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Discover deeper, clearer views of what is real!

Rick Stewart, C.S., Dresden, Germany
Posted Monday, March 21st, 2011

[Discover deeper, clearer views of what is real!]
CedarS Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson Sermon on "REALITY" for March 27, 2011
by Rick Stewart, CS, Dresden, Germany (0351 312 4736/rickstewartcs@aol.com)
[with bracketed italics by Warren Huff]

[Editor's Note: The following application ideas for this week, and the Possible Sunday School Topics 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 or in Spanish thanks to a team of Ana, Erick, Claudia and Patricio. YOU CAN SIGN UP at www.cedarscamps.org/newsletters]
 
Are you ready for a week of discovering deeper, clearer views of what is real?  Especially if those views include things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, virtuous, harmonious, healthy and of "good report?"  (B-3)  We gain these views of reality as we see through the eyes of the Christ--cherishing all human conditions and environments as glimpses of divine reality.  And that is exactly what the Christian Science Bible Lesson for this week offers you.
 
But why "Reality?"  In 1898 Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, chose 26 topics for weekly Bible Lessons.  The Christian Science Journal for July 1899 includes this statement: "The subjects for these sermons, as is quite well known, were furnished by our Leader.  As has been observed, they follow the order she was wont to employ in teaching her classes."  She chose 26 subjects that would be studied during the week and be read as the Sermon on Sunday.  Each topic would then be studied twice a year.  And when studied and practiced during the week the result was not only a deeper understanding of the individual topic, but also a more demonstrable knowledge of Christian Science.  And Mrs. Eddy did place great significance on these Bible Lessons.  She writes of the Bible Lesson "a lesson on which the prosperity of Christian Science largely depends."  Church Manual, Page 31.
 
So as we dig into this week's lesson we might ask ourselves, "What did Mary Baker Eddy want me to know about reality?"  And,   "Why did she think it important to the prosperity of Christian Science?"  And, "Could it be that my individual prosperity will support the prosperity of Christian Science, in fact the prosperity of Christian Science might really depend on my prosperity?"
 
Reality, hmmm?  I found this definition of "reality" on Wikipedia, the free internet encyclopedia. "Reality is the state of things as they actually exist, rather than as they may appear or may be thought to be.  In its widest definition, reality includes everything that is and has been, whether or not it is observable or comprehensible."
 
So where are you going to look for "the state of things as they actually exist?"  "Reality TV"?  News reports?  The latest best-seller?  What the neighbor tells you?  Well, I think you have made a very wise choice in looking to the Christian Science Bible Lesson.
 
Golden Text (GT):  I like where the Golden Text from Ecclesiastes tells us to start: "Consider the work of God:" KJV, or how about these versions:  New Living Translation, ""Notice the way God does things;" and New International Version, "Consider what God has done:"
 [I love the definition of work as "love made visible" or brought into view.]

So "The View" we will be tuning into is not a morning TV talk show (ABC) -- but a daily showing of what divine Love has done and is doing.  We will discover what is really going on, as we pay attention and discover that reality is 100 percent spiritual.
 
Responsive Reading (RR): These introductory ideas lead us to the heart of the Lesson.
 
Section 1: Reality is entirely spiritual.  Beyond material limits.
Bible verses (B-1) - (B-3) make it quite clear that God and God's works are the reality we are seeking.  It is a view that is more than breathtaking; it is breath-restoring, health-restoring, harmony-restoring.  As the Apostle Paul writes, "For in him we live and move and have our being."  We begin to see the necessity of looking to God to find what is really going on. 
 
The radicalness of Mary Baker Eddy's view of reality is often mind-boggling to the human mind.  But when approached with an open willingness to seek this view, and learn of its Science, the effect in human experience is revolutionary, and often results in healing.  These healings cause "the excuses for ignorance" (Marginal Heading for S-4) to yield to an ever-growing conviction of spiritual reality as All.
 
Here's a little example from my family.  When my mom and dad had been married only a few years, my dad had a healing that began to open his eyes to a life beyond what matter tells us is reality.  He was working collecting his insurance debit when he fell through the wooden boards on a client's front porch.  He was working with another insurance agent that day, and with this man's help he was able to get back in the car and drive home.  He arrived home just before lunch and from appearances he had broken his leg.  My mom asked if he would like her to call a Christian Science practitioner.  He agreed.  After lunch he took a little nap, and when he woke up he came out and announced he was going back to work.  He headed back to the debit.  The fellow he had been working with could not believe his eyes.  "Well, I guess it wasn't broken after all."  That's what they both agreed.  And when Dad got home he announced this view, "You know my leg couldn't have been broken, probably just sprained."  My mom made no comment.
 
Just a short time after this experience my dad volunteered for service in World War 2.  He had to go through an extensive physical examination.  He was given a perfect bill of health, but one of the doctors showed him an X-ray and said, "Well I see you had quite a break in your leg, but it is perfectly healed and probably stronger than the other one!"  My dad had a lot to think about.  He told me that as he rode the troop transport across the Pacific Ocean heading for the Philippines he began to read a copy of Science and Health that mom had given him.  Being healed of a broken leg in a couple hours sure might make you want to learn a little more about spiritual reality!  My brothers and sister and I always regarded Dad as a remarkable man, but I am not sure we really ever realized how open and receptive he was to the remarkable reality that Christian Science had brought into his experience. 
 
[The citations from Science and Health provide a divine context for this and all healings:]  
"All reality is in God and His creation, harmonious and eternal.  That which He creates is good, and He makes all that is made."  (S-1) Science and Health, page 472 
"It is unwise to doubt if reality is in perfect harmony with God, divine Principle, if Science, when understood and demonstrated, will destroy all discord, --since you admit that God is omnipotent; for from this premise it follows that good and its sweet concords have all power." (S-4) Science and Health, page 130
 
Section 2: Elisha and the poisonous stew made harmless: a miracle? or reality made evident?
In citation (B-4) 2 Kings 4 we are told of Elisha and some of his apprentice prophets preparing a pot of stew.  One of the young men by mistake adds some wild gourds to the stew that appear to be poisonous.  A disastrous, deadly mistake?  "O thou man of God, there is death in the pot."  Elisha asks for some "meal" to be added and the stew is rendered harmless.  In the "My Bible Lesson" published by the Mother Church an idea of how to think metaphysically about the "meal" Elisha added is given in the acronym: " (M)ore (E)nlightenment (A)nd (L)ove."  
Romans 8 tells us that "all things work together for good."  (B-5) Even a mistake can become a blessing for "those that love God," that love reality coming to light.  The Science and Health citations in this section equip us to handle, "contamination" (S-5), "error" (mistake) (S-6), "inharmony" (S-9) 
 
How grateful that young prophet in training must have been when his deadly mistake was immediately corrected by Elisha's higher knowledge of reality?  I know I was grateful beyond words when I witnessed a similar healing.  Years ago I was using some recently acquired mushroom-gathering skills to add to a family meal.  I thought I knew what I was doing, but I evidently made a mistake.  Part of the menu for the meal I prepared for my mother, my brother, his wife, and myself was wild mushrooms.  About an hour after our meal together I took a phone call, my sister-in-law was in extreme agony and my brother was driving her to the hospital.  It appeared the mushrooms were poisonous.  I was not feeling well either, and the report seemed to accentuate the problem.  When I told my mom of the call, she immediately began to pray.  During the 16 mile drive into town my sister-in-law changed her mind and asked my brother to take her not to the hospital, but to "mom's" house.  Also during that time I received a telephone call from someone considering suicide. She wanted help.  She was the mother of two children I picked up each week for Sunday School.  I spoke with her about the truth of God's love for her and her relationship to God.  After some time she assured me all was well; and she knew all was well; and she was no longer tempted to take her own life.  I hung up the phone and realized that I was healed, no discomfort whatsoever.  Thinking of the reality of her Life, had lifted me from the belief of illness.
 
When my brother arrived, my sister-in-law was in great distress.  We took her into my mom's bedroom and made her as comfortable as possible.  We were all acknowledging God's healing presence.  And in the middle of what appeared to be terrible symptoms, I heard my sister-in-law say, "Mom, this is my first Christian Science healing."  And in a short while after that statement she went peacefully to sleep.  She slept comfortably till morning, got up, got dressed and went to work.
Interesting thing about the reality of this situation was healing made evident in so many ways.  My mom and brother were basically untroubled by the mistake of "death in the pot."  I was freed as I sought to help someone in need.  And my sister-in-law saw the reality of healing even before it was physically seen as the fact. 

[What a blessing that these same truths in this section and in this Stewart family healing apply to neutralize and render harmless the radioactive "contamination" (S-5) so feared as the result of recent explosions and meltdowns in some of Japan Electric's nuclear reactors. 
What a good time to remember and share God work, or convincing proofs, for you and your family. "If Christian Science reiterates St. Paul's teaching, we, as Christian Scientists, should give to the world convincing proof of the validity of this scientific statement of being. Having perceived, in advance of others, this scientific fact, we owe to ourselves and to the world a struggle for its demonstration."(Retrospection and Introspection, p. 93:22Dr. William Frederick Underwood and his daughter, Nancy Kiefer were Christian Scientists who struggled for the demonstration of the scientific statement of being and gave convincing proofs of it to Dr. Albert Einstein. "Fifteen engineers, chemists and physicists on Dr. Underwood's team at the Manhattan Project were accidently exposed to nuclear radiation and all died within one to three years after exposure. Although Underwood was also exposed to radiation poison - far more than the others - he was healed through prayer,  even though all his organs had begun to bleed and deteriorate, and a neurodegenerative condition had set in. Any scars from this experience also disappeared.... His daughter, Nancy Kiefer, was also healed (by prayer) of nuclear radiation exposure. ...Einstein had witnessed - and acknowledged - several healings accomplished by prayer alone, including a broken arm and leg of Underwood's daughter, Nancy. Two and one-half hours after the accident, she came walking to the dinner table ... then ate with the "broken" hand!  Einstein acknowledged ... a broken hip sustained by Dr. Underwood, and healed by prayer alone, in three days." No wonder Einstein studied Christian Science and commented that the Scientific Statement of Being was "The most profound statement ever uttered by mankind." All above quotes from page 220 of Physics, Metaphysics and God, by Jack W. Geiss, 2006, www.authorhouse.com.]]
 
Section 3: Hezekiah, sick, sorrowful, and saved.
(B-6) Psalm 103 Who's the healer?  God, you're the healer.  God forgives all sins and heals all diseases.  This Psalm of David appears to be written later in his life.  One commentator called it the "Mount Everest" of praise psalms.
 
(B-7) Isaiah 38   Wow, I kind of shivered when I read Isaiah's instructions to Hezekiah, "Set thine house in order:"  What a recipe for healing, house cleaning!  I am still working on that one, but praying for compliance.  But something special to remember, Hezekiah got right with God, and Hezekiah was healed and saved from death.  And then he wrote a beautiful poem acknowledging how low he was and how God had delivered him from death.  (B-7) "O Lord, by these things men live, and in all these things is the life of my spirit: so wilt thou recover me, and make me to live."
 
I have thought a lot in recent days about this command, "Set thine house in order."  Disorder and chaos often seem to be the cause of sickness, but a messy house?  Well, there have been times I realized I needed to establish a better sense of order (sometimes seems a terminal affliction :-) but I do remember that "with God all things are possible."  But isn't our house our thought, our consciousness?  So what is the primary "ordering" we need?  Isn't it remembering to put God first?  Or as it says in Proverbs, "in all thy ways acknowledge him."  Remembering God in all that we do, putting thoughts of Love, Truth, Principle, first and then not needing to worry about fear, doubt, or personal sense.
 
Citations (S-11) to (S-15) are a real prescription for harmony and order.  A willingness to "forsake" discord.  That sounds like a conscious effort to me. By "lifting thought above error," and realizing that "all things are possible to God."
 
I have "re-found" or "rediscovered" some of my most cherished things as I straightened things up a bit.  I have also at times bitterly regretted what may have been lost or destroyed through allowing trash to obscure treasure!!  This has often forced a learning of what real treasures are.  So the bottom line it seems to me is that it helps to keep first things first and to maintain at least a semblance of order in daily life.  But always, always remember that God's gracious, ministering Love can lift us above all clouds of error, to reality.   Don't condemn yourself; know yourself as God's reflection.  (S-11) "Be firm in your understanding that the divine Mind governs, and that in Science man reflects God's government."

Recently, Johann asked me about some inline skates.  "Papa, have you found them yet?"  They were hand-me-downs from his brother that would now be his size.  I had hopes of finding them in our cellar, but if you looked at our cellar from the standpoint of daily reality, there really was no hope.  Boxes upon boxes (they are still calling for sorting and ordering.)  But I headed down to the cellar with a conviction that this was the day of salvation.  After 15 or 20 minutes of prayerful searching, my faith was wavering.  But then I stopped and turned "wholeheartedly" to God.  I acknowledged His Mind as the only Mind.  I stopped all condemnation.  I stopped wasting time in condemning myself for letting things get in such a sorry state.  And I listened.  I heard a little message.  Those skates weren't just stuck in some box.  I had consciously put them in a shopping bag that held the skates and all the protection equipment.  But where, oh where?  I listened again.  And I realized I knew where they were.  I picked and fought my way to the furthest corner of the cellar, reached passed boxes, and in a moment of eager anticipation grasped a plastic bag.  I knew what was inside, and I rejoiced in God's tender mercy and direction.  It was the skates.  I then knew even the terminal illness of "Messy-Rickitus" couldn't keep a right idea from its rightful place.
 
Section 4: Reality in action, Jesus sees through the Tempter's cloud of lies.
Citations (B-8 and B-9) make it clear who is in charge and in control.  God is identified as ruling with power and might.  God is great, powerful and glorious.  When a so-called power apart from Good, God comes to tempt us, it can only come in the form of lies.
 
In citation (B-10) Jesus has just come from being baptized in the Jordan.  (Matthew 3)   He is filled with the Holy Ghost and has had the assurance that he was the beloved Son of God.  He is now led "of the Spirit" into the desert, or wilderness.  He fasts (does not eat, or eats little) for a long time, forty days and nights.  Obviously he is hungry, we are even told that in Matt. 4:2.  So he is tempted to use his understanding of God's Word to satisfy that hunger.  But his answer to each of the three temptations comes from Scripture.  When we have glimpsed something of God's all-power and see something of our ability in reflecting that power, what a temptation to let it be used to satisfy human needs!  And isn't it helpful to us in our walk towards reality to know that our Savior, our Wayshower was also tempted?  One of the subtle guises of the liar or tempter is when we are tempted to feel so bad about ourselves that we begin to think of ourselves not as God's beloved, but more of, "How could I think such a thing?"  This is where the clarity and depth of Science and Health's citations (S-16) - (S-21) become such a clear defense. 
 
In the summer of 1974 I was working on a special project of The Mother Church to renovate low-income housing near the Church Center.  I was studying the Bible Lesson daily, had many, many wonderful healings, but was also pretty troubled with some of the quality of my thoughts at that time.  Geoffrey Barrat from Australia was an Editor for the Periodicals.  I seemed to really connect with his editorials, so I asked for an appointment to talk with him.  As a complete stranger I sat down in front of him and in a few minutes felt like I had known him all my life.  And I told him about my concerns.  He simply said, "Rick, we all deal with that kind of temptation."  Wow, you talk about a weight falling off my shoulders!  You mean I wasn't the only Christian Scientist being tempted to think bad thoughts?  Whew!!  Here he was an Editor, a Christian Science teacher, and a healer, and he dealt with temptation also?  Well, of course I can understand that now.  But at the time, it was an incredible burden off my chest.  I wasn't some kind of evil worm after all.  As a matter of fact he helped me glimpse a little of the reality of who I really was, God's beloved child.   And with the enlightenment from that conversation I was more ready to rise and resist the lies that tried to convince me otherwise.  And being reminded of that significant interview I realize I probably owe Mr. Barrat some money.  He never billed me and never asked me for payment, but he sure helped me past the lying temptations, to glimpse a little reality.  I wonder if his knowing that three years later I entered the healing practice might serve as some form of payment?
 
Section 5: Keep the Good, toss out the bad.
Choose wisely.  Choose wisely what you seek.  Choose wisely what you keep.  Choose wisely what you throw out.  Choose wisely what you think.  And choose wisely what you keep in thought and what you decide to throw out.  Remember, one look in my cellar and you will see it is not possible to keep everything.  The wise sorting of useful, beautiful treasures from the trash allows you to keep more of the good, and never confuse it with the evil.  And that is what my goal is at the moment, as Jesus illustrates, (B-17), like a fisherman sorting his catch for the keepers and throwbacks.
This last section is like the glorious celebration of God's reality. In citations (B-12) - (B-18) you will glimpse all that Good that God hath made.  And with the help of citations (S-22) - (S-29) in your textbook, Science and Health, sorting between the "keepable" and the disposable will become easier.  And as we "consider the work of God" (GT, Eccl. 7:13) remember that you are a part of that wonderful reality of God‘s spiritual creation.  
 
Citation (S-25) instructs us: "Let us learn of the real and eternal, and prepare for the reign of Spirit, the kingdom of heaven, -universal harmony, which cannot be lost nor remain forever unseen." (S&H 208:20) [The "cannot ... remain forever unseen" part reminds me of] the story of the "Refiner's Fire."  "There was a group of women in a Bible study on the book of Malachi.  As they were studying chapter three, they came across verse three, which says: "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."  This verse puzzled the women and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God.   One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study.  That week, this woman called up a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work.   She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver.  As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up.  He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest, so as to burn away all the impurities.  The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot -- then she thought again about the verse that says, "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver."  She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined.  The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he also had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire.  If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.  The woman was silent for a moment.  Then she asked the silversmith, how do you know when the silver is fully refined?   He smiled at her and answered, "Oh that's easy -- when I see my image in it." "
 
One of my favorite observers of reality, Dr. Laurance Doyle once said in an interview, "One needs to check in with reality."  I have found that to mean a checking in with reality in all the manifestations [or "work"-GT] of God's creation--in a spiritual discernment that "unfold(s) the unity and the reality of good, the unreality, the nothingness, of evil."  (S-23), 269:5  Frequently glimpsing your eternal place in this "reality of good" is "The (REAL) View" most worth keeping and cherishing.

 [CEDARS weekly "Mets" or Metaphysical Newsletters are provided at no charge to the 1,200 campers and staff blessed each summer at CEDARS--as well as to thousands of CEDARS alumni, families, Sunday School teachers and friends who request it, or find it weekly on our website or through CS Directory. But, current and planned gifts are needed. Just click here to use a credit or debit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, or Discover card) or a virtual check to make monthly and one-time donations to CedarS' many funds that support 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.]
 
[You can also help CedarS reach out to the "un-camped" students enrolled in Christian Science Sunday Schools across the world.  In the United States they outnumber Sunday School students who attend 1 of the 6 camps for Christian Scientists in N. America by more than 2 to 1. Experience shows that "CS-camped" children who are given the laboratory experience of putting their training from their homes and Sunday Schools into joyous practice in a "24-7" Christian-Science-laboratory experience at camp want to continue to make Christian Science their own. Therefore, please tell all the "un-camped" families you know about our work; and if possible let us know about them and their contact information. We will gladly send them--and you--a DVD, plus show host info for over 40 CedarS shows being scheduled and everything needed to help get "un-camped" students to camp -- from info on our programs for all ages; to session dates and rates; to online enrollment info; to transportation;  to financial aid forms; and more.]
 
 [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


[PSST-Get Real!]
Possible Sunday School Topics for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on
"Reality" for March 27th, 2011
By Steve Henn, St. Louis, MO email: steven.henn@gmail.com
[with bracketed italics by Warren Huff]
 
The clear premise of this entire lesson, as established by the GT and RR is that in reality, God is the creator of all.  How does God being the creator of all impact our view of the world?  Bring the synonyms to bear on this conversation - since it sometimes feels abstract to speak about God.  Discuss the impact of Mind creating all, or Soul, or Life.
 
Golden Text (GT) - Rather than just thinking about God's works, we are admonished to consider them.  The interesting thing I'm reading here is that it's not about standing in awe of God's work, but rather keeping God as a central player in every aspect of your life. Consider, or remember God's place, in everything that happens in your life. As you are a reflection of God, good, the source of your reflection must be present in everything you do and experience.
 
Section 1
B1 - The context brings in a lot more than what the words themselves say - and the context might not be entirely on target for a lesson on "reality," but it does offer something incredible. The conversation here surrounds traditions and whether it is important to pay strict attention to them, or to allow liberal interpretations and diversity of actions among believers.  I Corinthians 8 ends with the declaration that Paul, in his strong faith, will do nothing to hinder the developing faith of those around him, even if it means giving up liberties that he has earned through his strength (1Cor 8:13).  Do we as Christians keep this motive in mind enough?  Are we concerned less with what will benefit ourselves and more with what will benefit others?  One way I see this connecting with the text cited is that citation B1 binds us all together as brethren under one God, "of whom are all things and we in him" and if we are brethren under one God, would we not be willing to see our brother or sister succeed, even if it meant making sacrifices of our own?  Must we nitpick over what is "fair"
between us and our brother?  Will we get caught in the shoes of the Prodigal's older brother, and resent goodness that comes to others?
Or will we humbly acknowledge the single parenthood of God and say over and over to the good in front of us "thanks God, that's mine too." [Thinking and living this 10th-Commandment, non-coveting concept of gratitude for being included in all good with affirmations of T.M.T. (Thanks Mine Too) is an explosive tool in quickly blasting away unhelpful hardness--much like T.N.T. (dynamite) blasts away rock that is obstructing progress.]
 
B2 - one author (found here:
focuses heavily on the mercy evident in this Psalm.  My favorite insight is that man does not need justice, he needs divine mercy.  What is mercy?  You might look it up to get a clear definition and starting point with your students. Then discuss how God's mercy works -- bring in this citation and those surrounding it in the lesson.  You can ask why man needs mercy, not justice (Don't your students want to be justified when they are wronged?  Don't they want the other person doing wrong to be corrected...why should we encourage mercy then?
Doesn't that just mean the wrongdoer can get away with whatever he wants?).
 
Science and Health pretty strongly states that we must begin with God - and goes further to state that beginning with God is what helps us more clearly understand/grasp reality.  (SH3) With these assertions, one would assume that we can make sense of Life through a reorientation of thought that begins not with matter, but with God as primary.  Try that out with your students.  Brainstorm aspects of your students' experiences that confuse them, or strike them as not adding up.  Then discuss what changes about those when you "begin by reckoning God as the divine Principle (or law/foundation) of all that really is" (SH3, 275:6).
 
SH4 - Read this statement (130:9) over with your students.  Do they really recognize that it is unwise to doubt the harmony of God?  It seems good on paper, but in our experience, how often are we tricked into doubting?  Look at the end of this citation and discuss how the premise Mrs. Eddy presents will actually help us overcome any doubts about God that we have. How can your students admit with confidence that God is omnipotent, all powerful?
 
Section 2
B4 - Two words to focus on, dearth and meal.  Dearth is the condition in which this miracle happened.  One Bible commentary says that we need to learn from this story that even in times of spiritual dearth we still need to be discerning about where we get our spiritual nourishment.  We cannot allow ourselves to become desperate and grasp on to just any form of supply without recognizing that it truly comes from God.  In what aspects of life do your students experience "dearth"?  Do they feel that they lack love, strength, freedom, happiness?  Where are they looking for these needs/desires to be met?
Does the source ultimately come from God, or do they get tricked in their desperation for acceptance, entertainment, or supply to seek sources that are not up to God's standard?
 
God's constant mercy continues this story. Even though the sons of the prophets found themselves facing "death in the pot," God did not leave them there.  Meal in this story represents Christ, the leaven of Truth. When Christ is brought to bear on a situation, then is it healed.
Even when your students do seek a false source for love, happiness, strength, acceptance, they are not left to suffer.  Even in that moment, God is waiting, ready to answer their call for help.  How quickly do your students call on God for help?  How do they call on God?  What can they learn from Elisha about how to call on God and when?
 
SH5 - Do your students ever feel that their character has been "contaminated"? (304:19)  Perhaps they have made a decision recently that they are not proud of. Perhaps they have participated in an activity they wish they could have avoided. Rather than harping on the activity and its errors, use this citation to refute any possible connection in them to error of any kind.  The truth of their being cannot be contaminated by a lie or erroneous belief about them.
[Bad after-effects may claim to persist like with an earthquake, tsunami or nuclear meltdown. But even the bad effects of lingering radioactivity can be rendered harmless by the might of Mind as related in Dr. Underwood's healing as quoted in Section 2 of this week's met.]
 
 
SH6 - How do we ensure that our lives are governed by reality?  What is the result of this?
 
SH8 - Is the first statement of this citation so radical? (135:6) Miracles are not unnatural, or odd/infrequent occurrences.  They are natural unfoldments of God's law.  But it all begins with putting God, good as primary.  Can your students change the order of their thinking to put Love, Truth, Life, Soul first, rather than the human picture in front of them?  The second statement warns us of the danger involved in keeping faith in our human senses.  Why do we doubt the power and primacy of God?  How can we overcome that doubt?
 
SH9&10 - Nothing and something; discuss those concepts with your students. What does it mean to be "something"?  What is "somethingness"? What is nothingness? Evil, error, discord are all nothing - no-thing...what does that say to your students when they are faced with any of these three in suggestion?  Perhaps bring the science of mathematics to bear on this conversation.  What does the suggestion of any false equation (such as 5+5=55) have behind it?
What sort of power does it wield? How about all correct equations?
What power do they contain?  One more analogy is light and dark.  What power does light have?  You can use a flashlight, but can you use a flashdark? Does such a thing even exist?  What power is in darkness?
 
Section 3
B6 - From Matthew Henry commentary on Ps. 103, "We make nothing of our religious performances if we do not make heart-work of them."
 
Matthew Henry throughout his commentary on this Psalm, points out that David is throwing his whole self into praising and thanking God.  Do we feel extreme gratitude for God?  Do we remember God's graces, the benefits of divine Good? When is Love unloving, or when does Love stop giving love?  Are we not always receiving more and more of Soul's goodness, without even having to work for it? How grateful we must be that all we need is to be receptive and divine Love will meet, is meeting, every one of our needs.
 
B7 - As an interesting fact, you can tell your students that this story about Hezekiah is first seen in 2 Kings 20.  You might look at that version of the story for a comparison with this version.  One aspect that is left out of the lesson is the turning back of the sun.  How do your students view time? Is God subject to time?  Are we slaves to the clock?  Here God demonstrates as a sign to Hezekiah that even the shadows of the sun are subject unto Him. "What cannot God do?"
Challenge your student to push the envelope of their concept of God.
What is the limit of their rational view of God?  Can He turn back time?  Can he travel instantaneously?  What in the world is not subject to Him?  What are His limits?  If he truly is infinite, omnipotent, and All, is there any limit to his power?  Or are the limits only in our concept of Him.  "Un-limit" thought in your class, that is your charge each week, un-limit or delimit the thoughts of your students.  Help them see what is infinitely available to them.

In the Science and Health side of this section, Mrs. Eddy points out a collection of qualities that lead to a better sense of reality and therefore a better ability to heal.  Look at those citations with your students after reading Hezekiah's story.  Discover with them how Hezekiah embodies the qualities present in Mrs. Eddy's writings.
 
SH11&12 introduce your students to the idea of choice. Perhaps the most freeing tweak they can make to their mental state is the realization that in matters of health and harmony they have a choice.
At no point are we the victims of our circumstances.  What are they choosing on a daily, moment-by-moment basis?  Are their small choices in line with putting God as head above all?  Then, when the bigger choices come, they will be ready to "forsake discord" and "resist all that is unlike good." (400:9 & 393:12)
 
SH12 Do your students see sickness as being unreal?  How can Mrs. Eddy say this? Clearly she has demonstrated this in her own experience, and Jesus gives us plenty of examples of this.  So how do we bring this into our own experience? What demonstrations have your students had over the past week? Do they catalog or keep track somehow of their healings?  Encourage them to do so; it will help them remember that they too have demonstrated the unreality of sickness and error.
 
SH13 What is our true job? How do your students read this? What does it mean for us to destroy the foe? Who or what is the foe? And how do we destroy him or it? Is our foe even real?  Or is it simply an unreal or limited suggestion?
 
SH14 What is real to your students?  What is real to you?  This citation challenges the reality that is presented before our eyes.
Accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.  [Students may want to try deciphering this short hand from a classic CedarS T-shirt: ~ U8 + E o 8 - where the ~ is an accent and the o is a yellow-highlighted lemon.] Spend some time with your students identifying areas of their lives where what they are seeing/experiencing is either real or unreal. This type of work can build conviction and fidelity, two important aspects of a healer according to this citation.  What does Mrs. Eddy mean when she talks about the "spirit of Truth and Love you entertain"?  How can we as students develop a spirit in ourselves that is more oriented towards Truth and Love?
 
SH15 "Unselfed love" - discuss this with your students. Mrs. Eddy put a lot of thought into her use of words. Why does she say unselfed here, rather than unselfish?  If you use a regular word processor for typing, you'll even find that unself and unselfed are words that the computer's dictionary does not recognize. [Like allness that Word tries to auto-correct to illness!] This means that Mrs. Eddy has coined words that aren't regularly in use.   What does unselfed mean, then? How does being unselfed differ from being unselfish?  Take a moment to look at Henry Drummond's incredible exegesis of I Cor. 13 and read his section on Love being unselfish...I would contend that Mr. Drummond is saying love is unselfed, rather than simply unselfish.
 
Section 4
B8 - For a wonderful study of the section from which this verse comes, check out http://www.arlev.co.uk/jehosh.htm The introduction to the study of this chapter from the "Old Doctrines, New Light" website includes the wonderful insight, "we should note that praise is never described as a means towards an end but as a response to an established fact."  Much more is shared that is noteworthy. I recommend any step that increases our knowledge of the Bible as Sunday School teachers.  But this insight strikes me as most instructional and salutary.  How often do we use praise as a means to an end.  We hear that we must be "grateful for the good already received" in order to be ready to "receive more," as a paraphrase of what Mrs. Eddy herself writes (S&H 3:22). Do we focus on the receiving more part?
Or are we focused on the need to truly acknowledge what God already has done, for the purpose simply of being closer to Him?  Use the lines in this citation to establish just how close your students are to God, and how much good God has done.
 
B9-You can carry the conversation from the past citation into this one as well.
 
B10-When we establish ourselves on the foundation that recognizes just how great God is, the temptations of the devil will not entice us.
Consider what the devil is offering here, and recognize that each of these temptations, while outlandish to us, were actually within Jesus'
grasp.  One wonderful point I heard made when taking a course in college from a Bible scholar was that these temptations bring Jesus' experience to a more human level, to a place where we can relate to him better, for even Jesus had very human temptations approach him.
How did he respond?  Ask your students what they notice in all three of Jesus' responses, and ask them if they learn anything from an initial reading of the story.
 
Look at Jesus' knowledge of the Scriptures.  One thing that shows up over and over again in Jesus' life is his knowledge of scripture.  As a child he was found among the elders and all were amazed at his familiarity with scripture at such a young age.  Now he reinforces his resistance to temptation with a quoting of them.  What does that tell our students about their work with the Bible? [Goals of CedarS Bible Lands Park include helping all students understand the Bible better and making Bible passages come to life with their spiritual significance and practical applicability today.]
 
Check out this website http://executableoutlines.com/matt/mt4_1.htm to find cross references in the Bible, especially for the citations that Jesus is quoting. Moreover, this website points out some of the key lessons from this story.  Look at the direction of each temptation.
Do we not face similar temptations?  And along with each lesson, this site offers Biblical references to support the lesson further.
 
SH16&17- Perhaps we put Jesus too high on a pedestal when we speak of his power over evil and the devil.  These two citations from S&H discuss not Jesus' power, rather the lack of power, or the unreality of seeming power in evil or matter.
Do we see evil in our lives as being equally unreal? Or do we sometimes get tricked into believing that evil or error is real and has power?  Jesus' mastery over them did not come from super-human power.  Rather, he had confidence in the face of error because he knew where true power comes from and he was not tricked or tempted into believing that matter or error could offer anything that he could want or need.
 
SH18- ["Mortals will someday assert their freedom" (228:14)] When is that day for us?  When will you, when will your students, drop your present beliefs and assert your freedom and power in God?  Jesus has shown us one step of the way with this temptation story.  Do we believe or trust his teaching enough to begin taking our own steps?
Help your students see what this citation says about the true power of God vs. the power of sin, sickness or death.
 
SH20- Notice the reference again to self ("selfhood" in this instance). One of the key lessons to point out in this lesson is the rejection/removal of self. Help your students understand what that really means, and that it does not mean a loss of their own individuality, but rather an expansion of who they are into a more complete expression of Life, Spirit, Soul. [See S&H 265:10] The removal of self, personality, is perhaps one of the most important things we can do as healers. Help your students see the importance of this and begin to recognize what this truly means.  You can even spend some of your own individual study this week looking further into what Mrs. Eddy has to say about the difference between personality and individuality and then bring that to bear on a conversation with your students.
 
SH21- Do you, do your students, see "clearly that all is Mind" as Mrs.
Eddy puts it?  How does one work to see this clearly?  This citation points out that this state of being is "revealed to spiritual understanding."  Are we seeing the world around us through spiritual understanding?  In other words, are we reasoning from a right basis?  If we rely on mortal/material understanding as our basis, the reality and presence of Spirit, Mind may not be as clear, it may not add up as easily.  But when does matter really add up to anything substantial?
One direction you can go is to focus your class around how to stay firmly rooted in spiritual understanding, how does Jesus' example instruct us, how does Mrs. Eddy's example and writing instruct us?
What does scripture tell us about spiritual understanding?  Help your students to "begin rightly" and they will find that the end is always good.
 
Section 5
B12- This is pretty cool:
 
The website this link points to takes each psalm verse by verse, at least around Ps. 106 (I haven't exhaustively researched the whole site), and it offers a thorough look at the verse in context. At least 3 different scholars are quoted discussing this Psalm, and this verse in particular.
 
Perhaps the most insightful point I see regarding this Psalm is that it begins and ends with praise.  While the whole of Psalm 106 focuses on the wrongdoings of Israel & David (the supposed author of this Psalm), the beginning and end are a call to praise God.  What does that say to you, to your students about praise?  Do we praise God often?  Do we praise Him publicly?  Another point made about this Psalm is that the call to praise is not just to each individual, but to the collective whole.  We are to praise God as a group.  Join together in sharing our love for Her.  And yet, are we comfortable praising God publicly?  What stops us?  Why does something so good make people feel so uncomfortable?  How do we remove that sense of discomfort, perhaps a sense of judgment or exclusivity?  How do we include all in the grace of Good, Love as we praise Him?
 
B13 - Clearly praise is important to the Psalmist.  Once again, the same website offers insight to specific verses in Psalms.
And once again, the focus is beginning and ending with praise. Remind your students that Jesus often began his treatments with gratitude. [i.e. at Lazarus' tomb, before feeding the multitudes, . . . ]
Mrs. Eddy discusses the importance of gratitude in her works.  Is not gratitude another form of praise for the good God has already done? [S&H 3:22]
Is not the grateful heart one that is overwhelmingly aware of how good God is?
 
B14- The central question in this citation clearly pits chaff against wheat, and the obvious answer is that the chaff has nothing to do with the wheat. There are two things to consider with this citation: first, do your students know what chaff is, and the process of separating chaff from wheat? For a modern day experience of this process, check out http://doyle-scienceteach.blogspot.com/2009/03/separating-wheat-from-chaff.html
Ultimately the metaphor is simple, but it is important to understand because it is a process that early readers of Jeremiah would have connected to easily. But in a day and age when we don't often harvest wheat by hand, the metaphor may be lost unless explained.
 
With that mini lesson completed, perhaps the most inspiring thing I found regarding this citation came from
On this website, when you look at the commentary on verse 28 in particular, you get a clear sense to not fear false ideas, because when they are compared with true and good ideas, they will be clearly seen as false and lose all their apparent power.  Are your students ever tempted by gossip, or do they fear the presence of lies in their experience?  Help them understand they do not need to fear evil or error because it cannot hold a candle to truth.
 
B17- Do your students know the definition of Heaven from S&H (587:25)? Discuss with them what that definition means.  Then discuss how it pertains to this parable.  Introduce them also to the idea that Heaven is a state of consciousness, not a locale. If that is the case, how are we governing our state of consciousness?  Are we constantly sifting the good from the bad?  How else is heaven described in this section?  What does that teach your students about heaven?
 
B18- The ability to bless the world in the way Jesus did does not come without practice.  Look at Henry Drummond's "The Greatest Thing in the World" and in it you will find a section, towards the end, that is all about how we are to gain the spirit of Christ that Paul talks about in I Cor. 13.  It can be summed up in one word, practice.  Jesus did not simply pray, or think good thoughts, he went out into the world and did good.  Also, help your students see that Jesus did not go out and do miraculous, or extraordinary, or great...he simply "went about doing good."  Good is enough.  Let your students feel that their good, however big or small they may feel it is, is enough to begin their practice of doing good.
 
SH22- This citation confirms the premise of B18. Jesus was normal.
Help your students recognize that the character of Jesus is not different from their character.  His origin is not separate from ours.
Develop in your students an understanding that acknowledges Jesus' work as being supremely natural.
 
SH23- In what way do Jesus' demonstrations sift chaff from wheat? [Like the tool used to sift the chaff and wheat that Mrs. Eddy defines as: "FAN. Separator of fable from fact; that which gives action to thought." 586:7]
What do we see in his example that reveals more about reality? [and about taking action on the facts]
 
SH25- Through all of the talk you may have this week, your students can walk away with a sense of comfort. This citation relieves us of the responsibility of defending reality or good. Do your students ever feel like they have to defend Christian Science?  Do they ever feel like they are not good enough to practice it?  Do you ever feel that way?  Isn't it wonderful to know that the reality we are endeavoring to demonstrate is already established.
 
SH26- Vocab lesson? Do your students know what verities are, or what primeval means? Knowing these two words would help greatly in understanding this text, and its import throughout the whole lesson.
 
SH27-29 Harmony is normal, the regular, natural state of being. How often do we get tricked into thinking that harmony is vulnerable to chance, or that the "natural pattern" of life to be expected is that of a roller coaster with ups and downs?  As God's perfect creations, we live in a kingdom consistently and strongly guarded by Love and harmony. In all of our daily experiences--school, work, relationships, finances--we should uphold harmony as the constant standard. Help your students take the offensive against the suggestions from mortal mind about inharmony.  Help them learn to stand firm in their own right to live free from all fear, strife, or discord of any kind.
 

[PYCL: Bask in the light of all-harmonious Reality!]

Possible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on
REALITY for Sunday, March 27, 2011
By Kerry Jenkins, C.S. of House Springs, MO
 
Harmony is inescapable in this lesson, so you may want to just point to the Lord's Prayer with its spiritual interpretation, the first line: "Our Father-Mother God, all-harmonious". (I always look for opportunities to include those three major things that Mrs. Eddy expected us to teach in the early lessons for Sunday School).  Also, while we are looking at the Lord's Prayer and its spiritual interpretation, the fourth section with its story of temptation can include a look at the line of the Lord's Prayer that says: "lead us not into temptation", etc.  Harmony and health are interchangeable words in much of Mrs. Eddy's writing, which may be of interest to look into if you can expand on that idea.
 
PCYLs in Section 2 include some important and fun concepts about the nothingness of error or evil. Citations S9 and S10 include the thought that discord is the nothingness named error ... and that evil is a negation, absence, nothing.  It completely dissolves fear when we grasp these concepts even to a degree.  There are not "real" awful things that we battle to overcome.  They are beliefs only.  Here's when you can get out your blanket or tablecloth again to put over your table, or you could go in a bathroom if there's an unoccupied one (just for a minute or two), some room where it can be dark.  Bring a flashlight, or if possible enough for all the kids to have one.  Stand in a circle or sit under the table in a circle and each child can have a turn turning the flashlight on and off.  Once the initial excitement has passed (kids love flashlights, I have several flashlights at home that come out daily, so give them a minute), then you can ask some good questions about the dark.  "Where does the dark go when we turn on the light?  Does it run away to some other corner and hide there?  Can you hold the dark, feel the dark?  What does the light do to the dark?"  If you feel rich, buy each pupil their own small flashlight with a name for the flashlight representing what it does.  You can come up with a name and then you can see if the pupils can come up with a name of their own. That way they have a fun take-home lesson.  There are really cheap flashlights available at places like Wal-Mart.  Bring tape or a sharpie so you can write on the flashlight the name of its metaphysical job right on the light.  There is much to expand on here.  Don't be afraid to let the littlest children do the same thing over and over. With some coaxing they will be happy to repeat what the lesson is about light and dark, good and bad thoughts, real and unreal things.  Remember that little kids like repetition; those under-six or seven often ask for the same stories over and over and the same movies too, so it's not a waste of time for them to climb back under the table for another round of flashlight learning!  There is much to expand on here, so have fun.  It is always helpful to hear of your own healing experiences, remember, kids love stories and testimonies are true stories that show them how Christian Science works!  You can share a specific healing that has to do with a time when you were able to see the "darkness" disappear and the light of Truth appear!  Some review of Warren's suggestion of the mask ideas from last week's lesson might also work here.
 
PCYL for Section 3:  Every single citation of Science and Health in this section gives explicit directions on how to heal.  Maybe ask the kids (third grade and up) - something along the lines of "What do you think about when you are looking for healing?"  "How do you pray?"  If you don't get answers, you can have them read a citation each and ask them to share the "directions" they found.  If there is only one pupil, work together -- maybe write out the "directions" in the form of a list.  For example: 1. forsake discord; 2. acknowledge the supremacy of divine Mind;  3. abandon material beliefs.  What does this entail?  Again, consider sharing an experience from your life of healing where you used any of these statements successfully.  Keep in mind that it doesn't need to be "impressive".  We are teaching that healing is an everyday occurrence!  If you really can't think of something to share try finding a testimony or article from one of the periodicals that illustrates the point for you.
 
In Section 4 we have a PCYL opportunity to discuss Jesus time in the wilderness. Jesus overcame temptation because he knew that the "devil" was a mere belief in evil-not reality.  What is temptation?  (some kids may not know).  If even Jesus was tempted what are we supposed to do?  See B8 "...none is able to withstand thee".  How do we recognize temptation?  Does it come in a red suit with horns and say "hey!  You should give your brother/sister a little shove just now."  Or does it have a more subtle "disguise" as our own thought?  Does it sound "reasonable"?  For Jesus it did-he was hungry after forty days right?!  Didn't he deserve to eat?  "But my brother was being mean to me, he deserves to be pushed."  If Temptation/devil came to us in an obvious way would we obey?  Probably not!  So we need to be good detectives and watch our thought to recognize temptation for what it is.  We can shine our "lights" on it so it disappears (Jesus told it to get behind him--symbolic of course but you can't see it there!)
 
PCYL --Section 5 also holds some fun activities and thoughts that lead us to separate fact from fiction.  You can bring some pictures of people separating chaff from wheat the old fashioned Biblical way.  Little ones would enjoy it if you brought something net-like to try casting it out to catch "fish" (good and bad ideas-real and unreal ones!).  They can practice finding the good ideas to keep and throwing the bad ideas out.  Readers, some five year olds and up can read these ideas themselves of course and the littler ones can enjoy having you read to them or you can do it with pictures so they can figure it out themselves.  Let them act this out.  If you have a really young class they will even enjoy the trip to the in-class waste basket, and again this can be done over a number of times, just pick them out of the trash.  Don't forget that kids relish everything that you show enthusiasm and joy for, so have fun with this and they will too!
 

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