs or other gear for one mile while Jesus said to go twain or two (R3); "publicans"-tax collectors who were required to pay a certain amount to Rome and could keep whatever more they extorted. Zacchaeus (climbed the tree to see Jesus-Luke 19) and Matthew (disciple), were Jewish publicans and considered unworthy of friendship or even association. However, Jesus honored them by eating together, friendship, discipleship, and even invited them into the kingdom of God (R6).  As directed by divine Love and our Wayshower's example, be ready to go the extra mile in cheerful ways this week with your assignments and to include those of God's children who seem to be left out.
 
Section 4: Don't Worry, Be Healthy.
At the height of a recent physical challenge involving a young child whose condition had deteriorated to the point of difficulty in walking and open sores all over her body, the mom said to the child, "Honey, it's time to call the practitioner today" to which the little girl responded, "Why mommy? I'm healed!" The mom was stunned with the assuredness of the little girl. They continued praying with the practitioner, but that was the turning point and the full healing came about shortly thereafter. "Willingness to become as a little child and to leave the old for the new, renders thought receptive of the advanced idea" (S21). Despite all physical appearances, wasn't that child already residing in the kingdom of heaven? Mrs. Eddy makes the same point with her story about the child with the badly wounded finger (S22) and mentions our Master's love for little children, "they belong to the heavenly kingdom" (S23). 
 
Guess what? Whether you're a 6 foot brute of a football player or a great grandma, we're all children of an ageless Father-Mother God and privileged to reside in the heavenly kingdom, free from worry about health, just like the children mentioned above (B15). We're also invited by Jesus to be free from worry over other material things like food, clothing, housing, and retirement if we do one thing-"seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (B14).  Think about worry as "ingratitude in advance" and eliminate it as Jesus so often did with gratitude in advance. (before raising Lazarus, feeding the 5,000, ...)
 
Note: (B14) "The light of the body is the eye...if thine eye be single"-eye is the conscience and single means seeing things in their true, spiritual light (R7);
"cubit"-the length of the forearm, about 18 inches (R6).     
 
Section 5: Build on the Rock.
In college, a structural engineering professor always wore running shoes to class. When questioned about it he said, "You never know when a building is going to collapse and you'll have to run out!" And in fact, a building he engineered partially collapsed an hour after leading a group of students through his construction site. Hmmmm, better watch what we're entertaining in thought. Though the running shoes were his humorous trademark, they symbolized the belief in the possibility of faulty calculations, faulty construction practices or chance of any sort, to be the cause of disaster. That world belief of chance was his reality as it is for many, and manifests itself as collapsed buildings, poverty, war, etc. "...systems based wholly or partly on knowledge gained from the material senses-are reeds shaken by the wind, not houses built on rock" (S26). 
 
Jesus too talked about a collapsing structure, though his solution had nothing to do with running shoes. Instead he counseled to build on rock rather than shifting sand ("fading, finite forms" S27), which was a parable instructing us to do "the will of my father which is heaven" (B19). When we do the will of God, we will eventually find "we have the mind of Christ" (B18). Healing like Jesus then becomes not only a wonderful aspiration but a promise! Beginning now, let the "the kingdom of heaven reign within us, and sin, disease, and death will diminish until they finally disappear" (S28).    
 
Section Summary Benediction:
Thy kingdom is come is realized by spiritually understanding:
1. Our happiness is not a variable emotion but rather an invariable spiritual fact from which we discern big blessings today!
2. Ye (me and all) are the light of the world, not by physical attributes personalized but via reflection-God's qualities individualized, which we must share in our unique way of blessing all mankind;
3. God's perfect Love of us is reflected in our perfect love of each other;
4. Don't be childish and worry, but be childlike and glory in God's full provision for us, including health;
5. If we build on the rock of salvation (S&H 593:20), we may remove our running shoes (with which we run in an attempt to keep a step ahead of the shifting sands of material beliefs) and assuredly stand with dominion upon holy ground, in the kingdom of heaven.
 
 
Resources: 
1.      American Dictionary of the English Language, By Noah Webster 1828,
         800-352-3223, website www.face.net
 
2.      Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition 1993
 
3.      Researched Bible Guide, 561-776-5711, e-mail DayBreakPlease@cs.com
 
4.      The Interpreter's One-Volume Commentary on the Bible,
         Edited by Charles Laymon
 
5.      The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language,
         By Eugene H. Peterson, NavPress 800-366-7788,
         Website www.MessageBible.com
 
6.      The New Westminster Dictionary of the Bible, By Henry Gehman
 
7.      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 (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 (where you can snail mail support or requests)
19772 Sugar Drive
Lebanon, MO 65536
(417) 532-6699

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