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Follow Jesus Example to Prove that One with God is a Monopoly!

Kathy Fitzer, St. Louis, MO & Park City, UT
Posted Monday, April 12th, 2010

[Follow Jesus' Example to Prove that One with God is a Monopoly!]
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson:
"Doctrine of Atonement" for study during the week of April 12-18, 2010 -- Prepared by Kathy Fitzer, C.S., of St. Louis, MO 
[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. Soon a free German translation will be available again from Helga who took off for a Spring Break with family. SIGN UP at www.cedarscamps.org/newsletters]
 
Imagine experiencing and demonstrating the dominion expressed by Jesus. Imagine being as conscious of your oneness with God as he was. This week's lesson teaches us how that is possible as we learn to follow Jesus' example. 
 
A doctrine is a set of beliefs, principles, or teachings. Rodale's Synonym Finder also gives "The Word" as a synonym for "doctrine." So, rather than being satisfied with human teachings about atonement, let's look to The Word, or eternal Christ, to discover "the process by which a person removes obstacles to his reconciliation with God" (The Encyclopedia Britannica).  As we reestablish in thought and experience the indissoluble unity which truly always exists between God and man, we see the destruction of the beliefs of sin, sickness, death, and idolatry which would separate us from Him.
 
This lesson helps us understand what is involved in realizing our at-one-ment with God and securing a full salvation. As you read it, look at the promises presented and the necessary requirements to receive these promises. Then, realize the JOY of fulfilling those requirements and rededicate yourself to demonstrating man's oneness with God -- for the benefit of the whole world! To learn more about what Mrs. Eddy has to say on the subject of atonement, check out Miscellaneous Writings  p. 96:17-23, No and Yes pp. 33-38, and Unity of Good pp. 52:15 & 54:11, as recommended in myBibleLesson.
 
Golden Text:  It's HOW we live that matters to God!
What's really important in relating to God? What we do or how we do it?  Just prior to these verses, we read God's review of all that he had done for the people. The people now ask what they should do to please God -- apparently thinking in terms of religious practices (rights and ceremonies).  But, the prophet Micah makes it clear that God isn't as interested in the what, as in the how! To be aligned with God, people must live their everyday lives according to His law. The requirement: do what is right, love mercy, and walk humbly with God (New Living Translation).  In today's context, how we apply what we learn from our books and from church and Sunday School is more important than keeping track of the time we put in. True worship is in living according to God's law! Of course, studying and participating in church is an essential part of getting to know God and His law--so we can live it!  But love living Life rightly!
 
Responsive Reading:  Penitence and Hope -- God's Grace is Huge!!!
Ever feel a pang of regret -- wish you had done some things differently in your life? We all have. That's what Psalm 51 is all about. Think about this psalm in relation to David rethinking his choice to be with Bathsheba -- in light of a conversation he had with the prophet Nathan. The point isn't so much David's sin, as much as it is God's grace and forgiveness. Even though there are consequences to David messing up -- he breaks at least half the commandments, including committing adultery and murder -- he is forgiven, allowed to live and to remain king. David prays for his iniquities (guilt) to be blotted out--removed entirely -- and admits his transgressions (his willful rebellion).  David is asking to be re-born--be allowed a fresh start.  Isn't that all any of us want?  God can--and does--transform us -- wiping the slate clean!  And, then God writes on that clean slate a fresh story (a clean heart) -- one that corresponds with His nature! So, do we have to do something? Yes. David recognizes that God doesn't need material sacrifices--gifts of things.  God just requires this... "a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart." "God does not want ‘broken' or ‘crushed' persons in the sense of ‘oppressed' or ‘dysfunctional.' Rather, God desires humble, contrite persons who are willing to offer God their whole selves" (Clinton McCann, New Interpreter's Bible). It's not about US;  it's about God.  David got that!  Drop pride and human will; commit your whole being to serving God (being the unique, special person God made you to be); and let your oneness with God shine! No matter what's happened in the past, God loves us and is giving us a fresh start every moment!  [In camp archery terms, whenever we "miss the mark" (sin), God hands us another arrow.]
 
Section 1:  Purification of Conscience -- It takes active practice!
Hebrew law provided for an annual Day of Atonement for the purpose of having people remember their sins and be purified. Fasting by the people and the offering of burnt sacrifices in the Most Holy Place by the priests were essential aspects of cleansing the people and the tabernacle (B-1).  Christ Jesus took the idea of atonement to a higher level. Instead of a religious ceremony whereby people were reminded of their sins every year and the use of animal blood to purify the flesh, Jesus offered his own blood and sacrificed his human life to "purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God" and to obtain eternal redemption for mankind (B-2 & B-3 English Standard Version).  Jesus didn't present a dead ceremony, but a call to action. We must follow his example (B-4).  Mrs. Eddy wrote, "Self-sacrifice is the highway to heaven" (No & Yes 33:13).  The demand to escape from sin is central to the Bible's message (S-2).   No one can do that for us, but Jesus showed us how. The only way to take advantage of the sacrifice Jesus made is to imitate his life -- to realize that our life must reflect the divine Life (S-3).  So, repeating right words, or going through the outward steps of doing the right things isn't enough.  We have to practice listening for and doing God's will - just like Jesus did (S-5).  Grace and Truth will free us from sin.  Nothing else can! (S-1)
 
Section 2:  Resist the devil -- make room for the angels -- permanently banish sin!
Jesus didn't just tell us what to do. He led by example. God expressed great pleasure with His Son (the divine idea) (B-6).  And, then, Jesus was called on to defend his identity. He was hugely tempted -- and right at a time when he was totally "prayed up." He had fasted from the world, communing with His Father. But, being human, he still had to deal with human tendencies like hunger, the urge to push the limits just for the sake of pushing, and the downward attraction of personal pride and mis-directed ambition. We're all faced with such things. Thinking that money or friends is what we need to be satisfied, doing something that you know isn't really safe just for the thrill, or doing whatever it takes to beat a rival -- even if it's not really honest. The devil might also come in the guise of disease or depression -- but it's still just the devil.  Jesus showed by example that we don't have to go through life being plagued like this. He recognized the suggestions as temptations -- knew that it was just the devil -- a lie -- talking, and he permanently banished the liar from consciousness, making room for angels (God's thoughts) to be entertained (B-7).  We can do the same. Jesus made atonement much more than something done on occasion. Jesus LIVED his oneness with God. I wonder if that LIVING our oneness is what Mrs. Eddy intended when she said, "Atonement is the exemplification of man's unity with God,..." Jesus showed us how to live in accord with this oneness, but it is our responsibility to imitate this life example (S-7).  WE need to stand porter and resist error of every name and nature -- as Jesus did (S-8 & S-9).  We can't pick and choose which errors are acceptable and which aren't.  Get into the habit of putting your thoughts through a little test: Is it selfish or selfless? Will this idea lead to lasting good and enduring happiness -- or simply satisfy some human craving? Does it promote growth?  How does what I'm about to do glorify that divine Principle (the sustaining infinite) we call God?  How would Jesus respond?
Does this seem like too much to ask? Just remember... there is ONE Mind. Claiming that Mind as the only Mind -- infinite Mind -- whatever doesn't have its source in this Mind of infinite good will fall away when called out as nothing (S-12). 
 
Section 3:  One with God but not God -- Give God the Glory!
Jesus never took credit for doing anything himself (B-10).  It was all God!  The people who heard him teach were impressed! How did he know what he knew -- without formal training? (B-9)  He spoke with such authority! (B-11)  Was this the promised Savior, they wondered? Jesus didn't defend his position with words -- he pointed to his healing works, and gave God all the credit (B-12).  What a huge lesson for us. No matter what you're involved in -- a writing project, a leadership role, a sports challenge, a protracted healing -- recognize that it's God that is the doer. You are the doing -- you simply respond!  Recognize your role as cherished servant -- ever obedient to God -- and you can expect to experience a similar kind of quiet authority (B-13).  No need to feel insecure -- or proud -- about whatever comes your way. You simply proceed with confidence, understanding your position as [a humble, stress-free] reflection -- the expression, but not the source (S-13).  Jesus was human -- like you and me. But he was unique because he so completely understood his relationship to God.  He understood that his Christ-nature (the light of God) couldn't be separated from God any more than a ray of light could be separated from the sun, or a drop of water be separated from the ocean.  Although he knew he was one with God -- embodying the fullness of God -- he humbly remained the SON of God, never thinking he was God Himself (S-15 & S-16).  We have to be careful that we don't ever fall into the trap that we are the doer -- that we are the one responsible for a healing or for the outcome of anything. We have one responsibility -- to keep our role straight.  Recognize the Christ as your identity.  Cherish your oneness with God. [It has been said that "one with God is a not just a majority but a monopoly!"]  Proceed to do all good with the authority of God.  And, celebrate God being God!
 
Section 4:  The perfect model includes freedom from sin and sickness.
Think about how Jesus' view of the man suffering from paralysis differed from the view held by the scribes. Which view are we more inclined to hold? Jesus' mission was to save those who were lost -- apparently separated from God (B-14).  His model was man created and maintained as God's image -- perfect God and perfect man (S-17).  So, his first response to seeing someone suffering was to perceive man's innocence -- absolve the individual from all sin -- reject the suggestion of separation from God.  [The friends of palsied man refused to allow him to be separated from the presence of the Christ and showed great public persistence to get him as physically close as possible to Jesus by tearing off the roof and lowering him into his presence. Oh, to have such friends! -- And to be such a friend!]  But, [after all that]  Jesus' forgiving of sin didn't fit with the scribes' model.  They challenged Jesus -- asserting that only God could forgive sin. Fine... he would demonstrate man's innocence by healing the outward manifestation of separation -- paralysis (B-15).  The "Son of man" -- Jesus -- could forgive sin and heal sickness because he approached all things as the Son of God -- as Christ -- "the real man... linked by Science to his Maker" (S-18).  Although it wasn't known as such at that time, Jesus was demonstrating Christian Science healing (S-19).  When a physical scientist solves a problem, he or she quickly identifies what needs to be done, then looks away from the problem and draws on the principles governing the situation.  Doing this produces confidence in a solution, because based on a set of laws. As Christian Scientists, we draw on the same set of laws -- the same Principle -- that Jesus relied on. And we can speak with the same level of authority. God and man are linked -- no separation. God is perfect, so man is perfect.  Imperfection -- whether calling itself sin, sickness, or both -- must yield up all sense of life because it has no Principle to support it. Viewing every situation from the perspective of Christ, we reject what doesn't fit the model of perfect God/perfect man. God, Mind, produces its own "models of excellence" (S-21)!!  Claiming the Mind of Christ as your Mind, you can't see anything else -- in yourself or others.      
 
Section 5:  The true atonement -- active love!
While the Hebrews offered the blood of an unblemished animal as atonement for their sins, Jesus allowed his own blood to be shed -- sacrificed himself -- in order to show us the true meaning of atonement, demonstrating man's permanent at-one-ment with God.  What love!  But, certainly there's more to Jesus' offering than his crucifixion. Mrs. Eddy writes, "The spilling of human blood was inadequate to represent the blood of Christ, the outpouring love that sustains man's at-one-ment with God" (No & Yes 33:17).  Jesus compared himself to a shepherd -- knowing and being known of his sheep (B-18).  A good shepherd will do anything for his sheep -- including sacrificing his own life for their sakes.  (See Zech. 13:7-9.)  What is our responsibility in all of this?  To know our shepherd -- as innocent, trusting, and obedient sheep know and follow their shepherd.  Jesus was forever encouraging his students to follow his example. Preceding Jesus' statement (B-19): "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends"-- is this verse: "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you" (John 15:12 NRSV).  So, shouldn't we also be laying down our lives -- giving up even the most cherished aspects of mortal life, forsaking all sense of personality, and bearing witness to the risen Christ in each other and in ourselves? Having our part in the atonement requires that we too "rise into newness of life with regeneration" (S-23). To learn more about what this regeneration involves, check out what Mrs. Eddy has to say in Miscellaneous Writings p.73:26-31.  As the divine law appears to spiritual understanding, we see more clearly our oneness with God and we are repeatedly new-born!  It is a moment-by-moment adventure measured by the extent to which "Truth is overcoming error in your daily walk and conversation" (S-25).  Atonement is not a passive or vicarious experience. It demands our active involvement. Half of the six tenets of Christian Science deal with Jesus' atonement.  Tenet #4 acknowledges the saving power of Love and Jesus' demonstration of this love.  Tenet #5 acknowledges the effect of the crucifixion and resurrection to be an uplifting of faith.  Tenet #6 demands that we commit to having the Mind of Christ Jesus and to love as he loved (S-24).  Can we do less?
 
 

 [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; 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: Watch soon for Possible Sunday School Topics by Merrill]

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