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Your rightful place is with the Son who wants to find and save you! Lesson Met for "Christ Jesus"

Craig L. Ghislin, C.S., Glen Ellyn (Bartlett), IL
Posted Sunday, February 25th, 2007

Your rightful place is with the Son who wants to find and save you!
Lesson application ideas for the Bible Lesson on "Christ Jesus"
for February 26-March 4, 2007
by Craig L. Ghislin, C.S. of 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! EACH WEDNESDAY: CHECK www.cedarscamps.org/metaphysical/  FOR A FREE FRENCH TRANSLATION of this weekly "met" offered by Pascal Bujard of Switzerland.
 
Have you ever lost anything? Did you look hard for it? If you found it, how did you feel? How hard we look for something may depend on how valuable the item is to us. If something is lost it is separated from its owner. In the Golden Text, the Son of man is looking for that which belongs to him. This implies that our rightful place is with the Son. Not only does the Son desire to find us, but to save us, as well. The word translated as "save" also means "to deliver, protect, heal, preserve, and to make whole" (Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible).
 
In the Responsive Reading, the Pharisees and scribes criticize Jesus for spending time with "sinners." Obviously the Pharisees and scribes didn't consider these individuals to be very valuable. But Jesus rebukes them with the story of the lost sheep. He is implying that to God, these individuals are valuable. Thinking through your own experience, isn't there a great feeling of joy and relief when you find something you had lost? Once I found a pillow used to erase the chalk in my Lesson books after several years of searching. Even though that pillow wasn't really valuable, I was tickled pink to find it. By contrast, once when I was in grade school, we lost my brother during a family day at the lake. The situation was serious, and he was very valuable to us. Our whole extended family was there, and it was an all out manhunt. I remember looking out at the water and wondering if I would ever see my brother again. I prayed so hard to know that God was protecting him and that He could never lose sight of His child. Not too much longer after that, he was found sitting in the sand watching some older cousins out in the deep water. They had not even known he was there. I'll never forget how full of gratitude, joy, and relief I was once he had been found. Perhaps you too, have had a similar experience. Whether we've lost something great or small, there is always great joy in finding it.
 
 Jesus tells us that such is the joy in heaven over one repentant sinner-more than over ninety-nine just persons. Dummelow notes that the "just" persons are those "which think they need no repentance, but really need it more than the sinners." Whether we identify more closely with the just or the lost, we can know that we too, are precious to God. The Christ is seeking us today as always. And there is great rejoicing when we are found.
 
Section I: The Shepherding Christ
The rulers of Judah just weren't cutting it as shepherds of the people. Ezekiel represents God as taking back His flock and promising to appoint a true shepherd (B1). For Christians, Christ Jesus fulfilled this promise. "The Word was made flesh" (B2). The meaning of Word or Logos as noted in previous Lesson discussions, is multi-layered in meaning-including both the thought, and the thought expressed. "Stoics and Platonists made much of the Logos as the ‘mind of God' reflected or immanent in the intelligibility, rationality, order, and harmony of the universe" (Interpreter's One-Volume Commentary of the Bible). The poet Wordsworth captures the all-pervading concept of Logos this way:
...And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean, and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man,
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things. ("Written A Few Miles Above
Tintern Abbey," July 13, 1798.)
 
The declaration of Jesus as the embodiment of the Word is a profound claim. Jesus represented the fullness of divine attributes. His teaching demanded a change in our nature brought about through grace-the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life (Strong's). In Jesus' call to Nathaniel, there are two references to the need for correction in the Hebrew thought. First, Jesus refers to Nathaniel as one in whom there is "no guile." It is believed that deceitfulness was a particular problem for the Israelites, beginning with Jacob's stealing of his brother's birthright. The second reference is when Nathaniel was impressed that Jesus seemed to know him before being introduced. Jesus answers that this minor act would pale in comparison to what the disciples would experience through his ministry. They would soon see the heavens open as Jacob did with angels ascending and descending. Thus, the locked-up heavens would again be opened, and communication between God and man would be restored.
 
Mary Baker Eddy understood the Christ perhaps more than anyone before or since. She writes, "Christ expresses God's spiritual, eternal nature" (S1). Jesus embodied this nature. The Christ has always been present and comes to all of those who are ready to receive it. Jesus was human, but he was the highest concept of the perfect man the world has ever known. He was "inseparable from Christ" (S2). It was the Christ that animated Jesus and was the authority for everything that he did (S3). Jesus came to help those lost in mortal belief. (S4). The Christ is still active today seeking those who are lost. If campers become separated from their group, they can take comfort in knowing that their friends and counselors are praying and watching for them. They can trust that they are always looked after and cared for. If we lose our way in any area of life, we can trust even more that the Christ is able to find us and bring us safely home.
 
Section II: Help for Those Who Question
The Pharisees were sticklers for the rules of the law. They considered anyone who was not as scrupulous as themselves in observing the "details of ritual law" (Interpreter's) to be sinners (B3). The root word for "sin" in Hebrew actually means, "to miss the mark" (Strong's). Similar to the rulers referred to by Ezekiel, the Pharisees were not very successful shepherds. They were upset that Jesus had contact with "undesirables." But Jesus was not interested in ostracism: His mission was one of inclusion. Even John the Baptist questioned whether he was the Messiah. Jesus answered John through his healing works. He also promised that anyone who believed in him would be blessed (B4). Which category would you fall into? Do you think like the Pharisee who is more concerned with rules than with love? Or do you feel like an outcast because you don't follow every rule to the letter? Perhaps you doubt the healing power of the Christ. As Jesus answered then, so the Christ answers today every concern you might have about the divine authority of healing power.
 
Mrs. Eddy points out that Jesus was misunderstood because he operated on an entirely different basis from his opponents. "He was at work in divine Science" (S5). He taught that sin and sickness could be overcome through the power of God (S6). Jesus claimed his authority with healing proof. Without healing, his words would not have had such a lasting effect. Mrs. Eddy understood Jesus' proof to be the demonstration of Christian Science (S9). Some might be taken aback by this claim, but Mrs. Eddy made her statement based on the same foundation that Jesus used to back up his statements-healing. If you find yourself in doubt about the legitimacy either of Jesus' demonstration or of Christian Science, you need only see the record of healing proof-solid evidence of the truthfulness of the divine healing Principle. Our bound volumes are brimming with testimonies from well over a hundred years. At camp testimony meetings everyone from the youngest campers to the oldest staff line up to give gratitude for the healing proof they've had in their lives. Many of the testimonies given at camp have taken place right there during the session. These healings are evidence of man's unbroken relationship with God. Based on healing results, it is perfectly logical to conclude that modern spiritual healing is the same method Jesus taught and practiced.
 
Section III: Genuine Repentance
In this section both the Psalmist and the woman who washed Jesus' feet with her tears are deeply repentant. Only the transforming power of the Christ can bring such a change of heart. Psalm 51 (B5) was written from the depths of the soul. It exhibits a heart completely laid bare and utterly sincere. "A broken spirit" says Interpreter's, "is one in which the self-assertive craving for autonomy has been shattered and replaced by conformity to God's will." God desires "truth in the inward parts." This is "opposed to self-deception or conscious hypocrisy...opposed to mere superficial goodness" (Dummelow). This state of consciousness is genuine. It isn't concerned with appearances. The woman who came in to Jesus had this broken spirit. She was overwhelmed by the change in her character and was filled with gratitude for her friend Jesus. She washed his feet with tears and wiped them with her hair. Dummelow writes, "To appreciate this act we must remember that it was one of the greatest humiliations for a woman to be seen with her hair disheveled." She was not self-conscious. Her love of the Christ poured out of her.
 
Mrs. Eddy placed this story in the opening pages of the chapter on "Christian Science Practice." She notes that Jesus did not turn the woman away even though he could have (S10). She writes, "Out of the amplitude of his pure affection, he defined Love" (S12). Mrs. Eddy is very direct in her statement that the Christ destroys sin (S14). Yet look at the fullness of Jesus' love for the sinner. Science and Health states, "The divinity of the Christ was made manifest in the humanity of Jesus" (S15). Divinity is not made manifest in proscriptive rules and rituals. Nor is it manifested in self-righteousness. Divinity is manifested in openhearted, abundant affection for all men. Again, which character do you identify with? Have you felt enough remorse to repent? Have you felt the transforming power of the Christ? Have you shown the affection of divine forgiveness to the sinner?
 
Section IV: The Christ Meets Every Human Need
Simon questions Jesus' status as a prophet, for "to be touched by her is to be contaminated with her sin" (Interpreter's). Jesus answers this concern with a story of two debtors who were both forgiven even though they owed vastly different amounts. Those who love most are those who stand most in need of forgiveness.
 
Usually this story is used to point out Jesus' loving treatment of the woman. But we can also see how Jesus treated Simon. He could have openly rebuked him. But instead, he led Simon to reach his own conclusion through a parable. Our Leader points out that this was often Jesus' method of instruction (S17). This is an example of "the rich in spirit helping the poor" (S18). Jesus demonstrated that while it was right for him to accept the woman's repentance, it was also right for him to forgive Simon. Do you find it harder to forgive some rather than others? In some ways, Jesus could have been more disappointed with Simon than with the woman no matter how bad a life she had lived. She saw the need for healing and accepted it, while Simon should have known better. Everyone needs to examine themselves (S19). The Christ comes to seek and to save each individual mentioned in this Lesson. But notice that these individuals are also seeking. Some are seeking understanding; some are seeking purity, and others health. As noted earlier, the object sought after belongs to the seeker. They were seeking what spiritually belonged to them. Jesus, in turn, sought those who were ready to receive him.
 
Section V: The Lesson Is Brought Home
Once Simon starts to get the point, Jesus explains it further (B8). Simon failed to offer the ordinary courtesies a guest might expect in those days. The woman did all that Simon failed to do and more. Rather than use oil to anoint Jesus, she used expensive ointment. Jesus wasn't comparing the woman's sins to Simon's, but he was comparing the measure of their gratitude. "Both Simon and the woman are forgiven...but, the value of God's forgiveness depends upon the reception it receives" (The Abingdon Bible Commentary). Simon didn't fully appreciate his own position nor Jesus' forgiveness. The woman overflowed with gratitude. In seeking to save those who were lost, Jesus showed us how to find our true natures. "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me" (B9). This suggests that "For one to accept this way of life means to deny himself, even to lose...his life in order that he may find the true way of life that God alone can provide" (Interpreter's). We attain self-discovery through self-sacrifice and self-denial.
 
Mrs. Eddy urged her followers to have the genuine repentance displayed by the woman rather than the self-righteousness shown by Simon (S20). She asks whether we seek Truth through material conservatism and personal homage or through repentance and meekness. It seems that material conservatism and spiritual seeking are contrary to each other. Yet our Leader's question shows that there have been those who have tried to approach God that way. The Pharisaical thought that puts appearance and personal homage above genuine love and affection cannot be successful in finding the Christ. We should "regard our neighbor unselfishly" (S21). If you find yourself tempted to behave like Simon, take a moment to ponder this lesson.
 
Section VI: No Discrimination In Christ
According to Dummelow the woman of Canaan (B10) was not just an ordinary heathen. As "one of the nation the Jews were bidden to exterminate," she would have been held in quite low esteem. It is notable that, even though Jesus was the foreigner in the territory, the woman acknowledged his royal lineage to the house of David. When she pleaded for her daughter, Jesus appeared to ignore her. When the disciples urge him to grant her request, so he could send her away, Jesus said he was only sent to the lost sheep of Israel. She continued to press her case. Jesus responded, "It is not meet to take the children's bread and cast it to dogs." At first glance this might seem really degrading. However, on closer examination, the Greek word used for "dogs" means "little dog" as in a household pet, not a mongrel. The woman picked up on this and reminded Jesus that such "little dogs" are lovingly provided with the scraps of bread used to wipe the master's plate and hands after the meal. Jesus commended her persistence and healed her daughter. Here Jesus showed that the Christ saves all who seek it without discrimination. This is echoed in Galatians (B11). "In Christ...all racial differences and class prejudices [are] dropped from view" (Abingdon). If you were to seek healing as this woman, would you be as persistent as she? On the other hand, would you be willing to help someone who came to you for healing as Jesus did regardless of race, class, or human condition?
 
Mrs. Eddy reminds us that Christians are under the same "direct orders now, as they were then" (S23). Do we possess the "Christ spirit" that reaches out to all of humanity? Do we recognize that even those who appear to challenge this healing power are actually seeking answers? Jesus' message and healing power is for all people throughout all time (S24, 26). Do we resist the Pharisaical temptation of self-righteous criticism? The Pharisees' mistake was that they were in fact, in more need of the Christ than the so-called

sinners of their day. Christ is free to all. Everyone deserves it, and everyone can find it. Mrs. Eddy foresaw a time when everyone would seek this healing truth. It is natural to look for what seems to be lost. The Christ is still seeking to find and save its own. If you feel like you're lost, let the Christ find you. If you feel you have already been found, join in the work of seeking others. Whenever we find something, we realize that it was never really lost at all. So it is with all the Good Shepherd's sheep. He brings us home rejoicing.

Camp Director's Note: The above sharing is the latest in a 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. B1 and 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.)  Spirituality is your innate estate that connects you moment by moment with God.  (See S&H 258:30) Christ is the gift of light that Jesus gave.  This Christ light of spiritual understanding comes with and reveals infinite blessings. So, have fun unwrapping and cherishing your very special, spiritual gift(s)!  Then, wherever you are, share them with all as big blessings that make the Infinite difference!

 
Enjoy!
Warren Huff, Camp Director     director@cedarscamps.org     (636) 394-6162
CedarS Camps Office (where you can now mail requests or support till the office moves back to camp in May)
1314 Parkview Valley
Manchester, MO 63011

The weekly Metaphysical Newsletter is provided at no charge to the 1,200 campers and staff blessed each summer at CedarS, as well as to CedarS alumni, families and friends who have requested it.  However, current and planned giving contributions are a big help and are greatly appreciated in defraying the costs of running this service and of providing needed camperships, programs and operations support. Click http://www.cedarscamps.org/giving  for more about how you can provide support online or to get information or discuss privately how to make a special gift to help perpetuate CedarS work.
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Another new, visually-oriented and very helpful resource for study of the weekly Bible Lesson is being produced by The Christian Science Publishing Society and can be found at: myBibleLesson.com.  What a great auxiliary to lesson study-- maybe using a handsome new set of student books now sold in Reading Rooms! MyBibleLesson contains word definitions, Bible background, timelines and translations, plus many healing ideas to use.  Why not check out this effort to help bring to life each beloved Bible lesson in order to bless the youthful thinker and Sunday School student (and teacher) in us all! or copy and paste this link into your browser.
 
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