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Shout with joy from the Rock-solid foundation of Life in God, Spirit.

Rick Stewart, C.S., Dresden, Germany
Posted Monday, March 17th, 2014

[Shout with joy from the Rock-solid foundation of Life in God, Spirit.]
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Matter”
for Sunday, March 23, 2014

Rick Stewart, C.S., Dresden, Germany   +49 351 312 4736

[Bracketed italics by CedarS Director Warren Huff.  Life-transforming camperships needed!]

The origin of life? According to physical scientists the scientific problem of the origin of life on earth is still not solved.  Could it be that 4.5 Billion years ago the first steps toward life on earth began in a rock formation in Greenland?    That is what some physical scientists theorize.  Theories abound.  “RNA world hypothesis,” or “Protein world hypothesis” are favorite candidates of some researchers.  Chemical evolution that led to biological evolution?  Home-grown source on earth? Or extra-terrestrial jump start from an asteroid arriving from space?  Fossilized cyanobacterial life?  Amino acids?  Primordial soup? (One bowl to go please, with croutons!)  A study from 2002 speaks of something called “stromatolites.” ((Schopf J.W. et al 2002. "Laser--Raman imagery of Earth's earliest fossils". Nature 416 (6876): 73–6.)

Maybe you have discussed this in a class in school, biology, geology?  It might have your head really spinning.  Because there is really no clear consensus about how matter originated life, there might be some reason to look towards a different kind of Rock. (Deuteronomy 32:4)  That is exactly what this week’s Christian Science Bible Lesson does.  We have the opportunity to explore, investigate, theorize, and most importantly demonstrate that there may be a distinctly different explanation of the origin of Life.  The basis, the foundation for Life might very well be found in the Rock.  But this rock solid foundation for Life is God, Spirit.  Let’s see how this explanation for Life’s foundations might actually clear up some of the confusion!  [tohu, 1st Section, Genesis 1]

In the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, the author, Mary Baker Eddy has this to say about where we look to solve this enigma:  “The universe, like man, is to be interpreted by Science from its divine Principle, God, and then it can be understood; but when explained on the basis of physical sense and represented as subject to growth, maturity, and decay, the universe, like man, is, and must continue to be, an enigma.” (SH 124:14-19) 

Golden Text:  Psalm 62: 6, 7  . . .I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.

The Golden Text introduces us to the “rock”-solid foundations of life that are illustrated throughout this Bible Lesson.  It comes from a Psalm of David with the refrain, “He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved.”  That is a pretty good chorus to be singing throughout the day! The entire Psalm communicates a sure foundation, a certainty, a rock-solid basis for our lives.  And the Responsive Reading continues that refrain.

Responsive Reading:  Isaiah 33:5 (to ;), 6 wisdom…
“The Lord is exalted;    6 . . . wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation:  8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.”

The Message renders verse 6 as “God keeps your days stable and secure—salvation, wisdom, and knowledge in surplus,  and best of all, Zion’s treasure, Fear-of-God.”

A stable, solid foundation, a basis for a secure life that is what we will discover in this Lesson along with the ways we can demonstrate that in our lives!

Section 1: Spirit, not [the confusion (toho) & emptiness (boho) of] matter, is the foundation of Life. [toho=“without form”, boho=“void” Gen. 1:2, (Strong’s Hebrew 922)]
Jewish thinkers asked about the foundations of life, as in citations [B-1, Genesis 1 and] B-2 (Job 38:1 the, 4, 6) “the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said,   4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?  declare, if thou hast understanding.  6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;” [See answer at the end!]

You probably have sung or heard of the hymn, “Rock of Ages”. Well, isn’t that what is identified in the following passage, “ascribe ye greatness unto our God.  4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” (B-3, Deuteronomy 32:3, 4)

The spiritual foundation for life is explored in the book, Science and Health, as in these citations:

“The creative Principle — Life, Truth, and Love — is God.  The universe reflects God.   There is but one creator and one creation. This creation consists of the unfolding of spiritual ideas and their identities, which are embraced in the infinite Mind and forever reflected. These ideas range from the infinitesimal to infinity, and the highest ideas are the sons and daughters of God.”  (S-2, 502:27)

“Divine Science deals its chief blow at the supposed material foundations of life and intelligence.”  (S-5, 535:10–14)

Section 2:  Matter’s foundations crumble.
In Section 2 we have a story about the building of a tower, and the confusion of many languages. (B-10, Genesis 11)  The form of this story is known as “etiology,” or a story told to explain a phenomena or event, in this case the confusion of many languages.  We are told of the building of a great city and tower built in pride of human ability to do anything.  And we are told that the Lord comes down and destroys the tower and spreads the people around the earth and gives them different languages.  The city is referred to as “Babel” which is actually a play on words in both English and Hebrew, as in “babbling,” talking without sense. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tower_of_Babel

Mrs. Eddy writes of the spiritual lessons from this Biblical story.  “BABEL. Self-destroying error; a kingdom divided against itself, which cannot stand; material knowledge.   The higher false knowledge builds on the basis of evidence obtained from the five corporeal senses, the more confusion ensues, and the more certain is the downfall of its structure.”  (S-6, 581:17–22)

Could there be a parallel between this building with human pride and the great multiplication of human knowledge regarding the origins of life in matter?  Although there is no scientific consensus as to how life began on earth, there are many theories, and there is a belief in matter as its basis.  All the theories you might say build on this foundation of the acceptance of matter as the foundation of all.  Included in that or assumed in those theories is a rejection of spiritual theories regarding Life’s foundations.  They are dismissed as mythological.

Science and Health adds a most interesting element to this story as Mrs. Eddy points toward the difference of evidence obtained from the five senses (material sense) and from spiritual sense.  The theories of embryology, genetics, matter-based life could be thought of as a tower of knowledge that is all built on a shaky foundation.  Mrs. Eddy draws on the spiritual understanding that develops throughout the Bible as a guide to understanding the spiritual origins of life.  And this spiritual origin of all being is a firm foundation.  Science and Health citations S-7 to S-9 explain Mrs. Eddy’s concepts.

Section 3:  Building a life on the “Rock.”
Having to make a change of base is not new.  Jesus began his ministry with a call to repent. “Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (B-11, Matthew 4:17)

Often we think of repentance as feeling really sorry about things we have done wrong.  But a Biblical concept of repentance is a little deeper; it has to do with a complete change of heart or mind.  Repentance is changing the basis of our thought.  Often it can mean a letting go of prejudice or of refusing to make judgments that are based on false premises: 

 “You must change your hearts and minds—for the kingdom of Heaven has arrived.” (B-11, J.B. Phillips)

“From that time Jesus began to preach, crying out, Repent (change your mind for the better, heartily amend your ways, with abhorrence of your past sins), for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (B-11, AMP)

"Change your life. God's kingdom is here."  (B-11, MSG)

The tenor of Jesus Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) has mostly to do with how we are thinking.  The Bible citations in this section are examples of the importance of where our thought is.  In citations B-12 and B-13, Jesus addresses lustful thinking and encourages us to build on solid foundations.  For example, evil, lustful thoughts directed toward others do not give a firm foundation for building a good relationship. 

Now these improvements in thinking are not always of a terribly sinful nature.  Sometimes our repentance is just elevating misguided opinions or prejudices.  My family witnessed a fun healing with my mom that had to do with clearer, improved thinking and respect for others. 

Mom was meeting regularly with several friends from church in order to support the daily newspaper, The Christian Science Monitor.  Their meetings involved each of them finding an interesting article, researching it a little deeper, and sharing it with the others.  Mom happened upon a book review of the autobiography, “Loretta Lynn, Coal Miner’s Daughter.”  She read the review, became fascinated with the story, went to Sears bought an album from Loretta Lynn, and shared the story and the album with her friends.  End of story?  Nope.

My mom was a music lover.  In her family home they had a music room and each of the seven children had music lessons.  She loved music, but she just hated “country music.”  It was a complete prejudice.  She looked down her nose you might say at country music.  But as she began to learn about Loretta Lynn’s life and music, mom had a complete change of heart.  She bought other albums of Loretta Lynn.  She read the biography mentioned in the review.  She was amazed at the qualities and talents she read about.  She became a fan.  She bought tickets for a concert and my dad and I joined her.  And that was only the beginning; mom’s love and appreciation of country music just broadened and broadened.  Old prejudices fell away.

So you see it is not always a horrible sin that we have to let go.  Sometimes it is simply an improved outlook, better thinking, more respect, more appreciation—life that begins to have a firmer foundation in Love.

Section 4: Spiritual power undermines matter’s so-called laws.
As Mrs. Eddy teaches, “The supremacy of Spirit was the foundation on which Jesus built.” (S-17, 138:14–15)  And, “Divine Science reverses the false testimony of the material senses, and thus tears away the foundations of error.”  (S-18, 273:10–12)

This section includes the interesting experience of Jesus walking on the water.  In citation B-17 (Mark 6:45–51) we read that Jesus sent his disciples away and “he departed into a mountain to pray.”  I love to think about the Master in prayer.  What holy thoughts and power must have come out of that time!  After all, when he was coming back to join his friends he saw them out in the lake, a wind blowing against them, so he simply walked out to join them.  Wait one second, he what?  Yes, completely contrary to the laws of gravity he walked to them on the water.  Isn’t that a pretty powerful testament against the so-called priority of matter’s laws?

The Science and Health citations give us clear indication of the priority of Spirit’s laws and the relegation of matter’s so-called laws to second place. 

In citation S-19 Mrs. Eddy writes,   “The belief that the universe, including man, is governed in general by material laws, but that occasionally Spirit sets aside these laws, — this belief belittles omnipotent wisdom, and gives to matter the precedence over Spirit.” (83:13)

Perhaps you have heard of Mary Baker Eddy’s healing after taking a severe fall in February of 1866.  A doctor had attended her and offered little hope, describing her injuries of an internal nature.  Even her Pastor had visited not to offer healing, but to say good bye to a faithful member of his congregation.  Flowers were there in condolence.  Hope was at low ebb.  And then Mrs. Eddy asked for her Bible.  She read.  She glimpsed something of the truth of existence and she arose healed.   She writes in her healing “That short experience included a glimpse of the great fact that I have since tried to make plain to others, namely, Life in and of Spirit; this Life being the sole reality of existence.” (Miscellaneous Writings 24:14-18)

The supremacy of Spirit was the foundation that Mrs. Eddy discovered that awaits our own discovery.

Section 5:  Peter and John: A change of base heals, the lame man walks.
Have you sometimes thought that you would like to be able to give more to the world?  There are so many worthy causes that demand our attention.   Legitimate charitable causes seem innumerable.  Is it sometimes just too much?   I thought of this as I read of Peter and John seeing a man begging by a temple gate.  This man was lame, he could not walk.  We read in citation B-19 that Peter looked at the man, “fastening his eyes upon him with John.”  (Acts 3:1–8 )  Peter did not look away somewhat embarrassed.  Even though he did not have money to donate to the man or his cause, Peter did not look away.  Peter knew he had something to give.  He then gave the man, not money, but Life.  Peter healed him and the man walked.  His steps were sure.  His steps were confident.  This man now had his feet under him.  This man had a good “under-standing.” And he praised God.

In this section in Science and Health we read “Christian Science acts as an alterative, neutralizing error with Truth…  The effect of this Science is to stir the human mind to a change of base, on which it may yield to the harmony of the divine Mind… Working out the rules of Science in practice, the author has restored health in cases of both acute and chronic disease in their severest forms.  Secretions have been changed, the structure has been renewed, shortened limbs have been elongated, ankylosed joints have been made supple, and carious bones have been restored to healthy conditions.”   (S-21, 162:5–7, 9, 16–22)

We can give.  We can give our prayers.  We can give encouragement.  We do not have to be overwhelmed by the need, we can respond with the Infinite.  We do not have to look away.  We can be confident that the real foundation of Life is already present, right where the need appears.

Last week I walked along right in front of our apartment.  A next door neighbor was on her balcony.  I stopped and asked how she was.  Her reply, “I have been reading your book.” (It is not my book; several years ago I gave her a copy of Science and Health, when her sister was not expected to live.)  Inge told me she had just lost her older brother and that is why she had been reading “my book.”  We affirmed together the ever-presence of joy in remembering those we love and I encouraged her to keep reading.  I enquired about her sister, “Oh, she is doing fine.”  Science and Health is a gift that keeps giving.  Not charity, but empowerment.

I then walked along about another fifty meters and there was another neighbor.  “Hi, Lutz, how are you doing?”  “Not so well, I have been home sick for seven weeks.”  As we talked I remembered that I had also given him a copy of Science and Health so I encouraged him to read.  And then I enquired about his photography (he is an avid photographer.)  He promised to send me a link to some of his new photos.  And he did.  That gave me his email address again.  “Silver and gold have I none,” but I can find a great article on JSH-Online.com and send it to him!  Or, even a MP3 copy that I received of the German audio Bible Lesson!  I could even send him this CedarS MET and let him read about himself!  Could be a chance for a change of base.

Section 6:  Paul, not party to an accident, agent in a healing.
I dozed off momentarily in church last Wednesday night.  Oh man, I had been doing pretty good staying with the readings, but they went on for forty minutes. And yep, I caught myself in the middle of a very deep nod.  And well, you know.  Thank goodness that I was not in the balcony like young Eutychus!  But it was not the end of the world for me or for Eutychus.  Isn’t it wonderful to know that there is no need to suffer from beliefs of accident.   And our readings were only forty minutes, Paul talked past midnight!

Here is the experience from God’s Word Translation: “A young man named Eutychus was sitting in a window. As Paul was talking on and on, Eutychus was gradually falling asleep. Finally, overcome by sleep, he fell from the third story and was dead when they picked him up. 10 Paul went to him, took him into his arms, and said, “Don’t worry! He’s alive!” 11 Then Eutychus went upstairs again, broke the bread, and ate. Paul talked with the people for a long time, until sunrise, and then left.12 The people took the boy home. They were greatly relieved that he was alive.” (B-21, Acts 20:7–12)

Citation S-28 has the marginal heading, “Indestructible life of man.”  Wow!  Is that a promise, or what?  Mrs. Eddy writes, “ The time approaches when mortal mind will forsake  its corporeal, structural, and material basis, when immortal Mind and its formations will be apprehended in Science, and material beliefs will not interfere with spiritual facts. Man is indestructible and eternal.” (S-28, 402:8–13)

Now that is a change of mind.  From puny, weak, susceptible to disease and danger, mortal man to “indestructible and eternal.” 

I am so humbly grateful to confirm that we have had some very wonderful healings similar to that at CedarS. In the midst of our wonderful activities, always founded on spiritual METs before hand, when a belief of accident creeps in or bangs its way in, counselors, campers, practitioners, and staff respond with the truth.

As in citation S-26, “Accidents are unknown to God, or immortal Mind, and 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.”  (424:5)

That kind of radical change of base, change of mind, results in healing.   When my son, Johann, showed up one day at PAL House (CedarS practitioner’s residence), he was not a pretty sight.  He had been playing with other campers and inadvertently run into his bed.  His nose and face was injured.  I immediately began to pray and also contacted CedarS’ Executive Director, Warren.  Warren was at PAL house in a flash assured me that his mom, Ruth, was also on the case.  Since Warren knew that my wife was not a student of Christian Science he assured me that we could have the injury looked at if I felt there was the need.  I remember how loving and supportive that struck me at the time.  I realized I was not under some kind of special personal pressure to perform, just because I was “the practitioner.”    As we prayed together I saw Johann’s nose and face regain an absolutely normal appearance right before my eyes.  He returned to his activities in just a short while.  And that night there he was in the testimony line.  He gave his first testimony that night; I remember listening with tears of gratitude in my eyes and my heart full of gratitude.

Section 7: The Foundation of Spirit
This last section of the Lesson if found by itself would be classic.  But as the culmination of this beautiful statement of divine Truth, this section is powerful and persuasive.

Paul’s affirmation to the Christians in Ephesus is also our affirmation.  It tells us who we are and where we live.  It is powerful.  It is practical.  It reveals our potential.

As this citation B-24 affirms “ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:  In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”  (Ephesians 2:19–22)

[As a perfect summary-closing of this Lesson,] the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, writes about the Biblical foundations of what was revealed to her through healing and reason.  “Metaphysics is above physics, and matter does not enter into metaphysical premises or conclusions. The categories of metaphysics rest on one basis, the divine Mind.  The testimony of the material senses is neither absolute nor divine. I therefore plant myself unreservedly on the teachings of Jesus, of his apostles, of the prophets, and on the testimony of the Science of Mind.  Other foundations there are none.”  (S-30, 269:11–14, 21–25)

It is clearly evident that the Biblical foundations of Life as revealed in our universe are a realm apart from matter.  God, Spirit, Mind is not dependent on matter or material laws for manifestation.  In the laboratory of daily experience Christian Scientists are proving everyday that Spirit rules supreme, and matter yields.  This is our foundation.  This is our heritage.  This is our origin.

Herbert Rieke, CSB, was my sister Candy’s Christian Science teacher.  I have always loved something he shared with his students.  He referred to the question of Job 38, “Where was thou?”

“Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.  Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?  Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;  When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38)

And he simply said, “If all the sons of God shouted for joy, and I am a son of God (child of God), then I was right there!”  And guess what, you were too! [So, let’s all shout for joy!]


[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/ ]

 [THANK YOU in advance for MAKING A TAX-DEDUCTIBLE GIFT ONLINE,
BY PHONE at 636-394-6162
OR BY MAIL at:
CedarS Office, 1314 Parkview Valley Dr, Ballwin, MO 63011

[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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