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Journey with Joy from sense to Soul!

Christie Hanzlik, C.S., Boulder, CO
Posted Monday, February 6th, 2012

 
Journey with Joy from sense to Soul!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on
"Soul"
for February 6-12, 2012
by Christie Hanzlik, C.S., Boulder, CO ccern@mac.com 720-331-9356
 
 [These application ideas from a CedarS Camps' Resident Christian Science Practitioner 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 sign up to have them emailed to you free -- by Monday each week in English; or by each Wednesday you can get a FREE TRANSLATION: in French, thanks to Pascal & Marie-Helene; in German, thanks to Helga and Manfred; or in Spanish, thanks to a team of Ana, Erick, Claudia and Patricio. YOU CAN ALSO SIGN UP for weekly emails from past CedarS staff of fun approaches & possible ways to teach lesson ideas to older and to younger Sunday School classes at www.cedarscamps.org/newsletters  Enjoy! Warren Huff, CedarS Director & editor of these notes.]
 
One way to look at this week's Bible lesson is as a map for our journey from sense to Soul (see Hymn #64, printed below).  While we're on this journey, we will leave behind the baggage of sin, disease, death-like thoughts that seem to weigh us down, and see more and more clearly that our eternal lives are divinely protected and full of joy.  So where do we start?
 
We begin our journey by setting our compass-looking to God's power-with the Golden Text"I am the Lord, and there is none else."  This verse gives us a "true north," so that during the times in which we may feel distracted or disoriented or even disappointed along our pathway from sense to Soul, we can always return to God's omnipotence for direction.  Many of you will remember that the Golden Text is also the central verse in friend-of-CedarS Desiree Goyette's hymn, "I am the Lord," which is #444 in the hymnal supplement.  
 
The Responsive Reading gives us directions for the next step in our journey, reminding us that God will gather us together and take care of us as we travel.  He will even show us the way:  "[The Lord] maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters."   And He'll even forgive us if we stray from His itinerary: "I am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for my own sake, and will not remember thy sins."  Best of all, in the last verse, He gives us directions on what to do and where to go to find the destination (eternal life): "Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live."
 
Section 1:  Jacob's example of how to make the journey from sense to Soul
In this section, God gives Jacob specific directions for his journey: "Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred, and I will be with thee."  (B2)  While it might sound easy for Jacob to go home, it meant that he would have to face his twin brother, Esau, who had ordered 400 soldiers to kill him because he had betrayed him twice.  So, for Jacob to be obedient to God's direction and go home where he'd eventually run into Esau, he had to first get over some extreme fear.  We may not be afraid of our brother's wrath, but we may have other obstacles that seem tough to face such as an important test, a job interview, an unpopular moral stand we need to take, or facing down the claim of sickness.  Jacob's story offers insights how to meet these challenges.
 
After God gives Jacob these directions to face Esau, he is left alone and wrestles with an angel all night. (B3)  His wrestling match was his journey from sense to Soul-he was "struggling with a mortal sense of life, substance and intelligence as existent in matter with its false pleasures and pains..." (S2)  Finally, the angel, "a message from truth and love," helped him to see the unreality of error, and he felt the strength of divine Science.  When Jacob first started wrestling, he thought it was with a man (mortal belief), but it was only as he grew in understanding that he realized it was an angel (message from God).  When we have trials, they sometimes feel like huge burdens until we see the blessing, yield to Love's comfort, and then realize that angels were with us the whole time.
 
Ultimately Jacob holds on to the angel and successfully leaves behind his mortal sense of fear to find Soul-filled freedom.  In fact, he was so successful that the angel gave him a new name, which represented his whole character transformation, and he became Israel.  Imagine having such an amazing revelation that you need to change your name!  But, this is what happens to us as "we are renamed in Christian Science and led to deny material sense, or mind in matter, even as the gospel teaches." (S2)
 
By the way, it's not in the lesson this week, but when Jacob eventually faces his brother, he humbly bows to him seven times, and Esau "ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept." (Gen 33:4) This happy ending is even more inspiring when we remember that Jacob and Esau struggled against each other even in their womb before they were born.  That Jacob could triumph over this false sense of brotherly hatred that plagued him even before he was born, is a reminder that even those fears or complaints that we may seem to have "since birth" are overcome on our journey from sense to Soul.
 
Section 2:  The Children of Israel offer another example of those whose obedience led them along the path from sense to Soul
The Children of Israel-Jacob/Israel's heirs and "The representatives of Soul, not corporeal sense" (S3)-are perfect examples of travelers who begin their journey doubting the power of God, but through demonstration after demonstration, gradually accept that there is one, all-powerful God protecting them.  
In Psalms (B2), poetic language tells us that during the Children of Israel's forty-year journey away from slavery and to the Promised Land, God "spread a cloud" to cover them, and gave them fire at night.  He brought quails to feed them, and "opened the rock" to give them water.  These are all metaphors for the richness Divine Love provides those who are on the path from denying sense to embracing Soul.  We are always supplied with what we need to make the journey.
Just as Love guided and guarded the Children of Israel, "so shall the spiritual idea guide all right desires in their passage from sense to Soul, from a material sense of existence to the spiritual..." (S4)  In other words, we can see ourselves as the Children of Israel, led away from the bondage of sense and into Soul's Promised Land.  Our right desires will be answered as we turn away from the material senses to Soul's great promise of eternal life.
 
This section concludes by reminding us that even though everyone is walking the journey from sense to Soul in their own way, there is really only one narrow path to eternal life.  The last citation reads, "Only by losing the false sense of Soul can we gain the eternal unfolding of Life as immortality brought to light." (S5)  So while we each may be finding our own spiritual path, there is only one way to grasp eternal life, and that is by losing the false sense of Soul. 
 
Section 3: Jesus is the Wayshower on the path from sense to Soul
This section shows us that Jesus, the Wayshower, was chosen by God to lead us on the path from sense to Soul.  He is the ultimate guide because he wasn't mesmerized by mortal sense and always understood man's connection to Soul.   Imagine Jesus as the expression of Christ's bright light that we can follow even when our lives seem full of darkness.  We can also hold up our own Christ light for others to follow; and, as we turn from sense to Soul, our light burns brighter for all to see.
 
One obstacle Jesus faced while showing us the way to eternal life, was that the authorities of his time-the Pharisees-argued against his ideas, and threatened to kill him.  Even though they continually chastised him, he persistently demonstrated the power of Soul over sense.  (B10, 11)  Jesus had to "rebuke rabbinical error and all sin, sickness, and death-to point out the way of Truth and Life." (S6)  By proving the power of Soul over and over again, he gave us a "better understanding of Soul and salvation," and still guides us on our journey to overcome the limitation of material sense. (S8)
 
Section 4:  We cannot get lost on the journey from sense to Soul
This section echoes the Responsive Reading, reminding us that God always blots out our transgressions and "will not remember [our] sins."  The Bible citations explain that the divine Shepherd never leaves a lost sheep behind.  If one sheep strays, the Shepherd goes to find it and carries it back to the fold on its shoulders, not punishing it, but rejoicing that He has found it.  Imagine how comforting it would feel to be found by the shepherd and then carried gently back to the flock.
Many people around the world accept the idea that a person's soul can be lost when they sin or miss the mark.  In contrast, this section comforts us with the reminder that true man never sins: "Soul is the divine Principle of man and never sins, hence the immortality of Soul." (S10)  Furthermore, "In Science we learn that it is sense, not Soul, which sins; and it will be found that it is the sense of sin which is lost, and not a sinful soul."  (S10)
 
What a comforting reminder!  Even if we seem, by mortal sense, to step away from the path from sense to Soul, Divine Love will not lose us, will always forgive us, and will gently carry us guilt-free into the fold.
 
Section 5:  The path of Life is eternal 
This section reminds us that the journey from sense to Soul is fun!  This is not a painful, sorrowful, or tiring trip.   In fact, Divine Love will supply us with the boundless energy and all other qualities necessary to enjoy the path of life.  Here's a sample list of the supplies God gives us:
1)   clarity-"thine age shall be clearer than the noonday"
2)   expressive energy-"thou shalt shine forth"
3)   freshness and purity-"thou shalt be as the morning"  (B16)
 
Not only this, but Divine Love supplies us with pleasures for evermore: "Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore." (B17)
This joy and energy give us strength, and ultimately we understand the unchanging perfection of our lives as expressions of Soul.  Instead of aging, we grow more and more beautiful, wise, and holy.   Each of the following citations describes eternal and ever-joyful life:
 
"Eternity is God's measurement of Soul-filled years." (S12) 
 
"Immortality, exempt from age or decay, has a glory of its own,-the radiance of soul."  (S13)
 
"Soul changeth not." (S14)
 
And, "Man, governed by immortal Mind, is always beautiful and grand.  Each succeeding year unfolds wisdom, beauty, and holiness." (S15)
 
That the path of Life is eternal, unchanging, and full of freshness and riches beyond measure is a fact that propels us confidently joyful along the path from sense to Soul.  This reminds me of the terrific lecture by Dorothy Rieke, in which she fervently declares, "Wonderful things are happening!" You can hear a reading of this lecture, which complements this week's lesson, at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7731964770267876883
 
 Section 6:  The path leads to understanding that we have the "Mind which was also in Christ."
The sixth section reminds us "we have the mind of Christ." (B20)  Remember that Jesus is our Wayshower because he wasn't mesmerized by mortal sense and always understood man's connection to Soul.  To uphold this standard, and ensure we're shedding mortal sense and feeling our connection to Soul, Jesus issued two demands, which Mary Baker Eddy later reiterated in Science and Health.  He (and she) said that the two most important commandments are:
 
1)  "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." (B19, S16)
 
2) "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." (B19, S16) 
 
By following these two commandments, we are affirming that we have the mind of Christ, and thus not buying into the lies of the senses.  The sixth tenet, which we often say for grace before dinner at CedarS is our commitment to obey these two commandments, and thus turn from sense to Soul:  "And we solemnly promise to watch, and pray for that Mind to be in us which was also in Christ Jesus; to do unto others as we would have them do unto us; and to be merciful, just, and pure." (S17)
To the degree that we are able to meet these demands and affirm that we have the mind of Christ, we can be certain that we're on the path leading to a joyful, Soul-filled, and eternal life.
 
Section 7:  We can defeat the critics-Man is the expression of Soul
The seventh section explains that along the journey from sense to Soul, critics may try to argue against our progress.  It sometimes seems that these critics become more aggressive when we are making the most progress.  The critics of Paul the Apostle -the Pharisees and Sadducees-disagreed with him (and with each other) and railed against his faith in eternal life as demonstrated by Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. (B23)  We probably won't have Pharisees and Sadducees forcing us to defend our views, but we may face other opposition.  For us, these critics may come in the form of a friend who rejects spirituality, a mesmerizing and terrifying news report, a medical diagnosis, a temptation to give in to material sensuality, or just the subtle drag not to care about Soul.   But, never fear.  We have defenses against these assaults.
 
Paul wrote a letter to the Christians in Corinth, advising them how to handle attacks on their faith.  His advice is relevant to us too.  He said, in part, "Be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord."  These qualities-steadfast, unmovable, and always abounding-are perfect for travelers like ourselves who are making the journey from sense to Soul.  And, what a comfort to know that our labor is not vain, and is richly rewarded!  In fact, we know that to understand Soul (complete our journey) is to understand eternal life.  Along these lines, Mary Baker Eddy writes, "The immortality of Soul makes man immortal." (S20)
 
In addition to Paul's wisdom, we can always lean on the six tenets of Christian Science for protection and to hold us upright when faced with critics.  (S&H p497) This section includes the fifth tenet, which deflates the arguments the Sadducees and Pharisees tried to make against Paul.  The tenet reads, "We acknowledge that the crucifixion of Jesus and his resurrection served to uplift faith to understand eternal Life, even the allness of Soul, Spirit, and the nothingness of matter."  (S19)  This tenet shows that Christian Scientists look to Jesus to learn how spiritual Life overcomes death, and that his crucifixion and resurrection demonstrate eternal life "beyond cavil," or beyond any trivial objection.
 
Finally, in case it seems like this journey from sense to Soul is too demanding, we can relax.  The final citation in the lesson reminds us, "Man is the expression of Soul." (23) This being true, we don't have to worry whether or not we can successfully shed our baggage of material sense, walk in the right direction, or defend ourselves against critics.  We are already the expressions of Soul, so the completion of our journey from sense to Soul is inevitable.  How amazing!  It's an expedition in which the destination-eternal life-is already guaranteed.  The inevitability of our oneness with Soul and grasp of eternal life instills us with confidence, purpose, and joy along the path of life.
 
From Sense to Soul, Hymn #64, Lyrics by Violet Hay
From sense to Soul my pathway lies before me,
From mist and shadow into Truth's clear day;
The dawn of all things real is breaking o'er me,
My heart is singing: I have found the way.
 
I reach Mind's open door, and at its portal
I know that where I stand is holy ground;
I feel the calm and joy of things immortal,
The loveliness of Love is all around.
 
The way leads upward and its goal draws nearer,
Thought soars enraptured, fetterless and free;
The vision infinite to me grows clearer,
I touch the fringes of eternity.   

 [If you've been blessed by any of CedarS 3 weekly inspirational newsletters (our Mets or our PSSTs & PYCLs for Sunday School teachers), please share your appreciation.   Just click here to use a credit or debit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, or Discover card) or a virtual check to make very helpful monthly donations to CedarS (or to give one-time gifts) in support of spiritual growth.  International supporters can give to CedarS via PayPal using built-in currency exchange rates by filling in an amount under International Donors and clicking on the "Donate Online" button.  
[You can call us anytime at 636-394-6162  (or email to office@cedarscamps.org
to make a donation or to inquire about a custom CedarS experience for you, a Sunday School pupil or other loved one!]
 
[To send an actual check, please make it out to CedarS Camps and mail it to:
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[Help CedarS share the applicable principles of Christianity: Our Fall-season outreach led us to give tours of our new Bible Lands Park to show Bible-loving churches and youth groups of other denominations as well as our own how Christian Scientists love and "take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life." (S&H497:3)  As shown in video clips we are currently working in our Bible Lands Park to expand our ability to share applicable New Testament insights by building a trail with activity, learning stations that follow Paul's teachings and trips from Antioch to Ephesus, Corinth, Athens, Rome ... We welcome gifts to help us make these inspiring "Home Improvements" as weather allows.]
 
[Lastly please help us by telling "un-camped" children and families about CedarS being a wise and happy place for them to glimpse and demonstrate more of their spiritual natures!  We'll gladly send anyone a DVD and info on CedarS financial aid formsprograms for all ages; 2012 session dates & rates; 2012 online enrollmenttransportation... to help get them or anyone in your extended church family to camp!]

 [Camp Director's Note: This sharing is the latest in an ongoing, 11-year series of CedarS Bible Lesson "Mets" (Metaphysical application ideas) contributed weekly by a rotation of CedarS Resident Practitioners and occasionally by other metaphysicians.  (Ask and look for "Possible Sunday School Topics "and "Possible Younger Class Lessons" in subsequent emails.) These weekly offerings are intended to encourage further study and application of ideas in the lesson and to invigorate Sunday School participation by students and by the budding teachers on our staff. Originally sent JUST to my Sunday School students and to campers, staff and CedarS families who wanted to continue at home and in their home Sunday Schools the same type of focused Lesson study, application and inspiration they had felt at camp, CedarS lesson "mets "and Sunday School ideas are in no way meant to be definitive or conclusive or in any way a substitute for daily study of the lesson. The thoughts presented are the inspiration of the moment and are offered to give a bit more dimension and background as well as new angles (and angels) on the daily applicability of some of the ideas and passages being studied. The weekly Bible Lessons are copyrighted by the Christian Science Publishing Society and are printed in the Christian Science Quarterly as available at Christian Science Reading Rooms or online at eBibleLesson.com or myBibleLesson.com. The citations referenced (i.e.B-1 and S-28) from this week's Bible Lesson in the "Met" (Metaphysical application ideas) are taken from the Bible (B-1 thru B-24) and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy (S-1 thru S-30). The Bible and Science and Health are the ordained pastor of the Churches of Christ, Scientist. The Bible Lesson is the sermon read in Christian Science church services throughout the world. The Lesson-Sermon speaks individually through the Christ to everyone, providing unique insights and tailor-made applications for each one. We are glad you requested this metaphysical sharing and hope that you find some of the ideas helpful in your daily spiritual journey, in your deeper digging in the books and in closer bonding with your Comforter and Pastor.]
 
[Enjoy!    And, please contact us for more info about all things about CedarS!]

[PSST-Fear not! Just shine--secure (& linked) with hope!]
Possible Sunday School Topics for the Christian Science Bible Lesson 
on "Soul" for study during the week of February 6-12, 2012
by John Biggs, CS of Bend, OR (541.316.0809, johnbiggscs@gmail.com
[bracketed italics by Warren Huff, CedarS Director & Editor of Mets, PSSTs & PCYLS]
 
You may enjoy also participating on the Global Sunday School online community discussion forum, where this particular conversation is focused directly on this week's lesson. There are also many other interesting, uplifting conversations going on which you may enjoy!
 
PSST-Golden Text (GT) & Responsive Reading (RR): Check out the power of this "I AM" statement: ["I am the Lord, and there is none else."]   Is there room there for a hurtful past or a scary future? Is there room for more good coming later, but right now we just have to be mediocre? What arenas of life (specific for you and your class) could be helped by a greater sense of the I AM-ness - the immediate presence - of God, good? Is it a matter of forcing oneself to believe something? How do we get to be familiar and comfortable and really living that presence?
 
The RR is sort of like a partial list of the great work God has done. You may enjoy practicing sharing testimonies of healing, in further recognition and love for God's perfect work.  And it's always great to practice those testimonies so we can feel more comfortable standing up and sharing on Wednesday evening - or writing them up and submitting them to the global online Wednesday testimony meeting, which plays at 2pm EST / 11am PST.
 
PSST--Section 1: What's that tabernacle God is talking about in citation B1? Has your class ever cracked open a Bible dictionary, encyclopedia, or other ‘background info' book? You might enjoy it because it gives such a wide sense of the context for what is going on. What are some times your class has wrestled recently? If you have any wrestlers in your class, perhaps they'll enjoy telling the rest of you about how wrestling is a sport where you can't have your thought anywhere else - you have to be completely present. Does that focus relate to our attitude when we're praying?
 
How do you all feel about citation S1, talking about God being the only intelligence of the universe? Does that knock down one's own academic accomplishments? If God is the only intelligence, could any other, un-Godlike thought really have power?
 
PSST--Section 2: Have you thought recently about being ‘joyful in the Lord?' [B5, Ps. 35:9] Or is prayer a lot of work that you don't want to do because there are more fun things to do? How has God made known His works to you?
 
Are you one of the children of Israel? If we looked at that definition in citation S3 like a job description, what would you daily duties consist of? Who would you report to? What would your wages be? What thoughts could help us "lose the false sense of Soul?" (S5)
 
PSST--Section 3: You might enjoy checking out this refreshing blog on Time4Thinkers.com by Veronica Switzer, titled "WHO are you healing?" When we read about Jesus' healings, do we let them go with a sense of awe but no real connection? What tries to stop us from healing? What thoughts or activities might tempt us to bury our innate love for healing?
 
Could those thoughts be ‘rabbinical error?' [S6] How can we rebuke them? Are you the evidence of Spirit, harmonious? (S7)
 
PSST--Section 4: Have you ever had the experience of losing something, and then being so happy when you found it again? [B13, Luke 15:4-6] Is God's child ever really lost? Perhaps someone might feel comfortable telling a healing of a time when they felt really lost, and how they ‘came home.' Or, if someone in class, or a friend from school, is feeling lost right now, how can we lovingly LIVE what we're learning in the lesson? Is this any good if we don't live it?
 
Can we carry "the sense of good" (S11) with us everywhere, or is it dependent on some circumstance? Is Truth for everyone? If you've ever been tempted to feel like YOU are in charge and all the responsibility is on YOU (or if you feel like that right now!) can you pick out any specific ideas from this section that could bring a sense of peace to that mindset? Can you all pitch in and help come up with ideas?
 
PSST--Section 5: CitationB16 talks about being secure because there's hope.  I looked up that use of the word ‘hope' in Strong's Bible Concordance (which among other things is an app for my iPhone!) and I found that the root Hebrew word translated here as ‘hope' really literally means ‘a cord' or something that binds one to another. This makes me think of a dog leash, which attaches a dog to his human and gives them both a sense of security. Thankfully, we're actually ONE with God, we're not separated even by a one-inch leash. If we really knew how safe we were, how loved we are (as illustrated so beautifully in the whole of B16 [Job 11:15, 17-18], what would we do today? What's holding us back from SHINING?!
 
Is it too early for your class to start considering the immortality of God and God's idea? Is anyone in your class at the 6am of manhood - or perhaps at the 11pm? Check out [the "eternal noon" of] citation S15 [246:12] if these somewhat sloppy metaphors don't make sense! When is vibrancy possible? Does maturity depend on how many times we've seen the earth go around the sun?
 
PSST--Section 6:  Isn't it great to have things laid out simply? What are some bedrock truths that you have really enjoyed? How does THIS day relate to the two great commandments? [B19, Matt. 22:36-39] Is there ever anything which makes those commandments irrelevant? Will they ever be out of date?
 
[Citation S17 features the 6th tenet, 497:24] Do you promise, this day, "to watch, and pray for that mind to be in us which was also in Christ Jesus?" Is your class familiar with the tenets? Are they important?
 
PSST--Section 7: If we find ourselves in a threatening situation [like Paul was when he was brought before a hostile council in citation B23, Acts 23:1-8], do we get flustered and lash out, or cower back - generally losing our sense of peace? Or can we listen, even then [like Paul did], for what our Father-Mother, Mind, is saying, right then, about His creation? Can we base our lives on the truth of God's love? Will there ever be a situation where we might be scared to share what we love? Perhaps you can all share some supportive ideas with each other about sharing Christian Science.
 
Why do you love Christian Science? If you're not sure if you do, why not? Don't be afraid of these questions - right here, in the midst of any seeming turmoil, God is already sheltering you in Love, in all good. It's really good to be honest and straightforward about what we believe, live, and love. What better place to tackle these questions than in Sunday School [and 24/7 at camp], surrounded by an atmosphere of Love.
 
Enjoy this wonderful day!

 

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