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Show your gratitude for Jesus' intense sacrifices for you! Application ideas for "Sacrament"

Dan Carnesciali C.S., St. Louis, MO
Posted Sunday, July 6th, 2008

Show your gratitude for Jesus' intense sacrifices for you!
Metaphysical application ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson: "Sacrament" July 13, 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, in Spanish from Ana or in German by Gabriele when her schedule allows. JUST SIGN UP at www.cedarscamps.org/newsletters

Sacrament is an outward sign of inner spiritual grace. (Student's Reference Dictionary)    The purpose of sacrament is not to merely profess allegiance to our Master Jesus, but to follow his commandments and to overcome sin (anything unlike God). Traditionally, Protestant churches observe two sacraments: baptism and Eucharist (Last Supper).

Golden Text:   Happy are the pure (innocent, guiltless, purified by fire, lawful, free from sin, blameless) in heart (center of life, especially spiritual life) for they shall see (experience, understand, live) God.

Responsive Reading:   Many Psalms urge you to praise God. Does God need your praise, or do you need to praise Him? God being the source of all blessing, He knows that you will be blessed by seeking Him and drawing close to Him. God is actively blessing you, rewarding your faithfulness and purity. He wants you to want Him in your life, because then you will be conscious of His blessings.

Section 1 - Baptism of Spirit  
John the Baptist prepared the way for the coming Messiah idea by spreading the word that all needed to repent and be baptized. John baptized by immersing (dunking) in the Jordan River. (B3) (The next time you dunk a friend in the pool or river, you can tell him/her you were just baptizing him.) Baptism is: "Purification by Spirit; submergence (fully surrounded, entirely covered) in Spirit." (S2) What is purification? It means to make clean, free from pollutants, or contaminants. It has great significance to Christian healing. "A spiritual idea does not have a single element of error. And this truth removes properly whatever is offensive." (463:12 -13) When the offensive belief is removed, the natural and entirely whole nature of man is revealed.
Repentance is a central theme of the Bible. To repent means to stop doing wrong things, to turn away from evil and turn to good. "Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil." (Isaiah 1:16) Repentance requires that we take such a strong stand for good that it is life changing.
Have you wondered why Jesus, who was without fault, would be baptized? John essentially asked the same question. John said that he needed to be baptized by Jesus not the other way around. But, Jesus insisted on being baptized by John. Jesus demonstrated that we need to perpetually draw close to God. "The moment Jesus came up out of the baptismal waters, the skies opened up and he saw God's Spirit-it looked like a dove-descending and landing on him. And along with the Spirit, a voice: "This is my Son, chosen and marked by my love, delight of my life." (The Message, Mark 3:16, 17) This was Jesus' anointing. The more we are about our Father's business, the more we understand how pleased God is in us. Christian Scientists are baptized, but it's not a one-time purification. It is a daily, ongoing spiritual purification. "Our Baptism is purification from all error." (S5)

Section 2 - Purification and Healing Response
While some scholars believe that the "messenger of the covenant" is a prophecy about John the Baptist announcing the coming Christ, the prophecy can be seen as pointing to Christ itself. (B4) Science and Health states that, "Christ is the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness." (S8) A metalsmith purifies a metal by heating it, forcing impurities to the top so they can be burned away. God does not tolerate pollution or contamination. He brings them to the surface and destroys them. The impurities are destroyed, not any part of you or anything that touches you. "The muddy river-bed must be stirred in order to purify the stream." (540:9 -11)
When John was in prison, he sent his disciples to ask Jesus if he was really the Messiah. Jesus' response was direct. He cured many sick and told John's disciples to report back to John what they had seen and heard. "... the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached." Christ was indeed fulfilling its mission of destroying evil. (B5) Remember, when you bless others, they will not always thank you for it. (B6)

When evil knocks at your mental door, don't open the door and see what it wants. Don't give in an inch. (S9) Instead, pause, wait on God and listen for his direction. Even a single moment of communion with God brings healing. (S10)

Section 3 - Bread
Christian Scientists commemorate the Passover meal that Jesus shared with his disciples before the crucifixion. This meal has been come to be known as the Last Supper, or Lord's Supper. Some scholars believe that the chronology of events was: 1) The disciples dispute who will greatest among them. 2) Jesus washes the disciples' feet. 3) Jesus foretells Judas' betrayal. 4) They eat.
Jesus knew that the crucifixion was approaching. He needed to give them more instruction to prepare them for their mission when he was gone. While they were eating, he broke the bread into pieces. The bread he broke "... was the great truth of spiritual being, healing the sick and casting out error." (33:7-8) Breaking the bread is symbolic of his sharing and explaining the truth of his career and their coming careers as healers and church builders.
He shared his cup of wine with them. Per the custom, his cup was passed around. As the disciples drank, Jesus shared his inspiration and understanding with them. He said, "Drink ye all of it." (Matt 26:27) For an excellent description of the significance of the cup, see S&H 32:6. (S12) While we can't walk on water, we can certainly follow Jesus' commands. We can love our neighbor, share Jesus' message and purify ourselves. We can pray for our neighbor, the homeless, the poor, those in jail or prison. (S14)

Section 4- Cleansed with Grace
Have you ever had someone let you down, when you needed it most? Jesus was anticipating the most daunting challenge of his life. Instead of supporting him, his disciples debated who was the greatest among them. ("I should be leader - I'm a million times more humble than any of you!")  Personal sense - ego, pride, vanity - was arguing that his disciples were not ready for him to leave. If this infighting was not healed, the disciples would battle each other rather than focus on spreading the gospel. "Envy is the atmosphere of hell." (Message for 1902 3:28-29)
Did Jesus lecture them on humility? He disrobed, put a towel around his waist and washed his disciples' feet. This "foot baptism" was a sobering rebuke to ego. If you were a guest in Jesus' time, the host would have had a servant wash your feet. Foot washing was far below the dignity of the host. (Xenos Christian Ministry) Jesus demonstrated that you cannot fully receive and follow Christ without humility. "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me." (B9)
While the disciples pondered humility, Jesus taught them another lesson. They must be willing to wash each other's feet. He demonstrated what it means to "love one another." You can imagine the disciples muttering under there breath, "Jesus, Nathaniel's feet stink. Can I wash someone else's feet?" Or, "Master, is there another way we can show we love each other?" People who have had their feet washed, or washed another Christian's feet according to Jesus' command, have felt touched by love and humility. Is there something in your life that needs cleansing, or something you need to be humble about and let go of? Are you willing to serve or bless someone that you are truly not fond of? (S19)

Section 5 - Crucifixion and Resurrection

The first four sections presented sacrament as purification through baptism. How does sacrament relate to crucifixion and ascension? Sacrifice. The man known as the Good Shepherd, as the Prince of Peace, never did anything to deserve torture and death. He demonstrated in practical, undeniable ways that God provides for man, loves man, corrects man, blesses and heals man.
If Jesus was able to heal thousands, he certainly could have avoided this end. He could have stayed in Galilee. He could have avoided the Roman guards. However, his mission was to demonstrate that life is eternal, that sin and hatred are not powerful and inevitable. Mary Baker Eddy stated that, "Jesus of Nazareth taught and demonstrated man's oneness with the Father, and for this we owe him endless homage." (S&H 18:3-5) To give someone homage is to give someone the respect and reverence they deserve, to acknowledge your debt to them. He sacrificed himself and for this we owe Jesus our loyalty, honor and devotion. Let us be grateful that Mary Baker Eddy revealed Christ, Truth to this era and that she taught us how to follow our Master and how to love and heal like him. She said, "Again I repeat, Follow your Leader only so far as she follows Christ." ('02 4:3)

Christian Scientists commemorate the morning meal on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias (Sea of Galilee). Our risen Savior broke bread (shared his triumph, his joy) with his disciples. Can you imagine the joy the disciples felt?

Jesus appeared to the disciples after the resurrection (John 20:19-31), yet the disciples appeared to give up. They fell back on their old career -- fishing. Jesus lovingly asked them, "Lovest thou me?" and implored, "Feed my sheep." Great sacrifice was required of them in fulfilling their new careers. They risked their lives to spread the gospel message that is God is Love, that we are his children and we should love each other. They spread the news that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God and how he had sacrificed himself. The purpose of sacrament is not to merely profess allegiance to our Master Jesus, but to follow his commandments, to heal in his name, and spread his gospel.
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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.

WITH GREAT GRATITUDE WE CAN SAY THAT WE HAVE ACHIEVED OUR GOAL of raising $80,000 more for campership than was granted for 2007. Thanks to gifts from many supporters and to generous Board members WE CAN assure the attendance of all the 2008 campers who wish to come! PLEASE LET POTENTIAL CAMPERS KNOW OF THIS PROVISION OF LOVE that has been daily loved into view, because we do have spaces and now camperships available for most of our remaining 2--week and 1-week sessions.
We would love to have another $2,000 in contributions to cover the special Christian Science youth lectures that are being given here for each of our two week sessions.  General operations support and "maintenance must" projects are also ongoing needs. Your always welcome, tax-deductible support can be mailed to:
CEDARS Camps
19772 Sugar Drive
Lebanon, MO 65536

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 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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Possible Sunday School Topics by Merrill Boudreaux
for the lesson: "Sacrament"

Possible Sunday School Topic [P.S.S.T. - Golden Text and Responsive Reading] - How would you define purity? Give some examples of things that are pure - spring water, snowflakes....
What does it mean to have a pure heart/thought? How is that beneficial to one's life?
List some items found around your house that can be washed to clean? Why wash them - can't they be used over and over again even though they are dirty?

Possible Sunday School Topic [P.S.S.T. - Section 1] -
Of what is Baptism a symbol? Do Christian Scientists practice baptism? (see S&H 581:23 and 35:19.) What was the result of Jesus' baptism by John? How often does God say about you? "This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased." John the Baptist was Jesus' cousin. Do you know the story of John's birth? (see Luke 1: 5-17.) Why was he called John the Baptist? For what was he preparing his followers?

Possible Sunday School Topic [P.S.S.T. - Section 2] -
How did Jesus respond to John's disciples? What kind of cleansing stories/actions are in this section? Is it possible to do today the same works that Jesus did? How? (see S&H 14: 12-18.)

Possible Sunday School Topic [P.S.S.T. - Section 3] - Review the story of The Last Supper. Why were the disciples sad? How did Jesus help them overcome their sadness? What kind of bread and wine did he give them? He didn't have to go to a store to buy this kind of bread and wine. The bread Jesus fed his disciples is available to you and me 24/7.

Possible Sunday School Topic [P.S.S.T. - Section 4] - Once again we have information about washing to cleanse. What kind of an act was washing the feet; as a courtesy, and then again of Jesus as the Lord and Master doing it for his followers? Can you be washed all over as Simon Peter requested? What if you have no water?
In this section water is again a symbol, for what? What is the result of purifying thought? (see 1 Peter 1: 22.) What is the outward evidence of a pure thought, pure heart, pure soul? Love for one another.

Possible Sunday School Topic [P.S.S.T. - Section 5] -
Even though there is much in this section about Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection, how did the disciples "recognize" Jesus after the resurrection? How do your friends recognize you? Not always by your appearance but by your actions. What acts of friendship have you performed recently? Is there someone in your church or community for whom your class could perform a random act of kindness, without pay?
Compare Jesus' last supper with his disciples and the first breakfast following the resurrection. Role play how you think Jesus disciples felt or acted on these two occasions.

 

 

 

 

 

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