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Get ready for the "Greater Works"!

Rick Stewart, C.S., Dresden, Germany
Posted Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Faithful followers of Christ Jesus, get ready for the "Greater Works!"
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Weekly Christian Science Bible Lesson for February 22-28, 2010
Subject: Christ Jesus
Prepared by Rick Stewart, C.S., of Dresden, Germany (formerly Ocala, FL)  

[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. Soon a free German translation will be available again from Helga. SIGN UP at www.cedarscamps.org/newsletters]

Golden Text:  John 14:12: "..He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father."
When you read this verse, did you ever feel like saying, "Yeah, right!"
 
I mean, come on, we know what wonderful things Christ Jesus did.  We are in awe of his works and the love he showed, and he expects us to do "greater works"?
After all, his Father was God! He was "inseparable from Christ, the Messiah." (S-4)  And he expects us to do "greater works."
 
I have been thinking about this verse for a couple of weeks and it made me think of my second grade teacher, Ruth Urquhart.
 
My first grade teacher was Mrs. Leonard.  She was little, gentle, and sweet. Then came second grade, and Mrs. Urquhart.  She was a giant - six feet tall.   She was very strict, very demanding.  And at the beginning of school she made me sick.  I don't mean that I disliked her, I mean literally, everyday, I was getting sick to my stomach.  I would have to leave class, go to the nurse's room or even go home. 
 
But my mom was pretty smart.  She was a Christian Science practitioner and she knew how to get to the bottom of why we think we feel sick. She knew there was something more going on than a physical cause for my sickness.  She did not start trying to find out if I was allergic to something in the class.  She did not try to find out if I had caught something from someone else.  She did what she always did, she prayed and looked to God to tell her how to help me.
 
And she did.  Since the school principal (director or headmaster) was a close friend, mom asked her to telephone anytime I got sick, but to let me stay in school.  And that was what they did.  For a few days I was still getting sick.  I would go to the nurse's room and lie down.  And my mom would be praying. 
 
It had come to my mom that the cause of the problem was my reaction to my new teacher.  She was so different than my first grade teacher.  In first grade I had been what we call in America, the teacher's pet, the favorite. And my new teacher did not have "teacher's pets," she treated everyone the same.  And she really expected everyone to do their best.  She demanded a lot from everybody.  And we all were learning lots.
 
Mrs. Urquhart became my favorite teacher.  She taught us so much.  She taught us to write so well that people still tell me I have great penmanship.  She encouraged us to learn, learn, learn.  I loved arithmetic, so she let me and another boy, Barry Mitchum, race ahead in math.  When we finished one exercise book, she would get us another one.  By the end of the year Barry and I had completed math books all the way to the sixth grade level.
 
School was an adventure.  Mrs. Urquhart was still just as big, but she was biggest in what she encouraged us to do.  She expected us to always do our best and always told us we could do more.
 
When a healing takes place in Christian Science it is more than just making a tummy ache go away.  There is always something deeper, something bigger.  Maybe you could say there are "greater works" going on.  Because God sees things from a much greater, broader perspective.
 
I ended up having Mrs. Urquhart as my teacher in second grade, fourth grade and sixth grade.  Every year I moved up a class, Mrs. Urquhart was also promoted.  And then part way through sixth grade it was my teacher, Mrs. Urquhart, who got sick.  It wasn't a tummy ache.  It was something with her heart and she had to stop teaching.  But guess what, by then she knew me and my family so well, that she asked my mom to pray for her.  And she asked for a copy of Science and Health.  And she was healed.  Now that is what I think of as "greater works." 
 
It is not like we are in a contest with Christ Jesus to somehow be better than he was, or to do more than he did.  Remember Mrs. Eddy writes (S-4) in a paragraph about the Sonship of Jesus, "He was inseparable from Christ, the Messiah..."
 
Our Savior, you might say, is like Mrs. Urquhart.  They both loved what they did.  They both demand a lot of us.  They both expect us to learn a lot, and.........they both expect us to use what we have learned. 

And that is why I think this Golden Text is just perfect for you and me.  Our beloved Savior wants us to be our best because he knows we can do it.
 
So, let's find out how in this week's Bible Lesson.
 
Responsive Reading: The power to remove doubts about Christ's Messianic mission.
Acts 10:38:  "God anointed Jesus...." Greek verb "chrio", "to anoint"-- "consecrating Jesus to the Messianic office, and furnishing with the necessary powers for its administration; and, enduing Christians with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. " (www.BlueLetterBible.com)
 
Acts 10:40, 41:  God raised Jesus from the dead and showed him "openly" -- but to "selected "witnesses.  Those who shared with him, "who did eat and drink" with him.  So if you want to "see" or have a visit from the risen Savior, you have to break bread (the "great truth of spiritual being" see S&H 33:7) and have a drink ("the blood of the New Covenant" see S&H 33:28) with the Christ.
 
John 20:  The removal of doubt.  Both the Aramaic word translated as "Thomas," and the Greek, Didymos, refer to "twin."  Thomas, who is often referred to as "Doubting Thomas," was not present when Jesus first appeared to the disciples.  But when he did see him he exclaimed, "My Lord and my God."  Because of this Thomas is also known as "Thomas the Believer."  And don't think that Thomas was just wishy-washy.  In John 11 Jesus hears reports of Lazarus death.  When Jesus says he plans to go and wake him, the disciples warn against the return to Judea because the Jews tried to stone Jesus there.  Thomas says, "Let's also go, that we might die with him (Jesus)."   Pretty brave stuff for the man we so often call "doubting."  And it was Thomas the disciple that is believed to have travelled widest in sharing the Gospel.  So don't forget -- there is plenty of room for those of us that have sometimes "doubted" our faith in the Christ.
 
Section 1:  "Thou art my beloved Son,"
B-3:  God has a message and sometimes it comes through loud and clear, just like in  B-3, Mark 1:11, "Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."  This section is about that powerful message.  It opens the lines of communication.  As Jesus showed there is great power in hearing and accepting the message of divine Sonship.  It enables the Christ to shine through and enables others to hear the same message.
 
I remember a moment after a lecture in Argentina.  I had gone into the child care room before my lecture to visit with the kids there.  There was a boy, about 9 or so, that seemed so receptive.  So I invited him to come and join us in the lecture.  He accepted and sat right down front.  I made a point of engaging him throughout the lecture, sometimes with direct questions. 
 
After the lecture he came up with a huge smile and stated with awe in his voice, "I never knew I was God's son!"  As he spoke and shared his spiritual insight, I felt the depth of his understanding.  I was almost like those people who had stood by as they heard the voice from heaven, "Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
 
This little guy so understood his relationship to God that his declaration carried with it the power of the Christ.  He knew he was God's son.
 
S-5:  "The real man being linked by Science to his Maker, mortals need only turn from sin and lose sight of mortal selfhood to find Christ, the real man and his relation to God, and to recognize the divine sonship."
 
Section 2:  Faith in the power of divine Principle
B-6:  The Psalmist tells us that the Lord sends his word and heals the children of men.
B-7:  Isaiah recognizes God's anointing that results in healing and comfort. Once again this sense of "anointing" could be considered a form of qualification or authorizing.
B-8:   A nobleman turns to Jesus to save his child who was at the point of death.  He asks Jesus, "Sir, come down ere my child die."  But when Jesus tells him he can go home, his child lives, he takes Jesus at his Word, and believes.  He later learns that the child was healed at the moment Jesus spoke.
 
S-7:  Corporeal Savior or saving Principle?  Christian Science helps us trust the divine Principle, God, rather than fearing matter.  Like the nobleman often we first seek the personal presence as a solution to sickness.  Then we learn to have faith in "the Christ, Truth, as the healing and saving power."
 
Section 3:  "Faith advanced to spiritual understanding"
S-11:  Mary Baker Eddy points out  in S-11 that in Greek and Hebrew the word translated as "belief" is different than the English verb, "believe."  The original texts have more the sense of "faith, understanding, trust, constancy, firmness."
 
B-11, B-12:  Most Bible commentaries refer to the healing in Matt. 17 as the healing of epilepsy.  (Although not included in the Bible lesson, Jesus' meeting with Moses and Elias on the Mount of Transfiguration begins this chapter.  There were 1300 years and 900 years separating Jesus from these prophets.  But he spoke with them and the disciples saw and recognized them.)
 
That could be considered an interesting prelude to healing of a disease that is often considered hereditary.  Jesus' meeting with the prophets that was witnessed by three disciples defies all laws of matter as being the basis of life.   DNA could not duplicate Moses and Elias, but Spirit could.  Matter was not the basis of Life, but Spirit.  And it was the Christ, the spirit of divine Sonship, that bridged this gap to eternal, spiritual Life.
 
So was it incredible, unbelievable for Jesus to heal the young boy of epilepsy?  Only incredible to mortal, material, limited belief.  The meeting of Jesus with the prophets and the healing of the young boy both gave wonderful proof of life independent of DNA, or limits of material existence.
 
Reading of this healing of epilepsy reminded me of the healing of a long-time friend, Warren Wagner.  As a young child Warren was under heavy medication to control the effects of epilepsy.  As a teenager he found himself interested in occasional family conversations where there was reference to "Science."  He always found himself intrigued by these conversations and discovered that the "Science" referred to was Christian Science.  Warren's father had known Christian Science as a child, but had not continued his interest as an adult.
 
The more Warren learned about Christian Science the more interested he became.  He began a close, working relationship with a Christian Science practitioner.  Both the practitioner and the practitioner's wife were a supporting influence as Warren began to study Christian Science.  Soon Warren was finding a freedom he had never known. 
 
Warren described the healing as taking place over several years and especially was touched by several occasions when the presence of the Christ was a tangible presence.  It was as a warm, dawning light that left him with a certain assurance that "all is well."  Not only was there a mental stilling and peace, but also a physical restoration that he knew was the activity of the Comforter, the Christ, Truth.
 
Section 4:  How firm a foundation, the Christ, not person!
The part of the world that I am originally from is characterized by lots and lots of churches.  And sometimes on the same rural road you might have two or three churches of the same denomination within sight of each other.  I've heard these churches referred to as "grudge churches."  Someone gets upset with other members of their church, and move just a little ways down the road and form a new church.  Their personal views and opinions clash with others, so rather than change those views, they form a new church.
 
The world that is growing so much smaller all the time might be a little like that small road and the many churches.  When divisions erupt in denominations, or new insights break through, often we see the founding of a new denomination.
 
Citation B-13 asks us to look closely at the true foundation for church:
     B-13  The Message:   "Watch closely. I'm laying a foundation in Zion, a solid granite foundation, squared and true. And this is the meaning of the stone: a trusting life won't topple. 
     B-13  New International Version:  " the one who trusts will never be dismayed."
     B-13  Amplified Bible:   "he who believes (trusts in, relies on, and adheres to that Stone) will not be ashamed or give way or hasten away [in sudden panic]."   
 
B-14:  Jesus asks the disciples to identify who he was.  The disciples gave some of the opinions flying around about who Jesus was.  And then Peter boldly declared, "Thou are the Christ, the Son of the living God."  Jesus approved of Peter's answer and declared, "I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
 
S-14, S-15, S-16:  All of these citations in Science and Health deal with Peter's bold response to Jesus' question:  "Whom do men say that I, the Son of man, am?"
 
S-16:  It was "divine Life, Truth, and Love,...not...personality,... that was healing the sick and was a rock, a firm foundation" for building.
 
This acknowledgement finds little room for personality and varying views to shake the foundation of Church.  The recognition of the Christ, Truth results in healing in the human body and in the church body.
  
Section 5:  Faith in the risen Savior, Christ the Lord
B-16:  Enduring faith when the senses might blind us to the risen Christ.  Jesus appears first to Mary Magdalene, but when she tells the disciples, they don't believe her.  (How many men have made that same mistake?  I know I have, but I am trying to learn.)
 
Jesus "upbraided" the disciples for their "unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen."
     "Upbraid" 1: to criticize severely : find fault with  2: to reproach severely; scold vehemently  (Merriam-Webster Dictionary.)
 
S-17, S-18:  The disciples learned a lot from Jesus' resurrection.  Their eyes were opened.  They shared what they had learned and their work was characterized by "signs" following.
 
Don Fleming, a friend from Arkansas, shared the following observation:
"Don't we often become confused, disturbed and even discouraged by the so-called chain of events in human experiences?  The situation doesn't seem to be going the way we have it all mapped out, so we are even upset at times--trying to tell God how to do it!  More the reason for the continued child-like trust, unwavering faith and constantly keeping our thoughts aligned with the Truth.
 
"I recently heard a story about Impalas (and I'm sure you already know this) that I found very interesting.
  • Impalas are amazing leapers. They can jump about 10 feet into the air. While running, they can cover up to 30 feet in a single bound.  However, impalas can be contained inside a six-foot high fence if they cannot see outside the fence.  They will not jump where they cannot see. 
"Isn't this exactly the same type limitation that mortal mind would like to place on man?  Aren't we all, at times, limited of our full potential because we won't leave our ‘comfort-zone' and step-out in unwavering faith just because we think we must see the end result in order for it to happen?"
 
Let's let our spiritual sense and faith guide us to jump over the limiting barriers of mortal existence.  You can do it.
 
Section 6: Hope for us all, through the risen Christ.
B-18:  Peter and John demonstrate their faith in the healing Christ.  A man who has never walked expectantly looks to them for help.  They don't "give him a donation."  Instead they share their understanding and they heal him.  When the people are amazed at the healing, Peter cautions not to be impressed with this healing.  It was not because of Peter and John's personal ability, worthiness, or holiness.  It was faith in the word, works, and life of Christ Jesus.
 
S-21:  "Understanding spiritual law and knowing that there is no material
law, Jesus said: 'These signs shall follow them that believe, . . . they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them. They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.' "
 
Jesus' promise is perpetual.
 
Oh, and what about the "greater works?"  I can't wait to see what you come up with!

 [This weekly Metaphysical Newsletter is provided at no charge to the 1,200 campers and staff who were blessed last summer at CEDARS--as well as to thousands of CEDARS alumni, families and friends who request it, or who find it weekly on our website.  But, current and planned gifts are much-needed to cover the costs of running this service and of providing camperships for such inspirational opportunities.  Your support is always tax-deductible and welcomed--but during the economic downturn, your help has been and continues to be especially needed and appreciated!  Two ongoing needs are to raise significant dollars:
     1)  to underwrite camperships for the hundreds of campers now applying for aid; and,
     2) to support caring for our large herd of horses now being fed on top of 6" of snow.  "Adopt the Herd" donations will be matched!
 
To make a tax-deductible donation:
1) Write a check payable to CedarS Camps and mail it to the office:
           1314 Parkview Valley, Manchester, MO 63011; or
2) Call Warren or Gay Huff at (636) 394-6162
to charge your gift using a Visa or Mastercard or to discuss short-term or long-term gift of securities or property that you are considering; or
3) CLICK HERE RIGHT AWAY TO SUPPORT CEDARS WORK
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[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 "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.]
Enjoy!
Warren Huff, Executive Director   director@cedarscamps.org    (636) 394-6162

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