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Practice the Divine Way--End Quarrels w/Love & Play on the Same Team!

Craig L. Ghislin, C.S., Glen Ellyn (Bartlett), IL
Posted Monday, January 27th, 2014

Practice the Divine Way— End Quarrels w/Love & Play on the Same Team!
Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on:

Love

for February 2, 2014

by Craig L. Ghislin, C.S.  Glen Ellyn (Bartlett), Illinois
craig.ghislincs@icloud.com / (630) 830-8683

[Warren Huff CedarS Director & Editor, w/bracketed italic additions, asks you to see my P.S. by 1-31]

In the movie Life of Pi, the main character talks about the things he’s learned from each religion he studied. When he comes to Christianity, he says he learned about love. The Golden Text opens with the phrase, “God is Love”—a hallmark of Christian teaching. It’s a distinctive feature of Christianity going far beyond the commonplace viewpoint of mere morality, or devotion to something. To say “God is Love itself” is so powerful that words barely do it justice. None-the-less, people have tried throughout the ages. Theologian Adam Clarke describes it like this:

God is love – An infinite fountain of benevolence and beneficence to every human being. He hates no thing that he has made. He cannot hate, because he is love. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends his rain on the just and the unjust. He has made no human being for perdition, nor ever rendered it impossible, by any necessitating decree, for any fallen soul to find mercy... It has been well observed that, although God is holy, just, righteous, etc., he is never called holiness, justice, etc., in the abstract, as he is here called LOVE. This seems to be the essence of the Divine nature, and all other attributes to be only modifications of this.

Not only is God Love itself, but if anyone claims to understand God, he must also understand Love, and show that understanding through the embodiment of all it includes, and its demonstration.

Responsive Reading
The scope of God’s love for man is illustrated in many ways; one of which, is that God loves us so much that He calls us His sons.   Such love is no small thing. Parental love is ideally the strongest bond there is.  To be a son, is to possess all the qualities of the parent, and to have access to all the parent has.  This sonship comes with a responsibility—we must love others in the way God loves us.  This shows that we understand, embody, and live love just as our Father-Mother God is Love.  If we don’t love, we don’t know God.  Similarly, if we don’t express the love of God, neither will mankind be able to know, or understand God.

John says, “No man hath seen God at any time.”  God cannot be seen through material senses.  The only method of genuinely recognizing and understanding God is through the evidence that we love one another, and doing so illustrates the presence of the Spirit in our hearts.  Albert Barnes, writes, “True love will diffuse itself over all who come within its range, and will thus become complete and entire.”  “Herein is our love made perfect” (I John 4:17).  In this way love in our lives becomes what it should be, and will prepare us to appear with confidence in the face of judgment, because our love is modeled after the love of Christ.

Section 1: [“Love is reflected in] love” [S&H 17:7]
Starting from the premise that God is Love, we agree that if we dwell in love, we dwell in God (B1). Love is both the fuel and product of Christian religion. Embracing the attitude of love for God and man has profound effects. In Proverbs 27:19 (B2) we read, “As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.” Bible commentators have an interesting take on this. Some feel that basically, just as all water is pretty much alike, so are men’s hearts. Others say this verse suggests that we may see our characters in the developed tempers of others; or that we can see one’s heart by his actions. I am intrigued by Barnes’ observations:

“As we see our own face when we look on the mirror-like surface of the water, so in every heart of man we may see our own likeness. In spite of all diversities we come upon the common human nature in which we all alike share. Others see in the reference to the reflection in the water the thought that we judge of others by ourselves, find them faithful or the reverse, as we ourselves are.”

This suggests to me the concept of “mirroring.” Generally, if someone smiles at you, you’re likely to smile back. Also if a group of people are in agreement or sympathy with one another, they will often mirror each others’ body language.

The implication of this concept as applied to our topic of Love, is that if we are loving, it will help the world as a whole become more loving. Again, Barnes writes:

“The earth is filled with love just as far as religion prevails, and would be entirely if it should prevail everywhere. Love would remove all the corrupt passions, the crimes, the jealousies, the wars on the earth, and would diffuse around the globe the bliss of heaven. If a man, therefore, is actuated by this, he has the spirit of the heavenly world reigning in his soul, and lives in an atmosphere of love.”

This statement coincides with the citations found in Science and Health.

Our Leader writes, “From Love and from the light and harmony which are the abode of Spirit, only reflections of good can come” (S2). Furthermore, she states that subordinating the testimony of material sense to the facts of Science, will cause us to “see this true likeness and reflection everywhere” (S3). As we live in Love, and reflect it, that love will be reflected throughout the world “bathing all in beauty and light.” What a hopeful, positive expectancy that is.

We have probably all felt the different effects between someone coming into a room or situation with an uplifting generous attitude, versus someone with a skeptical, critical outlook. A loving outlook, beaming with joy can really change the atmosphere. Imagine what a change could take place if each of us adopted that generous spirit. What if we held the negative pictures we see in check by fixing our gaze on the Scientific facts of man’s true, loving, nature, therefore being active witnesses only to the power of omni-present Love? Our Leader says, we could expect to see that likeness everywhere. That’s really what we’re supposed to be doing as Christians—bringing that light of love into every situation and thus redeeming and regenerating the whole world.

The rest of the Lesson explores various scenarios of accomplishing this.

Section 2: [Gently support and restore your parents—and anyone needing help.]
The story of Noah’s drunkenness (B5) isn’t so much about Noah’s indiscretion as the son’s response to it.  Most commentators suppose that Noah hadn’t intended to get drunk.  They figure since based on the story, wine was a relatively new invention; he didn’t really know what it would do to him.  This attitude carries over in the interpretations of the verse from Galatians (B6). To be “overtaken in a fault” means to “be surprised, seized on without warning, suddenly invaded, taken before he is aware” (Clarke).  The overall message is that all of us make mistakes—sometimes pretty big ones.  How do we treat those who fall into these problems?  It would be easy to do what Ham does—make a big deal over it and gossip about it.  The fact that Ham is eventually cursed for his behavior implies that Ham took pleasure in seeing his father in a compromising position.  When you see others make bad decisions, especially those who should know better, do you take pleasure in their misfortune—making a point of exposing it, or start a diatribe over how wrong they are?

Both Shem and Japhet take the more compassionate approach suggested in Galatians: “restore such an one in the spirit of meekness.”  To “restore” means “to bring back into its proper place, like repositioning a dislocated limb.”  Have you ever helped someone with a dislocated joint?  I have.  When we were first married, my wife and I were playing tennis and her arm literally fell out of her shoulder.  We weren’t sure what to do, but I intuitively just held it very gently so it wouldn’t get any worse.  As we prayed it suddenly just popped back into place.  She did call a practitioner and she was completely free of pain within a week.  Now my point in sharing this is that it would obviously be the wrong approach for me to berate her for the problem, and jam her arm back into place.  My primary concern at the time was to avoid causing any other damage, and I was especially mindful of the need to be gentle.  This is what the Bible suggests we do with those who are overtaken by a fault.  We should lovingly, mercifully bring them back with a kind, forbearing, and forgiving spirit.

Our Leader’s definitions of Shem (S4) and Japhet (S5) describe “kindly affection; love rebuking error” and the “spiritual peace, flowing from the understanding that ...man is His idea, the child of His care.”  That’s what these brothers did.  They turned their gaze away from the sin and covered it.  This meant that they would not see it themselves, nor would anyone else.  This is the tenderness expressed by God (S6).  Mrs. Eddy tells us “the poor suffering heart” needs “patience in tribulation” (S7).  Truth doesn’t amplify faults.  It makes us anew.  All sin gets washed away.  When someone messes up, ripping into them does little good.  Our Leader says the way to get rid of error “is to pour in truth through flood-tides of Love” (S8).  That image isn’t punitive, but is refreshing and filled with blessings for everyone.

Section 3: [Show genuine love to your spouse.]
The institution of marriage has long been an important one to the welfare of society.  In Ephesians 5:33 (B8) we have definite instructions that the husband and wife should mutually respect and care for each other.  Albert Barnes nicely expounds on this verse: “...the happiness of society depends on just views of the marriage relation.  It is true the world over, that the views which prevail in regard to this relation, determine everything in reference to all other relations of life, and to all other sources of enjoyment.”

With the importance of marriage in mind, the story of how Rebekah was found for Isaac (B9) is touching in all respects.  It’s filled with love in every direction.  First of all, the servant is loved and trusted by Abraham, and the servant in return loves his master and God enough to do his best to fulfill his mission.  I find it interesting that Abraham did not want a bride from Canaan.  You will recall that Ham, the son of Noah who exposed his father’s nakedness, became the father of the Canaanites.  The Canaanites were following the sensual path and sinking into ungodliness and unrighteousness.  Abraham was looking for an uplifting relationship that would be supportive of the covenant God made with him.

I find Matthew Henry’s thoughts on this story admirable: “...no concern in life is of greater importance to ourselves, to others, or to the church of God, than marriage.  It therefore ought always to be undertaken with much care and prudence, especially with reference to the will of God, and with prayer for his direction and blessing.”  The servant prays for direction and is led, not to a place of social gathering, amusement and pleasure, but to a watering spot, where wholesome activity is going on.  He is lead to find Rebekah and she agrees to go with him.  The motivation for this union was higher than mere concern for future prosperity.  It was love for God, and submission to God’s law; and God directed it every step of the way.

Our textbook states, “Christian Science reveals Truth and Love as the motive-powers of man” (S9).  It also points out the things most important for a happy and permanent companionship: “kindred tastes, motives, and affections” (S10).  There is no doubt that marriage has suffered some hard times.  Nearly half of new marriages in recent years have ended in divorce.  In Mrs. Eddy’s day, she too, stated that, “The union of the sexes suffers fearful discord” (S&H 65:10-11).  It doesn’t have to.  She explains on page 57 (S11) the benefits of the proper union of masculine and feminine qualities.  These days, it’s true that there is some broadening of the roles that men and women play, but it seems that whatever the case, the union of the qualities Mrs. Eddy mentions is key.  She also talks about the higher aims of “unselfish ambition, noble life-motives, and purity” as key components to a happy home.   If you take the time to read the whole chapter on marriage, you will see that most of it has to do with mutual devotion and like interests.  She also warns against jealousy, and either side being too domineering.  The old-fashioned view of marriage as a “ball and chain” proposition is eliminated. “Home...should be the centre, though not the boundary, of the affections” (S12).  The last citation sums it up perfectly: “tender solicitude...mutual attention and approbation” (S13) practiced throughout the relationship is the way to go.

Section 4: [Reflect love to children—and not just your own.]
In the Responsive Reading we noted the strength of parental love.  Here, we see that the familial, parental love is not limited to blood lines. If we love only those who are our blood relatives, this is a form of tribalism.  It’s not so much love as possession and personal attachment.  That’s not the love that heals.  In the story of Moses in the bulrushes (B12), we see that Moses’ mother definitely loved her child.  She took every measure to insure his safety.  Pharaoh’s daughter immediately discerned that the child was a Hebrew and as such, her father’s decree would mean the child’s death.  But she had a motherly intuition too.  Moses was a goodly child, and she must have been touched by the gravity of his situation.  She set aside familial and tribal obligations and cared for one whom she might have called an enemy.

I have known people who are very much motivated by blood devotion and who will do anything to push their children to the front of the line ahead of others.  Mrs. Eddy made a point of saying that she loved everybody irrespective of family ties.  She said that if we pray as much for other’s children as we do our own, that standpoint will bring our own the most benefit.  The psalmist acknowledges that all are the “children of the most High” (B13).  Paul also points out that instead of exercising harsh authority over the Thessalonians, he acted toward them as a tender nurse with a delicate child, feeding, counseling, and cherishing them with joy (B14).

Our Leader writes of Love as the divine Principle of the universe, impartially and universally fathering and mothering everyone (S14, S15).  Hate is often fueled by arrogant tribalism.  But there is never an excuse for hatred.  It is illegitimate.  With Love as our motivator, there is no limit to the good we can do, and we will always be led to a proper way to do it (S16).

Citation S17 tells us the right way to attend the birth of a new child.  This can be applied to all right ideas as well.  The key is to “so detach mortal thought from its material conceptions, that the birth will be natural and safe.”  It is wise to use this instruction in everything we do.  In childbirth as well as when attending any other new idea, we don’t want to let mortal mind take charge and go on its own.  We need to detach the event from any material conception.  Moses’ mother didn’t just toss Moses into the stream and hope he landed in a safe place.  She not only made him a safe vessel, but made sure he was put in a place where she knew he would be found.  We too, must make sure that the only power governing the birth is God, and know that the power of Love and Truth will carry that idea all the way to completion.  The truths of Christian Science destroy all the false laws that would claim to govern the situation (S18).

God is our divine parent and everything and everyone is blessed with the beautiful and the good.  I love the fact that Spirit is our “primitive and ultimate source of… being” (S19). Starting and ending with God is a comforting thought.  But “ultimate” can also mean “to come or bring into use or practice” (Student’s Reference Dictionary). That signifies to me the ongoing unfoldment of life as the law of our being.

Section 5: [Like Elisha seek to bless your enemies. See reenactment @ CedarS. And, act it out in Sunday School by downloading the script in the upper right of CedarS online Met.]
The Syrians’ attempt to ambush the king of Israel had been thwarted several times by Elisha’s spiritual insight.  When they came to capture Elisha his servant was naturally afraid: “Alas, my master! How shall we do?”  Elisha prays for his servant’s eyes to be opened, and he beholds a host of horses and chariots of fire protecting them.  Elisha’s attackers have their vision taken away rather than opened, and are led in the opposite direction of their home.  When delivered to the king of Samaria he supposes he should slay them, but Elisha had by this time, opened the eyes of his captives, and he counsels the king to feed them and let them return home (B16).  According to all rules of warfare, it would be the natural thing to do—wipe out your enemies before they wipe out you.  But the Syrians hadn’t been an immediate threat to Samaria, and Elisha seemed intent on teaching them and everyone else a lesson in compassion.

Throughout the experience, Elisha had the upper hand because he stayed true to the precepts of holiness and kindness.  Mary Baker Eddy counseled a student, “Never deal with evil as evil deals with you” (Advice to Healers Volume 2, p.11 available at The Mary Baker Eddy Library for the Betterment of Humanity).  This echoes Christ Jesus’ admonition to “love ye your enemies” (B17).

Our textbook reminds us fairly regularly to strive toward living in peace and harmony with all men (S20).  Conflicts arise from the belief of more than one mind.  This belief of many minds forgets that Love is universal and that all men are God’s likeness.  Elisha is a perfect example of allowing “Soul to hold the control” (S21).  He didn’t agree with or allow evil to succeed, but he exposed it, rebuked it and in the end, blessed his enemies.  Elisha’s actions touched everyone in the story.  The attackers were subdued, but treated with kindness and respect; his servant saw that there was more going on than the material senses would lead him to believe; and the king of Samaria learned a new way of dealing with opponents.  Elisha’s actions literally dissolved “self-will, self-justification, and self-love” (S22).  He was patient, and knew that there was no power opposed to God.  He knew that the allness of God meant the powerlessness of evil.  His “unselfed love” allowed him to receive and demonstrate the divine power (S23).

This section closes with a directive we would all do well to obey—always overcome evil with good (S24).  Doing so will protect us and not only help ourselves, but everyone in the whole world.  Sometimes we think that our small acts of compassion and kindness may mean little in the larger scheme of things.  Or that we may even appear weak and foolish; or that we are allowing evil to succeed.  But Elisha’s story, as many others in the scriptures, teach us that our acts of love can have a profound effect on everyone involved whether or not it is immediately acknowledged.  So remember, that good gives you “the only power obtainable” and you should exercise it for the benefit of all mankind.
[What a timely and healing Bible story about Syrian peace with present-day Syrian peace negotiators “at odds” as mentioned in the online Christian Science Monitor.  In 1905 Mrs. Eddy asked her followers to pray for a peaceful resolution to the Russo-Japanese war and a treaty was signed in nearby Portsmouth, New Hampshire (see Miscellany 279-281).  Irving Tomlinson recorded more of Mrs. Eddy’s world vision and views on peace and war in his Twelve Years with Mary Baker Eddy.]   

Section 6: [Like Jesus be so moved with compassion that you too can heal!]
Several times in the scriptures we see that Jesus’ healing began with his being “moved with compassion” (B18).  His heart went out to all in need.  Here again, we see that he didn’t reserve his compassion for his close friends, or for people who were already fine and looking good.  His love went out to the sinning, the sick, the malformed, and the mistreated.  He didn’t accept their infirmities, but his love for them restored them to wholeness (B19).  He directed his students to do the same.  He didn’t want the power of spiritual healing reserved for those only within his small circle of followers, but rather, he sent them out to heal all manner of sickness and disease, and to do it freely (B20).  [See Warren’s P.S. for more on citation B20.]  Jesus wanted his followers to emulate his love; just as he emulated the Father’s love (B21).  This is probably the main thing holding us back.  We know an awful lot about Christian Science.  We memorize all sorts of quotes, but do we love the way Jesus and Mrs. Eddy did?

Sometimes, we may feel that it’s beyond our ability to accomplish this.  First of all, it’s helpful to remember that divine Love is the healer and is meeting every need (S25). That means we don’t have to rely on our own human sense of love.  Our part is to do our best to embody and practice that love.  It’s not human will-power that heals scientifically.  It is Christ, Truth that “subdues the human belief in disease” (S26).  If we have trouble loving in the way Jesus and Mrs. Eddy did, it helps to realize that this love wasn’t some supernatural power especially bestowed on them.  We can all learn to express this Love.  That’s why it’s a Science.  Our dear Leader gives us instructions to follow.  Under the sub-heading of “Genuine healing”, she tells us of “tenderness” and “pitiful patience” (S27).  “Pity” is actually one of the translations of the word “compassion” as used in the gospels.  Jesus had compassion.  Our Leader also teaches us to begin our treatments “by allaying the fear of patients” with silent reassurance (S28).  To “allay” is to “make quiet, to pacify, abate, mitigate, or subdue” (SRD). Of course, to do this effectively we need to be clear in our own thought that God is indeed All-in-all.  That’s where all our preparatory work comes in.  We use the time before the need is known to study, pray, and keep our own thought prepared.  So when a need arises we are ready to meet it.

The last citation in this section is the “gold standard” of healing.  Sub-titled “Speedy healing” we’re told that if we reach the patient through divine Love, one treatment will be sufficient (S29).  That’s our aim.  We clearly have more work to do on this, but it can be done, because it already has been and is being done.  Let’s strive to make this type of healing our regular currency.

Section 7: The Fulfillment of the Law
“Love thy neighbor as thyself” (B22).  That’s it.  That’s the word.  What else do we need?  Matthew Henry puts a decidedly pointed spin on it in his commentary: “Happy would it be, if Christians, instead of biting and devouring one another on account of different opinions, would set themselves against sin in themselves, and in the places where they live.”  We should love not quarrel.  We’re all on the same team.

Our Leader puts it in one sentence: “Universal Love is the divine way in Christian Science” (S30). That’s it. So let’s start practicing the divine way!


[Warren’s PS1 on citation B20: “freely ye have received, “freely give” is a springboard for CedarS 2014 theme of “live2give”. It’s also a focus of CedarS 2014 Video Show & Lego Bible Skit that start soon in Austin, TX.}]

[Warren PS2 for all who are able and feel so led: Thank you in advance for showing your love & thanks with a "downpayment" campership gift by 1-31, our Early Enrollment downpayment date.  By giving a campership gift for a week of camp of $100+/- downpayment (or the actual cost for a week of camp of  $850+/ -), you'll be "adopting"  (sponsoring and setting free) a worthy Sunday School pupil with life-transforming spiritual growth!]


The Met application ideas above are provided primarily to help CedarS campers and staff (as well as friends) see and daily demonstrate the great value of studying and applying 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.]

[Showing love w/$s: Before 1-31, our Early Enrollment discount date, please consider sponsoring a worthy Sunday School pupil with a $100/week campership gift! 
During a record cold and snowy winter, thanks in advance for supporting CedarS 
Matched “Adopt the Herd” fund for year-round horse care. ]

And, HUGE THANKS to our current Monthly Donors of all amounts. 
See a recent video from 4 monthly donors about how significant your support is! 
THANK YOU in advance for 
MONTHLY MAKING A TAX-DEDUCTIBLE GIFT ONLINE,
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[Check out CedarS with its Fundamental Concepts, Unique Facilities and Features designed to transform lives! Click to see testimonials in writing!]

[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 Manfred and Jeanette; or in Spanish, thanks to a team of Ana, Erick, Claudia and Patricio, or in Portuguese, thanks to helpers of Orlando Trentini in Brazil.  A voluntary French translation by Rodger Glokpor, a Christian Scientist from Togo (West Africa) has been contributed.  Thank you, Rodger and all translators! Go to http://www.cedarscamps.org/ and click "Newsletters" to sign-up for a free translation into these languages.  This sharing is the latest in an ongoing, 13-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 emails to follow.) 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 serve as 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 and in a variety of useful formats 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-26) and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy (S-1 thru S-32). 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.]

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