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Make Your Home in Love - the ultimate and only Conflict Resolver! - Application ideas for the Lesson on "Love"

Craig L. Ghislin, C.S., Glen Ellyn (Bartlett), IL
Posted Sunday, July 29th, 2007

Make Your Home in Love - the only and ultimate Conflict Resolver!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on: "Love" for July 30-August 5, 2007

By Craig L. Ghislin, C.S. of Glen Ellyn, IL


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!   You can sign up free to have these mets emailed to you in English by Monday or in French or Spanish by Wednesday: CHECK www.cedarscamps.org/metaphysical/ FOR A FREE TRANSLATION of this weekly "met" offered in FRENCH by Pascal Bujard of Switzerland AND now in SPANISH by Ana Arcioni of Spain.

Where do you dwell?  Of course this question does not pertain to your physical location but rather, the location of your thoughts.  In other words, "Where do your thoughts reside?"   In The Student's Reference Dictionary "dwell" is defined as: "To abide as a permanent resident, or to inhabit for a time; to live in a place; to have a habitation for some time or permanence."  Dwelling implies continuing in a place.  It's not just stopping by for a visit, but taking up permanent residence.  The Golden Text tells us that if we dwell in Love, we dwell also in God and God in us.  Do you actually dwell in Love?  Or do you just visit once in a while when you find it useful or have a particular need?  This is something to think about as we study this week's Lesson.  [This week let's each discover the peace of dwelling in unconditional, divine Love and so bring ultimate resolution to all the conflicts that appear to be raging around us.  Remember the idea "the storm may roar without me ... and can I be dismayed?" (CS Hymn 148) as you make your home in the harmony of principled love in your cabin, activities, home and community.]

 

Responsive Reading

Jesus was unique.  The phrase "only begotten Son" literally means "one who is like no other." (The Abingdon Bible Commentary)  He gave the world a view of Love beyond anything it had known before.  When we think of loving we usually think first of those we like, or our friends and family.  Most cultures throughout history have thought that way, too.  Dummelow notes that, "Whereas the Pharisees confined salvation to a single race, and believed that the Messiah would judge the Gentiles with extreme severity, our Lord declares that God has sent His Son to save the whole world, and not to judge or condemn any part of it."  Individuals who believe themselves to be righteous often place too much emphasis on rules and regulations and judge one's spiritual status according to how closely all the rules are obeyed.  Jesus taught that all the laws and rules could be simply distilled into love for God and love for man.  This love would be sufficient to fulfill all laws.  This love includes a "yearning to possess more of the Spirit of God, and a strong desire to be at his service." (Abingdon)  The rest of the Lesson explores these concepts.

 

Section I:  It All Starts with God's Love

John had very firm ideas on the need for love as central to Christian practice. (B1)  Love needed to be acted upon, not just pondered.  Abingdon paraphrases John this way: "God is love - has made his love known to man through his Son - awakening man's echoing response - demonstrated in visible acts of service to others.  In these acts religion culminates, and if such acts do not appear, the whole structure is futile.  God has set our brother where we can see him in order to give our love an object; if we neglect this object which stands before us, there is no profit in proclaiming our affection for an invisible God, for without love of man, love of God cannot exist."  John also insists that love originates with God not with man.  We know we dwell in Him "because he hath given us of his Spirit."  The logic behind John's view is that the shepherd seeks the sheep and not the sheep the shepherd.  Since God is Love itself, if we are without love, we are without God.

 

Mrs. Eddy also begins her reasoning from the standpoint of God.  Since God is infinite and God is Love, Love is infinite. (S1)  All that exists "is in and of God, and manifests His love."  There's no possibility here for man to be apart from God or without Him.  In fact she writes, "The Divine Being must be reflected by man... ." (S2)   To understand God demands "absolute consecration of thought energy and desire."  Absolute means, "free or independent of anything extraneous... unconditional... ."  Consecration means, "devoting and dedicating a person or thing to the service and worship of God... ." (SRD)  This may seem like a pretty tall order, but when we achieve that full understanding of God, we will have no other Mind but God. (S3)  We will be conscious of goodness and nothing else.  While acknowledging that this is the ultimate goal, our first duty is to obey God and love man. (S4)  The theme of love comes up quite often in our Lesson-Sermons.  It's no wonder when we consider that love for God and man is square one in our journey.  Try to dedicate yourself to the service of God and love of man, even for just a little while to start.  Then each day do it a little longer. 

 

Section II:  Love Rejoices Only in Goodness - Not in Iniquity

Anyone who's ever tried devoting all their thoughts to God knows that there are times when mistakes are made.  If some sin or fault takes someone in, the Bible teaches us (B2) to "...set him right and restore and reinstate him without any sense of superiority and with all gentleness..." (The Amplified Bible)  We need an attitude of Christliness rather than condemnation.  Unfortunately, when someone strays from what is considered appropriate behavior, the first inclination is to discipline or cut him off.  The word "restore" is actually a medical term meaning to "mend" or "set" like a broken limb as opposed to cutting it off. (Abingdon)  Our actions should be constructive rather than destructive.  The story of Noah's drunkenness (B3) is more about the reactions of the sons than about Noah's indiscretion.  According to Abingdon, Ham's disrespectful mockery of his father was an insult and mean-spirited.  The other two sons responded with compassion and kindness.  They went in backward.  They weren't interested in seeing or magnifying evil.  [Let us, like them, be "... free from envy, scorn, and pride, Our wishes all above, Each can his brother's failings hide, And show a brother's love." (Hymn 126)  The respectful attitude demanded by the 5th Commandment in Exodus 20:12 ("Honour thy father and thy mother" and by implication, honor all in authority) is not just the "5th Suggestion," but a requirement that's guaranteed to bring long-lasting harmony to our families, cabins, classrooms, dormitories, sports teams, ... ]  Shem and Japheth discreetly covered Noah and were not impressed or interested in the picture of evil.  Ephesians (B4) reminds us to follow Christ's example of kindness and forgiveness.  The verses from First Corinthians are taken from Paul's famous discourse on love.  Paul chose his words "with a view to rebuking the arrogant and self-important persons in the church who are behaving so shamefully toward others." (Interpreter's One-Volume Commentary on the Bible)  It's interesting that the term "beareth or endureth all things" means "to cover."  This shows that Paul preferred that mistakes of others should be kept confidential and not turned into a public issue. (Ibid.)  The list of attributes Paul uses to describe love are fully discussed in a little book called "The Greatest Thing In the World" by Henry Drummond.  This little book discusses in detail each of the things love is and is not.  If you haven't read it yet, it would be well worth your time to do so.  [Putting Drummond's insightful analysis of Paul's chapter on love into action has been life-changing -- especially to those who were feeling somewhat like the self-righteous, elder brother in Jesus' parable of The Prodigal Son.]

 

Science and Health points out that God is consistent. (S5)  Love doesn't behave with retribution or cruelty.  There is no real enjoyment in sin.  It brings its own punishment. (S6)  The sufferer is to be treated with patience and kindness. (S7)  You can't really fight evil by getting mad at it.  But a spiritual approach [like that taken by the Prodigal son's father] will cause sin to yield. (S8)  It must be remembered though, that while we save the sinner, we take active steps to destroy the sin.  To "extract" means, "to draw out." (SRD)  Mrs. Eddy tells us the way to draw out error is to "pour in truth through floodtides of Love."  Counterintuitive it may be, but it is the way none-the-less.  As children learn rules for games and behavior they are often very quick to point out who's cheating or misbehaving.  It makes them feel mature.  Sometimes the same thing happens in church.  While it is certainly important for Christian Scientists to adhere to its rules, we need to recall that the first rule is to love.  Abingdon writes of Paul's discourse, "Love saves enthusiasm from passing into fanaticism."  These words coincide with Mrs. Eddy's practice and are worth contemplating.  The Lord's Prayer teaches us to ask that our own sins be forgiven in the same manner as we forgive others. (S9)  Mrs. Eddy's interpretation of that verse is "And Love is reflected in love."  Here again, we are reminded that although God is the source, we need to act in accordance with His law in order to feel the blessings of that law.

 

Section III:  Compassion Is the Key to Healing

Jesus' healing ability was driven by his compassion for those in need. (B6, B7)  The word translated as compassion in the Bible means to yearn, feel sympathy, pity, to have inward affection and tender mercy toward. (Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible)  Jesus was always willing to answer the call of those in need.  In II Corinthians (B8) we notice again that our compassion and ability to comfort others, begins with God's compassion for us.  The verse implies that just as we are comforted, so we will be able to comfort others.  We can share what we have with those in need. 

 

Mrs. Eddy says that, "The rich in Spirit help the poor in one grand brotherhood... ." (S10)  Providing loving help to those in need is the natural order of things.  If we fully consecrate our lives to God we will quite naturally care for others.  Mrs. Eddy sees compassion for others as a prerequisite to healing. (S11)  As noted earlier, knowledge of the rules isn't sufficient for Christian practice.  Spouting quotations and metaphysical laws have little healing effect.  In fact, our Leader calls such behaviors "so many parodies on legitimate Christian Science."  Her use of the concept of "parody" is telling.  Parody is taking an author's words or thoughts, altering them, and using them for a purpose other than their intended one. (SRD)  So quoting our Leader without having the love of Christ is making a burlesque (or distorted joke) of her words.  From this point of view, it seems it is better to say nothing at all, unless Love is the motivator.  Jesus' statements were backed up by his loving care for his patients.  Therefore, they had healing effect.  If we don't have "unselfish affections," we have no way to even relate to the healing power of Love. (S12)  As the ultimate goal in our Christian walk is to be completely consecrated to God's service, so the ultimate goal of healing is to work completely through divine Love. (S12)  Experience shows us that we don't always reach this goal.  But, once in a while, we get close to it.  When we do reach this goal, healing is instantaneous.

 

Section IV:  A Guaranteed Return on Your Investment

When doing good works, do you expect a good return?  To cast your bread upon the waters (B9) is to "show kindness, even when a return is least expected.  A blessing in some sort although it may be long delayed, will result." (Dummelow)  We never need to worry about return for the love we express.  The Bible promises our return will be "in good measure." (B10)  Whether or not we see the immediate fruits of our sowing, Jesus teaches us to do unto others what we would have them do unto us. (B11)  This "Golden Rule" was further evidence that Jesus taught "not as the scribes."  The scribes relied entirely on tradition.  The Jews were so enamored of tradition that they would listen to nothing else. (Dummelow)  The traditional Jewish wisdom of the time said, "avoid doing unto others what you would not like done to you."  This is a negative approach.  It is commonly called "The Silver Rule."  But Jesus turned the statement into a proactive command.  He looked not to legal precedent for his authority.  His authority came from God alone.

 

"Jesus mapped out the path for others" writes Mrs. Eddy. (S13)  He was a trailblazer.  [as well as a Pioneer, Explorer, Uplifter ... names of CedarS' Boys Camp cabins.]   His conflict resolutions show us the way to a more permanent peace within ourselves and our dwellings.  It is to live spiritually and to have an "all-absorbing spiritual love." (S14)  The textbook confirms that we experience blessings proportionately to the preponderance of good in our thinking. (S15-17)  This is a law, and we can count on it.  When we put the facts of Science above the evidence of the senses, we will see the true likeness everywhere. (S18)

 

Section V:  Divine Love Manifested in Humility

Jesus was so close with God that he had no will apart from His.  Jesus said he could do nothing without the Father. (B13)  Jesus gave us an example of how we should behave.  His washing the disciple's feet (B14) provided an example of the humility and selflessness that would be necessary to further his cause.  Rivalry and ambition would have no place in true Christianity.  Jesus did more than serve at the table - a task not unusual for a host.  He chose to perform an act usually done by slaves - washing feet. (Dummelow)  He acknowledged that he was their master, and he reminded them that God was his.  Do you ever balk at doing menial tasks for others?  Or do you sometimes feel that a particular job at church is beneath you?  True Christian Love is not concerned with a return, status, or acknowledgement.  It just gives unconditionally.

 

Mrs. Eddy eloquently points out that Jesus' humane deeds and unselfish approach were the evidence of his oneness with God. (S19)  His life demonstrated and defined Truth, Life and Love. (S20)  She asks, "Who is ready to follow his teaching and example?"  Are you ready?  How do we respond to the needs of the world?  Do we neglect the poor?  Sometimes Christian Scientists have the mistaken notion that providing practical assistance to mankind is "metaphysically beneath them."  Jesus met the human need practically, as well as metaphysically.  Mrs. Eddy herself gave to many charities and at one time provided needy children of the town with shoes.  She rightfully counsels us to examine ourselves to see where we really stand in our Christian practice. (S22)  Bluntly, she states that pride is useless.  "Meekness and charity have divine authority." (S23)  Yet one more time, we are reminded that our power is proportionate to our goodness.  (S24)  If we want to be Christians, we have to follow Jesus' example. (S21, 24)  There is no other way.

 

Section VI:  Love Withstands All Challenges

The signature theme and identifying characteristic of Christians is their love for each other. (B15)  Jesus loved as the Father loved him and fully expected us to follow his example. (B16)  We are cautioned in II Timothy (B17) that there will be troubled times ahead that will be hard to deal with.  People will pervert and misdirect their love.  They will be self-centered, greedy, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient, ungrateful, and profane.  They will be "without natural human affection (callous and inhuman)... slanderers... troublemakers... loose in morals...haters of good...lovers of sensual pleasures more than lovers of God." (Amplified)  Sound familiar?  This is exactly what we are dealing with today.  But if we promptly and persistently resist these enticements and offenses, we will succeed. (B18)  No matter how awful the human scene appears nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.  (B19)  The prayer in Philippians (B20) is that our love be properly placed so we can distinguish right from wrong.  Abingdon notes, "The cause of Christ occasionally suffers from the impetuous enthusiast.  The cure for this is not less love and more sense, but a truer love..."  Paul desires that Christians be sincere.  Here sincere means "transparent, open to God, or sun-tested."  When a rock is upturned, bugs scatter.  The righteous will not flee like bugs when the light is turned on. Their deeds will stand up to scrutiny. (Abingdon)

 

Love for one another seems simple (S25), but material beliefs pull us off the track.  They neither help us to understand God nor find happiness. (S26, 27)  Evil talks a good game, but has nothing substantial to offer.  Mrs. Eddy's hope echoes that of Paul. (S29)  As Abingdon writes, "As our love grows we become more and more sensitive to the wise and searching eyes of God, and therefore, more and more alive to the things that matter."  Understanding God as Love is really the ultimate for Christian practice.  As our Leader writes, "More than this we cannot ask, higher we cannot look, farther we cannot go." (S30)  So let's put it to the test!  Do you dwell in Love?  Or, do you just visit once in a while?  Try loving more each day.  Be mindful of living and moving in Love and try to devote every thought and act to God.  Then as the Bible promises, we find that we will dwell in Him, and He in us.

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. 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

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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 gifts 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 MAIL your tax-deductible support to:

The CedarS Camps, Inc.        THANKS TO YOU PRECIOUS DONORS

19772 Sugar Drive                      FOR YOUR ONGOING SUPPORT

Lebanon, MO 65536               OF CedarS IMPORTANT WORK!

LETTING SPECIAL NEEDS BE KNOWN -We are seeking funds to help cover:

1       Four recently-scheduled Christian Science lectures at CedarS (for different 2007 sessions).  These 30-minute talks were offered by the Manual-based authority of the Christian Science Board of Directors with a topic of: "HEALING: the ultimate adventure!"  Campers and staff have been LOVING these!  (All but about $1,500 has been covered as of 7-29.)

 

2.     The CSO (formerly "College Org") Summit over Labor Day 2007 (Aug. 31-Sep. 3) at CedarS for all college and university students and professors as well as incoming high school seniors.  Please help spread the word about this hopefully annual event sponsored by TMC Youth (The Mother Church Youth committee) with workshops offered by Christian Science lecturers, speakers and writers for the Christian Science Monitor, Journal and Sentinel.  You can find details on the inside covers of recent periodicals and register at tmcyouth.com.

 

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.


A 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 vehicle to help bring to new meaning and life each beloved Bible lesson in order to bless the youthful thinker and Sunday School student (and teacher) in us all! 
 
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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