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Live Dust-Free!

Craig L. Ghislin, C.S., Glen Ellyn (Bartlett), IL
Posted Monday, November 1st, 2010

Live Dust-Free! [Clean up this week as well as "to infinity and beyond!"]
Metaphysical Application Ideas the Christian Science Bible Lesson on
"Adam and Fallen Man"
for November 1-7, 2010
by Craig L. Ghislin, C.S., of Glen Ellyn, Illinois [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 thanks to Pascal, in German thanks to Helga or in Spanish thanks to a team of Ana, Erick, Claudia and Patricio. YOU CAN SIGN UP at www.cedarscamps.org/newsletters]
 
At CedarS Camps we do our best to keep our living spaces and our swimming pool clean, so we leave our shoes outside the door, and rinse off before entering the pool. In the Golden Text, we're told to shake off the dust. Often in the Bible, sitting in the dust is a sign of mourning or repentance, as when Job sat in ashes during his illness. The dust can also symbolize doubts, and fears, or sinful, materially-based thinking and acting.  In the context of this week's Lesson, the dust can also mean the belief that we were born into matter with an inherently sinful nature.
 
Whatever the case may be, as this week goes by, take some time to consider the "dust" that's clinging to you, or that you are wallowing in, and make the effort to shake it off.
 
The Responsive Reading provides the context of the Golden Text.  We're asked to wake up, get up, and plant ourselves in a better location.  The imagery is of a woman in mourning, sitting on the ground, and covered in dust.  It might seem odd to say, "arise, and sit down."  This could mean to arise, shake off and rearrange your clothes and sit back down, but it is more likely to mean, get up from the ground and sit in a more elevated place - to arise from a humble condition in the dirt to occupy a new position on a chair of dignity and honor.  Noyes translates it "Arise and sit erect."
 
Albert Barnes paraphrases it this way: "The captive daughter of Zion, therefore, brought down to the dust of suffering and oppression, is commanded to arise and shake herself from that dust, and then, with grace, and dignity, and composure, and security, to sit down; to take, as it were, again her seat and her rank, amid the company of the nations of the earth, which had before afflicted her, and trampled her to the earth."
 
The Children of Israel were chastised for selling themselves for nothing.  God promises to redeem them, and to restore them to their original high estate.  The Psalmist calls on all the people to praise the Lord and to acknowledge Him as the only true God.  He will bless us abundantly with all we need.  It is a common refrain, to look to God to raise us up from our troubles.  This leads to the question, "How did we get into trouble in the first place?"  The first section takes up that question.
 
Section 1: Man in God's Image or, Man of the Dust?
"Let us make man in our image, after our likeness" (B-1).  Scholarship agrees that the creation of man was a singular event.  While evolutionary theory promotes the view that man grew out of other species, the first chapter of Genesis clearly states that the creation of man was unique.  He did not evolve from lower species.  Man is special and made in God's likeness.  No other species held this distinction.  Adam Clarke describes this creation:
     "God was now producing a spirit, and a spirit, too, formed after the perfections of his own nature.  God is the fountain whence this spirit issued, hence the stream must resemble the spring which produced it.  God is holy, just, wise, good, and perfect; so must the soul be that sprang from him: there could be in it nothing impure, unjust, ignorant, evil, low, base, mean, or vile.  It was created after the image of God; and that image, St. Paul tells us, consisted in righteousness, true holiness..."
The man God made is blessed and pure.  He has dominion over the rest of creation and is superior to all other creatures, and as God looked on His creation, He pronounced it "very good."
 
John Wesley notes that in the "second creation" (B-2) man is not "made," but "formed."  This, he says, indicates a "gradual process in the work with great accuracy and exactness."  This is where scholastic theology breaks with Christian Science attempting to use these passages to explain that man is both "body" formed of the dust, and "soul" matter imbued with the breath, or spirit of the divine.
 
The net result of the formation of "man of the dust of the ground" is that he is prone to making mistakes and disobeying God.  These mistakes work for good according to the psalmist.  Rather than driving man away from God, his errors ultimately force man back to God for healing and comfort.  The dust - a lifeless, soulless body - cannot praise God (B-3).  The psalmist knows there has to be something more than life in the flesh.  He asks that the Lord "lift... up the light of (His) countenance upon us" (B-4).  Barnes notes that the psalmist looks to God for favor, in contrast with other men who look for material gain, pleasure, and ambition.  The psalmist regards the "supreme good" as being in favor of and in service to the Creator.
 
Science and Health recognizes that "God fashions all things, after His own likeness" (S-1).  The textbook also explains further the distinction between the first chapter of Genesis, and the second.  The first creation story is the genuine, spiritual creation of man and the universe.  The second account describes a material view of creation (S-2).  Mrs. Eddy calls it the "history of error."  The evolutionary theories of creation describe a constant refinement and improvement of various species until the Homo Sapiens emerged and outlasted other "less developed" species due to their unparalleled ability to network and adapt to their environment.  To my sense, this is similar to Wesley's distinction of "man of the dust" being "formed" rather than "made," showing that both the evolution and the old theological theories aren't really that far apart.  But Christian Science distinctly states that God's offspring starts "not from matter or ephemeral dust" (S-3).  "Ephemeral" means beginning and ending in a day, or short lived.  In Christian Science, the man of the dust of the ground is not God's man, made in His image (S-4).  This is really a unique and important thing to understand.  The Science of being is the reality of being.  The real man was never made of dust, nor has he been anything less than perfect.  The real man is always "upright and Godlike" (S-5).
 
Section 2: Cursing and Blessing
Both Matthew Henry and John Wesley point out that the original state of man was one of complete satisfaction with the environment God provided. There were no palaces or human inventions necessary for man's comfort, nor did man require adornment.  He was provided with every good thing needed and was content with what he had.  Eden means "pleasure or delight."  Henry writes, "Nature is content with a little, and that which is most natural; grace with less; but lust craves every thing, and is content with nothing."  The only thing missing for Adam was "an help meet for him."  Thence comes the woman whom Adam immediately recognized as a suitable companion (B-5).  Where they were once content, feeling no need of housing or clothing, now the serpent plants the seed of desire for more.
 
Notice that there is a familiar pattern to the serpent's method (B-6).  The lying serpent makes its move when Eve is alone, without any back-up.  It begins with a question, misquoting God's command, and sewing doubt about it in Eve's mind.  It speaks of the divine law as unreasonable and uncertain.  Once Eve responds, the serpent promises advantages from the fruit of the tree that God was withholding from His creation.  The serpent causes Eve to become discontented with what God has provided.  There are surely many good things to eat, but the forbidden fruit becomes the object of desire.  Of course the whole thing is a lie, and Adam and Eve experience the immediate results of fear and shame when questioned about their actions.  The serpent uses the same method today.
 
This story is an object lesson for us.  We need to beware of talking to the serpent and questioning the divine directive.  For Adam and Eve, what once brought contentment now brings sorrow, sweat, and toil.  As Adam Clarke points out, "The last chapter ended with a short but striking account of the perfection and felicity of the first human beings, and this opens with an account of their transgression, degradation, and ruin."  After the Lord God curses the ground, he condemns man to return to the dust from whence he was taken.  Thus, begin the struggles of mortal man.
 
For the psalmist, no matter how tough the struggle may be, he trusts completely in God's promise of restoration (B-7).  All things are possible to God.  Regardless of circumstance, the man who trusts in God is not cursed, but blessed (B-8).
 
Science and Health acknowledges the blessed state of the spiritual creation (S-6), and then reminds us of the cursed state of material man made of dust (S-7).  Mrs. Eddy tells us that the name Adam means dust, nothingness (S-8).  It is clear that there is a difference between the spiritual man - the children of God - and the belief of a mortal.  Old theology tries to tell us that the spiritual man fell through disobedience and sin into becoming a limited mortal.  Mrs. Eddy saw that a mortal was never the child of God (S-9).  The mortal is the man of dust - the man made of nothingness.  Our true selfhood is spiritual and completely apart from a supposed material existence. "Man's genuine selfhood is recognizable only in what is good and true" (S-10). This is a key point in divine metaphysics. The man God made has no material history and no ancestry (S-11).  He begins and ends in Spirit.
 
Section 3: Christ Jesus Modeled the Real Man
How do we know that the real man is spiritual? The man known as the Son of God, Christ Jesus, proved what the real man is. The psalmist appeals to God to strengthen him in times of trouble and protect him from the attacks of his enemies. He asks for God to guide him and lead him to an understanding of his unbroken relationship to God (B-9). Wesley equates the request to "send out thy light" with a desire to discover the truth. St. Paul offers hope for mortal man:  as the belief in Adam leads to sin and death, the understanding of Christ leads to life (B-10).
 
As we've mentioned before, these two verses from Matthew (B-11) set the tone for Jesus' ministry. He went out to every place and brought the good news of the kingdom of God. He overcame every type of sickness - acute, chronic, organic, functional, or mental. He healed all maladies of mind and body instantly. He provided the remedy for the serpent's lies and gave his disciples power over them as well (B-12). In these passages, the disciples are told to go only to the lost sheep of Israel and to avoid the Gentiles and the Samaritans. Barnes mentions that the Samaritans had an ongoing feud with the Jews over the location designated by Moses as the true place of worship. In addition, they routinely welcomed Judean outlaws and Jewish criminals, as well as those excommunicated from the Jewish faith. This increased the animosity between the Samaritans and the Jews.  We might say, the Samaritans were collecting Israel's "dust."  Eventually, the disciples brought their message to everyone, but when they began their ministries, they were to go only to the ones that were worthy - willing to accept what they had to say.  If they were rejected, they were to shake the dust off their feet and move on to more hopeful prospects. The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary (JFB) speaks of the act of "shaking the dust:"  "By this symbolical action they vividly shook themselves from all connection with such, and all responsibility for the guilt of rejecting them and their message."  Literally, the dust of the Gentiles was thought to be impure, profane, and pagan.  So symbolically, we are to shake off impurity, profanity, and pagan thinking as well.
 
In Romans (B-13), we have the image of beautiful feet delivering the gospel.  Feet often symbolize one's walk in life.  The feet of a messenger are swift and the message is eagerly awaited.  Those of us carrying the message of Christ are bearing a message of deliverance eagerly anticipated by a suffering world.  It is helpful to know that our missions are of such importance to mankind.
 
Our Leader shows that Jesus gave us a glimpse of the true nature of the divine (S-12).  He presented  a higher model than mortals had previously conceived.  Sin and mortality are false and the more we understand the true creation, the more we see that the man of the dust has not origin or existence (S-13).  To the whole of error Truth says, "Dust [nothingness] thou art, and unto dust [nothingness] thou shalt return" (S-14).  It is our duty as Christian Scientists, to assume the mantle given by Jesus to his disciples and prove the nothingness of material belief through the understanding of the allness of God (S-15).  The material belief of mortal existence and the man made by God have no coexistence and have nothing at all to do with each other.  Understanding this heals the sick and allows us to speak with authority (S-16).  The bottom line is: Truth is supreme, and evil is nothing (S-17).
 
Section 4: Shaking Off the Dust of Limitation
The psalmist acknowledges his vows unto God and therefore trusts that God will protect and prosper his mission (B-14).  A "vow" is not an obligation of duty.  It is a voluntary act.  God holds us responsible to fulfill our vows.  In the previous section, Mrs. Eddy tells us that Christian Scientists "have enlisted."  That too, is a voluntary act.  In like manner, Adam Clarke poses this challenge to his audience:
     "Reader, what hast thou vowed to God?  To renounce the devil and all his works, the pomps and vanities of this wicked world, and all the sinful desires of the flesh; to keep God's holy word and commandment, and to walk before him all the days of thy life. These things hast thou vowed; and these vows are upon thee.  Wilt thou pay them?"
How might we answer that challenge?
 
Paul and Barnabas continued their mission in the world beyond the Jews (B-15). The Jews for the most part rejected their message and the apostles had shaken the dust from their feet. But the eager and overwhelming response of the Gentiles caught the attention of the Jews. They viewed themselves as the "chosen people" and did not take kindly to being bypassed. The People's New Testament explains, "Nothing ever stirred the Jews of either Palestine or of Gentile countries to such hatred as the declaration that Christ is a Savior of the Gentiles as well as the Jews." The Jews did everything they could to discredit the Christian message, but the apostles didn't allow the dust of envy, jealousy, and hatred to cling to them.  Do we allow the "dust" of old theology to deter our mission?  Matthew Henry writes, "...when adversaries of Christ's cause are daring, its advocates should be the bolder."
 
And bolder the apostles were.  Adam Clarke comments that their shaking the dust from their feet against the Jews was saying in effect,  "Ye are worse than the heathen: even your very land is accursed for your opposition to God, and we dare not permit even its dust to cleave to the soles of our feet; and we shake it off, in departing from your country, according to our Lord's command, for a testimony against you, that we offered you salvation, but ye rejected it and persecuted us." That's a fairly strong gesture.  Their emboldened conviction strengthened their healing ability.  The psalmist confirms that those who "know the joyful sound" - those who accept the Truth - are blessed and walk in the light of God's favor (B-17).
 
The citations in Science and Health give us courage and strength to keep walking in the light of Truth (S-18).  The same hatred that the Jews of old held for the apostles' mission is what tries to get in our way today.  Mrs. Eddy says it's "The determination to hold Spirit in the grasp of matter..." (S-19).  As this Lesson repeats many times, Life is completely independent of matter; man is spiritual and "not subject to decay and dust" (S-20).
 
No matter what it looks like to material sense, we are not bound to matter, nor dependent upon it for sight, hearing, movement, thinking, or anything else (S-21). Man is not a material structure (S-22, S-23). Therefore, we owe it to ourselves to shake the dust of anatomical beliefs from our garments.  If you are facing a challenge that suggests otherwise, why not embrace the truth that you are not a material structure and never were?  Accept the fact that "Man is indestructible and eternal" (S-24).  Follow your Leader's instructions on page 264:10 (S-25):  Look where you would walk, and "act as possessing all power from Him in whom we have our being."  It's not a pipe-dream.  It's a promise.  Get up right now and prove it.
 
Section 5: Rise to a "Dust-Free" Existence
Once more, we are called to wake up and get out of the dust (B-18).  This message is given to the dejected and oppressed, sitting in a state of want and poverty, and foreshadows resurrection.  It is a call to lift one's self out of the Adam dream.  The early Christians were expecting the end of the material world and the dawning of Christ's kingdom to take place at any moment.  Hence, Paul's call to wake up now (B-19).  Are you ready to wake up or do you still want to sleep?  Barnes writes that sleep is representative of inactivity and insensibility to the doctrines of religion.  He says there is a natural inclination in the world to be active in wickedness rather than in the truth.  "The deeper the ignorance and sin, the greater the insensibility and stupidity of sinners.  The deeper the ignorance and sin, the greater is this insensibility to spiritual things, and to the duties which we owe to God and man." Are we still lying in Adam's dust?  Isaiah urges us to arise (B-20).  To rise and stand up is to declare our freedom from the dust of sin.
 
Paul expected that as we focus on the true, spiritual image of God, we will conform our lives to that image (B-21). It's true, that we assume the opinions and attitudes of the people we spend time with.  Where do you spend most of your time?  Are you contemplating the man of dust?  Or are you learning more about the man God made?  The Bible concludes with the benediction that the Lord bless thee, keep thee, shine upon thee, be gracious to thee, lift His countenance upon thee and give thee peace (B-22).  No cursing here, only blessing.  Such a condition reminds us of the blessed state of the original man - cared for, content, and completely satisfied.
 
It may seem that having a "calm and exalted thought" is contrary to arising and waking up, but true contentment can be found only in "spiritual apprehension and is therefore, at peace (S-26).  Living in the dust of materially-based thinking may be living in a dream, but this dream can never bring the peace that comes with spiritual understanding.  Turning our focus from the material view of creation of man as a fallen sinner to the spiritual view of man upright strong and free enables us to re-enter the gates of Paradise (S-27).  To human sense, this may seem like a gradual process.  But when the spiritual sense of being is understood, the material will fade into nothingness because it was never true in the first place (S-29).  The man and woman made by God, is forever in a perfect state (S-30) as they were in the beginning--spiritual, perfect, upright, whole, and dust-free! 
 

Possible Sunday School Topics by Merrill Boudreaux, St. Louis, MO
for the Christian Science Bible Lesson: "Adam and Fallen Man" 11/7/10
 
P.S.S.T. - Golden Text and Responsive ReadingWho are you? Why did God make you? What is your name? Ask students to write answers to these questions on an index card. Ask them to use descriptors that identify them beyond the name given to them at birth. A good conversation might also be about their name given at birth.  Often these are chosen because of the qualities aligned with the meaning of that name, or because of the qualities of a friend or relative who previously bore that name. If you choose to have that discussion, please bring the students back to what does God call you? By what name does God know you?
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 1: Read the Genesis text aloud. Same questions: Of what did God make you? With what power does God provide you? Of what did God arrange for you to provide care? (B-1) What does the word incontrovertible mean in citation S-5?
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 2: Define ancestry, heredity, and heritage. Which of those words align with you as the offspring of God? (S-11) See S&H 340:23 and answer the question, are you cursed or blessed? What is it that blesses you? The story of Adam and Eve is about "bothness". What are the boths promised in citation B-6, Gen 3: 5. What would be the outcome if Adam and Eve had stayed with oneness? One God, one creator and one creation, one Life, Truth, and Love, one man created in God's image and likeness?
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 3:  What does "...shake off the dust of your feet" in citation B-12 mean? What is it that leads you? (B-9) Lead by the light and truth, you are identified with God's strength. What is the message from God to you, as was given to the twelve in citation B-12? Do you have beautiful feet? See citation B-13. Do you have dust-free feet? Therefore you are not sculpted with feet of clay, but you can stand firm as one with the gospel (good news) shod. See Hymn 326.
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 4:  Once again the disciples "...shook off the dust of their feet..." (B-15) What was the result for Paul and Barnabas? What was the result for the man at Lystra who heard Paul speak? (B-16)  What do you think Paul said? Ask students to write out a few sentences they think Paul spoke. Again, are you cursed or blessed? See citation B-17. What do you think it means to "look where we would walk" in citation S-25?
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 5: There is a good memorization opportunity in citation B-22, the famous benediction from Moses to the children of Israel. Ask your students, how has your thought changed through the study of this lesson about Adam, fallen man, oneness, bothness, dust on the feet, being cursed or blessed, sleep or waking out of sleep, man created from dust or from the word of God? See also Hymn 123.
 

 [Let the need be known: Thanks for reading, praying about and acting on this special announcement:
Thanks to a recent matching funds offer, if CedarS can raise $20,000 in tax-deductible gifts in the remainder of 2010 and another $30,000 in January 2011, we will realize our 50-year-dream of having a lake on site that is large enough for many campers at the same time to enjoy watersports! We would need to start the well-engineered earthwork in the coming weeks in order to have a lake built in time to catch Spring rains before our 50th anniversary Jubilee Summer to which all Cedars alumni and supporters are warmly invited!
      To complete CedarS campsite -- solely designed to encourage spiritual growth -- this body of water will be shaped and positioned as the "Mediterranean S(k)ea" and will set in proper context CedarS present Bible Lands Park as well as ever-expanding versions of it. With the addition of the Mediterranean, Bible study at CedarS (and in our freely-shared online and emailed "Mets") will become even more alive with lessons for "campers" of all ages. Biblical applications for today will continue to be emphasized in actual (or video) visits to our present 500 ft. long scale model of Israel called Bible Lands Park (BLP). BLP includes many biblical teaching tools like: 80 granite-marked scriptural sites; a 40'x100' tent or "Tabernacle in the wilderness"; a 500-ft. "Time(line) Travelers' Trail" that climbs 100 ft. vertically from our "Before-Abraham Spring" to our "Artifacts-Excavating Cave"; as well as life-lesson games like our "Drop-the-Past" Tire Traversal and our "Eyes-on-the-Prize Balance Beam". With the addition of the "Mediterranean S(k)ea" we will be able to hike or boat to the relative locations of scores of future sites on and in the Mediterranean while learning their lessons in boldness, purity and much more as taught by Paul and other apostles as they spread Christianity across most of their known world. Stay tuned for progress toward and lessons from Antioch, Ephesus, Galatia, Philippi, Thessalonica, Athens, Corinth, Rome, Alexandria, ... as well as from Paul's ship-wreck island of Malta (Melita), and from other island hops to Cyprus, Crete, Patmos, ... We will freely share details and results as you freely support this divine idea coming to full fruition! Please join us in praying Mrs. Eddy's "New Year Gift to the Big Children": "In the way Thou hast, -- Be it slow or fast, Up to Thee." Misc. 400:23]

[ONLINE GIVING:  Thanks in advance for clicking here to use a credit or debit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, or Discover card) or a virtual check to make monthly and one-time donations to CedarS' "Mediterranean S(k)ea", Bible Lands, Camperships, "Maintenance Musts", "Mets", Unrestricted, or Endowment Funds as you specify.
Your support is always tax-deductible and welcomed--but during the economic downturn, your generous, unrestricted gifts have been and continue to be especially needed and appreciated!  
To support CedarS work you can make a charitable donation to our 501C-3 tax-exempt, charitable organization in many wonderful ways.
Great supports would be your writing a monthly check payable to CedarS Camps and mailing it to: CedarS Camps, 19772 Sugar Drive, Lebanon, MO 65536; or your calling Warren or Gay Huff at (636) 394-6162  to discuss gifts of securities or property you are considering giving to help underwrite all the spiritual growth and progress at CedarS.]
 
[CedarS weekly Metaphysical Newsletters are provided at no charge to the 1,200 campers and staff who have been blessed each summer at CEDARS--as well as to thousands of CEDARS alumni, families, Sunday School teachers and friends who request it, or who find it weekly on our website or through CS Directory. But, current and planned gifts are much-needed: to cover the costs of running this "free" service; to provide camperships to make inspirational opportunities possible for deserving youth; and to help our facilities keep pace with our mission. (Click on --http://blog.cedarscamps.org/-- for pictures and write-ups on CedarS Bible Lands Park part of this mission.)
 
[Camp Director's Note: This sharing is the latest in an ongoing, 10-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 "Possible Sunday School Topics" come in a subsequent email.) These weekly offerings are 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 (and angels) 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.]
[You can now click on the pdf symbol (at the right) to download a pdf version of CedarS Lesson mets for easier printing and for better reading from mobile devices.
Enjoy!     Warren Huff, Executive Director   director@cedarscamps.org]

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