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Sing the Ever-New Tune of Life Divine!

Craig L. Ghislin, C.S., Glen Ellyn (Bartlett), IL
Posted Monday, January 11th, 2016

[Sing the Ever-New Tune of Life Divine!]

Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Life”

For January 11—17, 2016

By Craig L. Ghislin, C.S. Glen Ellyn, Illinois (Bartlett)

craig.ghislincs@icloud.com / (630) 830-8683

As we begin the New Year, many people are energized and ready for a fresh start. Each year at CedarS Camps we refer to “the best summer yet.” Travel advertisers in the United States have borrowed that idea urging potential customers to make this “the best 2016 ever.” Comedians are already poking fun at resolutions broken, and fitness gurus are entreating us to get a fresh start on diet and exercise. Our Golden Text this week also turns our attention to new things.

Yet Bible commentators point out that the freshness and newness referred to in Revelation is more than a change of heart. Eighteenth-century biblical scholar John Gill writes, “this is the work of the Spirit… which is done daily, and is not peculiar to any particular period of time.” It’s one thing to make a decision to take your life in a new direction, or refocus your efforts to become more productive. But it’s another to let God completely transform you. And as Gill suggests, this spiritual transformation is going on daily.

The psalmist in the Responsive Reading enjoins us to daily sing a new song to God in praise for his goodness. This may seem at first, less than earth-shaking advice, but having fresh gratitude each day in recognition of God’s omnipotence requires a certain amount of discipline. We too often get lazy and complacent when things seem to be going along reasonably well. By contrast, if things are tough, we can fall into lethargy and cynicism. So always looking for new things to be grateful for, and acknowledging God as the source of all we have is actually a valuable exercise that keeps our spiritual senses attuned.

The ongoing awareness of God as our only source of Life and goodness is planting ourselves in “the courts of the Lord” which the psalmist affirms is a worthwhile activity. Doing so enables us to “flourish.” That means we bud and bloom every day. Humanly, productivity is expected to diminish with age, but when we actively claim our heritage as planted in God, we bring forth fruit continually. [More on our only inheritances being divine is shared in a Cobbey Crisler Download about Psalms 16 (RR) in the online version of this Met.] We're not subject to the whims of mortal belief, statistics, or trends. God maintains our lot—giving us council and directing our ways. Safe, strong, and protected, nothing can move us from our spiritual standpoint.

Section 1: Continually New Views

Devoting time toward understanding God, is most certainly a high-value endeavor. Thinking of God as our rock and salvation (B1) evokes images of strength and constancy. The psalmist says he “waited patiently” for the Lord (B2). According to Presbyterian minister Albert Barnes (1798-1870) the Hebrew phrase is: “Waiting, I waited…” meaning it wasn’t a momentary act of hope. Nor was his prayer answered quickly. The petitioner had been patiently persisting even when it seemed like his prayer would not be answered. But ultimately the prayer bore fruit. Considering what we just said about newness in the Responsive Reading, it may seem off point here to think about persistence. But the point is, when we’re earnestly praying, we don’t wear out. Nor are we repeating the same prayer over and over. We’re moving forward, like the children of Israel through the wilderness step by step (B3). And as their shoes remained sturdy, so our prayer retains its buoyancy and freshness as we approach each situation with a fresh outlook.

Moses presents the Children of Israel with a choice (B4). If they choose obedience to God, they will do well, be blessed, and live; if not, they’re headed for cursing and death. After patiently persisting, the psalmist in citation B2 is rewarded with a new song given to him from God. In a sense, Moses was asking the Children of Israel to decide which song they were going to sing—one of complaint and negativity, or one of gratitude and hope. We all have the opportunity to let God put a new song in our hearts. We can always choose rightly.

Life and being are of God (S1). That means Life and being are not of matter, or heredity, or economics, or nationality, or education. All we are and have comes from God. Life has no beginning or end (S2). That's what eternity means: Time is irrelevant. But notice that we can't have a material belief of life and realize the eternality of divine Life at the same time. We must choose one or the other—the finite, or the infinite. As mentioned in other Mets, matter is human concept—a “concept” is an image in the mind with the eyes closed. To really see, or perceive Life we need to open our eyes—exercise our spiritual sense. Citation S4 reminds us that we see and experience harmony in our experience to the proportionate degree of our admission of good over evil claims. It's up to us to shape our views into “loveliness, freshness, and continuity, rather than into age and blight” (S5). And as each step in the wilderness brought the Israelites new perspectives, so does each experience we face bring us “new views of divine goodness and love” (S6).

Section 2: Material Outlook Reversed

Not only should our prayerful approach to life be continually new, the good God supplies is also continually refreshed. As John Gill elaborates on citation B5, the tender mercies of the Lord fail not, “there are instances of them every day, not only in a temporal, but in a spiritual sense; they are ever new, always fresh and vigorous, constant and perpetual.”

To human belief resources are subject to laws of scarcity. Costs go up when availability is low, and this puts a stress on those who can’t afford as much. The widow woman who appealed to Elisha couldn’t pay her debts and, as was customary at the time, was in danger of losing her sons to the creditor (B6). Commentators point out that she wasn’t poor because she’d been extravagant or lazy. Her late husband had been devoted to God and refused to go along with the king’s methods of worship, therefore, they had limited access to worldly advantages.

When Elisha asked what she had in the house, nothing remained save a jar of oil. Her willingness to use the oil as Elisha directed showed that she was willing to let God transform her thinking. Her obedience allowed for a creative solution. She and her sons each did what they were told. Notice that they did their work in private, out of the view of doubters. And when the vessels were all filled, they didn’t skip town with the proceeds. They dutifully paid their debt and had enough left over to live on.

Mrs. Eddy effectively asks us to make a choice when she asks, "Is Life sustained by matter or by Spirit?" (S7). How we answer will determine how well we fare. Our textbook provides an answer in citation S8. It starts out, “In divine Science” which is another way of saying “in reality.” In reality “man is sustained by God.” But this refers to the man who’s Life is God—the spiritual man. Actually, matter has no life at all. The understanding of divine life doesn’t make us undying mortals, it awakens us to realize we are spiritual through and through, and therefore not even subject to death.

Think of what a relief it is to understand this. If we are constantly looking at the spreadsheets and material data to tell us what we have, and can or can't do, our spiritual outlook is obscured (S9). Spiritual views and the material don't mix. In fact they conflict directly. So we have to choose which approach we're going to follow.

Science and Health teaches that we should follow the facts of Science even though they are unsupported by empirical data (S10). Mrs. Eddy always reasoned from God and perfection. It may seem a difficult challenge to adhere to spiritual reasoning, but doing so enables us to see what’s really going on. Fear and lack are evils having no place “in the human or divine economy” (S11).

Relying totally on God to sustain us isn’t a method of manipulating things to go our way, or to conjure supply out of thin air, but spiritual reasoning changes our viewpoint and reveals the multitudinous things of Spirit that have always been there, but were not seen because shielded by material reasoning (S12). Seeing God as the source of all Life and goodness is essentially opening our eyes—moving from material concept to spiritual perception.

Section 3: Transforming Power

Whatever we may know of earthly things, the only reliable information we can have of heavenly things comes from the wellspring of spiritual understanding (B7). Spiritual understanding not only changes how we see things, but it also dictates and informs how we make decisions and solve challenges.

The human tendency is to collect information, lay out the pros and cons and make what we call an informed decision. But, Proverbs instructs us not to lean on our own understanding (B8). Human understanding is insufficient. Acknowledging God as the true source of life and all goodness enables us to tap in to the law of spiritual abundance that is always plentiful.

John records Jesus being invited to a wedding feast (B9 and B9 Download). However there seems to be a shortage of wine. Some feel that this story is a metaphor for the transformation of thought from Judaism to Christianity. That’s an open question, but there are lessons in the story pointing to renewal. Mary saw a picture of need and instantly saw an opportunity to demonstrate abundance. John Calvin has an interesting take on the six water pots. He felt they were deliberately visible to the guests as a demonstration of Jewish piety and commitment to cleanliness. So Jesus transforming the water to wine was also a correction of false piety. The text doesn’t say whether the water had been used or not, but in either case, Jesus specifically used these pots rather than the empty vessels of spent wine. This way there would be no doubt as to what was happening. Mary took care to be sure that the servants did exactly what Jesus told them too. This can be a model for us too, to fully trust divine direction in order to experience [divine inspiration and] renewal in our lives [—in every aspect of the human experience that the six water pots represented according to former Christian Science Lecturer Geith Plimmer.]

Jesus exemplified what it means to live a life based in spiritual understanding (S13). Clearly he didn't stop his mission with turning water into wine. He showed that a spiritual understanding could also cure the sick, reform the sinner, and raise the dead. These deeds weren't miracles or tricks. They were manifestations of his divine understanding (S14).

“Wine” in the glossary means: inspiration, and understanding (S15). Metaphorically Jesus replaced a picture of lack with the inspiration of spiritual understanding. His clarity of thought allowed a change of standpoint. This is true for everyone. Our Leader prayed that this transforming power of Christ be present in each of our lives (S16). When we see life from a spiritual rather than a material basis we “perceive Christianity [reality], or Truth, in its divine Principle” (S17).

Remember, we don’t know whether the water in the pots was dirty or clean. There might have been some of each, but the Christ turned all of it into wine. Whatever the condition your life is in, the Christ is here now to make you [“every whit whole”—] a “new creature” (S18).

Section 4: A New You

How we are thinking determines every aspect of our lives. This includes our health. To human sense it seems that the body acts on its own. It seems that we are prisoners of the body and have little or no choice in what the body does. But Christian Science corrects this mistake. The fact is that the body is not only directed by thought, but that the body is itself a belief. As Science and Health states on page 416:16, “The material body, which you call me, is mortal mind….”

The scriptures plainly tell us we have a choice, "why will ye die? ... turn yourselves and live ye" (B11). The Proverbs also teach that deferred hope [or “hope deferred, ingratitude, distain” (Hymn 207)] makes us sick, but uplifted desires [“make me glad” (207) and] bring life like a fountain, and when wisdom takes over we're preserved (B12, B13). Paul also urges us to avoid conforming our thoughts to worldly parameters and be transformed in order to prove the will of God (B14). This section is teeming with brief statements of encouragement: “be strong, fear not” (B15) [This verse is from Isaiah 35, which is the chapter that Ruth Huff opened to as God’s purpose for CedarS Camps, with this summer’s theme being “Find wholeness in the ‘way of holiness’ from Isaiah 35—or I-35, v. 8]. In each case, we’re being told that we have the power to change our viewpoint, and therefore, our experience. As The Amplified Bible translates citation B16, “”You who seek God, inquiring and requiring Him [as your first need], let your hearts revive and live!”

Our textbook helps to renew our thinking, reminding us that life is never dependent on matter or material conditions. Man is spiritual and “not subject to decay and dust” (S19). But it all starts with how we’re thinking. “As a man thinks so is he” (S20)—you are what you think. What could be plainer than that? But Christian Science takes it a step further—the better we understand ourselves spiritually, the more the spiritual view will be evidenced in lives renewed and healed. What appears to be a diseased body is nothing more than a belief of mortal mind. Mortality recedes as we learn that matter never sustains existence (S21). Did you notice that we lose materiality in direct proportion as we gain spiritual understanding? The less we think of matter, the more immortality we possess.

This time of year there are lots of advertisements about working out, and transforming our bodies. Our textbook tells us we will have a better body when faith in matter is conquered (S21). News programs are filled with reports on the effect of food on our health. Knowing that the body is subservient to Mind breaks the fear that the body, or the types of food we eat, can destroy us. Bodily organs and functions have nothing to do with life (S22). Every function of our being is governed by the divine Mind. The human mind has no power to make laws or to do anything. We have to be clear that the body is not maintained by laws of the human mind, but by the divine Mind—God.

Section 5: Always Choose Life

It seems to material sense that the body can become diseased and shut down of its own accord without our permission. Sometimes we’re given a medical prognosis claiming we have only a short time to live. Does that mean we are obliged to accept it? Not at all—we always have a choice. The psalmist writes, "I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord" (B17). Jeremiah too, promises that God will restore our health and heal us of our wounds (B18). We never have to accept disease, decrepitude, or decay. The power of Truth can restore us completely—our “flesh shall be fresher than a child’s” [as was Job’s when healed in v. 25] (B19). Jesus knew we were obligated only to God and that His “commandment is life everlasting” (B20). Speaking of II Corinthians 5:17 (B21), Methodist Founder John Wesley comments that, “only the power of God can make a Christian” or as Paul puts it—“a new creature.” This means becoming a Christian, or “new creature” is not simply a personal decision, but rather, the entire transformation is initiated through the power of God that creates man anew. The phrase “new creature” in the Greek refers to something entirely new and original. That means that the old material beliefs disappear completely as reality is understood.

Mrs. Eddy writes, "Life is real, and death is the illusion" (S23). Remember in Section 2 we said that matter has no life at all? That’s because material life is an illusion, and Life, God, is the only reality. We prove this by holding to the consciousness of existence. Mrs. Eddy expected us to believe this, and be able to prove it. In fact, she felt there was no way to avoid it.

She proved it through her practice. In Mr. Clark's story (S24) the physician was completely taken in by the material evidence and told Mrs. Eddy “the patient was dying.” Mrs. Eddy entered the situation from an opposite standpoint. She knew that we never have to succumb to disease. We always have a choice for life, and she made that choice. We don't know what Mrs. Eddy was thinking but she must have had a very clear idea of the truth. In a few minutes Mr. Clark fell asleep, and awakened saying he felt “like a new man,” free of suffering (S25). Mrs. Eddy didn't suggest he take it easy, or gradually convalesce. She told him straightaway to get up, get dressed, and eat, which he did, and went back to work in two weeks. Through this and countless other healing experiences Mrs. Eddy was convinced that Life is God. This wasn't a question of human will. It was the human will yielding to the power of truth. Science and Health says we only need “a single moment” of realization for healing to occur (S26). In that moment we realize that life is “purely spiritual,—neither in nor of matter” (S26).

Our leader says that if we know that disease is incapable of destroying life we naturally lose our fear of it, and we’re quickened into “newness of life” (S27). Notice that Mr. Clark said he felt “like a new man.” That’s the point. Being healed [—“every whit whole”—as the Christ makes a man in John 7:23] isn’t returning to being a healthier mortal. It’s being created anew.

Section 6: Waking to God’s Day

This “single moment” of spiritual realization referred to in S26 is sometimes referred to as waking to “God's day”— “the day which the Lord hath made” (B22). God's day is the only day there is. God’s day is the reality of Life. Isaiah says the waking realization of God's power enlightens our consciousness as if seven days of light were rolled into one (B23). In that day of realization death, disease, sorrow, loss, pain, and crying vanish into nothingness. All our old worries and fears drop out of sight. Everything is new.

Our textbook elaborates on this moment of realization as a “foretaste of eternity” (S28). When we maintain and sustain that spiritual standpoint, the belief of death disappears entirely, and we waken to the reality of spiritual existence and eternal life. This waking to eternal life describes the Ascension—which is waking up to our Life in God. When spiritual sense takes over, all material time and space dissolve (S29). This is God's day in which there is “no night.” Once more, we see that mortality disappears in direct proportion as eternity, and the newness of Life are revealed and understood (S30). We can begin to achieve this ultimate awakening into newness of life by following the directions given to us in the beginning of this Lesson-Sermon. Beginning today we can endeavor to lean not on human understanding but on God, “the sustaining infinite” (S31). In proportion as we do this we will be renewed and the “newness of Life” will open the way to infinite blessings.


[W's P.S.: Thanks to all you regular and recent donors, we met and exceeded the amount needed by year end to receive a $25,000 matching grant to accomplish our Maintenance Musts! Another matching fund donor will match dollar-for-dollar your "Adopt the Herd" gifts to provide needed care for our wonderful herd of horses. Other needs starting with $1 items can be found and met on our Giving 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, HUGE ANSWER TO PRAYER to have MORE MONTHLY GIFTS ONLINE which you can easily set up at https://www.cedarscamps.org/donate/?a=donate-recurring .

To discuss privately how to transfer securities or other assets or planned gifts to 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 Office
1314 Parkview Valley Drive
Ballwin, MO 63011

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) 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 version of it.]

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