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Drop your mental anchor into the depths of Truth and be transformed!

Janet Hegarty, C.S., St. Louis, MO
Posted Sunday, October 19th, 2008

Drop your mental anchor into the depths of Truth and be transformed!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Weekly Bible Lesson on the subject
"Probation After Death" for the week of October 20 - 26, 2008
Prepared by Janet Hegarty, C.S. of St. Louis, 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

If you've ever been caught in the rushing current of a river with the engine on your boat stalled, I'm sure you've discovered the immeasurable value of having a trustworthy anchor on board.  With a failed engine, there's no telling where that current might take you.  You could find yourself suddenly dashed on the shore or marooned on a sandbar down stream.  But when you lower that anchor and feel it catch fast on the river bottom, even though the current is still rushing by, you are immediately secure again.  Everybody needs an anchor.  Mary Baker Eddy points out, "The nature of Christianity is peaceful and blessed, but in order to enter into the kingdom, the anchor of hope must be cast beyond the veil of matter into the Shekinah into which Jesus has passed before us...." (Science and Health page 40:31)  The Bible Lesson this week encourages us to cast our mental anchor deep into the truth of being.  Anchored fast in the Truth, we will be secure and experience purifying progress.

Golden Text: Test all things carefully.  The Amplified Bible translates the Golden Text this way, "...test and prove all things [until you can recognize] what is good; [to that] hold fast."  The world is full of theories and opinions.  Many of these beliefs may seem logical enough on the surface.  But remember, we're not here to be a sponge - soaking in every idea that comes along.  We need to judge each idea carefully to see if there is really any Truth or goodness in it.  In her article titled Contagion, Mary Baker Eddy warns, "Floating with the popular current of mortal thought without questioning the reliability of its conclusions, we do what others do, believe what others believe, and say what others say.  Common consent is contagious, and it makes disease catching."  (Miscellaneous Writings page 228)  Don't float away on the deceptive currents of mortal thinking!  Anchor your thought securely in the Truth.

Responsive Reading:  An unbreakable bond.  The ropes used to connect an anchor to a boat are nearly as important as the anchor itself.  In order to keep the boat secure these ropes need to be strong but also flexible.  The material the rope is made of needs to be able to stretch and contract over and over as the waves lift and lower the boat.  Because the rope is able to stretch it doesn't break or pull the cleat (the piece of metal which connects the rope to the boat) off of the boat, even when the waves are coming fast and furious.  This reminds me of the perfect Love of God, even though Love demands that we "work out our salvation," prove our pure wholly spiritual goodness, this Love never condemns us or gives up on us - no matter how many tries it takes for us to get it right. Our bond with divine Love is infinitely stretchy and absolutely unbreakable.  The verses from First and Second Thessalonians in the Responsive Reading give a beautiful description of this perfect, unbreakable relationship with your infinitely loving Father-Mother God.  You have been "chosen to salvation," chosen to be preserved and protected always, even before you fully discover and prove your perfect God-given goodness.  You have been "called" by God, called to get to know your true Christlike self-hood.  You have been given "everlasting consolation and good hope," which includes all the comfort and encouragement that you'll ever need as you move forward to prove your Christlike nature.  You have been established, made firm and secure by God, to enable you to do all that is right and good.  You have been sanctified by God, bonded forever with Him to fulfill His holy purpose for you.   Fear not. When the waves of mortal sense seem to toss you about, all the while you are secure in Love's embrace.

Section 1:  The persistent love of Love promotes our progress.   Love does put demands on us, but at the same time Love never gives up on us. (B2)  The demands of Love show us the way to discover our true worth and to experience true and lasting happiness.  Human existence is a process of testing things out, judging their value, and intelligently leaving behind those things that are not useful.  Like a boat bobbing up and down on the waves, we reach up for material pleasures and promises and then slump back down when we discover these don't satisfy our real needs.  Gradually though, through experience, we begin to understand the real everlasting value of the immortal, the value of spiritual purity, love, and goodness. (S2)  Then, we focus our efforts to reach for these higher ideals and gradually we begin to ride above the waves of mortal sense.  Even the mortal dream of death doesn't interrupt this process. (S4)  Death is nothing to God, Life.  Everlasting Life and Love continues to encourage and demand our progress, continuing even after what appears to the mortal senses to be death, until we each fully awaken to and prove our individual perfection. Be courageous, you will ultimately win the battle, and remember that Love is watching over you every step of the way.

Section 2:  Christ Jesus' way of living marks the pathway to heaven.  When you travel on a river you'll notice that there are navigational buoys, large red and green markers, in the river.  These buoys mark the channel of the river.  The channel is a wide and deep part of the river where it's safe for boats to travel.  It's very important for boats to stay within the channel.  If you drive your boat outside of the channel you'll get stuck in the shallow waters.  God sent Jesus to mark the pathway to heaven for us, to show us the most direct route to heaven and to keep us from getting stuck in the shallows of material beliefs. (B7)  Now if heaven was a place, Jesus might have left something like a trail of physical buoys to mark the route.  But, heaven is not a place, it is "a divine state of Mind." (S8)  So, the buoys Jesus left behind must be mental buoys.  To follow these mental buoys we need to study Jesus words and consider his life, thinking deeply about what kinds of thoughts gave rise to Jesus' actions. (S7)  Several of these qualities of thought are listed in this section - "unselfishness, goodness, mercy, justice, health, holiness, and love." (S9)  Those are the buoys Jesus used to mark the way to heaven for us.  We each have plenty of opportunities every day to put these thoughts into action. (S8)  As we do this day by day, we will discover more and more of heaven, that "divine state of Mind," which is ever available for each one of us. Stay in the safe and secure channel Jesus has marked out for us, be unselfish, merciful, and loving, then every day you will enjoy more of heaven.

Section 3:  The Rich Man and Lazarus.  In this story, the name Lazarus is equivalent to the name Eleazar which means, "He who has God for his help" and this name is intended to describe the character of the beggar. (Dummelow)  The Rich Man in the story has had everything he could have ever wanted in his life, but he has refused to help the pitiful beggar that lay at his gate.  His selfishness and pride during his lifetime created the "great gulf" that separates himself and Lazarus. (B10)  The moment of death does not suddenly change one into a heavenly (pure and loving) minded person.  This kind of change only comes through experience. (S11, S12)  Although the divine demand "work out your own salvation" can seem like a huge undertaking, it must be do-able or Love would not require it.  This demand also comes with the promise that "God worketh with you." (S13)  As with all big jobs, they can eventually be accomplished if we work at them persistently.  Each day make a point to remember who you really are - the pure, loving, wholly spiritual idea of God.  Reject any false suggestions that evil could have any influence over your thoughts or actions.  Evil has no power or reality.  God is all good and is the only power.  As an idea of God you can only be influenced by the pure goodness of God.  Then let's gain some experience, let's put our prayers into action in our daily living.  Congratulations!  You're working out your salvation!  Persist and you will ultimately win the prize.

Section 4:  Two more important points to consider on your way to salvation.  Jesus was faithful in carrying out his mission.  He pointed out the way to salvation, faithfully.  His teaching was truly outside of the box in his own time and continues to be contrary to the popular theories about life, even today.  Because of the originality of Jesus' teachings and demonstrations, he was pushing against the popular currents of thought and this often stirred things up. (B12)  But this stirring didn't intimidate Jesus.  He knew that all power belongs to God, Life.  He anchored his mission firmly in this truth:  God, Life is all-in-all.  Jesus' might was in his meekness.  He could not be moved off his course because he knew without a doubt that this good and perfect power, which he relied on totally, had no limitations. (B13)  Jesus didn't stir things up to cause trouble, though.  He lovingly stirred thought in order to lift it higher so that mankind might accept the new, true idea and be free.  It may take more effort to travel against the current than to travel with it, but it is good to remember that there are many very important and desirable destinations that are up stream.  Have you ever heard this suggestion come to the door of your thought: "I'm not going to try to figure out the truth about death right now, I'll think about it some other time."  Keep your mental door locked against that suggestion.  There is no logical reason to put good off until later.  Let these two points, that Jesus has won, leaven your thought today.  Point 1: Death is to be overcome.  Jesus did not give in to death, he overcame it and proved that death is not a necessary step to reach salvation. (S16)  Point 2: There is "a probationary and progressive state beyond the grave." (S17)  Jesus resurrection and ascension proved man will experience continual progress until the last error is destroyed. (S17)  Take hold of good today.  Let your thought be gently stirred by Jesus' demonstrations.  The only thing you can lose is your fear of death.

Section 5:  Anchor your life in the Truth that heals and share it freely.  Following his resurrection, Jesus made this wonderful promise to all of his followers for all time: "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." (B16)  Isn't it interesting how the disciples acted on this promise?  They didn't just practice the healing for themselves, they took the healing out into the world to fulfill God's demand for progress. (B20)  This promise is for you, too.  You do believe in the power of Christian healing.  Your Father-Mother God has made the great gift of Christian Science available to you and you have experienced its healing power.  It is natural to spread the wealth of this healing truth to your friends, neighbors, fellow students, and co-workers.  To share the Truth is to love, to be unselfish.  Remember, "Loyal hearts can feel no fear." (Hymn 58)  "And so, brothers of mine, stand firm!  Let nothing move you as you busy yourselves in the Lord's work." (B18) (J. B. Phillips)

Section 6:  Your life is like a shining light in the world.  On a river at night, it's very dark, but some boats continue to navigate rivers all through the night.  These boats are equipped with lights to alert other boats to their presence and there is a system of navigation lights posted at intervals along the shore to indicate where the channel of the river is and to help you keep track of your location.  I've been on a boat in the Mississippi River late at night and I can tell you first hand it is really dark out there.  Those marker lights on the shore may be the only thing you can see clearly.  These lights, even though they appeared to be rather small, gave me a great deal of comfort and hope that I would soon arrive at my destination safely.  As you continue day by day to follow the path Jesus has set before you, your life is being gradually transformed and the light that shines in your life will give hope and comfort to others. (B19)  "I am confident of this: that the One who has begun his good work in you will go on developing it until the day of Jesus Christ." (B20)  (J. B. Phillips)  Continue to love goodness. (S26)  Doing this is following Jesus' example and it will safely guide you to the "true idea of Life." (S27)  The Bible Lesson never leaves us where it found us.  Be assured, you have made progress in your journey towards salvation and you will continue to progress until "the perfect day." (B19)
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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 "Probation after Death"
Christian Science Bible Lesson for October 20-26, 2008
by anonymous CedarS staff who teach Sunday School at their Branch churches


Possible Sunday School Topics (P.S.S.T.) for the Golden Text
The Golden Text says to "hold fast that which is good."  How do we do discern what is good? What examples of good do we see every day? [To stay anchored to good and refuse to let it go you can have a "Power half-hour" with the Lesson every morning and focus on a God-centered goal before every activity like we do at camp.]
[What are examples of "the deceptive currents of mortal thinking" (Janet Hegarty's Met) and of advertised contagions that would carry us away if we aren't God-anchored?]

Possible Sunday School Topics (P.S.S.T.) for the Responsive Reading
What are some of the directions/commands that we are given in the Responsive Reading? [In what ways do you: "encourage one another and build each other up?" (I Thes. 5:11, New Int'l Version) Mrs. Eddy shows us how we can actually "pray without ceasing?" ("Self-forgetfulness, purity and affection are constant prayers." S&H 15: 26) Can you double your efforts to express these three qualities? How might avoiding even the appearance of evil change the ways we dress, talk or carry ourselves?] What are the benefits of obeying the guidelines Paul lays out?

Possible Sunday School Topics (P.S.S.T.) for Section 1
In the first citation in S&H, Mrs. Eddy states that universal salvation rests on progression and probation.  What do you think this means?  Why are both pieces necessary?  What kind of progress do we aim for in our experiences?  What path are you following?  How do you follow God's direction?  Have there been times that you've felt God's guidance?  How did you know it was God's direction?

["Groundhog Day" is a movie that features progression and probation.  Bill Murray, the main character, is a weatherman whose self-centeredness is "on probation."  He is so frustrated by the repetition of a hopeless, daily cycle that he attempts suicide -- many times even, and in different ways, only to find that suicide is no solution since the same problems repeat themselves the following day.  Finally, he rebels against the feeling of frustrated helplessness by making a conscious decision that he can be happy by being unselfish.  He spreads happiness and seeks constant self-improvement (progression), even when his prospects and conditions never seem to improve.  The result of this joyous, selfless action, in rebellion to his situation breaks the dead-lock and daily produces progressive joy and self-forgetful, good deeds.]

Possible Sunday School Topics (P.S.S.T.) for Section 2
What does it mean to repent?  Three Beatitudes are shared in the second section.  What is important about being poor in spirit?  Why are they the ones who receive the kingdom of heaven?  What does it mean to hunger and thirst after righteousness?  How can you be pure in heart?  When you see God, what do you think you see?  For answers to these questions and to check out meaty meanings for each Beatitude delivered with a Sunday School teacher's gusto go to http://tmcyouth.com/blogs/sunday-school/beatitudes/

Possible Sunday School Topics (P.S.S.T.) for Section 3
What do you think Jesus meant by his parable about the rich man and the poor man? What is the lesson that we are to learn? God certainly never punishes us, so what is the message we are to learn? How do we turn away from the "pleasures and pains of matter?" (S&H 14)

Possible Sunday School Topics (P.S.S.T.) for Section 4
What does Mrs. Eddy mean in S&H marker 18 when she states that we must have trials and self-denials, as well as joys and victories? What are some joys and victories that we achieve? What are the benefits to waiting patiently on the Lord and setting the Lord always before us? (See B12 and B13)

Possible Sunday School Topics (P.S.S.T.) for Section 5
What are the "signs following" (see B16) that Jesus spoke of? Was Jesus making suggestions or giving directions? How do we follow his example? Do you ask yourself the questions Mrs. Eddy asks in S&H 25? How do we go about "approaching the supreme good"? [Bring in the 3rd Commandment and connect it with B18: "your labour is not in vain in the Lord."]

Possible Sunday School Topics (P.S.S.T.) for Section 6
"Every step towards goodness is a departure from materiality, and is a tendency towards God, Spirit." (S&H 26). How do we go about taking these steps? What types of roadblocks do we come up against? How do we overcome them? How do we make sure we are taking steps in the right direction? How do we know if we are taking steps in the right direction? What is the "sinless joy" Mrs. Eddy refers to? How do we witness it in our lives?
[How willing are we to be progressive as a little child and leave the old for the new as God directs? (S&H 30, p. 323:32)]

 

 

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