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Claim indestructibility for one and all!

Dan Carnesciali C.S., St. Louis, MO
Posted Monday, June 7th, 2010

[Claim the right of indestructibility for yourself and "all of God's creatures!" S&H 514:28]
CedarS Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson:
"God the Preserver of Man" for June 13, 2010
by Dan Carnesciali, CS, of St. Louis, MO
[with italicized brackets 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 thanks to Pascal, in Spanish thanks to Ana or in German thanks to Helga. YOU CAN SIGN UP at www.cedarscamps.org/newsletters]

This week we are going to learn about God as our Protector and our Deliverer. Last week we heard that God is the only cause and effect. If God is the only cause and effect, then nothing else can be, right?  That means the following are neither a cause nor effect: falling off a bicycle, being stung by a bee, someone hating you. Rejoice, your Father in heaven is rejoicing over you. He is keeping you from harm.
 
Golden Text:
"You are my hiding place. You will preserve me from trouble.  You will surround me with songs of deliverance" (Hebrew Names Version).  You are hidden from trouble. And exempt from trouble. You are surrounded with protection. In this space, you feel the Comforter and experience recovery, rejuvenation, deliverance and restoration. Because God is your protector, His protection is available wherever, whenever.
 
Responsive Reading:
Do you think you matter to the Intelligence that made the universe? That's what the author of this psalm is asking. Why does God care about you?
 
God has crowned you with spiritual strength. "Crowned" can mean surrounded with protection (Genesius' Lexicon).  What would it take to feel confident of protection in all situations? [Whatever it takes is what we will be trying to give each staffer and camper this summer.] Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  In that kingdom, you are free, safe, aware, happy and hopeful. The Bible's message of hope is powerful and transformational. It literally and figuratively opens the eyes of the blind, and eliminates paralysis. God opens your eyes to your true nature.
 
Did you notice that God takes care of the oppressed, the hungry, the prisoners, and the strangers? Several places in the Old Testament, God attends to the needs of the poor, the fatherless, the widow and the downtrodden. The reason is, our God cares. God, thank you for hearing our prayers and giving us salvation (wholeness and healing).
 
"I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord." The question is, if God has saved us, what has he saved us for?  What are we supposed to be doing? What is our calling?
 
Section 1 - You Are Unique
Love says, "Fear not! I AM with you."  She also values your uniqueness (B-1).  Who is more valuable to God than you? No one. (There is a joke in our household: "There is no one like you. You are entirely unique. Just like everyone else!") In God's eyes you are loved, lovable, loving, needed and wanted.  In your sight, are you just as valuable as you are to God?
 
The God who made everything including all the stars, the oceans, all of creation, preserves them all. This is the day to know that God preserves his creation, including you, from harm (B-2).
 
"The glory of the Lord shall endure forever" (B-3).   "The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord" (Ps. 33:5).  God's goodness is going on continuously. We must put down fear, for fear is the enemy of progress. But fear is not yours, for God is not the author of fear!  God is the author of perfection. God is rejoicing over you. As Her reflection, you are full of joy. You are conscious of what is really going on. The world needs you. Can you spare 5 minutes each day to bless the people and wildlife along the Gulf of Mexico? [How about joining in a prayerful affirmation of the resiliency of spiritual ideas that proves: "All of God's creatures, moving in the harmony of Science, are harmless, useful, indestructible" (S&H 514:28).]
 
Section 2 - Prayer Circle
When I was a boy, I loved to climb trees. I climbed high up my neighbor's tall trees. They were rightly concerned for my safety and asked me to stop climbing their trees. Instead, I decided to climb a tall but slender Japanese Maple tree in my yard. I could sense that the tree's thin branches wouldn't support me, but I climbed it anyway. The higher I got, the thinner the branches got. When I got pretty high, a branch I was standing on snapped and down I went. I was dazed, but not seriously injured. I learned a lesson about trust that day. It makes no sense to lean upon something that is weak. (It also makes no sense to proceed when you know the outcome is going to be bad.) But, we can trust that which is sturdy and that which we know to be solid. "Trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) in the Lord and do good; so shall you dwell in the land and feed surely on His faithfulness, and truly you shall be fed" (B-4 Amplified Bible).
 
"God's angel sets up a circle of protection around us while we pray" (B-6 The Message).  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that on May 13, 2010, 13-year old Austin Redd collapsed during gym class at his public middle school. His heart had stopped beating and he was in need of urgent care. "Realizing now how serious Austin's condition was, his classmates formed a circle around him, kneeled and began to pray." Then, he received medical attention. A few weeks later Austin said, "I just want to thank all my friends and the teachers and the nurses and the hospital and the doctors."  "Thanks for praying for me and for saving my life" (http://tinyurl.com/2e9xenq).
 
"Step by step will those who trust Him find that ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble' "(S-11).  The word translated as "present" means "found" (Genesius' Lexicon).  There is no emergency beyond God's power. And the times where you don't feel you can do it yourself, others can pray for you and help you get the help you need. [When a belief of an emergency presents itself, we can claim our right to "emerge and see!"]
 
Section 3 - Under Love's Protective Wing
Mother birds protect their young by stretching out their wings and covering them. When a storm comes, the baby birds are protected, warm, dry and safe. "The people of Benjamin are loved by the LORD and live in safety beside him. He surrounds them continuously and preserves them from every harm" (B-7 New Living Translation).
 
Safety. How can you realize it when you feel unsettled? I love Jesus' command, "Peace, be still!"  [or "P.B.S."  Watch later this week for a P.B.S. Bible theme card to be posted on CedarS blog, www.blog.cedarscamps.org]  Jesus said the kingdom of heaven is within you. Then, the authority and peace, the Christ-presence you are seeking and need is already there within you! When you unite with Love, you eliminate fear. (When Love is present, it removes fear.) When you eliminate fear, you eliminate the source of the problem.  Don't be a struggling mortal. This is the long road to healing. Consistently start from the basis that you are God's perfect creation, and that the real you never experienced something unlike God's spiritual perfection. See S&H 200:16.
 
One day, Jesus spoke of himself as a rejected prophet in a synagogue.  To make the point, he talked about how the great prophet Elias, which is the Hellenized form of Elijah, was sent to foreigners instead of to the children of Israel. During a drought Elias was sent to a widow in Sidon, which is now in Lebanon, and he was sent to Naaman the Syrian. When the people in the synagogue heard these things they became really offended. Hatred took over and they grabbed Jesus and took him to the edge of a hill to throw him off a cliff (B-8).
 
What do you imagine Jesus was thinking when the crowd dragged him away? This was not a time for airy fairy prayers. I believe his prayers were deep declarations of God's protection for both himself and for the crowd. Can you imagine the look on faces of the people in the crowd when Jesus escaped by walking right through the middle of the crowd?  His protection was also theirs because they were protected from murdering one of God's prophets. On that day, Jesus proved that hostility is not a cause nor an effect. He proved it, and we get to demonstrate it.
 
[Harry Potter fans can appreciate the superiority of being "hid with Christ in God" in this example as an immediately-available "invisibility cloak" (Col. 3:3 & Christian Science Hymnal 370). Hear anew the protective power of not being properly seen or recognized: "Consider the incredible love that the Father has shown us in allowing us to be called 'children of God'--and that is not just what we are called, but what we are. This explains why the world will no more recognize us than it recognized Christ" (1 John 3:1, J.B. Phillips New Testament).]
 
Section 4 - God the Great Provider
"To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, to-day is big with blessings" (S-22). Learn to lean on that infinite Sustainer. [This is the metaphysical goal and theme citation for CedarS this summer which is training a staff of over 100 this week to be ready for our 49th Opening Day this Sunday, June 13th. Your prayers and support of all kinds are needed and welcome.]
 
Learn to thank God more quickly, praise God more often.  "I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth" (Ps. 34:1).  This week a friend said, "I'm glad my riches are not earthly!" What a thought-provoking statement that was to me. If your riches are not earthly, can they dwindle away? Can they be stolen? No way! (B-9) God's thoughts are always available. This week I gave myself a treatment using one word sentences, or imperatives. It went something like this: (Be) Still! Yield. Lean. Refuse. Acknowledge. Relinquish. Refuse. Affirm. Rejoice. Praise.
 
According to the account in Luke, one day Simon Peter was discouraged. He had spent all night fishing, hoping for a catch that would help him make a living. (Because of Roman occupation it was really, really hard to make a living. The Romans took a portion of your earnings as taxes. Roman soldiers made sure people paid their taxes.)  Jesus stepped into Simon's boat and told him to take his boat out into the deep and let his nets down. Being a fisherman, Simon probably told Jesus you can't fish in the middle of the day - the fish hide. However, where conventional thinking saw limits and so-called hard evidence of lack, what did Jesus see? Looking with God's eyes he saw an entirely different picture (B-11).
Imagine strapping on night-vision goggles at night. All of a sudden things which were invisible become visible, including more stars in the night sky than you could count. When you cling to what your eyes see, life can seem sad.   Gratitude really helps you see what God is seeing.  For some ideas of how to see things like Jesus did, you might enjoy a short cartoon on tmcyouth.com about "spiritual reality goggles" (http://tmcyouth.com/media/library/spiritual-reality-goggles).  Our Sunday School students really liked it and shared it with the whole church one Sunday.
 
Section 5 - Shoulder Your Cross
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us' (B-12 English Standard Version or ESV). ‘I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart' (B-13 ESV). "Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow me' " (B-14 NLT).  To shoulder your cross means to rebel against physicality, and challenge apathy. Mary Baker Eddy said, "You will find the cross is light-and sometimes heavy, both conditions are the weight we, not God, give it" (Mary Baker Eddy Library, L04927). She also said, "Go and sell ALL YOU HAVE, then come and follow me. In other words, give up your baggage-then through the vale of humility walk with me up the Mountain-the Hill of Christian Science" (L08390).
 
 "Remember that the first and last lesson of Christian Science is love, perfect love, and love made perfect through the cross" (Mis. 138:14).  As you can see, the cross is not synonymous with trial or suffering. It is about spiritual growth. It is about setting aside ego, selfishness and resistance for the spiritual growth God wants us to have.  Shouldering your cross brings spiritual growth, and the result is healing.
 
[Thanks for prayerfully supporting the work of all the Christian Science camps in the coming weeks as we boldly and prayerfully stretch our campers and staff to go beyond their comfort zones into their spiritual growth zones.]

Section 6 - Well Preserved!
"The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing" (B-16).
 
In Acts of the Apostles, the priests were indignant (incensed, furious) that the followers of Jesus were healing so many people. They rounded up the apostles and put them in prison. This was really, really bad.  Imprisonment usually meant beatings, too. But an angel freed them from prison and commanded them, "Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life" (B-17 New King James Version). The apostles were obedient and preached the words of Jesus day and night.  This took a lot of boldness. In fact, when the apostles were put in prison in Acts 4 for preaching the gospel of Jesus, did they pray for safety, or to be released from prison? No, they prayed for boldness to speak Jesus' message even more courageously (Acts 4:29-31).
 
"God guards you from every evil, he guards your very life.  He guards you when you leave and when you return, he guards you now, he guards you always" (Ps 121:7,8 The Message - B-18).  We are well preserved. "No power can withstand divine Love" (S-28). 
 
Remember, this is not a democracy. Error does not get a vote!

[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; to provide camperships for ongoing inspirational opportunities; and to complete Stages 1 & 2 of Bible Lands Park (BLP)
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 efforts and money where our mission is--by raising--and spending--significant dollars to underwrite camperships for the hundreds of campers now applying for aid.
 
CedarS 1st Session, June 13-26 still has bunks left, as do several later sessions and programs. Please help us tell any and all Christian Science Sunday School students who you know that there will be plenty of funds available to help them to have their own CedarS Camps spiritual-growth-experience this summer!  

And then, make a charitable donation to our 501C-3 tax-exempt, charitable organization:
1)  Thank you for writing us a check payable to CedarS Camps and mailing it to: CedarS Camps, 19772 Sugar Drive, Lebanon, MO 65536;
or
2)  Thank you for calling 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-Lean on the sustaining, preserving infinite!]
Possible Sunday School Topics for the Christian Science Bible Lesson:
"God the Preserver of Man" for June 13, 2010
By Amy Robbins, St. Louis, MO
 
PSST for Golden Text and Responsive Reading
Think about the idea of a hiding place.  Why would you need or want one?  How is God your hiding place?  What might you hide from?  Are we ever running from something?  How does God preserve us from trouble?  What is the definition of preserve?  What does it mean to preserve something or be preserved?  Think about the things you see in life that refer to preserve or preservation (i.e., life preserver, fruit preserves).  What are songs of deliverance?  What do they sound like?  How are they different from other songs in the Bible or in your life?
 
List the blessings and gifts that you have from God.  What blessings are described in the RR?  What other blessings have you experienced?  What good have you witnessed this week, month, day, moment?
 
PSST for Section 1
Citation B1 describes promises from God.  Why are these important?  How does it feel to be loved and cherished by God?  What are some of the ways that God shows us that he is keeping us safe at all times?  What are some of the examples from the Bible?
 
How have you seen God "form and preserve the individuality and identity of animals as well as of men" (S3)?  Think about any times that you've prayed for your pet (or any other animal) and witnessed a healing.   Look at citation S5.  Why is it significant that the "relations of God and man" are indestructible?  Can we ever be separated from God?  Why would Mrs. Eddy say that there is "no lapse from nor return to harmony"?  Can you return to something you never left?  Are you ever separated from harmony?  What comfort comes from this idea?
 
PSST for Section 2
How did God preserve Elijah?  Think about the context of this story.  What had just happened, in other words, what did Ahab tell Jezebel that Elijah had done (think prophets of Baal)?  That had been a major highpoint in Elijah's experience, and he's suddenly asking God to take his life away.  Do we ever feel like Elijah did?  How does God sustain us when we feel lost, desperate, hopeless, etc?  Give an example. Remember also what happens after this story.  Think about what happens on Mount Horeb (earthquake, wind, fire, still small voice) and when Elijah comes down from the mount (who he meets).  Such a low point is followed by great support and love from God.  Look at citation B6.  What does the last statement mean to you-"none of them that trust in him shall be desolate."  What is significant about that statement?
 
When thinking about citations S6 and S7, consider when your path is dark, or the direction you should head is not very clear.  What comfort is there for you?  Are we ever alone?  What guides us when we have a difficult journey?  In Section 1, we looked at the statement about "no lapse from nor return to harmony" (S5).  But in S10, Mrs. Eddy writes, "It is our ignorance of God, the divine Principle, which produces apparent discord, and the right understanding of Him restores harmony." Is there actual discord going on?  Are we returning to, or restoring harmony in our experience?  What is restoration?  Why is it important?  How have you found God to be your refuge and strength?
 
PSST for Section 3
What does the phrase "dwell between his shoulders" (B7) mean to you?  In the New English Bible, the entire citation is translated as "The Lord's beloved dwells in security, the High God shields him all the day long, and he dwells under His protection."  What does that mean to you?  What is comforting about that idea?  In B8, Jesus pushed the people to think a little "out of the box".  What was the reaction? What happened to Jesus?  Do you think he was scared?  Would you be scared in that situation?  Why might you not be afraid of a crowd intending to throw you over a cliff?  What did Jesus (and what do you) have to support and protect you at all times?
 
What is the difference between animal and moral courage (S14)?  Can you give an example of each?  How can you be morally courageous?  How are you "clad in the panoply of Love" (S17)?  Define panoply.  Draw a picture of your armor or protection.  What qualities are represented in your armor?
 
PSST for Section 4
What happened in the story in citation B11?  Put yourself in Peter's shoes.  How could he have just benefitted from all the fish?  What did he do instead?  How did he show his receptive thought?  Peter was the fisherman, but he followed Jesus' direction.  Do we ever have to humble ourselves to listen to someone when we're the expert?  What gave Peter that humility?  How can we be more like that?
 
How do we "forsake the foundation of material systems" (S19)?  What are you giving up in order to follow God more closely?  Notice in citation S20 that Mrs. Eddy states that divine Love meets every human need, not every want.  What do you need in your life?  How is what you need different from what you want?  Do we ever ask for something we want, instead of what we need?  How do we make sure we are only seeking what we need?  Name some of the blessings you witness when "leaning on the sustaining infinite" (S22). [Yesterday Christian Science Youth lecturer Chet Manchester compared this opening line of the Preface to Science and Health ("to those leaning . . ." which is CedarS 2010 theme) to the first Beatitude. "The poor in spirit" (those who "know their need for God") really lean on God for everything and in return receive big blessings. Chet's lecture, "Hiking the Sermon of the Mount," featured a mile-long trek across creeks to 6 sites and biblical snacks where CedarS 120 staff members had opportunities to "watch, and pray for that Mind be in us which was also in Christ Jesus." (S&H 497)]
 
PSST for Section 5
What does the statement, "thy law is within my heart" (B13) mean to you?  The Message paraphrases the statement as "became part of my very being".  How does the idea of God's law as a part of your very being connect with you?  How do you deny yourself (B14)?  What does that look like?  Jesus gave his disciples power and authority over every challenge (B15).  How can you claim the same power and authority?  What are some ways that you speak and act with authority?
 
How are you following what Mrs. Eddy directs in S24?  How are you demonstrating the Christ as your only healing and saving power?  Give an example.  Define perpetual (S26).  What does it mean for Jesus' promise to be perpetual?  How have you seen the healing elements "glow in the grandeur of universal goodness"?
 
PSST for Section 6
What does it mean to say "joy over thee with singing" (B16)?  What does that joy look like?  The early Christians were so willing and bold to go out and preach, no matter what happened to them.  What kind of courage and strength did that take?  They were thrown in prison, and then were set free by an angel, and went right back to teaching in the temple.  Are you willing to do that as well?  What allows you to continue sharing God's goodness, no matter what the response?  Is there anything besides going out, coming in, and forever (B18)?  How can you go forward with confidence, knowing God is constantly protecting you when you know that God preserves you at all times?
 
What stands out to you in S28?  When "no power can withstand divine Love", what can you trust to heal at all times?  Hint, no power means no power. No exceptions! How have you witnessed Love as the liberator (S29)?  What is Love liberating you of?  How does Love set you free?  Give examples of how you express infinity, freedom, harmony, and boundless bliss (what Mrs. Eddy describes as God's being).  How have you witnessed these in your experience?

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