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Be led to harmonious, fruitful, eternal Life by a loving Shepherd, by Life itself.

Rick Stewart, C.S., Dresden, Germany
Posted Monday, October 19th, 2009

Be led to harmonious, fruitful, eternal Life by a loving Shepherd, by Life itself.
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson for Oct. 19-25, 2009
Subject: "Probation After Death"
by Rick Stewart, C.S.,  of Dresden, Germany
[+a couple of bracketed italics by Warren Huff]

[Editor's Note: The following application ideas for this week and the 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. JUST SIGN UP at www.cedarscamps.org/newsletters]

The 26 weekly subjects that Mary Baker Eddy selected for study in the Christian Science Bible Lesson were what she viewed as key topics to understand in gaining a practical knowledge of Christian Science. Some of these Lesson Sermon subjects were being vigorously debated among the churches and the public in Mrs. Eddy's day. This week's subject, Probation After Death, was a good example of this ongoing debate and discussion.

In 1888 an article appeared in The New York Times regarding the subject, "probation after death." A Congregational minister, William H. Noyes, wanted to serve as a missionary. He was active in the Boston area and served as Assistant Pastor of the Barkley Street Congregational Church. He was rejected as a missionary by an official church board of the Congregational Church. The official board's concerns regarding Rev. Noyes involved "his views regarding Probation After Death." Then 22 churches in the Boston area met regarding the issue and independently sponsored Rev. Noyes on a mission to Japan. (See New York Times, November 10, 1888)

A few years later another denomination, the Presbyterian Church, was in the news. A Presbyterian minister was on trial before a church body over the question: Was he guilty of teaching that the "process of redemption extended to the world to come, in the case of many who had died in sin?" And his assertion was that he had "repudiated the Roman Catholic doctrines of purgatory" and the doctrines of "future probation and regeneration after death, or any beginning of Christian life after death." (See New York Times, May 30, 1893, "The Great Presbyterian Theological Trial Begun")

These theological debates might seem somewhat old-fashioned to us nowadays, but they continue to be discussed and debated by various churches. When these subjects are brought to the light of understanding through our Weekly Bible Lessons, we gain a deeper understanding of a specific aspect of the Gospel, the Good News for all.

In this week's Lesson we see clear examples of how God leads us to a present understanding of eternal life. We, like obedient sheep, learn to walk in the safe path that our Shepherd marks out for us. We are fed, watered, protected, and folded in the loving care of a Shepherd that is Life itself. We learn to demonstrate that God is Life, here, now, and eternally; and, like a Shepherd, God guides us in our path of Life eternal.

The Golden Text and the Responsive Reading are both identified as Psalms of David and come from the section of the Book of Psalms considered the oldest. (A Psalm is a song of praise, and often thought of as a religious song sung to the accompaniment of a stringed instrument.) We know the author of these Psalms, David, as a shepherd boy, as the slayer of Goliath, and as a future king.

The Golden Text--Psalm 37: We are told that a man's steps are "ordered" by the Lord. Our God-guided steps are also described as "established, directed, steered."

The Responsive Reading is the beloved Psalm 23. [See p. 8 of MyBibleLesson for a cartoon and picture and 3 insightful translations.] An interesting explanation of this Psalm is found in the beautiful little book, Song of our Syrian Guest by William Allen Knight published in 1904. (http://www.giveshare.org/library/psalm23.html) This book explains that the shepherds in this part of the world walk in front of their flocks leading to food, water, shelter, and carefully guiding the path of the sheep to keep them safe. Dummelow's Commentary explains that Eastern Shepherds still carry a "rod" and "staff." The rod is a short, strong oaken club for defense of the sheep. The staff is a longer pole for climbing or leaning upon and is of great utility for the shepherd.

Another interesting little book, A Shepherd Looks At the 23rd Psalm by Phillip Keller, explains beautifully about the shepherd's staff. It is selected and fashioned with great care by the shepherd from a young sapling. It is used to gently guide the sheep over difficult paths, it is also used to help lift a lamb from danger, or to extract a sheep caught fast in brambles and thorns. And the shepherd also uses the staff to inspect his sheep. So the phrase "to pass under the rod" describes a shepherd's inspection of a sheep, and denotes loving care, and careful examination for injury which then receives the loving attention of the shepherd.

As we launch into a Bible Lesson on the subject, "Probation After Death," isn't it comforting to think of this subject from the perspective of God's shepherding care of his flock?

And this just in: While visiting a church member this morning I was told the most amazing story. This member was riding the "Strassebahn", street car or tram, to church. She was riding over one of the bridges crossing the Elbe River. (Dresden is a city of about 500,000 inhabitants. The Elbe River courses right through the city.) With great foresight the city was built allowing wide meadows on either side of the Elbe. In the spring and fall shepherds use these meadows as pasture for their flocks. They move the flocks every couple of days and protect them using mobile fences. The sheep mow the meadow grass in a natural way and also supply plenty of fertilizer. On this particular Sunday the church member was quite surprised when her tram stopped right in the middle of the bridge. Quite a bit of time passed and then she saw the most amazing sight. Walking right across the city bridge comes a shepherd. Behind him was a huge flock of sheep in the most orderly and harmonious manner walking across the bridge. The church member watched in awe as the sheep proceeded along in complete trust and calm. They followed their shepherd like walking through the middle of a city was the most natural thing they had ever done. It was the perfect illustration of sheep trusting and following their shepherd even through unusual paths. In this case it was not a rocky or dangerous way, but a busy city street. Still the sheep were safe, sound, and were being led to delicious food on the other side of the river. Their trust for their shepherd kept them safe and sound.

Now, on with our guided tour with our ever-present Shepherd, divine Life and Love, walking before us.

Section 1 - Walk in the path to perfection and life.
The Bible: Throughout this section you can see the encouragement to keep on what might be called the "right path." Our "way" (B-1 Ps. 37) is to be committed to the Lord and trust him. This Psalm promises food, the desires of our heart, an eternal inheritance, a secure dwelling. Sounds a lot like following our Shepherd and everything being okay.

S&H: As the citations from Science and Health ask us to patiently walk the path to perfection, isn't it wonderful to know that God, Life goes before us like a shepherd. Walking patiently the way to the understanding that God is the only Life involves battles, perhaps not with lions or bears (like our shepherd boy David) but with the roaring beliefs of the flesh, sin, sickness, and death.

Section 2 - Follow Enoch's walk on the path to eternal life, no dead end here. 

The Bible opens with Psalms 56 (B-4) encouraging "no fear." This is a great introduction for the story of Enoch. Enoch was the father of Methuselah and great-grandfather of Noah. He is described as a man that "walked with God." Today maybe he would be someone who "walked the walk," and did not just "talk the talk." It is often thought that description of his walk in life was to contrast with much of the violence of the time. He had to be a man of "no fear," to not be intimidated by those around him into living another lifestyle. His reward, "he was not; for God took him." (B-5)  This has generally been understood to mean that Enoch did not die, but was translated, or ascended. The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews says "By faith Enoch was transferred, that he should not see death, and was not found, because God had transferred him; for before his transference he had the witness that he had pleased God well." (Hebrews 11:5)

S&H: Beginning the section with a definition of Time from the Glossary of Science and Health (S-6) shows us the importance of removing this limiting human concept. Einstein in his theory of relativity helped human thought begin to view time from a new perspective. Mary Baker Eddy took it even a step further by encouraging us to look beyond time and "mortal measurements" to "divine consciousness." (S-8 S&H 598)  Walking in the consciousness of God as Life, we begin to see that this Life is our origin and where God (our Shepherd) is leading us to walk.

When I was 19 and working one summer in Boston, a friend and I had a "glimpse" of this eternal presence of Life. We were in the Prudential Center. Suddenly a man collapsed near us. People were frantically screaming, "Does anyone know first aid, call a doctor, call for help." Well, I had been working as a lifeguard and I did "know first aid," but as a student of Christian Science I had also learned another, "First Aid." My friend Sue and I went to the man's side. I knelt down and held his hand. Sue and I were both praying silently. The man was unconscious and seemed to be lifeless. All the calls for help from the people around me faded from consciousness and I found myself contemplating and rejoicing in the fact that God was the one and only Life of man. Many, many ideas about the Life that is God came to thought. I have no idea how much "time" passed. Someone squeezed my hand; I opened my eyes and looked right into the eyes of the man on the floor. He was awake, got up with no problem, and simply said, "God Bless You." He knew where his help had come from and he went on his way. Sue and I went on our way. But we walked with a little clearer glimpse that God is the only life of man. Could that be where our Shepherd was leading us in His walk with Enoch? "There should be painless progress, attended by life and peace instead of discord and death." (S-12, p. 224:8)

Section 3 -"Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home....." Elijah 

The Bible:  Here is our next example of someone willing to allow his steps to be directed by God. Elijah (Hebrew, Eliyahu "my God is Jehovah") was a prophet in Israel in the 9th Century B.C. - a man that the Bible tells us "went up to heaven in a whirlwind." (2 Kings 2:11) But in his "walk," Elijah was also led to a different life than those around him. King Ahab and his wife Jezebel had brought economic prosperity to Israel, but they also allowed and encouraged worship of a local nature deity, Baal. Baal might be considered the "god of precipitation," the god of rain, thunder, lightning, and dew. When Elijah proclaimed to King Ahab that there would be no rain, it obviously was a direct challenge to Baal. But a deep drought did ensue. During this time Elijah's steps were first guided to the brook Cherith where he was fed and watered. And then when the brook dried up, God directed Elijah to go to a widow in Zarephath to "sustain him." Elijah asked the widow to take of her last food and give some first to him and then to feed herself and her son. The woman faithfully did what Elijah asked and the result was not only that everyone ate, but also that the meal and oil did not run out. Somewhat later the son of this widow became sick and died. But Elijah was able to raise the boy. Elijah's "walk" with God proved time and time again that limited material resources could not destroy life. "I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord." (B-10, Ps. 118:17)

S&H: Elijah in his "walk" challenged many of the so-called material conditions that limit life and seem to lead to death. S-13 (p.42:5) challenges the "universal belief in death." S-14 and S-15 (pp. 306:7-19 & 303:25) show how nothing can separate Life from its representative, man. S-16 (p.427:29) explains how the dream of death must be mastered by the understanding that there is no death.

Section 4 - Remember the tomb did not end Lazarus life--we always move forward.

The Bible:  In B-12 (John 11) we have the wonderful record of Lazarus being awakened by Jesus after being in the tomb for four days. We have hints as to how Jesus did this in his words: "Our friend Lazarus sleepeth, but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep"; and, "....whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die." His recorded words coincide with Mrs. Eddy's affirmation: "Jesus restored Lazarus by the understanding that Lazarus had never died...." (S-19)

S&H: How grateful we can be that we have Jesus' example before us regarding life and the presence of God. As the Good Shepherd, he goes before us to direct, or establish our steps. Our path to Life is ensured through the Love of our Savior and our steps are ordered. But what about the times when our spiritual progress seems slow, when our steps seem stilled. S-20 (p.40:31-10) gives us an encouraging example, "the anchor of hope must be cast beyond the veil of matter into the Shekinah into which Jesus has passed before us".

The ancient art of kedging: In the old days, to bring a sailboat safely into a tight harbor or port, a common practice was applied. If you could not sail in, you had another alternative. You would row the anchor out in a dingy as far as your anchor rope would allow. You drop the anchor and then use your winch or capstan to pull your sailboat forward. I understand that a similar practice was applied for large sailing ships becalmed in the doldrums or still tropic waters. Sometimes sailors would row a long boat with anchor and line and drop it time and time again until a wind was found.

If you take this picture of casting our anchor beyond the veil of matter and then pulling towards it, you get an idea of progress - slow, but steady. The term Shekinah refers to God's dwelling place, or God's presence, or you might say the divine Presence. So when we cast our anchor of hope beyond matter to divine presence, and pull in that direction, we are going in the right way. Sometimes this slow progress keeps us heading in the right direction until a fresh breeze fills our sails and we really get moving.

This is also an interesting picture in terms of getting into a tight harbor or port. Isn't our destination the safe harbor of infinite Life? Sometimes we do have to slowly pull ourselves into port. But let's always be ready to cast our anchor or keep our anchor in the divine presence of Life eternal--that is always the safest harbor.

Section 5 - Walk in the Light of Life of our Great Wayshower.
The Bible:  Jesus addressed the Jews that believed on him and also all followers in ages to come: "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." (B-12, John 11)

Some of Jesus' early listeners were Jewish Pharisees (see Dummelow John 8) who had a firm belief in their perfect following of the law. They were sure of their path and yet they were being asked to whole-heartedly accept Jesus' Messiahship, and in a change of heart, follow this Truth for their salvation. This elicited hatred in many of them because they knew they were on the right path. Jesus was asking, like a Shepherd, for these sheep to follow his voice to eternal life. For some that was too much to ask--they already knew they were on the right path. He offered one more time, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death." (B-13, John 8) A path of Life that involved active witness in words and deeds, and with signs following. (S-15, Mark 16 is worth a read!!!)

The significance of these statements grew clearer as Jesus returned to his students following his crucifixion. (B-14, Acts 1) We are told that he "shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:" (Acts 1:3) (The Passion is the term used for the events and suffering - physical, spiritual, and mental - of Jesus in the hours before and including his trial and execution by crucifixion.)

S&H: An interesting answer to all the doctrinal discussions about "Probation after death" involves a simple following of the Good Shepherd's guidance. Mary Baker Eddy took Jesus' word and works to heart. A faithful following of his loving guidance and example leads one to the assurance that we are living the Life that is God here, now, and always. The "steps" leading to perfection come in degrees, and in daily practice. (S-26)**  And we walk this "way" without fear, because our Shepherd is always before us (S-27) and leads us to the fact that "Life is eternal." (S-28)

The following hymns from the Christian Science Hymnal provide us with wonderful inspiration as we follow our Shepherd to life everlasting: Hymns 245, 330, 148, and the beloved 304.

**[You can read about the step-by-step demonstration over the causes and effects of an eating disorder as related by a dancer and CedarS counselor on page 9 of MyBibleLesson as adapted from "The Biggest Revelation of My Life" in the May 4, 2009 Christian Science Sentinel.]

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[This weekly Metaphysical Newsletter is provided at no charge to the 1,200 campers and staff who were blessed this summer at CEDARS--as well as to thousands of CEDARS alumni, families and friends who request it, or find it weekly on our website. But, current and planned gifts are much-needed to help cover the costs of running this service and of providing camperships for such inspirational opportunities.
Your support is always tax-deductible and appreciated -- but this year and month your help is especially needed and precious to us! This is the ideal time before winter to do needed "Maintenance Must" projects, yet our 5-year grant for this has expired. So we look to God--and to friends like you--for help. You can always call Warren or Gay Huff at (636) 394-6162 to charge your gift or to discuss any short-term or long-term gift that you are considering. CLICK HERE RIGHT AWAY TO SUPPORT CEDARS WORK!
Or, while your gratitude for freely receiving is fresh, you can "freely give" a
tax-deductible check payable to CedarS Camps mailed to the office: 1314 Parkview Valley, Manchester, MO 63011.]

[Camp Director's Note: This sharing is the latest in an ongoing, 9-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 in a 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 and background as well as new angles on the daily applicability of 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. B-1 and S-28) from this week's Bible Lesson in the "met" (metaphysical application ideas) are taken from the Bible (B-1 thru B-24) and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. (S-1 thru S-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]
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[Trick or Treatment? PSST for Halloween season: Ways to improve study habits, overcome over-booking, procrastination, bore-dumb, worry, inefficiency, ...]
Possible Sunday School Topics for the Oct. 25, 2009 Christian Science Bible Lesson on "Probation After Death"
By Steve Henn, a CedarS SS teacher, St. Louis, MO
[w/ bracketed italics by Warren Huff]

Golden Text (GT) - A current, and quite possibly historical, epidemic plagues our high school students. In fact, I'm quite certain that it plagues almost every generation, as I have not demonstrated immunity to it, and this Golden Text speaks perfectly to it. What is the epidemic? It is a two-headed hydra called procrastination and being over-booked. Not all students are over booked; not all students procrastinate excessively - but many if not most are facing these issues, and frequently.

How might this GT help them approach their study habits, or project practices?

In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy writes "Mind is the source of all movement" (283:4). How might Mind support our ever-busy students?
[and how divine Mind "guides every event of our careers"? Unity of Good 3:28]

Another possible angle to discuss: this is the college-hunting season. If God is ordering our steps, if Mind is the source of our movement,
[if Mind is guiding every event of our careers,] what does that then do for our current seniors who are college hunting, or hoping to be hunted by colleges themselves?

Responsive Reading - As an activity in SS, see what this psalm might look like to a modern teenager. The psalmist was writing in language that applied to shepherds, farmers, and the like. Unless your students are shepherds or farmers, this psalm might not really connect with them. What might a "23rd Psalm - re-mix High School version" look like? Give them each a piece of paper and have them rewrite this well-known psalm in a form that would connect directly to their experience in high school.

[The pace and peace of God's guiding and protecting presence comes through in Toki Miyashina's Japanese version of the 23 Psalm as found at http://peaceeveryday.blogspot.com/2008/10/psalm-23-miyashina-japanese-version.html
The Lord is my Pace-setter, I shall not rush;
He makes me stop and rest for quiet intervals.
He provides me with images of stillness,
which restore my serenity.
He leads me in ways of efficiency
through calmness of mind,
and His guidance is peace.
Even though I have a great many things
to accomplish each day,
I will not fret, for His presence is here;
His timelessness, His all importance,
will keep me in balance.
He prepares refreshment and renewal
in midst of my activity,
By anointing my mind with His oils of tranquility.
My cup of joyous energy overflows,
surely harmony and effectiveness
shall be the fruits of my hours,
for I shall walk, in the pace of my Lord
and dwell in His house forever.]


Section 1

What might strike your students about this section is that it seems to be asking for different things - see if your students can reconcile those different elements.
B-1 speaks of TRUST
B-2 speaks of PRAISE and
B-3 speaks of PERFECTION
How do these three characteristics fit into the lesson's subject of "Probation After Death"? Hint: look at S-2, S-3, and S-5 for support on how these ideas jive.

Section 2
I can remember from a young age hearing "What is it we are trying to preserve?" The question connects perfectly with B-7.
This opens up the discussion of "what is the kingdom of God?" and "how do we inherit it?" or even "do I want to inherit the kingdom of God - what if I'm having a grand ol' time as it is?"

Stepping back a short bit - B-4 declares trust in the midst of fear. How can the psalmist confidently affirm he will trust God in the face of fear? What must that say about God? What must that say about the psalmist's connection to God?
Though I fear this has become a bit cliché, perhaps your students have not heard of this concept before. Consider S-6 - the definition of Time on page 595 in S&H - now consider how people are often saying "If only I had more time!" If we understood what "time" really is, in the context of this definition - would we ever want any more of it???

Consider instead the freedom offered by S-8 - suggesting we can taste eternity here and now!
S-11 and S-12 are messages of compassion - help your students see how compassionate Mrs. Eddy was towards the precious people for whom she wrote her book. Often Christian Science gets a bad rap for being too demanding or not approachable - let these two citations speak to this false indictment of Christian Science.


Section 3-[Give a Treatment of Vigor when facing the Trick of Shortage] Story sections are always fun to work with. You can consider acting the story out, or you can provide incredible historical context to help unravel the significance of the story. You can also bring the story into modern-days. Ask questions like "What would this story look like today?" Or "How would you respond to God if he told you...?", "how would you respond to Elijah if he showed up on your door step and asked...?" [Martha Bolton's Sermon on the Stage (p. 51-52) contains a 2-minute interview sketch spoofing the TV show, "Unsolved Mysteries." For $10 you can download the copyrighted script for "Solved Mysteries " from the lillenas.com website by clicking here.]

This story section is also surrounded by other citations that offer great insight - B-9 and B-10 declare the benefits of living like Elijah and the widow woman.

Do your students ever wonder about their own value and significance? If God is so great, why would he care about me? If so, point them to S-14 and S-15. These citations discuss just how important we are to God, the almighty and all-powerful.

Section 4-
[Remember to think "Father I thank thee" before you see proof]
Do your students catch Jesus' methodical nature in this story about raising Lazarus from the dead? [Jesus even said that he spoke aloud so that we could hear and follow his modus operandi (m.o.). What was it? How can you practice his gratitude in advance method with what is troubling you?] Jesus did not just "arrive too late" - he had a reason for waiting until Lazarus was "dead". [4 days was considered definitely dead,--at the stinking stage.]   What does Jesus show to your students? What can they do as a result of Jesus' proof? [Martha Bolton's Sermon on the Stage (p. 9-14) contains a 5-minute sketch written from the standpoint of a disappointed undertaker. For $10 you can download the copyrighted script for "Death Doesn't Become Them" from the lillenas.com website by clicking here.]

Also, does it only take death of the body to repeat this miracle? What about other forms of "death" in your students' lives? Death is merely a word to describe something stopping. When a friendship stops, when intelligence appears to stop, when money appears to stop, these are all experiences of "death" in our lives. How can your students "cry with a loud voice" unto those experiences, "friendship, intelligence, supply - come forth!!"?
[Click hear to hear the Friday "Daily Lift" by Christian Science Lecturer Ryder Stevens, C.S. about raising folks that are dead to who they are as a child of God. Ryder also reminds us not to let our healings be killed off from their aliveness to us and to those around us.]

Look to S-19 for some ideas on what enabled Jesus to raise the dead. Can your students apply these ideas today?
[Our family will never forget the raising (and character transformation) of Jane. (Jane was a rabbit, so you might call it a hare-raising experience.) Near Easter one year our daughter wanted an adorable-looking, white bunny that quickly turned into an attack rabbit that would draw blood anytime anyone tried to pet or touch her. For years our daughter loved and cared for her despite this bad habit. After camp one summer Jane passed on right before we packed to go home. Although she was very cold and stiff, our daughter encouraged us to pray aloud and to sing to her pet for the 3-hour drive home. As we pulled in our driveway, Jane not only came back to life, but also had a remarkable character transformation--never attacking or biting anyone again!
During this Halloween season, this is a good example of a "Trick? Or Treatment?' situation. We had a choice to either let death trick and rob us; or to give the picture a good Christian Science treatment by affirming the allness of health, harmony and life and denying the actuality of disease, inharmony and death. No mask can fool you!]

Section 5
S-22 "Life is real and death is the illusion."
B-13 "If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death."
S-22 "The great spiritual fact must be brought out that man is, not shall be, perfect and immortal."
These are some powerful statements - present them to your students and then consider playing devil's advocate. Or, in another direction, before you go to Sunday School, try and predict in what ways your students might challenge these ideas, and how you might respond to their challenges.

S-23 "...this unreal material mortality disappears in presence of the reality."
On the other hand, here is a statement that is quite difficult for any person to respond to. Do not shy away from it. Rather, attack any doubts of it head on. What does Mrs. Eddy mean when she says this?  Will we no longer see ourselves at all?  What does reality look like?  What must it be like?  Ask your students these questions, and when you ask them sincerely, their answers may surprise you.

Cross-Sectional Idea:
As I was reading the lesson, I noticed a few ideas that broke the barriers of just a single section - the most prominent among these was "comfort" or "peace". In S-20 and in S-12 Mrs. Eddy specifically states how peace and comfort should be prominent in our experiences. What do your students think about that? What is present in their lives, and how can they work to find this more natural state of being?

Enjoy your classes this week. The ultimate lie, that man must wait for his perfection to be manifest, or that it is based upon a future state of repentance is crumbling around us. Welcome in the Christ who promises present connections with Truth, Life and Love!


 

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