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Walk Before God and Be At One! (Application Ideas for "Doctrine of Atonement" Lesson)

Kathy Fitzer, St. Louis, MO & Park City, UT
Posted Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

Walk Before God and Be At One!
Metaphysical Application Ideas ("Met) for the Weekly Bible Lesson - April 14-20, 2008 on the Subject: "Doctrine of Atonement"
Prepared by Kathy Fitzer, 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, in Spanish from Ana or in German by Gabriele. JUST SIGN UP at www.cedarscamps.org/newsletters

Being one with God, it is natural to walk as one! God has made a covenant with us. He always keeps His end of the deal. How clearly we feel God's tender presence - how at-one we feel with God - depends on how well we are keeping our end. According to Webster's Dictionary of 1828, the word "covenant" comes from the Latin word, conventio, which literally means, "a coming together; a meeting or agreement of minds." It involves God's promise of care and demand of obedience. Obedience to the law of Good is natural, because God made us in perfect agreement with Himself. This covenant relationship of God and man is the basis of at-one-ment. The covenant is forever - is Life!

Golden Text: Merciful God - Devoted Servant

God promises to "keep [His] covenant and show unfailing love to all who walk before [Him] in whole-hearted devotion." (NLT) What happens as we start thinking of ourselves as one of God's devoted servants? The emphasis shifts from, "What is God doing for me?" to "What am I doing for God?" Identification as a cared-for servant makes obedience and devotion natural, and enables us to FEEL God's unfailing mercy and loving-kindness - as we walk in accord with Him!

Responsive Reading: The Continuity of the Covenant Relationship - God and Man as One
God's care extends to all generations. We learn from the experiences of those who have gone before us, and in turn teach the next generation by example. At camp, the present counselors learned from the counselors they had when they were campers. And now they have the privilege of sharing with others. It is like that for all of us. At the heart of the lesson is that God loves His children. Just like a mother eagle tenderly teaches her babies to fly, God teaches us whatever we need in order to face every "opportunity" that comes our way. The path we walk may not always be a smooth or easy one, but God is with us - regardless of the human condition - tenderly caring for and loving us. God's law is freeing. Obey His commands; and share with others what you have learned. Through obedience to God's law of good, we become conscious of God's love, teach it to others, and are united in it.

Section 1: Obedience to the 1st Commandment Leads to Reconciliation with God - Atonement
We have here the "long version" of the First Commandment. First, only one God is recognized! Next, we are told to love God - REALLY love God - with our whole being! Understanding our relationship with God needs to be at the center of all we do - in our hearts. We need to talk about that relationship with God - acknowledge God as the center of your everyday doings! And we need to walk the talk by doing the right thing - all the time - which is a natural expression of our love for Him. That is doing our part. (B-1) God's promise is to never, ever leave us - but to "walk among us." (B-2) We may not always feel that presence - if we've turned away from Him or left Him out - but He is always there for us to get reacquainted with.

The Jewish holiday, Yom Kippur, celebrates the "Day of Atonement" specified in Leviticus. It is a day dedicated to repentance and reconciliation with God. (B-3) What would happen if we determined to dedicate every day to that purpose? Mrs. Eddy says that atonement is the "exemplification" of man's unity with God. (S-1) To exemplify is "to show by example." Remember, because God is always holding up His end of the deal, He is always with us. (S-2)

As we acknowledge the undivided unity of God and man, we show this unity by example in our lives. Just like every drop of water in the ocean rises and falls in accord with the waves and tides, and every ray of the sun gets all the way to earth because of its unity with the sun, so man (all men and women, boys and girls) truly move in accord with God, good. (S-4) This harmonious movement is experienced in our lives as we silence the temptations of mortal mind and acknowledge God as the only God - the only Mind. Joyfully embracing the spirit of Love and acknowledging that all men have one Mind - eternal good - is true obedience. (S-6) Watch what happens when you keep your eye on God - on good - and really love Him!

Section 2: Humble Obedience Reveals the Law of Good that Heals

Are we willing to be obedient to the "simple" things that God asks of us?  We sometimes think huge things (burnt offerings and sacrifices) are required in order to see evidence of God's presence - to be healed. But, how much more important to be obedient to the "little things." (B-4)

Naaman was disappointed when Elisha didn't put on a big show for him. He was used to the ritual of other healers. (B-6) Sometimes we may think that in order to heal a BIG problem, we have to do BIG things. An article in the April, 2008 Christian Science Journal by Charles Ferris tells of a healing his wife had of pneumonia. Although the problem had persisted for some time, the corner was turned when she was willing to respond to the practitioner's simple request for her to express her love for God and to accept God's message of, "I love you because I made you." At that point, she was healed quickly - like Naaman was when he dipped himself in Jordan. Maybe, the demand is to be more grateful or joyful (even when we don't really feel like it.) Maybe it is to be willing to change a view about church or an individual. It could be any number of things, but it isn't always something big - and is always more than a human doctrine or outward display. (S-8)

God demands "man's entire obedience, affection, and strength." (S-11) Of course He does, because God made man to be at one with him. It is never a hardship to do what we were created to do. Sickness is a belief of separation from Truth. The Science of Christ, Truth (Christian Science) brings to light the ALLNESS of God, good. (S-12) When it is understood that good is, it has to be seen that evil is not. (S-12) DESIRING to obey God's law by doing the simple things that acknowledge the ever-presence of good enables healing to happen! Naaman's healing also showed that the power of God to heal is not limited to the members of one group. The law of Good is universal.

Section 3: Suffering and Triumph

Jesus' mission wasn't to judge, but to free people from the bondage of sin and enable them to be made "safe and sound through him." (B-8 - Amplified Bible) Too often, the letter of the law is acknowledged, but the spirit of love that is key to feeling at-one with God is missing. (B-9) Jesus was unjustly crucified. Horrible things were done to him! But he didn't react - he simply loved and forgave. (B-12) We must do the same when we feel persecuted, or think people (or life) have been mean or unfair to us. Jesus knew that the only thing that mattered was to love and demonstrate his oneness with God. Sin is the belief of separation from God - disobedience to His law. It is a breaking of the covenant.

Atonement is a reconciliation or bringing to concord. It is making up for past mistakes by walking the with God. Jesus didn't die for his own sins, but for the sins (or misunderstanding) of others. He reunited man with God - no strings attached. (B-13) God doesn't need to change. He never loses sight of His children. Man needs to be brought back in line with God. (S-14) The saving grace of Christ reaches us at our lowest point, showing us how to be reconciled to God by joyfully following the example of Jesus' life and his obedience to God's will. (B-13)

We, too, must meekly accept the trials that accompany overcoming "the world, the flesh, and all error, thus proving their nothingness." (S-16) It is a mistake to believe that we can just accept what Jesus did without expecting that we will have to experience suffering, too. (S-16) Suffering brings us closer to God. It isn't enough to lightly feel sorrow about a mistake (which has caused suffering) and then repeat it. But, practical repentance (a real change in heart) will enable us to follow God's will and overcome the world, as Jesus overcame it. (S-17) God doesn't cause suffering. God saves! So, where does suffering come from? From the belief of separation from God - a mistaken belief that we can drift away from God, fall away from loving God with ALL our heart, and soul, and might. Love redeems that mistake by bringing us back through the influence of Christ.

To truly demonstrate our oneness with God (the atonement) requires constant self-sacrifice! By sacrificing the belief that we live a life separate from God - truly yielding every thought to be in line with the divine - we will find that "sin and suffering will fall at the feet of everlasting Love." (S-18) Jesus suffered to show us the way to live! What love! Can we do less?

Section 4: Resurrection PROVES the Permanence of an At-one-ment Life
Joseph of Arimathaea was a member of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish Council that condemned Jesus to be crucified. But, he was also secretly a disciple of Jesus. Think about the courage it took to ask for Jesus' body and then touch it! Touching a dead body meant he would be considered "unclean" by his fellow Jews. But, it was more important to him to be obedient to his conscience. (B-14)

Jesus was willing to sacrifice his life (much as a lamb would be sacrificed in order to celebrate the atonement) in order to illustrate his oneness with Life - so that we could understand our oneness with Life. Maybe Joseph glimpsed the undying nature of the Christ. Maybe that contributed to his courage. Here is the "Easter" story again. (B-15) Why is the "Easter story" being included in this Bible-lesson? (B-15) Maybe because it contains a REALLY important lesson for us.

What does the rolled-away stone signify? What stone might pose as our thinking (or the thinking of another) that would keep us buried in the belief of Life in matter? (S-21) God made us to be obedient to Him - obedient to Life. Life is the law of Soul, so Soul is immortal. And Soul is the individualized expression of the substance, Life, and intelligence of man. (S&H 477: 22) We are each the unique sparkling reflection of Soul, but there is one Soul. Soul can't die. It can't lose consciousness. So, neither can Soul's reflection, man. (S-20) That is what Jesus proved. It is what Joseph defended, and it is what Mary and Mary witnessed at the tomb - and later the disciples. It is up to us to obediently bear witness every day to our immortal nature.

We must courageously stand up to whatever material "laws" - health, hereditary, social, or age-related - would try to bury us, or simply keep us from obeying our conscience. Then we find our permanent at-one-ment with God to be intact. Every limitation of matter is just waiting to be broken!

Section 5: Walk Before God and Continue the Works of Christ
In the Responsive Reading, Moses encourages the people to keep the good news of One God going. Jesus illustrated the continuity of Life, first by proving that death couldn't touch him, and then instructing his disciples in such a way that they could perpetuate the demonstration of "the doctrine Christian Science": Good can't turn into evil, joy into sorrow, or life into death. (S-27) Remember, Christian Science doesn't refer to a specific denomination here - it is the law of God, or the Science of Christ, Truth, that Jesus demonstrated and Mrs. Eddy delineated in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.

The disciples didn't recognize Jesus when he joined them on their walk to Emmaus. But, he took that opportunity to remind them of all that had been prophesied about him throughout the Scriptures. Although their hearts burned, recognition finally came when they saw him do what they had seen him do so many times before - break bread. By breaking bread, Christ lovingly embraces each of us - meeting us where we are, and feeding us with a message of Truth we can understand.

Are we expecting to meet and receive the Christ in our everyday walk of life, or are we too caught up in the "problem" to see the Truth that negates the lie? (B-17) Another time, the risen Jesus came to the disciples to remind them that "all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." The risen Christ assures us that the continuity of good is present right here on earth - as in heaven. (B-18) The disciples were beginning to get the message. But, once they witnessed their Master's ascension, they were really ready to continue the work. They went out and shared the good news of the eternal Christ - of man's oneness with God. As a RESULT of the knowledge that they (and all) could not be separated from God - from Life - healing happened. The living Christ was made evident in the lives of everyday men. (B-19)

The key to the demonstration of self-completeness, as Jesus demonstrated it is this: "When we realize that Life is Spirit, never in nor of matter, this understanding will expand into self-completeness, finding all in God, good, and needing no other consciousness." (S-26) There is one God, and that God is the Father of all - "is above all, and through all, and in us all. (B-20) The covenant is intact. Walking before God with total devotion, we feel His tender care and are impelled (like the disciples) to do the works of Christ!
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The weekly Metaphysical Newsletter is provided at no charge to the 1,200 campers & staff blessed each summer at CEDARS, as well as to CEDARS alumni, families and friends who request it. However, current and planned gifts are needed to defray the costs of running this service and of providing camperships, programs and operations support. Click here to read fruitage due to your help; to review current Operational needs; and to see our Annual Appeal. Click http://www.cedarscamps.org/giving for more about how you can give online or to talk privately about how to make a special gift to help perpetuate CEDARS work. Additional "campership" funding is needed right away to assure attendance of 2008 campers!  Your needed and very welcome, tax-deductible support can be mailed to: The CEDARS Camps Office, 1314 Parkview Valley Drive, Manchester, MO 63011

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 I put my "Possible Sunday School Topics" and Homework options on the following page - after the practitioner's application ideas.) 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 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. 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!

Possible Sunday School Topics, Homework & Application Ideas by Warren Huff, for 4/14 -4/20/08 on the Christian Science Bible Lesson: "Doctrine of Atonement"

Possible Sunday School Topics [P.S.S.T. -Golden Text] The "covenant relationship of God and man is the basis of at-one-ment. ... It involves God's promise of care and demand of obedience." (Kathy Fitzer's "Met" page 1) Love makes one eager to obey, and willing to serve God. As Mary Baker Eddy puts it: "Obedience is the offspring of Love; and Love is the Principle of unity, the basis of all right thinking and acting; it fulfills the law." (Misc. 117:13) In what areas can you not only be more obedient, but also be more willing? "If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." (Isa. 1:19, 20)

Possible Uplifting Sunday School Homework (P.U.S.S.H.) Let's challenge ourselves this week (and for the rest of our lives) to live up to Mrs. Eddy's high standards of willing obedience: "Never absent from your post, never off-guard, never ill-humored, never unready to work for God, is obedience, being "faithful over a few things." (Misc. 117:13) Being "never absent from your post" includes the courtesy of being always on time! Being "never off-guard" includes always praying in advance to keep all you do free from envy, ego and strife. Being "never ill-humored" happens when you are always good-humored, "seeking (your) ... own in another's good." (S&H 518:18) Being "never unready to work for God" means living above lazy habits and above "seeking happiness . .. from selfish and inferior motives." (S&H 290:8-10) This homework will give students of every age "plenty of employment,. ... and obedience crowns persistent effort with everlasting victory!" (Misc. 118:25-28)

Possible Sunday School Topics (P.S.S.T. - Responsive Reading) -- Discuss the situations in which you have grown the most. How willing are you to venture beyond your "comfort zone" into your "spiritual growth zone?" This spiritual stirring is encouraged and spiritually supported hourly at CEDARS. As the eagle gets through to and trains her young, so we hope messages from God (via your own inspiration, from parents, counselors, friends, Sunday School teachers, ...) will get through to rouse, stretch, train and bless you. "When the eaglets are able to fly ..., but unwilling to do so, being comfortable in their wooly, warm nest, the eagle stirs them up. ... to arouse her young from their lethargy - keeps them alive by her fluttering - spreadeth abroad her wings, to show by example what they ought to do. "Taketh them," for without training they are scarcely able, and are very unwilling to attempt flying by themselves. "Beareth" them away from the scene of their repose, and places them in circumstance where, if they can, they must fly; when nigh worn out by fatigue and ready to fall to the ground, she also beareth them on her wings to the nest." (Bible Training: a Manual for Sabbath School Teachers and Parents, David Stow, p.95-96)

(P.S.S.T. -1st section) It's time to "walk your talk!" During this Week of Atonement (B3) for Christian Scientists, we would all do well to follow the Jewish custom of ending "all feuds and disputes on the eve of the fastday during the 10-day period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur)." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Day_of_Atonement_(Christian_holiday) What grudges are you willing to stop carrying in order to whole-heartedly love, be at-one with God, and teach our children to do the same? Notice the throughout-the-day approach advocated (and followed at CEDARS) to reinforce spiritual life-lessons. (B1, Deut. 6:4-7)

(P.S.S.T. -2nd s.) Reflect the Humility of AT-ONE-MENT as Divine Image And Likeness: (I often remind myself, our kids and our staff that "There is nothing more humble or more stress-free that a reflection." Discuss and cherish this idea for yourself.) To obey the directive of our cross and crown logo to "cleanse the lepers" (Matt. 10:8) let's do all we can to help marginalized outcasts feel: D.I.A.L. -clean; D.I.A.L. -humble; and D.I.A.L. -settled. (B6, II Kings 59-14)

Naaman was apparently so brilliantly successful and proud of it that when he did chose to allow God into his life, he wanted it to be on his own terms -- in a theatrical spotlight. Instead, to bring about the needed healing, Elisha (and God) set up just the right steps and support system for him to become humble and willingly obedient to what he initially did not want to do. (My wife and I followed some good advice of (then) Principia Upper School Dean of Girls' Ann Spaulding, (who later became a CSB). In a Principia parenting talk when our children were young, she suggested that all parents encourage their children to daily do something that they did not want to do that would stretch them.  Apply this advice to yourself today and demonstrate that "Whatever stretches you, blesses you!")  Eliminate the pride of Edging God Out!

(P.S.S.T. -3rd s.) Venting and whining are both out of character for you! (Discuss how to stop.) As a Divine Image And Likeness, reflect the Christian Equanimity of AT-ONE-MENT and of Easter. About halfway between Orthodox Easter on April 27th and the Western Easter we celebrated on March 23rd this lesson features the 4th Tenet as the one that highlights and illustrates "Jesus' atonement." (S13, S&H 497:13)

"Jesus was unjustly crucified. Horrible things were done to him! But he didn't react - he simply loved and forgave. (B-12) We must do the same when we feel persecuted, or think people (or life) have been mean or unfair to us." (Kathy Fitzer's Application Ideas for 3rd section) It is wonderful practice to be a counselor, and later a parent or any kind of leader, to rehearse keeping your clear, calm composure (equanimity) like Jesus did when others were unfairly venting their anger on him, making fun of him and even spitting on him. (B12)

A key part of CEDARS' multiple-year series of Leadership Development courses has always been the frequent review and hourly demonstration of Mrs. Eddy's article on "Taking Offense." It features living: "with a temper so genial that the friction of the world shall not wear on our sensibilities; with an equanimity so settled that no passing breath nor accidental disturbance shall agitate or ruffle it; with a charity broad enough to cover the whole world's evil, and sweet enough to neutralize what's bitter in it, -- determined not to be offended when no wrong is meant, nor even when it is, unless the offense be against God." (Misc. 224:20)
What can you do to demonstrate these wonderful strengths of your Christian character today?

(P.S.S.T. 4th s.) "What does the rolled-away stone signify? What stone might pose as our thinking (or the thinking of another) that would keep us buried in the belief of Life in matter? (S-21)" (Kathy Fitzer's Application Ideas, 4th section)   What limitations of matter are you eager to see rolled away with your next spiritual break-through?

(P.S.S.T. -5th s.) "Are we expecting to meet and receive the Christ in our everyday walk of life, or are we too caught up in the "problem" to see the Truth that negates the lie? (B-17) ... once they (the disciples) witnessed their Master's ascension, they were really ready to continue the work. They went out and shared the good news of the eternal Christ - of man's oneness with God." (Kathy Fitzer's 5th s.Application Ideas)

I know from my instantaneous healing of a broken arm (confirmed by later Division 1 football program x-rays) that Christian Science healing is the fastest and most effective method available. It made me feel and play like the invincible Divine-Image-And-Likeness-man that I (and you) always have been.
Last Saturday in Chicago I talked with two wonderful, "born-again" Christian Scientists who were healed of life-threatening debilitation and addictions. Their convincing proofs of the truth and their reinvigorated lives are having dramatic and attractive results on them, their families, churches & communities. No limits exist when we all can be so at-one!

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The Spiritual Activist Summits sponsored by the Mother Church (TMCYouth) on April weekends
are an important part of the "one grand brotherhood" of the Christian Science Movement. Please help spread the word and support them "with one heart and one soul." (Acts 4:32) Encourage and even underwrite the attendance of all the 12-30 year olds who you know! You can find the details at a new webpage link http://www.tmcyouth.com/blogs/events/four-spiritual-summits/ Or, for a downloadable PDF flyer about the 2 remaining events in DC and London click on or go to http://www.tmcyouth.com/docs/spiritual-summits-upcoming.pdf]
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CEDARS 2008 theme: "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the leper, cast out demons: Freely you have received, freely give!" (Matthew 10:8)

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