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Stay Connected with the Power of Spirit!

Craig L. Ghislin, C.S., Glen Ellyn (Bartlett), IL
Posted Monday, August 1st, 2011

Stay Connected with the Power of Spirit!
CedarS Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Lesson on
"Spirit" for the week of August 1-7, 2011
by Craig L. Ghislin, C.S. Glen Ellyn, Illinois
[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]
 
Where do you go for answers [to problems that seem to be "with you"]?  I saw an interesting headline in the newspaper citing that even "after Oprah," millions are still turning to self-help gurus to solve life's problems.  There are pundits everywhere on every subject.  Book stores, radio and television shows, seminars, conventions, not to mention the plethora of blogs and websites on the internet, all promising to supply the answers to health, finances, enlightenment, and so on.  And yes, there are those seeking spiritual help too, but often, they find themselves in an endless pursuit for that "special citation" or "word of wisdom" that will bring them healing or enlightenment.  Then there are those who are constantly seeking scholarly or historical evidence that might serve as justification for their faith.  We tend to look in all directions except to God, Spirit.  Only Spirit has the power to regenerate, heal, and give true direction to our lives. [Today's "Daily Lift" by TMC Clerk Nate Talbot called "What's With You?" offers a Spirit-based solution.]
 
The Golden Text assures us that the flesh, and all it may promise, has no profit at all.  It is only the Spirit that gives life.  From a theological standpoint, this passage indicates that the letter of the law-the rules and rituals- are worthless without the Spirit.  This Lesson explains how Spirit is the only creative force; how only spiritual sense can recognize spiritual things; the regenerative power of Spirit; the effect that Spirit has on those opposed to it; Spirit's healing power; and the fact that the Holy Spirit is the power behind every good thing we do.  We have unlimited power when we're connected to Spirit.  [It's helpful to confidently affirm the complete satisfaction of spiritual connectedness--"In Spirit I have everything I need; and I know it!"--whenever the flesh (that "is no help at all") seems to shout for our attention and indulgence.]
 
In the Responsive Reading, Paul addresses the expectation that anything truly valid must be presented in a way that the public finds palatable and acceptable.  The people of Corinth were accustomed to hearing philosophical and intellectual arguments, but Paul didn't avail himself of those.  Rather than presenting rational scholarly arguments, he came to them simply speaking the truth through demonstration and power.  He didn't try to persuade the people with clever words because he had solid proof through spiritual healing.  Sometimes we too, are tempted to rely on humanly approved methods of communication when presenting the Word of God.  The fact is that revelation comes only through the power of the Spirit.  It also takes spiritual sense to receive it.  Paul wanted his listeners to have faith in God-not in him (Paul) as a messenger.  His demonstrations of healing furnished ample proof that his message had divine authority.  If the Spirit is truly present it will be sufficient to inspire men to abandon worldly views.  When the Spirit causes a man to change, he knows it and does not need further verbal arguments to convince him of Truth.  Paul didn't color or water down his message; he gave them the "real thing" straight from God.
 
Paul urged men to sow "to the Spirit" that they might reap a spiritual harvest.  He also depended upon the Spirit to provide the energy to persevere in doing good work.  Those who are inspired by the Spirit will not wear out or become disheartened in the face of obstacles.  The inspired Christian-one filled with the Spirit-is always ready to work in the field, and cannot lose heart.  He considers every opportunity to do good, as a privilege.  While not neglecting those close to him, at home and at church, the Christian actively seeks to do good, as opportunities arise, to everyone he comes in contact with.
 
If you are puzzled as to how to present the truth, or feel that you are worn out, or think you have little opportunity to actively engage in spreading the word, look to the Spirit for inspiration.  The word spirit comes from the Greek pneuma, meaning wind or breath.  To breathe-in is to be inspired, so let the power of this Lesson fill you-inspire you-to wonderful things. [And remember dear friends working with children at CedarS (or at another camp for Christian Scientists) "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. ."Gal. 6:9]
 
Section 1: Spirit Is the Creator
We can take from the origin of the word spirit that it is something that fills and impels to action.  In Genesis, this Spirit is present at the dawn of creation to "move upon the face of the waters" (B1).  In this case, "moved" signifies brooding over as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.  Theologian Albert Barnes notes that God is the only Being whose character has the wisdom and power to create.  These essential attributes-wisdom, power, and character or being, coincide with Mrs. Eddy's explanation of God as omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent (S5).  The Bible doesn't allow for a random, self-made creation.  God alone is the Cause of all that is and creation is constantly renewed (B2).  God is intimately aware of all that He creates and His omnipotence is reflected in perfect order throughout the universe.  His goodness maintains and sustains us eternally.  Spirit is our life.  It brings us into being: it guides, preserves, restores, saves, and keeps us whole (B5).
 
In Christian Science, Spirit is synonymous with God (S1).  It is understood in Christian Science that Spirit, God, never created matter (S3).  Since Spirit is the only creator, matter was never made, and is therefore, unreal.  As mentioned earlier, the omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience of Spirit forever contradict the actuality of matter (S5).  The realization of this changes everything we might normally think about existence.  Once we fully apprehend the allness of God, we don't need anything else (S6).  The question for us to consider here, is how much, or to what degree do we accept this?
 
Section 2: Only Spiritual Sense Comprehends Spirit
How do you know that God is real and that God's love for us is unbounded?  Can we know it because we're told it?  Or because someone wrote it?  According to the Scriptures, these things are revealed to us through the Holy Spirit (B5).  Those who have attempted to transcribe their understanding of the deep things of God have based the authenticity of their claims on the authority of Spirit.  The fleshly senses are of no aid in the comprehension of Spirit.  They can neither express or understand spiritual things.  Again Barnes points out, "The Corinthians entertained an excessive fondness for human learning and wisdom.  They loved philosophical disquisition and oratorical display, and may therefore have been impatient of the "enticing words" of Paul.  To correct their mistaken taste, the apostle asserts and proves the utter insufficiency of human wisdom, either to discover spiritual things, or to appreciate them when discovered."  We see, hear, and learn about God only through our spiritual sense.  No man can truly know what's in another man's heart.  So, no man can truly know God.  God knows His heart and expresses Himself to man.  Unless our understanding of God comes directly from Him, it isn't valid.  Spiritual things seem foolishness to those who are materially minded.  Reasoning from a material basis, it is not possible to attain spiritual truths.  Those who live in and for the flesh are effectively cutting themselves off from the Spirit (B6).  The only way to understand Spirit is through spiritual sense.
 
Mrs. Eddy confirms that the physical senses are incapable of comprehending or discerning God (S7).  She explains that the physical senses are no more than beliefs of mortal mind whose false testimony serves only to reinforce its own lies (S8).  The resulting warfare between Spirit and flesh is not a "real" warfare going on between good and evil, or the real and unreal.  It is only going on in a false material mentality.  As the spiritual sense is understood, the false material sense recedes into nothingness.  If we should doubt the reality of Spirit during this warfare, we should remember that even the smallest understanding of God indicates the presence of spiritual sense, which means we can exercise it (S10).  Our spiritual sense is the source of our intuition, hope, faith, and understanding which eventually leads to the discernment of fruition and reality (S11).
 
Section 3: Spiritual Baptism
Sometimes we may feel quite far from being able to use our spiritual sense.  We may feel that we are so inundated by the flesh that we barely have any ability to see the truth at all.  Mrs. Eddy states that sin is the greatest obstacle to spiritual understanding.  So what to do?  Clean up our act!  In Psalm 51, David utters the well-known words, "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me" (B7).  Tradition has it that these words came about during a severe trial in which David was forced to acknowledge and repent from his sin.  During a less urgent, but equally important occasion, Jesus tells Nicodemus that in order to see the kingdom of God man must be born again of the water and of the Spirit (B8).  Many scholars see this as a reference to baptism.
 
Have you been baptized?  In Christian Science, baptism includes washing away all fleshly impurities and purifying our hearts (S12).  This baptism should not be taken lightly.  The carnal mind resists the spiritual facts of being; and we tend to think we can get by with a little bit of both.  But as the Bible teaches, the flesh and Spirit are total opposites.  For flesh to recognize Spirit it has to be spiritualized.  We can't understand the facts of harmony while immersed in the discords of the flesh (S13).  We are told this over and over in both the Bible and our textbook.  There is no partnership-even temporarily-between flesh and Spirit.  The only way to eliminate the claims of the flesh is to acknowledge the supremacy of Spirit (S14).  Our Leader urges us to focus on the spiritual model not the demoralized fleshly view (S15).  She promises that this course of action will bring spiritual reality to our consciousness.
 
Section 4: Spirit Overcomes Material Opposition
Accepting the spiritual logic of the foregoing promise, we might think that the departure from fleshly beliefs we are considering would be supported by those claiming to be religiously minded.  The opposite is often the case.  Jesus was the highest example of spiritual living the earth has known, yet he met intense opposition especially from the religious establishment of his time.  He rightfully claimed his mission on a spiritual foundation of the Scriptures (B9) yet envy and hatred brought constant opposition.  It's somewhat natural for people to question someone who exceeds ordinary spiritual capacities.  The bottom line is that mortal mind would prefer everyone to be mediocre.  When someone stands out, the jealousy begins to set in and find ways to "cut them down to size."  The opposition Jesus faced wasn't merely human envy and jealousy.  It was the world's hatred of Truth.  But that didn't stop him from healing.
 
Jesus stuck to his mission despite the resistance he faced.  His demonstration illustrated the difference between a religion that just went through the motions and genuine spirituality (S16).  His spirituality caused the materially-minded to hate him, but also enabled him to heal (S17).  Even in childhood, he had a different approach to life.   He was single-minded in his spiritual pursuits.  His spirituality was a rebuke to their materialism.  Mrs. Eddy acknowledges that things have not changed.  Evil still resists spirituality.  Jesus overcame that resistance by knowing the nothingness of matter and the allness of Spirit (S18, 52:22).  [Warren: To remind me of these two (all and nothing) "cardinal points of Mind-healing, or Christian Science," I have a doormat that's seen every time I come and go from my office with the word Cardinals on it and a red bird on both ends of a baseball bat. Hope you are a also a loyal fan of these Christian Science Cardinals too, even if you a Cubs fan like the author of this Met, my dear Chicago friend, Craig.]  
In our time, the resistance we face comes in many forms. We have filled our days with all sorts of distractions that turn us away from spiritual pursuit. While many of the younger set spend hours on video games, the older ones are on the internet, and the adults have their fair share of distractions too.  We often use the distractions as rewards for all the hard work we do, yet these justifications do not make the distractions any less detrimental to our spiritual growth.
 
Mrs. Eddy tells us, "In Science, you can have no power opposed to God..." (S19).  She goes on to point out that the only power we can have is based on our dedication to goodness.  It may seem unreasonable or even unfair to be expected to resist all the temptations we face.  But, we are told to: "Rise in the strength of Spirit to resist all that is unlike good" (S20).  This is a divinely-bestowed ability and nothing can stand in its way. Are we ready to do what it takes?
 
Section 5: The Supremacy of Spirit Heals
Jesus' dedication to spiritual reality enabled him to cast out evil of every sort.  In Luke, we have an example of a person believed to be possessed by an unclean devil or demon (B11).  The account tells us that the evil demon resisted Jesus but Jesus rebuked it and cast it out. The demon put up a fight, but the man was freed and unhurt.  It's clear that Jesus was unimpressed by such boastful defiance.  He spoke the word of Truth to every error he encountered. As the Scriptures say, that word of God is "quick and powerful..." (B12).  How do we respond when evil beliefs try to put up a fuss and resist our prayers?  Do you get into a big battle?  Or do you tell them to be quiet and get out?
 
We base our strong rebuke on the knowledge that whatever appears to be opposing us is no more than a false belief (S21). Jesus didn't think he was actually removing evil spirits; he silenced them as false and eliminated the seeming threat.  Jesus didn't administer anti-psychotics.  Neither did he apply any material remedy or suggest any material course of action.  He relied wholly on the supremacy of Spirit (S22).  While we today, don't usually think that sickness is caused by evil spirits, don't we sometimes imagine that the evils we are facing have a mind of their own and that they are trying to outsmart us?  This is basically the same as believing in evil spirits.  But there is only one Spirit and that is God, so there really can't be any others (S23).  If we believe that sickness is real and powerful, we're basically saying God is not all-powerful.  Material laws either make God less than omnipotent, or make Him the cause of the problems (S24).  Jesus worked strictly from the standpoint of the omnipotence of Spirit.  Mrs. Eddy promises we too, will win the day if we maintain the same spiritual foundation Jesus did (S25).  Our Leader also points out that healing is instantaneous if Spirit bears witness to the truth (S26).  Is there ever a time when Spirit does not bear witness to the truth?  It seems that the only thing in the way is our own sense of doubt.  If we can get our own fears out of the way, completely yielding to the reality of Spirit, we will achieve the ultimatum of instantaneous healing.
 
Section 6: The Spirit Fuels the Fire of Our Practice
Anyone who's ever tended a fire knows that you have to work a bit to keep it going.  Paul urges Christians not to quench the Spirit or the fire of spirituality within them (B13).  What kinds of things quench the Spirit?  According to Barnes, worldliness, vanity, levity, ambition, pride, the love of dress, the indulgence of an improper train of thought, or anything that dampens our ardor for God is a danger to our spirituality.  Christians are expected to hold fast to the good and nurture only the holy.  This will keep them in a mindset of readiness to lift up others who are weary from their toils.  Spiritual readiness enables us to help remove every hindrance to spiritual growth, (B14) and to heal.  We can trust the promise that "the prayer of faith shall save the sick" (B15).  John Wesley notes that there is a difference between a pledge and an earnest.  Pledges are security for a contract which is restored when a debt is paid, but an earnest is a sign of things to come, not taken away, but completed.  Such is the earnest of the Spirit (B16).  We have full hope and ability in the power of Spirit to fulfill all its promises.
 
Our textbook reminds us that every day demands "higher proofs rather than professions of Christian power" (S27).  As clever words weren't enough to win men to Christianity; they are not enough to heal either.  We must be moved by the Spirit (S28).  The Holy Spirit gives us the only healing power we have (S29).  The Lesson closes with our Leader's invitation to "feel the divine energy of Spirit" (S30).  We really can't do anything without it.  No matter what we're facing, or what questions we may have, the answers are all in Spirit.  Spirit is all-power, all-presence, and all-Science.  What else do we need?  Get connected and rejoice!

[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 weekly find these "Mets", PSSTs and PYCLs 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 one-week 5th session, August 7-13,--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 idea  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]

[P.S.S.T.: Be born again of the Spirit as you were from the beginning!]
Possible Sunday School Topics by Merrill Boudreaux
for the Christian Science Bible Lesson: "Spirit"     August 7, 2011
       
P.S.S.T. Golden Text   
Since "It is the Spirit who gives life", what can one conclude?  We must be like Spirit, composed of Spirit-like qualities, acting with Spirit-like movements.  Look to the Latin root for the word spirit;
in spirare, to blow into or breathe into.  What is the result?  We are literally, God's breath, God has and continues to breathe us.
 
P.S.S.T. Responsive Reading -
I can only speak what?  What Spirit speaks.
I can only preach what?  What Spirit preaches.
I can only know what?  What Spirit knows.
I can only receive what?  What Spirit gives.
I can only reap what?  Life everlasting, given by Spirit.
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 1
Was there ever a time before God? No. God is always. What does "In the beginning" signify? See S&H 502:24.  From that statement one may conclude that the only thing going on is Spirit and us, united forever.  Lift up your eyes, your thought, your thinking, or spiritual discernment and what do you behold? (B3, S3)
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 2
What has God prepared for you? (B5)  Can what God has prepared for you be discerned through the material or physical senses? (S7, S10)  What happens when one silences the material or physical senses?  Ask students to be silent for three minutes (this may seem like a long time), seeking to discern God's immediate message to each one. Then, ask the students to record what God said.  Use citation S15 from Section 3 as a basis to begin.
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 3  
Citation B7 is a prayer of petition.  Why is this prayer needed or useful?  What is at the heart of this prayer?  It is asking God to help one remember what was so in the beginning and conclude what must therefore be so now.    This remembering who we are, is like being born again.  See a hint of what this new birth or rebirth looks like in citation S14.  What does the word indissoluble mean?
 
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 4 
Since Jesus arrived "in the power of the Spirit" exciting things happened.  Read citation B9 and ask students to state what came out of Jesus' mouth as a result of Spirit's breathing.  Are you astonished at his powerful words?  He was about his Father's business.  What is the business for you to be about? (S20)   How cool that you are capable of this. It is bestowed on you!
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 5
What facts was Jesus maintaining when healing the man in the synagogue? (S25)  Ask each student to state at least one fact about what God knows about them and therefore, what they know about themselves.
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 6
Read aloud citation B16.  Read aloud citation S30.
What does it mean to be "subject to"?  This is a blessed day because you have discerned who you are from the beginning unto now and forever forward.  Ask students to pair with another student and share any inspiration they gained from this lesson.  What was new to them?  What was a reaffirmation of something they already knew?
 

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