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Admit the Facts of Life and Stop Falling for the Fictions!

Dan Carnesciali C.S., St. Louis, MO
Posted Monday, October 6th, 2008

Admit the Facts of Life and Stop Falling for the Fictions!
Metaphysical application ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson: "Are Sin Disease and Death Real?" October 12, 2008 by Dan Carnesciali, CS of Ballwin, MO

 Editor's Note: The following application ideas for this week and Possible Sunday School Topics that follow are offered primarily to help CEDARS campers and staff (as well as friends) see and demonstrate the great value of daily study and application of the Christian Science Bible lessons year-round, not just at camp! You can sign up to have them emailed to you free -- in English by Monday or Tuesday each week, or by each Wednesday you can get a FREE TRANSLATION in French from Pascal or in Spanish from Ana. (We no longer have a translator available for German.) JUST SIGN UP at www.cedarscamps.org/newsletters

The Science of being asks a simple but elemental question. Is evil real? Mary Baker Eddy addressed this question head on. "The evidence of the physical senses often reverses the real Science of being, and so creates a reign of discord, -- assigning seeming power to sin, sickness, and death; but the great facts of Life, rightly understood, defeat this triad of errors, contradict their false witnesses, and reveal the kingdom of heaven, - the actual reign of harmony on earth." (S&H 122:1-7) Let's explore how to defeat this triad of errors by reformation and elimination of fear.

Golden Text:
The context of this passage is important. The prophet Habakkuk, a contemporary of Ezekiel and Jeremiah, lived during the reign of Johoiakim, who was a king who hastened the final destruction of the kingdom of Judah by not following God. The leaders of Judah at that time oppressed the righteous. Oppressing those that follow God is of course contrary to the nature of Yawheh, who protects those that are downtrodden and enslaved. While Habakkuk recognizes the lawlessness and immorality of his people, he questions God's plan to punish Judah. In this passage, the prophet appeals to God whether He would act so contrary to His nature by using the Babylonians to punish the people of Judah, even though they have done wrong.
(Interpreter's One-volume Commentary of the Bible, The Leadership Bible)

Responsive Reading:
The Old Testament prophets continually asked the people to turn back to Yawheh and have a right relationship with Him. The prophets know that good is wholly spiritual; it does not come from or through matter. You never know where the topic of salvation will come up. This summer, while at a park with a group of CedarS campers, a man asked me what I thought about heaven and hell. He wanted to know whether Christian Scientists believe that everyone can be saved, or whether some of mankind are doomed to hell. I told him that Jesus said that heaven is here and now, so we should be able to enjoy it now. I saw him later that day and he said, "Thank you." Isaiah tells it like it is. The way to be right with God is to follow these imperatives. Turn to Me. Follow only Me. Know that [good] is God. Worshipping God-good brings blessings: joyfulness; forgiveness; healing of all disease; deliverance from destruction; being crowned with love; enjoying the kingdom of heaven here and now.

Section 1 - Fear
God-good is present no matter what we're going through. (B2 is a wonderful camp song, "Whither," with arrangements by Dwight Oyer.) The Psalmist said, "For the kingdom is the Lord's: and he is the governor among the nations." (Ps 22:28) What then cannot govern us? Fear cannot govern us. God's Word is a lamp to our feet, a light to our path. (B3) Can you feel the all-encompassing safety of the following passage "Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee:"? In Hebrew water often symbolizes turmoil. When you pass through the waters, Love will be with you. (B4) "For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you." (B5, NIV) Feel that complete sense of love, protection, and assurance. God is able to thresh mountainous fears and beat them small and take them away like chaff. No matter how big your problems, no matter how big your fears, you can overcome them. (B5) Is it beyond your ability to demonstrate this? Not as a reflection of God it isn't. (S1) It is very difficult to destroy disease if you think it is something that can be seen or felt. (See S&H 395:21-23) "All that really exists is the divine Mind and its idea, and in this Mind the entire being is found harmonious and eternal." (S7) A reflection of God cannot feel or experience something outside of reality. Since divine Mind does not struggle, His reflection does not struggle. Hallelujah! Fear is not impressive.


Section 2 - Reformed
The Prodigal Son, (the terribly wasteful son) is an amazing story. Philip Yancey, the author of What's So Amazing About Grace?, tells how a friend of his was living in Lebanon and read the parable of the Prodigal Son to some modern day Muslim Lebanese.   The people he read it to had never heard it before, and they lived at a standard of living not unlike the people in Jesus' day. Their reaction to this story was that it could not happen because no father would tolerate a son behaving like that. You see, when the son asked for his inheritance, it was incredibly rude. In Mid Eastern culture, the son was saying, "Dad, I wish you would drop dead so I could have your money." They also said that in their culture a father would never ever run. Slaves, or workers at the bottom rung of society, run and hurry around, but a wealthy man distinguishes himself by moving slowly. He would never humiliate himself by hiking up his long robe and running to greet his son. He would never have embraced him and offered him gifts. And, this is probably the exact reaction that Jesus was aiming for. (B8) [Although the Muslim religion didn't begin until the 7th century, I am told by Bible Scholars that the Jews and non-Jews in Jesus' day would have had a similar reaction.]

Our heavenly Father's love is immense. He wants His sons and daughters to come home and be reconciled. In the story, the son came home because he ran out of money and because he was starving. Wasn't it also the realization that he could not live without good?  The son's return home symbolizes reform.  The sin which had originally seemed so inviting ended up ruining his life.  That's the nature of sin - destruction.  True reform comes when sin is uncovered and completely abandoned. In belief, sin is enjoyable.  But, in reality is, it is painful.  When sin is healed, the suffering it causes stops.  Reform, Mrs. Eddy points out, is totally natural to our true nature.  To reform is to abandon wrong, to correct evil, to change to a better state.  It is a complete renewal of character so that we are one with our Father-Mother.  Sin and sinner would make a reality of sin by keeping it hidden.  Without awakening to sin's unreality, we cannot fully understand the unreality of evil. (S8)
  "To prove scientifically the error or unreality of sin, you must first see the claim of sin, and then destroy it.  Whereas, to prove scientifically the error or unreality of disease, you must mentally unsee the disease; then you will not feel it, and it is destroyed." (S&H 421:26)  It is through God's grace that sin is healed. It is our destiny to see sin's nothingness and be freed from all mental bondage.

Section 3 - Faith is Light, Healing sickness
The woman whom Jesus healed, thought to herself, "If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed." The woman was desperate; she had suffered for 12 years, and suffered many medical treatments. She didn't need the human evidence of healing to know she too could be healed. Jesus recognized this when he said, "Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole." (B12) I don't think he was saying that her personal faith was what brought healing. I think he was a witness to the Christ, which is/was an awareness of her true Godlike nature. It was faith, or the law of good that healed. When the Christ is present, there is no alternative to progress.
If sickness is real, its source must be divine good. When sickness comes knocking at the door of your thought ask, "What does this have to do with me, a reflection of God?" (S12) Human reason and religion come slowly to the recognition of "spiritual facts," Mrs. Eddy says. One spiritual fact is that disease is not chronic. Another spiritual fact is that it would be a mistaken to try and use matter to remove the error which the human mind, not matter produced. (S13) Science is practical because it is applicable to every situation in life, whether the problem is an accident, emotional distress, financial, sickness, or death. "Insist vehemently on the great fact which covers the whole ground, that God, Spirit, is all, and that there is none beside Him. There is no disease." What good would an understanding of the Science of Christ be, if it weren't practical? (S16) "Realize the presence of health and the fact of harmonious being, until the body corresponds with the normal conditions of health and harmony." (S17) When light comes into contact with darkness, it destroys it. Similarly, when Truth comes into contact with error, it destroys it. Darkness is the absence of light, not reality. As last week's Bible lesson said, "As mortals begin to understand Spirit, they give up the belief that there is any true existence apart from God." (S&H 395:21-23) We can give up the belief that disease has reality, that it is something to be felt or experienced.

Section 4 - Death is Dying Out
The 12-year old daughter of synagogue official Jairus was dying. He approached Jesus and pleaded with him to come and heal her. Let's examine how Jesus treated this case. While Jesus was healing the woman who had chronic bleeding, word comes that Jairus' daughter died. It probably appeared that Jesus may have missed the opportunity to heal Jairus' daughter. This is the belief that time, mortal measurements, govern. It is also a limited belief of good, as if doing good in one instance can result in suffering in another instance.
The father, while full of faith, was understandably grieving. In belief, he had suffered an incredible loss. Someone said, "Don't bother the master, your daughter is dead." Wasn't this aggressive suggestion trying to deprive the family of the healing Christ? Wasn't suggestion saying, "It's too late. It's no good. There's nothing that can be done. Maybe if Truth had been applied sooner." How does Jesus respond? He removes the fear and turns thought into healthy channels. He says, "Don't be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed." (B14, NIV)
When Jesus arrived at Jairus' home, a crowd had gathered to grieve with the family. While Westerners tend to be private about their mourning, the Eastern custom is anything but quiet and private. "Matthew and Mark describe the scene as a chaotic and noisy. The Greek verb is thorubeo, ‘be troubled, distressed, aroused ... in disorder.' (Jesus Walk Bible Studies) When someone passes, it is right to support their family in practical and loving ways. Jesus, the master healer, forcefully and repeatedly put out the alarmed thought. First, he carefully chose which thoughts, or the type of thought, which could have bearing on the case. He was careful not to allow a false mental environment to influence the case. Specifically, he directly excluded crowd mentality (general belief). Additionally, he challenged the mental opposition to healing, "Stop wailing! She is not dead, but asleep." (B14, NIV) The crowd's laughter had no bearing on the case. The fact that they "knew" that she was dead had no bearing on the case. The conclusions of matter are not unquestionably solid. (Mortal mind has no Principle.) So what if it said that spiritual facts were laughable. Jesus had already excluded general belief from the case. [Bible scholar Cobbey Crisler pointed out that by making the paid mourners laugh, Jesus was able to throw them out, because they were no longer doing their jobs.]  We can understandingly and firmly know that God-good, the only power of the universe is in charge of all aspects of the case. With the beliefs out of the way, the girl's original and true state of perfection was revealed. Jesus called to her and she woke up, fully healed. (B14) Don't you love hearing that God will wipe the tears from all faces, that He will swallow up death in victory? (B15)

Section 5 - Dominion
As MyBibleLesson.com relates, the vision of a New Jerusalem was very comforting to those who read this passage in 70 AD, because about 15-20 years earlier, the beloved Holy City of Jerusalem and the Jewish temple were completely destroyed by the Romans. St. John was reassuring them that Jerusalem hadn't been destroyed. It was a spiritual idea from God; it was in their hearts. This spoke to both Jews and the early Christians. John was witnessing what God was seeing - divine perfection realized. When this perfection is fully realized, God will be with His people and His people with Him. All tears will be wiped away and there will be no more death, no more sorrow, pain, or terror. (B17)  Does this sound familiar? It should. It's a direct link back to the citation from Isaiah 25 in Section 4. Be conscious of spiritual facts of being. (S25) Accept the spiritual facts and harmony of the universe. (S26) Admit the facts of divine Science, even though they are not supported by conventional thinking. (S27)  Mind is conscious of the spiritual facts and laws that govern the universe. And, by reflection you are conscious of them. "In infinite Life and Love there is no sickness, sin, nor death, and the Scriptures declare that we live, move, and have our being in the infinite God." (S28)  Sin, disease, and death are defeated because they were never real.
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Camp Director's Note: This sharing is the latest in an ongoing, seven-year series of CedarS Bible Lesson "mets" (metaphysical application ideas) contributed weekly by a rotation of CedarS Resident Practitioners and occasionally by other metaphysicians. (To keep the flow of the practitioner's ideas intact and to allow for more selective printing the "Possible Sunday School Topics" and Homework options come on a following page or subsequent email.) This weekly email (and website posting) is intended to encourage further study and application of ideas in the lesson and to invigorate Sunday School participation by students and by the budding teachers on our staff. Originally sent JUST to my Sunday School students and 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, application 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 new angles on daily applicability to some of the ideas and passages being studied. The weekly Bible Lessons are copyrighted by the Christian Science Publishing Society and are printed in the Christian Science Quarterly as available at Christian Science Reading Rooms or online at eBibleLesson.com or myBibleLesson.com. 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.
Enjoy!
Warren Huff, Camp Director, director@cedarscamps.org (636) 394-6162

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Possible Sunday School Topics (P.S.S.T.s) for the Christian Science Bible Lesson for the week ending Sunday, October 12, 2008
Subject: "Are Sin Disease and Death Real?"
by anonymous Camp staff who teach Sunday School at their local Branch churches


Possible Sunday School Topics (P.S.S.T.s) for the Golden Text:
Define a few words here. What do "pure" and "iniquity" mean? What does it mean for God to be of "purer" eyes than to behold "iniquity"? [As God's reflection let this guide what images you are willing to watch and admit into your experience!]

Possible Sunday School Topics (P.S.S.T.s) for the Responsive Reading:
The Responsive Reading (RR) talks all about God and how he forgives, saves, crowns, and redeems. Why does the RR spend so much time talking about God in response to the question "Are Sin, Disease, and Death Real?" Take a look at the superlatives in the RR. Notice the word all and where it is used.
Look at God's jobs - his promises to man; then notice man's jobs [and DO them!]. 

Possible Sunday School Topics (P.S.S.T.s) for Section 1:
In the Bible, look at markers 2 and 4 and modernize those phrases. What do these ideas look like for a modern teenager? Where do teenagers ascend up into; or where do they make their bed? What do our Sunday School students "pass through" in their lives? What are some real-life situations that the Bible is promising God will be there with us during?
Ever get the question "where does sin [error] come from?" as a Sunday School teacher? Well this is the time to really address that question. The entire first section of the Science and Health in this lesson speaks directly to the origin of sin and why it appears to be real but isn't.

Possible Sunday School Topics (P.S.S.T.s) for Section 2:
Notice that the second section begins with a familiar line, but it is from Isaiah, meaning this is the prophesy of Jesus' birth many hundreds of years before he was born. Discuss that idea of prophesy. What do we predict will happen in our own lives each day?  Do we expect to be eating butter and honey all day?   Do we expect to know to "refuse the evil, and choose the good"?
Who did Jesus spend his time with? Ask students if they ever feel unworthy, or like they've made an unforgivable mistake. Then discuss the prodigal son, placing each student in the story as the prodigal. We all make mistakes, the important thing to explore is how does God view our mistakes?
In marker 8, discuss the difference between belief and understanding. In marker 9, why does Mrs. Eddy include both pleasure and pain in her argument against material sensation?
[For a role play scripy of the prodigal son parable in modern language, go to the end of this PSST.]

Possible Sunday School Topics (P.S.S.T.s) for Section 3:
What "garments" do we reach toward for healing? What "issues of blood" do we have? Are we upset with a friend, missing a boyfriend/girlfriend, wanting better grades? The list of human desires goes on. To satisfy those desires, what garments do we reach out for? Are they substantial? What if we reached out to the Christ and the hem of his garment? What was the healing element in the woman's condition?
Look at S&H marker 11. Ask your students if they have ever been afraid that growing closer to God means giving up the things they like most. Then look at S&H marker 11 and see that "Truth destroys only what is untrue." Would God/Truth ever ask us to give up what we like/love most in our lives? If it appears that way, what is really happening?
Look further at marker 14. What is matter? Mrs. Eddy has been talking all this lesson about how matter and the material world do not feel pleasure or pain. When Mrs. Eddy writes that it is "impossible for matter to suffer, to feel pain or heat, or to be thirsty or sick," what does she mean? I have felt pain and heat; I have felt thirsty. If matter is not doing the feeling here, what is?

Possible Sunday School Topics (P.S.S.T.s) for Section 4 -
There is no death process?!?! What could Mrs. Eddy possibly be talking about here? Are we to take this figuratively or literally? What resistance is there to the idea that there truly is no death process? How does it make the students feel to hear that there is, in reality, no death process? Have any of them had to deal with an experience involving apparent death? How do they respond to this claim of Mrs. Eddy's? Does it make a difference in their lives?
What of death? Mrs. Eddy speaks very strongly against its reality in this section. Does that offend anyone? What proof does Mrs. Eddy have; what authority does she have to make her claims about death and its unreality? Do the students get what she means by death is unreal? They should be up in arms against this claim instead of calmly tuning out the conversation. As fired up as students get about the origin of sin, this is an even more compelling conversation to have.
[In the raising of Jairus' daugther from the dead, note how important the mental atmosphere was to the healing.  Bible scholar Cobbey Crisler pointed out that by making the paid mourners laugh, Jesus was able to throw them out, because they were no longer doing their jobs.  What can you do to establish a better mental atmosphere to turn "deadlines" into lifelines, to overcome the blame game of being too late? to revivify a dead relationship or sense of life?]

Possible Sunday School Topics (P.S.S.T.s) for Section 5 -
It's all about revelation. What is a revelation and what is the significance of the book of Revelation?  Study these and explore them with the students. Do the students know that Mrs. Eddy wrote an entire chapter on exploring this book of the Bible?
In the end, the answer appears pretty definitive that sin, disease and death are not real. That comes as no real surprise. But what does this mean for each student? What does it mean in our daily lives to truly consider that sin, disease and death are not real?

Possible Role Play Script for the Parable of the Prodigal Son, Luke 15:12-24, plus the rest of the story, 25-32
adapted from The Message by Eugene Peterson

Ask for volunteers to play:
Jesus (narrator, reads many highlighted lines, could be teacher)
Younger Son (acts a lot and speaks several highlighted lines)
Father (acts and speaks a few highlighted lines on his/her script)
Audience of Publicans and Sinners who could pop up to act out:
Older Son
Citizen of another country with pig job for Younger Son
Pigs and grain-fed Heifer (optional roles, but fun)
Servants of Father

For the rest of the story, not in this week's Bible Lesson:
Older Son (acts some & speaks highlighted lines at the end)
Houseboy (speaks a couple highlighted lines at the end)


Jesus to Publicans and Sinners that got close to hear him, while Father and 2 Sons act it out:
"There was once a man who had two sons. (Older Son out working in the fields) The younger said to his father,

Younger Son to Father:
'Father, I want right now what's coming to me.'
Or
"Dad, I wish you would drop dead so I could have your money." What's So Amazing About Grace, Yancey

Jesus continues telling the parable as the Father and Younger Son act it out:
"So the father divided the property between them. It wasn't long before the younger son packed his bags and left for a distant country. There, undisciplined and dissipated, he wasted everything he had. After he had gone through all his money, there was a bad famine all through that country and he began to hurt. He signed on with a citizen there who assigned him to his fields to slop the pigs. He was so hungry he would have eaten the corncobs in the pig slop, but no one would give him any. "That brought him to his senses. He said,

Younger Son (to himself) :
'All those farmhands working for my father sit down to three meals a day, and here I am starving to death. I'm going back to my father. I'll say to him, Father, I've sinned against God, I've sinned before you; I don't deserve to be called your son. Take me on as a hired hand.'

Jesus continues telling the parable as the Father and Younger Son act it out:
He got right up and went home to his father. "When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he (Father) ran out, embraced him, and kissed him. The son started his speech:

Younger Son to Father:
'Father, I've sinned against God, I've sinned before you; I don't deserve to be called your son ever again.'

Jesus continues telling the parable as the Father and Younger Son act it out:
"But the father wasn't listening. He was calling to the servants,

Father to Servants:
'Quick. Bring a clean set of clothes and dress him. Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then get a grain-fed heifer and roast it. We're going to feast! We're going to have a wonderful time! My son is here-given up for dead and now alive! Given up for lost and now found!'

Jesus continues telling the parable as the Older Son and Houseboy act it out: (The rest of the story)
"And they began to have a wonderful time. All this time his older son was out in the field. When the day's work was done he came in. As he approached the house, he heard the music and dancing. Calling over one of the houseboys, he asked what was going on. He told him,

Houseboy as the party goes on:
'Your brother came home. Your father has ordered a feast-barbecued beef!-because he has him home safe and sound.'

Jesus continues telling the parable as the Older Son and Father act it out:
"The older brother stalked off in an angry sulk and refused to join in. His father came out and tried to talk to him, but he wouldn't listen. The son said,

Older Son:
'Look how many years I've stayed here serving you, never giving you one moment of grief, but have you ever thrown a party for me and my friends? Then this son of yours who has thrown away your money on whores shows up and you go all out with a feast!'

Father:
'Son, you don't understand. You're with me all the time, and everything that is mine is yours-but this is a wonderful time, and we had to celebrate. This brother of yours was dead, and he's alive! He was lost, and he's found!'"
THE END

Possible Follow-up Questions:
1. Have you been like the younger son and made a disappointing choice you wanted to change?
2. Does God keep a record of your bad choices or wrong turns? What is His/Her role?
3. Have you ever (like the older son) felt jealous of someone who got off easy or was rewarded without disserving it?
4. Are the dispositional sins of anger and jealousy as bad as sins of the body?
5. What message from the Father helps heal both types of sins?

 

 

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