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Bring an offering of love & experience the sacraments of Baptism & Communion!

Kathy Fitzer, St. Louis, MO & Park City, UT
Posted Monday, July 7th, 2014

Bring an offering of love & experience the sacraments of Baptism & Communion!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on


Sacrament

July 7-13, 2014

by Kathy Fitzer, kathyfitzer@gmail.com 314-323-4083

[Bracketed italics added by CedarS Director, Warren, who needs help with filling a few open bunks in 4th & 5th sessions, as well as with Life-transforming camperships!]

If someone were to ask if you’ve been baptized or if you take communion, how would you answer? Although there is no provision in the Christian Science church for ceremonial baptism with water, and we don’t offer wafers and wine (or grape juice) at our services to celebrate the Eucharist, the fact that this subject is studied twice a year indicates that we do indeed take part in these sacraments. The definition of grace given in Strongs Exhaustive Concordance fits particularly well here: “the divine influence upon the heart and, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude.” One way to study the lesson is to look for examples of how lives were influenced and that influence reflected, as well as examples of how gratitude was or was not expressed. The first three sections of this week’s lesson teach us how to actively participate in the cleansing and purifying of thought in order to receive God’s blessing… how to be baptized. The last three sections illustrate how we can actively participate in Holy Communion with Christ. Through this activity, we feel the love and grace of God and are able to express that grace — and love.

Golden Text: To me, these verses tell us how to feel God’s presence — how to perceive the grace being poured forth to all of creation. Standing in the presence of an amazing sunset or sunrise, or some other beautiful sight, can bring a feeling of awe, inspiration, and an indescribable peace. As we humbly stand in the presence of God’s holiness — embraced in His love — this feeling is magnified beyond description. Bringing an offering of praise and love enables us to behold this glorious consciousness of Love!

The Responsive Reading elaborates on how we enter into this presence of holiness, and introduces the sacraments of Baptism and Communion. [See P.S. #1] In the Glossary of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy defines baptism as “Purification by Spirit; submergence in Spirit.” How do we achieve this “submergence” and “stand in his holy place”? By striving to be clean and pure — from the inside out, one thought at a time. That’s baptism. Second step is to “walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us.” Jesus sacrificed his human sense of life, and never stopped loving his friends or his so-called enemies. Walking in love is a demand to actively follow Jesus’ example. That’s true communion. As we get to know the unconditional love of Christ (the true idea of God) and plant ourselves (be rooted and grounded) in that love, we begin to glimpse the completeness of God — the allness of good — and we’re “filled with all the fulness of God.” Being filled, we don’t have to go someplace to find peace. We find it is with us wherever we go as we maintain perpetual communion with Love.

Section 1: Weve been called to holiness!
I love that idea that we’ve been CALLED to holiness. (B-2) Even better, the Greek word used here has been translated as “purification” or “purity.” Love calls Her children to be purified. It is the natural state of all mankind. And, what happens when we yield to that purifying influence? We see God — see good. If we are to actively participate in this purifying process (baptism) we are simply asked to “walk as children of light.” (B-3) We all know that if we walk in the light, we’re much less likely to stumble than if we stray into darkness. The Science and Health citations for this section start out with part of the 2nd Tenet of The Mother Church. (S-1) To truly acknowledge one God is to love God more than anything else and really want to give up every thought and action that doesn’t correspond with God’s goodness and purity. I heard a story about a little girl who worked very hard so she could buy a fake strand of pearls. Her daddy asked her if she loved him enough to give the pearls to him. She kept saying no, and her daddy kept loving her as much as ever. But, one day, she agreed to give him her pearls. And, in exchange, her daddy gave her a real strand of pearls, much prettier than the fake ones. So, God will love us always, but if we’re willing to “leave the old for the new” we’ll be able to see the amazing gifts that God has in store for each of us. (S-4) Willingness to love God enough to trust our lives to divine Principle, Love, is the first step in baptism.

Section 2: Find the footsteps of Truth
I was particularly struck by the statement, “One’s aim, a point beyond faith, should be to find the footsteps of Truth, the way to health and holiness.” (S-9) There’s nothing passive about finding Truth — and nothing more freeing than to discover unlimited Life! I’m realizing that Christ Jesus accepted absolutely no limits! Did Jesus need water to make him pure? Hardly. But, in humility, he started where others were starting. (B-7) John’s mission was to encourage people to give up old ways so they’d be ready for the purity of Christ. Water is a symbol of purification. Jesus started with that symbol, but then he went deeper. Jesus never baptized others with water — as John predicted. Jesus’ form of baptism is much more permanent. It includes a change of thought — purification from the inside out. Christian Science (which reveals man’s permanent unity with God’s purity) separates that which is false, worthless, and limited (the chaff) from that which is productive, true, and unlimited (the wheat.) (S-6) As thought is influenced by this Science, the effect of spiritual baptism is that we “put on Christ”. (B-8) Truth is simply part of us — constituting thought. I wonder if part of the reason Jesus came to John to be baptized was to acknowledge the importance of taking whatever human footsteps seem necessary to bring the purification process to human thought. The key is to not be satisfied with the symbol, but keep watching thought to be purified “from all error.” (S-8) As Jesus emerged from the water, a voice was heard identifying him as God’s beloved Son. (B-7) This benediction is there for each of us as we let ourselves be purified. [See Warren's P.S. #2 for Cobbey Crisler's insights and our application ideas on this purification process.]

Section 3: Baptism through love
This story is a familiar one of Jesus coming to dinner at the Pharisee’s house and being gently cared for by a woman identified as a sinner, while the Pharisee offered no courtesies for his comfort. (B-11) But, why is it in this week’s lesson on Sacrament? It seems to me that the woman is a classic example of the definition of the grace that we considered earlier. She is feeling the influence of God’s grace (she has repented and her sins are forgiven) and certainly is freely expressing this grace in showering Jesus with affection and love. She has been baptized and transformed. The chapter in Science and Health titled Christian Science Practice opens with this story. As I’ve thought about why Mrs. Eddy started it that way, I’ve considered the humility and love expressed by this woman and how important these qualities are to healing. But, I also now see how beautifully this woman exemplified the “repentance, spiritual baptism, and regeneration” by which Mrs. Eddy says “mortals put off their material beliefs and false individuality.” (S-13) We can see, then, that spiritual baptism brings healing.

Section 4: Partake of Christian Communion share, and grow in grace
As I read the story of the Passover meal that Jesus shared with his disciples (which is commonly known as the Last Supper,) I was struck by references I saw to sharing. The bread was broken and the cup was passed so that all could eat and drink of it. (B-13) And, then, after the meal Jesus not only washed all of his disciples’ feet, but encouraged them to go forward washing each other’s feet. (B- 14) It seems to me that having received the blessing, it is incumbent on us to continue sharing, following Jesus’ example. Jesus gave thanks — knowing what he was facing, but also knowing that he would be sustained by His Father through it all. The Bible says that the cup is the “new testament in [Jesus’] blood.” I looked up testament and discovered it comes from the Greek meaning contract, dispensation, or covenant. Taking part in the sacrament of communion, it seems to me, Jesus meant to be a sacred on-going active participation in living life according to the example he showed us. That includes actively loving our neighbors enough to wash their feet (cleanse our view of them and see them as God sees them.) As Mrs. Eddy says, it means healing the sick, casting out evils, and preaching Truth to the receptive thought — recognizing the receptive thought present in all. (S-16) Imagine the impact on our world if each of us dedicated ourselves to revolutionizing our view of it as Jesus did. Changing our view to align it with God’s view is active, effective prayer. And, the last citation in this section brings us back to our reference on grace. “What we MOST need is the prayer of fervent desire for growth in grace …” (B-18, 241) We can do that! We can express more patience, meekness, love, and good deeds starting today. Don’t give up if your thought isn’t transformed instantly. Let’s just commit to each other to keep trying — to keep partaking of communion with Christ — and we’ll get there — and bless ourselves AND our world as we do.

Section 5: Communion with the risen Christ
Although the disciples had received communion from their Master at the Last Supper, they apparently didn't really get the message at that time. They weren’t waiting at the cross to care for his body — that was Joseph of Arimathæa, a member of the Sanhedrin. (B-15) The disciples were afraid, feeling their own lives were in danger. They didn’t yet understand that they must proceed with their mission unafraid, as Jesus had proceeded with his. They were slow to even accept the fact that Jesus had indeed risen from the grave — although the women immediately and joyfully shared the news with them. Even Jesus’ reprimand didn’t seem to make a lasting impression. (B-16) But, they couldn’t resist when he appeared on the morning shore and showed them that they could catch fish — against all odds — by casting their net on the right side. They needed this proof, and his tender message as he again broke bread with them, offering the human comforts of a breakfast loving prepared as he once again shared the truth of being with them. NOW the message was received — they recognized and communed with the Christ that had risen above the shackles of human belief. (B-17) They were ready to be fishers of men. In order to truly commune with Christ, the good news of man’s inseparable relationship with God (that cannot be killed) has to be embodied and shared. To me, this statement from Science and Health is key: “Christ illustrates that blending with God, his divine Principle, which gives man dominion over all the earth.” (S-21) No separation — but man’s blending with God as one (Principle and idea.) That’s what Jesus so completely demonstrated and taught, and that it is the natural state of all mankind to demonstrate. The verb, to commune, shares an etymology with the word common (to be in common with.) It has been defined as, “feel in close spiritual contact with:” God and man are one. Taking part in the sacrament of communion is to feel that spiritual inseparability from God, as Jesus did.

Section 6: Communion through truly loving your neighbor
What a great definition of love is given in the last sentence of the Bible citation in this section: “let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:” (B-18) The New Living Translation puts it this way: “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.” (Hebrews 10: 24) The highest sense of love we can shower on someone is to help them be the best they can be. We can only bring out the best in another by seeing them as God sees them. It is natural for the expression of Love to express love. Jesus didn’t teach his followers to love him. He taught them to love others. (S-6) And, if we take the 6th Tenet to heart, that is exactly what we will devote our lives to — loving others. (S-25) It occurred to me the other day the joy that comes as a result of being willing to help others in whatever way we can — to look for ways, and never feel burdened by it. Does that mean that we take on our own shoulders every task that needs doing? Absolutely not! Part of living grace is discerning when it is most helpful to do something ourselves and when to let someone else do it. We don’t want to deprive others of the opportunity to give and to love! So, as I looked at the 6th Tenet, I saw that the first step is to watch — watch God work in all things and in all ways. Next, pray (humbly desire) to have the Mind of God as Jesus did (knowing his only identity to be the expression of Mind.) Then, treat others with as much love as we want to be treated with. This doesn’t mean that everyone wants things done in the same way — that we should expect others to do and respond as we do — but to selflessly love. It follows that this love is expressed as we are merciful (expressing compassion and forgiveness,) just (acting according to what is morally right and fair,) and pure (holding to a view that is unadulterated and uncontaminated by mortal thought.) This allows us to experience the true, active communion that follows genuine baptism! And to feel and express the grace of God!


[Warrens P.S. #1 about the Responsive Readings opening verse, Psalms 24: 3, 4: Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands and a pure heart; CedarS Bible Lands Park visitors find and take home the perpetual peace of God, which passeth all understanding (Phil. 4:7) as they wash their hands and purify their hearts both before they ascend into the hill of the Lord — that is climb up our A.P. (Answered Prayer) History Course walk called Time Travelers Trail — and before they “stand in his holy place” — that is enter into our symbolic Tabernacle in the wilderness where we learn to worship think most aboutGod, instead of about things of this world...]


[Warrens P.S. #2 about application ideas on citation B-7 and how Jesus baptism of the Holy Ghost & fire ends mixed-up messes & pleases God: Up to this mid-point in the summer of 2014 over 500 campers and counselors have burned slips of paper in Bible Lands Park on which they had written worthless temptations, thoughts and deeds (the chaff) that would attempt to diminish their being the finest of the wheat as God promised to CedarS Founder Ruth Huff in her Bible opening to Ps. 147:14 about those who CedarS would be served by and those it would serve.
Here are some insights from Cobbey Crisler on the baptism of Jesus that we use daily to lift up humanly-unsolvable situations to the Spirit of God to separate out the mess and permanently eliminate it! This method is found in Matthew 3: 11-17 (Verse 11, John the Baptist speaking)
I am baptizing you with water: but the one who is following me (Jesus) He is going to baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.”… Let me just suggest something I think it does help to clarify how we can learn from these illustrations by going beneath the surface as much as possible. For instance, in the separation of the chaff from the wheat there are innumerable things that are required for the thresher to do before the results can be successful We want to get rid of the chaff and get to the useful wheat. Why must we separate them? Theyre all mixed. Take that symbolically. If this is all to be happening within us, this kind of baptism, Holy Ghost and fire, is there anything mixed up in us?... If some of us, a few of us, have that problem of being mixed up on occasion, then the chaff and wheat are together. Is there a way you and I can get out of that mixed up state? Is this the baptism then that is required as far as our thinking is concerned? In order to begin to sort this process of separation, the thresher must first locate a threshing floor. The threshing floor has certain requirements to it for maximum results. What are they? It has to be high, and certainly as level as possible. Why high? Because it needs to be unobstructed. You cant have structures around it. It would have to be open with minimum obstruction. Hopefully none at all. Open to the wind.

Here we are on our threshing floor with all the mixture at our feet. Our first responsibility was to get it up to the highest point where there are no obstructions. Thats very interesting because for anyone who is at some mixed up point in his life, the first requirement is to get up to that point.

Second, what must be done? Whats the next thing the thresher does? Now hes up there. Its a beautiful wind. Is he going to put up a hammock and swing in it? Hes got to do something about the mess at his feet. Its very exact this illustration. What does he do? He uses a fan. What is termed a fan in the King James Version is not the Madame Butterfly variety, but is like a fork, a pitchfork. He goes right into the mixture of the chaff and wheat and throws it into the air.

So far, responsibility number one has been ours, to get to the high level in thought, locate the threshing floor. The second responsibility is also ours. To make sure we have that fan in hand to separate the chaff and wheat, to actually dig into that pile and throw it up into the air. But the actual separation occurs by the wind. Not ours. Do you see the difference in the responsibility? The Divine takes care of the separation after the human had gotten to the level where it is willing to work for the Divine and yield to it. The wind, or pneuma, or Holy Ghost, has that defined responsibility of separating the chaff from the wheat in our own thinking.

Where does the fire come in? If you want to get rid of the chaff, it will be very important to destroy it completely. Because the chaff could, with a change of wind, be mixed back into the wheat. To eliminate that possibility, a thresher will build a fire downwind, the chaff will blow right into the fire and be consumed simultaneously
It is through this process of baptism, the meeting of the Holy Ghost and fire, that this deep spiritual cleansing goes on within us. This baptism of thought which requires the fan
(Verse 13) At this point, John the Baptist having announced this, Jesus appears and come to be baptized. (Verse 14) But John says, No, it should be the other way around. Ive just been talking about this new baptism. (Verse 15) Jesus said, permit it for the moment. Implying that the human mind has to swallow things piecemeal the progress of mans spirituality is a step at a time. Jesus, therefore, receives the water baptism. (Verse 16) But almost immediately we are told that water-baptism is to be superseded, we find that the Spirit of God descends like a dove upon JesusPerhaps that dove was indicating that the water-baptism is past. Spirits baptism must take over in this radical change of thought being required by this new era. (Verse 17) In the middle of this great event, A voice is heard that says, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’” Book of Matthew, Auditing the Master, A Tax Collectors Report, p. 15-18) [Consider the lifelong, spiritual confidence our children get from our saying this blessing each night to our beloved children, in whom we and God are well pleased.]


[Warren’s P.S. #3: P.A.L. House (CedarS onsite care facility and residence for a resident Christian Science Practitioner and Christian Science Nurse) has put together a "wish list" of items from the Christian Science Publishing Society. It includes mostly additional kid’s books, to have on hand for campers, counselors and staff to read and borrow. You are warmly invited to contribute to this effort by making a donation to CedarS, ear-marked “for PAL House”.

Additionally, we would like to be sure this session that absolutely everyone who comes to CedarS has their very own copy of our textbook to "read....study....ponder." (See Science & Health pg 559) Your donations of new and slightly used copies of Science & Health will be greatly appreciated and put to good use! Also welcome are cash contribution to buy textbooks in order to share them with or sell them to those of other faiths who visit CedarS Bible Lands Park and the Christian Science Lectures here that we invite them to attend.]


[Warren’s P.S. #4: Follow-up on letting another need be known: CedarS recently has been without needed work trucks due to breakdowns that cost more to repair than the vehicles have been worth. It anyone in CedarS “Met land” of supporters has a truck (or even a SUV or van) that is in still in good running condition we would be very grateful to put it to good use! Please contact CedarS Maintenance Director Bill Nisbet at bill@cedarscamps.org or 417-718-1323 to talk over what you have and how it might come our way. Funds towards buying an updated truck have already been offered and are very welcome to complete this demonstration to give us the tools to be able to serve! THANK YOU in advance for MAKING A TAX-DEDUCTIBLE GIFT ONLINE,
BY PHONE at 417-532-6699,
OR BY MAIL at:
CedarS Camps, 19772 Sugar Drive, Lebanon, MO 65536
]


[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. 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.]http://www.cedarscamps.org/videos/

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