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Discover the Beauty of Soul within [and let a smile of God be your Valentine!]

Phebe Telschow, C.S., St. Louis, MO
Posted Monday, February 9th, 2009

Discover the Beauty of Soul within [and let a "rose, smile of God," (S22) be your "divine Valentine!"]
Metaphysical application ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson: "Soul" for February 15, 2009
by Phebe Telschow, C.S.
(not Journal-listed) of St. Louis, MO [bracketed additions in 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. (We no longer have a translator available for German.) JUST SIGN UP at www.cedarscamps.org/newsletters

Clearly, there is something about Soul that is absolutely essential for us to understand and love because Mary Baker Eddy included Soul as one of her seven synonyms for God [and as a Lesson sermon topic for us to study for 4 weeks of the year, including both "Soul and Body" lessons as well.] This week's Bible Lesson Sermon on "Soul" talks a lot about beauty, the beauty of the Lord, and the beauty of holiness [all waiting to be found, and loved, within you and all. What's not to love about Soul's reflection? And, discovering Soul in everyone will deliver to you everyday at least a dozen "rose(s), smile(s) of God"! S&H#22, p. 175:9 "Think what Father's smiles are thine" CS Hymnal#166:2]

So, let's consider some simple questions as we study this lesson: What does an understanding of Soul have to do with our demonstration of Christian Science? [and of feeling that we are "the loved of Love" CS Hymnal #232:3] What is it about Soul that makes it essential to the definition of God? Is there something specific about Soul that's helpful and healing? Why would this lesson on Soul include an in-depth discussion of beauty? What's the relationship between beauty and Soul? What's so beautiful about Soul?

When someone says the word "beauty", do any images come leaping to mind? What usually qualifies as beautiful in our minds? What role does beauty have in our lives? Have we ever considered whether or not beauty has a specific God-derived purpose, activity, and effect? For example, does beauty motivate or inspire us? If so, what usually happens once we're spiritually motivated and inspired? What are some of the other effects of beauty? Is beauty calming, encouraging, or reassuring? Give it a little thought and make a list of your own of the things that spiritual beauty does.

Look at the Golden Text from Psalms 90:17: "And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us:" Notice the use of the word "let". What quality and caliber of thought would you associate with the word "let"? What kind of mental posture do we need in order to let or allow the beauty of the Lord to be upon us?

As we read this week, let's keep a descriptive list of the ingredients of Soul, or "the beauty of the Lord". [Consider this list Soul's Valentine Card or Love letter to you!] In the Responsive Reading we find mention of: honor, majesty, salvation, strength, glory, holiness, joy, forgiveness, healing, redemption, loving-kindness, and tender mercies just to name a few. Every one of these qualities is like a brushstroke on a canvas, and if we keep track, we're bound to have a clearer picture by the end of the lesson sermon. It is interesting to note that meaning of the original Hebrew words for beauty, honor and majesty that the Psalmist is using here in Psalm 104 are extremely similar, as if to reinforce his message by using three words to describe the attributes of God (beauty, honor and majesty) that are different shades of the same color. How would you define honor? What images come to mind when you think of the majesty of God? Stay tuned and read on!

Section 1: Love the spiritual majesty [of "the One "altogether lovely!" S&H 5]  Speaking of images of majesty, the Bible citations of the first section include poetic mention of mountains, the Earth, Sun, and the heavens. What do these cosmic metaphors do for our understanding of the scale, and scope, range, reach, and overall majesty of God? Every citation from Science and Health in this section builds on the concept of the magnitude of God, and ensures that we understand that the extent of God is not just beyond physical terms, it's completely other than physical terms because God is entirely spiritual, not material.

Worshiping the Lord in the beauty of holiness is a refrain here and indeed in the Old Testament in general. (See the Responsive Reading and Bible citation 4 from I Chronicles). Knowing what we know about the majesty of God, what kind of an opportunity (or responsibility?) does "worshipping the Lord in the beauty of holiness" place before us?

Section 2: Love man's relationship to the immortal beauty and majesty of God! Now that we have a sense of the infinite beauty and spiritual glory of God from the first section, we need to clarify what that specifically means for us as God's ideas. We'll find very descriptive answers to the question, "what is man?" throughout this section. Remember to keep an eye out for references to beauty, and consider how they relate to Soul. Keep adding to your list of the qualities/attributes of Soul.

Section 3: Love real beauty that is from a spiritual sense of Soul, not from physical sense. The Bible in this section offers us some highlights of the story of Absalom. He's the third of King David's six sons. Apparently he was not only physically gorgeous; he was also extremely charming, and rather devious, as it turns out. We might even say that he was a walking metaphor for how deceiving outward beauty and charm can be if their source is strictly from the basis of physical sense, as opposed to spiritual or Soul-sense.

In fact, in view of the thorns and snares that are in the way of the forward described in citation B9, perhaps it bears a mention that Absalom met his end when he was running through a woodsy area trying to flee the consequences of his dishonest actions. His beautiful hair got caught in the branches of a tree making it easy for King David's soldiers to catch up to him. (Granted, this rather colorful aspect of the story is outside of the blue chalk in your lesson books. Turn to II Samuel, chapters 14-18 if you'd like to know more of the full story.)

Just to make sure we that we understand that it's always the material senses and not Soul which sins and defrauds mankind, we have tremendous clarity from each of the citations in Science and Health in this section.

Section 4: Love Seeing with Soul instead of sense.  Jesus' healing of two blind men is a main feature of this section. These gentlemen didn't seem to have a mortal sense of sight, but there's no question as to their spiritual insight because they followed Jesus and asked him to have mercy on them - which is to say, they appealed to his expression of Soul, since mercy is an attribute of Soul. (Double check your running list of the qualities of Soul!) Remember that just about everything Jesus did was symbolic, so when he responded to their request for healing by touching their eyes and telling them that it should be unto them according to their faith - it like saying that in agreement with their faith, there was(and is) something more to see than matter. Then the Soul-filled power of this spiritual truth manifested itself naturally in normal sight.

Mrs. Eddy explains it beautifully in Science and Health on page 210:9 where she sets forth one of the main points of this lesson sermon:
"Knowing that Soul and its attributes were forever manifested through man, the Master healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, feet to the lame, thus bringing to light the scientific action of divine Mind on human minds and bodies and giving a better understanding of Soul and salvation."

Section 5: Love the natural effect of Soul on man--abundant health, harmony and holiness. When Jesus instantly healed Peter's mother-in-law of fever, he demonstrated that the natural effect of Christly, spiritual Soul-sense not only heals mankind physically, but uplifts each of us to such an extent that we may be of gracious service to our fellow man. Notice that the first thing that Peter's mother does when she's healed is to minister (take care of) Peter and Jesus.

Mrs. Eddy brings even more light to the subject when she says, "This is the beauty of holiness,' that when Truth heals the sick, it casts out evils, and when Truth casts out the evil called disease, it heals the sick." (Ah! There's the "beauty of holiness" again!)

Section 6: Love the journey "from sense to Soul," the pathway that lies before us. [CS Hymnal #64] Healings performed by the disciples are always especially significant because they indicate the universal law of God that Jesus taught. This woman that Peter heals clearly spent her life expressing a maximum of Soul. Peter must have known that all the beautiful, Soul-filled works this woman did over the years were a law of annihilation to anything unlike good in her experience, and indeed that natural, healthy harmony of Soul is exactly what manifested itself in a way that was visible to all.

Peter shows us what Mrs. Eddy describes (SH26) on page 395:6-10:
"Like the great Exemplar, the healer should speak to disease as one having authority over it, leaving Soul to master the false evidences of the corporeal senses and to assert its claims over mortality and disease."

Soul cures sinful sense (and a sense of or belief in sin) in the same way that Spirit overcomes matter. Just as truth relates to Truth, beauty is the evidence of Soul. It is like a divine arrow pointing upwards, directing our thoughts away from selfish, sinful mortal sense, towards spiritual sense. An uplifted spiritual sense of what really qualifies as beautiful rearranges our priorities in life and actually does what the last line of the Daily Prayer says, "enrich the affections of all mankind, and govern them." It may be a little known fact, but what's being governed with that prayer isn't "all mankind", but rather "the affections of all mankind". [Now there's a divine Valentine!] Whatever we consider beautiful, and worthy of our affection will be what we hold most in our thoughts, and that inevitably becomes a leading factor in our lives. If we have a sincere affection for spiritual good, and are in the practice of pursuing it, then we will naturally gravitate in that direction even when presented with situations that would otherwise be challenging or confusing, or discouraging. The end result will be seen in lives that show the happy, healthy, and harmonious effects of being governed by Spirit, Soul, not material sense - lives that fulfill God's purpose for us to be of Christly service to all mankind.

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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. Click http://www.cedarscamps.org/giving to read fruitage due to your help; to review current 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.
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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

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Possible Sunday School Topics for the Christian Science Bible Lesson: "Soul" for February 15, 2009 
by Steve Henn of St. Louis, MO

What a great week to discuss true beauty and attraction. [See CedarS met for Valentine ideas.] Mrs. Eddy has lots to say on the topic and this lesson makes a great launch pad for a wonderful discussion about body image, peer-pressure, temptation, and satisfaction. Let's get started!!

Golden Text: [Consider having students first write their answers to certain questions to both broaden and deepen the discussion.]  What does God's beauty look like? What does it mean to have His beauty on us? How would it change our daily activity if we recognized God, and not ourselves, as our source of beauty?

Responsive Reading (RR): Soul is often something that we think of possessing inside ourselves - but this RR is all about God and rendering glory unto him. What is that all about? Where do I fit into this picture? How does focusing on God so much help me out?

Section 1: B5: After all our praises and focus goes toward God, he repays us with his spirit. What does that look like in our daily lives? How does it feel to have God's spirit upon us during a test, in a game, when talking to a friend?

S1-5: How do you define Soul? This section gives us a number of clues as to how it is defined. Find those clues and come up with a working definition in your class.

Section 2: Bible: Look at all the qualities mentioned in this section: excellent, dominion, strength, beauty, honor
Look too at the actions in this section: crowned, merciful, bless, shine, praise, sing, govern
How do each of these help us see more clearly the action of Soul?

S&H: This section presents two attributes of Soul that aren't necessarily obvious - dominion and governance. Is Soul powerful enough to have dominion or give it? Is Soul reliable enough to govern rightly? Mrs. Eddy certainly thinks so - what does it take to tap into Soul's power and to be led truly by Soul's government?

Section 3: B10&11: In the story of Absalom we read about a man presenting a very attractive personality. He appears to be hearing the problems of others, but what help is he offering? How often do we try to help our friends through our own personality? What does it take to really help someone? How can we lean on Soul to help our friends when they are in need?

B12: Mark the perfect man...what does that mean; and what is the "peace" we are promised?

S11: What a comfort!! We have no sin to let go of; there is no sin in our "soul" that we must repent for. But we must lose our sense of sin. How do we do that?

S14: When examining ourselves, what do we do if we don't like what we see? How can we bring Soul's vision of us to bear on a seemingly unattractive picture of ourselves?

S15: Mrs. Eddy speaks of loathing sin and rebuking "it under every mask". We speak of sin so frequently as something that tempts us, that appears to be desirable and fun. Does this mean we have to be a "prude"? This sounds like Mrs. Eddy is asking us to be mean towards our friends who may be "sinning". What can we do when we are tempted to "sin" or see our friends "sinning"? How would Soul respond to that situation, and what does Mrs. Eddy really mean about loathing sin? [See S&H 571:13 on giving a warning & 452:15 on not breathing immorality]

Section 4: B13: Mrs. Eddy says that "desire is prayer". Help your students see how this citation connects to that statement. What is it asking us to desire after? How do we act about something our whole soul is set on - whether it be a new bike, learning the guitar, or getting a good grade on the next test? Do we ever tire in our search?

S&H: What are the faculties of Soul that are eternal? What are "spiritual senses"? Can we use them here and now? What does it mean to see spiritually, or to hear spiritually?

Section 5: This section is focused primarily on the healing power of Soul. Where does this power come from? How can we tap into the power of Soul to heal? Look at B17 to see again the idea of how powerful desire is. In B19 and S21, what are the effects of prayer? It goes beyond the restoration of health to the body.

Section 6: When we pray, who is responsible for the healing? Do we have to rely on our own strength or inspiration to heal? (B23; S26) How does the vision of infinite Soul impact our ability to excel in sports, academics, relationships (both romantic and platonic)? Look at B24, S28, and S29. What difference can these citations make on our school day after a long night of homework, or in the 4th quarter of a really important game, or when dealing with an ongoing situation between friends?

Other Ideas: Discuss the development of "beauty" over the years - speak to how the body's form is not intrinsically beautiful, but rather viewed differently throughout history.

Give each student a dry-erase marker and assign them the task of putting on their mirrors at home the qualities of Soul that they express - help them see this as the source of beauty, not their physical form.

Resources:
http://tmcyouth.com/blogs/feel-better/ - an article on true beauty found at TMCyouth.com
http://tmcyouth.com/lesson/ - a community resource for ideas found in this week's Bible Lesson
http://tmcyouth.com/blogs/ - an archive of wonderful articles dealing with issues our youth face every day. Along the right side of the page there is a list of topics covered in these articles. For the lesson on Soul, check out topics such as "Happiness", "Love", "Relationships", "Self-esteem", "Sexuality" and more...

 


 

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