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Travel God’s High Way without Obstruction!

Rick Stewart, C.S., Dresden, Germany
Posted Monday, September 15th, 2014

Travel God’s High Way without Obstruction!

 Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson for

September 21, 2014

Subject: Matter

Prepared by:  Rick Stewart, C.S.

rickstewartcs@aol.com            +49 351 312 4736

 

[Bracketed italics by CedarS Director Warren Huff, who’s letting needs be known for support:  You can help CedarS cover costs for the Oct 3-6 College Summit, put on by TMC Youth, by clicking on the “College Summit” designation on our donations pages. Click here to donate now!]

 

Golden Text:  “. . . Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumblingblock out of the way of my people.” (Isaiah 57:14)

Wow, I love it when the Bible comes to life in everyday illustrations!  For example, the message of this week’s Golden Text was clearly illustrated to my family this summer.  We drove thousands of miles on the highways of the Southeast, Midwest, and Northwest United States.  We were traveling to CedarS Camps, Christian Science Associations, and visiting family and friends.  All of our travels, including the fun at Cedars, were always preceded with lots of prayer.  Our entire five weeks in the US were safe, fun, and filled with ‘Love’s divine adventure.”  Sometimes there were challenges, but prayer, listening, and God’s grace brought us through each one of these challenges.  And Noah even successfully qualified for his restricted driving license, so he helped out a lot with the driving.

But there was one particular observation we made from our thousands of miles on American highways that this Golden Text speaks to.  Every expressway, every interstate that we travelled was filled with debris, especially pieces of tires from large trucks.  There were even times when we had to swerve to avoid old tire casings in the road.  So, although we never had a problem from any of this debris, we sure found ourselves being grateful for the basically debris free Autobahn back in Germany. 

Some of you may know that the Interstate system in America was inspired by what is called the "Autobahn" in Germany.  The Autobahn is a well-maintained, limited access highway system.  And some of you may also know that many parts of the Autobahn have no speed limit.  That's right, you can drive as fast as you want providing your car can handle the speeds.  There are of course laws that still maintain the traffic flow in a safe manner, but it is allowed in those unrestricted sections to drive 130 or 140 miles per hour, or even faster if you want.

Obviously lots of debris on the road would not be safe at such high speeds.  So as I compared the US Interstate to the Autobahn I at first blamed all the tire debris on "re-capped" or "re-tread" tires that had come apart.  But as I researched a little bit I found that Europe, just like the USA allows the big trucks and also cars to use tires that have had new tread applied to old tire casings.  And after research I found that that is actually a very safe and ecological practice.  (See: http://www.retread.org/#!about-retreading/c1srn, and also, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retread)

So why isn't the German Autobahn littered with tire casings and other debris?  Simple fact: very effective cleaning crews.  So the key to a clear, safe highway is get that matter picked up.  And there we have the key to this week's Lesson and to the Golden Text.  Several alternate Bible translations speak exactly to God's command in Isaiah 57 to clear the highway for the return of his people from captivity!

New International Version (NIV): "And it will be said: “Build up, build up, prepare the road. Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people."

The Living Bible (TLB)  "I will say, Rebuild the road! Clear away the rocks and stones. Prepare a glorious highway for my people's return from captivity.”

Good News Translation: “The Lord says, “Let my people return to me. Remove every obstacle from their path! Build the road and make it ready!"

So let's get "matter" out of the way as we drive the high way to heaven.

Responsive Reading:
The Responsive Reading is made up of excerpts from Isaiah 57 and Psalm 107. I found this translation from The Message right in line with this idea of getting on a good road to get to our destination: "Some of you wandered for years in the desert, looking but not finding a good place to live, Half-staved and parched with thirst, staggering and stumbling, on the brink of exhaustion.  Then, in your desperate condition, you called out to God. He got you out in the nick of time; He put your feet on a wonderful road that took you straight to a good place to live.” (Psalms 107: 4-7)

Section 1:  The walls of matter come tumbling down. . . Joshua and Jericho.
This section quickly introduces us to the idea that the stumbling block we face in our path is simply matter. Citation B-1 tells us that the most effective weapons are not material, "but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds" (Cor. 10: 4, 5).  And Citation B-2 identifies that "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and truth" (John 4:24).  The Good News Translation puts it this way: “God is Spirit, and only by the power of his Spirit can people worship his as he really is.”

Citation B-3 tells us of Joshua and the Children of Israel in their conquest of Jericho.  We have heard through song and story of how "Joshua fit the battle of Jericho... and the walls came tumbling down."  Click here for a YouTube replay of Mahalia Jackson’s moving rendition of Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho.

This is an inspiring story, but it does seem rather troubling to read later in the chapter that every man, woman, child, and even the animals were killed by the Israelites at God’s instruction. And that is where I found the explanations from our textbook really helpful.

The citations from Science and Health lift us to view the conflict between Spirit and matter as the key. Citation S-1 reads, "Spirituality lays open siege to materialism. On which side are we fighting?" (216: 9). And then citation S-4 explains: "The three great verities of Spirit, omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience, --Spirit possessing all power, filling all space, constituting all Science, --contradict forever the belief that matter can be actual" (109: 32-3).

Was it the physical walls of the city of Jericho falling down that gives us the lesson for today?  Perhaps these two citations from Science and Health give a hint at the lesson for us today: From S-6: "Ark. the understanding of Spirit, destroying belief in matter" (581: 9) and S-7: "Matter is not self-sustaining.  Its false supports fall one after another” (372: 22-23).

Section 2: Awaking from the dream of matter and error to reality
A friend recently shared how inspired she had been by an article she had read, "Eternal Life is Now," by Evan Melenbacher from the June 6, 2011 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.  The message had come clearly through to her, “If you’re waiting for eternal life, wait no more.” It is truly a waking up, a rousing to embrace the facts of harmonious Life right here, right now that allows us to live with this eternal sense of harmonious Life.

The weather the last few days here in Dresden and nearby has been rainy, misty, cool, and perfect for mushroom gathering. It reminds me of an experience from some years back.  I had gone out with a friend and learned a little bit about which mushrooms were good and which were poisonous. With perhaps too much bravado, I went out on my own and gathered what I thought were edible mushrooms. I prepared a meal for my brother, his wife, my mom, and myself which included my mushrooms.  Later that evening, I began to be somewhat uncomfortable, and then the phone rang. My sister-in-law, Suzanne, was very sick and my brother was calling to let us know that she had asked to go to the hospital.  My mom and I both took up prayerful work, and I must admit that suddenly the symptoms I had been feeling worsened. Obviously fear had come into play, and I was being led to believe that I had made a mistake.

I can see where citation B-4 applies: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” (Isaiah 41:10).  We are clearly told to let our fear go and trust God.

Then the phone rang again, and it was a woman calling that was considering suicide. She knew me because I picked up her son and daughter each Sunday to bring them to Sunday School. I immediately turned to God for inspiration and guidance and began to share all the ideas that were coming to me about Life and our right to choose Life. In a short while, her thought was settled and she said she was fine.  All temptation to commit suicide had left her thought and guess what: I was feeling fine, too.  My thought had been focused on helping her, and in the process I was helped.

Then the phone rang again, and it was my brother calling to say that Suzanne had asked him to bring her to “mom’s house.”  Our mother was a long-time Christian Science healer, and evidently Suzanne had felt led to reach out to mom for her comfort.  When she arrived she seemed to be in an awful physical state.  I clearly remember mom helping her to get settled in bed and addressing the acute physical symptoms with the greatest of love.  And out of this obvious physical distress I still recall saying, “Mom, this is my first Christian Science healing.”  Even though appearances seemed to indicate a serious problem, there was something stirring in Suzanne’s thought and giving her confidence. She was awakening to God’s healing presence.  Shortly after that, she went into a deep, peaceful sleep until morning. All fever and symptoms of discomfort were stilled.  She was at peace.  She awoke in the morning completely restored and went to work as if nothing had happened.

Citation S-11 of S&H relates: “The elements and functions of the physical body and of the physical world will change as mortal mind changes its beliefs” (124).  Perhaps we are also seeing this waking to a more harmonious reality as the reports are starting to come in of a repair going on as regards the Ozone layer in earth’s atmosphere. (Click here to read a recent Christian Science Monitor article on the subject.)

Section 3: Health a condition of Mind, not matter
These Bible citations ring forth with encouragement for each of us. Citation B-8 proclaims, “Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God” (Psalms 42: 11) and B-9 promises, “for with God, all things are possible” (Mark 10:27).

Picture the following scene in citation B-10 where a woman who had suffered for 18 years with a back problem is healed by Jesus. She was immediately “made straight, and glorified God” (Luke 13:12).  Can you imagine what it was like to be right there in that moment? How would you feel? Would you recognize the wonderful thing that had just happened? Or, would you be like the ruler of the synagogue, indignant and offended by this occurrence?

When a favorite aunt was completely restored after appearing to lose all use of her arms and legs, some rejoiced in the event.  But I have never forgotten that one family member never “saw” the healing.  Perhaps it went too far beyond his ability to accept it.  When the claim appeared of a complete loss of all natural and organic control, family members tried to help with daily necessities, and my mom got on the first flight available.  When she arrived she sensed the need to address the thought surrounding her sister.  She knew her sister was the beloved idea of God and governed by this Love.  And perhaps part of it was addressing the disbelief, the overriding faith in matter as the source of life and health.  The result was a complete healing and restoration of all functions and abilities.  The claim vanished and never returned. But all did not see this healing or acknowledge it.  We learn that those who witness a healing must also accept the spiritual facts that accomplish the healing in order to also experience the healing.

Living with a faith in matter, and in material forms of worship might create an attitude that would allow someone to be offended where rituals and customs were superseded by healing Love.  The binding beliefs of matter just naturally yielded to the understanding Love of our Master.  In Jesus’ understanding nothing, no situation, no circumstance, no condition was beyond God’s ability to restore harmony. [And Jesus saw that harmony has never been lost in the first place!]

Mary Baker Eddy writes in S-13 “Scripture informs us that ‘with God all tings are possible,’—all good is possible to Spirit; but our prevalent theories practically deny this, and make healing possible only through matter” (232).  As she further clarifies in S-14: “Health is not a condition of matter, but of Mind; nor can the material senses bear reliable testimony on the subject of health. The Science of Mind-healing shows it to be impossible for aught but Mind to testify truly or to exhibit the real status of man” (120).

Don’t we want to see the healings taking place all around us, everyday?  Isn’t our goal to be more like the Master and less like the ruler of the synagogue?  Should we b more impressed with matter or with Spirit?  Having the Mind “which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil 2: 5; S&H 276) will allow us to witness and experience the ongoing activity of the Christ in the healing of mankind.

Section 4: Freely ye have received of God, freely breathe!
In citation B-11 we read, “The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life” (Job 33: 4). I have always loved this Bible verse, and the following version from God’s Word (GW) translation states the spirit of the fact clearly: “God’s Spirit has made me. The breath of the Almighty gives me life.”

A little understanding goes a long way in establishing our scientific sense of health.  Growing up in Florida, we often year for a breeze, a gentle wind breaking the stillness of hot summer days. Before air conditioning early Florida houses were designed with roofs that allowed heat to rise, and sometimes attic fans that would allow hot air to escape and pull in the cooler air from under the house. Cross ventilation was also an important feature that allowed a breeze to go through the house.

So when I moved to Germany, I was surprised to learn that there was a fear of a draft or breeze passing through a room.  Windows might be opened on one side of a room, but it was believed unhealthy to open up and let the wind through.  And whereas I might rejoice in a brisk breeze cooling things off, many folks I know would immediately wrap themselves up in a scarf around their neck to keep from catching cold.

What freedom can be discovered through the Science and Health citations from this section? To learn that it is human belief, sometimes cultural belief, that would cause us to suffer from weather conditions.  As Mrs. Eddy relates in S-20, “The so-called laws of health are simply laws of mortal belief. . .  Belief produces the results of belief, and the penalties it affixes last so long as the belief and are inseparable from it. . . We say man suffers from the effects of cold, heat, fatigue.  This is human belief, not the truth of being, for matter cannot suffer” (184).  These ideas precede Mrs. Eddy’s sharing of her healing of someone suffering from “consumption,” or as we would call it today, tuberculosis (see S-20, S&H 184: 27-5)

A little example I had years ago about the falling of false supports. My junior year in high school, I was having difficulty sleeping through the night. I would be up for hours coughing.  I got into a routine of getting a glass of water and reading the Christian Science periodicals.  After a few hours, things would settle down enough for me to get back to sleep.  But the problem seemed to hang on.  I was often quite tired during school and also was having problems at swim practice with fatigue.  I did not realize that my father would wake up and really worry about me.  My mom approached it a little differently, she would pray and assure my dad that everything would be fine.  She thought that it was battle for me to work out through prayer.  And I did.  After some time of relying on the water and spiritual study, it came to me how dependent I had become on the water.  So the habitual sipping of water as I read stopped.  And guess what, the seeming wall of error holding me in the grasp of breathing difficulties just tumbled.  I was able to sleep through the night.  My speech teacher that had been especially concerned with my fatigue in class saw that I was fine.  And I was back at full steam with swim practice.  But best of all, though that challenge I developed a real love for the Christian Science Sentinel and Journal.

Section 5: Healthcare that acknowledges God, Mind. =
The Prophet Jeremiah asks in this section, citation B-15: “Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?”  (Jeremiah 8:22) And then he affirms in B-17, “Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise” (Jeremiah 17:14).

And in citation B-16 Ezekiel relates: “Thus saith the Lord God: Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols” (Ezekiel 14:6).  God’s Word Translation (GW) puts it: “So tell the nation of Israel, ‘This is what the Almighty Lord says: Change the way you think and act!

We all know that day-to-day society seems to revolve completely around matter and its claim to substance and superiority. But where do we stand? Is matter supreme, dominant, governing? If that is the case then where does God, Spirit come into play?

Mary Baker Eddy points out in citation S-22: “The first idolatry was faith in matter.  The schools have rendered faith in drugs the fashion, rather than faith in Deity. By trusting matter to destroy its own discord, heath and harmony have been sacrificed. . . Material medicine substitutes drugs for the power of God—even the might of Mind—to heal the body” (S&H 146: 5-9, 13-14).

Citation S-23 states: “Our system of Mind-healing rests on the apprehension of the nature and essence of all being,-- on the divine Mind and Love’s essential qualities.  Its pharmacy is moral, and its medicine is intellectual and spiritual, though used for physical healing.  Yet this most fundamental part of metaphysics is the one most difficult to understand and demonstrate, for to the material thought all is material, till such thought is rectified by Spirit” (S&H 460: 5).

Section 6:  Remove matter’s stumblingblocks for all mankind
Our work is certainly for all mankind.  Not a selfish task, not just for yours, mind, and ours.  This unselfed work is often in the middle of the night, unseen to the weary travellers, but bringing them the blessing of uneventful travel.  The Autobahn here in Germany does not clean itself.  Someone must be up and doing when others are sleeping.  And this kind of clearing of the path is not just for our physical lanes of travel, but also for our course heavenward, our journey, our path that leads to Life harmonious and eternal, here, now.

 

 

Isaiah writes in citation B-18, “Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people” (Isaiah 62: 10).  The Message translates this verse as, “Walk out of the gates. Get going! Get the road ready for the people. Build the highway. Get at it. Clear the debris, hoist high a flag, a signal to all peoples!”

That is the blessed work of praying with our Bible Lesson. Up early, or in the middle of the night, or at the blaze of noonday cherishing the ideas in our Bible Lesson.  This mental activity, this cherishing, this study resounds throughout consciousness.  And it results in clearer high ways for all mankind.

Some years ago a student of the Bible Lesson began his day as usual with a thorough study of that week’s lesson.  It included a section on the healing of insanity.  It also included a section posing the question, “Can a leaden bullet deprive a man of Life, -- that is, of God, who is man’s Life?” (S&H 358).  When he finished his study, he was led to call a Christian Science practitioner for further prayerful support for his day’s work. You could say this individual was mentally clearing the stones out of the way he would walk that day.  Then when an unexpected event occurred he acted decisively and instantly.  Later he was told that his prompt actions resulted in the saving of his boss’s life.  Because even though his boss did not know he had been injured, this individual’s quick response proved to be the very act that saved his boss’s life.

We can “prepare. . . the way of the people. . . hoist high a flag, a signal to all peoples.” Indeed, “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever” (B-21; Revelation 11: 15).

 

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 MAIL your tax-deductible support to:

The CedarS Camps, Inc.        THANKS TO YOU PRECIOUS DONORS

19772 Sugar Drive                      FOR YOUR ONGOING, GENEROUS and NEEDED SUPPORT

Lebanon, MO 65536               OF CedarS IMPORTANT WORK!

LETTING 2 SPECIAL NEEDS BE KNOWN - Funding is still needed to help underwrite these special opportunities:

1        The College Summit (formerly CSO or "College Org" Summit) over the first weekend in October 2014 (Oct. 3-6) at CedarS for all college and university students and professors as well as high school juniors and seniors!  Here is a link so that you can help spread the word about this event sponsored by TMC Youth (The Mother Church Youth committee).  It includes workshops offered by Christian Science lecturers, speakers and writers for the Christian Science Monitor, Journal and Sentinel.  You can find details on program, registration and financial aid in the emailed links, on inside covers of recent periodicals, at tmcyouth.com & on CedarS website.  CedarS & our donors need to subsidize over $5,000 to cover our expenses for this event.
2        "Maintenance Musts" Matching Opportunity!  Generous donors who are aware of the ongoing maintenance needed to have CedarS facilities measure up to its mission will give two dollars for every dollar donated by year-end! (up to our needed $25,000 goal)

3    “Adopt the Herd: Matching Opportunity! Generous donors who are aware of the ongoing horse care needed to have care of CedarS herd measure up to its mission will give a dollar for every dollar donated! (up to our needed $50,000 goal)


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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