Cedar Camps

Metaphysical Ideas

Search Metaphysicals
 

Metaphysical Newsletters

The weekly Metaphysical Newsletter is provided to campers, staff, alumni, friends and the CedarS family at no charge however contributions help defray the costs of running this service.

Click here for more about how you can provide support!
 

Delivered to You FREE!

Available in five languages, get it delivered to your inbox weekly!

Subscribe Now!

Experience the Supremacy of Gods Goodness

Craig L. Ghislin, C.S., Glen Ellyn (Bartlett), IL
Posted Monday, December 27th, 2010

Experience the Supremacy of God's Goodness
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on: God
December 27, 2010-January 2, 2011
by Craig L. Ghislin, C.S., Glen Ellyn, Illinois [with bracketed italics by Warren Huff, Director]

 [Editor's Note: The following application ideas for this week, and the Possible Sunday School Topics that will 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]

There is a billboard on the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel entrance that implies the story of Jesus' birth is a myth. Actually, it's hard to tell what exactly they think the myth is-the Magi, the virgin birth in the stable, Jesus himself, or perhaps even the existence of God. Since the billboard is sponsored by an atheist group, it's probably the latter. There is also a recent movie called "The Invention of Lying" which basically states that religion and belief in God, or as the main character in the movie says, "a man in the sky," is basically a lie that we tell each other just to make us feel better. (FYI-This film begins very crudely before getting to the point, so this is not an endorsement.)
 
To those who believe in God, and have felt the divine hand in their experience, it seems difficult to understand how anyone could doubt the existence of God.  It may feel like the believer is the only one awake in a sea of sleepers.  In the Golden Text of this week's Lesson Sermon, those "that stand in the house of the Lord" were just that.  These were singers who sang praises to God in the temple throughout the night, while everyone else slept.  If you've ever been up alone in the night praying, you know the special feeling this brings-it is a solemn and holy time.
 
As we explore the goodness of God in this week's Lesson, let's try to maintain that special feeling of the quiet hours of devotion throughout our day.  As the world with its doubters sleeps around us, let's be awake to the goodness of God.

Responsive Reading
These psalms describe the sublimity of those who continually worship God.  Those who dwell in the house of the Lord, never leave His presence.  They are continually praising Him in constant service, and their God provides light, warmth, protection, and guidance.  No good thing is withheld from them.  It's true that contemplating God makes us feel better, but God isn't a lie or a concoction of human origin.  God is active in our experience; and our devotion to Him brings us lasting peace.
 
God commands us to seek His face-to work to understand Him.  There isn't a moment of hesitation in the psalmist's response.  He immediately and happily complies. "Thy face Lord, will I seek."  When all other resources fail, God is always there.  God supplies courage and strength.
 
God is commanding all of us to seek His face right now.  Do we hesitate?  Are we too busy?  Do we doubt?  Let's try putting ourselves in the place of those that "stand in the house of the Lord" and of those that seek His face.
 
Section 1: It's All God-it's All Good.
While skeptics may claim that God is no more than human invention and declare there is no proof of God, believers see evidence of God all around.  In Isaiah we read, "I am the Lord, and there is none else" (B1). [Desiree Goyette's Hymn 444 ("I AM THR LORD") in the Christian Science Hymnal Supplement is based on citation B1 in Isa. 45.] It affirms "There is no God beside me."] In ancient times, the debate wasn't so much whether or not a god existed, but rather, which among all the tribal deities was supreme. For the Jews, God was not just the chief of a pantheon of gods, but the ONLY GOD. By [their] definition [and ours,] God is ONE.
 
In the book of Numbers it is recorded that Moses made a bronze snake and put it on top of a pole.  If someone was bitten by a serpent, gazing at the serpent of brass would bring healing.  That's one of the reasons, the medical profession's symbol includes a serpent coiled on a staff.  But here, Isaiah tells the people to look only to God in order to be saved.  When we need help, we look for someone or something to aid us-swimmers instinctively look to the shore, a child automatically looks to his parent.  When in need where do you look?  Do you look to God?  The scriptures imply that the act of looking to God in itself brings a healing response.  Why look elsewhere?
 
Another "given" for believers is that God made everything.  Skeptics chime in here challenging a supposedly good God that would allow tragedy, war, and destruction.  This is a fair challenge.  It does not make sense for an all-powerful being to allow its own creation to suffer or be destroyed.  The inspired writers throughout time have understood that God is good (B3).  His creation can look to Him with utmost confidence and surety.  God is not a human invention. He always was, is, and shall be.  He is beginning and ending (B2).
 
While many theologians have gotten hung up on the problem of evil throughout the centuries, Mary Baker Eddy took the Bible at its word.  The Scriptures declare God and everything He made to be good (S1, S2).  Christian Science begins with God, not with what the senses tell us.  God is the starting-point (S3).  Everything belongs to God.  The only wisdom, truth, love, life, and good is that which God bestows.  If it isn't good it isn't from God; and if it's not from God, it isn't real.  We answer the skeptic's query with the assurance that God indeed would not and could not create or allow anything evil.  God is reflected only by what is good (S4).

Section 2: Everything God Makes Is Good
Philosopher David Hume believed that the search for God actually began when humanity began to question why bad things happened.  Looking for reasons as to why tragic and uncontrollable disasters took place, mankind supposedly found it logical that some force outside themselves must account for it.  Hence the invention of rituals to appease these unseen, malevolent forces.  This is opposite to the approach of the Children of Israel.  They looked back at their history as proof that God had always been guiding and protecting them.  David's prayer of thanksgiving (B5) was filled with fervor and devotion.  Psalm 145 calls upon the Jews to "abundantly utter the memory" of God's great goodness (B6).  "Abundantly utter" means "to bud forth, to gush out, to flow as a fountain."  Albert Barnes tells us, "The meaning is, that the heart is full, as a fountain is full of water, and that it naturally overflows, or seeks to discharge itself.  The thought of the goodness of God fills the heart, and makes it overflow with gratitude." (Albert Barnes' Notes on the Holy Bible).
 
God doesn't leave anyone out either. All His creation reaps the benefits of His tender, loving care.  Not a single needful thing is withheld.  Do you ever feel left out?  Do you feel that God is not there for you?  Despair not.  Your God is good and nothing can separate that goodness from meeting your need.  God looked on all that He had made, and it was very good (B7).  Refrain from looking at that which was never made.  Look to God and see the good.
 
Our despair springs from our misunderstanding of God.  Understanding God in the way Science and Health defines Him, we cannot help but be lifted out of despair.  No commentary need be added here.  Take the time to contemplate the definition of God on page 587 of the textbook (S5). Go through each phrase and ask "What does this mean for me?--for my situation?"  Mrs. Eddy names "three great verities of Spirit." (S6).  A verity is an undeniable truth in consonance with fact.  Spirit, God, is all-power, fills all space, and constitutes all Science.  Therefore evil is out of the question. The rest of this section reiterates that nothing was made without God, and if it isn't good, it was never made.  This fact can't be stressed often enough.  The reasoning is simple and powerful.

Section 3: There Is No Disease In Goodness
Though we begin this section with an oft-repeated and often needed reminder that God is good (B8), sometimes, it appears that even though we fully believe in and trust God, we get hit with something beyond our ability to cope.  The psalmist isn't worried about minor issues.  The situation described is serious.  His life is "smitten...down to the ground" (B9).  According to Barnes, this means "to break in pieces, to beat small, to crush.  His very life seemed to be crushed out as one that is trodden down to the ground."  For all that, the psalmist still looks to God for guidance out of his difficulty.  Matthew Henry reminds us, "A good man does not ask the way in which is the most pleasant walking, but what is the right way.  Not only show me what thy will is, but teach me how to do it. Those who have the Lord for their God, have His Spirit for their Guide; they are led by the Spirit.  He prays that he might be enlivened to do God's will" (Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible).
 
The man at the pool of Bethesda (B10) might have felt a bit beaten down.  He'd been suffering for thirty-eight years.  He had a host of reasons and excuses as to why he couldn't be healed, but Jesus cut right through them. "Wilt thou be made whole?... Rise, take up thy bed and walk." Jesus didn't once believe in anything that wasn't from God or wasn't good. His conviction of God's goodness resulted in healing (S10). [Peter Allen's Hymn 453 ("RISE UP") in the Christian Science Hymnal Supplement highlights how "Jesus' commands reveal God's might"; twice the hymn affirms "Carefree and strong you are His song, perfect for all to see."]
 
The teachings of Christian Science follow Jesus' method.  To every sufferer it cries, "Follow me!  Escape from the bondage of sickness, sin, and death" (S11).  To those who either don't believe in God, or who believe that God sends the evils, this is an outrageous claim.  But just as Jesus cut through the objections and excuses of the man at the pool of Bethesda, Mary Baker Eddy cuts through the modern objections. She tells us that it is the illusion of material sense, and not God, that has bound us.  She reasons that the transmission of disease would be impossible if we learned "that nothing inharmonious can enter being, for Life is God." (S11)
 
Mary Baker Eddy explains there just isn't any way God could ever produce anything evil, or deformed, or sick, or sinful (S12).  Then she tells us how to deal with the challenges that we face (S13).  Just as Isaiah counseled the people to look to God for safety, Mrs. Eddy teaches us to "look away from the body into Truth and Love" (S14).  We have to hold steadfastly to the good and the true.  Our looking to God to know the truth in the midst of trouble should be as natural as a child looking to a parent for help, or a floundering swimmer looking to the shore for help, or for something or someone to keep him afloat.  When I was first learning how to swim, I went out with my cousins beyond the rope at the beach toward a raft.  The raft was very crowded and was high enough out of the water so that you needed to use the ladder to get onto it.  There was a crowd around the ladder; I hadn't expected to tread water; and I wasn't very good at it.  As I started to sink, I called out for my cousin who had gone up the ladder already.  Even though it was probably only a few seconds, the time it took for her to notice me seemed like an eternity, and I quickly started to pray.  When she saw me she reached out and lifted me onto the raft.
 
In thinking about this, I didn't look for anything that would drag me down.  I looked for whatever would lift me up.  In the same way, when faced with physical challenges of disease, we should spontaneously look to God and to whatever will lift us up.  Realizing that our Lives are in Spirit, and never in matter is a thought that lifts us up; then we find all we need in God, good; and we need no other consciousness (S15).
 
Section 4: God Is the Source of All Good and Can't Be Stopped
One might think that Jesus' healing ability would be universally admired and sought after.  It seems obvious that the good work he did was a benefit to all mankind.  But instead, there were those who persecuted him for his healing work and even sought to slay him for it (B12).  Again, Albert Barnes notes, "Men are often extremely envious because good is done by others, especially if it is not done according to the way of their denomination or party."  He goes on to point out that hypocrisy "often covers his enmity against the power of religion by great zeal for the form of it.  He hates and persecutes those who do good...because it is not according to some matter or form which has been established and on which he supposed the whole safety of the church to hang."  In short, Jesus was breaking with tradition and they didn't like it.  What was Jesus' response?  He said he must do as his Father did. God is ever-active in doing good; and so must he do likewise as God's Son.
 
Next, we have the opposite response-one comes to Jesus referring to him as "Good Master" (B13).  This time, Jesus replied that he could do nothing, and the only good one was God.  The bottom line here is that good isn't personal.  We can't do anything without God.  We must do good because God does good, and God is the only source of that good.
 
Mrs. Eddy underscores that Jesus had no loyalty to any tradition, doctrine or theory.  To Jesus, all activity was initiated by God (S16).  His healings proved that it was impossible for good to produce anything evil (S17).  He acted from a different basis than the materialists.  The skeptics of modern times decry healing work too.  They often deny it when it is proven right before their eyes.  Sometimes even those professing to be believers doubt the healing efficacy of scientific prayer.  This too, because it doesn't coincide with their prescribed methods.  Our textbook explains that the materialist cannot comprehend spiritual evidence (S18). Jesus wasn't deterred by the hatred and disbelief in Truth and neither should we.  He knew God, good was all-inclusive, and that material life is nothingness (S19).  He confirmed that all those who followed his teaching would share his ability to do good works.  Jesus demonstrated the Christ.  That same Christ is active for us today (S20).  The key is that Jesus was constantly and actively motivated by and drawn to God, Good.  If we follow his example, we will experience healing results.  So don't let the skeptics get to you.  Know that you are blessed with the ability to reflect your divine Source and actively prove the allness of good.
 
Section 5: God's Goodness Is Constant
The goodness that God gives never varies.  The sunlight comes and goes, the heavens change, but God is constant good (B15).  There is nothing missing in God's gifts.  Every single detail is perfect. God is the supreme good and gives only good (B16).  His goodness extends from generation to generation (B17).  We don't ever need to feel that there is a disconnect between God and man even though centuries lie between us and the biblical figures.  God is everlasting and a "present help"-always at hand-always near.  No matter what the senses throw at us, tragedy, environmental disasters, world conflict, God is our ever-present help. "Therefore, will not we fear" (B18).
 
As the skeptics point out, the world appears to be in trouble.  The potential for environmental, financial, astronomical, and medical disaster seems to be at our doorstep.  What are we to do?  Look to God.  "Step by step will those who trust in Him find that "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (S21).  Rather than each year bringing us closer to disaster, each year "unfolds wisdom, beauty, and holiness" (S22). God is Spirit, and God's creation is spiritual and immortal (S24).  In the definition of Spirit (S25) there is no mention of anything unlike good.  It's all good and there is nothing susceptible to danger, decay, or loss.  Spirit heals, comforts, and reforms (S26).  Every human challenge is wiped away through the infinite goodness of Spirit.

Section 6: Infinite Good Is with Us from Beginning to End
The psalmist invites us to "taste and see that the Lord is good" (B20).  In other words, try it out, put it to the test, and experience God's goodness for yourself.  Barnes comments on this passage: "Oh make but a trial of His love; Experience will decide how bless'd are they-and only they-who in His truth confide."  The Revelator reminds us again, that God is first and last, the beginning and ending of all things (B21).  [In our Genesis (beginning) it is written that our Sabbath completion is" very good," (Gen. 1:26) Make a consistent effort this week to obey the spirit of the 4th Commandment by remembering that] God's work is finished; everything is complete and according to God's law.  Just as everything was good in the beginning, so it is in the end and will ever remain so.  God is with us and the strength of eternal goodness is in our midst (B22).
 
The textbook confirms that everything coming from God is in accord with Him (S27). The same love is poured out to everything from the least to the greatest (S28).  God and His idea is the "maximum of good" (S29).  Can we conceive of anything more wonderful?  The world may be full of doubters, but that makes no difference to God.  God doesn't need believers to validate His existence.  God just is.  Whereas, a lie needs believers to gain credibility. The Truth is true whether we believe it or not.  God is real and God is good, and only the good is real.  As we open our hearts to accept God's supreme goodness, we will see and experience that goodness everywhere.

[ Please help CedarS keep a 50th season New Year's resolution to each out to all the "un-camped" students enrolled in Christian Science Sunday Schools across the world.  In the United States they apparently outnumber Sunday School students who attend 1 of the 6 camps for Christian Scientists in North America by more than 2 to 1. Experience shows that "CS-camped" children who are given the laboratory experience of putting their training from their homes and Sunday Schools into joyous practice in a "24-7" Christian-Science-laboratory experience at camp want to continue to make Christian Science their own. Therefore, please tell all the "un-camped" families you know about our work; and if possible let us know about them and their email and/or other contact information. We will gladly send them--and you--a DVD, plus show host info for over 50 CedarS shows being scheduled and all the information that is needed to help get "un-camped" students to camp-from info on our programs for all ages; to session dates and rates; to online enrollment info; to transportation;  to financial aid forms; and more as needed.]
 
[CEDARS weekly "Mets" or Metaphysical Newsletters are provided at no charge to the 1,200 campers and staff who are 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.]
[Important Matching Fund Grant Offers Recently Renewed for Year-End Givers:
Donors pledged that if CedarS can raise $25,000 by year-end for "Maintenance Musts", they will matching those gifts to cover the whole need! This will enable continued off-season repairs to buried pipes, floors, decks, equipment, vehicles. We have "only" $1,200 to raise by 12-31-10 in order to receive a $25,000 grant to accomplish all this good! And, thanks also to a recent pledge from other donors, if CedarS can raise $50,000 by next summer for our "Adopt the Herd" Riding Fund, they will match those gifts to cover the needs of feeding, shoeing and caring for our large and precious herd of horses!  OF COURSE, donations are always needed and welcome for camperships because without campers there would be no camp!  Funds are also being gratefully realized and spent to complete parts of CedarS Bible Lands Park (BLP) including our new Mediterranean Sea! We're happy to share more details if you wish to help these divine ideas come to fruition! 

[However it comes, your support is always very welcome and tax-deductible --but during the economic downturn, your generous, unrestricted gifts have been--and continue to be--more needed and appreciated than ever!  You can make charitable donations to our 501C-3 tax-exempt, charitable organization in many ways.
1)     Thanks in advance for GIVING ONLINE! Just click 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' Camperships, "Maintenance Musts", "Mets", Bible Lands Park, "Mediterranean Sea",  Unrestricted or Endowment Funds.  Our international supporters can give to CedarS using built-in currency exchange rates by clicking on PayPal!
2)     Checks are also great and especially appreciated on a monthly basis! Please make them payable to "CedarS Camps" and mail them to: CedarS Camps Office, 1314 Parkview Valley, Manchester, MO 63011;
3)     Please call Warren or Gay Huff at (636) 394-6162 to discuss gifts of IRAs, stocks, other securities or property you are considering giving in order to help underwrite CedarS spiritual growth and progress.
4)     CedarS can almost always use late-model mini-vans, Suburbans and trucks, with lower mileage, in good condition, either 4-wheel or 2-wheel drive. Please email office@cedarscamps.org or call 636-394-6162 to discuss your vehicle, its transfer and tax-deductible gift acknowledgement.  Letting this need be known brought about last week a donation of a wonderful, late-model Suburban from Minnesota!
5) Many friends and churches have already made a profound impact on CedarS past, present and future by choosing to fund ongoing legacies of love and support. Tax-saving strategies for planned gifts and enabling wording for bequests, life income gifts, and beneficiary designations can be set up by CedarS Trustee Emeritus Bill Merritt who is a planned giving professional.]
 
 [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 of the webpage) to download a pdf version of CedarS Lesson mets for easier reading and printing from mobile devices.]

[Enjoy!    Warren Huff, Executive Director   director@cedarscamps.org]


CedarS Camps Possible Sunday School Topics (PSSTs)
for the Christian Science Bible Lesson "God"
December 27, 2010-January 2, 2011
prepared by Merrill Boudreaux of St. Louis, Missouri
 
Golden Text: One of the most powerful synonyms for God is Good. Ask students to state good they observe in their lives. Goodness is worthy to be praised. Ask students how they may observe God, Good, being praised. Look for some hints of Good and goodness for mankind in Psalm 23.
 
Responsive Reading: Make two lists from the Responsive Reading - one that states Good as God, and one that states the goodness that is mankind, manifestation of Good.
 
God, Good
·         sun and shield
·         gives grace and glory
·         no good thing withheld
·         light and salvation
·         strengthens thine heart
 
Mankind's Goodness
·         able to give thanks
·         able to bless
·         dwells in the house of the Lord
·         beholds the beauty of the Lord
·         be of good courage
 
PSST--Section 1: How many Gods are there? What has God made? 
Alpha and Omega signify what?--Beginning and End, totality with nothing outside of God.
If God is Good what must man reflect and express?-Goodness.
Apply this to any lie that suggests otherwise.
 
PSST--Section 2: Again is an opportunity to list attributes of God: greatness, power, glory, victory, majesty.
What therefore does God see in that which God creates? 
In S-7, Mary Baker Eddy refers to God, Spirit, as "the great architect." What does an architect do? How has God designed, planned, you?
 
PSST--Section 3: What are the reasons to thank, praise God in the Bible story in B-10? How did Jesus effect this healing? Could it be from the basis of knowing God as the architect of the man at the pool? 
What other healings of Jesus are stated in S-10? 
Since you are a Christian Scientist, what are you called on to do in S-11?
Review the entire passage in S-13 (S&H 495:14-24).
 
PSST--Section 4: God, Good, calls upon each of us to follow "the first and great commandment." What is this command? (B-14 Matthew 22:37)
What is the second, which "is like unto it"? (See Matthew 22:39.)
Jesus used parables and arguments to explain what? (S-17)
Can good produce evil? Can good produce sickness or sin? These are powerful arguments of truth to support your defense.
Ask students to look up the definition of "cardinal": "of prime importance". What are the two cardinal points of Christian Science? (S-19)
If prime is first, then these two points are the first truths that speak for all time and all mankind.
 
PSST--Section 5: What are the gifts God, Good, has given to mankind? What gifts did you receive for Christmas? How did they make you feel? Now let's list the gifts of God identified in the Bible portion of this section: refuge, strength, present help in trouble, everlasting mercy, truth that endures to all generations - including us, now.
Review the prayer of good in B-17. What is the command offered us in B-17, verses 16 & 17?
 
PSST--Section 6: Spend some silent listening time, listening for the great voice of God singing. Then ask students to list qualities of God they can observe around them, right now, since God, Good, is ever-active in our lives (B-22).
God indeed is worthy to be praised!

Metaphysical

Find out what it takes to follow the Master Christian! - We have to be willing to leave the...
Latest Lesson Application Idea

Newsletters

Get free weekly uplifting newsletters (available in English, Spanish, French, German and now in Portuguese!)
Subscribe or Update Subscription

Facebook

Find CedarS on Facebook for the latest news, heart-warming fruitage, facility upgrades and more!
Go to the CedarS' Facebook Page