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Behold God preserving all the sweetness of His creation, including yours!

Rick Stewart, C.S., Dresden, Germany
Posted Monday, December 7th, 2015

[Behold God preserving all the sweetness of His creation, including yours!]
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

God The Preserver Of Man”
for Sunday, December 13, 2015

by Rick Stewart, C.S., Dresden, Germany
(+49) 351 312 4736 rickstewartcs@aol.com

One of the things my family really looks forward to in early May and June is strawberry picking. It all began when Noah was around two years old and we would head out on big adventures in the strawberry fields just outside of town. At that time we did not have a car, so we would head out with the bus. On arrival we would proceed to eat our way through the field and also fill our baskets with strawberries at their most delicious. When our baskets and tummies were full, we headed home. Our kitchen would then become a preservation site! My wife, Susanne, would soon have the kitchen counter filled with jars and jars of delicious strawberry preserves that would continue to supply us with the taste of summer's sweetness all year long.

That fun tradition has embraced every member of the Stewart clan as they came along. Johann, Alma, and Martha have become expert pickers and gobblers of strawberries. And even though it is December and not strawberry season, every morning we can have that sweet taste of summer. Through Susanne's canning skills, that sweetness has been preserved and will probably be with us until our next strawberry picking adventure.

From a spiritual perspective, the fruits of Life sourced in God, are also very sweet. And this sweetness is preserved as we learn how to put our full faith in God as the one and only preserver of Life harmonious. When the cold winds of mortality and hate threaten to destroy or disrupt this Life harmonious, we turn to God and are rewarded. This week's Bible Lesson assures us of God's abiding love, protection, and preservation. The taunts of evil might try to make us think the sweet fruits of life are fragile and uncertain, but do not worry, God indeed is the preserver of man and all creation, as our Golden Text assures:

Golden Text: Luke, 12:32, “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

A beloved theologian in the mid 1800s, Albert Barnes, wrote about this verse,
Barnes' Notes on the Bible
Little flock - Our Saviour often represents himself as a shepherd, and his followers as a flock or as sheep. The figure was beautiful. In Judea it was a common employment to attend flocks. The shepherd was with them, defended them, provided for them, led them to green pastures and beside still waters. In all these things Jesus was and is eminently the Good Shepherd. His flock was small. Few "really" followed him, compared with the multitude who professed to love him. But, though small in number, they were not to fear. God was their Friend. He would provide for them. It was his purpose to give them the kingdom, and they had nothing to fear. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Barnes_(theologian)

What joy it is to know that we do not have to be afraid. Even when we are faced with press reports of events that have only one aim, to try to terrorize, we can remain fearless. The Responsive Reading which is from Psalms and II Timothy is a powerful prayer of assurance introducing us to a way of thinking that firmly acknowledges how God preserves us. And each of the following six sections of the lesson give examples of those who were preserved through God's care.

Section 1: Safe in the kingdom of heaven!
This section makes it very clear that the “Kingdom of Heaven” is not a place to go to after death. Citation B1 states “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:2) The J.B. Phillips translation says, “You must change your hearts—for the kingdom of Heaven has arrived!”

Citation SH 2 is from the Glossary of Science and Health, “Kingdom of Heaven. The reign of harmony in divine Science; the realm of unerring, eternal, and omnipotent Mind; the atmosphere of Spirit, where Soul is supreme.” (590:1)

Each of the citations in this section affirms facts of how God constantly preserves and protects all creation. For example, citation B4 states, “O Lord, thou preservest man and beast.” This is a fact that the Psalmist affirms.

Oftentimes prayer in Christian Science is an affirmation of this unchanging fact, even when the testimony of the material senses would make us think something awful has happened. At the end of my first year of lecturing for the Mother Church I was taking a little vacation near my home. I had rented a small beach cottage on St. Augustine Beach. One day one of my closest friends and next door neighbor from school days came over to spend a day of surfing together. Just as we got back to the cottage after a surf session, the telephone rang. It was someone calling from Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral asking for prayerful support. There had just been an accident. The need was immediate so I firmly declared what both the caller and I knew about God's ever-present care. The cottage was quite small, so my friend heard every word. As I hung up the phone he asked, “Can you talk about it?” I did not think it was appropriate to speak of the details of the call, but I briefly explained how I was praying. And I also tried to simply explain what I did as a practitioner. It came to me to share an example. I asked my friend to picture sitting in your car stopped for a red light. As the light turned to green, something made you wait just a second before proceeding, and in that second a large truck came racing through the intersection. If you had not waited you would have been hit by this truck. I explained that I believed that that kind of direction came directly from God and that we could learn to listen more consistently to that angel direction and protection. That is what I tried to do in my work and to help other people also to hear those angel messages.

Suddenly my buddy got really excited. He explained, “I know exactly what you mean.” He then related about a time when he was living with his family in Bogota, Colombia. One day he was trying to leave the house to get to work and no matter what he did, he kept being delayed. He was normally a very punctual person and always kept a strict routine. Finally he left the house. He arrived at a large intersection that was on his route and he was about 30 minutes later than usual. The intersection was filled with army vehicles and soldiers, and all the buildings around the intersection were filled with bullet holes and the windows broken. There had been a large terrorist attack. He immediately realized that if he had been on his usual schedule he would have been right in the middle of the attack. Now he understood what had kept him from leaving home. As citation B3 says, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty...For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.”

Can't we each seek to be more receptive to this guidance and protection? Can't we affirm that this guidance and protection is universal and impartial and available to each individual ready to change their heart and enter into the kingdom of heaven, the “reign of harmony” (S2)?

Section 2: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the presence of the Christ.
The story of the young Hebrews cast into the fiery furnace just because of their refusal to bow down to an image of gold has inspired indiviuals for thousands of years. Citation B7 (Daniel 3) for me has been a good example of the eternality of the Christ. Remember the King, Nebuchadnezzar, looked into the furnace and saw not just the three men he had ordered to be cast into the furnace, but also another. “Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking In the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”

The experience of these young Hebrews and what the King saw seems to be a clear illustration of this citation S12 in Science and Health, “Throughout all generations both before and after the Christian era, the Christ, as the spiritual idea, — the reflection of God, — has come with some measure of power and grace to all prepared to receive Christ, Truth. Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and the prophets caught glorious glimpses of the Messiah, or Christ, which baptized these seers in the divine nature, the essence of Love.” (SH 333:19-26)

And guess what, being baptized in that “divine nature, the essence of Love,” is sure one great protecting and preserving Presence!

I have always been impressed with the last part of the story, “And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.”

Do you realize how impossible that fact is based on simply material-sense testimony? This afternoon the whole family was out in a favorite part of the countryside. I built just a very small fire. And when I got back in the car for the drive back home, I smelled through and through of fire. Some of the beautiful significance of this Bible story is explored in the following article, "THE SMELL OF FIRE" by LOUISE KNIGHT WHEATLEY
http://journal.christianscience.com/issues/1920/3/37-12/the-smell-of-fire

Section 3: Hate has no mandate over the Christ.
Remember who you are, it is really important. When I lectured I would often go into the child care room just before the lecture to visit with the kids there. I remember one such visit in Rosario, Argentina. I went into the child care and there was a young fellow about nine years old. I invited him to join us for the lecture and promised that he would enjoy it. Well, he came with me and sat right down front. I included him in the lecture with some questions and he always had a great answer. When the lecture was over he came running up to me and exclaimed, “I never knew I was God's child!” You could see in his eyes the power of glimpsing who we really are, God's sons and daughters.

Citation B9 makes it very clear how important it is to remember who we are! Jesus visited the temple in Jerusalem and spoke of God as his Father and declared, “I and my Father are one.” [Cobbey Crisler pointed out that “If Jesus spoke the original in Aramaic, the translation would be “I and my Father are in accord”.] This statement and this fact infuriated some of the Jews and they picked up stones getting ready to stone Jesus. The spiritual facts of Jesus true identity as the Son of God and of his oneness with the Father not only infuriated the Jews, but also was Jesus' impenetrable armor. Even better than Harry Potter's cloak of invisibility [is the invincibility and invisibility of “inspired thought”* that] Jesus demonstrated when they tried to capture him and he escaped out of their hands. [See citation B9, John 10:39, and *SH 573:3-5]

In citation S14, Mrs. Eddy writes, “Jesus taught but one God, one Spirit, who makes man in the image and likeness of Himself, — of Spirit, not of matter. Man reflects infinite Truth, Life, and Love. The nature of man, thus understood, includes all that is implied by the terms “image” and “likeness” as used in Scripture. The truly Christian and scientific statement of personality and of the relation of man to God, with the demonstration which accompanied it, incensed the rabbis, and they said: “Crucify him, crucify him . . . by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.”

Remember God is the Maker. And it is God that makes us who we are. So it is only in obedience to our Father-Mother that mandates remembering we are indeed God's child, one with our Father-Mother.

Section 4: Divine Mind holds us perfect, intact.
The eleventh chapter of John's Gospel tells us about a man that Jesus loved, Lazarus. [See B 11 and Cobbey Crisler’s insights on this healing in the Download available at CedarS online version of this Met.]

Now even though Jesus loved Lazarus he did not rush to the scene. The evidence seems to point to the fact that Lazarus was already dead to mortal sense when Jesus took the call. And when Jesus finally arrived Lazarus had actually been in the grave four days. Now if you want proof of spiritual preservation then here it is. Lazarus came forth and he was intact. Mrs. Eddy writes, “Who dares to doubt this consummate test of the power and willingness of divine Mind to hold man forever intact in his perfect state, and to govern man's entire action?” (S19, 493:30)

Since we know that God ever maintains man in his innate perfection can it ever be too late to call the Christ? Is evil's claim of power ever too great for the one and only Power, the preserver of Good in all creation?

Later in citation S19 is the wonderful affirmation, “Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need. It is not well to imagine that Jesus demonstrated the divine power to heal only for a select number or for a limited period of time, since to all mankind and in every hour, divine Love supplies all good. The miracle of grace is no miracle to Love. Jesus demonstrated the inability of corporeality, as well as the infinite ability of Spirit, thus helping erring human sense to flee from its own convictions in divine Science.”

Infinite Spirit Is Supreme!!!!!

Section 5: The Lord bless thee and keep thee, God's law is universal.
I remember a conversation with a friend in high school. This friend was very active in a Christian church, a real believer. I remember the point he was making. His belief was that we are not God's children until we accept our relationship to Jesus Christ. And I simply was sharing my belief that we are in fact all God' children. As I have thought about our conversation at different times over the years I have found myself understanding a little more of what my friend was getting at. It has to do with acceptance. It has to do with claiming who we are. Citation B14 says, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ;” (Romans 8:16, 17)

In recent years I have done a lot of international travel. And I am required upon arrival in another country to prove who I am by showing my passport. The proper identification is required. And with that identifying process come certain rights, privileges, and responsibilities. These rights are mine as I prove who I am, as I stake claim to my identity. Isn't that something very important in our daily prayer for ourselves—the proper identification work? If we are not alert in this daily identification work we might be willing to accept a false identity, or a lie about ourselves.

A few days ago I happened to meet a former neighbor and friend in the stairway outside of our apartment. We had a brief but very nice conversation. As we were about to each go on our way I was going to give this friend a big hug. She at first protested because she said she had a cold. Now at various times over the years this friend had asked me questions about the Bible and actually asked me to help her pray about some things. So when she was reluctant to accept a hug because of illness and not wanting to infect me, I immediately reminded her about my job and my understanding that good only is contagious and there was no way she could make me sick. With that affirmation of my identity she was more than ready for us to say goodbye with a big hug. And guess what, that's right, no cold!

Section 6: No expiration date for God's child— we are well-preserved, ever fresh.
The Psalmist promises “the Lord loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever:” (B18, Psalms 37:28 the)

Although we might all do with a little “Best if used by...” we are in the game for the long run. Since we are the reflection of the eternal Mind, our life is the eternal manifestation of Life, without ending or beginning. As Mrs. Eddy writes, “God expresses in man the infinite idea forever developing itself, broadening and rising higher and higher from a boundless basis.” (S28, 258:13–15)

In 1940 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was given an honorary degree from the University of Pennsylvania and was asked to give a speech. It was a time when the free world was confronting a great challenge in the form of tyranny and brutal aggression. And since he was speaking to an audience largely made up of students at the university his thought was clearly directed toward the hopes and promise of youth. But as we remember that we are and always will be God's children, we also have to accept our eternal youthfulness. Here is an excerpt from his speech. A link follows the quote that would allow you to read his entire address.
We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.

"It is in great universities like this that the ideas which can assure our national safety and make tomorrow's history are being forged and shaped. Civilization owes most to the men and women, known and unknown, whose free, inquiring minds and restless intellects could not be subdued by the power of tyranny. This is no time for any man to withdraw into some ivory tower and proclaim the right to hold himself aloof from the problems and the agonies of his society. The times call for bold belief that the world can be changed by man's endeavor, and that this endeavor can lead to something new and better. No man can sever the bonds that unite him to his society simply by averting his eyes. He must ever be receptive and sensitive to the new; and have sufficient courage and skill to face novel facts and to deal with them.

"If democracy is to survive, it is the task of men thought, as well as men of action, to put aside pride and prejudice; and with courage and single-minded devotion—and above all with humility—to find the truth and teach the truth that shall keep men free.”
http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=15860

Don't these same sentiments apply to our work at CedarS? Aren't we engaged in building our youth? But aren't we also building our youthfulness in our own experience? (Warren loves to remind Family Campers, “It’s never too late to enjoy a happy childhood!”)

I have always loved this quote from Mrs. Eddy's Miscellaneous Writings,
"Beloved children, the world has need of you, — and more as children than as men and women: it needs your innocence, unselfishness, faithful affection, uncontaminated lives. You need also to watch, and pray that you preserve these virtues unstained, and lose them not through contact with the world. What grander ambition is there than to maintain in yourselves what Jesus loved, and to know that your example, more than words, makes morals for mankind!” Mis. 110: 4

Sometimes it is not only preserving what is true about each of us as God's child, but also discovering that true nature. Here is an example received from a friend in Brasil.

"After being in jail for over 2 months, the thought of reading the Bible kept coming very strongly to me. One day, at Rikers Island Correctional Facility, NY, I was watching TV and felt strongly impelled to stand and pick a New Testament that lies open on the floor. Started reading it and when I got to the Sermon on the Mount, tears flooded down my face. I knew I had found what I had been looking for—answers that satisfied and explained the true meaning of life I had been frantically searching.

I read it thoroughly about 10 times. Immediately checked out all religions and abandoned all of them. Simply couldn`t relate their teachings with what I understood to be Jesus' message. During the next 6 months, I read over 100 books on meditation, all types of religions, including Easterns, mind-control systems, personal development, self-knowledge and Yoga. Finally, I gave up everything and stayed with the Bible and a book I was trying to write in order to explain the discoveries I was finding through my personal experience with studying and sharing with others.

Finally, I picked up a Christian Science Sentinel at the prison's library and realized I had found the real explanation that made sense. I must have read a few hundred Sentinels before I finally got my hands on the textbook! After having read Science and Health 3 times, I found myself still not having put all the pieces of the spiritual understanding puzzle together. There seemed to be lacking one piece to fully satisfy my craving for peace and rest.

One day, after refusing to help a friend who was searching for my counseling, I asked the prison guard to open my cell. I wanted to go in and study. I had been feeling that my understanding had stagnated. Something was not making sense! I sincerely prayed and asked God to reveal to me what I needed to understand. Immediately, it came to me the self-revealing nature of God as I AM. Moses had been told, "I AM THAT I AM. Go and say that I AM has sent you". Right after that it came to thought the discussion the Pharisees had with Jesus and he said: "...before Abraham was, I am." And finally, I remembered a small poem I had read from one of the Sentinels and that had been written by a young girl. I goes like:

"I always was what I am,
Ever will be what I was,
And certainly am what I shall be...
Me!"

At this point I understood very clearly that I was seeing spiritual progress as going up a ladder, and because I never knew when I would reach the top, I was feeling exhausted! Also, it would cause me to compare myself to others that could be above me up the ladder and doing much better, as well as to those that were down the ladder and with lots of shortcomings. What a suffocating feeling that was!

So, I changed the way I looked at progress from a ladder into a circle! The circle concept calmed me down immediately! A circle would simply provide me the feeling of BEING! An eternal sense of just BEING forever! That explained the I AM concept that became clear! This beingness of true being made me understand that I could only BE what God IS, and that I always AM the BEING that God is eternally being. Therefore, I could only be at my Father´s business at all times –"Go and tell them the I AM has sent you!"

To be about the Father´s business, or in my Father´s name, or do the work that the Father does means to be totally exempt of a personal ego´s influence, which in turn will always cause a feeling of scarcity regarding all types of resources and possibilities.

All these revelations happened during a 30-minute period. I then asked the guard to open my cell and went out feeling free to help others without any sense of restraint. I confidently knew I could only be at my Father's business and that the works that I would do, would certainly be the result of the activity of the divine intelligence operating as my conscious knowing.

I was able to introduce Christian Science to over 400 inmates and helped hundreds more through counseling and healing of all kinds. The most astonishing healings I testified to were those of character transformation.

Marco Aurelio Pacifici Performancemax@terra.com.br


[P.S.: We made great progress toward our goal of meeting the needs of CedarS, thanks to all you Giving Tuesday donors! While being over halfway toward raising the amount needed for our Maintenance Musts Matching Grant by year end, we need to raise the whole $25,000 ($11,300 more) by 12-31-15 to get any part of the matching grant. This and other needs are featured on our Giving Tree, with gifts starting at $1. God bless you for clicking here and selecting your present "to put under our tree." Every gift matters, is tax deductible and adds up to big blessings in the lives of Sunday School students.]

[IT WOULD BE A HUGE ANSWER TO PRAYER to have more monthly gifts online which you can set up easily at http://www.cedarscamps.org/giving/.

To discuss privately how to transfer securities or other assets to help support and perpetuate CedarS work, you can reach a member of the Founding family nearly anytime by calling the Huffs or their daughter Holly Huff Bruland at 636-394-6162

or MAIL your tax-deductible support to our 501-C-3 organization
(Our not-for-profit, Federal Identification Number is #440-66-3883):

The CedarS Camps, Inc.
19772 Sugar Drive
Lebanon, MO 65536

THANKS TO YOU PRECIOUS DONORS FOR YOUR ONGOING, GENEROUS and NEEDED SUPPORT OF CedarS IMPORTANT WORK!]


[CedarS 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.

[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) athttp://www.cedarscamps.org/metaphysical/ ]

[For additional "Director's Notes" on the history, development & 4 translations of CedarS weekly Bible Lesson "Mets" go to Notes in our online version of it.]

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