Cedar Camps

Metaphysical Ideas

Search Metaphysicals
 

Metaphysical Newsletters

The weekly Metaphysical Newsletter is provided to campers, staff, alumni, friends and the CedarS family at no charge however contributions help defray the costs of running this service.

Click here for more about how you can provide support!
 

Delivered to You FREE!

Available in five languages, get it delivered to your inbox weekly!

Subscribe Now!

Have a supremely happy Easter week! "He is Risen!"

John & Lindsey Biggs, C.S., St. Louis, Missouri
Posted Monday, April 18th, 2011

[Have a supremely happy Easter week! "He is Risen!"]
CedarS Metaphysical Application Ideas (Met) for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on "Probation after Death" for Easter Sunday, April 24, 2011
John Biggs, CS (johnbiggscs@gmail.com, 541.418.1176) [GT, RR, Sections 1-3]
and Lindsey Biggs, CS (biggs.lindsey@gmail.com, 541.460.3515) [Sections 4-6]
[with bracketed highlights 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]
 
"Probation: any proceeding designed to ascertain truth." (1828 Webster's Dictionary)
 
This lesson about probation after death used to quietly frighten me. It seemed like a pretty hefty subject, and both "probation" and "death" sounded pretty scary. Well, this lesson is a perfect way to handle those fears - we'll be discovering how everything is for the glory of God, ever-present good. God, deathless Life, has no obstacles to His expression, and man can never be stopped from having these opportunities to "ascertain [T]ruth"   This probation isn't a punishment, it's a blessing. You may also really enjoy reading the interview with Diane Marrapodi, CSB in the May 2011 Christian Science Journal; the permanence of Life is a keynote in that interview and in this week's Lesson.
 
Golden Text: Live! Glorify God! Have no fear!
What a wonderful note to start out on! Like a bumper sticker, this verse proclaims the Psalmist's love for God, for everyone to see. What could ever stop us from living the truth of this statement? Declaring the works of the Lord is each of our individual opportunities to explore how we express God. The concept of "just being yourself" is very important to many people. This Golden Text tells me that "just being myself" MUST involve declaring the works of the Lord - living Life to the full!  [I continue to "shout from the housetops" the healing and saving power of the Science of the Christ--as detailed specifically in my Thanksgiving 2008 testimony (scroll down) and in Science and Health 162: 4-11--which has kept me alive to "declare the works of the Lord" at CedarS and its developing Bible Lands Park.]
 
Responsive Reading (RR)- Glorifying God blesses us too!
Jesus' whole life was certainly about giving all glory to God. ["Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good - except God alone."B13, Mark10:18, NIV] One way the word probation is commonly used today, is to describe the period immediately following someone's release from a prison. It's an opportunity to prove one's value to society and the truth of one's goodness. Well, Jesus never worried about being judged - he just lived it. This RR is a brilliant example of how goodness is natural. Always look to God to find out about His idea. Worried you might not be good enough to experience healing, valuable relationships and employment, and steady days? That same sense of Truth that Jesus exemplified - the Christ, God's message speaking to human consciousness - doesn't judge or create checklists; it simply saves. Jesus didn't hear God, and then try to add in or take out some stuff to make it more popular with folks. "Whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak." You, too, can speak the Truth with courage and conviction, no matter what situation seems to surround you. Every moment is an opportunity to simply live and state what you know to be true. If glorifying God, good, is forever foremost in thought, could we act in contradiction to goodness?
 
Section 1: What are we depending on?
Time often seems to be the center around which our lives revolve -- classes to get to, bills to pay (which depend on checks being received), relationships that we hope will get better over time...what a rough taskmaster time is!  Perhaps we even justify anger at God or Christian Science because of how long a healing seems to be taking. [Check out this week's Sentinel question: How do you keep yourself motivated to pray when healing doesn't come quickly?] Well, this section speaks to me about the permanence of good - independent of this mortal construct called time. "I will bless thy name for ever and ever." (B1) We're assured that God isn't waiting for (or encouraging) something to happen (like death) that would then bring us closer to Him - He is already ever-present. "Life is deathless" (S3) and Life will never shift into something opposed to it.
 
We're assured in citation S4 that crossing time is not a prerequisite to healing (or wisdom, understanding, or joy...). Life MUST be lived to be Life - otherwise it's just a nice-sounding word. God cannot be kept from being expressed - and you are Her expression. Time is actually irrelevant. Let's start every day this week with the promise that closes the Bible citations in this section: "I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living." We can consistently wake up from the dream of limits. If I'm getting mesmerized with a long list of problems, I like to stop and go through the list, line by line, and ask myself, "Is THIS the problem I think is too big for God?" I do end up chuckling about it, but I also really dive into it.  I love learning more about how God is infinite. Don't be afraid to walk with God!
 
Section 2: In the pits? No! At the store!
In citation B6, the reference to "the pit" caught me by surprise. I've read this verse before, but today I was so grateful to realize even more of how loved we are. "The pits" is often how people describe where they are emotionally, when dealing with depression or fear. On the surface of it, I suppose this verse may not seem very encouraging - those who are in the pits CAN'T hope for truth? What sort of love is that? Doesn't the light of Love reach everywhere? Well...yes! Being in the pits is not our true, natural nature - we are made to praise God, as the citation goes on to say. The only thing that can be in the pits is a false sense of identity, of joy and completion. We WANT to drop that false sense of ourselves - God's creation never has to act out roles that are contrary to the nature of divine good.
 
We're assured in citation S7 that as we let these spiritual qualities reign in consciousness, any sense of their opposites must disappear. And how heartening to realize that both citations B9 and S9 speak individually to every one of us: we don't need to wait, or try to predict when good will finally come. I'm reminded of the common phrase, "good is in store." I know in many situations this is meant to be an encouraging phrase for patience, that someday good will come ‘round again. But when I think of something being "in store," I don't feel that means I have to wait around for it! If I need more pancake mix, I don't say "well, it's in store" and then sadly sit around and wait for pancakes. I go to the store and get some pancake mix! I'm glad it's in store - that means it's present and available and I can have some too! Of course, God is even better than Safeway. Infinite good is even closer than a quick bike ride away! God's store is right here, never separated from Him or His idea. I'm so glad this is included in this lesson, because it tells me that my opportunities for demonstrating good never depend on time, place, or who is present. My opportunities for proving and loving Truth are boundless and immediate!
 
Section 3: Preserved Forever - Naturally!
To my knowledge, all the Christian Science camps either have a lake or pool (or both!) for swimming, boating, fishing and simply gazing. One of the many fun things for campers (and counselors!) at CedarS is certainly the daily ‘free swim' time - a special opportunity for simply enjoying the lovely weather and bonding with your cabin-mates, while rejoicing in the pool. Now, I don't seem to be a particularly proficient swimmer. But I am always so happy to join campers and counselors in the pool, never afraid for a second that I might be in danger, or that anyone around might be in danger. The thing is, I know that God preserves His idea, with not a second ever intervening between Him and me. Citation B10 is the Biblical basis for this idea. [Ps. 16:1]
 
Now, if someone were using a flotation device to "preserve" them in the water, or even being supported by a lifeguard, it's very important that that individual remains fully with that lifeguard or flotation device, and not be scrabbling around trying to hold on to several different things. In the same way, let's strive to put ALL our trust in God.
 
I've had several momentous healings recently that all turned a corner in my thought when I wholeheartedly turned to God. A couple days ago, I was snowboarding and I apparently maneuvered wrongly. I proceeded to cartwheel forward 3 times, with my head striking the ground very hard every time and my body whipping around behind. It was so interesting: during the whole episode, all I could think was, "I am being held. I am being guided. I am being held."  When I finally came to a stop, everything was very still and I repeated to myself, "I am being held by God." Fear and pain did try to barge in quickly, but I was so sure that I had never stopped being held (preserved, you might say?) that there could be no moment in which anything unlike good could enter. I assured my brother and my wife that I was fine. I rejoiced in the forever presence of good and right away I knew that I didn't need time to clear my head; everything I needed was right there. And why shouldn't I get back up and discover some more aspects of good as I rode the rest of the way down?! I hopped up and immediately dove back in to trying to perfect my technique - free of pain and fear.
 
Now, as I'm pleased to read in citation S12, that human will is never the healing agent. ["to follow Christ ... must be in the way of God's appointing." 326:3] I couldn't just get up because I'M TOUGH and it'd be a shame to waste the lift ticket. I had to get up - to follow through and keep loving the fact of being preserved - because God told me to. My actions had to follow from the simple fact of God's ever-presence, not my presence. ["there is none good but one, that is God." (B12) In the following verse, Mark 10:19 (B12), we hear Jesus promote following Commandments 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 to inherit eternal life; and] in citation S13 Jesus stresses the importance of following the first commandment, and a beautiful interpretation of it; and in citation S14 we read that "the way is straight and narrow..." These passages speak to me of the simple fact that God is here, and that's just the way it is. On that mountainside, I didn't have to ritually give long prayers and pray a certain way. I could give in to the power of God's presence, of "divine Love meeting every human need," immediately. And I could wholeheartedly see and live the whole morning as a prayer - praising and glorifying God. We don't have to go on and on about the lie; and we also don't need to try to "help God out" in the healing work with long-winded discourses. Let's just love the preserving power and love of God, and hold on to that. We will always be guided in our prayers and actions (B11) so let's trust that divine Love.
 
Section 4: Our salvation is here and healing is revealed!
The mission of Christ Jesus reveals our salvation. He shows us (and Mary Baker Eddy later expounds on this in Christian Science) that there isn't any power opposed to God, good. 
 
Mrs. Eddy states: "In proportion as matter loses to human sense all entity as man, in that proportion does man become its master." (S18) When we can see that our loved one, or someone in the world we are praying for, is totally separate from material conditions and is dwelling in the realm of harmony right now, made of spiritual qualities, then healing happens. Why?  Because when we see them as completely spiritual right now, along with everything in God's tender care, and man as never fallen (or ever having been the Adam-man), then the illusion no longer seems real to us and error thus destroys itself.
 
In Science and Health Mrs. Eddy states that Lazarus was raised from the dead by the understanding that he had never died (S&H p. 75) and that "Life is not contingent on bodily conditions." (S17, 368:20)
 
Jesus shows us that our freedom, joy and love are here, right now - never to be taken away. "Now it is high time to awake out of sleep" (B16). We are awakened to the Truth by Christ.   "Christ [can] improve on a false sense" (S16) and as this happens we rejoice with the Psalmist:
"...Thou hast lifted me up, and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me...thou hast healed me...thou hast kept me alive...thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing...I will give thanks unto thee forever." (B14)
 
Section 5: Love masters hate and Life overcomes death
Mrs. Eddy talks about the "lonely precincts of the tomb" giving Jesus a refuge from his enemies. It is here that he "solve[d] the great problem of being...[in] his three day's work..." I imagine that for Jesus to accomplish this there couldn't be any mortal thought in his consciousness - no fear or harboring of resentment. He must have been totally and completely seeing the allness and goodness of God and the nothingness - the impossibility - of error. Mrs. Eddy says, "He proved...Love to be the master of hate." He must have felt so full of purity and love - a love for God and for man - that he was able to be resurrected - "Love reflected in love".
 
How beautiful is it that Mary Magdalene was first to discover that Jesus was raised and to see and talk with him. "The ideal woman corresponds to Life and to Love. In divine Science, we have not as much authority for considering God masculine, as we have for considering Him feminine, for Love imparts the clearest idea of Deity." (S&H p. 517)
 
In a marginal heading called "False Womanhood", Mrs. Eddy speaks of Eve, Mary (Jesus' mother), Mary Magdalene, and herself - Mary Baker Eddy: "She has already learned that corporeal sense is the serpent.  Hence she is first to abandon the belief in the material origin of man and to discern spiritual creation.  This hereafter enabled woman to be the mother of Jesus and to behold at the sepulchre the risen Saviour, who was soon to manifest the deathless man of God's creating.  This enabled woman to be the first to interpret the Scriptures in their tru sense, which reveals the spiritual origin of man." (S&H p. 533:30-534:7)
 
In The Gospel of Mary of Magdala, Peter asks: "'Sister, we know that the Savior loved you more than all other women. Tell us the words of the Savior that you remember, the things which you know that we don't because we haven't heard them'... And she began to speak these words to them." (p. 15) This is a great gospel for hearing the disciples talk about the nothingness of matter and sin and learning more about our true nature as the image of God. 
 
(S26) leads us into the next section perfectly. 
 
Section 6: The Christ - still vibrant and powerful today!
Jesus rebukes the disciples for not believing Mary when she says that he has returned. The New King James version states it this way: 
"Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature...And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.'" (B20)
 
What a wonderful message to conclude this week's lesson. When Jesus was crucified the disciples disbanded and went back to their former jobs and lives. But when he resurrected, their faith, dominion and joy were also resurrected. As you can read in Acts of the Apostles they went on doing wonderful works in establishing the early Christian church and did many healings,  ["confirming the word with signs following. Amen." As Cobbey Crisler said about this closing verse of Mark: "apostolic works follow apostolic words. They are inseparable. ‘Amen,' meaning this is the truth. And if it is the truth, we know it makes us free. That gospel can be freed from the page on which it is written and enter our own embodied lives, and be seen worldwide in results."  What Mark Recorded, B. Cobbey Crisler]
Jesus embodied the Christ, and didn't merely have a superpower. The Christ acting in the human consciousness made healing realized in Jesus' day as it does in our day today! The Christ doesn't dim, die out, or decay. "...the Christ is without beginning of years or end of days" (S&H p. 333). The Christ is just as tangible, powerful and full of compassion, tenderness, and authority today. What does it do?  It:
 
1.      Voices good
2.      Speaks to the human consciousness
3.      Dispels the illusions of the senses
4.      Heals the sick
5.      Casts out evil
6.      Destroys sin
7.      Destroys disease
8.      Destroys death
 
"Christ is the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness." (S&H 332:9-11) Listen to and lean on the voice of Christ speaking to you. It's going on each moment and is ever-present -- today and everyday! (Check out the Platform in Science and Health pages 330-340 for many more ideas on the Christ [- whose gift of eternal Life we celebrate today and on Easter Sunday. "Let us sing of Easter gladness that rejoices every day, Sing of hope and faith uplifted; Love has rolled the stone away. Lo, the promise and fulfillment,
Lo, the man whom God hath made, Seen in glory of an Easter, Crowned with light that cannot fade." Hymns 171, 413]


[PSST: Grow with online Bible Study!]
For the Christian Science Bible Lesson on "Probation after Death" for Easter Sunday, 4-23-11
By Steve Henn, St. Louis, MO steven.henn@gmail.com
 
Guides and Resources: Throughout this PSST I will be consulting multiple online resources for support, particularly in gaining a deeper understanding of the Bible.  The root directory for much of what I am looking at is here: http://m.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/.  I give this to you up front because there is a lot more to explore throughout this collection of websites that goes well beyond the work I am doing.  I will endeavor to provide the link to each specific page I use, but encourage each teacher to play with and explore these resources for their own benefit and growth as a student of the Bible.  

Golden Text (GT):  Beginning with the second half of this statement, discuss with your students what it means to declare the works of the lord.  Two primary thoughts come to mind: 1 being alert, aware, and perceptive; 2 being unselfish.  1 To declare anything, we must first be aware of it: encourage your students to keep their eyes open to God's works in their lives and all around them.  His work is everywhere. You might even brainstorm a variety of his works to bring to the class as examples of what they can be looking for each day, and then open the discussion to works that they have seen or might expect to see during a normal week.  That is something else to point out as part of this process of declaring God's work: expectation. Help your students to expect to see the good of God.  2 To declare God's work will require some courage, because those who step out and start to assert that God is good and powerful are often looked at as being different, they are sometimes even resisted strongly.  But the important thing to keep in mind is the reason for declaring God's work. It is to bless all mankind.  Turn your students towards the motto for the Christian Science Monitor, "To injur no man but to bless all mankind." Let unselfishness reign in your heart, and declaring God's good works will come naturally and will be a blessing to all around.

Responsive Reading (RR):  This inspired me and I hope it will do the same for your students: http://m.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/gills-exposition-of-the-bible/john-12-44.html Have you ever considered closely the word "cried" in the first verse of this RR?  I hadn't and I encourage you to look at that word specifically.  Why is Jesus crying out? Help them see the context of Jesus' preaching at this point and how earnestly Jesus wanted others to understand his teachings.  
For further discussion on this RR, consider the following questions. What qualities is Jesus expressing in his teachings here? What qualities does he demand of us?  Most importantly, what do these verses teach us about Jesus' role in our lives, about the purpose and intent of his entire ministry?

PSST Section 1
B1 - How does this citation fit with the subject of "Probation After Death"?  There are small bits of it, particularly the end, that stand out as addressing the lie of limited life. But what of the first verses offered? Why begin this lesson with praise? Are your students the ones sharing God's good work with the next generation? Or are they receiving the good word from the previous one?  Could they be doing both at the same time?

B2 - What a fascinating way of thinking about God and death. He has no pleasure in it.  What does God find pleasure in?  This citation tells us to turn, from what are we turning and to what are we turning?  I am reminded of Mrs. Eddy's statement, "turn like tired children..." Using Concord, look that citation up and see how it applies to your students. Perhaps the best part of this verse is the command to live. Do your students see their ability to choose life, choose good? Do they see that they have a choice in every moment of their lives? What are they choosing? Help them understand that at no moment must they feel like a victim because God is on their side, and one with God is certainly a majority.

B3 - This lesson may pose a challenge for teenagers: more often than not, they have little reason to think about death, especially as it concerns them. So this conversation can easily become academic and theoretical, rather than remaining immediately relevant to their daily lives.  One thing to do with this immediate citation is to look outside the lines. The start of verse 7 in Ps.116 is a great place to begin.  Look here http://m.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/treasury-of-david/psalms-116-7.html for some wonderful ideas about the rest discussed in this verse. Our teenagers are so often encouraged to live life in high gear; help them break that trend. My favorite idea from this website is that "returning to rest is an act of confidence." That must be the case for when we are confident in our abilities or preparedness, we can finally rest our thought. When we are confident in God's ability and ever preparedness to meet any and every need we have, we can certainly rest and be at peace.

SH1 - One reason this lesson is so important for young people to explore is to prevent false faiths that will need to be unlearned later on. While the supposed threat of death may not seem prevalent in their lives, or immediate, Mrs. Eddy's instruction to "begin demonstrating" is important to students of all ages. Begin now to learn more of God and His supremacy, for there is no end to that learning. The same goes for Life, there is no end to the various expressions of life available to us. So get cracking!

SH2,3,4 - What does it mean for something to be "deathless"?  If we truly remove the fear of death from our experience, what sort of impact would that have on our lives? What bigger blessing could we be if we have no limits on the life we live? How would it impact our ability to be patient, or fearless, or gracious?  

SH5 - Read this passage carefully with your students.  What is "being"? Is it existence, is it experience? What does being have to do with their lives? What is being but the activity of life, living life? Ask your students to compare their daily thoughts about themselves to this statement. How often do they declare that the activity of their lives is purely harmonious, and immortal?  Then look over the benefits that Mrs. Eddy presents for those who walk this direction.  Who of your students does not want these glorious benefits? Lastly, what is morality doing in here? How does harmonious being connect with living morally? What does it mean to live morally? And how is it a lifestyle to be desired?

PSST Section 2
B4- Though there are many resources out there for study of the Bible, I am finding Matthew Henry's complete commentary to be consistently helpful. Hs comments on this verse can be found here, http://m.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/genesis/17.html. Two questions this verse inspires, and Henry's commentary approaches are, what does it mean to walk before God; isn't He first and last? And, what does it mean to be perfect?  Turn thought away from this verse as a rigid command and look at it as a promise. Could it not be saying, if you put God before you always the natural outcome is that you reflect His perfection?
A cool alternative translation of this verse says, "Live entirely before me, live to the hilt!" (The Message). When you realize that God is speaking to a man who is 99 years old...what?!!? Just put that before your students and see what happens.

B5- In context, Jeremiah here is speaking of God as truth among lies.  Matthew Henry lays out the history in detail here: http://m.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/jeremiah/10.html.  One thing sticks out boldly to me as I read Henry, and that is that he says directly, "God is truth." What wonderful news to know that a century before Mrs. Eddy the idea of God being Truth itself was considered. As far as your students go, do they see God as the only Truth, the only true place to look for joy, freedom, happiness, ,satisfaction?  Or do they get tempted by false idols? What do false idols have to do with probation after death? Is it possible that the probation of our happiness even here and now is a lie and that the joy of heaven is a present possibility?

B6- "Thanksgiving is good. Thanksliving is better."  What a great idea to put in front of your students.  This glorious outpouring of wisdom is actually part of a song of thanksgiving.  Written by Hezekiah after he was first sick unto death and then returned to health, this declaration that the living, and not the dead, praise God is not just a statement of thanksgiving, but it is a promise of thanksliving.  Hezekiah promises to spend the rest of his life in gratitude to God, in praise of God.  Another important point to understand about Hezekiah is that he isn't your typical reform story.  He wasn't a bad boy turned good by the love of God.  He was one of God's biggest fans, a sort of rockstar for God. And in the midst of his glories he found himself sick.  But rather than becoming bitter against God and cursing his fate, Hezekiah prayed to God, and when he got better, he was more than ready to continue his grateful living in service to God.  Help your students to have the humility of Hezekiah. Help them to realize the importance of living their gratitude, not just speaking it. What is the difference here?  How might your students truly live their gratitude?  (The foundation for this explanation comes from Matthew Henry's complete commentary on the bible, which you'll find here: http://m.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/isaiah/38.html)

B9- Where is heaven? Is it far away? Is it after death? Consider Hezekiah's example and Jesus' admonition.  Heaven is within us. What does that mean? Help your students consider not only that heaven within them means they can be happier in their own lives, but that they can bring happiness to others as well. How much joy, love, happiness are in heaven? If the answer is infinite, and I believe it is, that means that we have infinite joy, love, happiness within us to share with others.  We should never, then, hesitate sharing. Why would we? Are we afraid of running out?

SH6- What is the one way to heaven harmony that Christ shows us? Look through the rest of this section and see if other citations reveal more about this way?  As further study, there is an incredible article in Miscellaneous Writings entitled "The Way" you and your students may find it interesting.

SH7- Look at this citation, and look at SH10 as well and discuss how Mrs. Eddy defines heaven. There may be clues in other citations as well, but these two citations are pretty specific to the clarification of what and where heaven actually is.  Do your students understand these definitions? How d they impact your students' understanding of their work here and now?

SH8-11 - Citations 8 & 9 set down perfection as the rule and normal state of things. But 10 & 11 remind us that we have a role to play in this experience. What is our responsibility as thinkers, as spiritual beings? Create a list with your students and begin developing these skills and abilities. Don't get overwhelmed with the need to do everything at once, but begin now to work even on the smallest part, and work earnestly to see how all the other pieces fall into place.

Section 3
B10 - What types of pleasures are at the right hand of God?

B11 - Have your students ever listened for God's voice? Have they successfully heard it? What was their experience? What does God's voice "sound" like? Discuss ways to practice this ability. Mind is always speaking to us, so how do we her it?

B13 - To find life everlasting there is a spirit of humanity required. Rather than just following the rules, as the certain man had done all his life, Jesus asks him to give to the max everything he can give to those who need it.  What can your students give to bless the community or world around them? A there any community service activities your class could do together outside of Sunday School? What about giving their prayers to other parts of the world or community?  How often do your students think of how they can bless others, for that is a key ingredient in heaven.

SH12 - What are your students' motives for studying Christian Science? What are their motives for coming to church? Perhaps the easiest step in prayer is government of our motives.  We have a choice in that matter, and Mrs. Eddy councils us that we can win this part of the battle with error now. We don't have to wait to set our motives right. What are good motives to have? Open your Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures to the page for this citation and read between the lines a bit. Look at what Mrs. Eddy has to say about loving God.  Is that not a solid motive to begin with?

SH13 - When you read outside of the markers in SH12 you read about loving and trusting God most.  Carry that same sense of trust through this citation.  Our students must learn not just to love Life, but to trust Life as being all-powerful. Do they believe life is immortal? If so, do they understand what that means, how that impacts their lives today and tomorrow?

SH15 - As your students wrestle with their motives and how to better trust Life, encourage them to begin this journey now and not be put off by the seemingly long road ahead.  Error would have us believe that there is a huge gap between us and the perfection we desire. But that seeming gap is traversed easily by developing simple qualities in our hearts. What qualities are most important in this citation?

Section 4
B14-16 - What does this section have to do with Probation after Death?  On the surface we see Lazarus who was raised from the dead...but other than that, there is little to do with death here.  But there is a lot about law and love. Do your students have any direct concerns regarding death? If so, look at the power of love as expressed in these citations.  If death is not a present fear in their experience, what else can they be handling through Love? Perhaps the greatest gift Jesus gave us was simplifying the law. If we love our neighbor, we will follow all the commandments without even thinking of them.  Help your students to see what a blessing love is through all the challenges of their day.  Look specifically at B16 and read outside the markers here to discover what else Paul wanted to say to the Romans.

SH16 - How real is Jesus' work to your students?  How relevant is it? If we look at his work as an example, as Mrs. Eddy here encourages us to do, what doors should that open up for us? What are we capable of?

SH17&18 - How do your students define "man"? What is real about man, what is true about him? These citations establish for us just how important it is to recognize what is and isn't part of the real man. How can you make this conversation more than just an intellectual exercise? Think of ways to prove that goodness is real in man, and error/evil is unreal.  

SH20 - Self knowledge is perhaps one of the most important attributes of God's man. Error is constantly misidentifying man, evil and mortal mind would limit man until he is a slave to the senses.  But what is real about each of us? This is when we take all the previous conversations about man in general and make it specific to each of your students. Who are they, really? What is true about them? When we know ourselves truly, then lies that come in to tempt us to believe differently about ourselves become obvious and unattractive. Then we can stand on our own, free.

SH21 - The synonyms are such valuable tools to use, especially with verses like this one. Read this verse aloud and then ask your students to mentally put in synonyms for God.  Have them put in multiple synonyms and then choose the one or two that most resonate with them.  What does seeing that Love, or Mind, or Life is the only power do for them?  How does it specifically address their own experience?  How does it reach out to them and make it more real that error, evil has no power?

PSST Section 5
B17 - Notice that in these three short verses, Jesus clearly states the complete experience ahead of him, through the resurrection.  And yet, when he was crucified, how many of his disciples remembered or trusted the prophecy of the master? It seems a foregone conclusion now that the crucifixion is not the end of Jesus' life, but that is because we know his whole story. But what of our own experience? How often do we doubt the resurrection of our own experience from the ashes of our own trials?  Help your students see that Jesus' example proves to us that no matter how dire the situation, God, good will always carry us through it, all the way.

B18 - How is it that a man so greatly good as Jesus was crucified? What evil had he done? The are two conversations that can come from this line of questioning. First, help your students to know how Jesus was perceived as a threat. He was challenging all held dear by those who accused him.  Their very way of life was under fire. Does this give them any real reason to crucify Jesus? Of course not, but it does lead into the second conversation which is to ask, how easily are we blinded when governed or led by our passions, our ego?  How important then is it for us to remain God centered and egoless.  Introduce them to the conversation held between Pilate and Jesus.  It is not in the lesson this week, but you will find it in John 19:10-12; here Jesus is given the chance to defend himself in a human court to a human governor.  What does he do? And how does his humility, his extreme rejection of self, impact him?  Look to the next citation and see the glory of one who puts God first and foremost in everything he does, everything.

SH22 - Mrs. Eddy confirms Jesus' humility through the use of the word "meekly".  Why is his meekness so powerful? How was Jesus able to remain so humble and fearless in such a perilous situation?

SH23 - Have your students describe this probationary period beyond the grave that Mrs. Eddy suggests here. How is it that Jesus' experience proves uncontrovertibly that this is the case?

SH24 - Where can these lessons be relevant to the lives of your students? When does it matter to them that life is deathless, that Love is the master of hate, and that Mind is more powerful than matter? Brainstorm with them what these situations are, and then discuss with them how to use these lessons in those situations.

SH26 - Jesus had the power to remove himself from the conundrum in which he found himself. Remember that he walked through the crowd unseen when they wanted to cast him off the cliff. But he did not. Why did he not do so? What does this show about Jesus, and what can it teach us for when we are in the midst of trials of our own?  Should we not look more for the presence of God, good, rather than simply wishing it would all be over?

PSST Section 6
B20 - When Jesus meets with "the eleven," the first thing he does is reprimand them for their unbelief.  Matthew Henry comments here http://m.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/mark/16.html that one reason they might not believe is their pride.  How often does pride, however subtle, get in the way of  our connection with Christ? For some of the disciples, they were unwilling to believe until they saw Christ with their own two eyes...how often is it pride that does not allow us to join in the glory of Good, Love in any situation?
The other thing to point out about this citation is something Mrs. Eddy latches on to in SH29: the signs mentioned follow them, meaning anyone, who believes. Notice first that anyone who believes can do the work of Christ.  Notice further that the statement is a declarative one, these signs SHALL follow them, not might, or may, but shall or will, which means if you believe, be like Jacob and do not let go of your belief until it blesses you.  Help your students to persist in their good work through all doubt, fear, or temptation.

SH27 - What is "spiritual dullness" and do your students ever feel this? The word and life of God, Christ is exciting...whose responsibility is it to wake up from any sense of dullness? Do your students see just how exciting the life of Christ is? What would make it dull to them? What can they do to wake up? What is exciting about Christ? What about "infinite possibilities"?

SH28 - Point out the sheer power of Mrs. Eddy's language in this citation.  A great thing about what she says here is that she puts each person in the driver's seat. We do not have to wait for someone else to show us we are worthy of being God's own likeness.  We have the power, prerogative, and freedom to admit this fact to ourselves right here and now.  If our admission of this sets us free...what is holding us back? Why do we not run towards God, good?  

SH30 - Two vital points are made in this citation. First, we must recognize that the demands being made on us of higher proofs are real demands.  These are not just suggestions or hopeful requests.  Do your students feel the demand of proving God's presence, the reality of good and unreality of evil? Second, we can find comfort in what is demanded of us - that it will never outstrip what we can "certainly fulfill." Do your students realize just how close God is, how much He is helping us every moment of every day? Work with them to feel and know and listen for God's voice, the voice of Truth, Love, Spirit, Principle!  This voice teaches us of our perfection and shows us that we are progressing infinitely in our reflection of the One, perfect God, Good.
[PCYLs: Enjoy a Board Game for Easter and beyond! PCYLs is pronounced pickles]
Possible Younger Class Lesson ideas for April 24, 2011 on
"Probation After Death" the Christian Science Bible Lesson for Easter Sunday
by Kerry Jenkins, C.S. House Springs, MO  [italic titles by Warren]
[A PCYL project idea-with rewards lasting longer than an Easter Egg Hunt:]
This week's lesson has many beautiful aspects that can be focused on. It is hard for me to focus on just one angle but this week I have chosen a rather involved project that can be modified to match the needs of any number of age groups. So the extra inspirations and nuggets that I've overlooked in this project can either be folded artfully into the general discussion or you can leave this project for another time. You can choose to extend this project over a couple of class periods and if it is successful, keep it on hand to play now and then when someone expresses an interest.
 
[Play "The Way" (of holiness and wholeness) Game to celebrate the Way-shower:]
I've chosen to follow the thread that is quite present in the lesson that illustrates the "way" or "path" that we should follow.  This encompasses how we should behave, what should motivate us, who we should listen to, how we should heal, and so on.  There are more than fourteen direct references to this sort of thing, such as: walking with God, the way, finger posts of divine Science, path of life, followed thee, starting point, advancement, progress, follow Christ, the way is straight and narrow, advancing spiritually, death not the threshold over which we should pass..., Jesus was "the way" and so on. It has taken some thinking but I've come up with something of a pattern for a board game consisting of a starting point with a square containing the quote on S&H p. 326 from the third section: "The purpose and motive to live aright can be gained now. This point won, you have started as you should. You have begun at the numeration table of Christian Science, and nothing but wrong intention can hinder your advancement. Working and praying with true motives, your Father will open the way."  You can abbreviate it if you wish. I built my board with a path containing about 18 squares sandwiched between the start and the finish which takes its quote from the same section,  S&H p. 21 "If the disciple is advancing spiritually...till at last he finishes his course with joy!" An older class could find the applicable passages to copy into the squares, use page numbers and Bible chapters and verses rather than markers in the lesson so that if the game is used in the future you can find the quotes. You can also leave the squares blank.  Find flat markers to use for the game pieces such as buttons that are varied, flat will help with one aspect of the game.  You could use coins too.
 
[Easter probation discussions, before the game starts, ...]
Before you start putting the game together of course you would want to discuss probation and progress and advancement and so on.  What did Jesus ask of us?  What does it have to do with Easter? (This would most likely be third or fourth grade and up).  Following the commandments is a kind of "path", doing as Jesus tells us in the Beatitudes is a "path" and so on.  You can discuss what a "straight and narrow" path might mean.  Where does this path lead? (S14)  On this path we "war with the flesh", what does that mean? Citation B10 gives us a marvelous description of the "path of life" and what we can find there. There is the story of the rich man who was asked to give up his wealth to follow Jesus. How does that apply to us?  Little ones will enjoy the sheep and shepherd idea where the Shepherd shows the sheep where ("how") to go!
 
Once this part is done then you can proceed to begin either playing or creating your game with the students.  The older classes may enjoy making the game.  You can get them started with the beginning and ending squares.  I then made cards with different "intentions" or "motives" on them.  This is a bit tricky because young children generally don't really have conscious "wrong" intentions.  They may choose to do the wrong thing, but their intentions are not really purposeful or thought out.  But the exercise can still work to develop an awareness of how their actions make people feel and how they follow or don't follow the "path" that Jesus laid out for us.  For the youngest classes I suggest making cards ahead with maybe three "bad" intentions and at least a dozen or more good ones.  Examples for the preschool age might be something like: "You have just shared a toy that you really like with a friend.  Move forward two spaces."  "You did your best to say the Lord's Prayer at the beginning of Sunday school, move forward two spaces". "You made your bed this morning all by yourself without being asked, move ahead three spaces."  "You finished your dinner without goofing off or complaining about the food, move ahead three spaces".  An example of the "bad" intention could be the opposite of any of these things, or something like: "Instead of coming right away at the playground when it was time to go, you ran away.  Go to the "dark valley" until your next turn when you can climb onto the "bridge of Life" by sharing what you could do next time you are at the playground to show your love for your mom or dad or God when it's time to leave.  (Or if they don't get that tell them they can do a joyful dance or sing part of "Shepherd show me!").  You whined about dinner mom made and played with your veggies. Go sit under the big rock where they buried Jesus until your next turn. Then think of an angel thought that lifts off that rock and return to the space you left and move forward one space! (When they go to a space off the path, they should always come back to their original place and then advance at least one. This represents their progress as well as keeping them from feeling unhappy about being "sent off the path").
 
With older kids you can have them design their own cards with appropriate good motives and so on. My seven year old, for example, had the questionable motive of exercising more so he could be faster than another boy in his class. I made three spaces in the middle of the board for the players to go if they drew a card with a "bad" motive on it. One space was the "pit of hopelessness" and they get out of there by singing a hymn or dancing a dance of joy Isa 38:18 and Ps. 30:3 from the lesson. I made a "valley of darkness" and put a "bridge of Life" over it. The darkness is just a dark patch and the bridge is a chunk of toilet paper roll cut in half length wise, about three inches long and taped so it bridges over the "valley". Then there is a rock under which you can put the players piece when they draw the card with the rock that represents the rock in front of Jesus' tomb. I made seventeen cards with only three of them being negatives because my kids really didn't like those ones. But older classes won't get so upset by having to leave the path and may think it a bit funny and entertaining/interesting to come up with right motives to get themselves back on track. Little kids can get a bit hung up on winning, another motive to be discussed??? Of course it is important that the good motives far outweigh the bad in number, just as when we give a treatment the affirmations should outweigh the denials.
 
You may want to "code" the cards for the non-readers with smiling faces for the good motives because these bring joy, and sad faces for the bad motives because these make you unhappy ultimately.
Here are some standard challenges for you to use if you are unfamiliar with the things kids face: happily going to bed, happily doing jobs at home (you can make any number of cards with positive things that kids can do here), thanking people, giving someone who looks like they need it, a smile or hug, listening well when the teacher/parent is talking to you, being especially kind to a sibling. And so on.
We played this game successfully with a 4 and 7 year old tonight, so I hope you have fun with it!
 
Enjoy, and happy Easter!!,  
Lots of love, Kerry
 

[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. We just discovered that we need some major contributions to complete this year's wonderful and fun additions to Bible Lands Park. You can learn about CedarS other needs at http://www.cedarscamps.org/giving/ 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 us reach out to the "un-camped" students enrolled in Christian Science Sunday Schools across the world.  They outnumber Sunday School students who attend 1 of the 6 camps for Christian Scientists in North America by more than 2 to 1. Experience shows that "CS-camped" children who are given the laboratory experience of putting their training from home and Sunday School 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 camp! We will gladly send them--and you--a DVD 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, 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. (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
 

Metaphysical

GEMS to wash away blame-game feelings and their bodily results with floodtides of Love! - GEMS...
Latest Lesson Application Idea

Newsletters

Get free weekly uplifting newsletters (available in English, Spanish, French, German and now in Portuguese!)
Subscribe or Update Subscription

Facebook

Find CedarS on Facebook for the latest news, heart-warming fruitage, facility upgrades and more!
Go to the CedarS' Facebook Page