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Learn to Cherish Everyone Equally as a Standout, like Universal Love Does.

Craig L. Ghislin, C.S., Glen Ellyn (Bartlett), IL
Posted Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

Learn to Cherish Everyone Equally as a Standout, like Universal Love Does.
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on "Love"
For the week of July 27-August 2, 2009
By Craig L. Ghislin, C.S. Glen Ellyn, Illinois

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

This week's Lesson is Love. What does "Love" mean to you? How would you define it? The Golden Text simply reads, "God is Love." It doesn't get more straightforward than that. Love must have been pretty important to John. I counted thirty-three references to love in First John and nineteen entries in chapter four alone! Love is a particularly Christian theme. Dummelow points out that "Love is not merely an attribute of God, it is His very being."

As the dictionary defines it, love is generally related to affection and benevolence for or toward someone deserving of it. But it's a two-way street. Normally, the one loved loves the lover back. How does it feel to be loved? There is a comfort in it isn't there? A sense of peace knowing that someone has "got your back." Genuine love recognizes who we are and cherishes our special qualities and abilities.

The Responsive Reading echoes that feeling. Considering God's love for us, we are assured that God will never leave us or let us down and that He/She always "has our back." We can never get outside of God's tender loving care. Verse 11 speaks of laying our stones with "fair colours." This is a specific reference to something called "antimony." It is a technique used to set off colors brilliantly similar to using eyeliner to draw attention to a beautiful pair of eyes. They used this method in mosaic to enhance the individual colors in each tile. In a similar fashion, God highlights our specific, unique, individual gifts. In return, the children of Israel will not lean on human teachers to learn about God. They will learn directly from their divine Source.

Some may feel that they don't quite have a full sense of God's love for them. Take some time to consider your unique gifts. Yours are just as precious to your Father-Mother God as those of your neighbor's. You are loved and cherished and God will never leave you.

Section 1: God's Love Is Not Constrained by Human Limitations
Customarily the Jews routinely looked to the past to be reminded of God's great goodness to them. The Jews' redemption isn't the result of any human ancestry. God alone is their redeemer (B-1). The subtitle in The Abingdon Bible Commentary for Bible citation 2 is "The Inescapable God."   It implies that God's knowledge is not subject to human limitations. Since God fills all space, we can't possibly be separated from Him. Just as it does us little good to suppose that God has limited capabilities, it is just as fruitless to rely on human wisdom or riches (B-3). Jeremiah cautions Israel that "the only sure trust is in knowing the will of God, who Himself acts righteously, and desires that men should do the same" (Dummelow). Interpreter's adds: that which is truly worthwhile is "not shrewdness in affairs, or in physical strength, or wealth, but a true understanding of the nature of God." The psalmist looks confidently to God for help (B-4) and acknowledges that there is no limit to God's compassion and tender mercies (B-5).
[To delight in days with "no fear, no regret ... no matter the need and no matter the threat," try affirming that "tender mercies are holding me." Hymnal Supplement Hymn 445.]

Mary Baker Eddy emphasizes God's infinite power as well. Love is the divine Principle of the universe (S-1, S-2).  God is everlasting and He cannot be "bounded nor compressed within the narrow limits of physical humanity." If we consider God as possessing human qualities, we might suppose there would be some limitations on God. God is not personal in a finite, human sense; God is the only Person. He is the "everlasting I AM." Thinking of God in a finite way makes it impossible to recognize His infinite power. The human heart yearns for something better and beyond its own limited sense of things (S-3). "The starting point of divine Science is that God, Spirit, is All-in-all" (S-4). God isn't the "biggest" of many minds, He is the ONLY mind. He is the Principle of all that exists. His is the only wisdom, truth, love, life, and goodness.

Think about it. Would you feel more comfortable with a god who exhibits human limitations? Or, with an infinite loving Principle, with unlimited power and resources; that could never be separated from you?

Section 2: You Are Precious in His Sight
The verses in Isaiah (B-6) are directed to the exiled children of Israel. They have been cut off and dispersed, but God's love ransoms, restores, and calls them all home. God's eternal law can never be broken (B-7). God alone can satisfy us and give us our life (B-8). The writers of the New Testament maintained this awareness. Paul said that nothing could "separate us from the love of God" (B-9). Paul's list of things that would attempt to separate us from God is telling. "Angels" and "principalities" referred to supernatural powers that were believed to have unseen influence over mankind. "Height" and "depth" are astronomical terms referring to planetary positions. Abingdon writes that fear of unseen elemental forces "poisoning human happiness and destroying human freedom" were creating in the thoughts of men a "real bondage of dread." But we don't live apart from God; we dwell in Him (B-10).

Do we let "unseen forces" poison our happiness? Do we allow the prognostications of the financial markets, or reports of disease to make us afraid and separate us from God? Do we believe in astrology, or human predictions and prophets of doom? Science and Health provides help.

We are assured that Love produces nothing unlike itself (S-5). The real man of God's creating is not comprehended by material sense (S-6). The real man cannot be lost or separated from his divine Principle, Love. Citation S-7 contains one of the most encouraging statements in our textbook: "This is the doctrine of Christian Science: that divine Love cannot be deprived of its manifestation, or object; that joy cannot be turned into sorrow, for sorrow is not the master of joy; that good can never produce evil; that matter can never produce mind nor life result in death." What more can we say? Our Leader tells us blatantly to get rid of anything that tells us we're separated from God (S-8). We can't have any clearer direction than that. Put it to practice. Scan your thought for anything that suggests you are separate from God and get rid of it.

Section 3: "Who Do You Love?"
This phrase from 1980's rock song reminds me of how often the theme of love is utilized in popular culture. Just for fun, count how many different songs you know that encourage love for all mankind. Hundreds if not thousands of hymns, folk songs, rock songs, protest songs, pop songs, operas, and musicals tell us to love one another. Where does this idea come from? Do you think it's just natural for the human mind? Not really. It's rooted in deep religion and in an understanding of God. Though culture has popularized the idea, the Christian movement was the first to make love for one another their primary message. It was key to everything they stood for. Christians are taught to show their love for God, in love for their neighbor (B-11). The question arises, "Who is my neighbor?" (B-13). Jesus replied to this query with the story of the Good Samaritan. Recall that for the Jews a neighbor was generally thought of as one of their own-a fellow Jew. Under rabbinical law, though a Jew was not to knowingly cause harm to non-Jews, they were under no particular obligation to help them, even if the stranger were threatened with death (Dummelow). When Jesus used a Samaritan as the hero of his story, this was shocking to his Jewish listeners. "The Samaritan represented both racial impurity and religious heresy" (Interpreter's). Yet he performed in an admirable, loving way. The lesson is plain: "One must not escape the demand of the law by asking Who, but respond to the divine demand by asking How... [to] show love to those who need it" (Ibid.).

The priest and Levite who passed by behaved selfishly. Even though they had nothing else in particular to do, they avoided helping the man. Mrs. Eddy calls her followers to be unselfish. Realizing God is the only Mind, we find that we can't really be separated from the rest of mankind. We are impelled to help those in need (S-9). The two who passed by were probably feeling quite comfortable with their justification for not helping. But we are called upon to let Love dissolve self-will, self-justification, and self-love (S-10). There is not a single circumstance in which we should not overcome error with truth (S-11). Nothing can harm us when we're clothed in the armor of Love. Our Leader yearned for the day when we would love our neighbor as ourselves (S-12).

Take some time to consider your situation. Is there anyone you would pass by? Do you feel justified in selfishness toward any one or group? It's time to step out of your comfort zone [into your growth zone] and to try "the divine way" [of the Comforter] (S-13).

Section 4: Divine Love Touches Even the "Untouchables"
It is our duty as Christians not only to demonstrate love by helping those in need, but also to discover how essential love is in our healing work. As shocking as it might have been for Jesus to speak approvingly about a Samaritan's actions, it may have been even more astonishing that he had contact with lepers. Lepers were untouchables. Even if a leper stuck his head in the doorway of a room, it would be considered unclean. Generally lepers were supposed to be given a berth of six to forty feet depending on the wind. Additionally, if a leper were cured, he had to be pronounced "clean" by the priests before returning to society. Jesus is said to have been "moved with compassion" in an encounter with a leper (B-15). Some translators use the word anger instead. Might Jesus have been angry with the whole law? With the whole predicament the poor man was in? Whatever the case, he broke the taboo, touched the "untouchable," and healed the man.

Do we have any "untouchables" today? Are there not some who we are warned to stay away from lest we become contaminated, by a germ, lifestyle, or doctrine? We can't be healers if we think such things. The Founder of Christian Science writes, "Love for God and man is the true incentive in both healing and teaching" (S-14). She writes, that Jesus introduced healing in an age of "ecclesiastical despotism" (S-15). That means a time when the religious establishment ruled with absolute power. Jesus challenged the dogmatic coldness of his time with the warmth of healing demonstration. He "mapped out the path" (S-16). We need not think that the time for healing is over. Love is always at work meeting every need (S-17). We should heal as our Master did. Christian Scientists are sometimes perceived as being cold [even the "frozen chosen"]. But the genuine Christian Scientist is far from cold. He is filled with love that restores and heals (S-18). There is a lot of talk about the need for better healing in our times. According to our Leader, that need would be met if we reached our patients through divine Love (S-19).

There are several elements to the need for better healing. As you consider this need, check to see that you are not bound by ecclesiastical despotism. Let no obstacle stand between your prayer and the healing power of divine Love.

Section 5: The Example of Nursing with the Mother-Love
In the cases of the Samaritan and the leper a belief of separation from good was overcome. In each case the problems were compounded by beliefs of superiority and clannishness-the exclusion of a group for being unclean and the consideration of only one's own group as a neighbor. Have you ever known a mother who only loved her own children and found fault with all the rest? We might say that such a mother needs to broaden her sense of love. Paul writes that he and his fellow workers dealt with everyone equally "treating converts as a nurse does her own children, with self-sacrificing tenderness" (Abingdon) (B-16). In Romans (B-17) we have Paul recognizing the value of all of the individual talents and functions in the church. This reminds us of those stones laid with "fair colours". Each one is a standout. Paul reminds us to acknowledge the gifts of others and regard them as equal to if not more valuable than our own. He addresses the Christian community as a whole. Every individual should attend to his or her duty with diligence. Christ Jesus also placed a high value on the mothering qualities of nursing. He expected practical help to be given, not just a litany of rules and quotes (B-18). Abingdon comments,
"The real dividing line between men is whether or not they have the spirit of humanity expressing itself in kindly helpfulness whenever there is need and distress.... Christian kindness is to know no limits of race or class but is to flow unceasingly and naturally from the heart in complete harmony with the will of God."

Mrs. Eddy also encouraged this motherly comfort. Look at the qualities she points out: peace, patience, cheerfulness, orderliness, punctuality, faith, receptivity (S-20, S-21). Of course a good nurse/mother also knows who should be let into the house. She stands porter at the door (S-22). A good nurse, like a good mother, endures all sorts of hardships while caring for the needy (S-23). It is the spiritual demand that quells the material and supplies the energy to go well beyond what might not otherwise be endured. We are assured that there are millions ready for a cup of cold water (S-24). Considering the difference in world population today from when she wrote those words, we should have an ample supply of healing opportunities. The key, "the vital part," to finding and reaching those millions is Love (S-25).

A friend of mine once asked a busy and effective practitioner what his secret was. He replied " the Mother Love." He tried to utilize it more and more each day. Let's not be like the mother who only loves her own children, but like the nurse who loves all as her own.

Section 6: The Sweet Scent of Love
God's love is everlasting-unalterable, consistent, steadfast (B-21). Let's add some songs of praise of our own to show our thankful praise to God (B-22). The psalmist rejoices that the works of Love are great and sought out by all those "millions of unprejudiced minds." The Lord's grace and compassion are to be remembered. They stand forever (B-23). Finally, we can rest assured that God's love is always with us and will never forsake us (B-24).

The Christian Science textbook underscores the constancy of God's love. God's love is unerring, immortal, immutable, and invariable (S-26). The relations of God and man are indestructible and there is never a lapse nor return to harmony (S-27). All things are fashioned after the likeness of God and His Love "bathes all in beauty and light" (S-28). This love is "redolent with unselfishness." Redolent means diffusing a sweet scent. Whether someone is baking a pie or burning garbage, the scent is discernable long before arrival at the scene. Let's leave the stench of self-righteousness and ecclesiastical despotism behind and fill the air with the sweet scent of Love reflected in everything we do. On page 39 of No and Yes, Mrs. Eddy writes, "True prayer is not asking God for love; it is learning to love, and to include all mankind in one affection. Prayer is the utilization of the love wherewith He loves us." As we learn to love in this way and allow the sweet sense of love to go before us we will attract the full spectrum of seekers and reflect the divine Love that plays no favorites, but cherishes each one as Her own.

Your contributions are especially needed and appreciated at this time to help cover a couple thousand dollars in costs connected with hosting several, wonderful Christian Science lectures at CedarS. Click here to see Robin Hoagland  and Susie Jostyn, both of the Christian Science Board of Lectureship, and each speaking to different sessions of 350 CedarS campers and staff.
CLICK HERE RIGHT AWAY TO SUPPORT CEDARS WORK (and Christian Science lectures at camp)!
Or, while your gratitude is still fresh in thought, you can send a tax-deductible check to The CedarS Camps, 19772 Sugar Drive, Lebanon, MO 65536

This weekly Metaphysical Newsletter is provided at no charge to the 1,200 campers and staff members being blessed again this summer at CEDARS--as well as to thousands of CEDARS alumni, families and friends who request it, or find it on our website. But, current and planned gifts are much-needed to help cover the costs of running this service and of providing camperships and otherwise-unavailable, inspirational opportunities. Please help us give to Christian Science Sunday School students from all over the world the inspiration and tools to become "future active workers in the Christian Science Movement." (CedarS 2nd Fundamental concept)
We continue to be extremely grateful that some large, hoped-for FOUNDATION GRANTS came through on top of several small and large individual gifts, so that we have enough campership contributions to guarantee that any Christian Science Sunday School student who wants to come to CedarS this summer can do so. We still do have some openings for our one-week 5th session (Aug. 9-15) and for individuals of all ages at Family Camp and for single or married adults at our "Celebrate Marriage" weekend! Please encourage all the friends and C.S. Sunday School students you know to be touch about the possibilities of attending one of these life-changing and blessing sessions! It will also be VERY helpful to have help in covering transportation costs to get all dear ones to camp! Thanks for your donation (or your church's) of transportation funds and for your gift of earned airline tickets or frequent flyer miles.
Your support is always tax-deductible and appreciated -- and your help at this time is especially precious to us! You can always charge your gift or discuss any short or long-term gift that you are considering by calling us at (636) 394-6162.

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 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

PSST-possible ways for the student in you to better feel God's Love and share it!
Possible Sunday School Topics by Merrill Boudreaux
for the Christian Science Bible Lesson: "Love" for August 2, 2009

P.S.S.T. - Golden Text - A simple and profound statement exists with the three-word Golden Text, "...God is love." Ask students to read the context for this phrase in 1 John 4:7,8,11. Ask students, "If God is Love, what then must we be as created in God's image and likeness, in partnership with God?"

P.S.S.T. - Responsive Reading - Have students read Hymn 444 from the new Christian Science Hymnal Supplement.
God is shown to be comforter, what phrases focus on the aspects of comfort in the RR?  Probe further the phrases as to how they are relevant today or have meaning to students; phrases such as, "lay thy stones with fair colours", and "I will make thy windows of agates...."

P.S.S.T. - Section 1 - What are the phrases in the Bible portion of this section that reveal aspects of God's love for mankind? Phrases such as, "...the Lord has bestowed onus...", "...a God at hand...a God afar off...", "...exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness...", "Quicken me...", and "...full of compassion..."   In the S&H portion of this section is a discussion about God as Principle.  When we think of Principle as law and understand that MBE also saw Principle as Love, have students look for the connections between Love and Principle, for laws that are not restrictive but freeing.  There are 20 citations in S&H in Concord for the phrase, "Principle, Love".

P.S.S.T. - Section 2 - The law, or word of God is settled.   Like in the recent Supreme Court nominees hearings for Judge Sonia Sotomayor, there were many questions asked about settled laws, that is, laws in the constitution or passed by Congress that are long-standing and accepted by the majority of people in the United States.  What statements in the Bible section do you consider settled?  Such as, "...thou was precious in my sight...", "...I have loved thee...". "...thy face to shine upon thy servant..." and many others.  See also S&H-7, "This is the doctrine of Christian Science...." What do these settled laws mean for us in our relationship to God?... As witnesses of God in our lives?

P.S.S.T. - Section 3 - Have students read aloud the story of the Good Samaritan, perhaps even act it out. What propelled Jesus to tell this story or parable? What was his five-word admonition to his audience and to us?  What is the corollary to this admonition in S-11?  What statements are made in S-12 and S-13 that indicates that C.S. and S&H is for all mankind?  By the way, who is your neighbor?

P.S.S.T. - Section 4 - What actions of Jesus' love are mentioned in the Bible story in this section?  How were these acts of compassion? Look to S&H to answer why his actions were important.  Define leper, demonstration, genuine, restoration, native, native nothingness.  By the way, why was it a big deal for Jesus to heal the leper and for the leper to be healed?

P.S.S.T. - Section 5 - What are the two stories or parables in Matthew 25 that precede B-18? What do these stories reveal about the expectations Jesus had for his followers? Are you a follower of Jesus? What is the continuation of B-18 that is not included in this section? (See Matthew 25:37-40, 42-45) What service can your class provide to fulfill this requirement for the followers of Jesus? See also S-25 as your reason for talking on a service project to help someone in need.

P.S.S.T. - Section 6 - Make a list of how God shows love to us.
Make a list of things for which you are thankful, grateful. Make a list of how you can praise God for all of God's benefits to you. Make a list of how you can treat others that is the result of putting into practice, "...God is Love."  Will God ever fail you?  Will God ever forsake you?


 

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