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Choose the Good Life--eternally yours; stop worrying about clouds!

Rick Stewart, C.S., Dresden, Germany
Posted Monday, July 11th, 2011

Choose the Good Life; it's yours eternally; don't worry about the clouds!
CedarS Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on
"Life" for the week of July 11-17, 2011
by Rick Stewart, C.S. of Dresden, Germany (and Cedars Camp), RickStewartCS@aol.com
[bracketed italic additions by Warren Huff, CedarS Camps Director and Met Editor.]

[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]
 
How is your life looking this week? Lots of hope and joy, or pretty dim prospects?   Hang in there; there's hope even in the midst of a very cloudy forecast. By choosing to live and having faith that "the goodness of God endureth continually" you are going to make it. The good life, the Life that is Good, God, will be yours. But you have got to hang in there!! It's not always easy, but with God's help and this week's Bible Lesson, your success is assured. 
 
It is kind of like what my boys and I just experienced.  We just traveled from Germany to the States.  Our plan was to first watch the Space Shuttle launch and then come up to CedarS for Session 3.  We had been offered some Buddy Passes for stand-by travel that cut our traveling costs by about a third.  CedarS graciously covered our travel in exchange for my work as Camp Practitioner.  So it was great to know the savings would be a help to CedarS. 
 
But then the clouds began to gather.  Our first flight was overbooked, so we could not get on. Then the next flight took us to New York instead of Atlanta. We spent a whole afternoon and evening trying to get on a flight down to Florida. Early on I had to give up on our original destination, Orlando. And finally later that night we found a flight to Tampa with some seats. That flight became our last hope for getting to Florida in time for the very last Space Shuttle launch.  I was just about to give up on this one also, it was 9:30 p.m., the boys and I were super tired, and the standby list was long, we were number 18.  The math did not seem to work, too many possible passengers and not enough seats. The clouds of doom, doubt, and condemnation were threatening.
 
Just then a man walked over to me, he had noticed my shirt's logo, "Freedom Seven." The logo had been the theme of a youth meeting I had helped organize, but it had also been the mission designation for Alan Shepherd's first flight into space. The man approaching me asked, "You going over for the shot?" He was referring to the Space Shuttle launch.  I replied, "Well, we hope to if we get on this flight."   With authority and certainty he declared, "Don't worry, you will." It was such an assurance, so powerful, that it restored my faith and certainty. And he was right, the boys and I ended up with seats, and all together. When we arrived in Tampa we met that same guy, Pablo, at the rental car counter and he gave us a ride right to the Orlando airport where we needed to go. And to Noah and Johann's delight it was in a powerful, hemi-head Dodge Challenger.
 
Did it matter later that morning that cloudy skies threatened a postponement of the shuttle launch? Forecasters gave a 70% possibility of cancelling the launch. But you know after what we had gone through with our flights and travel, I had this quiet certainty that regardless of the clouds we were a "go" for launch
 
As NASA's official site described it,
"Space shuttle Atlantis lifted off from Launch Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 11:29 a.m. EDT, July 8, 2011 on the STS-135 mission and final flight of the Space Shuttle Program." http://www.nasa.gov/missions/highlights/schedule.html  And we were there!
 
The space shuttle rose through the clouds into the heavens, just like this week's lesson helps us rise through all the clouds of mortal sense, to the certainty of a Life that is enduring and eternally good. A great example is our Golden Text this week.
 
 Golden Text:   "...the goodness of God endureth continually." Psalms 52:1
The Golden Text this week is a line from a song (Psalm.) This song was written by David. The young man we know from the story of David and Goliath. David, the young shepherd anointed by the Prophet Samuel to eventually be king. David who wrote another song, Psalm 23, "The Lord is my Shepherd." And here David writes with a broken heart that yes, God's goodness does last forever, even when terrible things seem to happen. In this Psalm (based on the story in I Samuel, Chapters 21 and 22) David remembers when 85 innocent people were killed and a town destroyed just because the Priest, Ahimelech had helped him.   David remembers the man, Doeg, who falsely reported to King Saul what had happened. When King Saul ordered that the priests should be killed and the city destroyed, no one wanted to obey the king's orders--no one, but Doeg, who then carried out the king's command to kill all these people. And in this remembering David also remembers that even when terrible, terrible things happen, that the goodness of God still remains.   You can read "the rest of the story" in I Samuel, Chapters 21 and 22.
But what we find in this short phrase, "the goodness of God endureth continually," is the keynote for our whole lesson this week, God's goodness, the goodness of Life, shines through even the darkest clouds of error.
 
Responsive Reading:  Our responsive reading introduces us to the idea of that doing good is the key to serving God. Jesus went about doing good. Jesus healed and opposed the evil of disease.   And when Jesus was asked, "What good thing shall I do to have eternal life?"   His reply was that we should give, we should share.
 
Section 1: Choosing good, choosing life.
Here we hear Moses telling us to make the choice to live and do good. It is what gives us life. Choosing good over evil brings into our lives harmony, health, happiness. It brings the real "good" life. I still remember visiting in my older brother's Sunday School class and being asked by Mrs. Bierly to memorize, "Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts." (S -6) When we make these ideas of good ours, when we learn them by heart, they will always live with us and guide us. They become the law to our lives. [That is the intent of CedarS new "A.P. (Answered Prayer) Course on our Time Travelers Trail-to go back to the Bible to write its promises and laws in our hearts so as to take them into the future with modern-day proofs in our lives.]
 
 Section 2: Life measured in good not in years
Noah and Johann have often tried to figure out how old I was. My answer to the question about how old I was always was, "As old as the sun and as young as the moon."   This section of the Lesson makes it very clear how important it is to start thinking of our lives as measured not in years, but in the unfolding good. Mrs. Bierly, the same Sunday School teacher who taught us to memorize, S&H 261:4, also taught us in Sunday School that the time to start handling or healing the belief of age was when we were kids. You don't wait until you are "old" to discover that your lives are the reflection of ageless Life.  You start to measure your life by "the good that is unfolded." (S-9) This idea is from the definition of "DAY" found in the Glossary of Science and Health. As Mrs. Eddy tells us, (in S-10, 246: 27) "Life is eternal. We should find this out, and begin the demonstration thereof." Your eternal life is continuous and you can begin to see that you are living your eternal life right now, right at this moment. So choose to live a life filled with "loveliness, freshness, and continuity." (S-10) After all, what makes better peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, wonderful, soft, fresh bread or bread from last week? Stay soft and fresh by choosing to live in God's day, living in the eternal continuity of good.
 
Section 3: The fun of living with dominion and purity
This section is a great guide about how to live with joy, freedom and dominion. It gives us the tools or ways we can make the choice to be free to live the good life, with "unlimited ...beauty, goodness..." and indestructibility. (S-14) I remember a couple examples from my life where I was grateful for the teachings of Christian Science that let me have a wonderful time, but also remember it the next day! In high school we had some great dances. I was often one of the organizers. After one of our best dances, a friend of mine from the swimming team, was feeling pretty miserable. I didn't know it, but all during the dance he had been drinking. He thought he had been having fun, but he was drunk. As we were all cleaning up, he was outside terribly sick to his stomach. I had never seen anyone so miserable before. He was begging to feel better. I stayed with him. He thought he was going to die. He felt like he was going to die.  He said, "Man, Rick, can't you do something?"   I did tell him he was going to make it. And I prayed. He had been spitting up blood and that stopped. I stayed with him until his dad showed up. I told his dad what was up and maybe to go easy on him. His dad simply said, "Maybe he'll learn something from this." His dad was pretty cool. But you know what I still remember how much fun that dance was, my friend only remembered how miserable he was. We choose.
A couple of years later I was in Colombia, South America. I was at a party hosted by lawyers and judges from the city where I was staying. Several people offered me something to drink; and it wasn't Sprite or Coke. (Sometimes the Colombians joke that the national past time in Colombia is drinking, especially drinking Aguardiente.   Aguardiente is a very powerful alcohol made usually from sugar cane.) But I continued to refuse the offers of alcohol. Finally about two hours later, one of the most persistent guys that kept trying to get me to drink, came up to me. In rather intoxicated, but respectful Spanish he simply said, "I know why you don't drink. You are drunk on life!" He had been watching me having a great time, all without smoking or drinking. Evidently he had gotten the idea. You can have a really great time, and even remember it the next day, all without outside influences from smoking or drinking.
 
Christian Science is the greatest tool and weapon to help us keep that freedom and dominion and still have lots and lots of fun. And this section is filled with ideas of how to keep and maintain that freedom.
 
Section 4: The supply of infinite Good is for all!
Citation B-14 states: "The Lord is good to all." This section makes it clear that God supplies all good to all creation. Lack, hunger, and insufficiency are evil; and they are not from God.  
Citation B-14 promises:  "Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing." God is the source for all good and the source for all that we need. But in I Timothy (B-17) Paul writes of the responsibility of those that have, that who "are rich": to share, to "do good," to be "rich in good works", "ready to distribute," "willing to communicate." Isn't it simply not being afraid of giving or sharing what we have? If we are afraid to share or give, it is because we think there won't be enough. 
All across Europe I have encountered a similar folk story in almost every country. You may know it also; it is the story of "Stone Soup." Stone soup? Yummy, right? Anyway one version of the story goes,   some travelers come to a village, carrying nothing more than an empty cooking pot.  Upon their arrival, the villagers are unwilling to share any of their food stores with the hungry travelers.  The travelers fill the pot with water, drop a large stone in it, and place it over a fire in the village square.  One of the villagers becomes curious and asks what they are doing.  The travelers answer that they are making "stone soup", which tastes wonderful, although it still needs a little bit of garnish, which they are missing, to improve the flavor.  The villager does not mind parting with just a little bit of carrot to help them out, so it gets added to the soup.  Another villager walks by, inquiring about the pot, and the travelers again mention their stone soup which has not reached its full potential yet.  The villager hands them a little bit of seasoning to help them out.  More and more villagers walk by, each adding another ingredient.  Finally, a delicious and nourishing pot of soup is enjoyed by all.
This section unlocks the power of knowing the source of our supply as sufficient and universal. Whether it is something to eat or something that can heal. When was the last time that you withheld, or kept yourself from sharing the healing power of Christian Science because you did not think that you had "enough?" "I don't know enough." "I'm not spiritual enough?" "I'm not a good enough Christian Scientist?" C'mon, fill up the pot with water. Start by simply adding the best ingredients:  love, unselfishness, kindness, and generosity.   Do this and your soup will heal!
 
Section 5: Heal by knowing that the evil of disease is not good, and is not real!
Jesus healed a man that had a withered hand. (B-19) The people standing around, including religious and legal experts, were watching to see if he would do it. They were not cheering him on, "Come on Jesus you can do it,  Come on Jesus you can do it." And Jesus knew what they were thinking. But he was a guy that went about doing good, and he did not worry about what other people were thinking. He did what he knew was right. You will find the citations from Science and Health exactly what you need to duplicate the healing ability that Jesus expressed. It was not the specialness of Jesus, or his personal ability that healed the man.  Citations S-20 through S-22 give us the truths to do the work. Trust the truth, and you will also be able to go about doing good.
 
One time I was travelling a country road in Florida. There were two other Christian Scientists with me. As we drove along I saw Quadbike, a four-wheeled motorcycle go by on the shoulder of the road. There was a little kid driving, and a bigger girl on back. Just after they passed the driver lost control and ran into the barb wire fence. I immediately stopped and ran to the scene. They were caught in the wire and there was quite a bit of blood. I got both of them free from the wire. The little driver was fine, no injuries. The teenage girl had been cut severely by the wire. My friends and I (all class-taught Christian Scientists) were praying from the first moment. We got the girl in our car; the little boy would not leave his Quadbike. We drove her to their home nearby and called an ambulance. All the time we were praying and assuring her that all would be well. When the ambulance dispatcher asked about the neck injury, lots of questions, I finally said, she was screaming really loudly earlier, so her voice box is not cut, just get out here. He assured, "we are already on the way." After twenty minutes the ambulance arrived. We had continued our prayers and assurances all that time. The girl was able to walk to the ambulance.
As the ambulance drove off I continued my prayers and corrected my thought. I was just erasing the false images of accident and injury. And I prayed all day. In the evening I was returning through the small town where the hospital was where she had been taken. I decided to stop and check on her. I got there and went to the room where I was told she was. There was no one there and the bed was made. For a moment I was really scared. Then I continued knowing that God, Life had been continuously there from the first moment. Then a nurse walked by and told me she was still in surgery. It had been six hours. So I immediately went the surgery waiting room. I found her mom there; we had already spoken on the phone. And just as I got there the surgeon came out. He gave a report to her mom and included pictures. He said all was well, that the girl could go home the next day, and all would be well. Then he turned and asked who I was. I told him I had been at the scene and had called the ambulance. He asked if I was a paramedic or doctor. I told him, "No, I am a Christian Science practitioner."  He asked me, "What did you do today?" I told him, "I prayed." He slapped me on the back and simply said, "Good job." 
 
Section 6: The source for a joy-filled , continuous, uninterrupted eternal Life
I love to think of the times when I was able to become completely aware that Life is God. I have seen this consciousness heal and restore life to animals and people. It is one of the greatest joys of Life. Giving the gift that shows people that Life is God and that Life is harmonious is the greatest job on earth.   This section gives us great tools to discover and know the facts about our real, unending, joyous, and harmonious Life.
 When I was a teenager I remember when my mom got a call for prayerful help. A boy was in surgery at that very moment. The boy had been bitten by a monkey and the wound had become infected. The surgeon felt the thumb had to be amputated immediately. His best friend was there with the family and said, "You should call Mrs. Stewart right now." This friend had been to Sunday School just a couple times. So the family called my mom. She immediately began to pray. The change was so immediate that the surgeon stopped the operation and the boy's thumb was perfect. Can you imagine the joy that that family felt?
 
You read this lesson to find that joy for Life that is eternal and the ability to see that Life here and now. That is why you want to learn more about Christian Science. It is the absolutely best way to be able to "go about and do good." To live the Life that is God. To live your life held in the Gospel of Love and Life. 

[If you have been grateful for any of CedarS weekly inspirational emails, this would be a wonderful time to share your appreciation in the form of a gift--as generous as divine Love directs-in support of our workRemember that CEDARS weekly "Mets" or Metaphysical Newsletters, Possible Sunday School Topics (PSSTs) and Possible Younger Class Lessons (PYCLs) are all 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 find these "Mets", PSSTs and PYCLs weekly on our website or through CS Directory.   CedarS most significant recurring needs are spelled out at http://www.cedarscamps.org/giving/unrestricted-gifts.htm .   Just click here to use a credit or debit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, or Discover card) or a virtual check to make monthly or one-time donations to CedarS' in support of spiritual growth.  International supporters can give to CedarS via PayPal using built-in currency exchange rates by filling in an amount under International Donors and clicking on the "Donate Online" button.  

Please also help us fulfill our mission by telling every "un-camped" family you know about CedarS! We have a few bunks left for campers in 4th and especially 5th session--plus a couple of cabins and air-conditioned bedrooms with attached baths left for Family Campers, 50th Jubilee celebrants and Bible conferees. We'll gladly send anyone a DVD and info to help get them to camp - including more on: CedarS
financial aid forms; programs for all ages; session dates & rates; online enrollment; transportation....]
 
 [Camp Director's Note: This sharing is the latest in an ongoing, 11-year series of CedarS Bible Lesson "Mets" (Metaphysical application ideas) contributed weekly by a rotation of CedarS Resident Practitioners and occasionally by other metaphysicians.  (Ask and look for "Possible Sunday School Topics "and "Possible Younger Class Lessons"  in subsequent emails.) These weekly offerings are intended to encourage further study and application of ideas in the lesson and to invigorate Sunday School participation by students and by the budding teachers on our staff. Originally sent JUST to my Sunday School students and to campers, staff and CedarS families who wanted to continue at home and in their home Sunday Schools the same type of focused Lesson study, application and inspiration they had felt at camp, CedarS lesson "mets "and Sunday School ideas  are in no way meant to be definitive or conclusive or in any way a substitute for daily study of the lesson. The thoughts presented are the inspiration of the moment and are offered to give a bit more dimension and background as well as new angles (and angels) on the daily applicability of some of the ideas and passages being studied. The weekly Bible Lessons are copyrighted by the Christian Science Publishing Society and are printed in the Christian Science Quarterly as available at Christian Science Reading Rooms or online at eBibleLesson.com or myBibleLesson.com. The citations referenced (i.e.B-1 and S-28) from this week's Bible Lesson in the "Met" (Metaphysical application ideas) are taken from the Bible (B-1 thru B-24) and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy (S-1 thru S-30). The Bible and Science and Health are the ordained pastor of the Churches of Christ, Scientist. The Bible Lesson is the sermon read in Christian Science church services throughout the world. The Lesson-Sermon speaks individually through the Christ to everyone, providing unique insights and tailor-made applications for each one. We are glad you requested this metaphysical sharing and hope that you find some of the ideas helpful in your daily spiritual journey, in your deeper digging in the books and in closer bonding with your Comforter and Pastor.]
 Enjoy!    Warren Huff, Executive Director   director@cedarscamps.org]

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