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!

Cherish Christ Jesus & "our fondest earthly hopes"

Rick Stewart, C.S., Dresden, Germany
Posted Monday, December 17th, 2012

Cherish Christ Jesus & our” fondest earthly hopes”
CedarS Camps Metaphysical Application Ideas for
the Christian Science Bible Lesson on:
"Christ Jesus"
for December 23, 2012
by Rick Stewart, C.S. , Dresden, Germany
(+49 351 312 4736)  rickstewartcs@aol.com

Christmas?  How do we best observe and celebrate the birth of Christ Jesus?  For me that is simply a deep, thorough, and inspiring study of the Bible Lesson, Christ Jesus.  I am having fun with all the festivities and celebrations that take place at this time of year here in Germany, but with a focus on the Gospel proclamation announced by the angels, “Peace on earth, good will to man.”

It is a time to remember those who suffer, grieve, mourn and hurt.  It is a time to deepen our commitment to living the life our Master, Christ Jesus, desired for us.   As the Gospel of John puts it, “The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.  If any man serve me, let him follow me;”   To follow him and and to share his Light and Love with those who need it most.  As I rejoice in the promise that the angels of old proclaimed in the fields of Bethlehem I pray to know that those angelic messengers of God’s love remain at hand.

In Science and Health, Mary Baker Eddy writes about “our angelic messengers”  “My angels are exalted thoughts, appearing at the door of some sepulchre, in which human belief has buried  its fondest earthly hopes.  With white fingers they point upward to a new and glorified trust, to higher ideals of life and its joys.” (p. 299).

What better place to put our trust for our “fondest earthly hopes” than in the Gospel message that Jesus' birth and life offers us?   Does that celebration, that hope, that trust, have to be celebrated only on December 25?  I think our Master, Christ Jesus, would hope that his teachings bring inspiration and the Light of God’s love to our everyday.

A friend in the United States recently wrote me about his concerns that somehow the specialness of the Christmas season was being diluted  in the United States by decisions about where and how we can celebrate Christmas. And he even bemoaned the fact that you hear more, “Happy Holiday” greetings than “Merry Christmas!”  He asked me how Christmas is celebrated in Germany?  That is a very long answer including, Christmas Markets, Advent Wreaths, The four Sundays leading up to Weinachten,  Niklaus Day, and churches that are much fuller on the Sundays before Weinachten (Christmas Eve.)  It truly is a special time here.  But in the midst of all that celebration, it can still be difficult to find the true spirit of Christmas.

That is exactly where you can make a difference.  This week’s Bible Lesson on the subject, Christ Jesus, can bring you an inspiration that will actually let the Christ come to light in your daily life.  And your prayers and inspiration can bring that message of “Peace on Earth.  Good will to man,” to all those who need it most.

Golden Text: Psalms 45:7    “…God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”
The Golden Text offers the core, or the central theme for the Bible Lesson.  This Psalm is identified as a Wedding Song, or a Psalm of Love.  It includes references to the promised Messiah, in the following verse a portion of which is our Golden Text,,  “ 7 Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”  King James Version

For several days I have looked at that entire Psalm.  I have read it in about 20 different Bible translations.  I realized I was stumbling over the phrase, “anointed thee…above thy fellows.”  Now I am not unwilling to see that Jesus was truly anointed in his mission.  I am not unwilling to know that his fulfillment of the promise of a Messiah, a Christ is complete.  But I was struggling with “above thy fellows.”  Jesus himself told us that he was here as one who serveth.  Then I had a simple image.  When one falls into a well you need help to get out.  You do not need someone to jump in with you and cheer you on.  You need someone to stay up “above” and help you from above.  In love, in compassion, right with you, but not having let go of his stance on the upper ground.  As my mom used to often say, “Jesus never left heaven for earth.”  His unity with the Father, (“I and my Father are one.") did not separate him from us as God’s Son and our Saviour.  Jesus fulfillment of the coming of a promised Messiah, Christ, did not separate him from us.  Instead he remains there to save us.

Responsive Reading:    Isaiah 52:7, Isaiah 7: 11,14 and Matthew 1: 18-21
From Isaiah and Matthew we hear the wonderful promise of the Messiah and then the promise of Immanuel’s birth to a virgin.  Joseph receives the assurances to take Mary as his wife and that the child is of the Holy Ghost.  And Joseph is told that his name shall be called Jesus.  Thus Jesus fulfills the prophecy of Immanuel.

Section 1 – The visit of the Magi, the wise men from the east.
How many Christmases have we all read this wonderful account of wise men from the East coming in search of the newborn, “King of the Jews.”  The presents they brought, “gold, frankincense and myrrh” are valuable gifts fit for a king.  Although in nativity scenes and reenactments we often see these wise men visit the stable, we are told that they in fact came into “the house.”  Matthew 2:11” And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and wor¬shipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.”  And they sure were, “wise.”  They were not fooled by Herod’s professed devotion and desire to also come and worship the newborn.  When it came time to say good bye they took another route home. (B-2) Matthew 2:12 “  And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.”

Has the time come to an end when we need “wise men” to worship the Christ?  I love what Mary Baker Eddy says in Science and Health along these lines,(S-1) 482:19 “Jesus was the highest human concept of the perfect man. He was inseparable from  Christ, the Messiah, — the divine idea of God outside the flesh. This enabled Jesus to demonstrate his control over matter. Angels announced to the Wisemen of  old this dual appearing, and angels whisper it, through faith, to the hungering heart in every age. “  What a wonderful promise that there continues a great need for those who wisely discern the uniqueness of both Jesus and the eternal Christ or Messiah, which he embodied.
Citation (S-2, 95:23) states:  “Led by a solitary star amid  the darkness, the Magi of old foretold the Messiahship of Truth. Is the wise man of to-day believed, when he beholds the light which heralds Christ’s eternal dawn and describes its effulgence?"

One of those “wise men” who followed the eternal Christ was the Reverend Phillips Brooks.  Phillips Brooks was one of the most famous preachers of his time.  He was also the author of the beloved hymn and Christmas Carol, “O little town of Bethlehem.” (Hymn 222 in the Christian Science Hymnal)  He was originally from Boston.  Descended from a line of Congregational clergymen, he served his ministry in the Episcopal Church in Philadelphia.

"In 1869 Brooks answered repeated requests and returned to his native Boston to serve as Rector of Trinity Church.   In 1891 he was elected Bishop of his church in Massachusetts. 

During his time in Philadelphia he took a year’s vacation studying and traveling in the east and the holy land.  He writes:

“After an early dinner, we took our horses and rode to Bethlehem,” so he wrote home in Christmas week of 1865. “It was only about two hours when we came to the town, situated on an eastern ridge of a range of hills, surrounded by its terraced gardens. It is a good-looking town, better built than any other we have seen in Palestine. . . . Before dark, we rode out of town to the field where they say the shepherds saw the star. It is a fenced piece of ground with a cave in it (all the Holy Places are caves here), in which, strangely enough, they put the shepherds. The story is absurd, but somewhere in those fields we rode through the shepherds must have been. . . . As we passed, the shepherds were still “keeping watch over their flocks or leading them home to fold.”
Click here for link

On the front piece of the book, MARY BAKER EDDY Christian Healer, is the following quote by Phillips Brooks: “God has not given us vast learning to solve all the problems, Or unfailing wisdom to direct all the wanderings of our brothers’ lives; but He has given to everyone of us the power to be spiritual, and by our spirituality to lift and enlarge and enlighten the lives we touch.” Following this quote is Mary Baker Eddy’s response: “The secret of my life is in the above.”

Section 2 – Jesus always serves God.
The second chapter of the Gospel of Luke contains the story of Simeon recognizing in the infant Jesus “the Lord’s Christ.”  (B-4, Luke 2)  And also the story when as a 12 year old Jesus went to the Temple in Jerusalem. A chapter full of content, right?

I find it interesting that Simeon was led to go to the Temple that day by the Holy Ghost.  Isn’t that an important message to us that we remain open to going where the Spirit leads?

Just a little example and the blessing it brought me.  In January 1986 I was in Boston for some lecture preparatory work.  I was not yet elected to the Board of Lectureship.  There was actually a group of about 12 of us.  We were asked to basically lay low to avoid curiosity. And we were specifically asked to not attend The Mother Church in order to protect our mission so to speak, since we were not yet elected to the Board. 

But Sunday morning I awoke with an incredible hunger of the Spirit for church.  I prayed, looked in the Yellow Pages, with the question, “Where should I go to church?”  I remembered that Mrs. Eddy had spoken at Tremont Temple, a Baptist church.  So I looked up the address and began the walk.  Along the way I glimpsed an interesting round building and watched as several people went inside.  As I drew closer I saw the sign, “Church of All Nations.”  Now that sounded interesting.  I entered and was studying the bulletin board, when a clergyman in colorful robes walked by and greeted me.  He told me that the main church service was later, but that I was welcome to join a Sunday School class that was already in session.  I took him up on the offer.

I was welcomed by a group of ten or so.  A young minister was conducting the adult class.  We had a delightful discussion of one of Jesus’ parables.  I had been asked to read the parable and received several comments, “You sure know how to read the Bible.”  (A gift from regular study of the Bible Lesson!)  Our discussion had been so inspiring.  It was one of the most delightful discussions of Scripture I had ever had.  And one of the Sunday School class, an older gentlemen, had been really inspiring.  I sensed he was truly a spiritually-minded person.  After the class he called me over and said he would like me to meet a young couple honeymooning from Zimbabwe.  It was his nephew and the nephew’s new wife.  The man making the introductions I knew simply as, Abel.  As he introduced me I suddenly remembered that someone in the class had called him “Bishop.”  I thought, “Abel,” “Zimbabwe”, “Bishop.”  And with goose bumps of joy I turned and asked, “Abel, you wouldn’t be Bishop Abel Muzorewa?”

“Yes, I am.”  I cannot tell you how thrilled I was.  Abel and I had a long talk.  I shared with him that at that very moment I had been working on a lecture about brotherhood, “Christianity’s Promise:  True Brotherhood.”  Suddenly I felt as if I had glimpsed just a little of the worldwide reach of our prayers, and the unity of the activity of the Christ.  Abel, a Methodist Bishop, had been the first Prime Minister during the transition of Rhodesia to Zimbabwe.  

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abel_Muzorewa

I often ask myself, “Am I praying about church attendance?”  Prayer can actually bring us into the very presence of the Christ expressed.  It was such an inspiring time with Abel.  He even invited me to come back the next week for the church service.  It would be in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.  And Abel explained that Dr. King had often visited the church when he lived in Boston.  So through prayer I had a church home for two weeks.  And felt just like family.

Imagine if you had been debating about whether to go to church (or Temple) on a particular Sabbath.  Finally you were led to go and who should happen to be there?  A twelve-year old Jesus!  That story is also in this section as Jesus visits the Temple in Jerusalem.  “And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.”  (B-4, Luke 2:46)  When his mom finally found him remember what he told her?  “And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” (B-4, Luke 2: 49)

Isn’t it a joy to know that we, too, can discover the Christ waiting for us in church when we pray about where we are going?   And when we expect to find what we need in church?  As our Leader writes  “The Christ was the Spirit which Jesus implied in his own statements: “I am the way, the truth, and the life;”  “I and my Father are one.” This Christ, or divinity of the man Jesus, was his divine nature, the godliness which animated him.” (S-9, 26:10–14)  The Christ awaits us in church year-round, not just on Christmas!

Section 3 – Faith in Jesus’ teaching and source heals.
In this section of the Lesson (B-5, Matt. 13) we read of Jesus’ preaching, a preaching with authority, a teaching with spiritual import.  He shares the parable of the mustard seed.    His teaching draws a multitude so large that he has to enter into a ship so all can hear “faith as a grain of mustard seed.”  Mustard seeds are only 1-2 mm.  But that is enough!  He speaks of faith and later in the section he states where the faith must be placed “Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me.” (B-7, John 12: 44) 

In Citation 14 of the Lesson Mary Baker Eddy echoes Jesus’ words about knowing who sent the Master:  “In an age of ecclesiastical despotism, Jesus introduced the teaching and practice of Christianity, affording the proof of Christianity’s truth and love; but to reach his example and to test its unerring Science according to his rule, healing sickness, sin, and death, a better understanding of God as divine Principle, Love, rather than personality or the man Jesus, is required.”  (S-14, 473:18)

Mrs. Eddy glimpsed the importance of knowing where our faith is placed...  When Mary Baker Eddy first discovered, Christian Science, and was beginning to preach in Boston it was not a time when women were generally accepted as teachers.  But Mrs. Eddy had herself been healed through the understanding of the Gospel of Christ and she knew she must share what she had glimpsed.  So she did.  The early days of her preaching she often faced resistance and she persevered.  Her faith and understanding were producing wonderful results like the following:

“Bertha Reinke was a young German woman who came to the United States to study medicine in search of a cure for her physical problems. She went to hear a “lady preacher” merely “out of curiosity, because it was unheard of in her country for women to preach. She had never heard of Christian Science and had not known of its focus on healing.” She tells of her experience as follows: “Escorted by a gentleman, the ‘Lady Preacher’ appeared on the stage. For a few moments she gazed silently over the audience. I felt an atmosphere such as I had not known before. She spoke with a gentle, low, but very clear voice. As I was not accustomed to hear an address in English …  the words themselves were not understood.  But as I listened, I experienced an inexpressible feeling of relief and the pains and misery… had fallen away.… Not knowing to whom I had been listening, I asked an usher for the name of the Lady Preacher. In utter astonishment he looked at me and answered, ‘Why, that was Mrs. Eddy!’ — Mrs. Eddy!? I had never heard the name before–I left the hall free and well” (Christian Healer 128–129).

Here’s what Mrs. Eddy says in a letter to one of her students:
“The healing will grow more easy and be more immediate as you realize that God, Good, is all and Good is Love. You must gain Love, and lose the false sense called love. You must feel the Love that never faileth — that perfect sense of divine power that makes healing no longer power but grace” ("Christian Science Sentinel", April 10, 2006, p. 9).

Section 4 - “Thy faith hath made thee whole.”
One of the remarkable aspects of Jesus healing work was his ability to restore the faculties of sight and hearing.  And it was also one of his clear demonstrations that he was here as fulfillment of the promised coming of the Messiah.  As Bible citation, “Is it not yet a very little while, and Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest?  And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness.” (B-8, Isa. 29:17, 18)  [We at the CedarS of Lebanon feel that our summer fruitage is a fulfillment of this biblical prophecy as you can read at http://www.cedarscamps.org/information/fruitage/  We are hoping to have a staff member write up a quick healing of blindness that he experienced through prayer at CedarS.]

In Bible citation B-9 we read of the healing of blind Bartimaeus.  I love the fact that through this healing Jesus demonstrates two key points.  One Bartimaeus was not a beggar, someone without sight and therefore needing to beg for a living.  And, two, that it was “thy faith,” Bartimaeus' faith, which had been effective.

“And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.” (B-9, Mark 10: 51-52)

I love that as Bartimaeus reached out to Jesus he was bold!  He did not let the “shushes” of decorum silence his plea for help from the Christ.  He demanded, he sought, he reached out and he would not be stilled.  But Jesus did not simply heal him with a swipe of his hand, like a magician with his wand.  Jesus engaged Bartimaeus and he encouraged him by letting him know, “Go thy way, thy faith hath made the whole.”  Bartimaeus‘ faith!

I had this demonstrated to me by the faith of a young woman in Costa Rica.  I had arrived late one night for a lecture in the next days.  I was in the Holiday Inn.  I got a call from someone who attended the local Christian Science Society.  She herself was new to Christian Science.  She explained that she had met a young woman who was desperate for healing.  This young woman had discovered a lump in her breast.  And a doctor had told her it was cancer.  She was in Costa Rica for an adventure vacation and her travelling companion had been raised in Christian Science.  So they had contacted the local Society.  And this lady had told her, “There is a healer coming.  He will be there tomorrow.  You can go see him.”  That was me.

When she first told me of this pending appointment, I was very close to denying the Christ and saying, “”Well, I don’t know.  A healer?”  I had never described myself in that way.  It seemed a daunting phrase.  It seemed different than Christian Science Practitioner.  But I began to see and accept.  I had what you might call a little symbolic blindness to heal.  The young woman showed up at 9 a.m.  I had arrived at midnight the night before.  We talked briefly and I agreed to pray for her.  We also agreed to meet at the local Reading Room later.  She showed up for the appointment and we had a nice chat.  She showed up for the lecture the next day.  And she announced to me , “I am healed.”  It was a moving moment.  But I remember being completely honest in saying and knowing just like our Master, “Thy faith hath made thee whole.”  I had not brought some external holiness to move on the waters of thought.  The Christ was active in the whole affair.  Her boyfriend was raised in Science, but not really practicing.  The member of the Society new to Science and sharing.  And the young woman open, receptive and with full faith in the healing power of the Christ. And the visiting Christian Science Practitioner, or rather, “healer".  We had all been in the midst of the Christ at work.   She had accepted and responded to the Christ through her own faith.  (I have since learned to trust the “faith” of those asking for healing!)

Citation S-19 in Science and Health shows to me the authority that comes from the Christ, Truth.  “Mind is the master of the corporeal senses, and can conquer sickness, sin, and death. Exercise this God-given authority. Take possession of your body, and govern its feeling and action. Rise in the strength of Spirit to resist all that is unlike good. God has made man capable of this, and nothing can vitiate the ability and power divinely bestowed on  man. 
  Be firm in your understanding that the divine Mind governs, and that in Science man reflects God’s government.” (S-19, 393:8–18, 25)

Section 5 – The eternal Christ, and eternal Life.
Did you notice that this section opens with a verse from the Book of Job and then concludes with verses from Titus and Galatians in the New Testament?  The Christ is not limited to a mortal life span.  It did not begin with the birth of Jesus and it did not end in what appeared to be the death of Jesus.  Jesus rose after the crucifixion, but the eternal Christ that Jesus so embodied has never varied in its full expression.  The eternal Christ is evident in Job’s words:”I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:” (B-10, Job 19:25)  Job glimpsed his Redeemer, his Savior, just as Paul, the author of Titus and Galatians did.

In the correlative citations from Science and Health Mrs. Eddy writes in citation S-21, “Jesus aided in reconciling man to God by giving man a truer sense of Love, the divine Principle of Jesus’ teachings, and this truer sense of Love redeems man from the law of matter, sin, and death by the law of Spirit, — the law of divine Love.

  “Jesus urged the commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” which may be rendered: Thou shalt have no belief of Life as mortal; thou shalt not know evil, for there is one Life, —  even God, good.” (S-21, 19:6, 29–1)

I love the promise that through the Christ, Truth that Jesus lived, taught, and embodied in an incomparable example, we too can choose Life as fact.  We can choose who we listen to and accept as the source of Life.

I still often hear the powerful words of declaration of a young four-year-old friend, Mimi.  I was 15.  It was when Mimi was in the middle of a wonderful demonstration of Life.  She had stepped off steps in our pool and did not know how to swim.  She appeared unconscious when I reached her...  I carried her to our upper patio praying as I walked.  Without a single call for help my mom noticed us there immediately.  We had a house full of company.  Mom realized she needed to take Mimi out of the stirring mortal atmosphere, and she asked my dad to drive her and Mimi to a nearby practitioner’s house.  As they drove and prayed Mimi momentarily regained consciousness.  She declared, “Glatha I’m listening to God.”  And she seemed to drift away, and then she declared, “Glatha, I’m not listening to error.”  This mental stand of a four-year-old to listen to God, Life and not to listen to error, remains so powerful to me.  And in just a short while the practitioner called with the simple declaration “all is well.”  When Mimi got back to our house she simply said, “Ricky, you have to teach me to swim cause last time I sank.”  The healing was holy.  Mimi was back in the water that very day with no fear.  And she later had a very successful career as a competitive swimmer.

The Christ was alive to Job, “I know that my Redeemer liveth.” (B-10)  The Christ was alive to Paul, ”Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;” (B-11)  The Christ was alive to Mrs. Eddy, “Jesus aided in reconciling man to God by giving man a truer sense of Love, the divine Principle of Jesus’ teachings, and this truer sense of Love redeems man from the law of matter, sin, and death by the law of Spirit, — the law of divine Love.“ (S-21, 19:6)

Isn’t this a celebration of Christmas worth repeating?  The healing Christ at hand, healing and comforting!

Section 6 – The works shall declare the Christ, present now and forever.
[This section’s Bible citations call for us to end our doubt and any guarded, uneasy commitment to the Christ.]
How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.” (B-13, John 10:24-25)

“Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.“ (B-15, Mark 16: 15, 17, 18)

“For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace:” (B-16, Isa. 55:12)

A beautiful Christmas carol that inspires us at Christmas time comes from the pen of American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  “I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day.”  It evidently was an upward battle for Longfellow to find the certainty, the assurance that Christmas was indeed worth celebrating.  In 1861 he lost his wife, Fanny, in a tragic accident.  The first Christmas after Fanny's death, Longfellow wrote, "How inexpressibly sad are all holidays."  A year after the incident, he wrote, "I can make no record of these days. Better leave them wrapped in silence. Perhaps someday God will give me peace."  Longfellow's journal entry for December 25th 1862 reads: "'A merry Christmas' say the children, but that is no more for me." "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance"(Psalm 42:5).  Almost a year later, Longfellow received word that his oldest son Charles, a lieutenant in the Army of the Potomac, had been severely wounded.  The Christmas of 1863 was silent in Longfellow's journal. . Finally, on Christmas Day of 1864, he wrote the words of the poem, "Christmas Bells.

"Christmas Bells"
"I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: 
"God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!"

.Mary Baker Eddy embraced the call to follow our Master in word and deed.  She writes “The highest earthly representative of God, speaking of human ability to reflect divine power, prophetically said to his disciples, speaking not for their day only but for all time:  “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also;” and “These signs shall follow them that believe.” (S-27, 52:23)

Is not this call to celebrate Christmas in obedience to the Master Christian, to follow in his steps and to share the coming of the Christ with all who will hear?  Mary Baker Eddy wrote in the “New York World” newspaper the following [reprinted in First Church of Christ Scientist and Miscellany, 259]:

[New York World]

"The Significance of Christmas"


"Certain occasions, considered either collectively or individually and observed properly, tend to give the activity of man infinite scope; but mere merry-making or needless gift-giving is not that in which human capacities find the most appropriate and proper exercise.  Christmas respects the Christ too much to submerge itself in merely temporary means and ends. It represents the eternal informing Soul recognized only in harmony, in the beauty and bounty of Life everlasting, — in the truth that is Life, the Life that heals and saves mankind. An eternal Christmas would make matter an alien save as phenomenon, and matter would reverentially withdraw itself before Mind. The despotism of material sense or the flesh would flee before such reality, to make room for substance, and the shadow of frivolity and the inaccuracy of material sense would disappear.

"In Christian Science, Christmas stands for the real, the absolute and eternal, — for the things of Spirit, not of matter. Science is divine; it hath no partnership with human means and ends, no half-way stations. Nothing conditional or material belongs to it. Human reason and philosophy may pursue paths devious, the line of liquids, the lure of gold, the doubtful sense that falls short of substance, the things hoped for and the evidence unseen.

"The basis of Christmas is the rock, Christ Jesus; its fruits are inspiration and spiritual understanding of joy and rejoicing, — not because of tradition, usage, or corporeal pleasures, but because of fundamental and demonstrable truth, because of the heaven within us. The basis of Christmas is love loving its enemies, returning good for evil, love that "suffereth long, and is kind." Thetrue spirit of Christmas elevates medicine to Mind; it casts out evils, heals the sick, raises the dormant faculties, appeals to all conditions, and supplies every need of man. It leaves hygiene, medicine, ethics, and religion to God and His Christ, to that which is the Way, in word and in deed, — the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

"There is but one Jesus Christ on record. Christ is incorporeal. Neither the you nor the I in the flesh can be or is Christ."
(My. 259:21)


[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 daily demonstrate the great value of study and application of the Christian Science Bible lessons 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 by clicking the "Subscribe Now" button (lower left) at http://www.cedarscamps.org/metaphysical

Warren Huff, CedarS Director & editor of these notes & bracketed, italic additions.]
 
[YOUR QUICK SUPPORT IS DOUBLY APPRECIATED AND STILL NEEDED!!
1st "Emerge ‘n See" Response:  Based on wonderful responses to our fall 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 enough good hay to feed our horses!  Thank you SO much!! We only need to raise $400 more 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/ 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 $12,500 (half) received in recent phoned-in and mailed-in donations as well as e-gifts to http://www.cedarscamps.org/giving/maintenance/ .
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... 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
 
[If you'd rather not give online, thank you for mailing your checks to:

CedarS Camps Office,
1314 Parkview Valley Dr.,
Manchester, MO 63011


 
Or for calling us at
636-394-6162 to give a monthly pledge or a single, Visa or Mastercard credit or debit card gift.]
 
[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 is now available for CedarS Mets, thanks to helpers of Orlando Trentini in Brazil.  You can email him by clicking 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:  Be charged (up) to carry on the Christ mission as outlined!]
Possible Sunday School Topics for the Christian Science Bible Lesson – December 23, 2012
By: Heather K. Libbe, CS (heather.libbe@gmail.com)

Subject – CHRIST JESUS

This week’s Lesson is a perfect springboard to the Christmas season!  What an abundance of things to talk about with the subject of the Lesson being Christ Jesus as we cherish the Christ-presence and Christmas Spirit.  Hope you’ll enjoy the following ideas and questions as you prepare for Sunday School this week!

PSST for Golden Text (Psalms 45:7 God)
“…God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”

Mrs. Eddy defines OIL as “consecration; charity; gentleness; prayer; heavenly inspiration.” How might we define the “oil of gladness” and what examples can we give of occasions where God anointed us with this oil?  How does this tie into the rest of the Lesson?

PSST for Responsive Reading (Isaiah 52:7; 7:11, 14; Matthew 1:18-21 (to :))
The Responsive Reading this week includes the birth of Jesus.  It is interesting to have the prophecy of Jesus in Isaiah side-by-side with that prophecy being fulfilled, as outlined in Matthew.  What is significant about this?  What is significant about Mary’s virginity?  What do we learn about Joseph’s character through this account?  Who/what communicates to Joseph that it is ok to take Mary as his wife?  How might this connect to our own experience and the relationships that we are involved?  (I’ve really enjoyed thinking about how Mary didn’t have to talk Joseph into believe that they were meant to be together and that she was “found with child of the Holy Ghost;” rather, it was the angel that was doing the communicating.) 

PSST for Section 1 [Our God-Send, Jesus on a mission!]
How often are we given the opportunity to really celebrate the wisemen!?!  What is the significance of the role that they play in the birth of Jesus?  How do they demonstrate wisdom, both in their interactions with Herod and their decision to forego returning to Herod as he had requested? (B2)  What qualities do they express in their journey to visit Jesus and once they see Mary and Jesus?  What is the significance of the gifts that they bring?  (Rick Stewart, in his CedarS Met this week, shared that gold, frankincense, and myrrh would have been considered gifts for kings)

Moving on to the citations from Science & Health, the ever-so-popular question of the human and divine coincidence is addressed.  It may be helpful to ask your Sunday School class where they are at in their understanding of the relationship between Jesus and the Christ?  What does Mrs. Eddy say about this in the platform of Christian Science?  (pg 330-340)  How might they explain this relationship to their non-Scientist friends?  What ideas from the Lesson can we pull out to answer this question?  (ex: “Jesus was the highest human concept of the perfect man.  He was inseparable from Christ, the Messiah, -- the divine idea of God outside the flesh” – (S1))

In the spirit of Christmas, this could also be a really great opportunity to talk about the Christ and what that means to everyone.  How are we able to see evidence of the Christ-presence, especially to bring comfort to recent events?  (There was a really great article in the Christian Science Monitor called “Meeting the Sandy Hook tragedy with the spirit of Christmas”)  How can the Christ bring comfort to all of our lives this holiday season?

PSST for Section 2  [Jesus seized his Christ mission “without timidity or dissimulation” p 483]
Two stories in one!  What is significant about the story of Simeon?  Who is Simeon and what does he say about Jesus as the ceremony was prepared?  What do we learn about Jesus’ childhood in the next story?  What happened as Joseph, Mary and Jesus were on their way to Jerusalem for Passover?  Who was Jesus spending time with in the temple?  (One thing that really stood out to me was that he was both listening to these doctors and asking them questions)  How does Jesus respond to his parents questioning? (B4)  What does it mean to “be about our Father’s business?”  Have we seen evidence of this recently?  How can we be about our Father’s business this holiday season?  What might that look like?

Again, what does Mrs. Eddy tell us about the human and divine coincidence through the citations included in this section? (S9)  What does Mrs. Eddy say that Jesus taught us? (S8)  What is the significance of our oneness with God?  (Hint: It heals everything J)  What does it mean that he did the work, but did not eliminate our responsibility to do the work?  How might this tie into the commonly held idea that Jesus died for our sins?  What does Jesus being “the way” mean to your students?  How does this link back to citation S4?

PSST for Section 3 [Christ’s mission to teach]
A common theme from this section was teaching.  What made Jesus such a great teacher?  (It’s amazing to think about how much patience he must have had to express to those seekers around him)  Why did he us parables, such as that of a mustard seed?  (A fun exercise is to actually find mustard seeds to show Sunday School students how small they actually are.)  What was the people’s response to his teaching style? (B6)  What is significant about the following statement: “He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me?” Might this connect to Jesus’ statement in John 5:30, “I can of mine own self do nothing…”  How was Jesus able to do all the incredible, and seemingly miraculous, works and healing that he did?

In the citations from Science & Health, we learn more about how Jesus taught and also about Christianity.  How does Mrs. Eddy define Christianity in citation S15?  How might this definition be different from commonly held beliefs from individuals around the world?  Where does Christian Science fit into Christianity?  How is the relationship between Jesus and the Christ brought out in this section? (S16)

PSST for Section 4  [Christ’s mission to heal]
With the story of Bartimaeus, what was it that seemed to bring about the healing?  Is it important to have faith that you can be healed for the healing to take place?  (This could be a great place to talk a bit about what it’s like to call a practitioner for support and why you might want to do so)  Why do you think Jesus didn’t go over to Bartimaeus, but rather had Bartimaeus come to him?  Why might people try to silence him upon his request for the “son of David” to have mercy on him? (B9)  What other stories include an individual casting aside his garment and what might that mean? 

How does Mrs. Eddy say that Jesus did his healing? (S17)  Are we still able to do this today?  Are we actually demonstrating Christian Science and following the example of our Master?  What is significant about government?  What governs?  (It’s interesting to note that Mind is mentioned in each citation in this section)  How might the ideas from this section apply to our government today?  (In Isaiah 9:6, we read that the government will be “upon his shoulder” –  What might this mean?  How does this relate to the Christ and Christmas season?  [and to “fiscal cliff” negotiations?])  How can seeing spiritually support our experience?

PSST for Section 5  [Christ’s mission to redeem and save]
More prophecy [and redemption]!  What is significant about this prophecy coming from Job?  What had Job just experienced? (B10)  How is Jesus our Savior, according to the verses in Titus? (B11)  What does this tell us about our job as Christians?  What is the significance of God sending someone to redeem people from the law?  What “laws” might we be living under today from which Christ could redeem us?  What does Mrs. Eddy say redeems us “from the law of matter, sin, and death by the law of Spirit?” (S 21)

Again, we find the idea of oneness and unity as we did in Section 2.  How might we practice our “scientific unity” with God? (S22)  How is this redemptive?  How else does Mrs. Eddy say we should be redeemed?  How might the idea of seeing God’s will be universally done (S22) and working out our own salvation (S24) be connected?  What do you think Mrs. Eddy really means by the quote on page 4 [S25, “What we most need is…”] that we have heard so often?  How might we cherish and increase our desire for growth in grace?  What evidence of patience, meekness, love and good deeds have we seen recently? (S25)

PSST for Section 6  [Be charged (up) to carry on the Christ mission outlined above!]
What a beautiful benediction that we “shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace” (B16), especially after we just were told to go out into the world to peach the gospel!  What does this mean to “preach the gospel [literally, the “good news”] and how is that different than proselytizing?  What signs does Jesus say we’ll see if we follow the Christ? (B15)  Are we already seeing these today?

How might we “be Christlike, possess the Christ-spirit, follow the Christ-example, and heal the sick as well as the sinning?” (S26)  How do we see Christians of other denominations doing this, especially during this Christmas season?  How do we follow Christ? (S28)  Why might it be a “duty and a privilege” to do so? (S29)  How can we keep progressing as we do this?  What does Mrs. Eddy say is the only thing that can stop this progress?  (This could be a great opportunity to talk about motive … if you’d like to tie this into the Christmas season, you could look specifically at everyone’s motives for the gifts they are giving – a great article about this is called “The Gift” by Jillie Periton Webbe from the December 23, 1996 edition of the Christian Science Sentinel)  Does anyone have any example of the way being opened as they clung to their right motive?

Finally, I absolutely love the final citation of the Lesson that talks about spiritual advancement, “turning away from material sense,” honesty, progress and our course of joy.  As we continue to cherish the Christ-presence and Christmas spirit, we can rest assured that each and every part of God’s creation is taken care of and will be comforted this holiday season.  And, in thinking about the popular Christmas song “Joy to the World,” we can see that the joy that we are both experiencing and expressing blesses the entire world, as well!


[PYCL: Do your part to “repeat the wonder”!  Don’t be “list”-less!]
CedarS PYCLs--P
ossible Younger Class Lessons for:  
"Christ Jesus"

The Christian Science Bible Lesson for December 23, 2012
by Kerry Jenkins, CS, House Springs, MO (314) 406-0041 [Bracketed inserts by Warren Huff]

[PYCL:  Have each pupil share why Jesus is important to them.  Don’t let them be list-less!]
With this lesson I would make sure that the pupils can tell you why Jesus is important.  See if they can each share a reason.  Do they feel like he is important to them, specifically?  (Share specific examples). If not, why?  Can they picture their lives with no Jesus in history?  What would be different?  Think of the Beatitudes and of all the stories about Jesus and his parables and the lessons they teach.  Make a list of all the things that they have learned from Jesus.  There may be lessons that Jesus taught that were similar to lessons that other prophets and important spiritual thinkers taught before him, but what made his contributions special?  These are questions worth pondering for all of us really.

[PYCL:  Help pupils see that they can’t help feeling glad when anointed with God’s love!]
Talk about the Golden Text [G.T.] What does “anointed” mean.  What is the spiritual significance of anointing as well as the historical import?  What is Mrs. Eddy's definition of “oil” in the glossary of S&H and how does that contribute to our understanding of anointing?  Are each of us anointed?  In a sense, I think that Jesus showed us how we are all anointed by God to do His great works for mankind and Jesus showed us this.  If you are wondering about the “...above thy fellows” part, then see the beginning of Rick Stewart’s Met(aphysical) for CedarS website this week [at http://www.cedarscamps.org/metaphysical/articles/2012/12/cherish-christ-jesus-our-fondest-earthly-hopes/ (in 3 more languages as well)].  Rick has a lovely perspective on that.  Why the oil of “gladness”?  Can we help being glad if we truly understand the love that our Father-Mother has for us and what that love means?

[PYCL:  Have pupils tell you about the arrival of Jesus. Discuss wise men qualities of today.]
Of course you can always retell the story of Jesus' arrival to the littlest ones.  But it might work to have them try to tell you that story if they are maybe 5 or above. (Some younger may be able to share parts of the story; you will just have to gauge your class).  For so many years the story has been dramatized by little children in church settings.  I wonder why?  Perhaps the act of putting this on a stage helps us to bring it to life today?  Maybe you could try dramatizing the wise men part of the story this week.  (Maybe dramatize the shepherds next week since that is part of that lesson).  What do these men that traveled so many miles based on their spiritual intuition represent to us today?  This story is meant to be applicable to our lives in meaningful and specific ways.  Do any of the kids have thoughts on what impact these men's travels, and gifts, and spiritual understanding, and ability to listen to God have on our lives now?  As a teacher I would want to consider this for myself, maybe share my own thoughts briefly, but don't take away their opportunity to share their own ideas.  You can discuss these questions with any age, just break it down into simple components for the little ones and don't try to cover every angle.  Be ready to move on if it doesn't seem to speak to them just then.  Even if it seems like they are just playing dress up, if you have discussed some of the qualities that we wise men of today possess from God, they have that in their thought.  You could bring in some simple costumes for this, perhaps just head scarves, and some simple representations of their gifts for Jesus for them to hold.  Talk about what the traveling represents as you go for a walk around the church or Sunday School (depending on the weather), if they are wearing something a little special and carrying something special they may be better engaged in the discussion.  One of my boy's Sunday School teachers had a small fancy looking chest with frankincense and myrrh in it (I think?).  They were contained in a velvet draw string bag and you can't imagine how they would show me with such awe and care the contents from week to week when I would drop them in their classes.  So have a sense of wonder and awe yourself to share with them and it will rub off!

 [PYCL: Have pupils come up with meaningful illustrations to share of lessons about God!]
I've also considered the idea of having the older kids, maybe first or second grade and up, come up with their own parables.  Discuss section 3 and the way that Jesus taught us about faith through the mustard seed example.  He did this so that his listeners could relate to his spiritual thoughts about God and man.  While the church men were continuing to talk in higher “church language” about God, Jesus put it in the vernacular, common language and examples, and allowed a broader segment of society access to an understanding of God's love for man.  (Isn't this what we do each week in Sunday School for the kids?)  Can we come up with parables that are meaningful, to illustrate something important about God?  If this seems like a good project, help them come up with examples that come from their experience.  They shouldn't be tempted to just re-write Jesus' parables; unless that is the project you choose to do instead.  In the day, most were farmers or fishermen.  So those are the examples that he chose.  If they prefer to write Jesus' parables in more contemporary job applications they could try that as well.  Ask them questions to help them get started: what lesson about God are you trying to convey?  Are you conveying something: about faith, as in the mustard seed story?; about love and spiritual perception of the character of God's man, as in the Prodigal?; about the wisdom or power or ever presence of God?  This project could continue past one class if they are engaged.  Consider having them think in terms of sharing a final project with the Sunday School or church, or perhaps have a younger class act out their parable for the Sunday School or church, thus involving the broader Sunday School.  Often it is very successful for the older kids to help “teach” the little guys in this way.

 [PYCL:  Discuss differences between Jesus & the Christ.  Does Jesus have a role today?]
If you wish you could talk about citation S16 and discuss with the slightly older classes what they understand of the difference between the term or name, Jesus, and the title, Christ.  What is the difference?  Why does it even matter?  Does this make Jesus less important?  It's easy to see the role of the eternal Christ, what role does Jesus play in our daily lives?  Or, is Jesus just an historically important figure?  (These aren't too different from the questions considered at the beginning of the PYCL.  You could combine them or focus on one or another angle of this group of questions).

 [PYCL:  Point out all needed for healing is within us!  Do your part to “repeat the wonder”!]
The story of blind Bartimaeus is interesting to talk about from the angle of the blind man already containing within himself the needed faith/understanding for healing.  Jesus brought this understanding to his thought and showed him the power of his faith by healing him of blindness.  But Mrs. Eddy points out that our sight is spiritual and eternal and not contained in our eyeballs.  How is this understood practically?  Again this week's metaphysical article on the CedarS website shares some good thoughts on this story.  What does it mean to “see and hear spiritually”? (S20)  Can we practice this today, and if so, how?  Can we “repeat this wonder” and so many other wonders of this amazing story of Jesus throughout the year?

Enjoy your Sunday!! And Merry Christmas!

 

 

Metaphysical

Win without a fight as the unreality of evil is prayerfully exposed to defeat itself - Whether...
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