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Who Do You Trust? Application Ideas for "Unreality,"

Craig L. Ghislin, C.S., Glen Ellyn (Bartlett), IL
Posted Saturday, September 23rd, 2006

"Who Do You Trust?"

Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on "Unreality," Sept. 25-Oct. 1, 2006
Prepared by Craig L. Ghislin, C.S., Bartlett, Illinois

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

The word counsel is used in various forms over ten times in this lesson. Some applications are good, as in counsel from God, and some bad, as in counsel of the heathen. At CedarS, counselors play an important role in providing a beneficial experience to the campers. Campers should be able to trust counselors to give helpful direction and support. In this Lesson we will see that the most reliable counsel comes from God. There are several definitions of the word translated as counsel found in Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. The counsel of the Lord means "advice, plan, or purpose." The counsel of the heathen or nations is defined as "a company of persons in close deliberation or consultation." The Lord's counsel is sure, based on reality. The counsel of men is based on unreal, unreliable information and is the result of consensus. Men's counsel is nothing compared to the word of God.

 

Responsive Reading

What do you look to when you need consultation? Do you ask parents, teachers, counselors, friends, the Internet, newspapers, magazines, lawyers, doctors, practitioners? Do you read the Bible or Mrs. Eddy's writings? Do you go to the self-help section of the library or bookstore? Of course, it depends on the type of help you need, but generally, the more closely aligned to God your source for help is, the more effective the counsel.

 

God's word is right-literally, straight. "His word expresses His nature which is ‘righteous...just and loyal'" (The Abingdon Bible Commentary). His word is His law. What God utters comes to pass. His word "makes the thoughts and plans of the people of no effect" (Amplified Bible). In the last portion of the Responsive Reading, the psalmist has been raised from a deadly disease that had been completely healed by God. Instead of the sackcloth of misery, he wore a festal robe of gladness. His enemies hoped he would die, but he was fully recovered. Throughout this Lesson we'll see examples of the counsel of men, which is based on unreality, in conflict with the word of God, which is reality itself.

 

Section I: Separating the Chaff from the Wheat

By God's word, creation came into being (B1). Nothing anyone can do or say will ever alter this truth. "Counsel is considered a decision or plan of action. When God's plans and those of men collide, the human schemes come to nothing" (The Interpreter's One Volume Commentary on the Bible). God's direction is good and reliable. In Isaiah (B2) we read that God will be with us no matter what. God is always there to help us. Have you ever hit a point where you didn't know which way to go, or what to do? In biblical times, the Children of Israel looked to the prophets for counsel. In Jeremiah (B3) the word of God is warning the people not to follow the false prophets who speak from dreams. The real prophet has God's word. The dream is always unreal no matter how engaging it might be. The word of God separates the chaff-the dreams or unreality-from the wheat-God's word that is reality. God's word provides nourishment like the wheat. False words and conclusions based on human reasoning are like the straw. They provide no nourishment at all. The New Testament refers to God's word as the "spirit of truth" and human reasoning as "the spirit of error" (B5).

 

Mrs. Eddy points out that error is only a false supposition. It has no truth in it (S1). The children of Israel were promised a new instrument "having teeth." We too have such an instrument. We have Christian Science, which provides the understanding that enables us to separate the fables from the facts (S3). Human belief tries to distinguish between the false and the true, but it can't because it resides in the unreal world of dreams. Understanding comes only from God (S4). Abingdon notes that true prophecy doesn't amuse, it converts. The life of Jesus and the teachings of Christian Science aren't about entertainment either. They are vital to our wellbeing. They unfold the reality of good and the unreality of evil (S5).

 

Section II: "You Have the Right to an Attorney"

Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit (B6). Jesus continually consulted with God about man's condition. As a result, he regularly healed those he met. He had a connection with God and multitudes came to him for help. They knew they could count on Jesus to set things right. They went to him as a counselor. They were right to do so, because he could see the difference between the real and unreal. In citation B9 the psalmist is looking to God for help because his former friends had turned into enemies and were treating him with cruelty. In this verse, to plead is "to strive as in a court of law" (The One Volume Bible Commentary, Dummelow). It also means, "to enter a legal controversy" (Interpreter's). Most of us have seen movies or television shows about court cases. People expect their lawyers to believe in them and to fight tooth and nail for their freedom. Lawyers are often referred to as "counselor." On the prosecution side, the lawyers are working vehemently to get a conviction. The accused need their own counsel to defend them. Mrs. Eddy writes that man has a "moral right to annul an unjust sentence" (S6). Note that she says "unjust sentence." Such would be the case with sickness. (Sin is dealt with in a later section.) Jesus acted as counsel for the accused through his healing work, and he won every case.

 

Mrs. Eddy uses a courtroom scene (S7-S10) to illustrate how the law of God heals. The sick man is the defendant. Personal Sense is the plaintiff. False Belief is the attorney for the plaintiff. The jury is full of Mortal Minds and other unsavory characters. The judge is Medicine. Notice that in the Court of Error the defendant has no attorney to represent him. All the witnesses are called to testify against the man. If you take the time to read the whole trial, you'll also notice that many of the witnesses testifying for the prosecution were once thought to be friends of the defendant. Have you ever felt betrayed by those you trusted? Like it was you against the whole world? I once witnessed a court case in which the defendant had everybody against her, even her family. Her public defender did next to nothing on her behalf. The prosecutors acted like they were on the big screen or at least auditioning for some title role. The person didn't stand a chance. This is how it might seem when we're in a severe situation. In the story presented by Mrs. Eddy, the defendant is pronounced guilty and sentenced to death. But Christ, Truth, arrives in the nick of time!

 

Section III: Take Your Case to the Supreme Court of Spirit

Nothing is too hard for God (B11). His record is strong, showing loving-kindness to generations. He is great and is the true "Judge of all the earth" (B12). In B13 the psalmist is fighting for himself. Trusting completely in God for deliverance he proclaims, "I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord." This is the attitude we need to take if we expect to win our case against sickness. We should fight for our innocence with all we've got. When in need, do you fight for your freedom? No matter how many are against you, nothing can happen to you without your consent. So never consent to defeat.

 

In Science and Health, we return to the trial scene (S12-S17). But now, Christian Science is counsel for the prisoner. The appeal is in a different venue too. The new trial is being held in the Supreme Court of Spirit. Do you take your case to the Supreme Court? If you want to win, that's what you've got to do. Christian Science regards the prisoner with "utmost tenderness." In the full version of the story, each witness is debunked and the unfairness of the first trial exposed. The statutes that govern the case are taken from the Bible. "There are no trials for sickness before the tribunal of divine Spirit." The Jury, this time of Spiritual Senses reaches the verdict of "Not guilty!" One thing to remember is that even though the prisoner was captured, he was always innocent. But that wasn't enough to free him. He needed the Not Guilty verdict. If you are struggling with a trial, don't ever admit guilt. When we pray about sickness, we do so, not to become innocent, but because we are innocent. There is no help for us in material methods. They may pretend to be our friends, but they will turn on us and aim to bring us down. Our true friend is God. Trust Him alone as your counsel. Even if you don't know how to fight for yourself, God does. Trust in His counsel and declare your freedom.

 

Section IV: False Counselors Entice Us toward Evil

We've dealt with unreality that is unpleasant like sickness. Now we turn to unreality that claims to be enjoyable-in other words, sin. Isaiah's song of victory (B14) is not about foreign powers or peoples, but "the hostile forces of the world" (Interpreter's). Although the warning in Proverbs (B15) is against alcohol, the same can be said for drugs or any addictive substance or behavior. In Ephesians, (B16) there is a warning not to be deceived with vain words. This is an allusion to certain religious cults associated with Dionysus. They believed that intoxication was "a means of communication with the divine" (Abingdon). Similarly, today there are some who believe drug-induced states of consciousness bring us into a divine experience. Certain philosophies also declare that it's natural for man to behave a little wildly and pass off sensual indulgence as harmless diversions from the grind of daily life. The scripture says don't be drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit.

 

In Science and Health we are cautioned, "Neither sympathy nor society should ever tempt us to cherish error in any form, and certainly we should not be error's advocate" (S17). Sympathy is to feel what others feel. We shouldn't be moved to sin because others are doing it. To be an advocate is to argue in behalf of something. We are often tempted by commercials to feel that using alcohol will be the key to excitement, happiness, and friends. Don't believe it! It's normal to want those things, but sinning will not satisfy those desires. Sin is incapable of providing pleasure. Mrs. Eddy says, "There is no enjoyment in getting drunk..." True satisfaction comes from God.

 

Section V: Hatred of Good Is Overcome by Action

Although this section is very brief, there is a big message in it. The hate referred to in Psalms (B17) is specific. Those who "sit at the gate" are the "worthless loafers" of the town, and the subtitle of the chapter is "Piety Mocked" (Interpreter's). In Abingdon, the subtitle is "Unmerited Suffering for Loyalty to Convictions." The psalmist is hated for his adherence to goodness. In short, those too lazy to work make fun of him because he's trying to do the right thing. In Romans (B19), we are cautioned not to "let the wickedness of others provoke evil passions" in us (Dummelow). True friends will never want you to do anything to harm yourself. Whatever tempts us to sin is not a friend. Especially, when it tries to make us feel foolish for wanting to be good. Evil hates goodness. Look to God for your counsel, and you will be safe.

 

Mrs. Eddy assures us that hate is not legitimate at all (S21). The "doctrine of absolute Christian Science" is that "evil or matter has neither intelligence nor power." False, evil opinions certainly do come from a place where non-intelligence hangs out. When tempted, consider the source. Every statement of evil is false (S22). If you know your true self, your spiritual nature that cannot be touched by evil lies, you will be victorious over evil (S23). Your Leader counsels you to "overcome evil with good" in every circumstance. Referring to Paul's similar command in Romans, Abingdon notes that the Christian is surrounded with evil but he has with him "forces of good which are yet stronger; and by no partial withdrawal, but by active exercise of good, he is to win the victory over evil." Our strength is not passive. "Active exercise of good" overcomes evil.

 

Section VI: Overcoming the "Last Enemy"

So far, we've touched on the unreality of sickness, sin, and hate. Now we come to the "last enemy"-death. The old saying that the only two inevitable things are taxes and death shows how deeply rooted the belief in death is. In each section of this Lesson, we've had examples of unreality being thrust upon us by hostile enemies. In this section we see how the best man who ever walked the earth was faced with the worst form of hatred. The verses from Psalms (B20) set the tone for the peaceful, expectant approach one must have to overcome the assault of death. God must be his only counselor. He is glad, rejoicing, and hopeful. He is sure that God will not let him rot in the grave. God will show him the path of life, and he will find all satisfaction in His presence. Jesus exemplified this strength of character. He knew what he was up against (B21). He didn't deserve the death sentence. God raised him because he was innocent and held firm to his true nature (B22). That nature was deathless. It is said in Matthew that Jesus' resurrection from the grave, began a mass resurrection of "many bodies" (B23). There is scholarly debate over the accuracy of this statement. Many feel that it is a symbolic statement and that Jesus' resurrection made it possible for all to rise from the belief of death. There are definite logistical problems if you take the story literally. Irrespective of what may have happened to others in their graves, Paul certainly believed that what Jesus did counted as a victory for all of us (B24). The understanding that death is unreal grounds us solidly in truth and gives us unshakable faith.

 

Mrs. Eddy confirms that we must disbelieve in death (S24). She too, understood that Jesus' demonstration was the evidence that death was "a mortal illusion" (S25). As sin and sickness leave our experience, we will see "unquestionable signs" of error's demise. Do you think it's too much to hope for? Mrs. Eddy tells us that not only should we expect resurrection, but ascension! In the last two citations we are given assurance that when unreality loses it's power to influence us, sin, sickness, and death will disappear. The whole mortal scene will vanish like a dream. We will wake up to life in Spirit. That's some counsel worth listening to!

Resources: 
1. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
2. The Abingdon Bible Commentary
3. Amplified Bible
4.  The Interpreter's One-Volume Commentary on the BibleEdited by Charles Laymon
5. 
 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

 

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