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!

Choose wisely and rejoice!

Dan Carnesciali C.S., St. Louis, MO
Posted Monday, September 12th, 2011

[Choose wisely and rejoice!]
CedarS Met(aphysical) Application Ideas on the Christian Science Bible Lesson: "Matter" for September 18, 2011 by
Dan Carnesciali, CS
of St. Louis, MO 314.374.5616 dancarne@gmail.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
http://www.cedarscamps.org/newsletters/]

CedarS Camps again hosted over 1,000 happy Christian Science Sunday School students [and hundreds, hundreds and hundreds of alumni] during this, its 50th, summer. Yes, it was yet another best summer yet at CedarS of Lebanon [-- fulfilling today the prophesy in Isaiah 29:17 "Lebanon shall be called a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest" (B-2)].  The campers, counselors and staff made friends they'll keep forever. They have memories [and testimonies of healings and of God's controlling their every activity] that will last a lifetime. These spiritual gifts are substantial. Substance is the good that endures, that is indestructible. Perhaps you noticed in the 3rd section of last week's Bible lesson that in Christian Science harmony is universal and discord unreal. Here is the quote I am referring to, "The Scripture declares, ‘The Lord He is God [good]; there is none else beside Him.' Even so, harmony is universal, and discord is unreal. Christian Science declares that Mind is substance, also that matter neither feels, suffers, nor enjoys. Hold these points strongly in view." Keeping these points as our focus sounds like a plan.
 
Christian Science teaches that matter is unreal. But, what does that really mean? When you hear that does it feel like you've starting reading a book in the middle? People have been thinking hard about what matter is for a very long time. Some 2,400 years ago Greek philosopher Aristotle hypothesized about what substance is and what matter is. We don't realize it but we are constantly pressured by materialism to believe that matter is "it" - that everything is matter, that everything has a material origin or a material component.  In his book Modern Physics and Ancient Faith, Stephen M. Barr asserts "that nothing exists except matter, and that everything in the world must therefore be the result of the strict mathematical laws of physics and blind chance."
 
Golden Text:
If you want to grow plants you can't throw seed on the hard soil. I've tried it and it doesn't work! For seeds to grow, they need the soil to be broken up and turned over. If you are looking for a happier, more meaningful life, try grace. On page 4 of Science and Health, Mary Baker Eddy said that what we most need is growth in grace, humanly expressed as patience, meekness and good deeds. I am realizing she really meant what she said.  What needs to be my focus is willingness for grace (unearned love), patience, and surrender to God of cherished positions.   Then nurture those plants (new experiences). I learned the hard way during a drought that a neglected plant can wither rather quickly.
 
Responsive Reading:
Tares are weeds. I have a flower bed where I didn't keep up with weeds. It wasn't a good idea to ignore them. The weeds multiplied and got more established, which made them harder to get out this spring. However, since the weeds looked so different than the flowers, it was still easy to identify them. In the parable of the tares and the wheat, tares and the wheat look almost exactly alike when they were young. It is wise to wait to pull out the tares until the wheat has grown prominent.
 
Section 1 - Leading Factor
If you plow, plow, plow, but you never sow (plant) seeds, you are never going to have a crop. Think about how an athlete or musician prepares himself/herself. If he/she doesn't practice, his/her skills become stale. That's one reason to pray every day. It can be a few moments whenever you can be quiet enough to feel closer to God. The following is a commentary by David Guzik of Enduring Word Media. "The end of Isaiah 28 is a poem relating the work of God to the work of a farmer.  A farmer doesn't only plow; he knows when to stop plowing and when to level the ground, when to plant, and what to plant where.  He uses different tools at different times, and works them all together to produce crops.  In the same way, God knows what instruments to use in our life, and what time to use them.  We don't have to doubt or despair at what God is doing in our lives, because He is an expert farmer, working on us with all His wisdom." (B-1, Isa. 28:24) "You have everything backward!  You treat the potter as a lump of clay. Does a book say to its author, ‘He didn't write a word of me'? Does a meal say to the woman who cooked it, ‘She had nothing to do with this'? ... Those who got off-track will get back on-track, and complainers and whiners learn gratitude." (B-2, Isa. 29:16, 24 The Message) "The oppressor (evil/error) will disappear (made nothing), but anyone who is fixated on negativity will suffer. When they see My hand at work, they will acknowledge the holiness of the Holy One of Jacob and stand in awe of God. Those who have strayed will return to understanding; the complainers will accept instruction."   (B-2, Loose paraphrase of Isa. 29: 20 - 24) A branch of physics called quantum mechanics says that the behavior of matter is affected by the consciousness of the observer. Mary Baker Eddy fought to overturn materialism. Her fight is documented in Stephen Gottschalk's book Rolling Away the Stone. Mrs. Eddy's teaching provided "an alternative to the materialism she saw as potentially engulfing traditional Christianity." (Rolling Away the Stone, pg. 1) "Christians, she maintained, without ever quite realizing it, held to the belief in the effective supremacy of matter over Spirit in daily life. If they not held to but defended this belief, they could not, in her view, escape the iron logic of seeing God as the ultimate source of suffering and death." (Ibid, pg. 2) "For her, the kingdom of God is neither a far-off realm in the beyond nor an improved state of present human existence. Rather it is a present spiritual reality to which conventional human thinking remains largely blind." (Ibid, pg. 29) Today, matter and mind appear intertwined.  These days so many things have a computer in them. Computers are used in our businesses, they in our cars and in our microwave ovens.  We are seeing very rapid progress. Is matter evolving or Spirit unfolding? Mary Baker Eddy challenged any intelligence outside of God. Do you remember what she termed "the leading factor in Mind-science"? It is -- "Mind is All and matter is naught." Naught means zero, zip, nothing. (S-2) While stating this absolute truth, she wasn't naïve that Truth and error, Spirit and matter appear intertwined at this time. (S-1)  "The verity of Mind shows conclusively how it is that matter seems to be, but is not. Divine Science, rising above physical theories, excludes matter, resolves things into thoughts, and replaces the objects of material sense with spiritual ideas." (S-4)
 
Section 2 - Where is Your Focus?
"Material belief (the material sense of life) and immortal Truth (the spiritual sense) are the tares and the wheat, which are not united by progress, but separated." (S-10) Notice how your life is the manifestation of thoughts. We have no idea how important it is to recognize when thoughts are from what we call mortal mind or from God (divine Mind). If we don't discern where thoughts are from, we will be fooled. And that can be bad.  (B-4) If a man came to the door and said he was a criminal and asked to come in so he could hurt you, would you let him in? No, of course not! But when a thought comes that says, "I am busy", or "I am tired", or "I am so sad I don't have a friend", how tempting it can be to take it in. After you take it in, then you have to get rid of it. "The LORD knows the thoughts of man; he knows that they are futile." (B-6) "But the word of the Lord endures forever." (B-7, Common English Bible) Mary Baker Eddy termed as suggestions [all those] thoughts that make us accept problems. And suggestions are exactly what they are. You don't have take them on as your own thought. (B-4)    "Science shows that what is termed matter is but the subjective state of what is termed by the author mortal mind." (S-6) The five physical senses are subjective. They believe what they see and see what they believe. Humanly speaking they have such limited perception, yet we rely on them heavily. But, what if we turn this around? What if everything were entirely subjective to God? Then we would have spiritual reality and dominion. Subjective to Mind, everything that is real is spiritual and is the manifestation of God. Anything unlike God couldn't exist. To God, you are God-like.  You are strong, beautiful and complete, including both feminine and masculine qualities.
 
Section 3 - Trust is a Good Thing
Earlier, I stated that your life reflects thought, including the thoughts that you accept. If you are resentful or deceitful that tends to find its way into your life experience. If you help others you tend to be blessed. I qualified those statements because it doesn't seem to work that way all the time. To see clearly, [always] reason from cause to effect, not from effect to cause. (If you reason from effect to cause, you wonder what you did to deserve the problem.) Spiritual life, the kingdom of God which Jesus said is within us, is not a mixture of good and evil. God's reality is good. The kingdom (reality) is God's. Reasoning from cause to effect, you see God's loving and caring nature at work. Reasoning from effect to cause, you wonder why God lets bad things happen [to good people]. God, Life is reflected in unqualified good - it's perfect. When things are tough, repent [--and "rejoice, all the rugged way." (Hymn 304)]  Repent means turn to God, to choose God. It is a way to effectively pray. It means to choose God as often as it takes. Choose God, choose Life. (B9, B10) Praise God for everything your life seems to be lacking. If you are jobless, praise God for God's infinite and tangible care for you. Thank God, for Christ, which is God's love meeting you right where you are and dispelling all evil. Acknowledge what the infinite God-good is doing. If God is infinite, God is infinitely active. Praise God for His integrity and reliability. Praise God for being the law-giver, Principle, which is also divine Love. Trust in that which will outlast the mountains. Trust God. (B11)
 
Section 4 - Daily Provision
God's Word flows like the rain. "... my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." (B-13) "For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast." (Ps. 33:9, NKJV) It's that simple. God speaks and it is done. No exceptions.  (B-14) In the story of the three Hebrew boys in the king's court, the king gave them a "daily provision". We have a daily supply of thoughts from God. "God gives you His spiritual ideas, and in turn, they give you daily supplies. Never ask for tomorrow: it is enough that divine Love is an ever-present help; and if you wait, never doubting, you will have all you need every moment. What a glorious inheritance is given to us through the understanding of omnipresent Love!" (Mis 301:1-7) (B-15)  Have you noticed how often health laws change?  How can a law change? Maybe you remember when butter was considered very unhealthy. It seems to have been redeemed now. There's even a website that promotes its health-giving qualities. God doesn't just give you health, God is your health. The real law of health never changes. It never harms. It always protects. (S-17) "Christ presents the indestructible man, whom Spirit creates, constitutes, and governs. Christ illustrates that            blending with God, his divine Principle, which gives man dominion over all the earth." (S&H 316:20) Science and Health points out that, "Moral conditions will be found always harmonious and health-giving." (S&H 125:5, 6)  Because Mary Baker Eddy saw how her discovery improved the morals of men and women she called Christian Science "Moral Science" at first.
 
Section 5 - Fleshly Mind Yields!
In Matthew 13, Jesus preaches that the kingdom of heaven (God's amazing presence) is like a mustard seed. A mustard seed is tiny, but when full-grown some varieties stand 10 to 15 feet tall. In the fall, the branches harden and birds can rest on its branches. (higherpraise.com) Remember that the greatest journey starts with a single step. If you plant one mustard plant and it produces a few hundred seeds, you can see how if you kept planting all the mustard seeds that were produced, in a number of years you would have a phenomenal number of seeds and plants. Maybe Jesus is telling us not to be afraid and to start moving forward. There may be a lesson we need to learn or something we need to let go of. (B-17) ["Let it Go", Desiree Goyette's latest, healing CD, sold out at her concert this weekend at the International Christian Science Nurses conference at CedarS. But if you email us that you are interested, as soon as more are made, we (as campership-earning reps) will be glad to send you however many you wish to share, as gifts to loved ones,,, ] Healing happens at that divine moment of letting go when one surrenders to Christ consciousness. In this section, Jesus heals a disease that had gone on a very long time. Jesus' disciples prayed, but their prayers didn't cure the boy. Jesus asked how long he would have to suffer the faithless and mortal. Jesus rebuked the evil and the boy was cured right away. "Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, ‘Why couldn't we drive it out?'  He replied, ‘Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.'" (The Message) Faith is complete trust or confidence in someone or something. (Merriam-Webster.comScience and Health tells us that that the fleshly mind must yield to (Christian) Science so we can have faith in Spirit. (S-23)
 
Section 6 - They Answer With Rejoicing       
This is the "gratitude" section of the lesson. Let's see what we can learn from the Bible. "It seemed like a dream, too good to be true, when God returned Zion's exiles.  We laughed, we sang, we couldn't believe our good fortune. We were the talk of the nations - ‘God was wonderful to them!'  God was wonderful to us; we are one happy people. And now, God, do it again -- bring rains to our drought-stricken lives.  So those who planted their crops in despair will shout hurrahs at the harvest, so those who went off with heavy hearts will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing." (Ps. 126:1-6, The Message) The book of Daniel recorded the challenges of those (Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) who were taken away to Babylon and faithfully worshipped the one God. Psalms 126 is a song of rejoicing for the exiles' return to Israel and their hopes for the future. Challenges are like an exile period and healing is like the return of understanding and spiritual perception. Is there any reason you can't rejoice now? Let's look from God's perspective. ["From Where He (Love) Stands" is another original, healing song and CD by Desiree that we'd be happy to send.]  Is there any reason God wouldn't be rejoicing now? What does God see?  Good, just like it says in Genesis 1. When God looks at you, God sees Godself and rejoices over you. Really, that's what God is doing. (B-19) Jesus spoke of a bountiful harvest and told his disciples to pray a prayer of petition for God to send more helpers to bring in the harvest.  If Jesus prayed like this, did he want us to pray like this too?  Why shouldn't we pray for helpers and for the multiplication of right ideas? (B-20) "This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you.  He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God." (The Message) As we gain more correct views of God, our eyes and ears are opened. We become aware of the things we never saw before. We also become aware of what the great Heart of Love is feeling. (S-29) A friend told me she was moving boxes for a friend last week. While she moved heavy boxes and furniture she was conscious that "God was doing it". Conscious of what God was doing she saw a solution for how to squeeze an oversized chair out of a doorway. Later, when her back hurt she realized, "I am a reflection - I can't hurt." The pain disappeared. What happened here? She said she didn't think, she knew that God was the "lifter", not her.  We rejoiced together that God who is everywhere is always active. We just need to acknowledge God's presence[/power] and activity. That's our role.  Acknowledge means to accept, to admit to be real or true, to recognize the authority and validity of something. (dictionary.com) This week you have a choice. You can live your life as a pendulum between matter and Spirit, or you can live your life as a reflection of God, witnessing Christ and acknowledging God. [Choose wisely and rejoice!]

[Please also help "un-camped" families (and potential donors) to be aware of CedarS as a wise and happy choice for them! We'd love to put the name of someone you suggest (or your name!) on the door of one of the handful of comfortable bedrooms or cabins that are still available for the Midwest Bible Conference, Sept 15-18.  We'll also 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....]
 
[Thanks to several of you for helping fund a recent, expensive component replacement for our dishwashing system to serve CedarS for our next 50 years.  We still need $1,800 to fund this Maintenance Must--which will be matched! (We are ALSO really hoping to expand our Time Travelers Trail and Cable Ski system and are accepting contributions for these "Home Improvements" to happen during our "shoulder seasons" of conferences, retreats and (COP-encouraged,) outreach tours of our new Bible Lands Park for Bible-loving churches or youth groups of any denomination.) SO, if you have been grateful for any of CedarS weekly inspirational emails, you can see that this would be a wonderful time to share your appreciation in the form of a 50th Anniversary gift--as generous as divine Love directs-in support of our missionary work for Christ's Movement
Remember 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.  

COMING SOON! Ranging from $1 to a few thousand dollars a "Giving Tree" list of needed items will be updated soon and often at this link. 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.  
 
 [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!    And, please contact us for more info about any and all things CedarS
Warren Huff, Executive Director 

Possible Sunday School Topics by Merrill Boudreaux
for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on
"Matter" for September 18, 2011
[bracketed italics by Warren Huff, CedarS Director & Newsletter Editor]

P.S.S.T. - Golden Text (GT) - The Bible offers users references for the understanding of people at the time the stories were introduced. This lesson has many agrarian references [for those making their living by farming]. Since they are parables in nature many have connections to our own time as well. It is helpful to have reference points. Have students define key words: sow, reap, fallow, righteousness.
 
P.S.S.T. - Responsive Reading (RR) -What did the man sow? What sprang up from what the man sowed? What grew from what the man sowed? The story introduces tares sown by an enemy. When did that tares sowing happen? Do not be tricked here. Notice the difference in language the "blade sprung up" and the tares "appeared".  Where did the tares appear? Perhaps in the immature thought or the unenlightened thought where it appeared that there were tares and wheat and even offered a reason why the tares could appear. Growing together into the harvest means at some point thought would mature enough to see only wheat and no tares, ever existing, to be burned. Why? Because the sower sowed wheat.  How many sowers are there, if sower represents creator, Cause, Good, God? Is there an opposite to Good, God?  Therefore no room for even that which appears to be the opposite of Good, God to be sown, exist, or be available to grow in thought. What a delight to find the full harvest of wheat only with nothing left over to be burned.
 
P.S.S.T - Section 1 - Read aloud citation B3 about the "wheat harvest to-day". Now go back to citations B1 and B2 and read those to see other synonyms for wheat and other crops as to what is sown: barley, rie (rye), discretion (a good word to describe also), marvelous works, fruitful field, forest, eyes of the blind see, meek increase their joy, understanding. If these are sown, what are the results both then and now? In citation S4 what "seems to be, but is not"? Look up the phrase in citation S4, "resolves things into thoughts". Where else is that passage found in S&H? That is an inspired definition of metaphysics. [S&H 269:24] How is the worker in metaphysics like a sower?
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 2 - In citation B4 is the answer identified in the RR. Be not deceived. Why? What fades? What "endureth for ever"? (B7) What kind of sower are you? What kind of sower do you wish to be? How can you "till" thought to assure the soil is prepared for the good seed? Note in citation S9 that reversing is the key word.
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 3 - What is the reward of the righteous? (B11) [See also in B11, how 10 years after 9-11, God is redeeming our lives from destruction and crowning us with loving kindness and tender mercies. Check out the "Tender Mercies" Hymn (445) in the Hymnal Supplement.]
How might one re-state or re-phrase "I will not fear what flesh can do unto me" in citation B12? Use citation S16 as a hint. Remember the sower sowed good seed or wheat therefore all that can appear is the goodness that is wheat - or any synonyms for wheat we wish to employ. [At CedarS we call our staff the "finest of the wheat" (Ps. 147:14) as the fulfillment of God's promise to my mom, CedarS Founder, Ruth Huff. in an opening about staffing to that verse in the Bible.]
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 4 - How do we assure that our thought is fallow ground, [ready for divine cultivation]? What tools do we have to break up the clods or the hard ground? For a start daily study and use the Bible and Science and Health. What is the result when the word of God "rains [righteousness" (GT) -or right thinking and acting] in our lives? Read the Bible story in citation B15. What was poured into or sowed into the children? What therefore came out of them? What tares did they resist? What allowed them to reject the king's meat and drink and to thrive on just pulse and water? What understanding of Christian Science did they employ to hold firm to their understanding? (S20)  What is it that must be resisted? ("the laws of erring, human concepts") Are those [so-called] "laws" wheat or tares? And your job is to.... 
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 5 - How did Jesus reject the laws of erring, human concepts in the Bible story in citation B18? How were the disciples like those who believed they saw tares? Their immature, temporal, unreal thinking not only didn't heal, but it also could not reduce or eliminate the wheat, which is the perfect. (S24) So did the tares and wheat ever mingle or grow side-by-side? (S24) Appearing temporarily in thought does not make it so in fact.
 
P.S.S.T. - Section 6 - What is the precious seed you need to keep in thought? This is like the mustard seed from the Bible story in citation B17. We do not need to wait for months for the harvest. Ask students to take something challenging their thought or the thought of the world and write out a Christian Science prayer/treatment affirming the correct view of God and man (S29). Remember it was wheat in the beginning, wheat in the middle, wheat at the end. All there is, is God, Good and Good's manifestation.
 
[Warren's P.S. for Section 4: The 3 Hebrew stars of this story-- (S.M.A.) Shadrach (Hananiah); Meshach (Mishael); and Abed-nego (Azariah)--who refused to "defiled" themselves I have chosen to feature in my recent Beatitude-themed hikes up CedarS Time Travelers Trail for local Baptist youth groups (and for the International Christian Science Nurses Conference). These Hebrew boys are great examples of the blessings of the "pure in heart" Beatitude. As the CedarS Beatitude song by Larry Groce (in "CedarS round the clock" trilogy of CDs) puts it: "Blessed are they who are pure in heart, children who walk in the light". Walking in the purity of the Christ light will bless you way beyond providing you with a radiant complexion and an aura of health as in The 1st chapter of Daniel. (B15) The 3rd chapter of Daniel records how the continued purity of S.M.A. was tested and not found wanting. Their seemingly-suicidal choice to not bow down to other gods protected them in a furnace so fiery that it instantly killed the guards who threw them in. As in their case, walking in the pure light of the Christ will only burn off your bonds --- all you will lose in this process are elements of human character that are restrictive and useless. On the next page is a script that I adapted from the Daniel 3 text in The Message. Sunday School classes of a variety of ages enjoyed acting out this play and answering the questions as part of a Sunday School enrichment offering. A fan with orange streamers tied to it makes a great fiery furnace.] 


Four in the Furnace -Daniel 3:1-28 Tell a quick version of this familiar story to be acted out
 
Cast from Sunday School: Get volunteers & hand out scripts with parts highlighted in advance 
King Nebuchadnezzar
"All the important people" (Teachers?)
Herald
Band members playing whatever instruments you come up with
Narrator
2-3 Babylonian fortuneteller(s)/ King's Advisors (later)
Shadrach
Meshach
Abednego
The Fourth Man who looks like the Son/Daughter of God
2-3 Guards/Strong guys from the army who carry Shad, Mesh and Abed to the furnace
 
Possible Props: a king's crown; golden statue or image like TV monitor, poster of a rock star or a large charge card, ...; 2-7 musical instruments as available; a fan with orange or red streamers tied to it that blow when it's turned on
 
King Nebuchadnezzar: "Build a gold statue, ninety feet high and nine feet wide.  Set it up on the Dura plain in the province of Babylon. Order everybody who is anybody to come to the dedication ceremony for it."  (Most text adapted from The Message Bible)
 
Enter all the important people for the dedication taking their places before the statue.
 
 Herald (in a loud voice):  "Attention, everyone!  Every race, color, and creed, listen!  When you hear the band strike up - (Name all instruments on hand) the trumpet, trombone, tuba, baritone, drum, cymbal, flute, zither, lyre, harp, dulcimer, bagpipe and all kinds of music - fall to your knees and worship the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up.  Anyone who does not kneel and worship shall be thrown immediately into a roaring furnace."
 
 Narrator"The band starts to play, a huge band equipped with all the musical instruments of Babylon, and everyone - every race, color, and creed - falls to their knees and worship the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Some of the king's fortunetellers tattleon Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego as follows."
 
Babylonian fortuneteller(s) toKing Nebuchadnezzar: "Long live the king!  You gave strict orders, O king, that when the big band started playing, everyone had to fall to their knees and worship the gold statue, and whoever did not go to their knees and worship it had to be pitched into a roaring furnace.  Well, there are some Jews here-Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego-whom you have placed in high positions in the province of Babylon. These men are ignoring you, O king.  They don't respect your gods and they won't worship the gold statue you set up."
 
 Furious, King Nebuchadnezzar says (to his guards):  "Get Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and bring them here right now!"
Nebuchadnezzar (when the men are brought in) asks: "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you don't respect my gods and refuse to worship the gold statue that I have set up? I'm giving you a second chance-but from now on, when the big band strikes up you must go to your knees and worship the statue I have made. If you don't worship it, you will be pitched into a roaring furnace, no questions asked.  Who is the god who can rescue you from my power?"
 
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego together answer King Nebuchadnezzar,
"Your threat means nothing to us.
 
Shadrach: "If you throw us in the fire, the God we serve can rescue us from your roaring furnace and anything else you might cook up, O king."
 
Meshach: "But even if he doesn't, it wouldn't make a bit of difference, O king."
 
Abednego: "We still wouldn't serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up."
 
Nebuchadnezzar, his face purple with anger, cuts off Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
"Fire up the furnace seven times hotter than usual. You strong guards, tie them up, hands and feet, and throw them into the roaring furnace."
 
Narrator: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, are bound hand and foot, fully dressed from head to toe, and are pitched into the roaring fire.  Because the king is in such a hurry and the furnace is so hot, flames from the furnace kill the men who carried Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to it, while the fire rages around Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  Only the bonds are burned off as a fourth figure walks with them - radiant "like some holy thing."
 
 Alarmed, King Nebuchadnezzar suddenly jumps up and says to his advisors:
"Didn't we throw three men, bound hand and foot, into the fire?"
 
King's Advisors: "That's right, O king."
 
Nebuchadnezzar:  "But look! I see four men, walking around freely in the fire, completely unharmed! And the fourth man looks like the Son of God!"
 Nebuchadnezzar (going to the door of the roaring furnace and calls in):
"Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the High God, come out here!"

Narrator: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walk out of the fire. All the important people, the government leaders and king's counselors, gather around to examine them and discover that the fire hadn't so much as touched the three men-not a hair singed, not a scorch mark on their clothes, not even the smell of smoke had clung to them!

Nebuchadnezzar: "Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego!  He sent his angel and rescued his servants who trusted in him!  They ignored the king's orders and laid their bodies on the line rather than serve or worship any god but their own."
 
Teachers' follow-up questions/answers: 
Q.
How did Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego live the essence of Mrs. Eddy's motto: "Do Right and Fear Not!"? (This was hung over a doorway in her home.)  
Q. How can you live it in your life? (A. By standing up to peer pressure to do the wrong thing...)  

Q. What music or sounds might trigger the worship of something other than God? 

Q. What are some of the things people worship today? A.
How about TV shows and stars (I'm bring an old, gold-painted TV set to bow down to); the body, its shape and feelings; the latest technological gadgets and games; sporting events and star athletes; substances to make you well, high, sleepy, firm, thin, bulky... ? 

Q.
How were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego able to withstand temptation, and what can we learn from this story about how not to worship something other than God in our own lives?
 

[PYCLs -Plant a seed!  Preserve purity!  Expect proof!]
Possible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on
"Matter" for September 18, 2011
by Kerry Jenkins, CS, House Springs, MO (314) 406-0041
[bracketed italics by Warren Huff, Director of
CedarS  Camps --
Apologies for delayed posting due to hosting the Midwest Bible Conference]
 
[PYCL: Insist on no failed crops in Spiritual Harvesting 101]
I guess this is our farming lesson so we can get out our shovels, forks, hoes, gloves, seeds, water and mulch and get our gardens in shape. This comes at an interesting time of year for those of us in this end of the world as our gardens are winding down for the summer; most crops are pulled up, or in my case have been repeatedly eaten by hungry woodchucks, deer, raccoons and rabbits. It makes me think of how discouraged I've been feeling about gardening in general and how much I've contemplated throwing in the towel, so to speak. The reason I share this is because I think, that while the kids may not have put that kind of effort into a literal garden this summer, I'll bet they have things in their own lives that they may feel they have "tended" and nurtured, practiced and worked for, that kind of don't seem to be yielding any harvest. Maybe we can approach this lesson as an opportunity to address the way that matter can seem to throw up some seemingly solid roadblocks that are dissolved as we persist in seeing spiritually, as God is seeing. Now don't get me wrong, the gardening analogy only goes so far. It's not terribly important whether or not a garden flourishes, while it is very important that the spiritual endeavors that we make in life do yield a wonderful and abundant harvest. The cool thing about that is that it's our job to put in the work, defend it (build fences, pull weeds, put in stakes), and we certainly nurture these endeavors (water, fertilize, mulch), but really God provides a guaranteed harvest, we don't go out there and shout the plants or declare them into producing, that's just what they do. Likewise, God's goodness, revelation and abundance are never withheld from His beloved child. There is no such thing as a failed crop in the realm of spiritual endeavor. Every consistent and devoted effort that we put forth yields abundance. If we don't see this abundance, we must insist, and claim it as our rightful blessing, because God has truly not withheld these riches! This may be the work of insistent and persistent gratitude that may start out a bit stiff but becomes heartfelt and overflowing. It may be the result of exercising our divine authority to reach out and accept what is our rightful heritage.
 
[PYCL: Discuss the whole farming thing, and what this has to do with the lesson]
So maybe have some fun discussing the way that the Bible uses so many agricultural analogies. Why do you think this is? Remember, these things may be obvious to us, but not necessarily to them. Talk about all the ways that farming/gardening works and how it parallels our activities as we work to progress in our understanding of God. Is there an analogy that we would use today instead of the agricultural model? It's kind of interesting to think about this, are we too diversified now? Can they put their "occupation" as student or son or daughter to the same kind of test? How do these "jobs" relate to our work as spiritual thinkers and healers? Within this context of course, comb the lesson and have these stories at hand. The tares and wheat, Mrs. Eddy's references to this parable, (S1 and S24 for example), and the multitude of Bible references. If you have a few students, maybe they'd enjoy finding some of these references themselves; give them a section to look at. What does Mrs. Eddy say makes the best conditions (soil?) for growth? (S19) Once you've talked about the whole farming thing, can the kids ponder what this has to do with the subject of the lesson? Do you have some thoughts on this?  Should our exertions in life--whether student, farmer, parent, office worker, mechanic etc.--be put on a more spiritual basis in order for us to reap the really wonderful rewards of God's love for us?  How do we practice being a more "spiritual" student?  What do the farming parables and analogies recommend?  You could try an exercise with S7 and make a list of the material fables about our lives and then reverse them (be they "pro or con").
 
[PYCL: Preserve the purity of your heart, your lentil stew ... Expect visible proof for all.]
Why is the story of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah in the lesson this week?  Discuss the history a little so they understand a little of why these young Hebrew boys were in another king's household.  Why was it important to them to eat their own type of food rather than the king's food?  Point out that for them this was their understanding of being obedient to God.  What is pulse?  (See the comment in MyBibleLesson.com, or look in a Bible reference!)  As a kid I always imagined them eating something like paste instead of the wonderful food that the king provided.  I would have loved to know that it was more like a bean, pea and lentil stew.  Children really do love to know these details; it makes the stories much more alive to them!  I love that Daniel tells the overseer that he wants a chance to prove the success of his choice and he tells him "as thou seest".  He fully expects the results of their faithful choice to be a visible proof to all that God is active in their lives.  This is how we feel in Christian Science.
 
[PYCL: As the sowing, the reaping]
With some of the younger classes it could be fun to talk about how when you plant a seed such as a carrot seed, you expect a carrot to grow, not a squash.  Likewise if we "plant" (express), respect, obedience, joy etc. we can expect certain things to grow from that.  We get to "harvest" respect, kindness, and trust that we will do good things and with that comes privileges!  We have to plant these qualities constantly and nurture them, just as we wouldn't expect much of a harvest of carrots if we planted two seeds and didn't really water them.  We might get two carrots, but maybe not even that. [Another cool song in this week's latest "Let it Go" CD from Desiree Goyette has the line "it all begins when you ‘Plant a Seed'." CedarS can send it to you for $15 plus postage.]
 
[PYCL: Try planting beans. Talk about the role of roots, leaves, acorns, oaks... ]
For the wiggly crowd, you can do more than just talk about planting.  If you can find any seeds this time of year, try planting some bean seeds together.  You can even do this in plastic bags with wet paper towels and maybe next week when they come back the seeds will have sprouted!  This can lead to a discussion of how roots grow and what their role is, what is the parallel in our lives?  (This one you have to answer with them; I wouldn't expect them to know...)  You can talk about what our "roots" are.  Then, what does the sprouting plant represent?  And so on... you can talk about the leaves, what their role is.  And if you use the plastic bags you can talk about how eventually, to prosper, the plant has to be in good soil, not just a wet paper towel.  What is this good soil?  And so on... You can take a walk: in our area, this is a big acorn year.  [Maybe you could find some acorns and take one in for each student to take home. And/or you could possibly give each one a mustard seed and discuss the large mustard "tree" that grows from it and how having faith as a grain of mustard seed can move mountains. Matt 13:31, 17:20] What happens to an acorn if it finds a way into the soil?  Can you find a full grown oak to look at?  Talk about how strong the tree is and what that deep rooted strength represents.  Is the power of God something that can "fall down", get old, get blown over?  I'm sure you can find things to talk about.  Even the mustard seed story can be represented by the acorn and oak story!  You can talk about the power of faith, how it can grow to be so powerful, like the acorn into the oak!
 
Have an excellent Sunday school class!

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