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Stick to the Facts - Realize Your Safety as Loves Inseparable Idea

Kathy Fitzer, St. Louis, MO & Park City, UT
Posted Monday, June 4th, 2012

Stick to the Facts - Realize Your Safety as Love's Inseparable Idea
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson for June 10, 2012
Subject: God the Preserver of Man
Prepared by: Kathy Fitzer of St. Louis, MO
 
[Bracketed Notes from Warren Huff, CedarS Camps Director and Editor of its Weekly Newsletters: The following application ideas for this week, and the Possible Sunday School Topics (PSST) that will follow, are offered primarily to help CEDARS campers and staff (as well as friends) see and demonstrate the great value of daily study and application of the Christian Science Bible lessons year-round, not just at camp! You can sign up to have them emailed to you free -- in English by Monday each week, or by each Wednesday you can get a FREE TRANSLATION in French thanks to Joseph and Pascal, in German thanks to Helga and Manfred or in Spanish thanks to a team of Ana, Erick, Claudia and Patricio. YOU CAN SIGN UP at www.cedarscamps.org/newsletters]
 
As you read the lesson, pay attention to the facts. See how sticking to these facts means safe passage through, and deliverance from, the trials of false belief - no matter what form they may take.
 
Golden Text:  Regardless of where your experience is taking you at the moment - whether you are coming, going, or staying in one place - you are safe, and always will be. Think about the idea of being preserved as being hedged about with thorns, guarded, attended to, protected from anything that might threaten to bring you down. (Strong's Hebrew #8104) There may be a lot of noise and threats and scares pressing in on you, but as you stay within that hedge of God's presence, you are - and will always be - safe. [See Chet Manchester's great "Daily Lift", "Spiritual Homecoming", about today's Annual Meeting live broadcast from 1-2:30pm Boston time and also Warren's P.S.-1 about applying the Golden Text.]
 
Responsive Reading: Fact - Inseparability of God and Man
Paul came to a wonderful conclusion - which must have come from his observations of the experiences of those who had gone before him, as well as his own experience: nothing can separate us from the love of God. Acknowledging, accepting, and understanding that inseparability assures us of safety and victory in the face of any challenge. The Responsive Reading introduces (and the rest of the lesson illustrates) the idea that the assurance of God's care and protection doesn't mean we won't have trials to face. The Psalmist speaks: of the need of people to be gathered (after being scattered); of wandering in the wilderness; of being hungry and thirsty. But, the assurance is there of God's mercy - of redemption, deliverance, and leading. The Bible is full of stories of tough times. But, keeping thought and faith within God's hedge, safety and victory are assured.
 
Section 1: Fact - Never apart from omnipresent Principle
Moses had safely led the Children of Israel through the wilderness. But, he would not be accompanying them into the Promised Land. As Joshua was put in charge, God assured him of His ever-presence. The source of safety and guidance had always been God ... not Moses ... and would remain God ... not Joshua. (B-1, Joshua 1:9) The Psalmist [in Ps. 39:7-10, B-2] captured the essence of man's inseparable relationship to God. [See Warren's P.S.-2 for how to get you copy of this citation put into a moving and healing song.] Whether things are going well (heaven) or horribly (hell), God is leading and holding. Our job is to acknowledge and praise that presence - and so feel the effects of our oneness. And, if we sometimes have a hard time seeing this fact of omnipresence, God will open our eyes as we cherish the desire to have them opened. Mrs. Eddy perceived God as omnipresent Spirit - and nothing apart from that Spirit has presence or power. (S-1 & S-2)  The relationship of God and man is that of Principle and idea. Principle comes from the Latin, principium, meaning beginning (or cause.) An idea is the image springing from that original. Thought cannot be separated from the Mind in which that thought is held. A beam of light (image) can't be separated from its source. The indivisible relationship between God and His creation constitutes divine Science. Life viewed through this lens of Science reveals unchanged harmony as the reality. (S-5) The challenge is not to be side-tracked by the reports of so-called "material sense." (S-4) Material sense is constantly bombarding us with false evidence suggesting separation. If we believe we have to get back to God - or call Him back to us - we've accepted a period during which we are subject to danger, or being left to fend for ourselves. An idea can't exist without a principle to support it.  And, a principle is worthless without expression.  Imagine numbers functioning apart from the principle of mathematics or notes separate from the principle of harmony.  Accept the facts ..--.. there is no separation between principle and idea, and there can be no lapse of a principle (or original cause.) Work out from that standpoint and harmony is realized!
 
Section 2: Fact - The battle is the Lord's
Some of you (or your loved ones) may be literally in a war-zone. For the rest of us, it is some other kind of battle being faced - with disease, temptation, a false sense of identity, loss, lack, fear, discordant relationships, etc. Either way, we are assured here of our safety. Right in the midst of the battle, our heads are covered, we are given strength, and we are safe. (B-5 & B-7) Notice Jehoshaphat's reaction to the pending attack by his enemies. He was afraid, but not frozen with fear. His response was to turn to God in prayer, and to urge all of the people to do the same. And an answer came. It was certainly reassuring to be told that the battle wasn't up to Jehoshaphat to win, but it was God's battle. I wonder if he ever dared to imagine that there would be no battle at all! And, yet, that's just what happened. The Hebrews were simply asked to believe - to sing and praise God before the issue had been resolved. No matter how dire our situation, we can do the same. We are each capable of that childlike trust. We're not being asked to figure out how we will be delivered -- just to trust that we will be, and stay focused on the facts. Jehoshaphat's enemies were destroyed, and peace reigned. (B-6) No matter what form the battle takes in our individual lives, the only real conflict is between "the evidence of the spiritual senses" (the facts) and "the testimony of the material senses" (the lie or illusion.) (S-8) We will have trials. We will be faced with fear. But, right where the trial and fear seem the strongest, ever-present Love is there to save us. Our response can, and must be, to love more. (S-9)  It's easy to have faith in that which we love. God, Mind, fills all space - is all there is. (S-10)  Everything in apparent opposition to this Mind - that is all good and all harmonious - is nothing but a lie. When you know the truth about a lie, there's no need to fear the lie - no matter how boldly it asserts its validity. There is only one Truth. Stick to it, and you will find yourself at a mental vantage point that will enable you to see God's victory.
 
Section 3: Fact - God sustains man
To sustain is to cause to be prolonged without interruption and to strengthen or support physically or mentally. (New Oxford American Dictionary) Again, there is no guarantee that there won't be bumps in the road and adjustments that need to be made in our circumstances. But, sticking to the fact that we are sustained by God, we will have what we need. The life of the Shunammite woman (whose story is told in II Kings 8) was disrupted twice, that we are told of. (B-9)  Earlier [in 11 Kings 4] she had provided for Elisha and he had raised her son from the dead. He now warned her to leave her home to avoid a famine. The woman was obedient - willing to completely change course in order that her needs could be met "in the land of the Philistines." Many parts of the world today are being faced with economic famine - if not traditional famine. "Leaning on the sustaining infinite" - being willing to follow wherever God leads - we can be assured that the blessings are still there. (S-12)  Instead of looking at a trial as an unbearable cross, we can use it as a stepladder to climb above the clouds of mortal belief and gain a clearer view of Love's provision of care. (S-14) When the Shunammite woman returned to Israel, did it just happen that [at that very moment] Gehazi was there telling the King the story of her son being brought back to life by Elisha? Good [and ideal timing] don't just happen! As we understand God to be all, the patterns of mortal pleasure, pain, birth, sin, sickness, and death lose their ability to frighten us or make us dependent on them.  They fall away. (S-14) Discord appears when we are ignorant (when we lack knowledge) of God's ever-presence. Understanding the fact that God naturally and forever sustains His own creation allows us to see the harmony that is always present. (S-16) Knowing God is like when we open our eyes (or turn on the lights) and see what has always been, but was previously obscured from view. [Like the widow woman we can expect to see God coordinating far-flung events with divine precision."]
 
Section 4: Fact - Love always has, and always will, meet every human need
The blind man sitting on the side of the road recognized the Christ in Jesus - his inseparable relationship to God as His Son. In so doing, he was receptive to - and conscious of - the light of Christ bathing him in light. This awakened thought enabled his eyes to be opened and his sight to be restored. (B-13, Luke 18:41-43)  Faith in the divine Principle, Love, allows the effects of that causative Principle to be felt in our daily lives. Whereas mortal sense suggests darkness is a power equal to light and capable of closing our eyes to Truth, the fact is that the elements of darkness (sin, disease and death) are false suppositions! (S-19)  A supposition doesn't - can't - make something real! Jesus demonstrated the divine unity of God and man. He demonstrated the power of Love and Truth to remove the false supposition and bring about healing. (S-18) The Christ (God with us) is eternally active, awakening human consciousness to recognize Truth and to feel the redeeming power of Love - meeting every human need. (S-21)  When the suppositions seem more convincing than Truth, call out to Christ (as the blind man did) and expect your ears and eyes to be opened by the touch of Love, making you - and the whole world - whole, inseparable from divine perfection!
 
Section 5: Fact - You are never outside God's safety net
Regardless of what the human situation appears to be - no matter how severe the circumstances, or whether or not they could have been avoided - our inseparable relationship to God means inseparability from safety. Paul had tried to warn "the powers that be" that they should stay in Crete and not venture out where a storm might be brewing. They didn't listen. But, instead of beating himself up for not being more convincing, or saying, "See, I told you so," Paul turned to his understanding of God's perpetual care and assured everyone of their safety. (B-15, Acts 27)  God doesn't punish us for [making poor choices and] bad decisions. It is Love's nature to care for Love's ideas because Principle and idea cannot be separated from one another! Mind directed Paul to give instructions, and directed everyone else to follow those instructions. (See S-22)  God doesn't pick and choose who will be safe. Safety is God's law.  Identifying with this law aligns our experience with it.  As Mrs. Eddy instructs:  "we must leave the mortal basis of belief and unite with the one Mind, in order to change the notion of chance to the proper sense of God's unerring direction and thus bring out harmony." (S-24, 424:5)   God can't possibly conceive of accident - something being out of alignment or out of the control of Principle. Accidents are false "notions" that events are subject to chance. But, as we shift thought away from chance to divine authority, we find we are governed by that authority alone.  Be alert not to accept chance as a reality in any form ... a chance meeting, looking to chance as a way to get extra money, missing out on a chance to advance your career, the chance of being in the wrong place at the wrong time or of being the victim of some "natural disaster" or storm. Man is not subject to chance (the occurrence and development of events in the absence of any obvious design.) God's design for His loved idea is perpetual care and perfect direction as the pure expression of perfect Mind and gracious Soul. Unite with that design and watch for the blessings!
 
Section 6: Fact - God's preservation turns trials into blessings
Bad enough to be shipwrecked, but to be snake-bit, too! Paul is unfazed. He shakes that serpent right back into the fire. (B-16) And, that's what we can do with whatever suggestion of evil tries to attach itself to Love's pure image (the identity of each and every one of us.) Paul's mission was to spread the good Word of Christ to the Gentiles - to demonstrate God's preserving power to them. The trial of a shipwreck and viper bite gave him just such an opportunity; and he took hold of that opportunity. He healed the people he suddenly found himself with. A chance meeting? Hardly. Did God present the trials - shipwreck, viper, and diseases - so that Paul could have this opportunity? Certainly not. God doesn't know evil. But, because of the inseparability of God and man, the light of Christ is present - no matter how dark the trial makes things appear - to eliminate that darkness and reveal the perpetual harmony and eternal blessings that preserve man in his natural state of wholeness - dwelling in the kingdom. Through his teachings, Paul urged his listeners to be willing to watch God work (as he so willingly did,) to do the work of an evangelist, and "make full proof of thy ministry." (B-17, II Tim. 4:5) Modern connotations of an evangelist focus on the conversion of people to Christianity. But, in its purer sense an evangelist is one who announces the good news, especially the gospel (see Strong's) or "a preacher of the gospel." (www.dictionary.com) It's important to realize that Paul's instructions didn't stop with preaching, but included proof - healing. We shouldn't be afraid to offer healing to those in need - knowing that God preserves both us and them. (B-18) As we put ourselves out there in service to others, we are told that we "will encounter storms." (S-28)   But, we're not alone. Inseparable from God, as His likeness, we are safe in His kingdom .... the eternal, harmonious, reign of harmony. (S-29) Think about a reflection (a likeness) as seen in a body of water. As boat traffic stirs up the water, it looks like that image is really taking a beating. But, as the water becomes calms again, it is seen that nothing has changed - the image is safe because the original was never in the waves. Thus, the reflection, being inseparable from the original, only appeared to the senses to be disturbed. Stay within the hedge of your heavenly home while you reach out to share the good news of God and man as inseparable and harmonious. Then, let Love "preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore." (GT)

 [Warren's P.S.-1: The Golden Text citation from Ps. 121:8 about God preserving all of our comings and all of our goings has been a forever fact that we affirm on every "CedarS Express" travel day. Thank you, Lesson Committee, for a Golden Text that has our whole worldwide Movement united in mentally and orally affirming divinely-protected and smooth travels for those travelling to CedarS for the Opening Day of our 51st best-yet 1st season! We invite you as part of CedarS prayer family to specifically thank God in advance with us on June 9th and 10th for the perfectly safe, divinely-orchestrated, and happy travel experiences of hundreds of campers and families on their way to CedarS for our most happy and spiritually-fulfilling session yet! Thank you for prayerfully blessing the 1200 dear ones who will be traveling from over 40 states and over 10 countries to life-changing CedarS experiences totally free from worries and snags on all the arrival and departure days of our season (June 9-10 for 1st session; June 23-24 for 2nd session; July 7-8 for 3rd session; July 21-22 for 4th session; August 4-5 for 5th session; August 11-12 & 17-18 for Family Camp; as well as on August 31 & September 3 for our Mother Church-sponsored College Summit; on September 6 & 9 for the Midwest Bible Conference; on September 29 and October 1, and October 16 & 20 for other significant, privately-booked events!]
 
[Warren's P.S.-2: Citation B-2 from Psalms 139:7-10 makes up the lyrics of a much-loved camp song, "Whither". You can click to order this song (with scores of others) that are featured in a 3-CD collection of fun and inspiring favorites, "CedarS Round the Clock", our 50th Jubilee benefit. The whole sales price of $25 goes to fund camperships!]
 
ANNOUNCING A MATCHING CAMPERSHIP GIFT FOR CEDARS!  
Each NEW campership donation to CedarS
will be matched (up to $50,000!) so that no Christian Science Sunday School student is "un-camped" this summer!  (Even transportation costs can be covered as needed!)  Daily applications for this aid are being met by daily supply from friends of Christian Science Sunday School pupils like you! Click on http://www.cedarscamps.org/giving/campership-fund.htm for links to all ways to give.]
 
[CedarS will gladly send a DVD & info on our programs for all ages; session dates & rates; 2012 online enrollmenttransportation... to help get anyone in your church family to camp! Note that due to Outdoor Cooking & Building being full for 1st session, we have added that program for 3rd session as well.]
 
 [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!

CedarS PYCLs--Possible Younger Class Lessons for:  
"
God the Preserver of Man"
The Christian Science Bible Lesson for June 10, 2012
by Kerry Jenkins, CS, House Springs, MO (314) 406-0041
[Brackets & late-email apology by Warren, CedarS Director for ongoing Precamp Skills Weeks]

[PCYL G.T. & R.R.: Write favorite verses from the Lesson.]
This is such a great subject for the summer months with kids possibly traveling or having away from home experiences. There are many passages shared in this lesson that you could give to kids in a tiny notebook to bring along, or on an index card to tuck in a book. Consider having the kids choose the verses they like the most from this lesson. Then talk about what they mean to them.
 
[PCYL Overview:  Take note of all the challenges.]
I think it would be really helpful to take notice together the number of challenges that are presented in this week's lesson.  Sometimes we can get trapped into thinking that if things go wrong, or we are handed obstacles to overcome, that somehow we are either doing something wrong or God or Christian Science is failing us.  Nothing could be further from the truth and we have only to look at the Bible to bear that out.  In fact that is much of what the Bible is about-- examples of trusting in God when challenges come up.  Think about how we have healings.  The healing couldn't have come if we didn't have anything to overcome.  Notice together the persistence that is emphasized in the overcoming of certain challenges. In section 5, citation B15 it is pointed out that: "After long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them..."  What do you think they mean by "abstinence"?  What does that word mean?  What does it mean in this context?  What else might it symbolize? (perhaps an opportunity to turn away from the material sense testimony-in this case a scary storm, but in other cases...?)  If it was a long abstinence, we can assume that that meant Paul was persistent and dedicated in his prayerful work.  How can we do the same?  Also note that Paul didn't moan and mutter or say "well, what next?" when the serpent bit him.  Rather he went on to heal not only the chief of the tribe there, but many others that were sick or wounded!  See citation B17 for another rendition of this kind of persistence in the face of opposition.  Think of the part where "...all men forsook me:" What does that mean?
 
[PCYL.: Discuss how "trials can be proofs...":.]
As you can see this is a great opportunity to discuss the passage about how "Trials are proofs of God's care." from citation S13. This statement can generate some confusion if you don't give them some help.  Many can think for some time that this means that God is testing us and somehow proving that He cares by giving us a hard time so we have to trust Him to sort it out.  You can see where that might be the appearance to a kid.  You can also talk about the first part of this passage that mentions leaning on a material staff.  What does that indicate?  Why do these broken reeds "pierce the heart", what is she getting at here?  Can you talk with the littler classes about the above passage in simpler words?  Can you come up with an example from your own life to share here?  I'm sure you have many!
 
[PCYL.: Discuss planting a garden. Send them home with paper flowers...]
Talk about planting a garden together.  What sort of "seeds" do we want to plant and "grow" in our spiritual "thought" garden?  I think you could use some colored construction paper to cut out flowers and stems and leaves to write on them the sorts of things that Love "propagates".  Have them pin them up to Sunday School dividers or bulletin boards if you have them, or just stick them to sheets of paper for them to take home individually.  Talk about the soil.  What is the "soil of material hopes"?  Can you give them examples that are meaningful?  What grows from such soil?  Does anything grow?  What would be the opposite of this kind of soil?  What would be in it?
 
[PCYL Section 3.: Discuss the appearance of evil and the perfect timing of the woman's appearance before the king...]
Talk a bit about the way things appear to be, and the way they really are.  For example: the story of the woman that Elisha sent to live elsewhere during the famine years, talk about this story and the background behind it.  (B9}  Talk about the restoration that she experienced.  Was it coincidence or chance that she walked into the King's presence just when Gehazi was there telling the king about her?  Did this woman express qualities of deep trust and confidence in God's willingness to keep her safe and fed over many years?  How do we do this today?  Citations S15 and 16 are interesting statements about the appearance of evil and what it means or doesn't mean!
 
[PCYL Section 2: Tell them about Jehoshaphat and how won without a fight, like we can.]
Have some fun with the story in section 2 about Jehoshaphat.  This may not be as familiar to the children so you can spend some time talking about the background and what the outcome of the "battle" was.  Note that the battle never happened at all.  The enemy met with its own demise as they approached.  Also note that Jehoshaphat had his own army but did not express confidence in its size or strength.  Rather he trusted God's wisdom and power to solve the attack.  How can this be relevant to us today.  How often do we try to solve things "on our own" through either talking or acting without thoughtful and peaceful prayer and acknowledgment of Mind?  Talk about the fact that if this story is relevant to us today, how is it so?  Most of us are not facing military action against us.  This may seem obvious to you, but the more we can help them make these leaps the better for our future Bible scholars.  Do they think that the people of Judah were afraid?  How did they conquer their fears?  How can we do this?
 
[PCYL Section 1: Talk about never being able to be away from God!.]
 
Psalm 139 (B2) is such a beautiful poem and prayer.  Talk together about what it means and the imagery it contains.  ["Whither shall I go from thy spirit?"] With the littler children talk about how they cannot get away from God no matter where they go.  Talk about the actual words in the psalm, how they can go "way, way, way up in the sky, or out in the middle of a giant ocean, or all the way to camp in a cabin full of strangers...but they cannot get away from God!"  What does it mean that God "compassest my path"?  If He is acquainted with everything we do, what does that mean about Him/Her?  How does that knowledge help us to be less fearful?  Think together about the nature of God as His all-goodness comes into play in this omnipresence.  Then follow this discussion with the next passage in citation B3 and talk about what this request means.  What is the Psalmist asking for when he says "Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law."?  How do we go about "opening our eyes"?
 
[PCYL Section 4: Talk about the healing of the blind beggar and about Jesus' Christianity.]
It is cool to note that also included in this lesson is the healing of the blind beggar in section 4.  This is not an accident overcome, nor a snakebite or lion pit or jail escape.  This is a long time, perhaps lifelong blindness that Jesus overcomes with one command.  What does this say about how we are preserved from all evil?  What does it say about the Christianity that Jesus shared?  See citation S18 and talk about this kind of Christianity and how we can also be that kind of Christian.  You can link this up to last week's lesson that focused so much on church.  Ask them what Christianity means to them and see if they can all come up with the main point of Jesus' Christianity.
 
[PCYL Section 5-6: Act out the shipwreck story and maybe send them home with a chunk of wood to help keep them afloat.]
Finally you could do a little acting with the youngest about the shipwreck story in citation B15.  Shake the table a little to symbolize the storm, rock in the chairs a bit.  Give them each a piece of the "ship" to hang onto to get to shore.  What would that chunk of ship symbolize?  Can you all come up with some qualities that you can "hang on to" to bring us to the safe shore of health and peace and joy?  Check out Mrs. Eddy's poem that is set to music in our hymnal "O'er Waiting Harpstrings".  Verses four and five give you the storm and the "rock" and six and seven give you the Christian mission to take joy in our job to heal.  Likewise the poem "Satisfied" gives us the helpful message that is so present in this lesson that Love is guiding us through every storm, and that it is human sense that displays to us these storms in the first place.  So you could have fun with each of these poems!  You could bring in actual chunks of wood and write on them the ideas that might help to keep us "afloat".  Or you could just talk about it in the abstract.
 
In any case have a wonderful time!

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