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Escape the limitations of matter! Follow Christ Jesus, "our great Teacher," and he will show the way.

Janet Hegarty, C.S., St. Louis, MO
Posted Monday, March 17th, 2008

Escape the limitations of matter!  Follow Christ Jesus, "our great Teacher," and he'll show you the way.  

Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on "Matter"

For the week of March 17 - 23, 2008

Prepared by Janet Hegarty, C.S. of St. Louis, MO

 

Editor's Note: The following 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 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 of each week, or by Wednesday you  can get a FREE TRANSLATION in French by Pascal or in Spanish by Ana. JUST SIGN UP at  www.cedarscamps.org/newsletters

Christ Jesus is the great Teacher.  In the book of John he is called "Rabbi," the Jewish word for teacher or master, (Westminster Dictionary of the Bible) and he is also described as, "a teacher come from God." (B1)  Mary Baker Eddy uses these names for Jesus to honor him as a teacher: "Master;" "preacher;" "the highest instructor;" "the great Teacher;" "the great Exemplar;" and "the meek demonstrator."  Jesus didn't just talk about how to gain freedom from material limitations, he showed us how to do it through his own life experiences.  He never stepped out of the role of Teacher, not even when he was crucified.  His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension teach the most important lessons.  By these experiences, he proved that Life is God and is eternal.  He also proved that matter and evil are powerless, nothingness.  He proved, without a doubt, that we can overcome every material limitation.  Christ Jesus is your teacher.  [Possible Uplifting Sunday School Homework (P.U.S.S.H.)]  Study your Bible Lesson textbooks this week to learn the great lessons Jesus teaches.  Enjoy the class, apply the ideas to your daily life, and as Jesus did, you will prove your absolute freedom from matter's supposed limits.  [Possible Sunday School Topic (P.S.S.T.)  While many are Easter egg hunting on Sunday, discuss and affirm your spiritual birth certificate and heritage.  Remember that "If you start out as an egg, you may end up scrambled."]

 

Golden Text:  "He is risen!!"  Picture yourself in the disciples' place.  Your dear friend and teacher, such a good man, more loving than anyone you've ever known, a gentle yet powerful man, has been unjustly and violently put to death.  Then a few days later you hear those amazing words - He is risen!!!  It would be as if you were suddenly awakened from a horrible nightmare.  Isn't that really what the life of Christ Jesus is all about - awakening us out of the dream of mortal existence?  The life of Jesus proves that evil has not and will not win.  By his works, Jesus showed that God, good, is supreme in power.  Jesus' actions urge us to rise above the testimony of the material senses.  His teaching calls out to all mankind: Rise above false laws and limited, matter-based ideas and discover the perfect love of God.  He is risen and now is the time for you to rise to a new understanding and demonstration of your God-given rights.  [P.S.S.T.  What God-given rights of new birth in Christ would you like to rise up to and demonstrate this week?]

 

Responsive Reading:  The resurrection is the foundation of Christianity.  Paul knew about resurrection.  He was stoned by an angry mob in Lystra and dragged out of the city where they then "left him for dead." (C.H. Rieu)  However, as his friends stood around him he rose up alive and returned to the same city. (Acts 14:19-10)   Paul's conversion experience was also a powerful resurrection.  He was resurrected out of a dark state of spiritual ignorance.  The promise of resurrection points to the promise of God's law of perpetual progress. 

The Christ is active in the human consciousness by continuously lifting man out of the darkness of material error.  This activity of the Christ had touched Paul on the deepest level and his life was completely transformed.  Even though Paul was not a personal witness to the resurrection of Jesus, it is clear that he had an absolute conviction that the resurrection had taken place.  "Paul considers the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus to be the primary - indeed the indispensable - evidence." (Interpreter's One-Volume Commentary)  Since Jesus was the Wayshower, Jesus' resurrection shows that men are also to be raised from the dead, both literally as Jesus was and also by means of continual spiritual progress.  In these verses from 1 Corinthians, Paul is urging those who doubt that resurrection is possible to consider the mistake they are making. 

 

This is Paul's argument:  If you don't believe in the resurrection of men from the dead, then you don't believe Jesus was raised from the dead.  If Jesus wasn't raised from the dead, then everything that the Christian believes in is false.  "But the fact is that Christ (the Messiah) has been raised from the dead, and He became the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep [in death]." (Amplified Bible)  In the verses from Colossians which follow, Paul urges his listeners to turn away from mental darkness and to seek spiritual light.  Hymn 70, which begins, "God giveth light to all; who ask with prayer sincere," closes with this encouraging verse:  "God is thy light and health; No death nor darkness there; Turn but to Him, accept His wealth, and all His glory share."  (Christian Science Hymnal, 70)  [P.S.S.T.  Will you make it a top priority during this Easter week to see for yourself the light of spiritual newness (resurrection) and of "things from above" and allow this light and newness to touch you at the deepest level and transform your life completely?]

 

Section 1:  Humility welcomes the Christ light into your thought.  Nicodemus was not just any Pharisee, he was an important Pharisee.  He was a member of the Sanhedrin which was the highest council in the Jewish government at that time. (The New Westminster Dictionary of the Bible)  Nicodemus was a man with serious responsibilities who was held in high regard in his community.  Yet, it's evident that he was also humble enough to admit that there was a spiritual power that lay behind Jesus' healing works.  He had to be willing to overcome personal and religious pride in order to learn about something entirely new and contrary to what he already believed.  Many of his fellow council members would not even consider opening up their thought to learn from Jesus.  Their fear of Jesus' success, and their pride in the religious doctrines of their faith, hid the spiritual importance of Jesus' work from them. 

Humility was fundamental to Christ Jesus' teaching.  Everything Jesus did was in total humility to God, Spirit.  He said, "I can of mine own self do nothing:  as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just;  because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me." (John 5:30)   However, if you didn't understand the humility behind Jesus words and healing works you might mistake him to be a very egotistical person.  Take for example his statement, "Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him." (B2)  Or the statement, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (B3)  If Jesus had meant that God was glorified by his human personality or that this same human personality was the way to holiness, his statements would have been egotistical.  However, it was not a human personality that Jesus spoke of.   It was the Christ, "...his divine nature, the godliness which animated him." (S5)  Jesus made the Christ, man's oneness with God, evident to us through his own humility. (S7) 

 

The egotism of many of the Pharisees kept them from seeing the Christ spirit that Jesus taught.  But the humility of Nicodemus opened the way for him to learn about the Christ, the true spiritual nature of man.  The second verse of Hymn 69 shows us that spirit of humility that Jesus approved in Nicodemus, "Give me, O Lord, a meek and contrite heart, That I may learn to quell all selfish pride, Bowing before Thee, see Thee as Thou art And 'neath Thy sheltering presence safely hide."  (Christian Science Hymnal, 69)  This week, cherish humility so that your thought might be fully open to see and accept ["the Christ ...the divine image and likeness."  (S&H 332:12)  P.S.S.T.  What features of your identity, what accomplishments and what "possessions" are you most proud of?  Learn to feel "born again" in Jesus' humility and model it in regards to each part of your identity, your accomplishments and possessions so that "Jesus' intense human sacrifice" (S14) is not in vain or lost on you.  Remember: "There is nothing more humble (or stress-free) than a reflection."  How does that apply to you?]

 

Section 2:  Keep your focus on "the mighty actuality of all-inclusive God, good." (S8)  [This is one of "the two cardinal points of Mind-healing, or Christian Science which armed him (Jesus) with Love."  Science & Health 52:21, right after (S8)  P.S.S.T.  The other cardinal (central or key) point of Christian Science that Mrs. Eddy highlights is "the nothingness of material life and intelligence" which is implied by the first cardinal point, "the mighty actuality of all-inclusive God, good." (S8)  Discuss and discover how these points are related to each other, to the 5th Tenet of Christian Science (S16, 497:20) and most importantly, to you and your everyday experiences.  When you prove the simplicity and power of these key affirmation-and-denial aspects of Christian Science treatment, you will be a lifelong fan of these "Christian Science Cardinals."   They will arm you, as they did Jesus, with the irresistible power of divine Love.  As a reminder to use both aspects of Christian Science treatment, I give Sunday School students a"2 birds on a bat" (Cardinals baseball) souvenir.]

[P.U.S.S.H.]  Be sure to take a look at the Bible Lesson article on page 21 of the March 17, 2009 Christian Science Sentinel.  The writer, Kathy Fitzer, presents a beautiful discussion of Jesus struggle in the garden of Gethsemane which is the centerpiece of this section.  Even though it is unlikely that any of us will ever suffer the experience of the crucifixion as Jesus did, we can follow the example that he set when we find ourselves in situations that make us feel that we are "despised and rejected of men." (B6) 

 

Jesus' example teaches us to be God-centered, no matter what.  In Jesus' situation, one of his disciples was about to betray him; the disciple was on the way to turn Jesus over to the authorities.  His other disciples, who had come with him to the garden of Gethsemane, failed to follow his instruction to pray that they would be protected from temptation.  While he suffered, they slept.  Yet, Jesus kept his focus, painful as it was for him.  He didn't waste his time grumbling over the futility of having taught Judas.  Jesus didn't react to the ignorance and hatred that motivated his betrayer.  He didn't dwell on the dullness of his disciple, [or "duh-ciples" as they have been called.]  

 

Jesus chose not to indulge in any self-righteousness, self-justification [or even in self-defensive, reactionary moves like Peter who lashed out and cut off the right ear of the high priest's servant.  Read between the chalk marks in Luke 22:50, 51)  In this healing Jesus' attitude exemplifies part of Mrs. Eddy's definition of "GETHSEMANE: ....  love meeting no response, but still remaining love." (S&H 586:24)  Without advance proof]  Jesus knew that the sinful errors of matter-based thinking (hatred, ignorance, neglect) would eventually be cast out by the action of the Christ [and so he instantly reached out to heal the cut-off ear instantaneously.  (Luke 22:51)  P.S.S.T.  What effect would healing his "enemy's" ear have on his captors and on his disciples?  Instead of instantly reacting and lashing out in whatever disagreements or confrontations we face this week, let's be so prayed up that we instantaneously heal with Love like Jesus did and so follow and honor his Christian method of warfare.  (This gives higher meaning to "Onward Christian soldiers"  CS Hymnal 264)  Share your challenges, battle wins and losses, with your class and congregation so you can work together to "fight the good fight" and "win the war."] 
Rather than focus on
[the supposed "somethingness" of] the problems, Jesus focused his attention on his relationship with God and ["the mighty actuality of all-inclusive God, good." (S8)]  He yielded to Love's will and reached beyond the fleeting material sense of life to affirm his indestructible spiritual connection to perfect Love [and the spiritual connections of even his supposed enemies and of their ears.  Might not this be the glory part of what Mrs. Eddy calls "his night of gloom and glory in the garden?"  (S10, 47:31)]   Though Jesus still had trials to endure, he was now well on his way to reaching his full glory.  If you confront error in your relationships, [remember not to react and to] keep your focus on what really counts.  Keep your focus on God, Spirit, and reach for the glory!  

 

Section 3:  Jesus' love had no limits [to its lessons, even those he taught us from the cross.  P.S.S.T.  To make "Life's burden light," how can we learn to "kiss the cross and wake to know a world more bright?"  Mary Baker Eddy's poem "Christ My Refuge," Christian Science Hymnal, 253]  Jesus' love for God and man was unbounded.  It was so great that even though he knew what he would soon suffer, he prayed that it would be done. (B7)  The prayer of Jesus before his crucifixion, as recorded in John chapter 17, shows the great depth of Jesus' love.  [P.U.S.S.H.]  The first verse of John chapter 17 opens this section, but you may enjoy adding the entire chapter to your study this week.  Jesus' desire to free mankind from material beliefs made it possible for him to call the humiliation of the crucifixion, his glory, and to talk of his impending death as a means of giving eternal life. 

 

Through the lens of Christ Jesus' unlimited unselfishness, we see the perfect love of Love.  In gratitude for this perfect love, and in the hope of expressing more of this love ourselves, let's be alert to stay out of the "Crucify him" group mentality that would rush to condemn an individual or an idea. (B8)  

 

[P.S.S.T.  Explore this cool insight originally voiced by B. Cobbey Crisler:  When Jesus heard the taunts of the chief priests and bystanders at his crucifixion (Luke 23:35-37) and when the soldiers parted his garments (Luke 23:34), he was actually encouraged that he was hearing the fulfillment a 1,000-year-old prophesy from Psalms 22:7-18.  From the cross Jesus continued his role of Teacher.  As an indication of how he was praying (not as an exclamation of abandonment), Jesus shouted out the opening line from Psalms 22 (as Hebrew boys did and still do when they are being asked to recite any whole chapter).  This had to be encouraging to John and the faithful women as well as to all who know or read the whole of Psalms 22 to see that it is a blow-by-blow prophesy of crucifixion events that end in the happy promise of a victorious resurrection that "has the last word" and proves that "God does what he says." Ps. 22:28, 31 TM]  Jesus showed us that our job is not to be an [opinionated] judge over our fellow man - our job is to simply love the real spiritual man [and to pray for the forgiveness for those who seek to hurt or take advantage of us.  He taught us to do this from the cross when he prayed "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." (Luke 23:34)]  Having done this, we can joyfully and wisely let God make any adjustments that might be needed.

 

Section 4:  The great lessons of the resurrection.  "Glory be to God." (S19)  What a wonder it must have been when the women who had seen Jesus' body placed in the tomb were greeted with the news, "He is not here, but is risen!" (B10)  Could it be?  Could it possibly be true?  Then they remembered Jesus' own words, "The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again." (B10)  And it was the third day!  And the body of Jesus was no longer in the sepulcher!  "Glory be to God!"  "He is risen!" 

 

Jesus' resurrection was the dawn of the resurrection for all mankind.  Through the resurrection Jesus taught these great lessons:  1. He proved that Love has dominion over hatred.  What a glorious ray of hope the resurrection brings to every man suffering from oppression.  Jesus' resurrection is a perpetual promise that Love will conquer all hatred.  2. Jesus proved that death is not a power or a part of Life.  3. He proved the nothingness of matter and the absolute supreme power of Mind.  He showed that through spiritual understanding, man has dominion over the body. (S18)  

 

[P.U.S.S.H.]  To celebrate Easter this week take each of these great lessons and apply them [to give new life] to your day.  Then, welcome the whole world into your Easter celebration by using these lessons in your prayers for the world. [Get the latest audio and visual updates on events needing our prayers in Pakistan, in the North Korean talks, in Iran, Irag, Darfur, in national and world economies and elections and much more.  It's easy to build on a solution-oriented view by clicking The Christian Science Monitor or by pasting www.csmonitor.com into your browser.] 

 

Section 5:  "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?" (B11) [This is the question that Jesus, the great Teacher, used to re-engage two of his obscure disciples, students who were "cutting class" after the crucifixion had caused them to lose faith in their teacher.  Jesus' answered his own question by referring to key prophesies about himself throughout the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament): "Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself." (B11)  According to the account in Luke the disciples on the road to Emmaus may well have heard that Jesus' body was no longer in the tomb.  They left for Emmaus after the women had returned from the tomb with the news and after Peter had gone to the tomb and verified what the women had reported.  Like many people today, the disciples on the road may have wanted to believe that Jesus had risen.  But they just couldn't make sense of it.  They had witnessed the crucifixion; it seemed so horrible and final.  They had seen their Master do amazing things, but was it possible that he could actually rise from the dead?  If he had risen from the dead, why did he have to suffer in the first place? 

 

Jesus joined them on the road and entered into their discussion.  However, they didn't recognize who he was.  Perhaps they were still too convinced that he was gone forever to entertain the idea that they were actually talking to Jesus.  Jesus, however, began again to teach them, [as a good shepherd seeks out and helps out lost sheep.  P.S.S.T.  If you'd like to take yourself or your class on this specific-scriptural-history "walk to Emmaus," there is a transcript of Cobbey's talk on "The Walk to Emmaus" and also of "The Gethsemane Decision" in a book called The Master, Christ Jesus, produced by Cobbey's wife, Janet Crisler.  Janet is continuing his work in Ephesus.  This book is not available to order online yet, but should be soon at http://www.crislerlibraryephesos.com/?Shopping&logout/  In the meantime, "beginning at Moses'" refers to the prophesy by Moses in Deut. 18:15 and God's addition to that prophesy in Deut. 18:18.  The multitude fed by Jesus with loaves and fishes immediately thought of Moses feeding thousands with manna and of this prophesy and said "This is that prophet"  John 6:14   A suffering servant is prophesied in Isaiah 53:3 (B6) who was wounded or pierced for our transgressions and who received stripes (lashes) by which we are healed. (Isa. 53:5).  "Every verse of Isa 53 is either quoted or alluded to in the New Testament.  So, they (Jesus' church) found this pretty exciting.  Isa 53:7 says, ‘He opened not his mouth.'  (Mark 15:3)  Isa. 53:8 says "He was taken from prison and judgment"  (Pilate even sat on the judgment seat (John 19:13).  Isa. 53:9 says "he made his grave with the wicked." Two thieves on either side (B8, Luke 23:32)  The next line says "with a rich man in his death."  Matthew 27:57-60 speaks of "a rich man of Arimathea, named Joseph  ...who went to Pilate and begged the body of Jesus ...and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb."  In Isa. 53:10 Isaiah says ""When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin," when you've killed the lamb, "he shall see (his) seed, he shall prolong (his) days," after being killed.  ... How long were those days prolonged?  Forty.  It was during those forty days that probably Jesus went right back to that verse.  And the centuries united - joined by God's Word, promise and fulfillment."  (The Master, Christ Jesus, B. Cobbey Crisler, p. 25-26)  

 

After some time, Jesus' teaching of the scriptures about himself broke through the disciples mental clouds of confusion and doubt.  At last [with the breaking of the bread] they recognized their Master [and were so "on fire" with excitement that they hurried back the 7.5 miles (12k) to tell the disciples about their encounter. Go to myBibleLesson.com to get Bible Notes about the "Threescore Furlongs" and the insight that Jesus ascended at Bethany where he had raised Lazarus from the dead.]   

 

Later, Jesus, also overcame the doubts and confusion of the apostles in Jerusalem.  ["In Luke 24:44, on the same night (after the walk to Emmaus), Jesus is doing something that should sound very familiar. ... You know he would not be doing something that is not essential for the church to know."  The Master, Christ Jesus, B. Cobbey Crisler, p. 16)  Besides going into the book of Moses and the prophets, Jesus takes his whole church into Psalms.  See the Psalms 22 blueprint for crucifixion events in Section 3.]   Soon, having finished his work, he entered into his full glory.  Before many witnesses he ascended up into heaven.  We have access to Jesus' complete teachings in the Bible.  In addition, we have the Comforter that Jesus promised, Christian Science.  Everyday we enjoy the benefits of Jesus' intense love for mankind.   Let's strive, then, day by day, to carry this light of Truth that blesses us into all the word by proving what Jesus taught in our own lives and communities.

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 [with bracketed, italicized notes and "Possible Sunday School Topics" and Homework offered by me as editor and sometimes by the author]. 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, 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 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. Have fun unwrapping, cherishing and sharing your special, spiritual gift(s)!
Enjoy!

Warren Huff
Camp Director
director@cedarscamps.org
(636) 394-6162
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Go to www.myBibleLesson.com to check out this visually-oriented and very helpful study resource for the weekly Christian Science Bible Lesson. It's being produced by The Christian Science Publishing Society. What a great auxiliary to lesson study - and to reading beyond citation markers using the handsome new student books now in Reading Rooms. MyBibleLesson contains word definitions, Bible background Notes, fun topical cartoons, timelines and translations, plus many healing ideas to use. Why not check out this vehicle to help bring new meaning and life to each beloved Bible lesson and so bless the youthful thinker and Sunday School student (and teacher) in us all!

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