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Be Saved from the Slavery of Sin and Dedicate Yourself to God!

Dan Carnesciali C.S., St. Louis, MO
Posted Monday, July 5th, 2010

[Be Saved from the Slavery of Sin and Dedicate Yourself to God!]
CedarS Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson: "Sacrament" for the week of July 5-11, 2010
by Dan Carnesciali, CS of St. Louis, MO
[with italic 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]

We are special to God. He rejoices over us and expects that we will find Him special too and worship Him. What is a sacrament? In most Christian faiths, a sacrament is a rite, which is a formal or ceremonial act. Christian Science doesn't observe rites, but it observes the concepts behind some of the rites celebrated by other Christian denominations. In other churches, they perform baptisms at birth or when you join the church. They celebrate Eucharist or Holy Communion, consuming bread and wine which have been blessed in remembrance of Jesus' death. Mary Baker Eddy says that "Our Eucharist is a spiritual communion with God." (Science and Health, 35:25) Martin Luther defined a sacrament as an act or rite as instituted by God, in which God Himself has joined His Word of promise to the visible element, and by which He offers, gives and seals the forgiveness of sin earned by Christ. (From Luther's Augsberg Confession) I'm not saying Luther's understanding is our understanding, but I thought you might want to know the context.
 
Golden Text:
"... thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." Jesus called this the greatest of all commandments.
 
Responsive Reading:
I knew a Sunday School student who said that Christian Science was too much work, you had to think too much. Well, let's keep it simple. According to the Old Testament prophet Micah, what does God require of us? Be just. Be kind. Be humble.
Section 1 - Baptism
The practice of Baptism existed before John the Baptist as an act to dedicate oneself to the God of Israel.  John the Baptist, or John the Baptizer, immersed people in water as a call for moral reformation in preparation of the coming kingdom of heaven. (The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible) John said that the Messiah would baptize without water.  Being baptized is a symbol of leaving behind a sinful life and making a commitment to give your life to God. (B1)   [At CedarS new Bible Lands Park we have opportunities to let God perform such spiritual, thought-by-thought baptism-with water at our Jordan River and with the Holy Ghost and fire at our Mt. Nebo. "It is man's responsibility to take the mixed-up mess of grain and chaff to the highest place around and lift it high in the air for the wind, Pneuma or Spirit to do its job of separating. In the baptism of Matt. 3:11 the fire just downwind consumes the chaff (sin), so that it doesn't keep circulating." (Cobbey Crisler)]
Baptism was used by Christians in the 1st century as a sign of reformation and to represent that one accepted the gospel message. Before Jesus was crucified, he baptized his disciples' feet in a moving ceremony. (B2) "And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other's feet." (John 13:15, New Living Translation)  Can you imagine having to be willing to let Jesus wash your feet? Paul's view of baptism was that we are sons (and daughters) of God by faith in Christ Jesus. Those who have united with Christ in baptism are made like him, like Christ. (B4)
"The sacrament of baptism proclaims that we are saved by Christ alone and not through our own repentance and faith. It is a participation in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, in which our old selves have been crucified and renounced in Christ and we have been freed from the shackles of the past and given new being through his resurrection. Baptism proclaims the good news that Christ has made us his own, and that it is only in him that our new life of faith and obedience emerges." (www.gci.org/gospel/baptism)
 
Section 2 - Follow Me
Fishing was a common occupation for those who lived near the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias in the book of John. This freshwater lake, located in modern day Israel near the Golan Heights, is Israel's primary source of drinking water. Approximately 8 miles wide and 13 miles long, the lake is fed by the Upper Jordan River and drained by the Lower Jordan. Much of Jesus' ministry occurred on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Along its shore, Jesus met two brothers, one named Simon, who later was called Peter, and the other Andrew. They were fishing by throwing their nets into the lake. Jesus walked up to them and said, "'Come with me. I'll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I'll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass.' They didn't ask questions, but simply dropped their nets and followed." (B6, The Message) Not too far down the beach, he came across another pair of brothers James and John. He made them the same offer while they were in the boat with their father Zebedee. They too didn't ask questions, but dropped their nets and followed him. What courage it took to rise up and follow Jesus.   We know who Jesus was, and we call him Lord, Master, and Savior. But what did they know about him at that point? Not much. What did they see in Jesus that day? Why did they follow him?
We are called moment by moment by Christ to live a Christly life. And, how often we hesitate.  We think to ourselves, there must be someone more qualified, someone more willing, with more understanding than us. When the Bible says deny yourself, it's saying deny the mortal self that you call "me" and embrace who you really are. Doing that is really quite natural, but it can seem like a struggle (or cross). (B7)  God, the I AM, is writing the chapters of your life. He wants you to sit a spell and find out who you really are. In those moments of stillness, you find God. And you find out more of who you are. God says it is time to be willing to leave cherished beliefs and practices and follow Christ. (S7) Saying you are willing to follow Christ is not enough. Jesus said, "If you love me, keep my commandments." (S8) You can do it. You can heal and be healed. (S9) Healing is natural because as Jesus said, "The kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:20) He also said, "You are the light of the world." (Matt 5:14, NKJV)
 
Section 3 - It's high time to come clean.
Typically, sin is defined as smoking, drinking, inappropriate sexual activity. Of course, there's murder, stealing, etc. (B9)  Jesus kicked it up a notch and said that looking at someone with lust is sinful. Bigotry and racism are sinful. Ignoring the needs of the poor is sinful.
Jesus said, "You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment. But, I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment!  If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court.  And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell." (Matt 5:21,22, New Living Translation)
Mrs. Eddy said, "Healing physical sickness is the smallest part of Christian Science. It is only the bugle-call to thought and action, in the higher range of infinite goodness. The emphatic purpose of Christian Science is the healing of sin;"  (Rudimental Divine Science, 2:23-27) Why is it that we don't talk more openly about healing sin? Most of the time the response I hear is that people are afraid of being judged.
Mrs. Eddy said, "We should examine ourselves and learn what is the affection and purpose of the heart, for in this way only can we learn what we honestly are." (S13) Sin is not cancelled when you confess what you've done, even if to God. Sin needs to be brought to the surface so it can be destroyed. The human mind wants to hide it and excuse it. Pray that it comes to the surface and removed. The Psalmist pleaded, "Cleans me from secret faults." When healing sin, don't hold anything back. Pray to be made entirely new. (B11) 
Sin is truly healed when you abandon it entirely. To abandon it, spiritual growth is needed, so keep lifting up Christ in your heart. Keep talking with God. Sometime change takes time, and other times it doesn't. Change can come rapidly. Dishonesty will slow you down. It's time to come clean.
 
Section 4 - Heal Naturally from the inside out
"Are you hurting? Pray. Do you feel great? Sing. Are you sick? Call the church leaders together to pray and anoint you with oil in the name of the Master. Believing-prayer will heal you, and Jesus will put you on your feet. And if you've sinned, you'll be forgiven-healed inside and out. Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with." (B12, The Message) If you are praying and not getting better, help is available.  God will direct you to the right person so you can get the help you need.
When was the last time you heard of someone being anointed?  Anointing means declaring that something is special to God by smearing oil on it. Mrs. Eddy's definition of oil is, "Consecration; charity, gentleness, prayer, heavenly inspiration." Consecration means to devote or dedicate something to a special (holy) purpose. (Random House) 
We can mentally anoint those we meet with charity and gentleness.  Giving Christian Science treatment without a request is not OK, but it is certainly OK to pray for others when you are praying to change your own thought, not theirs. Have you thought of creating a prayer list? It could be used to pray for a friend or about something that you were praying about, but kind of gave up on.
Pray to bless others and for their safety from evil. You may be wondering what it means to bless others. It means to see God love and care resting on them and to wish them peace, prosperity and wholeness. A great resource on learning about blessing is the book The Gentle Art of Blessing, by a Christian Scientist named Pierre Pradervand who is from Switzerland. He recommends that you bless others in what they, to your sense, seem to lack. Let's take British Petroleum, for example. They cut corners and caused an economic and ecological disaster from which it may take a generation to recover from. To bless them, bless the executives and employees of that company in their desire to do right, in their love of good, their attention to detail, in their love of their fellow man and God's creation. (If you just tried that, doesn't it feel Godly to bless others like this? The alternative is to hate them in varying degrees. How is hatred going to help anyone?) The prayer of blessing feel doesn't feel complete to me unless you follow it up by praying for the person or organization's protection from evil or cursing. Cursing, the opposite of blessing, is the wish that harm, trouble, bad luck, doom would come to someone else. (Is Cedars on your prayer list?)
Jesus said, "Don't begin by traveling to some far-off place to convert unbelievers. And don't try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy. Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously." (B13, The Message) Our Master Jesus told us to pray without taking a break. If you make a prayer list and keep that list with you, you can bless others and pray for them when you have a free moment.
The Christian Science Church is established on a spiritual foundation of Christ-healing. What we don't want to do is focus on physical change, but rather pray for a change in thought. It's been said before that when spiritual growth is happening, it's like a boat plowing through the water, creating a wake.   Think of the wake behind the boat as healing. But, don't focus on the wake. Focus on getting the boat, your thought, moving. (S17)
Section 5 - Fresh Bread
When you see italicized words in the KJV ("day" and "feast of"), the translators were indicating that they added words either to clarify the English, or because they thought it necessary to aid the overall meaning. In the Jewish calendar, the Feast of Unleavened Bread starts the day after Passover. (The chronology is correct in John.), (Interpreter's One-volume Guide to the Bible, blueletterbible.com) For a good explanation of the chronology in Matt 26:17, refer to http://www.thercg.org/questions/p210.a.html.) 
            The fifteenth of the month Nisan marks the beginning of a seven-day feast period when Israel was to eat bread without leaven (sin) in remembrance of 
their baking unleavened bread in their hast to escape Egypt.  The 
primary theme of this Feast is the purging out of leaven (sin). On the 15th day of Nisan, the day following Passover, Jews were forbidden to have leaven in the house.   "Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel." (Exodus 12:15, KJV) Leaven, which is a metaphor for error or sin, was to be cleared out of the house, or consciousness. Jesus blessed the bread and broke it (think of Matzo bread, which is like a big cracker) and told his disciples to eat the bread, which was his body. (B16)
Jesus said, "I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." (John 6:51, KJV) Paul said in I Corinthians 10:16, "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?" The bread and the wine are a covenant meal to commemorate Jesus' sacrifice.  Mrs. Eddy asks if we are willing to take up his cross and be willing to cast out all the leaven (error) in our lives. (S21)  "Christians, are you drinking his cup? Have you shared the blood of the New Covenant, the persecutions which attend a new and higher understanding of God?" The New Covenant she referred to may have been reference to where Jesus said, "This wine is the token of God's new covenant to save you--an agreement sealed with the blood I will pour out for you."  (Luke 22:20, New Living Translation) Toss error out and make your relationship with God (your spiritual body) "holy acceptable unto God." (S22)
Section 6 - Jesus Blesses You
The Jewish authorities conspired against Jesus and convinced the Romans to murder Jesus, a fellow Jew.  (B17)  Why were they so driven to eliminate Jesus? Jesus' healings and declarations of Truth were a threat to the established political and religious systems of the time. Why are people offended when other people see God differently? (Being judgmental is cursing.) Mortal mind is always trying to get rid of that troublesome Truth. The problem is the belief of life in matter, not the person. Christ, the impersonal truth of God, is always safe. Jesus proved this to be true.
Mary Magdalene and "the other Mary" came to Jesus' tomb to keep vigil, which means they wanted to be there to be certain nothing weird happened with Jesus' body. The earth rocked under their feet and an angel said to them, "There is nothing to fear here. I know you're looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. He is not here. He was raised, just as he said." (B18, The Message) Angel messengers often tell us not to fear. Or, they tell us how to avoid something or someone so we can be safe. Later, when Jesus appeared in the flesh to his disciples, he said "Peace be unto you." This is a traditional greeting, even today in the MidEast. On the other, Jesus, recognizing that his appearance in the flesh after death was scaring his disciples, comforted them. The peace he offered was spiritual peace, which brings safety and security. (B19) On his last day on earth, Jesus walked with followers to Bethany. His final act was to bless them. (B20)
Jesus' crucifixion was not the end. He came back and taught his followers vital lessons. In humility, we "bow before Christ" and silently commune with divine Principle, Love. Like the disciples, we must grasp the lesson of the cross that life is not in matter or of matter. We unite with this church only as we are baptized (purified) from all error. We must be new born in Spirit. (S25) Overcoming sin reveals our God-given dominion. (S27)


PSST--Better late than never?  Not seen in our transition from 2nd to 3rd session.
Possible Sunday School Topics (PSST) for Christian Science Bible Lesson on Sacrament for July 5-11, 2010 by Amy Robbins, St. Louis, MO
 
PSST for Golden Text and Responsive Reading
How are you loving God with all your heart, soul and might, as the Golden Text directs? What does that look like? What does it feel like? How do you know that you are loving God? Give an example from your life. What expectations does God have of us, based on the Responsive Reading? What are some of the things that Paul describes Jesus as doing that blessed the world? Remember these as you study Sacrament.
 
PSST for Section 1
Think about baptism in this section. How are we baptized? Focus on S5 and the spiritual definition of baptism. How are you being purified and submerged in Spirit? Look at B2 and Jesus' baptism by John the Baptist. Notice how God said, "this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." This happened before Jesus healed anyone at all. This was the beginning of his ministry and God already acknowledged he was pleased with Jesus. Why do you think this matters? Is God always pleased with all of His children? (Hint: YES!) Also, we find the phrase, "Suffer it to be so now" twice in this section, in B2 and S2. What does that mean to you?
 
PSST for Section 2
What are fishers of men? Are you willing to leave everything behind to serve God? What do you (have you) give up in order to follow God more closely? What kind of faith and courage was needed to leave everything (job, family, home) and follow Jesus? Look at S7. How are you setting "aside even the most cherished beliefs and practices, to leave all for Christ"? What does that look like? Mrs. Eddy talks about the "duty and privilege" (S9) of children, men, and women is to follow Jesus' example. How are duty and privilege similar? How are they different? Which do you see following Jesus' example as being?
 
PSST for Section 3
How does God cleanse our sins? How does He forgive us? What do we need to do first? See B9 for an answer. If we don't acknowledge a mistake or sin, how can we correct it? What does Mrs. Eddy expect of us when addressing sin? Notice some of the citations about prayer and sin. Look at S14. What is unceasing prayer? If we are constantly working to do good (and we are), does that mean we are always praying? How have you been praying without ceasing?
 
PSST for Section 4
What is our duty to our fellow man, especially when someone is not well? Notice the directive by Jesus in B14, found on the front of Science and Health. How are you healing the sick, raising the dead, casting out demons, and cleansing the lepers? The Bible talks about anointing with oil. Look at the definition of oil (B16). How are you anointing those around you with consecration, charity, gentleness, prayer, and heavenly inspiration? How can this definition of oil change our thought about the oil spill in the gulf?
 
PSST for Section 5
What is important about eating the bread and drinking the wine? Look at S20 for Mrs. Eddy's spiritual sense of the communion. This is the sacrament that is taken in most Christian churches. Why don't we eat bread and drink wine to take our sacrament? How do we take our sacrament?
 
PSST for Section 6
What are some of the major differences and changes between the crucifixion and the ascension? What changed in the thought of the disciples? After the crucifixion, the disciples were so afraid, they went into hiding, and then returned to their previous professions (fishing for Peter and his friends). Why do you think they didn't immediately go out and preach what Jesus had taught them? What was missing? What changed for them to be ready to see Jesus again? Look at B20-"cast the net on the right side of the ship." Then, after Jesus ascended, what did they disciples do? Did they go back to fishing again? See B21. Look at S25 to see when Mrs. Eddy says about baptism, church, Eucharist, the cup, and the wine. How are we opening our hearts and praising God continuously?

[CedarS weekly Metaphysical Newsletters are 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, Sunday School teachers 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 hundreds of campers now applying for aid.
 
CedarS 3rd Session, July 11-24 has only a few bunks left,
but our 4 later sessions and programs still have room. Please help us tell any and all Christian Science Sunday School students and families 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! (Adults are especially welcome at our Midwest Bible Conference, Sept. 16-19, 2010!)  
To support CedarS work you can make a charitable donation to our 501C-3 tax-exempt, charitable organization:
1)  Thank you for considering writing a monthly 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 or to authorize an automatic monthly charge using a Visa or Mastercard or to discuss short-term or long-term gifts of securities or property 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

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