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Discover "practically perfect" moments throughout your life!

Rick Stewart, C.S., Dresden, Germany
Posted Monday, March 2nd, 2015

[Discover "practically perfect" moments throughout your life!]
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Man”

for Sunday, March 8, 2015

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

Oh boy, this week's Bible Lesson is going to tell us all about how to be perfect. " Who? Me? Perfect? C'mon, I know how far I am from perfect. Actually I know how far I am from pretty good." And of course, even if you might be ready to see yourself as close to perfect, aren't there lots of people ready to tell you how far you are from perfection? After all, how many times have you heard, "Nobody's perfect!"

Well, this week's Golden Text , Deuteronomy 18:13, tells us the concept of "perfection" in your life, is simple obedience to Scripture. "Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God." Or as the CEB (Common English Bible) puts it, "you must be perfect before the Lord your God."

Since this whole Bible Lesson is about perfection I decided to do a little research on this word perfect. The first expert I quote is six times Cedars Camper, Johann Stewart. On the way to school I asked him, "Johann, what do you think of when I say, "perfect." He immediately replied, "Mary Poppins." (The very special nanny from the books and the Disney film of the same name.) Johann had remembered the scene where Mary used a special tape measurer to see how her new charges, Jane and Michael, measured up. And then Jane and Michael asked to see how Mary Poppins measured up. The tape measurer clearly showed, "Mary Poppins, Practically Perfect In Every Way." If you know the film, you will remember that Mary was pretty darn close to perfect.

A little research shows that perfection is viewed as a state of completeness or flawlessness. In Latin, "perficio" relates to "finish or bring to an end." But even before Latin, the Greeks used a word "teleos," it relates more to completeness. The oldest definition of perfection goes back to Aristotle, and his "Delta of the Metaphysics." He wrote, That is perfect: 1. which is complete — which contains all the requisite parts: 2. which is so good that nothing of the kind could be better; 3. which has attained its purpose.

Thomas Aquinas, a philosopher, friar, and Catholic Priest, born in 1225, drew upon Aristotle in his works and also wrote of a perfection "when a thing is perfect in itself — as he put it, in its substance; and when it perfectly serves its purpose Thomas Aquinas, in theSumma Theologica

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfection

The Responsive Reading: James 1:17-19, 21-25; Matthew 5:48, further introduces this concept of "being perfect" as sourced in God. "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above,…" "whoso looketh into the perfect law of Liberty,…" "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."

What fun it is going to be to discover how "Man" measures up according to God's measuring tape. As we study each section of the Bible Lesson we will learn more how we each can live up to this "perfect man," and indeed can be like Mary Poppins, "practically perfect in every way." Or more appropriately able to follow our Master's command, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."

Section 1: God is perfect, therefore man, God's creation reflects that perfection.

Mary Baker Eddy's discovery of Christian Science introduced something very special to the conversation of her day," Man", as God's perfect creation versus the miserable sinner that popular theology presented. Where in the world did she get this idea? How about directly from the Bible.

B-2, (Psalms 37:37) "Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace." B-3, Genesis 1, "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God saw every thing he had made, and , behold it was very good."

The differentiation for Mary Baker Eddy was made by identifying God's man as perfect and then through Scriptural guidance and the inspiration of the Science of being beginning to claim that "man" as our true identity. S-1, (SH 470) "The standard of perfection was originally God and man. God is the creator of man, and, the divine Principle of man remaining perfect, the divine idea or reflection, man, remains perfect. "

We often learn that to embrace an improved life or idea of ourselves we must be willing to let go of old ideas about ourselves and our limits and embrace a new vision, who we are as God's perfect idea. Mrs. Eddy wrote in Mis. 232: 14-17, " Proportianately as we part with material systems and theories, personal doctrines and dogmas, meekly to ascend the hill of Science, shall we reach the maximum of perfection in all things."

Some years ago I was in Argentina to give a Christian Science Lecture. I visited the child care room before the lecture and met a bright nine year old about to waste his time playing in child care. I invited him to join us in the lecture, asked him to sit right up front, and promised he would not be bored. He was probably the most attentive of all the folks in the audience. And I made sure he was engaged in our time together. I will never forget the light in his eyes as he announced to me after the lecture, " Yo no sabía que era hijo de Dios!", "I didn't know I was God's child." We have got to know who we are!

Section 2: We've got the power to be practically, agelessly, perfect!

The first citation in this section, B-5, (Genesis 17) is good, "I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect." In its complete context it is perfect, "And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect." Ninety nine!!!!!

I have got to be honest with you, lately as I have started my day, I have looked in the mirror and been just a little bit surprised. I am afraid I was starting to see a little more of my dad, and not so much of my Father. Do you know what I mean? The face looking back at me from the mirror did not look so much like how I saw myself in my mind's eye, it looked more like my beloved dad. And then I realized I needed to consciously choose to look in the right mirror and see the spiritual reflection, not an aging mortal. So I made sure that I was consciously starting my day (while still in bed) looking into that "mirror" of divine Science. (See, SH 515)

B-8, (2 Corinthians 3:18) " we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."

This citation from Science and Health tells me what reflection I needed to be looking at, S-9, (SH 305:6) "Man, in the likeness of his Maker, reflects the central light of being, the invisible God. As there is no corporeality in the mirrored form, which is but a reflection, so man, like all things real, reflects God, his divine Principle, not in a mortal body."

I needed to be looking at myself through the Science of the Scriptures. Not the way a certain church might see me, but how my divine Father saw me and sees me. And if I caught that reflection, then that is what I would see and experience about myself, just like Abram!

Section 3: Man has a perfect, indestructible life.

Bible citation, B-10, is one of my favorite Bible stories from childhood, a story I heard many times at bedtime, since the time I called it the story of Shadrach, Meshak, and "Tobedwego." And hearing this story of the three young Hebrews saved from the fiery furnace when I was a child meant that I accepted it as a real occurrence, a practical demonstration of God's saving power, a practically perfect example of how we learn that indeed our " life is hid with Christ in God." B-11

The state of our thought as it relates to our experience is illustrated in S-15, (SH 161:3)," You say, "I have burned my finger." This is an exact statement, more exact than you suppose; for mortal mind, and not matter, burns it. Holy inspiration has created states of mind which have been able to nullify the action of the flames, as in the Bible case of the three young Hebrew captives, while an opposite mental state might produce spontaneous combustion. "

I know. I ignited a home-made firework composed of 2 pounds of black powder and it exploded right at the end of my left hand. I was engulfed in a cloud of smoke that looked like a cartoon explosion. I was completely blackened, my hair was singed off, and my hand appeared terribly burned. But I had this Science to look into, to be a practical aid. I called my mom in another city for prayerful help, I assured those watching me (children and adults) that all was well, and I went to my room and sought that "holy inspiration." And as I fought the mental battle between what seemed to have occurred and the temptation of what material remedies, for example cool water, could do, I found that one of my favorite Bible stories was a perfect solution. I was healed. My hand was not deformed. I read the next day at a Christian Science meeting. I surfed three days after the event. And I can say that to this day my hand is "practically perfect in every way."

Section 4: Jesus proves that the Lord will perfect that which concerneth you!

Bible Citation, B-12, (Psalm 138:8), tells us that "The Lord will perfect." Who will perfect? You, me, us, them? The Lord.

I must admit that sometimes I find it a little bit frustrating when someone tries to convince me that healing is not going on as it once did. I spend my entire day and night seeing glimpses of how perfectly God is loving His creation, and healing His children, and then I hear a discourse explaining why God is not being God? Enough already, right? Has God changed? Has the Christ stopped being the Christ? Has the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, that Jesus promised would come, skeedaddled (gone away)? Nope.

I love the fact that a woman sought a healing for 12 years without results and then turned to Jesus and was healed. She was ready, she was hungering, she was courageous, she was reaching out and she was rewarded. The Science and Health citations in this section clearly explain the perfect cure she encountered.

S-18, (SH 476) explains a little of the process involved in Jesus' healing work, "Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick. Thus Jesus proved that the kingdom of God is intact, universal, and that man is pure and holy."

Section 5: We have been saved to be practically perfect, nothing can hinder.

We have been saved. The rescuer has already pulled us to safety. And even if the life guard is really good looking, really attractive, don't jump back into the water just so he or she can save you again. Keep your feet on solid ground and realize that yes, you have been rescued! That will make the Saviour, the Real Life Guard most happy.

I do not know exactly why, but somehow life guarding was just a part of my family. My mom and all her sisters worked as life guards at the public swimming pool in Pattee Park, Perry, Iowa. My sister Candy, my brother Gary, my brother, Scott, and I all worked as life guards. In high school and college I taught swimming and was a Water Safety Instructor for the Red Cross. Why?

We loved the water. We were good swimmers. But maybe more? Bible citation B-18, (Romans 8:2) says. "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." You know drowning is not a necessity. You can learn to swim. You can be guided by wisdom and be protected from aquatic accidents. You can maintain your alertness and prevent accidents. You can keep your wits about you and not mix activities that take aware clear thinking. And you can thereby enjoy every single aspect of activities around the water: swimming, skiing, scuba diving, snorkeling, boating, sailing, surfing. You can have great adventures and still be safe. And even if you have never learned to swim, you can always learn!

We also can learn to love Christian Science and the practical protection and perfection it offers. S-26, " Christian Science commands man to master the propensities, — to hold hatred in abeyance with kindness, to conquer lust with chastity, revenge with charity, and to overcome deceit with honesty. Choke these errors in their early stages, if you would not cherish an army of conspirators against health, happiness, and success. The good man finally can overcome his fear of sin. This is sin’s necessity, — to destroy itself. Immortal man demonstrates the government of God, good, in which is no power to sin."

S-27, "In proportion to his purity is man perfect; and perfection is the order of celestial being which demonstrates Life in Christ, Life's spiritual ideal."

Well, I do know why we all were life guards. My mom was healed of a crippling, life-threatening illness at 18 months. Her family then turned to Christian Science whole-heartedly and that eventually included me and all my brothers and sisters. All class taught in Christian Science. All rescued from a myriad of illnesses and troubles. And I guess we all learned that it was, "All about the Boss, no troubles!"

Section 6: Love, the bond of practical perfectness.

This Bible Lesson and this last section make it clear that the key to our "bond of perfectness" is indeed the love of God, the Love that is God.

S-29, " Love for God and man is the true incentive in both healing and teaching. Wait patiently for divine Love to move upon the waters of mortal mind, and form the perfect concept. Patience must "have her perfect work."

The perfect work of Love. Is that not what we could describe as the real creation of our Father-Mother. Is that not what His Son, our Saviour has revealed to us all. The possibilities of a practical perfection that is Love manifest.

Mary Baker Eddy once wrote about the practical nature of Love. It was not enough for her that it was some sugary sentiment.

"What a word! I am in awe before it. Over what worlds on worlds it hath range and is sovereign! the underived, the incomparable, the infinite All of good, the alone God, is Love.

By what strange perversity is the best become the most abused, — either as a quality or as an entity? Mortals misrepresent and miscall affection; they make it what it is not, and doubt what it is. The so-called affection pursuing its victim is a butcher fattening the lamb to slay it. What the lower propensities express, should be repressed by the sentiments. No word is more misconstrued; no sentiment less understood. The divine significance of Love is distorted into human qualities, which in their human abandon become jealousy and hate.

Love is not something put upon a shelf, to be taken down on rare occasions with sugar-tongs and laid on a rose-leaf. I make strong demands on love, call for active witnesses to prove it, and noble sacrifices and grand achievements as its results. Unless these appear, I cast aside the word as a sham and counterfeit, having no ring of the true metal. Love cannot be a mere abstraction, or goodness without activity and power. As a human quality ,the glorious significance of affection is more than words: it is the tender, unselfish deed done in secret; the silent, ceaseless prayer; the self-forgetful heart that overflows; the veiled form stealing on an errand of mercy, out of a side door; the little feet tripping along the sidewalk; the gentle hand opening the door that turns toward want and woe, sickness and sorrow, and thus lighting the dark places of earth." (Mis. 250)

When this day began in Dresden, it was cold, rainy, and completely overcast. The sun was somewhere back there, but hard to discover. Then only one hour later the full sun had begun to shine and the skies were blue. What a gloriously perfect winter, soon to be spring, day it had become. But the clouds could only temporarily obscure the perfection of this day. And so the clouds of sense, the testimony of the five corporeal senses can only temporarily obscure the full light of the risen Son. And Love does shine through all, leading us to a practical, useful, healing perfection.

Perhaps the first expert on perfection I consulted had it just right. Remember Johann referred to Mary Poppins. At the very end of the film Mary Poppins spoke with her Parrot Umbrella. The Banks family had been restored to a practical, joyful loving life. The father, George Banks, was fully engaged in a joyful embrace of the perfect moments of family life.

Just then Mary's umbrella spoke to her:

Parrot Umbrella: Awk, that's gratitude for you. Didn't even say goodbye?

Mary Poppins: No, they didn't.

Parrot Umbrella: Look at them! You know, they think more of their father than they do of you!

Mary Poppins: That's as it should be.

Parrot Umbrella: Well, don't you care?

Mary Poppins: Practically perfect people never permit sentiment to muddle their thinking.

Parrot Umbrella: Is that so? Well, I'll tell you one thing, Mary Poppins: you don't fool me a bit!

Mary Poppins: Oh, really?

Parrot Umbrella: Yes, really. I know exactly how you feel about these children, and if you think I'm going to keep my mouth shut any longer, I'll...

[she clamps his mouth shut]

Mary Poppins: That will be quite enough of that, thank you.

As we learn to think more of our Father, we will find that we are not distracted by the tyranny of mortal sentiments based on the five senses, we will in fact be "practically perfect people that never permit sentiment to muddle" our thought. We will be guided and inspired by "the bond of perfectness," the love of Love.

[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
PHONE 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.
1314 Parkview Valley Drive
Ballwin, MO 63011

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

[LETTING 3 SPECIAL NEEDS BE KNOWN –
Significant funding is still needed for these special opportunities:
1. Now that CedarS video show circuit is in full swing, it is apparent that getting many to camp will depend on "Love's Provision" of campership assistance. Could you be one of the angels who gives towards camperships and the life-altaring and life-altering experiences they provide at CedarS?]

2. 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 telltheir reasons to give.

3. “Adopt the Herd” Matching Opportunity! Generous donors, aware of the ongoing need to care for CedarS herd, will match donations for our horse program! (~$20k needed to reach $50k 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) athttp://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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