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Let's live in the Kingdom of heavenly harmony, now and forever!

Rick Stewart, C.S., Dresden, Germany
Posted Monday, April 21st, 2014

Let's live in the Kingdom of heavenly harmony, now and forever!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Probation after Death”
for Sunday, April 27, 2014

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

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

Golden Text:  Christ Jesus began his public ministry with a bold statement: "...The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel."  Mark 1: 15   That wonderful, powerful promise as the Golden Text is the keynote theme for this week's Bible Lesson.  And that statement gives us each the key as to how we can live our lives in the Science of Life, healthy, harmonious, deathless, and eternal.  This is the Good News (gospel) Jesus proclaimed and proved.

Living in a Science requires something from each of us.  We each have to strive to let go of mistakes and stick with laws of the Science.  For example:  Do the following mistakes or errors belong to the Science of Math? 1+1=3.  2+2=5.  Of course not.  And to correctly demonstrate the rules of math, you have to be willing to erase the mistakes and state the truth.  Simple:  1+1=2. 2+2=4.  Sticking with the truth and erasing the mistakes is something we all are capable of doing.

And how grateful we can be that the "Way" to live in the Science of Life is made clear in this Bible Lesson and in the life of our Master, Christ Jesus.

The Responsive Reading from 2 Peter 1, introduces us to how we can live in a way that brings us into the kingdom.  And this is a kingdom that is entered through Life, not death.  As 2 Peter 1: 10, 11 puts it,  "...brethren give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."

Section 1: What you think counts!
Well, like we realized already, a bunch of 1+1=3s is not going to give us a very high score on our math test.  And the same holds true for mistaken thinking in our Science of Life test.

Citation B-3 states, "For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace."  Carnally minded is to be materially or sinfully minded!” (Romans 8:6)  This section clearly illustrates the kind of thinking that leads us to this Kingdom of Life, the Kingdom of Heaven here and now.

Science and Health citation S-4 encourages, "Let unselfishness, goodness, mercy, justice, health, holiness, love -- the kingdom of heaven -- reign within us, and sin, disease, and death will diminish until they finally disappear."  (SH, 248)

I remember something I learned in Second Grade.  At the beginning of the school year I was getting sick every day.  I had painful stomach aches.   For real!!  I would go to the school nurse's room and the school principal would call my mom at home.  A couple times I even got to go home.  But as my mom prayed about this she began to realize something else was going on.  My mom realized I was not comfortable with my new teacher.  

The fact was she seemed like a giant to me!  She was about twice the size of my first grade teacher and she was quite strict also.  You might say she "made me sick."  Even a six-year-old can sometimes find a way to run from error and not face up to it.

My mom and the school principal were longtime friends, so mom told her, "Margaret, please don't send Ricky home anymore.  I'm going to pray about this.”  Mom prayed and also tried to help me see the good qualities in my new teacher, Ruth Urqhart. 

Guess what?  In a few days I was not getting sick anymore.  I loved Mrs. Urquhart.  She was a great teacher.  She allowed each student to explore what they loved.  She let me and another student race ahead in math.  We ended up completing math exercise books up to sixth grade levels!

And guess what, Mrs. Urqhart ended up as my teacher for second grade, fourth grade, and sixth grade.  Thanks to my mom's healing work and me changing my thinking I was "in heaven" all those years.  If I hadn't changed my thinking guess where I would have been?

Section 2:  Knock, knock, knocking on heaven's "Door."
In citation B-7 we read that Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners.  (Matthew 9: 10-13)  And the opinion of many was that tax collectors and sinners were one in the same.  Publicans or tax collectors were viewed as traitors because they worked for Rome.  And since they were often corrupt they were even more despised.  But remember the account when Jesus ate with Zachaeus, the tax collector?  Jesus inspired Zachaeus to make amends, repent, and turn over a new leaf.  Jesus was gracious, encouraging, supporting, magnanimous in his love.  And he inspired the same qualities in Zachaeus.

This section includes reference to Jesus as "the Door."  In citation B-8 Jesus says "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.  I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."  (John 10: 9, 10)

Just think how encouraging it must have been for Jesus to have dinner with the Tax Collector.   Almost everyone despised him.  And here Mr. Magnanimous was there to lift him up.  Nothing quite as inspiring as someone that magnifies our good.  That kind of encouragement often inspires someone to do the right thing.  And it can literally be the "door" to a new life.

In Science and Health Mrs. Eddy writes, “In divine Science, man is the true image of God. The divine nature was best expressed in Christ Jesus, who threw upon mortals the truer reflection of God and lifted their lives higher than their poor thought-models would allow, — thoughts which presented man as fallen, sick, sinning, and dying. The Christlike understanding of scientific being and divine healing includes a perfect Principle and idea, — perfect God and perfect man, — as the basis of thought and demonstration.”  [SH, 259:6]

Section 3: Eternal Life: a taunt or a fact?
In citation B-11 we read that a lawyer stood up and "tempted" Jesus.  "Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"  (Luke 10: 25-28)  Jesus asked him to summarize what the law states and the man quoted, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself."  Jesus approved, "this do and thou shalt live."

This interesting note appears in this week's "My Bible Lesson" from The Christian Science Publishing Society,  "Eternal life was generally considered to be beyond human reach, so the lawyer's question may have been somewhat sarcastic.   The laws that man refers to are both from the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18) where they are associated with earthly peace and prosperity.  By connecting them with eternal life, Jesus shows that they are more than rules for good behavior, showing their deeper meaning."

The powerful citations from Science and Health, S-11 to S-15, make it clear that "eternal life" is not just a possibility but an imperative.

Section 4: Progress, the unfoldment of Life.
This section is a perfect candidate for what I like to call the "Werther's Butterscotch Original" method to Bible study. A Werther's butterscotch is a luscious, rich, creamy hard candy.  You can't just chew it up.  It has to slowly dissolve in your mouth, sometimes savoring it in your left cheek, sometimes in your right cheek. Slowly all the goodness and richness is yours.

It is like the development of the weekly Christian Science Bible Lesson.  In the early days of the Christian Science movement Mrs. Eddy utilized an International Bible lesson series that was already being published.  Then step by step our own current system unfolded.  An inspired Bible Lesson committee develops each Bible Lesson utilizing the 26 subjects that Mrs. Eddy set up.  These lessons are studied all week long and then read as a sermon on Sunday.  The room and time for individually unfolding insights is wonderful.

Just like the parable shared in citation B-14, Luke 16: 19-21, 22-26.  Jesus told a story of a sick beggar, Lazarus, and an unnamed rich man.  The suffering beggar eventually died and found a comforting existence.  The rich man who had lived an indulgent material existence also died and suffered afterwards in hell.

When I read this parable a few days ago I thought, "Oh that is going to be a tough section to understand." Then this morning I awoke with an interesting insight.  First this is not a historical occurrence.  It is a parable, a story told to teach a lesson.  I saw that the rich man was not given a name.  He was completely oblivious to the suffering around him, indulgent, self-absorbed, and arrogant.  Even when he was asking for help he didn't ask Abraham for help, no, instead he expected Lazarus to serve him.

Remember Jesus taught us otherwise.  We are to be as servants.  (Luke 22:26)  We were not to be aloof, indulged fat cats expecting others to serve us.  We were to humbly, lovingly think of others, to serve.  The rich man had not progressed in his understanding of the secret of Life.  So simply dying did not bring him into paradise.  Death itself had accomplished nothing.

The Science and Health citations S-16 to S-21 bring great insights. "Death is not a stepping stone to Life... (203:24) “Progress is born of experience. It is the ripening of mortal man... suffering or Science must destroy all illusions regarding life and mind and regenerate material sense and self.” (296:4…)  “The sinner makes his own hell by doing evil, and the saint his own heaven by doing right." (266:20)

It will be interesting to hear what unfolds to you during the week!

Section 5: Life knows no death!
Biblically-based Christian Science teaching clearly sees death as an enemy to be overcome, not as a prerequisite to Life eternal.  See citations B-17, I Cor. 15, and S-24, Page 305.

Just because the world links all life with an eventual death, do we?

Mrs. Eddy writes, "The Bible calls death an enemy, and Jesus overcame death and the grave instead of yielding to them.  He was "the way."  To him, therefore, death was not the threshold over which he must pass into living glory." (S-25, 39:13)

Of course our individual demonstration of these facts is a work in progress, a progressive demonstration just like for a beginning student in math.  

Some years ago I organized a surfing safari up the East Coast of the United States.  There were ten of us camping and surfing.  We were camped on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. And one in our group was a young East German.  He was a very kind and gentle young man.  But at one point he picked up an oyster shell and threw it into a large flock of seagulls.   He thought it would just scare them and make them fly away, but the oyster shell struck one gull in the neck and appeared to have broken its neck.

Johannes was beside himself with grief and remorse.  As we walked up to the gull I took it in my hands and folded its wings together.  We sat down.  I held the gull in my lap and told Johannes everything was going to be okay.  I knew he had not meant to hurt anything.

At first I was tempted to close my eyes and pray.  Then, the thought came that no one should be excluded and so I prayed with my eyes wide-open.  As I prayed it appeared that the gull quietly died in my hands.  At this point I found myself firmly knowing that God was Life, the only Life. And this life is never subject to mortal conditions.  Never subject to accident or injury.  Some minutes passed.  I watched as the gull reopened his eyes.  His eyes sparkled with light and Life and he looked directly at me with no fear.  I opened my hands that had been holding him gently and Johannes and I watched as he took flight and joined his flock.  It was a very holy moment.

Section 6: We are the kids of the Kingdom of Life.
Paul wrote to the Thessalonian Christians, "we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, that ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you into his kingdom and glory."  (B-20, I Thessalonians 2:11, 12)   Paul's message is timeless, eternal.  It not only speaks to the early Christians in Greece.  It also speaks to you, me, to every earnest student of the Science of Life.  It does not matter who we are or where we are.  We are God's children, Life’s children.  We are eternally in His kingdom of Life.

This last section of the Bible Lesson is like a glorious celebration of that fact [and of the vision a new heaven and new earth, here and now.]  That vision just like the Revelator, St. John’s, we can glimpse as a fact, here, now. See citations B-23, Rev. 21:3-6 and S-28 and S-29.

As my family and I are enjoying a beautiful week in the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern National Park near Darf Zingst we have been constantly reminded of the beauty of Life manifest all around us.  Thousands and thousands of migratory birds follow an inner voice leading them to a new manifestation of Life.

And just yesterday I rejoiced with Horst, the landlord from our vacation house as he recounted once again his son, Stefan's healing of leukemia.  He told of the day he walked into his adult son's hospital room and could hardly believe the transformation.  He asked the doctor in amazement, "What medicine did you give him?"  The doctor replied, "We have nothing to compare with the medicine he has received today." 

Then the doctor told of the two-hour visit by a young woman that worked in the office with Horst's son. The doctor recognized that nothing compares with the medicine of true love.  And the Love that restored the life of a beloved son is now radiantly expressed through Horst's grandaughters, Sophi and Clara!

And the Kingdom of Life continues with the emailed announcement from our friend, Rodger Glokpor, CS, in Togo, West Africa.  (rodgerglokpor@yahoo.fr )  "Rick, I received news from The Mother Church that on April 15 I have been approved as a Journal- and Herald-listed Christian Science Practitioner."   (Rodger has been helping to share these Cedars METs with our French-speaking field through his volunteer translation work!)

His goal, “I want to heal, heal, heal."

And he will.  

As you read this last section of our Bible Lesson you will know, "Thy kingdom come.  Thy kingdom is come, Thou art ever-present." (SH 16:31)

And we can know this for everyone, everywhere. We in Europe are very consciously praying for all those in Ukraine right now.  My son Noah just shared that he heard news reports this morning that many in Ukraine united in their favorite holiday, Easter.  One family prayed yesterday for the safe return of the father, an Air Force officer serving in Crimea. They rejoiced as he arrived home by train today.  [We in the United States join your prayers for world peace and justice and also for harmony in today’s running of the Boston Marathon.  We all pray that, in Boston and across the globe, on the day after the celebration of Easter resurrection, Life will strongly demonstrate victory over every scene of terrorism and death.]

Mrs. Eddy encourages us "...we can become conscious, here and now, of a cessation of death, sorrow, and pain.  This is indeed a foretaste of absolute Christian Science.  Take heart, dear sufferer, for this reality of being will appear sometime and in some way.  There will be no more pain, and all tears will be wiped away.  When you read this, remember Jesus' words, "The kingdom of God is within you." (S-29, 573:3)

The Kingdom of Life [--and its heavenly harmony--] is at hand!


[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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