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Have courage to act as placed and preserved by God!

AJ Kiser and Amanda Dunlap
Posted Monday, December 5th, 2011

[Have courage to act as placed and preserved by God!]
CedarS Metaphysical Application ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson:
"God the Preserver of Man" for December 5-11, 2011
by AJ Kiser, CS 503-719-2652 and Amanda Dunlap, CS 707-225-2487
contact at: ajkisercs@gmail.com and sporty024@sbcglobal.net  or:
[AJ Kiser, PO Box 4925, Chico, CA 95927 Amanda Dunlap, 1165 Monticello Rd, Napa, CA 94558]
[Both AJ and Amanda graduated this June from Principia College (where they gave very moving Baccalaureate speeches). This summer they both served as role-model counselors in CedarS Jr. Leadership program for high schoolers.  After they helped CedarS host our annual Fall Bible Conference, they returned to California to work as Christian Science practitioners. ]
[Bracketed italics by Warren Huff, CedarS Director and Met, PSST & PYCL Newsletters Editor]
 
[Editor's Note: The following application ideas for this week, and the Possible Sunday School Topics (PSST) that will 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 German thanks to Helga and Manfred or in Spanish thanks to a team of Ana, Erick, Claudia and Patricio. YOU CAN SIGN UP at www.cedarscamps.org/newsletters]
 
preserve (Ps. 40:11) --natsar--to guard, to watch, to watch over, to guard from dangers, to keep
 
Golden Text (GT)
God dually sustains us and lifts our burdens (thoughts which suggest a sense of personal responsibility) when we consciously acknowledge Him as All-in-all,and let Him do the work.  [See Warren's PS-GT and remember: "There's nothing more free of stress and burdens than a reflection!"]

Responsive Reading
·         "Lead me to the rock that is higher than I" (Ps.61:2)-lead me to the rock too high for me, to the rock I can't reach unaided (Coffman Commentary).  We are so grateful that God helps us to overcome even the most impossible-looking obstacles.  Furthermore, we are so grateful that these obstacles often provide us great opportunities to see what God is doing, right here and now!
 
·         This verse can also serve as a prayer--asking God to lead us to new heights of spiritual understanding through Christ (the rock), especially as we acknowledge the presence of the Christ in our lives and world this Christmas season.
 
·         This week's RR also reminds me of a short article by Mary Baker Eddy entitled "Heart to Heart", which first appeared in the Christian Science Journal in 1887. The article talks about the blessings of understanding God's shelter/refuge for us being both like a sturdy rock ("God is the rock of my refuge [shelter from danger]"), and like soft feathers ("I will trust in the covert [shelter, covering] of thy wings").  Written to her students at the time, this article's heartfelt message certainly applies to us, her students of today, as well:
 
HEART TO HEART
"When the heart speaks, however simple the words, its language is always acceptable to those who have hearts.  I just want to say, I thank you, my dear students, who are at work conscientiously and assiduously, for the good you are doing. I am grateful to you for giving to the sick relief from pain; for giving joy to the suffering and hope to the disconsolate; for lifting the fallen and strengthening the weak, and encouraging the heart grown faint with hope deferred. We are made glad by the divine Love which looseth the chains of sickness and sin, opening the prison doors to such as are bound; and we should be more grateful than words can express, even through this white-winged messenger, our Journal.  With all the homage beneath the skies, yet were our burdens heavy but for the Christ-love that makes them light and renders the yoke easy. Having his word, you have little need of words of approval and encouragement from me. Perhaps it is even selfish in me sometimes to relieve my heart of its secrets, because I take so much pleasure in thus doing; but if my motives are sinister, they will harm myself only, and I shall have the unselfish joy of knowing that the wrong motives are not yours, to react on yourselves.  These two words in Scripture suggest the sweetest similes to be found in any language - rock and feathers: "Upon this rock I will build my church;" "He shall cover thee with His feathers." How blessed it is to think of you as "beneath the shadow of a great rock in a weary land," safe in His strength, building on His foundation, and covered from the devourer by divine protection and affection. Always bear in mind that His presence, power, and peace meet all human needs and reflect all bliss" (Mis., 263).
 
Section 1: Discern God's creation
Wow, what a sense of peace and reassurance came over me when reading this section!  It's as if to say "Relax.  Mind has got this.  The material senses never gave you an accurate sense of what is happening in your life.  Don't rely on them or base any decisions, emotions, or feelings on them either.  Trust in the real and eternal, that sense of spiritual calm, and be content with the Scriptural promise that God made you in His own image, spiritual."
 
Being content and full of Love is the natural, or default, state of man.  It is right for all of God's ideas to feel content [or contentment] always.  If we (God's idea) are experiencing the contrary, it is a simple adjustment of thought we need to make to correct the issue.  We turn our gaze to the light, mentally looking where the Truth is.  No matter what the material picture is suggesting, we know where to keep our mental gaze because the Bible and Science and Health teach all people.  The Bible states, "we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal" (II Corinthians 4).  Science and Health states, "We must look deep into realism instead of accepting only the outward sense of things.  Can we gather peaches from a pine-tree, or learn from discord the concord of being?" (129).
 
[There's nothing more burden-free than a reflection!]  We must declare that [the divine reflection status of citation] B1 is the natural state not only of ourselves, but of all mankind, as we continue with the following sections.  This is our necessary starting point for discerning Truth and proving it.  So let's put on the lens of spiritual discernment to see what Christ has to reveal to each of us throughout the rest of this week's lesson!
 
Section 2:
Part 1: Understand the background on the story of Esther
My recommendation is to take the time to read the entire book of Esther this week.  The book is only ten chapters long, and certainly helps one gain a greater understanding of the profound lessons to be learned from this story.
 
First, let's get our characters clear:
 
Ahasuerus, king of Persia, takes Esther for his wife, and doesn't know she is a Jew.  King Ahasuerus is historically identified as Xerxes I, the fourth major king of Persia, who is depicted as an incompetent and fickle monarch.  In the story of Esther it is clear that King Ahasuerus is not an evil man, but he is certainly caught up in the materiality and display of his wealth and power.  Because of this, he is easily persuaded between good and evil and is not alert to the workings of evil. (We can all learn from him.  We must not get caught up in the material, mortal picture, and so lose our ability to spiritually discern the real from the unreal!)
 
Mordecai was a Benjamite (a Jew)--he shows compassion, care and love by raising Esther, his younger cousin, like a daughter, after her parents die.  She becomes a "fair and beautiful" woman.  In the story we see his faithfulness to one God (by his refusal to bow to Haman).  His goodness, courage and integrity prove in the end that good is always enthroned.
 
Esther is credited with saving the Jews, and risks her life to do so.  Her courage, faithfulness to one God (through keeping the Jewish faith), and wisdom demonstrate in this story Principle's ever-present control.
 
Haman is an Agagite, an origin which may have denoted a spiritual descent from an enemy of Israel (New Westminster Dictionary of the Bible).  Hamanrepresents the workings of evil in the story.  From him we learn that the supposed power of evil falls before the omnipotence of Love.  We learn quite literally that sin destroys itself--Haman is hung by his own noose when he attempts to have Mordecai and all Jews killed.
 
The Jamieson, Faucet and Brown Bible commentary sheds light on citation B4:
 
Est. 3:1--The King raised Haman to the rank of prime confidential minister, whose pre-eminence in office and power appeared in the elevated state chair appropriated to that supreme functionary.  Such a distinction in seats was counted of vast importance in the formal court of Persia. [See PS-GT to see how Jesus avoided falling for such "pride of power" that we as Christian Scientists are to "renounce." S&H 451:4]
 
Est. 3:5--The obsequious homage of prostration not entirely foreign to the manners of the East, had not been claimed by former prime ministers; but Haman required that all subordinate officers of the court should bow before him with their faces to the earth.  But to Mordecai, it seemed that such an attitude of profound reverence was due only to God.  Haman being an Amalekite, one of a doomed and accursed race, was, doubtless, another element in the refusal; and on learning that the recusant was a Jew, whose nonconformity was grounded on religious scruples, the magnitude of the affront appeared so much the greater, as the example of Mordecai would be imitated by all his compatriots.  Had the homage been a simple token of civil respect, Mordecai would not have refused it; but the Persian kings demanded a sort of adoration, which, it is well known, even the Greeks reckoned it degradation to express.
 
Part 2 of Section 2: Discern Love's omnipresent control
In citation B5 the psalmist prays: "...preserve me from the violent man; who have purposed to overthrow my goings."  Science shows us that it is impossible for a violent man (Haman in this case) to have purposed anything!  We already learned in section 1 that God alone is Mind, and as He has "purposed, so shall it stand."  Citation B2 in the NIV reads, "It will all happen as I have planned.  It will all come about according to my purposes."  It looks like evil is enthroned at this stage of the story...yet as we continue, we will learn that Love always is, always has been, and always will be enthroned.
 
 LOYAL CHRISTIAN SCIENTISTS
"No evidence before the material senses can close my eyes to the scientific proof that God, good, is supreme.  Though clouds are round about Him, the divine justice and judgment are enthroned.  Love is especially near in times of hate, and never so near as when one can be just amid lawlessness, and render good for evil".  (Mis., 277)
 
To declare this scientific truth (that Love is enthroned) in the face of national or international risk/danger is not to stick one's head in the sand, but to bring forth the demonstration of Love's universal government.  Isaiah 33:22 is also helpful in praying for our government in the midst of turmoil: "For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us." This prayer establishes the omnipotence of God over all 3 branches of government!
 
Section 3: Fast to acknowledge God
A quick note on the connection between unselfishness and the destruction of fear: as Esther began to put her people's well being before her own, she lost her fear of approaching the king (B6).  We may use this scriptural insight in our own metaphysical work, allowing unselfish motives to pave the way for confidence to move in. [For a present day application for us as Christian Scientists see Warren's P.S. -Section 3]
 
Many commentaries note the interesting fact that there is no specific mention of God in the entire story of Esther!  However, in this section we really begin to see the characters' devotion to something higher than themselves, made evident by Esther's request for all the local Jews to fast.  Voluntary fasting was a common practice among the Hebrew people that involved abstaining from things such as food and illicit pleasures to ensure the divine hand at work in human activity (The New Westminster Dictionary of the Bible).  With fasting being a long standing custom of the Hebrews, surely many questions about it were asked of Jesus, whose responses probably tended to undermine the practice as a material form of worship.  A 1922 Christian Science Sentinel article offers some metaphysical insight on "fasting":
 
"While Christ Jesus established no definite season of fasting, certain Christian peoples believe they have found in the gospels a warrant for the continued observance of the custom.  Christian Scientists understand, however, that he regarded fasting as a spiritual rite to be undertaken at all times, rather than as a festival to be periodically observed.... Christian Science, then, places the whole question of fasting on a purely spiritual basis.  By no system of rites or ceremonies of themselves does the individual enter into that communion with the Father which exemplifies perfect unity -man's oneness with the Father. Mrs. Eddy has made perfectly clear how this withdrawal from the senses-the material perceptions which posit life and intelligence in matter and man as a dual being-is effected.  Through the instrumentality of prayer is the true fast observed.  Through the prayer which recognizes Christ as God's divine ideal, there is realized the true relationship of God to man, the divine Principle to its perfect idea, unchanging and unchangeable" (Albert Gilmore, The True Fast).
 
Section 4: Live in line with God, good
The strong and upright character of Mordecai comes shining through in this section.  He is a humble man.  Outside of the lesson citations in this story is the fact that Haman was plotting the death of Mordecai.   He planned to tell the king of his plot the very morning the king orders that Mordecai be rewarded with the greatest honor and dignity! (B10)  It seems ironic, especially because Haman was assigned to carry out the king's order to reward Mordecai, but it actually points to the fact that Principle always protects righteousness.  The "integrity and uprightness" (B11) of Mordecai preserve him -- the good he has done throughout his life--the love and care he showed raising Esther, his commitment to his people (the Jews), and the loyalty he showed to the king when he reported an assassination attempt.
 
We might say that Mordecai knew the power of God, good, and was living true to himself.  Science and Health states, "Know thyself, and God will supply the wisdom and the occasion for a victory over evil" (S16).  As much for Mordecai as for Esther, this was certainly an occasion for a victory over evil!  Living true to our understanding of God and ourselves, we too will be supplied the wisdom and the occasion for a victory over evil. We can't shy away from our opportunities to demonstrate God's omnipotence.  When the rubber meets the road, we have to put into practice what we have learned.  Stick with your spiritual senses! [See P.S. -Section 4 for an application of citation S16 for players and bench-sitters alike.]
 
Section 5: Disarm evil with exactness to execute it
Esther did not jump to conclusions, but took a well-reasoned stand for Principle in accord with the custom of her culture.  Her plan to disarm evil was executed with exactness.  In studying the chapter on Recapitulation recently, I came across this statement our textbook makes concerning individual progress in the demonstration of Christian Science, "Study thoroughly the letter and imbibe the spirit."  I thought to myself, "what is the spirit?" and then a possible answer occurred to me.  The spirit of Christian Science is a "warrior spirit," fighting for the cause of Truth.  We are to take a stand for God and His idea in a world ignorantly in league against the native spirituality of man, and then be prepared to defend our stand!  Talk about consecration, alertness, and duty!  No wonder we have a responsibility to our Leader, Mary Baker Eddy, as outlined in the Manual of the Mother Church, for she is leading God's mental soldiers onward to battle!  Mrs. Eddy called all scientists forth to engage in this most important work in an extemporaneous sermon on July 4th, 1886: [See also P.S.- Section 3]
 
"Never was there a more solemn and imperious call than God makes on us all, right here, for fervent devotion, and an absolute consecration to the greatest and holiest of all causes. The hour is come. The great battle of Armageddon is upon us. The powers of evil are leagued together in secret conspiracy against the Lord and against His Christ, as expressed and oper­ative in Christian Science. Large num­bers, in desperate malice, are engaged day and night in organizing action against us. Their feeling and purpose are deadly, and they have sworn enmity against the lives of our standard-bearers.
 
What will you do about it? Will you be equally in earnest for the Truth? Will you doff your lavender-kid zeal, and become real and consecrated warriors? Will you give yourselves wholly and irrevocably to the great work of establishing the Truth, the Gospel, and the Science which are necessary to the salvation of the world from error, sin, disease, and death? Answer at once and practically, and answer aright!" (Mis. 177)
 
The specific terms or "Rules Of Engagement" [R.O.E.] are important in Christian Science for through them we see the victory already won on the side of Truth and Love. This victory is illustrated in the experience of Esther, in which evil destroys itself (B12 and S21).
 
Section 6: Reduce evil to its common denominator
In the final section we get a look into a New Testament approach to handling evil. Almost all of the citations in this section reference Jesus or Christianity, indicating the importance of the progression of perspective from the Old Testament to the New. Oftentimes the destruction of evil in the Old Testament includes the killing of the evildoers.  Christ Jesus brought a higher sense of Deity to humankind that destroyed the evil suggestions, but claimed the original innocence of every person.  If Jesus taught one God, one Spirit, and man in his image and likeness, he was not seeing evil spirits in the people around him.
 
It may appear sometimes, as in the story of Esther, that evil and good are in a power struggle, both taking turns claiming the throne.  Yet Christ and Christian Science enlighten this understanding, to show us that there is no lapse from nor return to harmony.  Science "holds the divine order or spiritual law, unchanged" (S29).  How grateful we are for Truth being revealed to the entire world!  This December, let's come together to see (discern spiritually) all of the good that is present, and the Good that is governing.  When we stay with Christ, and claim our inseparability from Spirit, our whole world will reflect this goodness, with [a "gentle presence], peace, and joy, and power". [Hymn 207]

[Warren's Post Script (W.P.S.)-GT: To help unburden us Jesus gave many great Q.-T.I.P.s (reminders to "Quit Taking It Personally") such as: "I can of mine own self do nothing"; and "Take my yoke upon you for my yoke is easy and my burden light." (John 5:30 and Matt.11:28-30]  Hymn 124 describes what happens when we bear this partnership mindset of being yoked together with the Christ as our pulling partner: "I drop my burden at His feet and bear a song away."  Have fun letting your life sing with burden-lifting relief after studying and applying this week's lesson!]
 
[W.P.S.-RR: When I saw that TheAmplified Bible added [uncompromisingly] to righteous in Ps. 94:15 it occurred to me that one who is "uncom-promisingly righteous" will not co-promise or make two promises or commitments that are sometimes at odds with one another. One of our guiding promises is in the 6th Tenet where: "we solemnly promise to watch, and pray for that Mind to be in us which was also in Christ Jesus; to do unto others as we would have them do unto us; and to be merciful, just, and pure." (S&H 497:24 and Manual 16:9) Here's an applicable portion of another sacred pledge that has been made by hundreds of CedarS Torchbearers: "I promise ... to stand for what is right even though it may not be the popular thing to do;... to speak and act in a straightforward and Christ-like manner..." For this full "Do right, fear not" pledge see http://blog.cedarscamps.org/2011/07/08/the-pledge-of-the-cedars-torchbearers/]
 
 [W.P.S.--Section 3: TheAmplified Bible translates Mordecai's message to Esther: "And who knows but that you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this and for this very occasion?" (Esther 4:14, B6) Like Esther, being divinely-situated in a favored position at the right time to speak up on behalf of her "faith family", we can know that we as Christian Scientists are being divinely-placed ("come into the kingdom") into right relationships with representatives of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the US government at a perfect time. We can know that we and reps for our Committees on Publication will also be shown the perfect ways to be able to speak up on behalf of our faith family in order that health care provisions that are fair to all will be established. ]
 
[W.P.S. -Section 4: From an earlier insight on citation S16 (S&H 571:15): "A friend shed new light on this passage with a one-line insight: "ABILITY (the wisdom) and OPPORTUNITY (the occasion) are coordinate ideas."  By accepting this divine law and knowing yourself spiritually, you will never have ability without being given opportunity to express it. (No unneeded bench-sitting) And, you'll also never be given opportunities (like the seven listed) without having the God-given abilities to rise to the occasion!"]

[MATCHING FUND OPPORTUNITY FOR MAINTENANCE MUSTS!  A precious donor has recently re-pledged a matching grant of $25,000 if we can raise that amount by year-end for "Maintenance Musts" work on buildings and vehicles before next summer.  After our Board meeting and recent email appeals we now have "only" $7,200 to raise this month; so, if you have been blessed by any of CedarS 3 weekly inspirational newsletters (our Mets or our PSSTs and PYCLs for Sunday School teachers), NOW would be a wonderful time to share your appreciation.
 
To send an actual check please mail to:
The CedarS Camps Office

1314 Parkview Valley Dr.
Ballwin, MO 63011
 
[Your 50th Anniversary gift to CedarS--as generous as divine Love directs-will play a needed part in CedarS important, year-round work for Christian Science Sunday School students.]
 
[Sharing the applicable principles of Christianity in CedarS Bible Lands Park: Our new Fall-season outreach (that is fostering a proper understanding of Christian Science) is giving tours of our new Bible Lands Park that clearly demonstrate to Bible-loving churches and youth groups of other denominations how Christian Scientists love and "take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life." (S&H 497:3)  As shown in video clips we are currently working in our Bible Lands Park to expand our ability to share applicable New Testament insights by building a trail with activity, learning stations that follow Paul's teachings and trips from Antioch to Ephesus, Corinth, Athens, Rome ... We welcome all gifts to enable such inspiring "Home Improvements" to be made NOW before it gets too cold and snowy to work outside.]
 
[CedarS recurring needs are listed at http://www.cedarscamps.org/giving/unrestricted-gifts.htm  Just click here to use a credit or debit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, or Discover card) or a virtual check to make very helpful monthly donations to CedarS (or to give one-time gifts) in support of spiritual growth.  International supporters can give to CedarS via PayPal using built-in currency exchange rates by filling in an amount under International Donors and clicking on the "Donate Online" button.  
 
[Lastly you can help by telling "un-camped" children and families about CedarS being a wise and happy place for them to glimpse and demonstrate more of their spiritual natures!  We'll gladly send anyone a DVD and info on CedarS financial aid forms; programs for all ages; 2012 session dates & rates; 2012 online enrollment; transportation... to help get them or anyone in your extended church family to camp!]

 [Camp Director's Note: This sharing is the latest in an ongoing, 11-year series of CedarS Bible Lesson "Mets" (Metaphysical application ideas) contributed weekly by a rotation of CedarS Resident Practitioners and occasionally by other metaphysicians.  (Ask and look for "Possible Sunday School Topics "and "Possible Younger Class Lessons" in subsequent emails.) 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 "and Sunday School ideas 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!    And, please contact us for more info about any and all things about CedarS!

[PSST: Pray for the world! Drop all burdens! Talk (& act?) out Esther's bravery!] 
Possible Sunday School Topics for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on
"God the Preserver of Man"
for December 11, 2011
by AJ Kiser, CS 503-719-2652 and Amanda Dunlap, CS 707-225-2487
contact at: ajkisercs@gmail.com and sporty024@sbcglobal.net
[Both AJ and Amanda served as role-model counselors in CedarS Jr. Leadership program for high schoolers.  After they helped CedarS host our annual Fall Bible Conference, they returned to California to work as Christian Science practitioners. ]
[Bracketed italics by Warren Huff, CedarS Director and PSST Newsletters Editor]

PSST--Golden Text/ Responsive Reading:
Ask your students if they have ever had experiences they can briefly share where they have felt burdened or overwhelmed, and have turned to God for help.  Often starting with gratitude for healings that have taken place can start the class with inspiration.
 
The ideas in this lesson and the ones in the GT & RR in particular, are excellent tangible ways to pray for the world.  Before you go over this text in more detail, have each student write down, or discuss out loud, some events/situations in their own life, family, community or world that they can consciously apply these ideas to.
 
As Warren added this week, there is nothing more burden-free than being a REFLECTION!  What a relief!  Especially as most students are entering tests/finals soon in school!
 
Here we learn about God as our preserver--the one who watches over us, guards us, is our shelter and refuge from danger (from challenges, from sickness, from sinful thoughts/actions).
 
The RR talks about trusting in the covert (shelter, covering, hiding place) of His wings, and also says, "my God is the rock of my refuge."  I love thinking about God's protection for us being as soft and comforting as the feathery wings of a bird, and also as strong and solid as a rock.  Mrs. Eddy references this idea in the article "Heart to Heart," in Miscellaneous Writings [263].
 
PSST--Section 1:
The facts of Science, stated in citations S1 and S2, namely, our spiritual nature and God's control over His entire creation, are understood only by spiritual sense.  What does it mean to use your spiritual sense?  Why is this necessary in Christian Science [--and to the fulfillment of CedarS purpose: "to give each camper an appreciation of spiritual sense and an abundance of wholesome, joyous activity"]?  Mrs. Eddy says, "Spiritual sense is a conscious, constant capacity to understand God." (S&H p. 209:31)  How can we practice using our spiritual senses and denying the deception of the material senses?  Paul talks about this idea many times.  How do we know that the material senses lie to us?  The material senses report is hearsay--its testimony isn't straight from the source--from God.  "For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal."
 
PSST--Section 2:
Reading the story of Esther with Sunday School classes of all ages this week will bring to each student important, applicable metaphysical ideas that will be remembered!  (CedarS notes this week include more background research about the story.) [MyBibleLesson.com is another great resource in telling this classic story, with its fun illustrations, cartoons and great explanations.]
 
Sometimes when we stand for what is right and moral, we will face opposition (like Mordecai refusing to bow to Haman).  But when we are courageous enough to do so, we strip the disguise from error; and it is destroyed (which is demonstrated in the rest of the story of Esther!)
 
When we feel personally offended, like hate or judgment is being expressed towards us, it becomes difficult to impersonalize error.  But to give evil cause--naming it person, place or thing--is to give it power.  If we recognize it as causeless, it is powerless.
 
Mrs. Eddy says, "Love is enthroned" (S5), even though at this point in the story, Haman is in power!  "Human sense may marvel at discord" (S7), but how can we use our spiritual sense to discern the omnipresence of harmony?  When we do this, we can expect to see results.  How can we use this idea to pray for our own lives and for the world?
 
Here are some quick summaries of the main characters in the story of Esther:
[See Warren's PS for a link to a play for Jewish children put on every Purim.]
 
Ahasuerus, king of Persia, takes Esther for his wife, and doesn't know she is a Jew.  King Ahasuerus is historically identified as Xerxes I, the fourth major king of Persia, who is depicted as an incompetent and fickle monarch.  In the story of Esther it is clear that King Ahasuerus is not an evil man, but he is certainly caught up in the materiality and display of his wealth and power.  Because of this, he is easily persuaded [to vacillate] between good and evil and is not alert to the workings of evil.  (We can all learn from him.  We must not get caught up in the material, mortal picture, and so lose our ability to spiritually discern the real from the unreal!)
 
Mordecai was a Benjamite (a Jew [- from the tribe of Benjamin])--he shows compassion, care and love by raising Esther, his younger cousin, like a daughter, after her parents die.  She becomes a "fair and beautiful" woman.  In the story we see his faithfulness to one God (by his refusal to bow to Haman).  His goodness, courage and integrity prove in the end that good is always enthroned.
 
Esther is credited with saving the Jews, and risks her life to do so.  Her courage, faithfulness to one God (through keeping the Jewish faith), and wisdom demonstrate Principle's ever-present control in this story.
 
Haman is an Agagite, an origin which may have denoted a spiritual descent from an enemy of Israel. (New Westminster Dictionary of the Bible)  Hamanrepresents the workings of evil in the story.  From him we learn that the supposed power of evil falls before the omnipotence of Love.  We learn quite literally that sin destroys itself--Haman is hung by his own noose when he attempts to have Mordecai and all Jews killed.
 
PSST--Section 3:
Esther has a difficult but necessary task ahead--one that risks death.
(Est. 4:14): "...who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" asks Mordecai, encouraging her to recognize that she is exactly the right person to carry out this challenging task. This same verse in the Amplified version reads: "...who knows but that you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this and for this very occasion?"
 
We will always be in exactly the right place, at just the right time, when we daily ask God for guidance and direction in our lives.  The fact that God is Soul means that each one of us has an individual purpose that is so needed (as is demonstrated by Esther!).  Even though the task ahead may look overwhelming or insurmountable, God gives us everything we need when our motive is unselfish, and when our desire is to do His work.  We gain huge blessings when we commit our lives, as did Christ Jesus and Mary Baker Eddy, to doing God's work, and in working for mankind!  Talk with your students about how to listen to God and know their important purpose!
 
How can we "unself" our motives? (S9 & S10)  How can we let God direct our daily lives?  What are the blessings of living this way?  Give your students the assignment of unselfing all of their prayers, and of consciously asking God to direct their days and activities.  Report the results the following week!
 
Citation S11 discusses an important concept in Christian Science, "moral courage."  [See the addendum page of MyBibleLesson.com for 3 quotes from Mary Baker Eddy on moral courage provided by The Mary Baker Eddy Library.] Oftentimes, the grounds of morality are where the David and Goliath battles are fought.  These battles can take place entirely in your own consciousness without anyone knowing but you.  It is here that the most important work is done in Christian Science.  We must cast sin out of ourselves if we would cast sin out of the world, see S&H 455:10.
 
"Self-forgetfulness, purity, and affection are constant prayers....they assuredly call down infinite blessings" (S13).  How can you express these qualities more in your life?  Have your students consciously work to express these qualities during the week, and bring the results next week!
 
PSST--Section 4:
Talk about how the "integrity and uprightness" (B11) of Mordecai preserve him in the story!  Haman's deceitful, wicked manner gets him nowhere.
 
Good always prevails.  Stick with good even in the most trying circumstances. Even in the face of the most aggressive error!  [When the length of time a lie has been told seems a factor, listen to the great Daily Lift today: Remember the Fig".]
 
PSST--Section 5:
"All things work together for good to them that love God." (S19)  Mordecai and Esther proved this, through their courage, integrity, unselfishness, and faithfulness to Good.  What a promise!  All things!  This is spiritual law!  However, there is a catch--we must love God.  How do we love God?  Christ Jesus tells us that loving God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind is the first of the two great commandments.
 
Re-cap the story of Esther and the great lessons to learn from it:
Good always prevails.  Love is always enthroned, and evil can do no harm, but in fact, destroys itself.  We must have courage in the face of the big, red dragon, which looks scary and dangerous, but has no power behind it.
How can we: be more like Mordecai and Esther; be less like the king, who was easily swayed [to vacillate] between good and evil because he was caught up in materiality; and be not at all like Haman, who just wanted power and glory for himself?
 
A quote that I have used often comes from the article titled, Loyal Christian Scientists in Miscellaneous Writings:
"No evidence before the material senses can close my eyes to the scientific proof that God, good, is supreme" (Misc. p.277). This is a great one to memorize!
 
PSST--Section 6:
Does the way that Christ Jesus handled the claim of evil (B16) differ from how Mordecai and Esther handled it?  Our textbook discusses the importance of not attaching evil to a person, see S&H 71:1.  Christ came to update our understanding of God, and is continually doing so.  Talk with your students about what the future might look like, considering that Christ and Christian Science are continually leavening the thought of the world.  If we are to keep abreast of the times, do we continue thinking in the limited spectrum of material sense testimony?
 
[Warren's PS: The Jewish still train their young by passing along oral traditions such as storytelling and the putting on of plays. During their Purim festivals they reenact how Esther and Mordecai saved their people. Below is a play they wrote for children--with a few artistic liberties taken--to share the story in a funny way.
 
 
Scene 1
Narrator
The setting is the palace of King Ahashverosh. The king is surrounded by his wise men and Haman as he sits on the throne.
 
Haman
My king, your decision to do away with your disobedient wife Vashti was very wise. This kingdom offers many beautiful who desire to prove their worthiness to you and who will submit to your will.
 
Ahashverosh
Organize a beauty pageant at once so I may choose the fairest woman for my new bride, Ah ... it's good to be King!
 
Scene 2
Narrator
Meanwhile in a nearby village ...
 
Mordecai
My dear niece Esther, your position next to King Ahashverosh as his queen would help our people be aware of the evil plans towards the Jews. Please sign up for that training course on "How to marry a Persian King." You can use me as one of your "lifelines".
 
Esther
I'll agree to enter the contest. I will do what is necessary for the safety of my people. But, I won't wear a bikini. I won't tell anyone that I am Jewish.
 
Scene 3
Narrator
The parade of beauties is held in front of the King. Esther wins hands down! She and the King are married and Esther is crowned Queen   [put crown on Esther ]   Later that same day ...
 
Haman
Your majesty, there are people among us who refuse to bow down to us and are trying to cause the collapse of your kingdom. They are very dangerous. I feel we must do away with them.
 
Ahashverosh
[While taking off his ring and giving it to Haman ]  You have my permission to kill whoever these people are.
   
Haman
 [with dice surrounded by his friends] Ok, a one will stand for Monday and a six for Saturday. [Haman throws the dice] All right, three - Let the killing of the Jews commence Wednesday. [Looking at a Jewish calendar] Let's see ... that falls on Purim, the 14th of Adar.
 
Scene 4
Narrator
Unknown to the King and Haman, Mordecai overhears this conversation and runs to tell Queen Esther. [Setting is a side room away from the throne]
 
Mordecai
You must convince the King to stop the war against the Jews. Take him some of those hamantaschen* you baked for last week's Hadassah** luncheon.
 
Esther
It is a very dangerous task you ask of me. I shall pray and fast for three days. [whispers] I hope your plan works.
 
Scene 5
Narrator
Following the dinner party, the queen asks for admittance to King Ahashverosh's throne. When he sees his beautiful Esther, he lowers his scepter to allow her to enter.
 
Esther
My generous king, I beg of you -- Don't kill the Jews. You would have to kill me as well ... for you see I am also a Jew. Besides, if you check your Book of Records you will find that my uncle Mordecai saved your life.
 
Scene 6
Narrator
The next day the king receives Haman in his Royal Chamber.
 
Ahashverosh
You know Haman I was reading in the Book of Records last night and I saw I never properly thanked the person who saved my life. What should be done for such a hero?
 
Haman
Why, I believe he should be allowed to ride your beloved horse throughout Shushan for all to see.
 
Ahashverosh
Fine. Go fetch a saddle large enough for Mordecai the Jew.
 
Haman
But ... but ... Surely you jest sire !
 
Ahashverosh
Do as I say ... and don't call me Shirley!
 
Scene 7
Narrator
Under the fearless direction of Mordecai, the Jews are victorious. Following the victory the King walks over to his men. [Setting is on the outside grounds of the palace]
 
Ahashverosh
Take Haman to the gallows that he prepared for Mordecai. Haman and his sons are the ones that will hang from these gallows! Have Esther make some hamentashen* for the celebration to follow.
 
 
Ahashverosh
Esther
Mordecai
[King Ahashverosh, Queen Esther and Mordecai go back to the palace and Yell]  YES !!!
 
Narrator
And the Jews were respected throughout Persia after the whole Megillah* was over.
 
 
 
             
   
 
     


*[hamentashen A triangular pastry usually with a poppy-seed filling--also known as Haman's ears--and traditionally eaten at the feast of Purim]

**[Hadassah: Esther had an additional name -- Hadassah. The Hebrew word hadassah means "myrtle," and it is one of the four species that we use on Succot. ... Her name was not random, but rather it was the ultimate description of her strongest quality. Let us look into the nature of the hadassah more closely to gain insight into Esther's nature, and ultimately into our own."]

***[ megillah [məˈgɪlə (Hebrew) migiˈla] 1. (Non-Christian Religions / Judaism) a scroll of the Book of Esther, read on the festival of Purim. 2. (Non-Christian Religions / Judaism) a scroll of the Book of Ruth, Song of Songs, Lamentations, or Ecclesiastes. 3. Slang anything, such as a story or letter, that is too long or unduly drawn out [Hebrew: scroll, from galal to roll]


[PYCL: View homework & chores as blessings not burdens. "Do right, fear not!"]
CedarS PYCL--Possible Younger Class Lessons for:  
 "
God the Preserver of Man"
The Christian Science Bible Lesson for December 11, 2011
by Kerry Jenkins, CS, House Springs, MO (314) 406-0041
[Bracketed italics by Warren Huff, PYCL Editor]
 
[PYCL: Discuss what it means to preserve & save. List divine preservation-restoration events.]
As always discuss the subject of the lesson. What does it mean to "preserve"? One fun thing to do might be to come up with a list of all the stories that you and the kids can think of in the Bible where God preserves someone. Think Daniel, the three Hebrew boys, Joseph, Abraham, Lot, Elijah, Ruth, Jacob, David (several times, like some of the others listed above!), of course Jesus, Paul, Peter, John, Jonah, Moses (and the entire tribe of Israel), Noah, and so on. I'm just taking this off the top of my head so I know there are dozens of others. You could then look at the story of Esther from the lesson and dig into what made her courageous and what she and Mordecai did to help preserve the Jews under the Persian Empire. The younger kids will not understand that she faced possible execution for approaching her own husband if he did not welcome her approach at court. I think it would really be fun to talk about all the ways these Bible characters were saved in dire circumstances, no need to feel you must have a comprehensive list, but it is amazing to look at the enormous numbers of vibrant stories of lives preserved in the Bible! I'm sure some of the kids in second grade on up will be able to appreciate something of this. Can you share some example of divine preservation from your own experience? Do any of the kids have examples from their lives?
 
[PYCL: Discuss seeing homework & chores as blessings and opportunities, not as burdens. See PS]
In the Golden Text (G.T.) talk with kids maybe first up through older primary grades about what a "burden" is.  Many younger kids may not think about things in terms of "burden" but you'd be surprised by how many identify homework, or chores etc. as "burdens" and feel bogged down by things that are required of them.  What do you and your pupils think it means to "Cast thy burden upon the Lord"?  How do we do this?  Have you thought about turning burdens into "blessings"?  How might we do this?  Is this the sort of thing that helps us put that burden on God instead of our shoulders?  [See Warren's PS about learning how silent prayer allows you to "whistle while you work."] If we are found expressing joy and lightness of heart, unselfishness, curiosity, diligence, energy and so on, these are qualities that God is expressing in each of us in unlimited abundance, so we can't possibly be burdened or weighed down by any requirements when the demands are being met by such divine qualities!  Maybe you or the kids will have other ideas of what this means and you can see where the discussion goes. 
 
[PYCL: Discuss Mordecai & Esther's integrity & moral courage & how these preserved them.]
You might want to talk about the story of Esther as it relates to how God preserves us.  What made the presence of God's goodness so apparent to Mordecai?  Look at the ways he expressed integrity, honesty (helping to save the Persian king from an assassination plot), raising his younger cousin, not bowing to a false "God" when Haman required personal worship.  How do these examples of obedience and faithfulness help to preserve us from evil, and why?  Think about how God is Mind, knows all and governs all for good.  There is power in this truth, power that is reliable and blesses us!  You can talk about moral courage, how both Mordecai and Esther expressed this quality.  What is moral courage?  Can you think of ways to express moral courage in our lives?  Can you think of ways that you already have or have seen it expressed around you? You may need to lead with a personal example to get things flowing.
 
[PYCL: Discuss Esther's living of the motto over Mrs. Eddy's door: "Do right and fear not!"]
With the youngest little ones, can you reduce the story of Esther to help them get the essence?  Talk about how they can be brave like Esther when they are asked to do something scary.  Esther had to go to the king and ask him to a dinner, doesn't sound like much unless you know the laws of the empire [with capital punishment possible] for approaching the king without invitation.  [A whole new level of the no-call list, huh?] So they can learn about how she risked death to do the right thing.  We aren't usually taking such great risks but what are we afraid of that we know is right to do?  Are we afraid of: learning to ride a two-wheeler? Being alone in the dark?  We can talk about how it's right to be peaceful at night, to be obedient about going to bed and to listen for angel thoughts in our room, even if it's dark.  Or we can talk about the freedom that is expressed by riding a two-wheeler and how we reflect this freedom and can trust God's balance, strength and skill to be right there with us, expressed in our activities.
 
[PYCL: Wear "the panoply of Love"*--an invisibility cloak to blindfolded anger, hate. SH 571]
With younger classes you might enjoy acting out the story of Jesus walking through the angry crowd. [B16, Luke 4:29-30] How did he do that?  How come no one noticed him walking away?  What made him safe in the crowd?  Show them that hatred and anger are blind.  Blindfold a couple of willing "victims" and have someone walk quietly by them to show that we can be safe even amongst such scary things as hate or anger because goodness, purity and childlikeness is invisible to those [brilliantly-reflected[ qualities!  Make sure everyone gets a turn to be Jesus! 
*[Warren's prop proposal: You might consider bringing a panoply prop of a reflective windshield cover for you and your pupils to wear to represent "the panoply of Love" under which "human hatred cannot reach you." (S&H 571:18) On that reflective windshield cover (sold at WalMart and other automotive departments during summer months anyway) you might consider attaching a cardinal on two corners to remind your pupils about the key spiritual armament of Jesus: it was "the two cardinal points of Mind-healing, or Christian Science, which armed him with Love."  You can write out these affirmation and denial parts of Christian Science treatment (and of "the scientific statement of being" S&H 468) to identify these "two cardinal points of Mind-healing" as Mrs. Eddy did as "the nothingness of material life and intelligence and the mighty actuality of all-inclusive God, good." (S&H 52:19-23).Let's also frequently remind ourselves and our pupils that Christian healing is "the babe we are to cherish" in this season & all year long as spelled out in Chet Manchester's "Daily Lift" today!]

Have a fun Sunday!

[Warren's burden-free PS: It's never too early to teach a child to "whistle while you work." (Snow White song)  Principia's founder, Mary Kimball Morgan puts it this way: "do not let your work drive you... insist on being master of your work...go about your work confidently and joyously, grateful for every opportunity to serve God and mankind. ... stop and place the responsibility where it belongs - in your Father's hands. Get rid of the sense of burden before continuing your work, for heaviness of thought cannot glorify God.... Seek to find deeper joy in your work. One can be deeply in earnest and at the same time spiritually light-hearted." (Education at The Principia, 222) One is never too young or too old to put this into practice. As lots of recent fruitage testimonials and the "bottom line" on CedarS stationery put it: "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Prov. 22:6] 
 





 

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