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Never accept the bald impositions of sin, disease, and death! God is all!

Kathy Fitzer, St. Louis, MO & Park City, UT
Posted Monday, April 4th, 2011

Don't accept the bald impositions of sin, disease, and death! God is all!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on
"Are Sin, Disease and Death Real?" for study during the week of April 4-10, 2011
by Kathy Fitzer, C.S. of St. Louis, MO & Park City, UT [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]
 
This week's lesson is very straightforward, and continues the theme of the last two lessons on Reality and Unreality. God and God's creation is all. God didn't -- and couldn't -- create sin, disease, or death, because they are so unlike Him. Rather, God delivers us from this triad of errors. We are given three examples of three women freed by Christ [or his disciples]. As we understand God and accept what the Bible teaches and practically demonstrates about Him, we, too, see through the unreal beliefs (impositions) of sin, disease, and death and prove them to be unreal -- so powerless to govern man! 
 
Golden Text: God (Life, Truth, Love, Spirit, Soul, Mind, Principle) is God ("the creator and ruler of the universe and source of all moral authority; the supreme being." -- The New Oxford American Dictionary) There's only one power -- no other in heaven or on earth. Our job is to be aware of that fact, be certain of it, and perceive the depth of what that really means. There IS no power other than God, good! Period. No exceptions!
 
Responsive Reading (RR): These verses are part of a psalm of thanksgiving attributed to David after God kept him safe from Saul. Check out all the adjectives and verbs. Let it really sink in what God is and what God does. God is described as rock, fortress, deliverer, shield, refuge, saviour, lamp. That means stability, safety, guidance, and deliverance for each of us. God hears, powerfully answers (thunders), rescues, delivers, and encircles us with strength so we can face whatever comes our way. God lives, and God loves us -- is delighted with us -- sees our innocence. Our job ... simply acknowledge God's power and claim our innocence by doing our best to separate ourselves from iniquity (guilty, sinful or prejudiced behavior.) We know that David wasn't always an angel. He did some pretty bad things. But, God's grace was sufficient to restore his innocence. The last line of the RR will be recognized by CedarS campers as the chorus of a favorite camp song. [It will be coming out this summer in a 2 CDs set recorded by Erin Williams Fisher as a 50th Jubilee benefit for CedarS. Stay tuned for more on these songs that teach that] God is always there for us! We need to be sure we're staying on God's side.
 
Section 1: God made everything good .... so what about evil?
If we accept that God made everything and that He made it good (B-1) then where does that leave evil ... sin, disease, and death? What can we learn from Jesus' example and teachings? He healed all kinds of sickness and disease (B-2) and assured us that as we know the truth, the truth will make us free. (B-4) Interestingly, he also said in the Sermon on the Mount that his purpose wasn't "to destroy, but to fulfill." But, didn't he destroy evil? Yes, but that destruction was simply the by-product of fulfilling God's law. Central to the Law (the Torah) are the 10 Commandments ... the first one being to have no other gods, but God.  Since destruction wasn't Jesus' goal, but he did destroy sin, sickness and death, can't we conclude with Mary Baker Eddy that God didn't create sin, sickness, and death? And if God didn't create sin, sickness, and death they have no truth (S-1) and no reality. (S-2) Jesus understood this and fulfilled God's law by destroying that which is not of God. Healing results as the law of creation is upheld, and the lie is uncovered and destroyed. Truth reigns, evil fades, and good is realized.
 
Section 2: Sin is unreal because unlike God!
We have to be sure we understand the basis for such statements as: "Sin should become unreal to every one." (S-9) As Christian Scientists, we don't play the role of the three monkeys that "hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil." We face the appearance of evil and take away its supposed power by recognizing that it is nothing because it is completely unlike God, and God made all that has been made. (S-6) We must debunk the belief that perfection (God) can be the author of something that can become imperfect -- in other words that the man of God's creating can fall to the status of a sinning mortal. (S-7) To divest the world of sin, we have a big job that requires our close attention.... we MUST have only ONE Mind! (S-8) The Bible citations provide the basis for the understanding that sin is not from God (including the fact that God is too pure to see evil - B-5.) The last Bible citation assures us that "sin will not be [our] master." (Romans 6:14, B-8 New International Reader's Version) Read all of Romans Chapter 6 to get a better foundation for how to think about sin. Knowing sin is unreal doesn't mean we ignore it -- or take on a "holier than thou" attitude -- or mindlessly engage in it! Our job is to see clearly that all IS Mind, so all is governed by the Mind that is good and that brings deliverance from whatever is unlike divine Mind -- unlike Love and Truth.
 
Section 3: Law of God upheld as sin is uncovered and rebuked
Knowing that sin isn't real (or being satisfied to believe that "there is no sin") isn't good enough. Mrs. Eddy tells us we have to detect the sin, remove the mask, point out the illusion, get a victory over sin, and prove its unreality. (S-11)  We can know that 6 + 6 does not equal 14, but if we're not alert, and plan our project or try to balance our check book based on that un-fact, things are still going to get messed up.  Falling for the temptations of sin (even while declaring that there is no sin) gets things all messed up, too. The sin must be repented of (behavior changed) just as the equation has to be corrected in order for things to work out rightly. (S-12)  It's so tempting to think narrowly about what "sin" is, AND to not see it in ourselves. Sin, after-all doesn't announce itself. It comes in the form of a mask that would hide our innocence (and others') and have so many disguises that it seems difficult to separate the sin from the person, or even recognize some "responses" to temptation as sin. The Pharisees and scribes brought a "sinner" to Jesus.  They could see her sin ... adultery was visible to all and clearly in opposition to the law of Moses. But, what about their "hidden" sins...the masks of self-righteousness, judgment, intolerance, narrow-mindedness, and their motive of trying to trap Jesus? Jesus could have been in a "lose-lose" situation if he had tried to offer a simple answer [for a "win-win" outcome]. Part of the problem was that he didn't have all of the facts and the man involved (who should have been punished according to Mosaic Law) was absent. So, he was quiet. (Excellent example .... take time to be quiet and let God speak.) Jesus confronted the sin by rousing the conscience of the accusers and showing mercy to the woman -- including the instruction to STOP sinning! Everyone ends up a winner .... the woman's innocence is restored -- she is cleansed, forgiven, and given a second-chance; the men are given something to think about; and Jesus escapes entrapment. (B-9) Sin IS unreal, because God didn't make it. But it has to be addressed in order to be proven powerless.
 
Section 4: Sickness ... truth or illusion?
Just as God is too good to create sin, He is too good to create sickness. The Bible talks about God's "saving health" (B-10) and "the health of my countenance." (B-12)  It says that God only does "wondrous things" (B-13) and does "not afflict." (B-14) If we accept only ONE creator, one CAUSE, and believe that creator to be God -- Mind --, then it logically follows that disease can't be a cause or an effect because good can't cause evil. (S-14) Mrs. Eddy makes the point that "if sickness is real, it is part of immortality." (S-15) If sickness were immortal, it would be absurd to try to cure it. A whole lot of money, time and energy is put into trying to cure sickness, when the only lasting solution is to recognize sickness as a mortal illusion or dream. (S-16) It's hard to accept that when it feels and looks so very real. But, that's when it's helpful to take a step back and reason logically. You know how to "cure" someone who is having a nightmare .... wake them up. That's exactly how Christ, Truth, saves mankind from every kind of disease we seem to be plagued by. Christ awakens consciousness to see that disease has no cause and no effect ... "the whole earth [is] filled with his glory." Our job is to respond to Truth and see what really is -- and to stop fearing and struggling with what is not. Disease is an imposition -- posing as truth, but really a bald-faced lie -- with no foundation because God, Love, could not possibly afflict!
 
Section 5: Time is no barrier to the healing of sickness ... which is always untrue.
It doesn't matter how long that which is untrue has been believed to be true. That belief doesn't make it true; and when Truth is brought to bear on the lie, the lie yields. People believed for many, many years that the sun moved around the earth. Their beliefs didn't make it so. People were slow to believe the truth, but it's hard to argue with proof. Jesus PROVED disease to be unreal. He instantly healed the woman who had been afflicted for 18 years -- much to the dismay of the Pharisees, who were more concerned with the laws of the Sabbath than with the freeing of a woman. (B-15)  The New Interpreter's Bible puts great emphasis on the fact that this was a woman who was liberated .... raised in value to being called the daughter of Abraham. As Christian Scientists, we put more value on the healing itself (whether woman or man) -- demonstrating the fact that sickness must not be "true or the idea of Truth" since it was indeed destroyed -- and CONTINUES to be destroyed! (S-17) However, Jesus' elevation of woman was the first step in preparing Mary Baker Eddy to continue the demonstration of the healing of disease in Christian Science. (S-18) And as we demonstrate more definitively and consistently that sickness is NOT real, the "Pharisees" of our day will stop criticizing what they haven't before understood -- or believed. (S-19)
 
Section 6: Death isn't part of God's plan.
The temptation is to either fear death as a [real] enemy or to welcome death as a friend. But, we need to rethink taking either of those approaches. We learn from the Bible that [the unreal "last enemy,"] death springs from man's "enemy" -- not from God. (1 Cor. 15:26 and B-16) God rescues us from death. (B-17 New Living Translation) Walking in the path of righteousness, there is no death. (B-18) The 23rd Psalm tells us, God LEADS us in the paths of righteousness. We can conclude that if God doesn't lead us into death, but rescues us from it, God didn't make death. Thus, death is not part of the reality of God's allness. There is no reason to either be afraid of death -- or view death as a pathway to getting closer to God. (S-21)  Death (or the belief that life ends) is the flip side of accepting that life begins. This would be true IF life were based in matter. But, we must counter this misconception with what is true in SCIENCE (Truth) -- that "nothing can interfere with the harmony of being nor end the existence of man ..." because man doesn't live in matter. (S-20) Start from the correct premise. Life (God) doesn't change ... doesn't come and go. As we start demonstrating this truth regarding the belief that any expression of harmony can be stopped (die), we'll grow closer to feeling the "divine energy of Spirit" that recognizes "no mortal nor material power as able to destroy." (S-22)  Death is powerless!
 
Section 7: Peter demonstrated Life .... so can we!
If Jesus were the only one to have raised people from the dead, it might be arguable that he was the only one who could  overcome it, and we would just have to accept it as part of life. But, Peter was Jesus' disciple ... just like you and me. And, when he was called to the bedside of Dorcas, he put all of the people (thoughts) that were holding on to death as a reality out of the room [just like he'd seen Jesus put out the mourners prior to raising Jairus' daughter in Section 5 of last week's lesson, Mark 5:37-42.] Peter prayed -- aligned his thought with what God (Truth) knew about Dorcas, and restored her life. (B-19) We've already seen that Life doesn't know, condone, or support the belief of death. The statements we had in Section 6 were from Psalms and Proverbs. Peter would have been familiar with those teachings ... and had seen Jesus raise others and himself from the grave. So, he confidently commanded his fellow-disciple to arise -- and she did! Being a disciple herself, Tabitha must have disbelieved in death which no doubt helped her to respond to Peter's call. The grave was robbed of its victory! (B-20) Just because it is commonly accepted that death is inevitable for us all, we don't have to accept that.  It is detrimental to our health to mindlessly accept that death is real. Ultimately it will be seen to just be part of the mortal dream and will disappear when the light of Christ is fully realized. (S-26)  Defend yourself (and all) from this belief daily! We can't accept it for a minute! Life is independent of matter and NOT subject to decay and dust. (S-25) We live in Spirit alone and must demonstrate that!
 
Section 8: John's vision of new heaven and new earth = salvation here and now
Isaiah spoke of a new heaven and new earth (Isa. 65: 17; Isa. 66: 22) and now John has actually seen it as God's ever-presence, dwelling WITH man. (B-21) The New Interpreter's Bible speaks of the "provisional" (arranged or existing for the present, possibly to be changed) being replaced by the "fundamental" (the essential nature of something.) What the physical senses reveal as life (with its death, sorrow, crying and pain) fades in the presence of spiritual reality -- present right here, right now and seen as God's expression of His creation. The Bible identifies God as our salvation -- our deliverance from sin, disease and death. (B-22)  This unreal triad of error naturally fades as "Life, Truth, and Love [is] understood and demonstrated as supreme over all." (S-27) God, "the divine Principle of harmony" IS with us because God is ALL.  As we realize the presence of harmony, the presence of the Kingdom, in our lives -- everything unlike this Kingdom MUST disappear. (S-29)  This fact has been demonstrated -- not just back in Bible times, but is being demonstrated today. Be aware of God's presence so completely ... keep thought so focused on what God has made -- that that's ALL you are aware of. Don't wait for the big things. Just like a stream of water gradually erodes away the ground and carves out a deeper and deeper canyon, let's let true spirituality erode away false beliefs that we may be accepting (sometimes even unconsciously.) Then spirituality will deepen our human experience until we see the whole of material existence to be a "bald (empty, naked) imposition and sin, sickness and death will give way to a demonstration of harmony. (S-30) Challenges will continue to arise ... the old sense of earth will persist ... but we can insist on bringing our new vision to the "old" scene until the scene is changed forever and salvation is realized (bit by bit!)
 

[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


[PYCLs: Saved: from yucky sludge! Ugly masks! Missed opportunity! Bad dreams! Dead ends!]
Possible Younger Class Lessons for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on
"Are Sin Disease and Death Real?" for April 10, 2011
By Kerry Jenkins, CS of House Springs, MO: kerry.helen.jenkins@gmail.com (314) 406-0041
[with bracketed italics by Warren Huff, Editor and CedarS Camps Director]
 
[PCYL Concept #1: Salvation -"Have you been saved?" YES!!!]
It's always a good idea to talk to the kids, whatever age about the subject of the lesson.  Do they get the question?  Can they answer the question and understand why?  Older kids will always say "no" to this question, but that doesn't mean that it feels like that to them, so this is a good opportunity to dig in a little deeper.  This week's lesson emphasizes salvation.  What does that mean?  How are we "saved" from sin, disease and death?  In this lesson are we learning how to be healed from sin, disease and death?  Or is that kind of a tricky question, since they aren't real.  They are like the darkness that we've been talking about the last two weeks that is merely the absence or lack of light, not a real power.  Of course you can always get out the flashlights again with the littlest classes.  Two-four year olds will probably never get bored with seeing them and it really is a great analogy.
 
The Golden Text holds another cool chance to think together about the first and second commandment.  Maybe try asking them to read it (or read it with them if it's too hard for the first graders), and ask them if it sounds like anything else they've heard in the Bible, does it remind them of any important rules they know?  I guess that's a leading question, but it's fun to see how these commands really show up all over the place.  If there is only one God, then he must be the author of the only thing that can be, good, health, life, etc.  You can discuss how we sometimes try to make "gods" of sickness or sin by accepting them as real, as a part of our day or someone else's and then moaning about them or being unhappy about them.  We can always turn toward Good, toward God-like thinking and away from the lure of thinking these things have a power separate and equal or more powerful than God-Good.
 
[PCYL Concept #1: Let the sediment settle out!]
 I like the emphasis in this week's lesson put on the unmixed goodness of God. There can only be good in God and likewise in His creation. Try bringing in a jar with some sediment in the bottom.  Test it first at home and make sure that the sediment is not too fine or too coarse.  It should mix with the water enough to make the water cloudy, and then settle to the bottom leaving it fairly clear in five or so minutes.  When you have it in class with water on top you can let them each give it a stir to see what happens.  Continue to talk about unmixed or untainted good, you can use the tares and wheat story, or the parable of the impossibility of gathering figs from thistles, etc. or just get some ideas from the kids while the water has a chance to settle out of reach of busy hands.  Can you add just a little "bad" to something good and have it still be good?  Should we accept about ourselves (or about others) that there are good and bad things about ourselves (or about others)?  [A common spring mix-up is to believe that a beautiful spring comes with bad and brings with it ugly allergies and storms.] When the water is stirred it looks like it's all one substance, but after it's settled, they can see that they really aren't a part of one another.  Just so, sometimes sickness "looks" like a natural part of life, but like the water-we can allow ourselves to calm our thought and be undisturbed and see the clarity-the separation between truth and error.  Mrs. Eddy has passages about undisturbed thought on Science and Health p.306:25, and also in her definition of River in the Glossary.  (p. 593) Citation S4 is also very clear about the divine source.
 
[PCYL Concept #2: Remove the mask!]
In citation S5 we have the passage about Jesus tearing off the "disguise" from error.  We've talked about masks in past lessons and here again with the littler ones you could have simple masks with pre-made faces, sad, angry, whatever that can be held up or removed by "understanding" that they are not the real "you"!  (My class of four-year-olds made masks a couple weeks ago with paper plates and Popsicle sticks, so these really don't need to be complex).  You could do simple props too: does dressing up as a super hero, or a bad guy, make you into one?  Who did God make you to be?  Sickness is like the costume/mask; it is not a part of you, merely a disguise!
 
[PCYL Concept #3: Keep thought "filled to the brim" with good!]
The end of this citation S8 states:  "...evil can have no place where all space is filled with God."  Talk about our thought being filled only with angel thoughts.  Anything else is error "pretending" to be our thought.  Here's another way to use the jar of water: set it in a pan with low sides and allow the kids to fill it with water from a small pitcher or watering can.  Let them fill it right up to the brim and ask if any more fits?  This is how we want to keep our thoughts filled, right up to the brim with good. This is how God is; there is no room for anything but good.
 
[PCYL Concept #4: Keep your eyes on the prize and your thought "on-target"!]
There are some tricky subjects for young children to talk about in this lesson, so gauge your class.  Kids a little bit older can get a simple definition of sin, being anything that's looking outside of God for its source.  [You may want to remind students that "Only God can bring us gladness" (Hymn 263) and that the original Greek word for sin comes from an archery term for "missing the mark" or bull's eye. If you seemed to have missed an opportunity, make the next one God that hands you count!] Citation S9 refers to the divided kingdom and you could talk about where that phrase comes from and what that means.  Reason that God doesn't create a perfect, "very good" being and then have it destroy itself by making it entertain wrong thoughts.
 
[PCYL Concept #5: Wake up and straighten up! Let an up-look determine your outlook!]
Death is another tricky subject because it isn't a part of most kid's experience in a strong way, but you may find that your particular class has a need to handle some of these ideas in this positive way that is laid out in the lesson.  You can talk about how it is similar to a dream (S16).  They seem very real but we know when we wake that we don't have to go back and fix the dream, just wake up!  You can expand on this with the Bible stories available.  It also works with the woman who was "bowed together".  (B15)  Wasn't that like waking from a bad dream?  Think about the view that one would have if one had been "bowed together".  Have them stand up and then bend double.  They'd see the entire world as ground, dirt, trash, grass, floor and maybe the occasional flower.  What happens to their view when they stand "upright"?  Discuss what it means to be "upright".  You can see where you are going when you are upright too, and "choose" a good path.  How exciting this must have been for this woman after 18 years!!  You can emphasize here that if God made that woman to be bent, then how did Jesus heal her?  He was able to reveal her true nature because he knew what God had made! 

Have fun as always!

Metaphysical

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