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Find Results by Beginning from the Right Premise.

Craig L. Ghislin, C.S., Glen Ellyn (Bartlett), IL
Posted Monday, November 26th, 2012

Find Results by Beginning from the Right Premise.
CedarS Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson:
"God the Only Cause and Creator"
for November 26-December 2, 2012
by Craig L. Ghislin, C.S. Glen Ellyn, Illinois
 
Whereas some of our Lesson-Sermons ask questions, even though they may be rhetorical, this Lesson begins from a statement. It doesn't ask, "Who?, or What", or "How did the universe come to be?" It simply begins with the premise that God-and only God-is both cause and creator of all that exists. This Creator, this Cause, is worthy of all the adoration we can bestow.
 
The Golden Text tells us that all things were created for His pleasure. Some thinkers and dramatists have promoted the belief that all things were created for God's amusement. But the Bible says it was for God's "pleasure" or, immediately in accordance with His will, or desire. Whatever God intends, instantly comes into being.
 
This view contradicts all theories of a universe creating itself through physics.  In ages past, God's creation of the universe was the foundation of a meta-narrative accepted by   virtually everyone.  A meta-narrative is "the big story" behind all other stories; the foundation from which all opinions are formed, around which all things revolve, and by which they are measured.  Similar to a postulate in geometry, a meta-narrative is considered a self-evident truth.  Over time, as popular belief began trending toward the sciences and away from religion, the meta-narrative has changed to one that largely leaves God out of creation, espousing a self-evolved universe.  The new meta-narrative notwithstanding, the Bible clearly operates from the premise that God is in fact, the only cause and creator.
 
Some of the more religiously inclined modern thinkers, may concede that God was the initial cause, and creator, but that once set in motion, man and the universe were on their own; also, that built into creation, is the possibility of error, decay, inharmony, and even inherent danger.  Not so, according to the psalmist [in our Golden Text and Responsive Reading keynotes].
 
In the Responsive Reading God is celebrated as the "Doer" of all that has ever been, or ever will be done.  The magnificence of creation is not only attributed to God, but also presented as evidence of God's very nature.  Indeed, the whole of creation is almost a living parable exhibiting God's majesty.  The light that covers all creation is like a royal robe expressing God's ineffable glory; the heavens protect us like a great awning; the beams of His chamber are laid in the water giving stability to the seemingly unstable; the whole earth is put together perfectly like a well designed, solidly-built house.  The unfathomable variety of creatures, their constant renewal, and all the complexity of nature point to the infinite nature of the creator.  Everything is made according to divine wisdom and God is pleased with His work.  What have we to do, but praise His glorious name?
 
SECTION 1: We Always Begin with God
The opening verse of the Bible (Genesis 1:1, B1) states the premise that God is the eternal self-existent being.  He existed before anything else was; and everything that has existence owes their being to Him.  While Mrs. Eddy set the standard for defining God as the great and only cause, others before her have also had [glorious] glimpses of a higher understanding of God.  A case in point is this description from Adam Clarke:
 
"The eternal, independent, and self-existent Being: the Being whose purposes and actions spring from himself, without foreign motive or influence: he who is absolute in dominion; the most pure, the most simple, and most spiritual of all essences; infinitely benevolent, beneficent, true, and holy: the cause of all being, the upholder of all things; infinitely happy, because infinitely perfect; and eternally self-sufficient... illimitable in his immensity... known fully only to himself, because an infinite mind can be fully apprehended only by itself. In a word, a Being who, from his infinite wisdom, cannot err or be deceived; and who, from his infinite goodness, can do nothing but what is eternally just, right, and kind."
It stands to reason, that such a being could only produce a creation that is as wonderful as Himself.  Therefore, creation must naturally rejoice in God's goodness (B2).  The psalmist knew that rather than God being evolved by human imagination in an effort to explain nature, everything in nature reflects aspects of the Creator (B2-B5).  Naturally, the only way to express such a lofty being is with symbols indicative of the most magnificent and respected things we can conceive of.  Hence, symbols of royalty and the wonders of nature are employed to elucidate how wonderful God is.  It's also important to note that as an inventor holds the rights to his invention, God maintains dominion over us.  We are His, not our own.
 
Following the psalmist's line of reason, Mary Baker Eddy states, "Everything in God's universe expresses Him" (S1).  She goes on to describe the divine nature of God and to acknowledge that indeed, He is the only creator.  The Glossary definition of Creator (S2) declares God to be the "animating Principle..." and underscores that the creator is self-existent, perfect, eternal and opposed to anything unlike Him.  She also expands on the fact that God is pre-existent-a fact found in the biblical texts (S3).  She goes a step further than merely stating that the activity of nature mirrors God's goodness.  She says that all things that God creates are actually spiritual ideas "embraced in infinite Mind and forever reflected."  This is a departure from the common view that God created matter, and that matter has godlike attributes. Such a view borders on pantheism.
 
Common belief begins from matter and tries to reason about God based on what the senses declare to be real.  This approach eventually leads to the oft-repeated philosophical query-if God is good, and creates all, whence comes evil?  Mrs. Eddy instead, began her reasoning with God, and concluded that everything God makes must be "good, like Himself" (S4).  If God is good, all that He creates is good, and evil is out of the question, because temporal, material, erroneous thoughts lack a divine cause and are, therefore, unreal.  The key to arriving at this conclusion is spiritual understanding (S5).  How do we know spiritual understanding is reliable?  Because spiritual understanding is proved through healing.
 
SECTION 2: God Is Cause, Man Is Effect
As noted above, this Lesson is based on the premise that God is the only creator.  From this foundational fact, we conclude that man must be made in God's image (B6). The current fascination with the search for man's origins in cosmic building blocks, and elements of life in enzymes, DNA, and the like, is more than just a natural curiosity to find one's origins.  While some believe that these endeavors are unfolding the complexities of God's creation, many believe such discoveries prove that matter evolved on its own.  The Bible takes a plainly different view.  Isaiah tells us to cease trusting and looking to mortal man for answers (B7).  The verses from Job (B8-B10) are sometimes characterized as merely the "deus ex machina"* ending to a drama, whose authors had hit a dead end in their attempt to answer the question, "Why do bad things happen to good people?"  But the authors make a good point.  Anything man really knows comes from God.  Mankind does not know, and most likely will never know, or be able to fully explain his origins; and mortal man was not present when creation unfolded, so how dare he presume to explain anything about creation?
*(deus ex machina is a dramatic device in Greek theatre in which a god mechanically descends onto the stage to resolve the plot, often providing an implausible solution)
In Christian Science, we reason not from effect to cause, but from cause to effect (S6). Mrs. Eddy also points out the egotism of mortal mind, thinking it not only works on its own, but creates, and can explain everything as well (S7).  Nothing mortal mind can do will ever be able to explain the spiritual man made by God.  The mortal is a counterfeit of God's man (S8).  Why do we waste time trying to explain it?  If we leave God out of creation, we will never understand creation (S9).  We will only understand it if we base our search on the true, spiritual facts of being.  There are often references made these days to man "playing God."  Actually, any time we leave God out of the equation, we are in effect, supplanting Him with human theories, and basically saying we know something He doesn't know; or implying that He doesn't even exist.  Therefore, man is "playing God" more than we realize.  Our wise Leader sets the record straight: "Man is never God, but spiritual man, made in God's likeness, reflects God."  Isn't that a much better way to look at it?
 
SECTION 3: God Initiates and Supports All RIght Action
The well-known words of Psalm 90:17 (B11) are a wonderful example of the attitude that acknowledges God to be the animating Principle of all worthy endeavor.  It's a humble expectation that God will establish the work of our hands.  The story of Nehemiah (B13, B14) is familiar to most of us.  Within the story are several elements useful to us today.  Consider Nehemiah's situation.  Have you ever felt very strongly about something you thought should be done?  Most of us are tempted to jump in head first, make a strong stand, roll up our sleeves, and do whatever it takes to get the job done.
But, Nehemiah is patient. In fact, he waited four months before the issue was addressed.  He couldn't hide his concern, and in fact, according to historians, behaving in such a sad manner before a Persian king was very risky.  But the king asked him what was wrong.  Nehemiah was careful to answer the king in a way that would appeal to his sensibilities.  He mentions that the sepulchres of his fathers had been defiled.  According to Adam Clarke, disturbing the remains of the dead was detestable to the ancients, and this evoked feelings of sympathy from the king.  He didn't demand anything of the king.  He was very conciliatory, and made his need known in such a way, that the king wanted to help him.
Once on his way, he was very tight-lipped about his plans.  He didn't boast or draw attention to himself.  He relied on God's direction and quiet authority throughout the process.  His mild, unassuming demeanor was, no doubt, an asset in gaining the support of his countrymen.  Naturally, there were those who tried to stop the work, assuming that he was breaking some sort of standing rule, but he stood firm on his spiritual authority and put the adversaries in their place.  It's not in the Lesson, but the well-known phrase "I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down..." also comes from Nehemiah's story and is representative of his resolve to remain unmoved by any obstacle to his vision or mission.  [He was also led to accomplish the collective building of the wall in just 52 days by having each individual family take responsibility for building its own section of wall.] We can all learn many lessons from Nehemiah's steadfast and humble approach.
Our productivity is directly linked to our obedience to God (S11) [& Misc. p. 116-120].  We really can't create anything, and no opposing force can destroy what God has ordained.  Mrs. Eddy saw that there cannot be two powers in the universe working against each other (S12).  The world view is based on the belief of two powers.  Good and evil, right and wrong, light and dark are constantly at odds.  But, Christian Science assures us that God is the All and only power.  There is no other cause to help or harm.  Consider the statement "All substance, intelligence, wisdom, being, immortality, cause, and effect belong to God" (S13).  Think through each word separately: "All substance belongs to God; All intelligence belongs to God; All wisdom belongs to God;" and so on.  Can't you just feel the power of that?  That power enables us to fulfill the commands in citation S14 to "rise in the strength of Spirit," and to be firm in our understanding.  Doing so, we will be able to parallel Nehemiah's approach to important [projects and] issues with poise and aplomb.
 
SECTION 4: So-called Nature Cannot Usurp God's Power
To the world there may be many causes and many forces at odds with each other, but to us there is one God (B15). Everything is under His government.  As people all over the world are experiencing, a storm can appear to have devastating power.  A repairman with an electric company on the East Coast of the United States after hurricane Sandy, lamented that "we can rebuild, but nature can do whatever it wants, and we are powerless to stop it."  There have been several stories and testimonies of Christian Scientists disproving that claim, thus demonstrating God is the only power.  Jesus' stilling the storm (B16) is one of the most well known stories in the Scriptures. Bible commentators have expanded the meaning of the story to include all stormy experiences.  They note that when the storms of life, fear, temptation, illness or any other calamities threaten to swamp our boats, the Christ has the power to cause a great calm with a single command, whether it's literally changing the face of nature, or restoring peace to a troubled, disconsolate individual.  My experience has been a personal witness to both as I'm sure, have many of yours.
The sense of authority and assurance that enables us to handle storms both literal and figurative is not our own power.  As with the Master, "The Son can do nothing of himself" (B17).  Nothing can be done independently of God, nor can anything be done contrary to divine law.  Everything must be in accordance with God.  As Mrs. Eddy said, we don't try to fight against storms or control the weather for our own purposes, but we simply maintain the ever-presence of God, which eliminates all else. [As an unknown author said: "Don't tell God how big your storm is, tell your storm how big (and ever present) God is."]
Our Leader viewed Jesus' ability as a scientific proof (S15).  He looked beneath the surface to the spiritual cause.  She rightly points out that belief in a power opposed to God can be "disheartening" (S16).  A physicist on a recent news program warns that the world should expect more severe storms than in the past because there was no longer any doubt that due to global warming, more energy is being put into the atmosphere and is the engine for huge storms.  It can seem like we are at the mercy of forces of matter, but they are "counterfeits of the spiritual forces of divine Mind" (S17).  This belief of a vapid, or dull, mindless force is discounted in Christian Science.  No matter what the human cause of disruptive storms seems to be, in reality there is only one cause-God-and there can't be an effect from any other cause (S18).  The only reality is the spiritual reality.  The textbook readily concedes that humanity is slow to figure this out (S19), but as we dismiss the material view of man and creation and replace it with the spiritual fact, we will begin to understand it and demonstrate it.
 
SECTION 5: Disease Is neither Cause nor Effect
Sometimes, even the most spiritually minded of us have moments of doubt.  John the Baptist, even though he prophesied the coming Savior, still questioned whether it was the real thing (B18).  It wouldn't be unusual for any of us facing such dire prospects as he, to wonder if our work was all worth it.  Jesus responded with healing proof.  He healed everything, including the most virulent diseases of his day (B19).  In the case of the leper, the disease was so contagious that the lepers wore a bell to warn people to stay clear from them as they were coming.  There were even strict rules about how close they could get to others whether they were standing down or upwind.  Jesus dismissed the belief that contact with a disease could cause it to spread, and touched the man, healing him in the process.  As per forma he knew that the power that healed was God's not his (B20).
The greatest healer since Christ Jesus, Mary Baker Eddy, insisted that Mind was the only cause, and that disease was neither cause nor effect (S20).  She reasoned that Jesus wouldn't have opposed material laws if God had instituted them.  Jesus defied all material laws and conditions (S21).  She also was crystal clear on the fact that Jesus was in fact, demonstrating Christian Science through his healing work (S22).  The healing of Christian Science is done the same way today.  In the presence of the light of Truth, all disease must dissolve into nothingness, as darkness flees the light (S23).  She saw these works as not supernatural, but "supremely natural."  Laws of nature are not laws of God. In Spinoza's Theological-Political Treatise, edited by Jonathan Israel, he posits that there are no such things as miracles because a miracle would be out of the natural order of God's law.  Spinoza felt that the laws of nature must be in exact accordance with the laws of God, and for all practical purposes were the laws of God.  If therefore, "anyone were to assert that God does anything contrary to the laws of nature, he would at the same time be compelled to assert that God acts contrary to his own nature, than which nothing is more absurd" (p. 83).  While Spinoza was leading to a different conclusion, he was right that there are no miracles, but not because, as he felt, the miracles were departures from natural law, but because the disease is unnatural.   Healing is totally natural and in accordance with God's law,-the effect of the one good cause, God.
 
SECTION 6: We End Where We Began
The Bible consistently declares that God is the only creator, and that everything within that creation is not in vain, but exists for a holy purpose (B21).  Reiterating an earlier citation we are reminded that "we are the people of His pasture" (B22).  What have we to do but bow in humble reverence to this holy power and pour out gratitude for all that means for us?  Trusting God is not a "hit or miss" proposition.  God is able-to provide whatever we need to succeed.  You may be familiar with Strong's definition of grace: "the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life."  That grace is the cause behind all the good we accomplish.  The fact that God gives us this grace enables us to "abound to every good work" (B23).  Included in that grace is the sufficient supply to carry out the good work and continue in it.  Albert Barnes gives this idea particular significance:
"Do not suppose that by giving liberally you will be impoverished and reduced to want.  You should rather confide in God, who is able to furnish you abundantly with what is needful for the supply of your necessities.  Few persons are ever reduced to poverty by liberality.... the divine blessing rests upon the liberal man, and that God keeps him from want.  But in the meantime there are multitudes who are made poor by the lack of liberality.  They are parsimonious in giving but they are extravagant in dress, and luxury, and in expenses for amusement or vice, and the consequence is poverty and want. ...The divine blessing rests upon the liberal: and while every person should make a proper provision for his family, every one should give liberally, confiding in God that he will furnish the supplies for our future needs.  Let this maxim be borne in mind, that no one is usually made the poorer by being liberal."
In these tough economic times in the world, Barnes' ideas are really something to ponder.  As we mentioned in the beginning, when we recognize God as the eternal cause and sustainer of all that exists, what have we to do but rejoice? (B24)
And so Science and Health confirms, "To begin rightly is to end rightly" (S24).  I had that phrase posted on my closet door all through high school.  It reminded me that whatever task I undertook, I needed to start with God, and remember that "the Son can do nothing of himself."  We mentioned earlier that there has been great interest in the scientific community to learn more about the origins of man and the universe.  Our Leader says the most important question is "spiritual causation" and she links that question "more than all others" to human progress (S25).  That's a pretty important question.
The catch to all this is, that every day demands that we prove the divine power we profess (S26).  Each proof leads to further progress.  Let's not forget that God is the cause of it all.  He is expressing in man infinite, unlimited, progressive ideas, forever developing, broadening, and rising higher (S27).  Bible commentator Albert Barnes states, "Creation is not confined to a single point of time. Whenever anything absolutely new--that is, not involved in anything previously extant--is called into existence, there is creation" and the textbook corroborates that assessment. "Creation is ever appearing, and must ever continue to appear from the nature of its inexhaustible source" (S28).  So there it is-constant unfoldment, and fresh, new ideas fueling every advancement, healing, and accomplishment.  Now that's something to rejoice about!

 [The application ideas above are from a Christian Science Practitioner who has served as a Resident Practitioner at CedarS Camps. They are provided primarily to help CedarS campers and staff (as well as friends) see and demonstrate the great value of study and application of the Christian Science Bible lessons daily throughout the year, not just at camp!  YOU CAN ALSO SIGN UP for weekly emails from past CedarS staff of possible ways to share Bible Lesson applications with older, as well as younger, Sunday School classes atwww.cedarscamps.org/newsletters   Warren Huff, CedarS Director & editor of these notes & bracketed, italic additions.]
 
[YOUR QUICK SUPPORT IS DOUBLY NEEDED!!
1st "Emerge ‘n See" Response:  Based on wonderful responses to our recent pleas for help to buy hay to make up for a significant shortage caused by unexpected, dry conditions in the Midwest this summer, we were able to buy quite a bit of good hay to feed our horses!  Thank you SO much!! We still need to raise over $5,000 to cover the unbudgeted expense of being unable to grow all of our own hay this year.  (http://www.cedarscamps.org/giving/adopt-the-herd-fund.htm shares details.)  Fortunately, MATCHING FUNDS DONORS FOR "ADOPT THE HERD" have committed to match your gifts up to $50,000 to buy hay and to underwrite the excellence of CedarS' popular and effective Riding Program.  Here's a sample of fruitage: "I am getting to know about horses and how to ride them. ... I am very grateful to know that God is at my side all the time." Camper
 
2nd "Emerge ‘n See" Response: We recently discovered that several of CedarS' original cabins and structures whose electrical wiring was not in metal conduits, have become fire hazards due to critters gnawing through the wire insulation. Running new wire inside conduit (plus fixing our backhoe and doing other needed -- but more routine -- maintenance throughout camp) will cost $50,000.  The good news is that work has been able to be started thanks to about $4,000 received in recent phoned-in and mailed-in donations as well as e-gifts to http://www.cedarscamps.org/giving/maintenance-fund.htm .
Also. MATCHING FUNDS DONORS FOR "MAINTENANCE MUSTS" will match your gifts up to $25,000 till year-end!  "What a wonderful experience it was to be at CedarS over Labor Day weekend. I will keep it in my heart forever: the beautiful surroundings, the embracing architecture, the loving and selfless staff. CedarS and all who love it and serve it is... a very special and holy place." College Summit Participant
 
[We also have an inspiring, non-partisan gift for anyone wanting it during our U.S. post-election season. You can click http://www.cedarscamps.org/metaphysical/founding/ to hear now via that link(or to order a free CD by this link), two inspiring, non-partisan talks, designed to rally us together around the U.S. Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights.  Thanks for e-giving, calling or mailing to our winter office (address below) your greatly-appreciated & needed gifts to help support CedarS horses, buildings, and programs that all support Christian Science youth and their appreciation and application of the Commandments, Beatitudes and Scientific Statement of Being. "I will carry with me always the lessons learned, friendships made, and spiritual understanding gained." Counselor
 
[CedarS Camps Office, 1314 Parkview Valley Dr., Manchester, MO 63011
or to make a monthly pledge or a single, credit or debit card gift over the phone, 
call us at 636-394-6162.]
 
[Additional Director's Note: You can sign up to have these application ideas emailed to you free -- by Monday each week in English; or by each Wednesday you can get a FREE TRANSLATION: in German, thanks to Helga and Manfred; or in Spanish, thanks to a team of Ana, Erick, Claudia and Patricio.  A voluntary French translation by Pascal or Denise cannot be guaranteed due to their busy schedules. An "official" version of the weekly Portuguese translation should be coming soon on a new webpage for CedarS Mets, but in the meantime you can email Orlando Trentini to be added to the list.  
 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.]

[PSST: Acknowledge the only Cause and Creator!]
Possible Sunday School Topics by Merrill Boudreaux
for Christian Science Bible Lesson: "God the Only Cause and Creator"
for December 2, 2012
PSST:  Golden Text: Simple questions:      What has God made?   Why were they made?     Is there more than All?
 
PSST:  Responsive Reading: What actions of God as Creator are listed in the Responsive Reading? What is my role? (See verse 33.)
 
PSST:  Section 1: When was the beginning? (S-3) Good memorization opportunity in citations B-3 or B-4. What is a primary word for God in citation S-4? If God is good and you are the reflection of God/good, what does that make you? And everyone else? Citation B-1. Can there be another Creator but God/good? Can there be any other self-existence?
 
PSST:  Section 2: Again, who created you? Of what are you created? Why were you created? Answer the questions asked of Job in citation B-9. How can you see God as in citation B-10? By seeing all around you that which God/good created and sustains, as reflection.
 
PSST:  Section 3: What is the work of your hands required by God, good? See Micah 6:8. What did the Lord require of Nehemiah? What did Nehemiah do in response? Read the story in citations B-13 and B-14. What does God/good provide to you? Citation S-13. Please affirm: "As a result of what God provides to me I can _____." Please ask students to memorize citation S-14.
 
PSST:  Section 4: Read aloud the story in citation B-16. This story is emblematic of the power of God present in our thoughts, in our world. What storms (lies) need to be stilled in our present experience? War, climate change, poverty, unemployment, social injustice. Since Jesus "was the most scientific man that ever trod the globe" and you are made by the same Creator, you can employ truths similar to those employed by Jesus to still storms. Speak aloud the specific statements of truth in the Science & Health portion of this section, like: 
·        "There is no power opposite to God or good"
·        "The spiritual forces of divine Mind are potent"
·        "Christian Science brings to light... universal harmony";   and so forth.
 
PSST:  Section 5: What did John behold about Jesus that arrested his thought and caused him to wonder, even while he was in prison? Citation B-18. Define the word "offend." Can you imagine anyone being upset, annoyed, resentful, displeased, hurt, or outraged whenever a healing occurs? In fact the opposite is so, see citation B-18, "...blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me."
     Are we, like Jesus, balsamaceous? Look up that word and see this definition: possessing healing or restorative qualities. That's you because of what Jesus taught - S-22. Do we possess the ability to have those same results today, now? (S-23)
 
PSST:  Section 6: What does God/good say in citation B-21? What are we to do -- in B-22? Why, -- in B-23? When are we to do it -- in B-24? What is the one question to be considered -- in citation S-25?
     Are you ready to approach this subject? Are you ready to acknowledge the only Cause and Creator?

[PYCL: Let the Christ still all your storms! (See section .4 & PS)]
CedarS PYCLs--Possible Younger Class Lessons for:  
"
God the Only Cause and Creator"
The Christian Science Bible Lesson for December 2, 2012
by Kerry Jenkins, CS, House Springs, MO (314) 406-0041 [Bracketed inserts by Warren Huff]
 
 [PYCL:  Focus: on good we know God causes; on what can't possibly have its source in God]
What does it mean to cause something?  (Most will know what it means to create). If you are feeling game and you have the kind of kids that will respond well to this, you might stand up and tip back one of their chairs, as if you are going to tip them over.  Then ask: "what caused your chair to tip back?"  Something like this often will get them immediately engaged, even if it seems silly.  Then talk about what God causes and what things around us cannot possibly have their source in God.  I would begin by focusing on all the things that are good that we know God causes.  For example, man is created by God.  Our goodness, kindness, intelligence, creativity, strength and so on are caused by Him and are a part of what He creates.  Do a scan of the lesson. The three main stories are Nehemiah, Jesus calming the sea and Jesus healing leprosy.  How do these relate to our topic?  (I'll get into each of these in a minute).  Once you've had a chance to ponder these ideas, then you can look at the things that claim that there is a cause outside of God.  Now that you have some "ammunition", so to speak, you can think about why with God as the only source we can dismiss storms, disease, enemies, etc...  You can look at some of the citations in S&H and share thoughts on how it is that our only source for seeing and acknowledging such things is a faulty, so-called intelligence, separate from Mind.( Citations S6,S9,S12, S13, and on and on!). Talk about how Jesus set the best example of what God created by healing and showing us that man is beloved by God, not punished and bullied by God.  It is always really great if you can share a personal example of healing here to help everyone see that the kind of healing that Jesus did is still happening today.  All of us have some healing to share that proves that matter or disease is not caused by God, and our understanding of God as Jesus showed Him to be, Love, brought us healing.
 
 [PYCL:  Every right idea, like Nehemiah's wall or your "wall", cannot be stopped!]
Nehemiah is always a great story to work with as you can approach it from so many levels.  In the context of this week's lesson you can talk about how a divine idea (the wall) cannot be stopped or prevented because God is its source.  Every "enemy" that would seem to be powerful and destructive, falls before the alertness and spiritual vision of God's creation.  Feel free to get into the story in more detail especially with these younger kids.  You can talk about all the ways in which Nehemiah's enemies tried to get him to stop his construction.  Then spend some time bringing this into today's world.  What does this story mean to us now?  Do you ever have a great idea or goal or project that seems threatened by "enemies"?  These enemies might be time, ability, intelligence, disobedience, temptation of some kind and so on.  Do you have a Nehemiah story of your own to kick off this discussion?  Can you find one to share from a periodical?  You could even share some of the stories surrounding the building of the Mother Church too.  You should also share some of the earlier details of the Nehemiah story.  What was he doing in Artaxerxes' court?  Explain that it was dangerous for him to share his desire with the king.  He could have been executed just for asking to rebuild the wall.  Check out the Bible note in My Bible Lesson where it explains that the king had recently issued a law that would stop any rebuilding of Jerusalem since Jerusalem was considered a hotbed of rebellion.  What on earth made the king change his mind right after he had issued such a decree?  It comes down to whether there is more than one creator or power doesn't it? (S12).  By knowing and understanding a bit of the fact that nothing can oppose God's goodness, what freedom does this leave us?  Pretty amazing, right?
 
 [PYCL:  Share a modern day stilling of a stormy relationship or situation by the Christ spirit.]
In Section 4 when Jesus stills the storm we have another example of what is possible when we really understand that God is the only cause.  This, of course, has practical application when we are faced with those so-called natural disasters.  But it is equally applicable to other "storms" of life which you can discuss so that they see that this truth has application in many smaller but significant ways in daily life.  Again, bring some examples from your own experience where perhaps stormy personal relationships were resolved in amazing ways that clearly illustrate Mind's government acknowledged.  Or maybe you have some other type of stormy situation that was pacified and healed.  It is so important that the kids don't think of these Bible stories as wonderful historically isolated events, or as only possible by Jesus efforts.  Maybe it would be of interest to talk about how a storm might be considered a "natural" thing.  So why would we pray to change that?  By the same token, war might be considered natural too; mankind doesn't seem to get along with itself very well.  We have only to look at our relationships between siblings to see this.  Better to understand that God causes only truth, only intelligent and good activity.  All else is the belief in an opposite power to God, Good.  Citation S18 has some interesting ideas about where we gain the evidence of a power opposed to God. [See Warren's storm-stilling PS]
 
 [PYCL:  Discuss, plan and do outreach for those who feel isolated from God's love!]
Jesus' healing of the leprous man is yet another example of how an understanding of God as the only cause/creator, can change the sense testimony about man.  Again the notes in My Bible Lesson explain that leprosy was considered a "divine curse", meaning that people in those days thought that God caused leprosy out of anger at someone.  In other words, those inflicted with leprosy deserved it.  Wow, imagine feeling that?  Don't we sometimes find it tempting to think that we are sick or in trouble because we have behaved badly or done something to deserve punishment?  This might be a little over the kid's heads, but maybe not with the older ones.  Do you sometimes feel like you didn't really get praying right away when you felt ill and now it's "too late"?  This is the same kind of thought that would lead us to think that in a way, God caused us being sick or at least approves of us being sick.  This could never be true of the God that Jesus revealed to us!  And here in this story, Jesus proves this by healing the leper, not only healing him but ignoring all the laws of isolation that come with being unclean, and all the "laws" that speak of contagion, and he reached out and touched the man when he healed him.  We are never separate in that way from Love.  Love is always there reaching out to touch us, even when we feel badly about ourselves or our behavior.  Love is there to touch us with Christly affection and grace.  You could digress from the subject of the lesson here for a moment if you found they were interested, and talk about the way that Jesus touched this man who was rejected from society, cast out and reviled as unclean.  Especially maybe in this season we can perhaps think of ways that we can touch and reach out to those who feel this kind of isolation from God's love.  Discuss ways that maybe your class can do this.  It can take so many forms as there are many communities that you are a part of. Your demonstration of this Christly love can really make someone else feel that Christ presence!
 
 [PYCL:  Bless others and your pupils by helping them see how to give to & bless others.]
For the smallest kids, there are a few little projects buried in this lesson.  You can, of course, work on the above kind of gift to your community.  Maybe your community is your own church or someone in the church that might need some extra love.  Maybe your class could go to someone's house and bring a meal and perhaps act out a Bible story or sing a few hymns or hang up some decorations.  When you take the time to explain and understand what is behind this sort of activity, the children will be blessed as much as the recipient of their sweet sharing.
 
 [PYCL:  Build with "blocks" (divine ideas) of your own that stand up to enemies.]
You can also use the Nehemiah story to build with "blocks" of your own, whether they are actual blocks you bring in, or drawn ones.  Each block can be covered with an idea that will stand up against the "enemies" that we talked about earlier.  Maybe they can use a Bible quote or just an idea in their own words.  Talk about how Nehemiah and the Jews that helped him defended themselves, even while building the wall.  What does this wall represent in our own thought?  Shouldn't we always keep this "wall" in good repair and well-defended, (a little like the castle that we spoke of recently)?
 
 [PYCL:  Perfection within our reach now! "Ability and Opportunity are coordinate ideas!"]
I also like citation B21 in light of this week's lesson.  I hadn't seen it quite like this before, and it is really lovely.  When it says "...he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited:" I suddenly saw this as a way of saying that creation is not an ethereal-too spiritual-beyond our practical understanding.  Rather we inhabit perfect creation now.  This is not beyond our grasp. Hence, as this section (#6) points out, "...progress is the law of God, whose law demands of us only what we can certainly fulfill."  This should be a fun thought for the littler ones: that progress is accompanied by our ability from God to achieve it!  It's not something for those who are more "advanced", that wouldn't be loving, to keep spiritual understanding and healing out of reach of some!  Rather we all have that ability..."Spiritual sense is the discernment of spiritual good."(S5)  Can you discern spiritual good?  Of course you can! Then you are using spiritual sense, seeing true creation and cause! ["Know thyself, and God will provide the wisdom (ability) and the occasion (opportunity) for a victory over evil." S&H 571:16]
 
Have a great Sunday!
[Warren's PS, an example of the Christ stilling a storm of office jealousy:
When I went to work in my first architectural firm in the 1970s, fresh out of Princeton University, my immediate supervisor seems jealous of my Ivy League education and did everything he could to make my work look bad before our mutual employer. He would assign me to do the most menial jobs and to draw up only door details all week. I really knew that I had to still this storm of jealousy with Christly peace and love when he first smeared a drawing that I'd worked on all day, and then poked a hole in it! One of several actionable insights that God gave me on my drive home that night was that Jesus was unjustly persecuted in the Garden of Gethsemane and yet healed the soldier's ear after Peter struck out at him and cut it off. I resolved to not strike back and not further stir up the storm, but rather to still it with "love meeting no response, but still remaining love." (from Mrs. Eddy definition of GETHSEMANE, S&H 586:24) The next day the storm seemed to still be brewing within him, but not within me. When he said and did mean things all I could do was smile (and silently pray to express the Christ spirit). At lunch I offered to drive him to get a gift for his wife and loaned him some money since his wallet (identity) was temporarily lost. From then on, we became good friends, after-work water ski and handball partners, and even attendants at Christian Science lecturers! The Christ stills all kinds of storms yet today!]

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