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Respond to your calling—Join in Holy Communion (Participation) with Christ

Kathy Fitzer, St. Louis, MO & Park City, UT
Posted Sunday, January 4th, 2015

Respond to your callingJoin in Holy Communion (Participation) with Christ
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on
Sacrament

For January 5-11, 2015

Prepared by:  Kathy Fitzer of Lake St. Louis, MO and Park City, UT
314-323-4083                           kathyfitzer@gmail.com
[Bracketed italics added by CedarS Director, Warren, who’s very grateful for good support already received with more needed at CedarS Giving Tree &  Adopt the Herd Riding Fund.]

My goal, as I write, is to glean fresh insights on this subject of Sacrament in order to keep it fresh and practical.  The dictionary on my computer says that sacrament has been “regarded as an outward and visible sign of inward and spiritual divine grace.”  I liked that because, to me, it is important to see that God is the doer.  All elevation of thought and the resulting participation in the Life that is Christ takes place because God is pouring out His grace (His divine influence) on us.  Our privilege is to happily and willingly respond.  I see three themes in this week’s lesson that will enable us to experience a closer relationship with God and bear witness to the healing that follows.  I feel it brings out the importance of: (1) communing (feeling at one) with God, (2) obeying  God’s commands, and (3) following Jesus’ example of unselfed love that results in healing.  The sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist are symbolic of accepting a new life as a follower of Christ.  It’s important to consider how Christian Scientists honor these sacraments.

The Golden Text shares Paul’s assurance to the Thessalonians that God has saved them through the “sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.”  Surely these words apply to present-day followers of Christ, as well.  It helped me to think of “sanctification” as: purification, deliverance, health and safety.  (Strongs translation from the Greek) These are gifts to man (to us) from Spirit, and are experienced through our “belief of the truth.”  As I consulted Strongs Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, I found that belief includes: “fidelity, truth itself or the truthfulness of God, and reliance on Christ for salvation.”  (Strongs)  Safety and health are not at the mercy of outside conditions.  They aren’t illusive.  They are experienced as we claim God’s gift… as we faithfully respond to the grace of Truth!  Except for extenuating circumstances, I suspect there aren’t many packages left under Christmas trees at this point.  They have been claimed, opened, put to use, and the resulting blessings felt.  As we claim and open the gifts of God’s grace (the sacraments of baptism and communion,) and faithfully use them, we’ll feel the blessings God is constantly pouring out… perpetual unity of giver and receiver—God and man!

Responsive Reading:  The Secret to Bearing Fruit
This line may sum up the whole Lesson… “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.”  We honor God—and are truly Jesus’ disciples —as we actively put Jesus’ teachings into practice.  How?  By “abiding” in Christ—keeping thought in line with the ideal man as expressed in the life of Jesus.  We must be as clear as Jesus was about the inseparable relationship of God and man—Father and Son!  It was this clarity that enabled him to do all he accomplished.  In these verses God is portrayed as the “husbandman” or “cultivator of the land.”  God wants His children to flourish… so He tends to us.  That which is unproductive in our experience (even if it seems they are our own bad habits or behaviors) Love removes—prunes away.  And, that which is productive, He encourages by clearing out whatever would crowd out the good.  God cares for ALL of His children in this way.  Jesus was well aware of God’s love for him (and for all.)  In turn, Jesus reflected that love as he responded to others.  As we abide in Christ, we follow that example of love, bear fruit, and glorify God!

Section 1: Respond to Gods Call
What lesson can we learn from Samuel?  [See early lessons Mary Baker Eddy learned from Samuel in the new "Bible Lens" pullout from the January 5, 2015 Christian Science Sentinel.  An interview given by Mrs. Eddy to the New York World gives more details as shown in the JPEG scan of Note 13 on pages 548 & 549 of Mary Baker Eddy, Christian Healer that can be seen by clicking the appropriate Download link in the upper right corner of CedarS online Met. Do we expect to hear God calling us to service?  Or do we generally expect that call to be coming from a person—from parents, employer, teacher, etc?  One of the things that came through to me in a fresh way this week was the concept that “communion” comes from the Greek, meaning among other things, “participation.”  Samuel was called by God, and Eli’s instruction to him was to agree to participate [or take PART].  Samuel agreed to hear what God had to say.  And, he didn’t keep it to himself.  Samuel shared the word of God… and others accepted what Samuel said, knowing that it was from God. (B-3)  So what does that have to do with us?  Mrs. Eddy says that “our Eucharist [traditionally celebrated with bread and wine] is spiritual communion with the one God.” (S-1)  One definition of communion is, “sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level”.  Isn’t this participation?  As we see God as a palpable presence in our life (as Samuel found Him to be) we can feel comfortable going directly to God with our questions, our needs, and our desires.  But, certainly not in a “tell-mode” [--in "an advisory capacity"].  Participation includes blocking out all distractions and giving full attention.  Thus, “we must deny sin and plead God’s allness.” (S-2)  As we understand God’s law to be a law of good, and as we desire to participate in the activity of that law, we find that we hear the communication of “truth, health, and harmony” that comes from this law of Love… that comes to all! (S-3)  Divine Mind is the communicator of this law.  Our privilege is to realize the presence of this Mind—revealing itself to all mankind and governing ALL! (S-4)  Let’s be willing to answer the call… and hear God’s voice above the noise!

Section 2:  Follow Christs example of healing
As Samuel, [Jesus, other Bible characters and Mary Baker Eddy] answered God’s call to service, so Jesus’ disciples [in every age must] answered his call to “Follow me.” (B-4)  Are we as ready to respond similarly?  The promise to the disciples was that they would become “fishers of men.”  To me, this means that they could expect people to be drawn to them like fish were drawn to their nets.  Of course, rather than ensnaring the people, they would liberate them!  Jesus expected his disciples (and us) to follow his example of healing.  But not just for the sake of healing the body.  Rather, their power to heal would serve as evidence of man’s oneness with God (names written in heaven—natures dwelling with God.) (B-5 & B-6)  I love how Mrs. Eddy emphasizes that the word disciple means “student.”  And that Jesus’ disciples were able to heal because they understood the principle behind Jesus’ healings. [See P.S.#1 for insights on Jesus healing Peter's mother-in-law in citation B-6.] As a result of Mary Baker Eddy’s willingness to respond to her calling—her willingness to elucidate Christian Science in our textbook, Science and Health,we daily have the opportunity to cultivate our “spiritual understanding of the divine Science, which [our] Master demonstrated …” (S-6)  Are we willing to respond as a “sincere seeker of Truth”? (S-9)   It is our duty and privilege to follow our Master—to imitate his works.  To emulate is to “match or surpass an achievement typically through imitation.” (S-7)  There is absolutely no limit to what we can do as we learn of God’s supremacy!

Section 3:  Eat the bread and drink the wine
As Jesus and his disciples celebrated the Passover (commemorating the deliverance of the Jews from Egyptian slavery,) Jesus offered bread and wine after they had finished eating.  And, with it, he attempted to share with them what was in store for him—that he would soon be crucified.  They needed to be prepared to carry on.  Jesus urged all of his disciples to share the cup of wine he offered them—not one was left out.  Jesus didn’t single out those that he thought were “ready” to face the challenges ahead.  Jesus spoke of the cup as the “new testament” in his blood.  In other translations, the phrase “new covenant” is used.  A covenant is “an agreement that brings about a relationship of commitment between God and his people.”  It’s not enough to think Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient to deliver mankind from the sins of the world.  Jesus offered his disciples the gift of participation (one of the derivatives of the Greek word translated “communion”)… and the opportunity for each of them to face the challenge of the cross.  The bread and wine represented the essence of his being (symbolic of his body and blood.) (B-8 & B-9)  As I’ve thought about it, it seems Jesus was sharing with his present disciples, and those to come (that’s us,) the strength and inspiration that enabled him to face the challenge of crucifixion, confident in the law underlying his relationship with his Father.  He gave thanks as he took the cup.  We don’t need to run from problems, but give gratitude for the inspiration that fills our cup (accompanies the cross.)  Willingness to drink of the cup (face whatever challenge comes our way) is part of obediently following Jesus’ command to love God supremely—trusting Him supremely!  As we follow Jesus’ example, we find that we, too, are redeemed (saved, delivered) through divine Love. (S-12) [See P.S.#2 for insights on why "all the city was moved" and what Jesus did next (B-7) as a proclaimed Messiah to take commercialism out of church and put in church the service of healing those in need.]

Section 4:  Wash each others feet
There is something very special about Jesus washing his disciples’ feet at that last Passover meal together… and about instructing them to wash each other’s feet.  It seems to me it exemplifies the second part of the “great commandment”—to love one another.  Certainly the act showed great humility on the part of the Master, and should tell us how important it is for us to embody that quality of thought as we engage in whatever we’re doing.  It was an expression of love and tenderness—outward thinking.  These qualities of thought form an essential foundation for any endeavor… and bring healing to any challenge that may confront us.  It is fascinating to notice what Mrs. Eddy identifies as the “test of all prayer.”  Does our prayer (whatever we’re asking for) lead us to a place in thought of loving our neighbor more?  How does that apply to praying for a physical healing?  To me, it means that we shouldn’t be satisfied just to “feel better.”  We want to get to the point in our thought that we really see that the so-called disease (whatever form error takes) has no principle to support it, and so is powerless.  Realizing this, we defend the right of everyone to be free of the error.  We not only heal ourselves, but also liberate our neighbors as well.  And, we must include in our prayers not just our friends, but those we don’t know, and even those that seem to be our enemies.  That includes those that seem to be involved in atrocities all over the world.  Bathing all mankind in love, thinking unselfishly and rightly about each person we pass on the street and each person we read about in the news is evidence of our unselfed love.  And this is evidence of a spiritualized affection that brings healing to our world and captures the essence of Jesus’ command to “wash one another’s feet” —to clean off the dust and mud of mortal beliefs and the “sins” of the world, enabling everyone to shine. (B-11 & S-14)

Section 5:  Take part in the resurrectioncast your net on the right side
Although Jesus had previously appeared to his disciples after his resurrection, they didn’t really “get it” until that morning on the shores of the Galilean Sea (or Lake of Tiberias.) {For a 3-page PDF scan of a Cobbey Crisler’s Commentary this "morning meal" in John 13:1-14 click on the link under “Downloads” in the upper RIGHT corner of CedarS Met for January 11, 2015 .]  Discouragement after the crucifixion must have set in pretty heavily because they all appeared to jump at Peter’s suggestion to go back to the familiar activity of fishing.  Perhaps a comparable way of thinking about it today is times when we may feel we’ve been studying and studying, working and praying and nothing seems to be changing (healing seems illusive.)  Feeling discouraged at times like that, or wondering why we’re bothering, doesn’t mean we’ve stopped “believing” in the might of Christian Science any more than the disciples stopped “believing” in all they had observed and heard from Jesus.  The interesting thing is that when the disciples did try to go back to their old ways, their fishing bore no fruit.  One empty feeling after another.  But, Christ came to them… and Christ comes to our consciousness too.  The Christ rouses consciousness.  The disciples were shown what they needed to do to catch fish … to meet their immediate human need.  They weren’t chastised… but they were gently, step-by-step led back to the path of action that would lead them to experience fulfillment.  How happy they must have been to get their fish, thinking that was their goal.  We may often think that solving a particular problem is our goal (whether it’s a physical challenge or a solution to a different sort of issue.)  But, as Jesus fed his disciples breakfast and spoke with them, they were led to a higher goal (although that part of the story isn’t included in this week’s Lesson.) (B-13)  We know that this experience didn’t leave the disciples where it found them.  They experienced their own resurrection.  Their hopes had been dashed with Jesus’ crucifixion—their faith had been crucified along with their Master.   However, their resurrected thought expanded to be ready to share the good news with (and bring comfort to) their world.  Let’s expand our prayers beyond the scope of trying to fix matter.  We will find healing… and a change for the better will come to our world. Mrs. Eddy says that if all who seek to commemorate the sacrament will “take up the cross, heal the sick, cast out evils, and preach Christ, or Truth, to the poor, — the receptive thought, — they will bring in the millennium.” (S-16)  I wouldn’t presume to try to explain exactly what it means to “bring in the millennium” but according to dictionary.com it relates to “a period of general righteousness and happiness, especially in the indefinite future” and the reigning of Christ as referenced in Rev. 20: 1-7.  To me, the point is that we need to keep in mind the big goal—not just fix each problem as it comes up, but free ourselves and mankind to see the reign of Christ on earth (“as in heaven, so on earth, God is omnipotent supreme.”)  So, let’s help each other not get discouraged.  Rather than being like the “old” Peter who suggested going back to old ways, lets urge each other on to be like the “new” Peter, “feeding Christ’s sheep.”  And, don’t forget to identify everyone (including yourself) as one of those precious sheep.

Section 6:  Lay down your mortal sense of life as you pray without ceasing
We read in I John that we are to “lay down our lives for our brethren.”  To me, this goes back to Mrs. Eddy’s test of all prayer.  Are we willing to personally struggle a bit (lay down the comforts of life) in order to focus more thought on prayer for our world—to love mankind enough to consciously and conscientiously reverse the picture of discord that is so blatant in our world today?  Jesus “laid down his life for us.” (B-15)  He was willing to go through the crucifixion in order to fulfill the promise of resurrection.  What better way to demonstrate our love and gratitude for all that Jesus did than to “follow his demonstration so far as we apprehend it”?  As we strive to follow his example, we will “drink of his cup”—face challenges— “partake [or PART-take] of his bread”—receive the strength necessary to work through the challenges—be “baptized with his purity” —washed clean of the limitations of mortality—“and at last … rest, sit down with him, in a full understanding of the divine Principle which triumphs over death.” (S-18)  I have no doubt that Jesus was always praying!  And we can learn to always pray, too.  At least that should be our goal.  Pray daily for yourself!  Only in that way are you ready to include others in your prayer.  Mrs. Eddy tells us that “the habitual struggle to be always good is unceasing prayer.” (S-17)  That which is habitual is done naturally because it’s been done so many times before.  It is natural for us to be “good”—or to seek good, look for good, focus on Truth and not be fooled by illusive error.  Getting into the habit of seeing things as God sees them—and reversing that which is not in accord with that view, knowing that the opposite view simply is not true and has no Principle to support it—does act as a leavening agent in our own lives, and in the lives of those we are including in our thought.  It is the touch of the Christ—of Truth itself—that makes this kind of resurrected thinking possible.  And, we have to know that the Christ influence is active in ALL human consciousness and cannot be resisted.  “What we most need is the prayer of fervent desire for growth in grace, expressed in patience, meekness, love, and good deeds.” (S-17)  Armed with this desire, how can we possibly fail to lay down a mortal sense of life and see more and more clearly the supremacy of Truth over error… Life over death… Good over evil!  THAT is communing (participating or part-taking) with God and his Christ and it is glorious “work!”


[Warren's P.S. #1 “Cobbey Crisler’s Commentary” on citation B-5, Matt. 8:14, 15 (+16-26)
"(Verse 14. We come to the third healing [in Matthew's series of 10 of Jesus' proofs after the Sermon on the Mount of his Messiahship by his works, the healing of] Peter's mother-in-law.  To have a mother-in-law, Peter had to be married.  Peter had a wife.  It's on the Sabbath day, too. But does Jesus consider women that important?  Would he break the Sabbath for a woman?  One may think that he might for a man. But would he do it for a woman?  He does.  Whatever business he had in Peter's house, he puts all aside and gives priority to the mother-in-law's needs.  Despite the fact that it was the Sabbath. (Verse 15). He heals her of fever.  [W: So much, for the supposed length and severity of the flu these days--as well as for its being communicable... "and she arose and ministered unto them."].
([BONUS:] Verse 16). "Many come, when the even was come to be healed."  Why the evening? Because then the Sabbath is over and they could all come without any fear of recriminations from the Jews.
[W: Added BONUS if you keep reading you can see in Jesus' fourth proof, the stilling of the storm, an encouraging application to today’s weather concerns. 
“(Verse 26). “He says, “Why are ye fearful,” immediately seeing the thought, reading the thought, “you of little faith.” He rebukes the wind and the sea; “and there was a great calm.” That tells us something about what it must mean in Genesis 1 (Verse 26) when man “was given dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the air.”  Is it possible?  Is Jesus telling man it is possible that he can exercise dominion over the elements?  He has within him the kingdom of heaven dominion that can be exercised over what looks (to be) outside of him…]      

Book of Matthew, Auditing the Master: A Tax Collector’s Report , by B. Cobbey Crisler, p. 41, 42]


[Warren's P.S. #2 “Cobbey Crisler’s Commentary” on citation B-7, Matthew 21:8-10, 12-14:
(W: See why "all the city was moved" and what Jesus did next as a proclaimed Messiah to take the commercialism out of church and put into it the healing of those in need.)
“Chapter 21 begins… Jesus’ final week.
Dr. Bull… said, “There is no real record that Jesus ever rode anywhere except here in this specific instance, implying that he mostly walked.  But here there was a special reason.”… When he gets near Jerusalem, Bethphage… he didn’t really have to ride, in other words, it was a short distance.  But he does.  When he gets there, we have the incident which has since been called Palm Sunday.  (Verse 8). “Branches cut down.” (Verse 9). “And multitudes saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.”
In searching the Old Testament, when Solomon was crowned king, he rode into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey and was greeted by the people almost exactly by the same language.  I introduce this point in this book because it’s the first time I’ve seen it suggested in print.  My question is, was Jesus aware that this very simple exercise would have brought to the minds of the people that here was another son of David, perhaps the Messiah, entering Jerusalem?  Because Solomon was the son of David and was greeted in that same way.  It may have been the simplest way to convey to the general populace the concept of the Messiah. 
[W: Citation B-7, (Verses 10, 11).  “And when he entered in all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.”]
“(Verse 12). “Throws the money changers out of the temple.”  Notice that what he does redefines religion, takes the commercialism out of church.
(Verse 13). Quoting the Old Testament (Isaiah 56:7), “My house shall be called a house of prayer.”
(Verse 14).  Once crass commercialism has been ejected, “he welcomes in those in need of healing.”  It is almost the first major declaration that the church would have a large portion of its mission healing those in need.  Not the turning away and just simply social service identifying Christianity.  Not those sitting outside the temple at the gates and begging for alms and people contributing to an income that would just help sustain their injury.  But rather welcoming that one into the church and solving his physical problem through healing.”]    

Book of Matthew, Auditing the Master: A Tax Collector’s Report , by B. Cobbey Crisler, p. 62, 63]


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

[You can also reach a member of the Founding family nearly anytime by
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THANKS TO YOU PRECIOUS DONORS FOR YOUR ONGOING, GENEROUS and NEEDED SUPPORT OF CedarS IMPORTANT WORK!

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

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[The Met application ideas above are provided primarily to help CedarS campers and staff (as well as friends) see and daily demonstrate the great value of studying and applying the Christian Science Bible lessons throughout the year, not just at camp! YOU CAN ALSO SIGN UP for weekly emails from past CedarS staff of possible ways to share Bible Lesson applications with older, as well as younger, Sunday School classes by clicking the "Subscribe Now" button (lower left) at http://www.cedarscamps.org/metaphysical/ ]

[Additional Director's Note: You can sign up to have these application ideas emailed to you free – by Monday each week in English; or by each Wednesday you can get a FREE TRANSLATION: in German, thanks to Manfred and Jeanette; or in Spanish, thanks to a team of Ana, Erick, Claudia and Patricio, or in Portuguese, thanks to helpers of Orlando Trentini in Brazil. A voluntary French translation by Rodger Glokpor, a Christian Scientist from Togo (West Africa) has been contributed in the past. Thank you, Rodger and all translators! Go to http://www.cedarscamps.org/and click "Newsletters" to sign-up for a free translation into these languages. This sharing is the latest in an ongoing, 14-year series of CedarS Bible Lesson "Mets" (Metaphysical application ideas) contributed weekly by a rotation of CedarS Resident Practitioners and occasionally by other metaphysicians. (Ask and look for "Possible Sunday School Topics "and "Possible Younger Class Lessons" in emails to follow.) These weekly offerings are intended to encourage further study and application of ideas in the lesson and to invigorate Sunday School participation by students and by the budding teachers on our staff. Originally sent JUST to my Sunday School students and to campers, staff and CedarS families who wanted to continue at home and in their home Sunday Schools the same type of focused Lesson study, application and inspiration they had felt at camp, CedarS lesson "Mets "and Sunday School ideas are in no way meant to be definitive or conclusive or in any way serve as a substitute for daily study of the lesson. The thoughts presented are the inspiration of the moment and are offered to give a bit more dimension and background as well as new angles (and angels) on the daily applicability of some of the ideas and passages being studied. The weekly Bible Lessons are copyrighted by the Christian Science Publishing Society and are printed in the Christian Science Quarterly and in a variety of useful formats as available at Christian Science Reading Rooms or online at eBibleLesson.com or myBibleLesson.com. The citations referenced (i.e.B-1 and S-28) from this week's Bible Lesson in the "Met" (Metaphysical application ideas) are taken from the Bible (B-1 thru B-26) and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy (S-1 thru S-32). The Bible and Science and Health are the ordained pastor of the Churches of Christ, Scientist. The Bible Lesson is the sermon read in Christian Science church services throughout the world. The Lesson-Sermon speaks individually through the Christ to everyone, providing unique insights and tailor-made applications for each one. We are glad you requested this metaphysical sharing and hope that you find some of the ideas helpful in your daily spiritual journey, in your deeper digging in the books and in closer bonding with your Comforter and Pastor.]

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