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Feeling Stressed? Its Time for a Reality Check!

Craig L. Ghislin, C.S., Glen Ellyn (Bartlett), IL
Posted Saturday, March 24th, 2007

Feeling Stressed? It's Time for a Reality Check!

Lesson application ideas for: "Reality" for March 26-April 1, 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.

Golden Text

Do you ever find yourself getting anxious over a situation?  Do you find yourself overreacting to what's going on and worrying about how it will turn out?  Do you fret over the multitude of human theories that appear to hold sway in human thought and lead people away from God's sovereignty? Well this Lesson's for you.   It's time for a reality check. When things look like they're heading down a slippery slope, it's time to get real with God.  Nothing can be added to or taken away from what God has ordained.  God is changeless.  We can always rely on Him.  So as we'll find out, we can rest easy by trusting in God and getting real!

 

Responsive Reading

In the realm of reality, there isn't any room for dualism.  The passage from Isaiah sets the tone for this Lesson.  There aren't two.  There is only One and that's God-the One and Only.  Nothing is out of God's control.  To human reasoning, there have always been and always will be pretenders claiming a creative power aside from God.  No need to get our feathers ruffled.  God declares the end from the beginning.  He knows exactly what He created.  It's been said that knowledge is power.  When you know what is true, lies don't impress you.  Proverbs declares wisdom to be the first element of creation.  Before anything else was made, wisdom was there.  This wisdom spoken of in Hebrew literature is similar to the "Word" as used in Christian literature. Wisdom originates in God.  "She is against all evil of whatever hue.  Wisdom is the basis of government, the producer of abundant wealth, the ancient creative power working with God in the framing of the habitable earth" (The Abingdon Bible Commentary).  Those who hear wisdom-who watch and wait for it are blessed.  In other words, they are happy, fortunate, and to be envied (The Amplified Bible).  Why?  Because they can be confident that the only reality is that God is in charge.

 

 

Section I: God and His Idea Are Real-That's It-There Isn't Any More!

Everything that Proverbs states regarding wisdom holds true for the "Word" as stated in John (B1).  "The Word is God's self-revealing activity within God himself before the world was" (Abingdon).  The Word reveals to the world what God is.  It expresses life and light.  The Word not only creates but it explains that creation.  All material things are temporal, but God's Word endures forever (B2).  A review of history proves God's Word to be valid.  Prophecies throughout time have been fulfilled, and God orders events according to His purpose (B3). His works are so plentiful that they can't even be numbered.  Not only God's works are great, but His thoughts as well (B4).  Psalm 77 (B5) shows that no matter how bad things seem, remembrance of God's works will bring comfort and hope.  Psalm 17 (B6) shows that the spiritually minded can see reality right where they are. Irrespective of outward conditions, knowing reality gives us supreme confidence that all is well because God is in charge.  Abingdon writes, "In vigorous contrast to these men of the world who are sated with the material things of life, the psalmist has his satisfaction in the vision of God..."

 

Science and Health begins with reiterating that without the Word "was not anything made that was made" (S1) If God didn't make it, it was never made and it isn't real. Reality is spiritual, harmonious...eternal (S2). Mrs. Eddy points out that beginning means "the only" (S3). Once again, we see that there is no room for a dualistic view of reality. The real is only God and what God does. "God's thoughts (reality) are perfect and eternal...Material and temporal thoughts (unreality)...involve error..." (S4). If erroneous thoughts have no divine cause, we don't need to be impressed with them. They aren't real. "Nothing is real...but God and His idea" (S5). The human picture can sometimes seem pretty depressing, but seeing reality lifts the burden and allows us to rest in reality with confidence and poise.

 

Section II: Let the Dreamers Dream-God's Word Is Forever

The title character in the movie "The Great Santini" lamented out loud as he read his morning paper, "Oh God why did you put so many [goof balls] in the world at the same time?" With all the trouble going on around us, it could be tempting to feel that way. Some predict doom around every corner. Others are power hungry. Others hide with their head in the sand. But whatever is based on evidence of the senses holds no weight when put in the balance with God's Word. Relying on anything other than God's Word, it is easy to be deceived. "True prophecy does not amuse, it converts man" (Abingdon). The dreams and false conclusions of man compared to the Word of God are like the chaff to the wheat (B7). God will make Israel an instrument with teeth that will thresh the mountains, and the wind will carry the husks away (B8). Threshing crushed the grain separating the meat from the husks and straw. Then the threshers threw the grain into the wind so the dirt and leftovers would be separated from the good grain.

 

Christian Science functions as a fan to separate the chaff (unreality) from the wheat (reality) (S7). Christian Science gives us the tools wherewith to separate the worthless fables from the spiritual reality. Spiritual facts and material beliefs are contradictory, but "the spiritual is true, and therefore the material must be untrue" (S9). Mrs. Eddy calls the material universe a counterfeit of the spiritual universe (S11). A counterfeit looks very much like the real thing. It could fool someone who didn't know better. But a trained eye can tell the difference. Art experts study the original.  If all they did were study forgeries, they'd get overwhelmed pretty quickly and have no way to tell which piece was authentic. Studying Christian Science is like studying the original. God's thoughts are eternal and therefore real. The more you know about the eternal realities, the less you will be taken in by the unreality. Christian Science explains that the real and the unreal cannot be blended together. Science separates the real from the counterfeit (S12).

 

Section III: And Speaking of Counterfeits...

In this parable (B11), the servants get flustered when they find tares in the field. They jump to the conclusion that the best course of action is to dive in and start ripping them up. The householder is wiser and takes a more measured approach. He recognizes immediately that the tares are the work of an enemy. He also knows that it would be a mistake to remove them at that point. Tares look very much like wheat before they mature. There would be a real danger of leaving some tares behind and accidentally pulling up some wheat if you didn't wait until the harvest. At that time the tares darken and are easily distinguished from the wheat. The householder wasn't upset by the situation. He knew what needed to be done. He calmly and wisely directed his servants how to resolve the issue. Proverbs 12 (B12) points out that, truth is forever, but a lie is only for a moment. There's no need to worry. The lie is never true.  When you understand the truth the lie is easily dismissed (B13).

 

This understanding is the "line of demarcation between the real and unreal" (S13). Mrs. Eddy is very clear that progress separates the unreal from the real (S14, 16). She is also very clear that the two never touch (S15). We all have to deal with some tares in our experience. Sometimes, we can be like the servants-ready to start ripping up all sorts of things in order to eliminate the tares from our lives. But the parable suggests that we ease off and wait until we have the understanding to really be able to tell what should be saved and what should go. The old saying is, "Don't throw out the baby with the bath water." If there's something in our lives that needs to go, as we mature in our understanding, it will become just as obvious to us as darkening tares. The tares never touch the wheat anyway so there's no need for anxiety over it.

 

Section IV: No Healing Opportunity Is Ever Missed

In the story of Lazarus (B14) Jesus is the very picture of serene dominion. When he first hears of Lazarus' illness, he doesn't react with alarm at all. He calmly pronounces the situation to be an opportunity to glorify God. When he reveals that Lazarus had died, he still exuded complete confidence in God's healing power. Upon his arrival at the scene, both Martha and Mary, as well as a crowd of others, were all dismayed that he had arrived too late. Acknowledging only what he knew to be reality, Jesus claimed his authority to heal. Twice Jesus was said to have "groaned in the spirit." Dummelow interprets groaning as "being moved with indignation at the havoc wrought by death...." So Jesus may have momentarily expressed disappointment that those around him were totally taken in by the lie. But he got right back to reality. He thanked God in advance for the healing and called Lazarus forth from the grave.

 

Mrs. Eddy notes that if Jesus had believed the picture before him, he would not have been able to see through it (S17). The reality is that the only existence is spiritual and eternal. Just as the tares and wheat cannot be mixed, life and mortality cannot be united (S18). Death seems very real. But reasoning spiritually, we can see that if man lives, the opposite belief that man dies can never be true (S19). We must "disbelieve" in death. Mrs. Eddy writes that thought will waken from a belief in death to realize that there is no death at all. Note that Mrs. Eddy also says there is "no inaction, diseased action, overaction, nor reaction."-no reaction. Have you ever been in a situation where it looked like all hope was lost? Like it was too late for healing to take place? Did you react to it with dismay? Even the picture of death didn't impress Jesus. "Life is real, and death is the illusion." Jesus knew life was the only reality. Reality trumps the lie every time. The next time it looks like the opportunity for healing has passed, remember this lesson and calmly maintain the real view of things.

 

Section V: Material Thinking Limits Our View of Reality

Jesus handled the raising of Lazarus in a way that was totally foreign to the materially minded. This proof of Jesus' power to overcome the belief of death stirred up jealousy and envy in Judas (B15). Here we begin to see the contrast between one who sees reality and one who doesn't. In citation 6 in the Bible, the Psalmist declares that he will be satisfied when he awakes in the likeness of God. As we mentioned before, this is in contrast to those who look at life from a material point of view. Judas just couldn't see things the way Jesus did. He was bent out of shape over things of material worth, but had little comprehension of spiritual value. The "deep things of God" are revealed by Spirit (B16). The deep things are real. "Only the man who is spiritual...actively receptive and obedient can comprehend God's gifts" (The Interpreter's One-Volume Commentary on the Bible). This spiritual view of reality brings serenity, calm, peace, confidence, and dominion.

 

Mrs. Eddy tells us, "We must look deep into realism instead of accepting only the outward sense of things" (S21). The qualities in the definition of "oil" on page 592 (S22) are much more valuable than costly ointment. Mary utilized her "oil." She had begun to see the deeper things of God. Mrs. Eddy says, "the spiritual sense of truth must be gained before Truth can be understood" (S23). We can only grasp this spiritual viewpoint as we demonstrate honesty, unselfishness, lovingkindness, and meekness. Judas was lacking in these areas and the tares in his consciousness took over (S24). Although it can be hard to have "tares" exposed and uprooted, Mrs. Eddy felt the sooner they were exposed the better (S25). When error is exposed as error, the harvest time has come. The tares can be dumped and the wheat saved.

 

Section VI: The "Consciousness of Reality" Is Possible Now!

The bulk of the crowd that cried, "Hosanna" on what has come to be known as Palm Sunday, were those who sought a deeper view of life than what the senses had to offer (B17). They had witnessed the healing power of spiritual reality. The Pharisees misunderstood and thought Jesus was a threat to their power. Their uneasiness and consequent action to destroy Jesus' mission betrayed their lack of vision. Our earthly view of things is like looking at an image in a distorted, smoky mirror (B18). You can see a little bit but it's not very clear. John's spiritual vision in Revelation uncovered a view of reality that only spiritual mindedness can see (B19). But this view is not "out there" somewhere. Jesus said it was "within you" (B20). Ecclesiastes states, "that which is to be hath already been" (B21). Reality doesn't evolve out of the unreal. Reality is true now, and always.

 

Christian Science shows us "the glorious possibilities" of the real, immortal man, "unlimited by the mortal senses" (S26). Most of the time our anxieties are due to a concern over the possible loss of something important to us. However, man can never lose anything that is truly real. The only things that can be lost are the tares of material belief (S27). As "we learn the way in Christian Science" we will begin to see the reality of things (S28). The good news is that we can begin seeing this reality right now. Remember, Jesus said the kingdom of heaven is "within you." John's vision showed that it is possible for us to see the spiritual reality right where we are. The more spiritual one's thought the clearer reality is comprehended. To the materially based, "unillumined human mind" existence appears to be material (S29). Material existence isn't a condition of being. It is a state of consciousness. When our thoughts are spiritualized we can see reality right here and now. Seeing reality we can rise above anxiety. We can rest stress-free and live joyously and confidently in the reality of being.

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.
You can also just mail your tax-deductible support to:
The CedarS Camps, Inc.
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Manchester, MO 63011


To print a formatted and printer-friendly version of this week's Met just go to: http://www.cedarscamps.org/metaphysical/met.asp or your e-mail address can be added per your request by our staff at CedarS.  For additional support, or if you have any concerns, please send e-mail to: director@cedarscamps.org.

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 even reading beyond citation markers using the handsome new 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.

 

You can receive or stop your free subscription to this weekly newsletter in your email box by Sunday or Monday of each week by subscribing - or unsubscribing --at www.cedarscamps.org/myCedars.

 

 

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