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Share in Easter gladness--Accept Gods evil-free world as real and yours!

Dan Carnesciali C.S., St. Louis, MO
Posted Monday, April 6th, 2009

Share in Easter gladness--Accept God's evil-free world as real and yours!
Application ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson: "Are Sin, Disease, and Death Real?" for the week of April 6-12, 2009
by Dan Carnesciali, CS of St. Louis, MO & findhealing.net
[with 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

Happy Easter week! This is the most important season for Christians. Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection is central to our understanding of God as eternal Life. He proved that death is the illusion to overcome. (You may enjoy an article from the April 1997 Christian Science Journal named "Death: a mythological misconception" by Ruth Elizabeth Jenks. Despite the title, it is very easy to understand. It challenges the temptation to accept death as having the power to destroy and encourages a deepening understanding of the reality of Life.)

It would be so easy to say that, "Yeah, I know the answer to the question whether sin, disease, and death are real." This lesson is so much more than that. Each section is a complete lesson in itself. Let's not just skim over the surface. We can realize the full power of Truth and the complete destruction of evil. Does this sound impossible? "And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible." (Mark 10:27) Reflections of God can do all things.

Golden Text:
If you think you are helpless or hopeless, that thought is not from God. The all hearing, all doing God is here full of hope and help. Getting real, it is we who need to hurry up and be with God. Since God is ever active, everpresent, God is always present, always active in what seems to us to be person, place, thing or time. "I stand for right.... Come quickly to help me, O Lord my savior." (New Living Translation, NLT) Your mission today, if you choose to accept it, is to quickly take a stand for right by acknowledging and trusting God-good wholeheartedly.
[Remember one of Mrs. Eddy's favorite mottos: "Do right and fear not."]

Responsive Reading:
As you read the Responsive Reading, which is a double helping of praise, consider this. What if the purpose for praising God wasn't for God, but for you? That's right, what if the point of praising God were to complete you, make you whole and happy? Let's try it. As we praise God as our refuge - we see that we are safe. As we love and honor God, we are loving and honoring our true selves. As you praise and love God, you are tangibly recognizing your spiritual identity. Taking a vacation from praising and loving God would deny your existence, your reality. That's not a good vacation.

Section 1 - Spirit is Positive
The lesson starts from the premise that what is real is only good. The passage from Joshua 23 in citation one comes from Joshua's farewell speech. It assures us that all of God's promises have been kept. The authors of Joshua wrote this in a later period, so they could write about "the future" with confidence. One of my teenagers commented that the first citation ‘Is a pretty complex sentence in" the King James Version (KJV) translation. The word translated in KJV as the word "thing" is the Hebrew word "dabar," which means word, speech or saying. The New International Version (NIV) translates this passage as, "You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled;" (B1)

In Ps. 91 you have the assurance or promise that nothing bad shall happen to you, no disaster will come near your tent (your mental house). (B2) This is the relative statement, the assurance that evil cannot threaten you. The absolute statement is in the next citation. It says that there is no evil, the earth is filled only with God's love. (B3) This state of an evil-free world seems far fetched, until you are reminded that in reality the world is spiritual, created by God-good. This is confirmed in the passage from Genesis. God made everything and it is wholly good. (B5).

A good question is how this relates to understanding what sin, disease and death really are. "Everything good or worthy, God made. Whatever is valueless or baneful, He did not make, -- hence its unreality." (S1) That one citation is an excellent summary of this lesson, which is about the truth about reality. I know some of you are thinking, "OK, if God is good, and God made everything, then why do bad things happen?" Obviously, this is a good question to ask, a good question to discuss and really dig into. A quick, insincere answer to this question isn't what you are looking for. Let's explore this question together. Answering this question should involve reason (logic and argument). Part of it is also faith, which is confidence in something that you trust to be true, but you can't see with human eyes. Communion (intimate communication) with God tells you what is real.
[Intimate communications begin with loving attention. And "where there is loving attention, memory is inevitable." CS Teacher, Grace Wasson. During this time of "Easter gladness," let's give loving attention to, remember, everything about reality, to heal Forgetting Everything About Reality-F.E.A.R, "Freed of fear, of pain, and sorrow, Giving God the honor due, Every day will be an Easter Filled with benedictions new. C.S. Hymnal 171]

Section 2 - Sin Isn't Natural?
"Who can understand his errors?" (B6) Why is it that we get fooled? Basically, we are lulled into an out-of-focus mental state. Evil has many names, devil, deceiver, nothingness, uncle mort, sneaky snake talk. Whatever the name, deception is the game. Jesus said that "Evil is a liar and the father of it." That does not mean evil does not appear or feel real. How does this deception work? You couldn't be sold that evil is good and that good is really evil without this concept - charm/temptation. Charm is the power of pleasing or attracting, through pleasure and beauty. To tempt is to attract by holding out the probability of gratification or advantage. Temptation would want us to believe that A) evil is our thought; B) that evil is real; and C) that evil is good and good is evil. MyBiblelesson.com has a great note on sin. It says, "In Jesus' time, ‘sin' meant breaking your promise or relationship with God. Sin was not ‘natural' because it hid the natural relation ship between you and God." Another way to think of sin is that it is a thought that misses the mark.
["The Greek word hamartia (ἁμαρτία) is usually translated as sin in the New Testament. In Classical Greek, it means "to miss the mark" or "to miss the target" which was also used in Old English archery.[4]" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sin#Etymology] First, be aware when a thought misses the mark [or target of bulls-eye perfection.] Then what do you do? Well, you repent, you choose again. If the tempting thought comes again, or you hear that your prayers aren't doing any good, what do you do? Yes, you choose correct thoughts again until it is no longer necessary. [This simple procedure -- choosing again every time something is off-target --led to a healing and great testimony in our church this March.]

God's ideas are ready to exchange love and forgiveness for hating and hurting. (B7) God is good and ready to forgive, like the Father in the parable of the Prodigal Son. Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." We will never lose our way if we stay with that light of life (by choosing again). (B8) Christ, God's message to you, identifies evil and destroys it. Christ is the saving power of God and His activity in your life. It is the impulse for good leading you to happiness. "Christ came to destroy the belief in sin." (S7)

Section 3 - Sheep, Meet Your Shepherd
This section focuses on Jesus, the Good Shepherd. Mary Baker Eddy says that Jesus taught by parable and argument. Here, he uses sheep as a metaphor for the children of Israel and for individual Israelites. Sheep are simple creatures that are easily frightened. They need protection and someone to provide for them. Jesus said, "I will both search my sheep and seek them out ... I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick." Imagining you are a sheep, you know the shepherd's love. You feel protected. You know that when you get lost, the shepherd will search for you and find you. If ill, he will care for you and nurse you back to health. If in danger, he will protect you. If hungry, he will find you good pasture. (B9)

When Jesus was out among the people, "... he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad as sheep having no shepherd." Here the author stresses Jesus' compassion. If you look in the dictionary you find a definition that does not convey what Jesus was about. The dictionary says that compassion means to be in deep sympathy or sorrow for another, with a strong desire to alleviate suffering. Although a deep desire to alleviate your fellow man's suffering is Christian, being in sympathy with another's suffering, commiserating, doesn't bring healing. The opposite is actually the case. Compassion means to lift up your concept of your fellow man to the point where you are seeing God. It means removing impositions, or false labels, placed on them. For example, if you are dealing with a person who is dishonest, compassion means affirming and affirming his Christly nature until that is all you know about him. It also means that you deny that he can fall for the whispers that he is dishonest and that he enjoys being dishonest. This awakening to the presence God and the activity of good is healing. (S17)

Section 4 - Crucifixion
Jesus told his disciples that he must be betrayed and condemned to death. He goes on to say that he will be crucified, but he would rise (live, talk and walk) again three days later. (B14) "Salvation is as eternal as God. To mortal thought Jesus appeared as a child, and grew to manhood, to suffer before Pilate and on Calvary, because he could reach and teach mankind only through his conformity to mortal conditions; but Soul never saw the Saviour come and go, because the divine idea is always present." (Unity of Good, 59:13-18) (This excerpt from Unity of Good is a short chapter named, "The Saviour's Mission." It is worth reading.)

What if Jesus had gone home to Nazareth and avoided the crucifixion? He might have led a really nice life, but he would not have accomplished his life mission, which was to bring about our salvation. Was the crucifixion necessary? Without the crucifixion there would be no resurrection. Without the resurrection, there would be no ascension. Without these proofs, doubts about Jesus' teachings would persist. His career would be just stories. "Our Master fully and finally demonstrated divine Science in his victory over death and the grave. Jesus' deed was for the enlightenment of men and for the salvation of the whole world from sin, sickness, and death." (S&H 45:6-10) Jesus' proofs, his sacrifice, was/is for our salvation. Hence, Jesus' purpose was not to die, but to live. (B12)

Jesus' resurrection is the proof that God is Life. (S18) It is the proof that God's idea is not subject to material conditions, but has Christly authority over anger, lack and recession/sadness, and of course disease (the belief of inaction/over action). (S19) "Jesus' deed was for the enlightenment of men and for the salvation of the whole world from sin, sickness, and death." (S20) After the resurrection, Jesus and his followers walked on the southeast slope of the Mount of Olives to Bethany of Jerusalem [where Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. This is not to be confused with Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan where John the Baptist lived and baptized Jesus, and where the Prophet Elijah ascended into heaven.] (www.sacred-destinations.com/jordan/bethany-baptism-site.htm) You and I are called to a holy purpose. Let us remember [or give loving attention to, the fact] that our lives are pure emanations of divine good, Life.

Section 5 - Horizontal Relationships
The word translated as "follow" means "imitate" in the original Greek. J.B. Phillips translated the words of St. John as, "Never let evil be your example, dear friend of mine, but good." (B18) In the time leading up to Jesus' departure, he prayed repeatedly to God for protection of his flock. Without him to lead them, he knew that they would face challenges, but they would fulfill their individual and collective mission(s). "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:" (John 17: 20-22)

The psalmist urges us to be joyful, to serve God with gladness. (B19) But, what if we don't feel like we can be joyful, at least not until we are freed from some challenge? Your joy is actually an emanation of Soul - you have it by reflection. Mortal mind, which is nothing but a mistaken view of man, would urge you to focus on the problem in an attempt to get rid of the problem. Mary Baker Eddy said, "We ought to weary of the fleeting and false and to cherish nothing which hinders our highest selfhood." (S&H 68:6) Rather than freeing us, cherishing/hugging that which we want to be freed from would imprison us. A few weeks ago, the Bible lesson had the citation, "Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion." (Isa 52:2) God is not the Great Punisher as false doctrines dictate. "The Lord is good to all; and his tender mercies are over all his works." (B20)
["Tender Mercies," a beautiful solo written and sung by Susan Mack, is based on this B20 citation, Ps. 145:9. It can be heard online with "no fear, no regret" as Track 6 on The Solo Committee's CD called "Humility".]

God has called us for this purpose-to be free of sin and all evil. Sin is punished, but we are not sin. We are totally freed from suffering as we cease cherishing anything as true about us that is punishable. (S29) "The kingdom of the world is now the Kingdom of our God and his Messiah! He will rule forever and ever!" (B21 - The Message)

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.
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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


Ways for the student in you to:
Feel protected; Detect disguises; Prove your wholeness; "Choose again" to prevent random evil

Possible Sunday School Topics for the 4-12-09 lesson: "Are Sin, Disease, and Death Real?"
by Amy Robbins
[with bracketed, italic additions by Warren Huff]

P.S.S.T. Golden Text & Responsive Reading
The Golden Text and Responsive Reading emphasize the protection and salvation of God. Can you think of examples in your life when God protected you? Do we trust God because He protects us, or does He protect us because we trust Him? Is there a difference? The 91st Psalm is a well-known and beloved psalm. What does it have to do with whether or not sin, disease, and death are real? What are the psalms about? How can we sing out about God's protection?

[With legions of angels as your guardians, your Love-clad "panoply" (armor) of protection is way more complete than any witness-protection program attempted by humans to "pattern the divine." (S&H 571:18 & 542:20, First Church of Christ, Scientist and Miscellany (My.) 210: 2) As God's witness, you can expectantly say and pray: "I stand for right.... Come quickly to help me, O Lord my savior." (New Living Translation, NLT) In what situations should you stand for right, and do right, today? What is keeping you from making this demonstration? Remember one of Mrs. Eddy's favorite mottos: "Do right and fear not."]

Section 1-["Consider again" the news-get healing perspectives at CSMonitor.com & views at christianscience.com and tmcyouth.com]
Everything that God made was very good. How, therefore, can there be anything else? Mrs. Eddy explains this point thoroughly (see S&H 2), stating that unrealities seem real until their disguise is stripped off. What are some disguises that you can remove? [Unmasking Global issues online today: A down economy; the CS Perspective, Confidence during an economic downturn; Surging student debts and defaults; Nuclear threats in N. Korea, Iran; Terrorism and shootings; ... Unmasking & healing Personal issues: Parenting challenges and Relationship frictions; Health challenges; Worry; Over- or Under-Employment, ...] What are some ways to be alert to these tricks so as to notice and reverse the lie immediately?

[In a kind of mass hypnotism, most of the world immediately believes the lie that evil exists and could at any time strike us or loved ones, regardless of the victims' goodness or innocence. Jesus comments on this in the first five verse of Luke 13. His point is that, good or bad, all will be liable to tragedies and random evil, "except (unless) ye repent" (or consider again--choose again--from the Greek "metanoia"). The book of Job illustrates all the bad that can happen, even to a man as good as Job. It also shows all the bountiful, indestructible good ("twice as much as ... before") that will happen to good people like Job who "prayed for his friends" (or familiar thoughts, according to Bible scholar, Cobbey Crisler). (Job 42:10) In this Bible lesson, in each news article, and throughout each day. we, like Job, have the opportunity to repent, or choose again and again, to maintain our perfect innocence "from the foundation of the world ...when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy." (Job 38:7) Thanks to Mrs. Eddy's unique, Bible-based theodicy that classifies all evil as unreal, you and I as Christian Scientists are blessed to share with one and with all mankind freedom from a gloom-and-doom, womb-to-tomb existence. In the real, man is "no longer regarded as a miserable sinner, but as the blessed child of God."(S&H 573:17)]

Section 2-[Sin? "work badly done or left undone"? (S&H 6:7) "Sinner, it calls you." Hymn 298 Choose again.]
What was the record that Jesus was bearing about himself (B8)? Are we ever faced with proving that we are whole and perfect, despite what others may say? What can we learn from Jesus' example of speaking the truth?

How do we hold ourselves "superior to sin" (S&H 11) as Mrs. Eddy instructs us? How do we see sin as unreal, and not buy into the picture? How do we make sure that we are not making either too much or too little of sin, and simply destroying it?

[Can you identify the distractions that are causing you to "miss the mark" of living in line with your highest selfhood? What is preventing you from doing all of your work and doing it well? (See S&H 6:7) Isn't it great that God keeps handing you and me another arrow?! See this section's CedarS Met for more archery connections. Q. Next time how can you make a better choice (repent)-"hold yourself superior to sin"--and so hit the target? (S&H 231:20, S11) A. Try "hold(ing) yourself superior to sin" by joyously affirming that as a blessed, satisfied child of God, the most High, you have everything you need--and you know it!]

Section 3 -[Disease real? Choose again.]
What does it mean to be sheep without a shepherd? How does the presence of a shepherd comfort and reassure the sheep? How does God do this for each of us? How did Jesus' compassion heal the leper? In what ways can we follow this example and heal like Jesus did? Are we willing to cleanse the lepers?

Since we know that God didn't create sickness, we can see it for the nothingness that it is (S&H 17). Are we only seeing what's true in our lives? How can we be sure that we aren't being fooled?

[Q. What ideas can help you to wisely choose to identify disease as merely an illusion? (S17) A1. When you seem to be up against the make-believe wall of evil's reality, try applying this memorize-able paragraph, where the 4-sentences begin with W.A.L..L.: "When the illusion of sickness or sin tempts you, cling steadfastly to God and His idea. Allow nothing but His likeness to abide in your thought. Let neither fear nor doubt overshadow your clear sense and calm trust ....Let Christian Science, instead of corporeal sense, support your understanding of being, ..." (S&H 495:14) A2. Discover how a little humor breaks the heaviness and supposed reality of the problem. Lighten up to show that you know that you are fighting a defeated foe. As Jesus said: "In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33) A3. "Pinpoint" the problem--minimize the unreal by magnifying the real: Even physical scientists tell us that the body would fit on the head of a pin if you were to take away the space between its atomic and subatomic particles. Each of these particles is also made up of 99.9999% space (the scale of a grain of sand set in the football-field-sized Cambridge University courtyard according to this video for science teachers. (http://www.teachersdomain.org/resource/phy03.sci.phys.matter.atoms/) With the so-called material particles of your whole body at that smaller than pinpoint scale of relative nothingness, how big or real is that part of your body that is supposedly diseased or injured? It becomes easy to put it where it belongs--on the falsely-mental basis of illusion, or aggressive mental suggestion--where it quickly yields to the Truth about your real, painless and perfect being.]

Section 4-[Death real? "Mourner, it calls you:" Hymn 298 Choose again.]
Why do we recognize and celebrate Easter? What was significant about the 1st Easter? What did Jesus have to struggle and face in order to be resurrected? Are we ready and willing to take up the cross? Are we willing to be mocked and crucified and still stand for the Truth? Jesus consistently proved that there is no power apart from God. What are some ways that we can continue to do this?

Jesus' final step was ascension. How are we open to ascension in our own experiences? What types of things should we rise above and leave behind? How can we demonstrate resurrection and ascension in our everyday lives?

[Q. When a traditional "lament event" such as death or loss confronts you and your loved ones, how can you make it a non-event by seeing it for the unreal illusion that it is? A1. "Then rise and greet the signs that prove Unreal the ages' long lament; The "one far-off divine event" Is now, and that event is Love." CS Hymnal 391 A2. The best way to combat grief is hand-to-hand with Love. Can you and your loved ones follow the example of "loving in the now" shown by "the Whos down in Whoville"? They stood hand-in-hand singing without the physical presence of the presents stolen by the Grinch on Christmas day. Like them, we can keep ever present the true meaning and essence of the gift (or friend) we seem to have lost.  May our hearts grow "three sizes" today as we gain this "true understanding" which "robs the grave of victory."(How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Dr. Seuss and S&H 275:26)]

Section 5- [Choose gratitude--"Side with God and win!" CS Hymnal 296]
What are some of the things that you are grateful for and rejoicing about? How will you praise God today? Are you always remembering to honor God and thank Him for all His blessings? What does "and he shall reign for ever and ever" mean to you? (Rev. 11:15, B21)

Look at the action verb forms in this section: voicing; speaking; enlist(ed); rise. Are we actively following God and Jesus' example? How can we make sure that we do? What are some reminders that we can keep with us? What can we do each day to make sure that we acknowledge God's ever-present power?

["keep your minds so filled with Truth and Love, that sin, disease, and death cannot enter them." My. 210:2 We are encouraged to "enter ... his courts" ---and told how to get in: "with praise!" (Ps. 100:4) Why would you, or anyone, choose to stay outside of God's courts-outside the divine consciousness of total health care, goodness and light? Keep alive with gratitude and choose to side with wisdom and joy again, and again, and again, and ... "Rouse ye, rouse ye, face the foe, Rise to conquer death and sin; On with Christ to victory go, O side with God, and win!" CS Hymnal 296]

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

 

 

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