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Follow the Path to the Reality of Soul--the Kingdom of Heaven!

Kathy Fitzer, St. Louis, MO & Park City, UT
Posted Monday, August 10th, 2009

Follow the Path to the Reality of Soul--the Kingdom of Heaven!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Weekly Bible Lesson on "Soul" for August 10-16, 2009
Prepared by Kathy Fitzer, C.S., of St. Louis, MO
[with bracketed italics by Warren]

[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 central message of this lesson is summed up at the end of the first section with this sentence: "Spiritual sense, contradicting the material senses, involves intuition, hope, faith, understanding, fruition, reality." (S-4, S&H 298:13-15) Why is spiritual sense important--why should we strive to cultivate it? Because it's what's required to see what really is--to contradict the limiting, false reports of material perception and dwell in the kingdom of heaven. Each section of this lesson focuses on one of the elements involved in spiritual sense. We will see how they each build on the other in a progression that continually brings reality (the kingdom of God) into focus.

Golden Text: God WANTS us to be successful and have our good multiplied. God spoke these words to Jacob after Jacob (Israel) demanded that those he was with give up their idols. The way to fruitfulness is to have one God ONLY.

Responsive Reading: The goodness of God is seen in all of creation! Do we appreciate what God has done? Do we acknowledge that good is from God ALONE? We will see more of God's goodness as we praise Him--express our genuine appreciation and gratitude for what he has done. [The Psalmist has written a script for "all cedars: Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children:] ...His name ALONE is excellent." (RR, Ps. 148: 9, 12-13)

Section One: Intuition
What's the first step in recognizing what God has done -- in seeing the essence of the harmony of Soul? To begin, we just have to GLIMPSE God's presence ... to begin to realize that we are one with God. We can learn from Jacob. Jacob was far from settled about life. He was feeling separated from God and alone. Haven't we all felt that way? We all have things we're wrestling: with sticky situations we find ourselves in; with lacking a clear sense of direction; or maybe with disease and pain. Jacob, of course, was struggling over how things would turn out with his brother when he returned home. Virginia Stopfel's article on the lesson that appears in the August 10th [Christian Science] Sentinel sheds a lot of light on this story of Jacob. The "wrestling" wasn't with a person, but with thoughts. Jacob started seeing the light -- we could say he intuitively felt God's blessings. Mrs. Eddy includes, as part of her definition of angels, "spiritual intuitions; pure and perfect." These angels are always ministering to us, "counteracting all evil, sensuality and mortality." (S-3) Like Jacob, right when we're in the midst of conflicting thoughts, we can entertain the angels (the spiritual intuitions) until we start to feel a change in heart -- a change in nature -- and see God face-to-face. (B-2) We glimpse our nature as the image of God's nature. We wake up to the fact that we co-exist with God, so there is no room for anything foreign to our nature to overwhelm us. (S-1) What a wonderful promise of God's care we read in Jeremiah. God brings us into HIS presence, rejoices over each of us, and plants us firmly in His kingdom. (B-3)

Section Two: Hope
Once we've intuitively glimpsed the goodness of God and our oneness with Him, we start to accept God as our helper--"the health" of [our] countenance. (B-4) God (Soul) saves us from the false reports of material sense as light "saves" us from darkness--and all the distorted images that appear in the dark. (S-8) It takes courage to hope in the face of adversity.
[That's when we especially need to continue our CedarS practice of daily applying truths from the Bible Lesson: "The unfolding of your words gives light;"-"brings to the body the sunlight of Truth, which invigorates and purifies." NRSV (B-5), S&H 162:4]   As we maintain our confidence in God (have hope in Him), we are strengthened by Him. (B-7) If we accept the material sense testimony of a mind in matter, we may buy into the belief that we're stuck within the boundaries of material sense. In that case, it's hard to find any reason to hope. (S-6) But, as human thought changes its standpoint -- as fear yields to hope -- which will develop into faith and faith to understanding, we will see that we really are governed by Soul, rather than material sense. (S-5) The more we glimpse of God's presence, the more reason we have for hope because we begin to see that God really is ALWAYS with us. (S-9) When it seems at times that things are just too dark and it is difficult to be hopeful, remember the promise that "God is good to them that wait for him." (B-8) All we have to do is turn to face God with confidence and expectancy--turn in the direction of the "light"--and be confident that we will see the light and be strengthened by God. (B-7)

Section Three: Faith
Once we are able to at least hope--turn in the direction of the light--we start to see evidence of God's presence--starting with the little things. Each time we credit God with the good we see, our faith in God is strengthened. Jesus had seen (and acknowledged) so much evidence of God's power that nothing intimidated him. Being in a small boat in the midst of a raging storm was of no concern to Jesus. And he didn't just "manage" his fear as he rode out the storm. In fact, he chastised his disciples for entertaining fear--as he stilled the storm through his absolute faith that God is always in control. (B-12) We can ask Christ, as the disciples asked Jesus ... "increase our faith"--give us more trust and confidence in God. (B-13) The plea could otherwise be phrased: reveal more of God's nature to us. Faith comes from KNOWING God--from overcoming our ignorance of his ever-presence. (S-10) It's possible to believe in God without having faith in Him. But, we need faith. Faith comes as we start seeing spiritual evidence contradicting "the testimony of material sense." (S-12) Someone we know has been healed. Something looks like a dead end--and then the way opens up. We realize that little things are working out and we're seeing more good in people than bad. Giving God credit for the little things that we can demonstrate, and acknowledging the demonstrations of healing that we see or read about that others have experienced, we find our faith getting stronger--and we start demanding more from it. It's kind of like developing skills in athletics (like snow or water skiing). The more comfortable you feel on the gentler slopes or at slower speeds, the more confident you feel in progressing to more challenging conditions. Faith in the principles translates to demonstration of understanding.

[At home, like at camp, in little and big things, it pays to push yourself beyond your fears and your "comfort zone" into your growth zone. That effort is always very well-rewarded. As Mrs. Eddy puts it: "Seek Truth and pursue it. It should cost you something: you are willing to pay for error and receive nothing in return; but if you pay the price of Truth you shall receive all." Miscellaneous Writings 342:24]

Section Four: Understanding
It's important to accept the fact that you DO understand God. Understanding isn't a monumental something that you'll eventually get. Every demonstration of healing you have is evidence that your faith in God has, to some degree, developed into an understanding. It's evidence that you are starting to see that soul doesn't dwell in sense or mind dwell in matter. Soul is not in a mortal body. (S-15) Soul (with a capital S) means Spirit and refers to God. We have to be sure not to confuse Soul with soul (with a small s) that refers to material sensation and separate personalities constituted of, and subject to, good and evil. (S-16) As understanding increases, it's natural for our perspective on life and intelligence to change from thinking of it from the standpoint of matter to recognizing the spiritual sense of all things--to see that Soul governs, not the material senses! (S-17) We dwell in Life; life doesn't dwell in a material representation of us. This section tells us to truly DESIRE to grow in understanding. As the Contemporary English Version of the Bible says, "Pay attention to advice and accept correction, so you can live sensibly." (B-14) Understanding (wisdom) enables us to see the good that is--it makes life SWEET!
[with "a future, and your hope will not be cut off." NRSV, B-16]  Mrs. Eddy suggests we ask ourselves: "Am I living the life that approaches the supreme good? Am I demonstrating the healing power of Truth and Love?" (S-18) Why are those good questions? Because, as we answer in the affirmative, the way grows brighter and brighter. Being able to see God's path keeps us from stumbling. Then, we see the harmony of Soul expressed!

Section Five: Fruition--We are all healers!
We have to practice what we understand--acknowledge only what is true about God and man and refuse to bow down to the testimony of the physical senses. That's how we "walk in God's statutes and keep [His] commandments." Then, we, too, can expect to receive all the promises that God made to the Children of Israel in His covenant with them. And we can expect to heal! Our work will be fruitful; we will feel God's presence with us; and GOD will break "the bands of [our] yoke" - free us (and others) from all that would enslave us - and enable us to walk free. (B-18) Jesus understood this covenant relationship with God. Thus, he HEALED consistently. He was totally unimpressed by the symptoms (in this section we read about his healing what we would call epilepsy (B-21) and disputed them with the authority of Christ (the action of the divine Mind.) (S-20) Jesus saw how desperately mankind needed this kind of healing. He expected his disciples to heal and prayed that more healers would be sent into "the harvest." (B-19) It is our PRIVILEGE to answer that call. Christian Science (the reinstatement of primitive Christianity) reveals God's healing power. We have a responsibility to heal whatever discord crosses our path because we have been given the gift of understanding man's relationship to God. How can we keep that to ourselves?! If we don't consistently practice what we know of God and heal every "little" thing, as well as the big things, it would be like being with a group of people in a dark cave with a flashlight that we knew how to use, but we either chose not to turn it on, or refused to share it. PRACTICE healing--share the light! This section gives clear direction as to how to do heal even more effectively: speak to disease with authority--letting Soul eliminate the false evidence (S-21); rather than submitting to any stage of disease, rise in rebellion against it, mentally contradicting EVERY complaint the body gives you (S-23); and keep learning about God, because it is only our ignorance of Him that produces "apparent discord." Understanding God "restores harmony." (S-22) It is a privilege to bring in the fruits of understanding by being willing to heal everything that crosses our path!

[If you haven't had immediate success, like the disciples didn't in this case, read on for 2 verses--Mark 9:28-29--for Jesus answer to "Why could not we cast him out? And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting"-"(refraining from admitting the claims of the senses)" as Mrs. Eddy puts it in My. 222:14. Her simple Christmas wish for her household 100 years ago was for "a feast of Soul and a famine of sense." My. 263:6 Also relevant is Misc. 156:19-28]

Section Six: Reality--Give God the Glory!
As we heal every discord that crosses our path, reality comes into view. We then see that the kingdom of heaven is HERE. We abide in God's kingdom. God's in charge of His kingdom and it is all GOOD! Acknowledge its presence and thank God for all his goodness. (B-22) REJOICE! You are on the census roll of this Kingdom--the realm of harmony! (B-23) You are privileged to KNOW about the glories of heaven. Can you really keep that to yourself? We have a clear instruction--"As you go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand." (B-24) That means "the reign of harmony" is right here, right now!
[This relates to CedarS 2009 theme of creating a mental-climate change and "the atmosphere of Spirit, where Soul is supreme" (S-26)-"as in heaven, so on earth!" S&H 17:2  Read how being "cleansed of self and permeated with divine Love" will result in "less ...extremes of heat and cold;" My. 265:24-28]  And the best way to preach is to simply live in harmony--and practice healing. This heaven is the activity of Soul--and we are the expression of Soul. Thus, we coexist with Soul--with the essence of Spirit. (S-27) God is perfect, dwelling in the realm of perfection--so WE co-exist with perfection. (S-28) Things don't APPEAR to be perfect, but we can do something about that as we hold to the SCIENCE of being. (S-25) We can mentally enter the realm of God and acknowledge the presence of harmony--here and now--no matter what else SEEMS to be going on. Jesus never left heaven--the consciousness of harmony. We CAN follow his example. What a privilege to dwell in the kingdom. You can do it!

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[Even modest gifts add up and are appreciated and needed to take care of over $500 dollars in uncovered 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 payable to
The CedarS Camps to the camp at 19772 Sugar Drive, Lebanon, MO 65536.

This weekly Metaphysical Newsletter is provided at no charge to the 1,200 campers & staff 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 still do have some openings for individuals of all ages at Family Camp as well as for single or married adults at our "Celebrate Marriage" weekend! Please encourage all the C.S. friends and families you know to be touch about the possibilities of attending one of these life-changing and blessing sessions! Benevolence is also available for the International Conference for Christian Science Nurses being held at CedarS Sept 16-20.   For a CedarS video clip or update click here.
Your support is always tax-deductible and appreciated -- but your help this year 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 Warren or Gay Huff at (636) 394-6162.

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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PSST-possible ways for the disciple in you to more Soul-full, to still storms, find awe of Soul's beauty, order, balance, ...
Possible Sunday School Topics by Merrill Boudreaux
for the Christian Science Bible Lesson: "Soul" for August 16, 2009

P.S.S.T. Golden Text - There are two questions and answers in the chapter "Recapitulation" in Science and Health which could be used to anchor this week's discussion: pg, 466:7-31, "What are spirits and souls?" and pg. 477:19-13, "What are body and Soul?"
What is it that we wish to multiply in our experiences, a more perfect body or a better understanding of Soul and its impact on a variety of bodies - the body politic, the body of knowledge in a certain field of study, a church body, a corporate body, student body?

P.S.S.T. - Responsive Reading - "...the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works." Our earth, our planet must be satisfied as the result of God, Soul's work. What do we see on our earth that evidences God, Soul at work? Order, balance, nature, nurture, longevity, relationships (that is, things in relation to other things - people to people, people to plants and animals and vice-versa, our environment as designed to sustain and support us, all of these ideas, in harmony. Step back in awe of what Soul has done for us, then identify those in the RR who should praise God, and really desire to do so.

P.S.S.T. - Section 1 - Remember and meditate are two words that lead into the Bible portion of this section. What agents does God, Soul provide to assist with remembering? Angels. (See also S-3 for a scientific definition of angels.) Practice quiet listening or meditating. Have students spend a few minutes, which may seem like a long time to them, listening. Have them share what they heard. What did Jacob hear during his night of listening? Why was it important for Jacob to remember his past actions? What did Jacob decide to do after this night of listening?

P.S.S.T. - Section 2 - There is more in the Bible portion of this section about listening in other forms; have students identify them: hope, cried, supplications, waiteth, watch, seeketh, quietly wait. Help students think about translating these concepts of listening from a merely human desire to a deeper value of being attuned to Soul's voice. Compare the verses of the poem Mary Baker Eddy mentions in S-7 to see two views of listening/meditating.

P.S.S.T. - Section 3 - There is a good role play opportunity here in the Bible story in B-12. Was Jesus ignoring God or ignorant of God, even when asleep? How could he be so calm in the midst of the storm? To what do you suppose he was listening? The older students might make a list of different kinds of storms in our world, beyond the atmospheric ones, and discuss how listening/meditating, prayer, can calm them. Perhaps there was a bit of a chrysalis state going on with Jesus. Help students define "chrysalis" and grasp entering as a caterpillar and exiting as a butterfly. How have the life and works of Christ Jesus, other prophets, and our Leader, MBE, transformed our world? Let's not accept "Sunday School answers", but this is an opportunity for deeper thought about how our individual and collective lives are better or have improved.

P.S.S.T. - Section 4 - Rearrange the words below and have students place them in order of how they think thoughts evolve: hope, faith, knowledge, understanding, action, experience, wisdom. Use the example of rain to follow this concept:

  • We can hope it will rain
  • We can have faith that it will rain because the earth needs it and God meets all human needs
  • We can have knowledge that when certain atmospheric conditions are present the result is rain
  • We can understand atmospheric conditions based on a study of meteorology
  • We can carry an umbrella or a rain coat as actions in preparation for rain or close the windows when we leave home
  • We can make choices based on previous experiences with certain atmospheric conditions
  • Above all we can listen for Soul's deep sense of what steps to take and that is true wisdom

P.S.S.T. - Section 5 - There is a certainty stated in this section, B-18, "...the land shall yield her increase" and "...make you fruitful and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you." This is the scriptural adage, as the sowing, the reaping. Have students make two lists, one indicating what can be sown in one's life, and the second showing the result to be reaped. Look to the S&H portion of this section to identify such sowing and reaping: discord or harmony, ignorance or right understanding, pleasures and pains or joys of Soul, complaint from the body or the true consciousness of Life as Love. Let Soul master the false evidences of the corporeal senses.

P.S.S.T. - Section 6 - What are the fruits of Soul mentioned in this section? 

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