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Live your love for God!

Phebe Telschow, C.S., St. Louis, MO
Posted Monday, January 5th, 2009

Live your love of God!
Application ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson: "Sacrament"
For the week of January 5-11, 2009
by Phebe Telschow, St. Louis, MO
with [application ?s by Warren Huff]

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 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

Last week, the lesson on God was all about the Ten Commandments. The Commandments are the main points of the Covenant which is another name for the relationship or agreement that God has with all his children. The "thou shalt not(s)" of the Commandments aren't as much about what we're not allowed to do, but more of a full disclosure or an explanation of what it means to be a child of God. Because we are God's offspring, and we are made in his image and likeness, by definition, we can never be vulnerable to sin, disease and death. The Covenant ensures our permanent freedom, dominion, health, harmony and holiness.
This week's lesson on Sacrament sets what we learned in last week's lesson in motion. We all know that actions speak much louder than words, and sacrament is all about putting our money where our mouth is, spiritually speaking. The 1st edition of Webster's Dictionary says that sacrament is "...an outward and visible sign of inward grace." Moses brought the laws of God to mankind. Jesus expressed the letter and spirit of the laws of God so fully, so sincerely, and unselfishly that it can truly be called a profound "outward and visible sign of inward grace". Jesus' life work showed us how to actually live our committed and faithful love of God - to let "our lives attest our sincerity" as Mary Baker Eddy would say. (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p 15:23)

This week's lesson gives us lots of important examples of how to let what we do with our lives express our sincere love of God.

[Golden Text -- To read about how to serve with gladness rather than a sense of burden, read the Possible Sunday School Topics that follow. Responsive Reading - To read about being the "unfrozen chosen", read the Possible Sunday School Topics that follow.]

Section One
In the first section, there's the story of a very young King Josiah who comes to power over 600 years after Moses led the Children of Israel out of Egypt. By that time, the Children of Israel weren't paying much attention to God or the Covenant that provided their freedom from slavery all those centuries before. The people in Jerusalem in Josiah's day clearly had lots of other priorities. They were worshiping lots of different gods, and they even let the temple of the Lord become fairly run down. Over the course of his 31 years as king, Josiah firmly and lovingly went against popular trends and opinions. He got rid of all the idols in the land, fixed up the temple, and saw to it that that people were reacquainted with the Covenant and how to honor and worship the God of Israel.
[By your cheerful example and obedience to the Commandments, you too can reverse the materialistic thinking and living of today.]

Section Two
The second section this week includes the story of the humble publican whose heartfelt prayer gained the approval of Jesus. The moral of the story resonates even more when we realize in those days Pharisees were highly regarded people in society because they were educated men who were known for closely following the laws of Moses. On the other hand, publicans were outcasts because they were Jews who collaborated with the Romans to collect taxes to benefit the Roman Empire. Apparently, being sincerely, prayerfully humble before God is one of the most important details of our lives. [How can you be more humble in your prayers and your service for God this week?]

Section Three
The Lord's Prayer is a highlight of the third section. Why do you suppose the Lord's Prayer would be in a lesson on Sacrament? (Think about it for a minute...) Is there a relationship between the Lord's Prayer and the Covenant? (Think about it again...) Perhaps when we look at it closely, it turns out that the Lord's Prayer describes the mental posture necessary to live our love of God. There's really no way to live the letter and spirit of God's laws without embracing exactly what Jesus teaches us in the Lord's Prayer. And, in turn, consistent faithfulness to the Commandments produces a pure mental environment in which the Lord's Prayer can really take hold and strengthen us to meet any challenge with confidence in our relationship with God.

[Bible scholar Barry Huff says in a 2007 podcast on the Lord's Prayer for Sunday School: "the name that Jesus likely called God in this prayer was abba. Abba is the Aramaic word used by children in Jesus' day to address their dad. ... it was uncommon to address God as abba. ... By using the word abba, the Lord's Prayer encourages us to be childlike which, according to Jesus, is key to entering God's kingdom. Jesus' example of praying to Abba ... shows that prayer doesn't have to be formal. We can use uncensored, everyday language when we talk with God, because God is present during the everyday moments of our lives. Jesus' words "Our abba" show that we all can have a close relationship with God. It also means that we are all brothers and sisters, because we are all children of God. Think about how extraordinary that actually is! The message of these two words is the one thing powerful enough to not only break up cliques at school but also stop the genocide in Darfur and bring lasting peace to the Middle East.

In an interview with the Christian Science Sentinel on the day after the September 11 attacks, Chris Meyer, an actor, shared that he had stepped out of the World Trade Center subway station moments after the second tower had been hit. He said, "I kept repeating the first line of the Lord's Prayer: "Our Father which art in heaven." It doesn't say, "Good people's Father" or "Victims' Father." It says "Our Father." God is everyone's Father." (October 10,, 2001 CS Sentinel)
[To put your prayer into practice ask yourself: how can I more clearly reflect my "all-harmonious" Father-Mother (Daddy-Mommy) at home, school, work, ...? How can I better express grace today and "feed the famished affections" wherever I am?]

Section Four
The fourth section is all about communion. Lots of different religions celebrate communion - which is to say they honor Jesus and commemorate the significance of the crucifixion by literally doing what Jesus and his disciples did at the Last Supper: eating unleavened bread (like a cracker) and drinking wine (which is usually just grape juice). The ceremony where people take the bread and wine is called Eucharist. In Christian Science, we can learn more about our communion with God by reading the story of the Last Supper and considering the spiritual metaphor that Jesus sets forth for us there. Mrs. Eddy summarizes the metaphor on page 35 of Science and Health:

"Our Eucharist is spiritual communion with the one God. Our bread, "which cometh down from heaven," is Truth. Our cup is the cross. Our wine the inspiration of Love, the draught our Master drank and commended to his followers." (S&H marker #12)

Notice that in Christian Science, our sacred rite of Eucharist is spiritual, not material. It's with us wherever we go. It's our oneness, our awareness of our sacred relationship with "the one God". Notice an echo of the 1st Commandment? Our Eucharist, our communion, our sacrament is all about living our love of the one God. [Ask yourself: how can I better live my love of the one God today?]
Pay special attention to the other citations in Science and Health in this section. They will be invaluable to you as you consider the spiritual significance of the Last Supper. Mrs. Eddy walks us through the entire event in marker #14 (S&H p 33:3-17.) In marker 15, (S&H p 31:17-22) Mrs. Eddy reminds us how paradoxically simple our role is in sacrament. All we need to do is follow Jesus' example. It may not always be completely easy, but at least it's not complicated.

Section Five
The fifth section is all about the resurrection and Jesus' reunion with his disciples on the beach by the sea of Tiberias. Jesus feeds them breakfast and reinforces his teachings for them. He has this great heart-to-heart conversation with Simon Peter where Peter asserts that he loves Jesus very much. Jesus replies, "Feed my lambs". Feeling love in our hearts is one thing. Fact is, what we feel personally really only matters to us individually. But, what we DO with that love, and how we treat those we say we love, and even more,
how we treat those we find hard to love, well, that's the important part, isn't it? [Ask yourself: how can I better show my love to those I love most today? How can I be more loving today to those I find hard to love?]

Section Six
The sixth section is a gracious and instructive benediction on the previous five sections. You'll see the recurring theme that encourages and reassures us that giving our earthly all in the name of consistently living a high standard of pure, sincere Christianity is appropriate worship of our heavenly Father-Mother God.

But there's something even more here, and perhaps it deserves at least a comment. There may be time when we're tempted to feel like worshipping God with our whole heart involves some tough trade-offs. We get a hint of this in the first citation in Science and Health this week when Mrs. Eddy repeats a Biblical question for us on page 9 of Science and Health,
"Dost thou love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind"? This command includes much, even the surrender of all merely material sensation, affection and worship. This is the El Dorado of Christianity. It involves the Science of Life, and recognizes only the divine control of Sprit, in which Soul is our master and material sense and human will have no place."

But, take heart! She doesn't say we all must live our lives as absolute ascetics. She is simply pointing out that we will end up letting go of that which is best for us not to have in the first place -that which is MERELY material - that which doesn't take us forward or honor God. That includes the fraudulent material senses and counter-productive human will.

By the way, in addition to being a mythical golden city somewhere in South America, the term or concept of El Dorado is a metaphor for an elusive or ultimate prize like a "Holy Grail" that one might spend one's life seeking. It often represents true happiness or success.

We might say that sacrament is the descriptive term for whole-hearted, sincere obedience to the laws of God. Jesus' example shows that one of the best ways to be faithful to the laws of God is to have an honest willingness to put God first and foremost over everything else in our lives - over all our concerns, opinions, regrets, and even our fondest earthly hopes. [Ask yourself: what merely material attractions, opinions and hopes should I let go of today in order to draw closer to my ultimate prize of true happiness and success?]

When we really put God at the top of our list, we become more conscious of his presence, power, and love in our lives, and all that other stuff has a way of becoming a lot less important. That fuller consciousness of God's presence is like a drenching waterfall that washes over the parched ground of everything else we were worried about before. Before long, our consciousness ends up being washed so clean of those dusty false beliefs that all we're left with is a life that's fit to be of useful and loving service to mankind, just as Jesus was - and Mary Baker Eddy too! ____________________________________________________________
This 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 help cover the costs of running this service and of providing camperships, and support for operations and special programs. Click http://www.cedarscamps.org/giving to read fruitage due to your help; to review current Operational needs; and to find more about how you can give online or talk privately about how to make a special gift to help perpetuate CEDARS work.
Thanks to many of you (and to a late foundation grant) we have met our match! With contributions of $25,000 for "Maintenance Musts", we will receive a matching $25,000 grant! This will cover replacing roofs over PAL House (for our Christian Science Practitioner and Christian Science Nurse) and over some cabins. It will also help to refinish Dawn Lodge and some cabin floors and to replace the original Girls Store Building and Dance Studio.
Your always-welcome, tax-deductible support is still much needed for Camperships and for an "Adopt the Herd" Matching Fund.
You can call in a charged gift to (636) 394-6162 or mail a check to:
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Camp Director's Note: This sharing is the latest in an ongoing, 8-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" come on a following page or subsequent email.) This weekly offering 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 the 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

-------------------------------------------------------------
How can we serve God better?-- Possible Sunday School Topics by Merrill Boudreaux [and Warren Huff]
for the Christian Science Bible Lesson for January 11, 2009 on:
"Sacrament"

TMCYouth recently invited Sunday School teachers from all over the world to submit short video clips with ideas for applying the Bible Lesson that would be especially engaging for 14-18 year old Sunday School students. You can view clips on the "God" lesson (and the "Sacrament" lesson) at http://tmcyouth.com/lesson/

Golden Text
- In the "olden days" what did serving the Lord look like? Think about the temple priests or the temple virgins from various cultures. What does serving the Lord look like today? (See Matthew 25: 35-45, Micah 6:8)
[Note that the joyful noise that we are to make to God doesn't need to be in perfect pitch! The key part of our service and praise is that they are to be given with gladness! Remember "God loveth a cheerful giver." (2 Cor. 9:7) Try bringing real spiritual joy to your work and tell your class or congregation what a difference it made this week. Why not "drop (your) burdens at His feet and bear a song away"? (CS Hymnal 124:3) My favorite 1-page treatment for burden- lifting is an article called "Spiritually Light-Hearted" by Mary Kimball Morgan in Education at The Principia, p. 222. You can discover the joy of "resting in holy work" (Sabbath-day, "high-bred"-style) as mentioned in the 4th Commandment and CedarS "met" in last week's lesson (S&H, Marginal Heading, 519:25.]

Responsive Reading - Praising God is also a way of serving the Lord. How do Christian Scientists praise God? Think about gratitude sessions at camp, Wednesday Evening Testimony Meetings, writing for the periodicals, one-on-one sharing with friends, and daily living. [When we express our joy and gratitude freely, we will be rightly perceived as the chosen-- NOT the "frozen chosen!" When healed through prayer I feel like dancing, don't you?! (Like the psalmist in Ps. 30:11)]

Section 1 - Share with your students the story of Josiah [and his bringing a whole nation along with him to keep a resolution to obey the Commandments (B3) [How are you doing in keeping the New Year's commandments/resolutions we were given?]:
• Josiah came to the throne at the age of eight and waited eight years to "get religion" and serve the Lord [How can you serve God better today, regardless of age?]
• His grandfather was Manasseh, possibly the worst king in Jewish history and a pagan worshipper, building pagan altars throughout the country
• His father, Amon, wasn't any better and was so hated that his servants murdered him [How can you serve God better no matter what you ancestors did?]
• Josiah was one of the best kings in Jewish history, returning his country to seeking and serving the Lord as had his ancestor, King David
• Josiah destroyed pagan shrines, even the calf idol worship center (temple) in the city of Bethel [How can you remove today's idols and so obey Commandment #2?]
• Josiah ordered the temple to be renovated and in doing so found the "Book of the Law", probably the book of Deuteronomy [What text can you rediscover revere, and share with others to help them see the light with you?]
• He reigned for 31 years [How can you help establish within the even longer reign of the Messiah you where "he shall reign for ever and ever"? (Handel quoting Revelation 11:15 and 19:16)]

Section 2 - [How important is sincerity in serving God? (B4) Mrs. Eddy says: "Sincerity is more successful than genius or talent." (Message for 1900, p. 9:18) How does sincerity apply to "all departments of life" where you want to have success, but think that you are not smart enough or talented enough to do so? (S&H, 462:15-19) In the temple why was the self-righteous prayer of the respected Pharisee not "justified", while the humble, sincere prayer of the reviled publican was? (B5)]  What is a Pharisee? [The "self-righteousness, vanity, hypocrisy" parts of Mrs. Eddy's Glossary definition of PHARISEE (S27) are opposites of the sincerity needed to serve God.] What is a publican? Why do you pray? [In his TMCYouth Sunday School podcasts on the Lord's Prayer Barry Huff says: "An E-mail I received said: "Prayer - Don't give God instructions - just report for duty. Most people want to serve God, but only in an advisory capacity." That's the end of the e-mail. Jesus' illustrations, on the other hand, suggest that prayer is not advising God-it's listening to God, the ultimate Advisor. Prayer is not using God, it is letting God use us." How can you be more sincere about letting God advise you and use you to serve better?]

Section 3 - When Jesus' disciples asked him to teach them to pray what prayer did he give them? The Lord's Prayer. The first two words of that prayer are all inclusive, "Our Father", no one is left out of "Our Father". [See CedarS "met" for more from Bible scholar Barry Huff about Jesus' use of the Aramaic word Abba or Dad(dy) for God and how the "Our Abba" idea is powerful enough to break up school cliques, stop genocide in Darfur & bring lasting Middle East peace.]
The Lord's Prayer can be said to be divided into three parts:
Prayer of affirmation;
Prayer of petition;
Prayer of praise
Can you identify the three parts?
[To hear in full this helpful and enthusiastic podcast on the Lord's Prayer sponsored by the TMCYouth team on behalf of Sunday School go to http://tmcyouth.com/media/category/barry-huff/ ]

Section 4 - How do Christian Scientists commemorate the Last Supper during the Sunday Service when the lesson subject is "Sacrament"? What is the spiritual interpretation of bread and wine? How does eating bread and drinking wine permit us to serve the Lord? (See S&H Marker 15)

Section 5 - What is the message of service given to Simon Peter by Jesus in the Bible, Markers 15, 16, 17, and 18? What are the signs that follow one who serves the Lord? Compare the attitude or mood of the disciples at the Last Supper, before the crucifixion, and during the first breakfast, following the resurrection. [How can our attitudes have a similar adjustment?]

Section 6 - What is the benediction, or blessing, given to those who serve the Lord in the Bible, Marker 23?  What guidelines for spiritual living (serving the Lord with pure and holy lives) are in this section?
• Give glory to God
• Be an example
• Be not yoked together with unbelievers [Do you remember that Christ's yoke is easy and light thanks to teaming with him in Sabbath completeness? See 4th Commandment- last week]
• Come out from among them and be separate [This is the only pressure we as "Christian Scientists must live under the constant pressure of the apostolic command to come out from the material world and be separate." S&H 451:2-4 How are you responding to this pressure? Constant pressure makes coal into a diamond. Are you ready to be a gem for God?]
• Change ourselves (change thought to align with God's thoughts to us, about us)
• Spiritual living
• Obey the scriptures
• Pray in secret
• Self-forgetfulness, purity, affection
• Trustworthiness
• Willingness to become as a little child
• Pure in heart

Please contact me with your comments of ways we can serve you better,
Warren

Warren Huff, Executive Director
The CedarS Camps
Website: www.cedarscamps.org
Email: warren@cedarscamps.org
Tel: (636) 394-6162
Fax: (775) 264-6826

 

 

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