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Get & Share the Best Present Yet, Christ's Presence!

Rick Stewart, C.S., Dresden, Germany
Posted Monday, December 22nd, 2014

[Get & Share the Best Present Yet, Christ's Presence!]
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Christian Science”

for Sunday, December 28, 2014

by Rick Stewart, C.S. Tel. +49 351 312 4736
email: RickStewartCS@aol.com

[Bracketed italics added by CedarS Director, Warren, who’s very grateful for good support already received with more needed at Adopt the Herd Riding Fund & CedarS Giving Tree.]

Are you expecting a gift or gifts in a few days? Many people around the world in different cultures and traditions celebrate this time of year by exchanging gifts. This week's Bible Lesson on "Christian Science" is a story about a gift. Also about great expectations, heartbreak, faith, and receptivity. Actually it is the story of several gifts that at first seemed very small and insignificant and then grew to great importance. These gifts or presents may not have been eagerly anticipated gifts under a tree, in a stocking, or in a boot, but for each of these gifts, the source remained the same. God.

This Bible Lesson is the story of a Prophet who saw, experienced, and foretold significant events for his people. (Isaiah, 8th Century BC) This is the story of a pregnant teenage mother. (Mary, 4-6, BC) This is the story of a young man looking forward to his wedding day only to discover his soon to be wife is already expecting a baby. (Joseph) This is the story of a baby born in what appeared to be far from the best conditions. (Yeshua, or Jesus) This is the story of a middle aged woman who lived a life that seemed a mix of great joy and faith, great tragedy and heartbreak, and a great Discovery. (Mary Baker Eddy, 1866) This is the story of how a gift from God transformed each of their lives and altered human existence. (The Gift, Eternal) And this is the story of how this Gift will affect your life. (Today)
This is the story of the Holy Ghost, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, the Comforter.

Golden Text: Acts 2:38 " ...receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."

The Responsive Reading is the account of Jesus' birth from the Gospel of Matthew 1:18-23.
[Click on the file in the upper right of CedarS webpage to download a Cobbey Crisler commentary on Matthew's version of the Nativity.]

We read that Mary is engaged to Joseph but "before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost." (Although the Bible narratives do not mention Mary's age,. the normal age for engagement and marriage at that time was around 12-15 years. Later Jewish teachers established the marriageable age for girls as 12 and for boys as 13.)

Joseph planned on divorcing Mary "privily" which would have been pretty hard. But both he and Mary would face disgrace and ruination for future prospects as the events played out. But God's office of information dissemination, his press representatives, the angels said hold on it is going to be okay, God's got a plan.

These angels spoke to Mary, Joseph, and even to the Prophet Isaiah in the 8th Century BC. (800 years before Jesus birth!) "Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name, Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us."

The source of these messages, the communicator and inspirer of mankind then and now is the main subject of this week's lesson, the one and only Holy Ghost, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth.

Section 1: Isaiah prophecies and the Gospels relate the birth of the "Son of God."
Citations B-1 and B-2 are the prophecy from Isaiah from about 8th Century BC,, "a child is born." I still remember when a friend and Christian Scientist in Florida, Michael Rissler, shared the clear idea, that Isaiah was not just talking about a future event. Michael explained that he felt Isaiah saw, understood, and experienced that glimpse or revelation of the birth of the "the child." And I like to think that just like Isaiah, through the inspiration of God, we can also experience that reality of the revelation of the "child" or the "Son of God" (B-4.) Citation (B-3, Luke 2) Tells of Joseph and Mary and their road trip to Bethlehem. Just think how over the years that account has inspired us all. They find no room in "the inn," but what comfort they find in the stable -- the soft hay, the natural warmth of the animals. Privacy, comfort, and Love's hopitality. [For Cobbey Crisler comments on the Nativity see PS and click on files... ]

Science and Health citations share insights of what this great event means to us all. Citstion S1 starts with "The illumination of Mary's spiritual sense put to silence material law and its order of generation, and brought forth her child by the revelation of Truth, demonstrating God as the Father of men." (p. 29:20) Citation S3 concludes this section with "As a material, theoretical life-basis is found to be a misapprehension of existence, the spiritual and divine Principle of man dawns upon human thought, and leads it to "where the young child was," -- even to the birth of a new-old idea, to the spiritual sense of being and of what Life includes." (p. 191:8)

Have you ever thought of how significant it was for Joseph and Mary to be alone as they expected their baby's arrival. Both had been visited, comforted and guided by God's angelic messengers. They had become open and receptive to God's presence. They were prepared. Alone there in the stable there would be no intrusive disbelief, judgment, or doubt. Both of them had learned to trust God's direction. [And to think they trusted it enough to leave their homeland for years to protect the Christ idea!]

God naturally cherishes each idea in creation when mortal, false belief is removed. Mrs. Eddy's remarks on page 424: 15 of Science and Health might apply. "It is equally important in metaphysical practice that the minds which surround your patient should not act against your influence by continually expressing such opinions as may alarm or discourage, -- either by giving antagonistic advice or through unspoken thoughts resting on your patient. While it is certain that divine Mind can remove any obstacle still you need the ear of your auditor."

I am sure the inn filled with travelers would have been full of opinions. While in the stable? The "cattle were lowing," and loving, not opionating. [The rightness and peace of having a quiet, Christ-centered Christmas is put beautifully in music by Dawn-Marie Cornett and Ryan Winslow (a CedarS Musical Theater alum) in an original, animated offering "How We Imagined It", by Time4Thinkers.com that you can see and hear by clicking here.]

Section 2: Shepherds and Wise Men called to Jesus.
[For Cobbey Crisler comments on the Nativity see PS and click on files... ]
Citation B-5 (Luke 2:8-14) tells of the watchful shepherd tells of the watchful shepherds being told by the angel of the Lord, "Fear not: for, behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." I love the promise that this joy is for "all people." As we cherish what this birth has meant to us individually can't we pray for ways to make it live in our lives in a way that speaks to all mankind. As we open our hearts to the universal message perhaps we will find new audiences for this story that is for "all people."

In Matthew 2 we are given evidence of this wider message of salvation as the wise men come from the east of Jerusalem to worship the young Jesus. There is no Biblical mention of their names or of their actual origins. But it is clearly implied that they came from quite a ways. And their guidance was specific enough and God-directed enough that they were able to see "a star in the east" and let it guide them to the little Jesus. (B-6)

In Science and Health citation S4 Mrs. Eddy refers to these two groups: "The wakeful shepherd beholds the first faint morning beams, ere cometh the full radiance of a risen day. So shone the pale star to the prophet-shepherds; yet it traversed the night, and came where, in cradled obscurity, lay the Bethlehem babe, the human herald of Christ, Truth, who would make plain to benighted understanding the way of salvation through Christ Jesus, till across a night of error should dawn the morning beams and shine the guiding star of being. The Wisemen were led to behold and follow this daystar of divine Science, lighting the way to eternal harmony." (vii:2)

In citation S8 we read, "When a new spiritual idea is borne to earth, the prophetic Scripture of Isaiah is renewedly fulfilled: "Unto us a child is born,...and his name shall be called Wonderful." (p. 109:24)

One of my favorite lessons about the universal nature of this Christmas message came about thirty years ago. I was living on a large ranch in a log cabin and my nearest neighbor was about 2 miles away. I was pretty isolated geographically. but I had been studying quite a bit about the true meaning of Christmas and doing a lot of praying for the world.

One of the daughters of the ranch owners came home from college for the Christmas holidays. She was attending Scarritt College for Christian Workers in Nashville, Tennessee. This school was affiliated with the United Methodist Church. She had a couple from New Guinea with her. The husband Ronnie was studying to enter the ministry. Ronny and I talked for hours. I found myself in complete awe as I heard Ronnie tell that as a boy his father and grandfather were active in the Asmat people's tradition of cannibalism and headhunting. And then Ronny learned about Christianity. He told me of his baptism and his baptism in the Holy Spirit. It was a joy to learn of his path into the Light and to be able to share a copy of Science and Health to forward his spiritual journey.

As citation B7 tells us "the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." (Romans 5:5)

Section 3: Jesus' growth, anointing and healing ministry.
In citation B8 we read, "And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him." (Luke 2:40) Jesus lived what was the foundation of his existence, the Spirit of God made manifest. Many scholars now identify the same anonymous author for the Gospel of Luke and also for Acts. This author shares in citation B9, Acts 10: 38, "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him."

Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health, page 332:19 (S9) "Jesus demonstrated Christ; he proved that Christ is the divine idea of God-- the Holy Ghost, or Comforter, revealing the divine Principle, Love, and leading into all truth."

Mrs. Eddy also identifies that it is the same activity, the same power, or Presence that healed in Jesus' day and today. "The physical healing of Christian Science results now, as in Jesus' time, from the operation of divine Principle, before which sin and disease lose their reality in human consciousness and disappear as naturally and as necessarily as darkness gives place to light and sin to reformation. Now, as then these mighty works are not supernatural, but supremely natural. They are the sign of Immanuel, or "God with us,"--a divine influence ever present in human consicousness and repeating itself, coming now as was promised aforetime, "To preach deliverance to the captives of sense, And recovering of sight to the blind, To set at liberty them that are bruised." (S13)

That this healing power is still manifest can be attested to by thousands of Christian Science families and many others around the world. When my mother and my Aunt Dolores visited their elderly Aunt Fanny as adults they learned of a healing that neither of them knew about. As an infant my mom had been healed of what was thought to be a crippling fever. After that the family studied Christian Science and attended the Christian Science church. That would have been in 1919. Aunt Fanny told my mom and aunt that one of her aunts and her father both suffered from blindness. With the introduction of Christian Science the light dawned in the family. Both my great grandfather and his sister, my great, great aunt were healed of blindness.

How do we become a part of this actvity of the Holy Ghost in healing as the Master did? I think it is as we take down the walls, the partitions that we ourselves have built around our lives and churches. Great progress in this line of LIght, this activity of the Holy Ghost, the Comforter in healing and saving lives is found within our own embrace of the power of the Comforter. This present and divine Presence is needed by us all. What a wonderful present that will be to unwrap this Christmas season.

In citation S14 Mrs. Eddy writes," Christian Science and Christianity are one." (p. 372)

Section 4: Letting the Comforter, the Holy Ghost shine!
Jesus promised not only would we be able to do the works he did, but even greater works.

In citation B13 we read "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And I will pray the Father , and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." (John 14)

What is this power of the Holy Ghost as mentioned in citation B14 "Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost." (Romans 15:13)

Well, find out? Our Leader says that it is what we will do that will bear witness. It is not what someone else is doing or isn't doing. It is our own opportunity, starting this Christmas. Starting today She writes, "Your fruits will prove what the understanding of God brings to man. Hold perpetually this thought -- that it is the spiritual idea, the Holy Ghost and Christ, which enables you to demonstrate, with scientific certainty, the rule of healing, based upon its divine Principle, Love, underlying, overlying, and encompassing all true being." (S18, p. 496)

That freeing of self from the healing work is so liberating. For example. Just a couple weeks ago I received a call from a dear Christian Scientist in Norway. We triumphantly worked together on some health issues and become friends. During this time she had explained that she and her husband were what the world might call quite old. Some normal activities were not as easy as they were earlier. But she was delightfully fresh and engaged and so we explored the great help of remaining flexible and open in our thought. And then she told that recently she ended up with a little cat that was unexpected. She named the cat, Micah, after the prophet. But there were times that it was not so easy to do all she needed to do for the little cat. But she had grown to love him dearly. We explored how it could be considered a help to be required to do these things, it would keep her active and engaged. And then came the call last night. Little Micah had gone out in the afternoon around 2 p.m. Shortly after going out the Norwegian snow began. And now, 6:00 p.m. he was not back. The snow was deeper. Let's keep praying! 9:30 p.m. still no sign. And the snow had covered all. As we prayed, I thought of all the references to the Comforter in this lesson. We talked about what the Comforter is and also what one of those wonderful Eider Down Norwegian Comforters was like. We agreed that God's love was already there. Micah could not stray from the Presence of the Comforter, she was wrapped up. Please keep me posted! At 1:18 a.m. the call came through, "He's home." We both rejoiced.

Encouragement in this work came from a video that someone had just shared with me. I knew it from a few years back, but had just watched it anew. It was awesome. An older couple had observed that an orphaned kitten was tenderly being cared for by a crow. At the advice of their veterinarian they videoed this incredible relationship. The chronicle that unfolded was one of tender, loving care and provision. The crow was a complete mother to the kitten, feeding, playing, protecting. Here is a link you can watch.

. www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZmsa3iVJuA

Their wonderful story is also now a delightful children's book by Lisa Fleming

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cat-and-crow-lisa-fleming/1104578167?ean=9780938728238

Section 5: A little book, the full revelation of divine Science, the Comforter.
Citation B-17 is the opening verse of the Book of Revelation: "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John." (Revelation 1:1)
I found it helpful some years back when I realized that the Book of Revelation was actually the "Revelation of Jesus Christ."

In one aspect you could say it is a continuation of the Gospel or Good News. And it is a revelation of the power, the Presence, the Science behind Jesus' works. Some of the holiest healings I have witnessed or know about have been simply through reading Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.

A friend of mine from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mayal Tshiabuila, shared the following with me some years back. He had a friend that was in teacher training in Kinshasa. This friend had been diagnosed with stomach cancer. The doctors treating him had given up hope and recommended that he return to his village because funerals were cheaper there, than in the city. The man had been unable to eat anything for some time and was growing very weak.

One day this man spotted a copy of the Herald of Christian Science in Mayal's room. He asked for the Herald and after reading it he asked about Christian Science practitioners. The practitioner this man contacted asked him first to simply read Science and Health. Mayal's friend began to read Science and Health. There appeared very little hope because of the advanced state of the disease. One day at this time Mayal was sitting on his front porch. He looked in the distance and saw someone walking toward the house. It was this man, but Mayal first thought it must be a ghost. Mayal explained, "Rick for this man to come to me he had to change buses three or four times. And Rick, taking a bus for us, there are so many people, it is so hard, and sometimes you even lose you shirt." But it was the man, it was not a ghost. And he had made the entire journey alone.

Although there appeared to be no outward physical change, the man was able to eat once again, and had been strong enough to brave the harrowing journey by bus. And he had read Science and Health. The practitioner began specific prayerful treatment. His motive in asking the man to read "the little book," was so the man would understand the nature of the treatment and not confuse it with local forms of spiritualism. Soon the man's physical appearance returned to normal. He was completely healed. In this case this man eating up the Science in the little book resulted in complete healing and not a "bitter belly," but a perfectly-formed belly.

Some of you may have heard of Mayal from his work with, Les Ecoles Du Coeur, a school he founded and his work with Fifth Church, Kinshasa. You can access more information at the church website of First Church, Eugene, at the following link. ( http://www.christianscience-eugene.org/Africa.htm)

As citation S20 advises, "Take divine Science. Read this book from beginning to end. Study it, ponder it." (559:20) And be healed by it! [Each one involved in the modern day Christian healings cited by Rick in this section laid "his earthly all on the altar of divine Science" and so was "endued with the spirit and power of Christian healing." (S15, 55) See CedarS 2015 theme!]

Section 6: New Jerusalem, divine Science shining forth.
In citation B-22 Paul writes to the Christians in Corinth and for all time, "Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift."

Saying thank you is so important. I know how great it makes me feel to hear a hearty thank you. In our family we have tried to learn how to say thank you in as many languages as possible. And isn't it wonderful when Paul thanks God with such sincerity for His gift. What is that gift, of course it is the wonder of the birth of our Master, our Savior, Christ Jesus, but isn't it also the complete and full understanding of the Spirit behind that birth and life. The Holy Ghost, divine Science shining forth in all splendor in all time. The Presence behind the wonderful gift or present.

This last section tells of all being made new, a new city, the new Jerusalem shining forth.

Here's a portion of citation B-20 from The Message parphrase version: "I saw Heaven and earth new-created. Gone the first Heaven, gone the first earth, gone the sea. I saw Holy Jerusalem, new-created, descending resplendent out of Heaven, as ready for God as a bride for her husband." (Revelation 21: 2)

Mrs. Eddy writes of this New Jerusalem, this Holy Jerusalem in (SH-22, page 572:12), "This spiritual , holy habitation has no boundary nor limit, but its four cardinal points are: first, the Word of Life, Truth, and Love; second, the Christ, the spiritual idea of God; third, Christianity, which is the outcome of the divine Principle of the Christ-idea in Christian history; fourth, Christian Science, which today and forever interprets this great example and the great Exemplar. This city of our God has no need of sun or satellite, for Love is the light of it, and divine Mind is its own interpreter."

As we cherish each of the actors in our Christmas stories can't we be grateful for each one. Isaiah's vision, insight, and willingness to put on record the prophecy of the Messiah, the child born to a virgin. Mary's purity, receptivity, humble willingness. Joseph's, readiness to receive the message from the Angel that all was well, and to accept that message. Jesus, first coming to us a tiny baby, but growing in grace and truth and finally, fully manifesting all the Light of the saving Christ. And another Mary, a latter day follower of the Christ Jesus, ready, willing, and able to bear witness to the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, the divine Science that is available to each of us.

But what did our Saviour ask of his followers? How would they be known? Wasn't it by the Love they shared? Love would characterize the true followers of the Christ. And they would heal the sick in his name, they would comfort those that mourn, they would raise those bowed down and burdened, and they would raise the dead.

As we live and love in the Light of this Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, divine Science we will be honoring God in his holiest of gifts.


[P.S. For the Responsive Reading and citations B1, B3, B5 and B6 Click on the appropriate file in the upper right of CedarS webpage to download a Cobbey Crisler commentary on Matthew & Luke's versions of the Nativity.]


[The weekly Metaphysical Newsletter is provided at no charge to the 1,200 campers and staff blessed each summer at CedarS, as well as to CedarS alumni, families and friends who have requested it. However, current and planned gifts are a big help and are greatly appreciated in defraying the costs of running this service and of providing needed camperships, programs and operations support. Click http://www.cedarscamps.org/giving/ for more about how you can provide even monthly support online. Or you can always call the Huffs at 636-394-6162 get information or discuss privately how to transfer securities or other assets to help support and perpetuate CedarS work.]

[You can also reach a member of the Founding family nearly anytime by
PHONE at 636-394-6162
or MAIL your tax-deductible support to our 501-C-3 organization
(Our not-for-profit, Federal Identification Number is #440-66-3883):

The CedarS Camps, Inc.
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THANKS TO YOU PRECIOUS DONORS FOR YOUR ONGOING, GENEROUS and NEEDED SUPPORT OF CedarS IMPORTANT WORK!

[LETTING 2 SPECIAL NEEDS BE KNOWN –
Significant funding is still needed for these special opportunities:
1. Over 100 needed items are featured on CedarS Giving Tree that could fit the budget of every grateful Met-recipient and camper. You can choose for yourself $1-and-up ways to give to support CedarS needs. Click here to see 2 young alumni tell their reasons to give.

2. “Adopt the Herd” Matching Opportunity! Generous donors, aware of the ongoing need to care for CedarS herd, will match donations for our horse program! ($29.71k needed to reach $50k goal)]

Thank all who helped us meet our "Maintenance Musts" Matching Opportunity!
($25k goal reached by 12-14-14—will be matched by generous donors in January 2015!)


[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/ ]

[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 in the past. 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, 14-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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