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Do not be afraid, shine in the reflected light of Life, now.

Rick Stewart, C.S., Dresden, Germany
Posted Monday, April 19th, 2010

Don't be afraid, shine in the reflected light of Life, now.
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson:
"Probation After Death" for study during the week of April 19-25, 2010
Prepared by Rick Stewart, C.S.,  of Dresden, Germany, and  Tom Evans Sr, of Daytona Beach, Florida   [with bracketed italics by Warren]

[Editor's Note: The following application ideas for this week and the Possible Sunday School Topics that follow are offered primarily to help CEDARS campers and staff (as well as friends) see and demonstrate the great value of daily study and application of the Christian Science Bible lessons year-round, not just at camp! You can sign up to have them emailed to you free -- in English by Monday each week, or by each Wednesday you can get a FREE TRANSLATION in French from Pascal or in Spanish from Ana. A free German translation is available again thanks to Helga. YOU CAN SIGN UP at www.cedarscamps.org/newsletters]

[Our friends at TMC Youth asked us all to help get the word out "to join Christian Scientists around the world" for their 1-day event --a "Prayer Heals Campaign" on this coming Wednesday, Apr. 21. See PS]

There is something pretty special when at 1:00 a.m. your little girl asks you, "Shepherd show me?"  Alma had been having a restless night, perhaps a bad dream.  As I tried to get her settled and expected a request for something to drink, instead she asked to hear her favorite hymn.  And I guarantee that the request was not because of my vocal prowess!  But there is something about that hymn, isn't there?  Mary Baker Eddy wrote a number-one chart-buster.  Comfort, care, guidance, it's got it all.  Those words bring to light an understanding of God's care for us and the darkness just disappears, no more fear, just the light of Love.  And how special it is that even a two-year-old feels the assurance in our Leader's words.  It can settle and comfort thought even after a bad dream.
 
But that assurance and comfort is not limited just to two-year-olds. 
 
Awhile back I had a very vivid dream, well you could call it a nightmare.  I dreamt that I was back in school, was facing a test, and had forgotten all about the class.  Now I don't mean that I had forgotten the class on the day of the test, I literally had forgotten the class and had not attended even one session.  Needless to say, I was not prepared for the test.  Boy, did it feel good to wake up from that dream.  And all the wonderful ideas in this week's Bible Lesson are just waiting to wake us all and bring us into the light of Life and out of the darkness of death.
 
In a quick Google search of definitions for the word probation, I found the first one offered very interesting:
  • a trial period during which your character and abilities are tested to see whether you are suitable for work or for membership
If you read last week's Bible Lesson, you read in Section 2 of how Jesus faced several temptations; it was from Matthew 4:1-11.  Just before this temptation period Jesus had received the revelation that he was indeed God's son.
 
In the Hebrew-written Torah (what we know as the Old Testament) there are the stories of men and women who like Jesus had a clear revelation of their relation to God.  And then shortly thereafter they were tested.  Their character and abilities were put to the test [--and in the spotlight].
 
Golden Text: [Face the Light to stop seeing the shadow!]
There is some beautiful continuity with this week's Bible Lesson [and Matthew 4].  Our Golden Text is from that same chapter of Matthew; it quotes the prophecy from Isaiah, telling us that those in the dark "saw great light," and that to those "which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up."
 
From Tom Evans Sr., "The lesson has a lot to do with light.  Why is light important? There is an old line that says, 'The meaning has come to light.'  In other words, the person understands. The last sentence in this week's Bible citations says, 'But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.' Seeing 'gospel' set me thinking.  It is the first four books of the New Testament in the Bible.
 
"Imagine starting off a new school year. The teacher hands you the textbook, says you will learn a lot from it and starts the class. You are supposed to study the textbook, but there are too many other things you want to do.  By the time you get to the reading it's late and you fall asleep.
 
"Daily life is sort of like that.  In the Bible we have an instruction book for life. But we get too busy to read it.  When the next class comes we get a new textbook, Science and Health, but for a full understanding of it you need an understanding of the first text, which you did not get to read.   ...Ahhh, the light dawns and you decide that you need to read the texts. Well, you start to look at those books...finally...and it's still early in the evening, but soon other things grab your attention.  Those advertisements for smoking, drinking, sports medicine, great abs; the x-rays and morgue on NCIS, and these pictures become the reality for you. Which of these visuals will give you knowledge of God? Is it more important to learn all about the bones and heart and the vulnerabilities of the flesh...will that help in time of need...when you are not feeling well?  Or will knowing the truths of God be what you wish your thoughts to rest upon?  I know you'll decide on those thoughts from the textbooks (our Pastor). Think about it: some people never get to read the texts or feel they need to do so.  But, we know better.
 
"Let's soak up--from this week's Lesson and the "textbooks"--the light that is so essential to life--so we can really live it!  Let's learn to love our role of shining that Light by reflection and living Life rightly!"
 
Responsive Reading: 
The Responsive Reading starts out "Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee."  If you think of 'light' as 'understanding,' it reads, "Arise shine for thy understanding has come...." What understanding?   The understanding that says that Life is eternal and not in matter.
 
Isa 60:1, 2:
  • Living Bible:  1 Arise, my people!  Let your light shine for all the nations to see!  For the glory of the Lord is streaming from you.  2 Darkness as black as night shall cover all the peoples of the earth, but the glory of the Lord will shine from you.
  • Amplified Bible: 1 Arise [from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you---rise to a new life]!  Shine (be radiant with the glory of the Lord), for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you!
  • The Message:  1 Get out of bed, Jerusalem!  Wake up.  Put your face in the sunlight.  GOD's bright glory has risen for you.
 
Section 1:  Path of light
There is something very special about an illuminated path.  When I was a teenager I was camping on Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas.  We were two miles from the nearest town.  It was night, and I was awake looking out the door of the tent over the ocean.  An unusual glow was starting on the horizon and I began to get just a little scared.  The glow was getting brighter, and brighter, and I was beginning to imagine UFOs, etc.  Then, in that instant, a pinpoint of light broke the horizon, and I watched the most magnificent full moon rise over the sea.  Like a path of diamonds the moonlight bathed the sea.  My silly fears turned to awestruck wonder.  It may have been only reflected light (the moonshine), but oh what beauty!
 
B-1: The people that walked in darkness (humans, us) have seen a great light: they that dwell (live) in... the shadow of death (those who think death ends life), upon them hath the light (understanding) shined.
[B-2: On April 18th after church Allie Cole and her fellow Twin Cities campers helped Warren lead a Church & Sunday School workshop and sang the call-and-response "Rock Song" that combines Ps. 18:3 and Ps. 18:46.]
 
S-2: "Error begins by reckoning life as separate from Spirit, thus sapping (operating against) the foundations of immortality...."  We just had a lesson on at-one-ment with God.  But error would try to separate us from God.  When we read the texts we have the truths to see that we are at one with our Father.
 
Section 2:  Life is eternal, hold tight to that fact.
This is the shortest Bible Lesson section in history, but it is complete.
B-5:  Keep a good hold on the Life God gives you.
S-7:  "Life is eternal. We should find this out, and begin the demonstration thereof." So says the textbook, Science and Health
 
Tom:  "Lately, I have been helping a friend.  He relies on medicine exclusively. The doctors that examine him look just at the body.  They have some pretty fancy machines.  But, the machines tell the story of a human body and nothing is thought about eternal Life.  My friend expects the doctor to do the trick.  Though they treat the body from time to time, he feels that now he has to use the doctor and medicines to sustain him.  He has become more and more dependent on the medical profession.
 
"We need to 'begin the demonstration' of spiritual life and eternality.
 
"Citation B-5 tells us to 'lay hold on eternal life.'  In Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy writes, 'Sorrow... never leaves us where it found us" (p.66:30) -- and the same goes for a healing in Christian Science.  We grow when we are healed.  The light dawns, we understand (are healed), and the effect is that we see that the physical body gets better."
 
Section 3:  Laws for Life
For thousands of years the Bible has outlined ways for living that promote health, happiness, and life.  Recent research has also found that positive, joyous living promotes health.  In this section we discover rules for life that maintain a unity or oneness with the Life that is God and the result is a life that reflects the light of eternal Life.
 
Tom:  "I got new insights on citation B-7 --'...make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O House of Israel?'- from a recent conversation with a medical nurse who told me of an experience she had.  The family was gathered and a harpist was playing.  Death was expected that evening.  But this nurse was so cheerful, so comforting, so expectant of life, that the person who was supposed to die didn't and she got well.

"Citation B-7 continues: '...I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves and live ye.' " 
 
Section 4:  Mission Possible
In praying about your next mission, make it more possible by really turning it over to God. As citation B-9 says:  "The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord. Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established."
 
Years ago I swam competitively and was an assistant coach of an AAU swim team. I was always trying to get the little guys and girls to do the best they could do.  But sometimes we would reach a plateau or a time when there would be little improvement, a kind of stagnation.  And then in came Herby Brown.  Herby had been a swimmer in an elite swim program in Southern California.  He came to our small town in Central Florida and he swam like he had in California.  Suddenly the other kids on the team saw new levels of what was possible in practice and in meets.  The effect was astounding.  Everyone began to achieve new personal bests, and they were really proud of themselves.  There is nothing quite like a living example to inspire you.
 
Let's remember that God loved us so much that He gave us an Exemplar, a Wayshower, a Savior who was not a show-off saying: "Hey, look at me, look what I can do."  Jesus clearly stated, "The works that I do shall {ye} do also...." John 14:12
 
The Bible is full of examples of individuals who chose to live their lives in accord with the laws of Life and achieved great things.  And how encouraging it is to note Mrs. Eddy's words in S-15: "It is possible, -- yea, it is the duty and privilege of every child, man, and woman, -- to follow in some degree the example of the Master...."
 
Tom: "If you read the Bible (ah, the textbooks again), you will find there is a stirring line in the Book of Esther.  This woman, Esther, was in a position to save her people from certain death if she herself put her own life on the line.  She had to go unto the King without permission to do so.  There was a law saying this could mean death!  After telling her friends what she was about to do she said, "If I perish, I perish."  Esther 4:16  She was willing to sacrifice her physical body for the greater good.  Evidently, she saw the light of God and was willing to act on His authority. She also found that she knew exactly what to do and what to say and that she was the only one in a position to do it.  She saved countless lives as well as her own. It is a great story, you might wish to check it out.... Oh, but you'll have to read a textbook."
 
This section takes a look at Jesus' Beatitudes.  Mrs. Eddy said that "...the Sermon on the Mount" (the Beatitudes are in that Sermon) "...read each Sunday without comment and obeyed throughout the week, would be enough for Christian practice." Msg '01 p.11:17  Christian practice...practitioner...healer.
 
Section 5:  Jesus, a shining example of Life indestructible
Jesus talks about himself saying, "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." Jesus is the Wayshower... he shows us the WAY. It's not the way mortal man tries to show us; that is the counterfeit way.
 
Jesus Christ was the "way" of life because he proved all he said, especially when he rose after three days in the tomb.
 
In citation S-20 Mrs. Eddy says, "The educated belief that Soul is in the body causes mortals to regard death as a friend,..."  When you read our Textbook, you see that everything the world has been telling you isn't always true.  It is educated belief.  We thought the world was flat once, remember?  But Mrs. Eddy gives us "THE TRUTH" as revealed to her.  She didn't get it from lots of mortal minds discussing it and deciding whether it was true.  It was revealed to her from God.  She created an instruction book explaining how to get past the "errors" of human belief and to learn the truth.  She followed Christ Jesus and the way he presented.  She let the light dawn in her consciousness, and we can read it in our textbook, Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures.  She described herself as a "scribe under orders" (Misc.Writings 311:26).  In other words, she wrote what she understood that God told her to write.
 
Section 6:  The Floodlight of Life!!
B-18: II Tim 1:8-10 from The New Testament in Modern English by J. B. Phillips (© 1972):  "8 ...never be ashamed of bearing witness to our Lord, nor of me, his prisoner.  Accept your share of the hardship that faithfulness to the gospel entails in the strength that God gives you.    9  For he has saved us from all that is evil and called us to a life of holiness - not because of any of our achievements but for his own purpose.  10 Before time began he planned to give us in Christ Jesus the grace to achieve this purpose, but it is only since our saviour Christ Jesus has been revealed that the method has become apparent.  For Christ has completely abolished death, and has now, through the gospel, opened to us men the shining possibilities of the life that is eternal."
 
If we would demonstrate the possibilities regarding Life as outlined in the Bible and Science and Health, our textbooks and our Pastor, do we have choices to make?  I found that I had choices.  I was standing one day by our sliding glass doors.   A little warbler flew at full speed right into the door.  And when he fell to the ground our little Dachshund immediately grabbed the little bird.  As quickly as possible I retrieved the bird from the dog and immediately began to pray.  I expected results.  I considered all I knew about God as Life.  And then I remembered a line from a poem written by Mary Baker Eddy -- it is Hymn 30 in the Christian Science Hymnal, -- "The arrow that doth wound the dove darts not from those who watch and love."  This message came as a rebuke of sorts.  I had just returned from a dove-hunting trip.  And here I was praying for and expecting this little bird to be healed.  I realized that if I wanted to heal consistently, I had to let go my participation in the family tradition of hunting.  I continued to pray and affirm the indestructible nature of God's creation.  The little bird stirred, looked me in the eye, and flew away.  That was the first of very many healings of animals that had been seriously injured and were facing what seemed inevitable - to mortal (dying) belief - death.  I still love the outdoors.  I still have great adventures with animals and wildlife.  But I have also found a consistent ability to heal.   
 
As Moses writes in Deuteronomy 30:19 New Living Translation (©2007), "Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make.  Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!"
 
We find the inspired word of the Bible and of Science and Health leading us into the light of Life.  We witness the light of Life fully reflected in the life of our Savior, Christ Jesus.  And we can choose to accept the fully-illuminated path of Life as our path.

 [PS: Our friends at TMC Youth asked us all to help get the word out "to join Christian Scientists around the world" for their 1-day event --a "Prayer Heals Campaign" on this coming Wednesday, Apr. 21. "Join the discussion on our forum and on our Facebook Fan page. And if you need some ideas for how to respond, check our What is Christian Science video, I'll Stand with You blog, or our Building Bridges podcast."]

[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 or through CS Directory.  But, current and planned gifts are much-needed to cover the costs of running this "free" 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!
 
Our top need
is to put our money where our mission is by raising significant dollars to underwrite camperships for the hundreds of campers now applying for                             aid. 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-Find new ways to take off the mask of error & glimpse the glories of Life without chance!]
Possible Sunday School Topics
for the Christian Science Bible Lesson for April 19-15, 2010
Probation After Death
by Steve Henn, St. Louis, MO [with a bracketed-italics addition in Section 6 by Warren]
Which to you will be primary, God or matter? Error's foundation is firmly set on the separation of Man from Spirit. How can your students learn more about their interconnectedness with Love, Soul, and Principle if it's not evident to the material senses?
Two thoughts - take the idea to its conclusion. Error often suggests a separation from Spirit and then presents plausible challenges that follow. What if error is supreme and Spirit is subject to matter? When you take this line of reasoning to the extreme, all you are left with is unreasonable chaos. At the extreme error is no longer plausible, it becomes ridiculous - to the point where students no longer fear error. Think of this as taking off the mask of error - or think of this as allowing error to stand on its own two legs --and then realizing that error has no legs to stand on so ultimately it collapses on itself. Good always wins because Good is the only substance.

Another angle on this idea is to look at your options. With your students, ask them to honestly look at their options. They can either believe that error is supreme or that God is supreme. Both cannot share power - that's like saying light and dark can exist in the same place. Ask them which world they want to live in. Every statement of error believed, while it gains no more reality from the belief, until challenged or changed becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Every statement of Truth brings to light reality and all its glory. When honestly compared, ask your students to make a decision with their eyes open.

Section 1
Remind your students that this journey is eternal. Get excited for the lessons to be learned - they are full of Life. Simply challenging the prevalent thought that matter is primary and Spirit is secondary is "doing much". (SH 5)
Why not make progress now? Why put it off? Look in Miscellaneous Writings on page 230 at Mrs. Eddy's article entitled "Improve Your Time". It will take much work to see much progress heavenward. Do not delay.

Section 2
The focus of this lesson is simple - choose what you will believe. When you believe fully in the power of God, good, the fear of death or of a probationary period after death disappears and the reality of life in all its glory appears.
Point your students towards Romans 6:16 "Know ye not that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom you obey." Who will your students obey? What are their choices?
Remind them that beginning rightly ensures ending rightly. Get on the right track from the outset. (SH 7)

Section 3
Why do we have a lesson on "probation after death"? Do your students know what the belief in purgatory was?
Look to B6 and B7 to explore how we view the punishment of sin. How do your students feel about needing only to "turn away" from sin and being forgiven immediately? Is it okay for them? Is it okay for their friends? How about people who have done them wrong?
How often do we as humans put our friends, classmates, family and others in "purgatory", forcing them to suffer before we forgive them? Is that the right way to go about it?
What does it take for us to turn away from our own transgressions? One major aspect is forgiveness, not just of those around us, but of ourselves.  If God made us perfect, can we commit a sin? Can we be guilty of anything but good? 
This goes back to the questions that begin this PSST - who do we put forward as supreme, good or evil, Truth or error, Life or death? (SH 10)
 
Section 4
Do your students know what it means to be blessed? One version of the Bible translates it as "heavenly happy" [another as "supremely happy"]. Does that resonate with your students? How would they define being blessed? It must be a pretty good thing because Jesus is asking us to go through some pretty difficult stuff (poor spirit, mourning, hunger and thirst after goodness, pure in heart, etc...) in order to be blessed.   But is it so difficult to do what is natural to the true child of God? Henry Drummond, in his essay The Greatest thing in the World says "Nothing is a hardship to Love, and nothing is hard. I believe that Christ's yoke is easy. Christ's ‘yoke' is just His way of taking life.  And I believe it is an easier way than any other. I believe it is a happier way than any other."
 
Section 5
If Jesus is "the way", what does that mean for us? How do your students feel about following in Jesus' footsteps? Is it impossible to them? How can we help our students understand not only the possibility of following this path, but also the inevitability? Is it really daunting to them? Or is it exciting?  This gets at the heart of where students see themselves going in their lives and what part religion [and church] attendance will play in it. Do students see religion [and church] as stifling or freeing? Help them see the freedom available through Jesus' example.
 
Section 6
WOW! You could simply read this section aloud with your students. There is SOOO much to unpack. As you read this section, you just get the feeling of the power of good, God.
Ask your students how they feel while reading this section. Ask them to simply let the section "happen" to them, meaning they simply soak it in. No analyzing, no questioning, just absorbing. And what does it inspire them to do now?   Sit back and let this conversation go. The answers may surprise you.

[Here is an inexpensive, hands-on conversation-starter that might evoke some surprising and productive discussions: On a recent flight, I customized a standard pair of dice by using a laundry pen to make 7 dots on every side, 2 rows of 3 on each face surrounding a dot in the center. Then, I used them with a pun to spring-board off the last citation (SH-30) in Science and Health. On page 285:3 proclaims Mrs. Eddy "This Science of being obtains not alone hereafter in what men call Paradise, but here and now; it is the great fact of being for time and eternity." No exceptions! No chance! So, just as there is no chance in Paradise, there is no chance in this pair of dice. Every time they are rolled, a double 7--or double completeness--comes up. That is the truth for you as a Divine Image And Likeness--right here and right now, not just hereafter. No exceptions! 
Here are two of my favorite reassurances of "the control which Love holds over all" (S&H 514:26) including God's control over any supposed rule of accidents, luck and randomness. (See S&H 424 in the paragraph by the marginal heading "Accidents are unknown to God".]

Happy teaching! [There is not a chance that your work and love will be in vain!]
 

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