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Leave hollow & short-lived fun for the everlasting joy & “superabundance of being”!

Kerry Jenkins, C.S., House Springs, MO
Posted Monday, April 27th, 2015

[Leave hollow & short-lived fun for the everlasting joy & “superabundance of being”! (3)]
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

Everlasting Punishment

for Sunday, May 3, 2015

by Kerry Jenkins, CS, House Springs, MO
(314) 406-0041 kerry.helen.jenkins@gmail.com

This is one of several of Mrs. Eddy’s lessons dealing with strongly, and widely held Christian doctrinal points. One could wade through any number of carefully researched documents that explain why this belief—that we can be eternally punished for sins—is truly Biblically-based, or based on mistranslation of Greek (and so on). But then we run the danger of being like the Pharisees and Scribes who, in their zest for following the letter of the Word, fell so far short of its heart that they ended up trying to kill the best man that ever lived.

What I love about this lesson is that it takes the premise—that we are sinners that may need punishment—and turns it on its end. Man is made as the sinless reflection of God. The fact that it appears that we sin is just that—an appearance, and not reality. This makes it possible for man to overcome any number of sinful challenges through understanding not how awful we are, but rather how amazing we are as God’s creation. The doctrinal discussion of everlasting punishment is hardly necessary when we recognize this point and the healing power that it holds. Through the Biblical illustrations contained in this lesson we can see the true picture that Jesus most helpfully revealed to us by healing and parable.

Just a few points that are beautifully emphasized in the Golden Text and Responsive Reading: These texts are prayers from a heart that is yearning for the comforting sense of God’s presence and power. They are also affirmations of His mercy, lovingkindness and attentiveness. I love the image of “my song in the night”, which represents to me the declaration of our faith, love and gratitude, even in our darkest moments. And the idea of communing “…with mine own heart” syncs beautifully with the idea in this lesson of progressing and of being honest with ourselves about what we need to do better. Mercy, lovingkindness, tenderness—none of these qualities can belong to a God that would condone everlasting punishment for His creation.

Section 1: Man is sinless
“I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.” (B3). As has been mentioned before, “name” in the Bible refers to someone’s actual identity or nature. God has called you as He knows you, you belong to Him. You cannot have an identity that doesn’t measure up, is in any way unlovable. I know there is an apparent dichotomy between what we seem to be and what we are. Citation S1 states: “Immortal man was and is God’s image or idea…” (Italics added). There are not two “men”, one immortal and the other mortal, nor are they mixed together. It is our joyous task to untangle that which seems to be from that which is. Reading through the Science and Health portion of this section logically reveals why the man of God’s creation can only be sinless and lovely. Nothing there to be punished. [So, “…state the case for your innocence.” (B3, Isa. 43:26 New International Version)]

Section 2: The value of progress over punishment.
It would be great if we all simply were willing, in the way citation S13 points out, to “leave the old for the new”. This is certainly natural to man. But it does seem like we sometimes have to experience the suffering, or punishment, if you will, that sin brings to our experience in order to leave it. This is the story of the Prodigal son. There are many beautiful metaphors included that translate well into a modern-day example. [Click the P.S.#1 for A Social Media version.] The son chose to go into a “far country”. That might represent not only somewhere that would normally be a place of banishment, but might be seen as a choice that differs mightily from that which he was taught. You might say that he was trying to purposely “thumb his nose” at the things that his father had raised him to believe. Later, he “comes to himself”. Isn’t that a way of saying that he sees his identity for what it truly is. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t know to return to his father would he? He is, of course, filled with remorse, and humility, but he knew that he was not condemned forever to feed husks to swine. This is the Father that Jesus portrayed. A Father of love, mercy, forgiveness, tenderness—not of anger, revenge and punishment.

Section 3: We all can have superabundant being!
What the son found when he travelled far from home and lived extravagantly, was not joyous and “superabundant” being, but hollow and short-lived fun. Any punishment we might receive for sin stems from the fact that any seeming joy derived from living a life that is not based in Spirit, cannot last, and has no substance. When we believe that we can derive joy from living fully in matter, we have to accept the fact that we can get misery from the same source. This is because matter is unreliable, it dies. It’s like a delicious ice cream cake that we eat in its entirety, only to find ourselves sickened afterwards, or just generally suffering the uncomfortable weight gain, mental and physical, of overindulgence. There always seems to be a downside to something that is solely matter-based in its joys. But Mrs. Eddy tells us that “…the superabundance of being is on the side of God, good” (S14). The son was able to find that superabundant sense of life by forsaking his former life. A true reflection is only visible if the mirror is clear. If you are trying to hide your sins you are looking in a murky mirror and only see a murky reflection. Turning toward the Father and away from that darker view of self, we rediscover that vibrant sense of life that is ours from God.

Section 4: “Comparisons are odorous.” [Click P.S. #2 for more on this Shakespeare quote.]
And here we have the older son. He was faithful and always doing his duty to his father right? Didn’t he deserve a party, some recognition? Never mind that he got double the inheritance of his younger brother. What a great example of the misery that comes with disobeying the Commandment to not covet. Our joy and satisfaction must come from our own relationship to God, not a relationship that is held in comparison to another. This son’s self-righteousness was exposed when his brother returned. His own shortcomings and need for progress were thrown into relief by his fury over the party given for his younger brother. It is “Spiritual living and blessedness” that reveal to us what truly joyous living is like (S25). Sometimes we can get lulled into thinking that just “being good” is “enough”. Progress is probably the most relentless of God’s laws. It requires a constant forward movement that is not measured in relation to another person. But like any of God’s requirements, the blessings and peace that it showers on us are well worth the challenge.

Section 5: Always an opportunity to see.
We should always be asking God to “open our eyes” to see more of His kingdom around us. Bartimaeus wore the cloak of a beggar. But when Jesus came by he asked for sight. And when Jesus called him he threw off the trappings of a man that was so bound by matter. He “rose”, lifted his thought higher, and approached Jesus, the healing Christ. Progress requires us to drop our limited sense of self, to leave the sins that trip us up, and follow the path that Jesus laid out for us. This opens vistas of spiritual insight and understanding. It is interesting to note that mortal mind will often put up a fuss against such progress. In Bartimaeus’ case it was the crowd around him telling him to be quiet. It is really impersonal mortal mind that objects to being sidelined and ignored and ultimately to disappearing altogether.

Section 6: “everlasting consolation and good hope through grace” not “everlasting punishment”
That line is from citation B18 which assures us of the comforting love that God has for us. Also included in this section is the “everlasting strain” that Love sends forth, and we hear, as we let sin fall away from us—as we progress. There is a “new song” that we can sing that comes from the heart of Love and has nothing to do with human doctrinal theories that see man as materially based and separate from God. We can see His salvation here and now, no waiting necessary, and certainly no eternal punishment in the offing.


[Warren’s P.S. #1: Click the Sunday School media library link below for “The Prodigal Son, A Social Media Retelling” at http://christianscience.com/member-resources/for-churches/sunday-schools/sunday-school-resources/media-library/the-prodigal-son-a-social-media-retelling ]

[Warren’s P.S. #2: In his 1599 play, “Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare has his character Dogberry say “Comparisons are odorous” meaning "odious," to get amusingly wrong the well-known phrase or John Donne proverb “comparisons are odious( horrible, detestable, repulsive). Stop comparing the present to the past or to the future by living in the now with unconditional gratitude and love. You need have no more regrets about the past and no more anxiety about the future!]


[Bracketed italics added by CedarS Director, Warren Huff, who’s forever grateful for all the good already received and 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 tell their 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 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!


[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/ ]

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

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