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Bask in the Glory of Easter!

Craig L. Ghislin, C.S., Glen Ellyn (Bartlett), IL
Posted Monday, March 29th, 2010

Bask in the Glory of Easter: Christ Lights the Way to Eternal Harmony
Lesson application ideas for: Unreality
March 29-April 4, 2010
by Craig L. Ghislin, C.S., of Glen Ellyn, IL  [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 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]
 
When the older campers at CedarS go into the caves, they spend some time with the lights out in total darkness. Once in a while, they might try to explore a particularly safe area of the cave in the dark, moving along slowly on hands and knees trying to be aware of their surroundings and each other without the benefit of vision. But, most often, their time in the darkness is spent sitting together and singing, telling stories, or playing various games. During that time, in the dark, even the minimal light emitted from a watch seems bright, and when the flashlights come back on it is almost too bright. But in order to safely navigate the cave, lights are necessary. They help the campers to explore without getting into trouble by bumping into something or stepping where they shouldn't. It can be fairly challenging to maneuver through these caves even with the flashlights and headlamps on, and it would make no sense at all to attempt exploring the whole cave in the dark.
 
Living a life based on a material sense of things is a lot like trying to maneuver through a cave without a flashlight. But we do have a light to show us the way - the light of Christ. In the Golden Text, Paul says this is the same light that shone out of darkness in the dawn of creation. Caving without light could easily lead to chaos, but when the light is on, even if not everyone has one, the journey is much more harmonious. The light of Christ that we reflect helps light the way for others too. Much of this Lesson confronts the darkness of unreality, but the light of Christ pierces that darkness and brings us into the harmony of Truth.
[The Christ light will be shining especially brightly for Christian Science young people age 12-30 during the upcoming Spiritual Activists Summit in New York City, April 16-18, 2010. Click for more details to share with all the youth you know.]
 
In the Responsive Reading, the psalmist (Psalm 22) is tormented by the vicious and relentless attacks of his enemies. They scorn his trust in God, taunting him and threatening his life. Their actions are likened to a pack of dogs circling their prey and snapping at exposed hands and feet. While the victim is being tormented, hostile observers divide up his belongings in anticipation of his death. In Psalm 109 the picture isn't much better. Even though he tries to do good to his enemies, they return evil and lies. Talk about a dark outlook!
 
[Note for the Easter lesson that Psalms 22 is often viewed as a prophecy--written 1000 years earlier--of the scene at the base of the cross where Jesus is mocked and his side pierced. Cobbey Crisler did a moving side-by-side reading of this chapter with the crucifixion chapters in the Gospels, and taught listeners that Jesus was likely showing us what he was praying by quoting from the cross the first words of Ps. 22 which starts with the feeling of being forsaken by God and ends with resurrection.]
 
The passages from Romans bring light into the picture. God does not forsake us in our trials. We are not bound to laws of sin and death. The light of Truth that raised Jesus from the grave is also saving us in our struggles with the darkness of unreality. Paul assures us that "all things work together for good to them that love God." The light of God's Love for us brings order to chaos and harmony to the discordant.
 
Section 1: God's Law of Harmony Eliminates Discord
As light contrasts with darkness, harmony contrasts with discord. According to Alexander Pope, discord is "harmony not understood." In Christian Science we begin all reasoning from the standpoint of "perfect God and perfect man." Regardless of the dark testimony of material sense, our God stands alone as Ruler of heaven and earth. "There is none else" (B1) beside Him. The psalmist expresses our ideal outlook - that in every instance, we choose life and harmony over death and discord (B2).
 
When faced with discord we, as Christian Scientists, do not take it lying down. When the pottage appeared to be poisonous, Elisha didn't dump it out or commence first aid for food poisoning. He took measures to correct the situation through the demonstration of God's power (B3). Do you ever feel that you're facing a toxic situation? Aside from literal food poisoning, it could be a toxic relationship or we may be concerned over our polluted environment. Whatever the case may be, we can never be victim to poisonous attacks if we are fully aware of our unbreakable relationship with God. The Abingdon Bible Commentary - remarking on Romans 8 - says, "None of the things which menace happiness or life can ever separate us from the love of Christ...." The explanation continues, citing that in biblical times there was a great fear of "elemental forces" in the universe thought to be beyond our control. Fear of these forces "was poisoning human happiness and destroying human freedom, creating a real bondage of dread." When facing toxic conditions globally or individually, it could seem like we too are trapped in a "real bondage of dread." Fortunately, the light of Christian Science displaces this dark view.
 
Our Leader, Mary Baker Eddy, writes, "harmony is universal, and discord is unreal" (S1). No matter what we face, when we realize that "inharmony is unreal" (S2) we can see things in their true light. Pope's description of discord as harmony misunderstood coincides with Mrs. Eddy's instruction that spiritual understanding restores harmony. It is only a materially-based false belief that causes us to be ignorant of harmony (S3). Mrs. Eddy didn't make this up. Prophets throughout history have understood the same thing (S4) and in fact, this understanding was instrumental to their achieving the status of "prophet." Accepting the spiritual view that sees through the unreality of evil, we will truly be able to claim our freedom from the "bondage of dread" and recognize harmony to be the real and discord the unreal (S5).
 
Section 2: What Is Error?
Just as a child needs to be taught to be aware of dangers of which he might be unaware, we too, need to be warned of unwitting sins (B5). In a dark cave without a light we might walk right into hazards. The light exposes them. The Student's Reference Dictionary defines error as "a wandering or deviation from the truth; a mistake in judgment, by which men assent to or believe what is not true." The Children of Israel were warned not to "learn the way of the heathen" (B6). Neither were they to fear them. The customs and idols of the people were incapable of doing harm or good. In modern times, we too are figuratively, and in some cases literally, living among the heathen. The modern world has set up many idols not the least of which is the belief that it's safer to trust in medical intervention than to trust in God's healing power. This is based on the erroneous belief that we live in a material body and are subject to material forces. The light of Truth exposes this belief for the error that it is. Those who know God are capable of understanding this, but those who don't continue to live in the dark (B7).
 
Our textbook points out that "Error is a supposition that pleasure and pain, that intelligence, substance, life, are existent in matter" (S7). Jesus proved the nothingness of this lie (S6). As the darkness flees before the light, so "error is a coward before Truth" (S8). Mrs. Eddy reasoned logically that if Truth is real, error must be unreal (S9). She states simply, "Discord is the nothingness named error. Harmony is the somethingness named Truth" (S10). There's not much to add to that. It's about as straightforward as it gets.
 
Section 3: Lies - Don't Tell 'em: Don't Believe ‘em
Most of us consider ourselves fairly honest and wouldn't knowingly tell a lie. But, this section alerts us to be especially careful to watch what we say and believe. The Interpreter's One-Volume Commentary on the Bible illumines citation B8. It says that the "false reports" referred to in Exodus are specifically those lies "creating prejudice by rumors, being suborned to perjury, deferring to the majority despite one's true conviction, and partiality." Think about that third description-deferring to the majority despite one's true conviction. How often do we do that? Do we go along with general physical health laws, or get swept along in the latest fads of thought? Do we tacitly agree with things we know aren't accurate just to avoid a disagreement? The Scriptures imply we are to stand up boldly for the Truth (verbally or silently if needed) irrespective of the consequences. If we accept anything other than the truth about anything or anyone, we are voicing a lie. Proverbs (B9) warns us that lies can be damaging, "thoughtless talk inflicts grievous wounds..." (Dummelow). Some commentators believe that Paul's words of "thanks" to the Corinthians (B10) were ironic. The conduct of the Corinthians at the time was anything but exemplary. Paul himself spoke the truth plainly. He didn't try to soften his message, water it down, or make it sound similar to the Greek philosophy in order to make it more palatable to his listeners (B11). How do we as a movement present our case? More on that in a minute.
 
Opposites cannot both be true. Mrs. Eddy asks her students to make a choice between the mortal testimony and the spiritual evidence (S11). The testimony based on material views are totally unreliable and built on a shaky foundation (S 12, 13). If, as our Leader writes, an ill-attuned ear cannot appreciate harmony (S 14), the correctly-tuned ear will appreciate it. Back to how we share Christian Science. Sometimes in an effort to make our views more acceptable to the "ill-attuned ear" we try to couch Christian Science in terms that we feel are more acceptable to those unfamiliar with it. While we certainly need to be conscious of where our listeners are at, as Jesus was when he spoke in parables, we still need to be careful to state our case correctly. Otherwise our efforts are no more than dissimulation. In my experience, I have always found that the more straightforward I am in my declarations of truth, the more I am correctly understood. It's better to disagree on honest terms than to finesse an agreement on a false basis. That is as unfair to the listener as it is to the speaker; and an astute listener can clearly detect when the speaker is trying to avoid a direct response. The prophets throughout history, Christ Jesus, Paul, and Mrs. Eddy all spoke their case without apology. Then they lived in such a way as to back up their words with action. In fact, the action came first and the words came later. I'm often asked about how best to present Christian Science to friends who ask about it. The short answer is - speak from your own experience and be honest. Even if the listener doesn't end up agreeing with you, he will respect you for your honesty, sincerity, and devotion.
 
Section 4: There's Nothing to Treasure on Earth - The Temporal Is Unreal
In order to express yourself clearly, you need to be clear yourself on what you are saying. We need to be sure that we are clear regarding the unreality of matter. Paul was confident that the evidence before the senses was not the reality of being. He said "the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal" (B12). Jesus instructed his followers to make their treasures in heaven-not on earth (B13). While it may be tempting to think our prayers can be used to give us merely a more pleasurable and satisfying material existence, our real aim is to find satisfaction in spiritual reality alone. Dummelow points out that Jesus isn't only referring to the pursuit of material wealth. He says Jesus is referring to "everything lower than God Himself on which men set their hearts,-honor, fame, pleasure, ease, power, excitement, luxury, animal enjoyment...." Time spent on any of these is wasted in our pursuit of the harmonious and eternal.
 
Mrs. Eddy acknowledges that God provides temporary needs (S16) but the true idea of man can never be understood by or through the material senses. Now, here is a key point - what we behold as a material creation is not real. Neither is it a temporary condition that we are working through. The temporal things are no more than "thoughts of mortals and are the unreal" (S17). What appears as a material existence is not a temporary existence; it is a lie or counterfeit of existence that seems to be temporarily believed. The scientific statement of being is blunt about it. Matter has "no life, truth, intelligence, or substance" (S18). Again, there aren't two sides to existence nor is there more than one existence or reality. Matter is unreal - period. God never made it. If He didn't make it, it was never made (S19). This is crucial because misunderstanding this leads to all sorts of quackery. Misunderstanding or misrepresenting this point also leads to incorrect explanations of Christian Science. So pay attention-"Nothing unspiritual can be real, harmonious or eternal" [emphasis added].
 
Section 5: The Light of Christ Heals
As the light destroys darkness, the Son of God was manifested to "destroy the works of the devil" (B14). Remembering that matter is unreal, we can prove the unreality of sickness and disease as Jesus did. The Syro-Phoenician woman who came to Jesus (B15) was considered a heathen by the Jews. In fact, "she was one of that nation which the Jews had been bidden to exterminate, and was therefore more hateful than an ordinary heathen" (Dummelow). Yet Jesus responded compassionately to her importunate call for help. Not only did he destroy the lie of sickness imposed on her daughter; he also uncovered and eliminated the hatred and nationalism that plagued the mother. Jesus did not cooperate with or accommodate evil in any way. He uncovered it and destroyed it. Not surprisingly, this roused envy and suspicion among the theologians of the day. Jesus recognized that his message would meet opposition. He warned his followers that they would run into resistance too (B16).
 
Mrs. Eddy expected her students to follow Jesus' example (S20). She realized that the light of Christ is equally effective in the destruction of sickness or sin (S21). In order to bring the light of harmony to the discords of material belief, it is essential to realize that there is no reality in the claims of evil or disease (S22). Here again we see the importance of knowing that matter (healthy or unhealthy) is not real. Sickness is not something "real" to be gotten rid of. It is a negation from the outset. It is nothing claiming to be something (S23). Over and over again our Leader underscores the unreality of evil. Yet we still sometimes slip into treating evil as a reality. "Every mortal must learn that there is neither power nor reality in evil." How much clearer can it be?
 
Section 6: "The Glory of an Easter" for Our Enlightenment and Salvation
The ultimate proof of matter's unreality is demonstrated in Jesus' resurrection and ascension. A few weeks ago, the Lesson focused on ascension and in this Easter week we take another look at it. Rather than reiterate the story of the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension here, I invite you to read it carefully and solemnly to yourself. Take the time to embrace and appreciate the significance of it. It is the capstone of Jesus' mission and the final proof of all he taught. Ask yourself whether you would have stayed with Jesus, or run away when the soldiers came. Would you have had the courage to ask for the body as Joseph did? Would you have gone back to the tomb to finish burial preparations? Would you have believed that Jesus had risen from the grave when the body wasn't there? Can you imagine the wonder and awe felt by the disciples as their Master stood in the midst of them and "opened" the scriptures?
 
For the disciples, and for all time, the Christ brings light to the darkness of materiality and exposes the nothingness of evil (S25). Nothing the "brutal persecutors" could do was enough to silence the voice of Truth (S26). The voice of Truth is still speaking today, bringing enlightenment and showing the path out of sin, sickness, and death (S27). After Jesus' ascension the disciples remained to carry on the cause and to prove that the Truth is always active bringing health and harmony to discordant beliefs. Do you believe it? Are you carrying on the cause by proving the power of Truth in your life? Jesus proved that material mortality is unreal and that the reality is spiritual, harmonious, and eternal (S29, S30). Embrace it. You don't have to wander around in the cave of material darkness without a light. Use the light. Allow the Christ to show you what's really going on. You won't just come out of the cave - the cave will disappear because it is unreal. You'll wake up to see and experience the reality of God's harmonious creation eternally.
 
 [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 ongoing 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; ($800/week) and,
     2) to provide care for our large herd of horses and feed them until grass starts to grow again in our pastures.  "Adopt the Herd" donations will be matched!
 
To make a charitable donation to our 501C-3 tax-exempt, charitable organization:
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
with an online gift using PayPal.com, which can be funded using a Visa or Mastercard account.]
 
[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.]
Enjoy!
Warren Huff, Executive Director   director@cedarscamps.org    (636) 394-6162


[PSST-Choose wisely for a Happy Easter!]
Possible Sunday School Topics by Merrill Boudreaux, St. Louis, MO
for the Christian Science Bible Lesson: "Unreality" for Easter Sunday 2010
 
P.S.S.T. - Golden Text 
There are multiple examples in this week's lesson about receptivity or choosing. Let us see how a willingness to choose, receive, accept God in our lives, serves, heals, overcomes death. In the GT what has God commanded? Light to shine out of darkness, light to shine in our hearts, light to reveal God always with us. Will you open your hearts and receive this light?
 
P.S.S.T. - Responsive Reading -  
Ask students to read in its entirety Psalm 22. Help them see beyond the first few lines, which may be perceived as words of woe and abandonment, to the rest of the psalm which turns to a prayer of affirmation. Ask students to identify passages which reveal the strength provided to Jesus in this hour of need when he opened his heart to receive the light; starting at verse 19. This Psalm also affirms what we see in Romans 8:1 that we who walk in the light are not condemned to be hurt, sick, afflicted, or to die.
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 1 -
What is declared in B2? What is the outcome when Elisha chooses to receive God's ideas in his heart rather than the view of the pot filled with death? B3. How were the people benefitted because of Elisha's choice? Of what were Elisha and Paul in B3 and B4 persuaded? Ask students to also read Romans 8:35, 37, and see S3. How does one get persuaded? Can this happen in our generation today? What is the light or affirmation revealed in S4?
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 2 -
We get to choose to open our hearts to light that reveals, or to darkness that hides. What are other words in this section for light (Truth, harmony) or for darkness (error, discord)?
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 3 -
One gets to choose whether to report, speak, and declare, for the light or for darkness. Have students list the results in this section when raising a false report or when speaking the truth. Have students make a list of false reports raised in our generation today and by using the inspiration from S12 and S13 write the counterfacts of what they know from the light shining in their hearts right now, based on the power of God with us. You may also choose to ask students to each take one of the false reports they identified and write out a Christian Science treatment that declares the power of God present in our lives right now.
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 4-
One of the most powerful statements in Science and Health is the Scientific Statement of Being, on page 468. Students may have already chosen to memorize it.  Ask students how does this statement aid them each day in being receptive, in receiving light, in making choices?  This would be a good time to have students share healings from this week. Every healing, small or large, reveals a choice the students made to let the light of God - which does not condemn - to shine in their hearts. Ask, what is the nature of light? To warm, show the way or reveal, brighten or enlighten, ward off or defend us from predators, help plants grow that nourish us or provide clothing or shelter.
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 5 -
How does the woman in the Bible story in this section reveal that light is shining in her heart?  She was insistent, assured, receptive, willing (even to have the crumbs left for a dog). How is her experience similar to Psalm 22, which we read earlier? Moving from an appearance that she was abandoned by God to the affirmation and declaration that she was eligible for and entitled to the light of Truth, to have the Scientific Statement of Being at work in her life, right then, and for us, right now. See also S24.
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 6 -
Here is the biggie in this lesson, the ultimate receptivity, choice, acceptance of God in our lives and as our very life. Have students read aloud the entire Bible and S&H portions of this section. Draw a correlation to Psalm 22 and the Scientific Statement of Being as underpinning Jesus' resurrection. What was the role that Christian Science played in Jesus' ability to overcome death?  What does it offer to us? It  is always about choice, receptivity, and acceptance. See also S&H 249:1

Have a Happy April--Don't be fooled! (Free Bonus issue!)
Did you know that the first "April Fools" were called this name in 1582?  These "April Fools" were being ridiculed by their fellow Frenchmen for continuing to celebrate New Year Day on April 1st instead of on January 1st as ordered by King Charles IX and his newly-imposed Gregorian calendar. (http://www.wilstar.com/holidays/aprilfool.htm) When we follow God and His calendar, laws and health care system, we will never be fools.
 "According to my calendar, God's time and mortals' differ. ... God is the fountain of light, and He illumines one's way when one is obedient. The disobedient make their moves before God makes His, or make them too late to follow Him.  Be sure that God directs your way; then, hasten to follow under every circumstance." Miscellaneous Writings 117:22 

I invite you to join me, from this April 1st forward, in a renewed resolution to make earnest efforts every hour (like we do at CedarS) to be quickly obedient--"in sync"--with God and his Christ that makes "all thing new!"  (Christian Science Hymnal, 218)
Let's synchronize our watches with God's watch! (See Christian Science Hymnal, 237)
Seize each new hour's opportunity for a Happy New You and a Happy New April-no foolin'!
Warren
P.S. This was "recycled" from my "Met" (#58) for April 6, 2003. You can see more on the "Don't be fooled" theme and MUCH more in CedarS "Met" archive for this decade at the bottom of this webpage: http://www.cedarscamps.org/metaphysical/
 
P.P.S. Don't be fooled by Jesus's statement on the cross that leads off this week's Responsive Reading (RR).  Several CedarS Met recipients have asked for more on what I mentioned in Monday's RR Met about Cobbey Crisler's comments on the correlation of these verses in the Old and New Testaments. Cobbey said in transciptions by his wife Janet of his talks (CD#10 and #14 sold by The Daycroft School Foundation at 203-321-2119)  "Rather than go through it and take away that thrill of discovery, study the statements Jesus makes from the Cross ... Instead of worrying why our Master seemed to bend under pressure, that higher view of our Master working scripturally at every moment will be rewarded by finding the passage in Psalms 22:1. The context in which it appears (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34) was written one thousand years before the crucifixion."  "It was as if Jesus were saying to humanity, if you want to know why I am here and really appreciate my role, read Psalm 22.  So, should we do any less than turn to that chapter?" Just read Psalm 22 from beginning to end and see how your view of prophesy might change." The very words of the priests with their wagging heads in Matt. 27:39-43 are foretold in Ps. 22:7-8.  Ps. 22:16 foretells of the piercing of hands and feet and Ps. 22:18 prophesies the parting of the garments and casting of lots for them as recorded in Matt.27:35.

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