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Embrace the Word of God and follow Christ Jesus’ example!

Kathy Fitzer, Lake St. Louis, MO
Posted Monday, August 21st, 2017

Embrace the Word of God and follow Christ Jesus’ example!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Christ Jesus”
for Sunday, August 27, 2017

Prepared by Kathy Fitzer, CS

[THANKS IN ADVANCE FOR HELPING TO MEET NEW TOP NEEDS OF THE WEEK:]

Golden Text: Jesus’ words and deeds made the Word (or divine manifestation) of God practical. The saving power embodied in Jesus’ works illustrated the divine nature of man, and man’s inseparable relationship to God. The authority with which he spoke came directly from the life-giving Spirit which he taught and demonstrated. The verse that serves as the Golden Text for this week’s lesson follows a discussion Jesus was having with the crowd following him, in which he tells them, “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” (John 6: 53, NIV) This was terribly confusing to the people because they thought of his flesh and blood from a literal standpoint. But Jesus elevates thought by explaining … “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.” (v. 63) The Word gives life! Jesus embodied the Word!

Responsive Reading: Turn attention to God. [See Cobbey Crisler insights in Warren’s PS#1 & #2]
Once again the emphasis is on God being the force behind all that Jesus said and did. It was always Jesus’ intent to turn attention away from himself and to his Father. If we understand the Source, we realize that the power of good expressed by Jesus was never limited to him — but is available to all who understand man to be the reflection (the son) of God. Reading the first part in The Message helped clarify for me the lines, “I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejected me, and received not my words, hath one that judgeth him:" The Message puts it: “If anyone hears what I am saying and doesn’t take it seriously, I don’t reject him. I didn’t come to reject the world; I came to save the world. But you need to know that whoever puts me off, refusing to take in what I’m saying, is willfully choosing rejection. The Word, the Word-made-flesh that I have spoken and that I am, that Word and no other is the last word. I’m not making any of this up on my own. The Father who sent me gave me orders, told me what to say and how to say it. And I know exactly what his command produces: real and eternal life. That’s all I have to say. What the Father told me, I tell you.” (John 12: 44-48) Jesus came to reveal the reality of Life divine. It is up to each one whether or not to accept the Life-giving teachings. But, they will always be available to those ready to turn to them. The Comforter — the Holy Ghost — is forever with mankind, reminding us of Jesus’ teachings and demonstrations, and making them available to all in a way that can be individually understood. I enjoyed expanding my concept of “comfort” with definitions from Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. To comfort is not just to ease or take away pain and discomfort, but it is also: “To strengthen; to invigorate; to cheer or enliven” and “to give new vigor to the spirits;” How important it is to be alive to God’s presence — and to affirm, “I SEE my Saviour! I HEAR the glad sound! I FEEL the power of the Word!” And to know that it is “the Truth that [makes] us free, and [is] found by you and me in the life and the love of our Lord.” (See the Communion Hymn, #298 with words by Mary Baker Eddy)

Section 1 – Be willing to respond to the Call of Christ [Cobbey comments PS#3 and #4]

The disciples that Jesus called to follow him were ordinary men — like us! We know that when Jesus called them, they dropped what they were doing and followed him. What most impressed them as they listened to him preach (and probably was responsible for them sticking with him) was the authority with which he taught — not just repeating words, but speaking the WORD (letting the Truth speak through him in response to listening to his Father/Mother.) And, of course, this Word brought healing to the sick and those possessed with “devils.” (B3) But, the Christ didn’t begin with Jesus, nor did it end with him. Isaiah glimpsed the Christ and foretold the coming of Jesus who would fully embody the Word (or Christ) and make it practical. (B1) In introducing the coming of Jesus, the gospel of John doesn’t talk about a human birth — but describes the coming of Jesus as “the Word was made flesh.” (B2) And then Paul went on to preach Christ to the Gentiles explaining the continuity of Christ as the light that shines in the hearts of all men, making available to all the knowledge of the glory of God which was fully seen in (but not limited to) “the face of Jesus Christ.” (B4) The Science and Health citations define Christ as the expression of “God’s spiritual, eternal nature” and explain that the word Christ or Messiah “alludes to the spirituality which is taught, illustrated, and demonstrated in the life of which Christ Jesus was the embodiment.” (S1) “Jesus demonstrated Christ.” (S2) Jesus’ “mission was to reveal the Science of celestial being, to prove what God is and what He does for man.” Jesus proved that “Christian Science destroys sickness, sin, and death.” (S3) The thing we must realize is that all that Jesus demonstrated was completely natural — his works being a sign of “a divine influence ever present in human consciousness” and present here and now, delivering mankind from being held captive by the material senses. (S4) WE are being called by Christ to leave our old ways and patterns of thought and cast our “nets” on the side of Spirit. The Scriptures contain everything we need to “learn and to practice Christian healing.” Science and Health opens the Scriptures to us and the Word — or Christ — imparts the power to heal. (S5) What a privilege to answer the call!

Section 2: With the rebuke of Truth exterminate error and overcome resistance [See PS#5]

Jesus is identified in Acts as “healing all that were oppressed of the devil.” (B5) To oppress is to “keep (someone) in subservience and hardship, especially by the unjust exercise of authority:” How often does some devilish thought try to hold us down, saying that we just can’t shake free from some form of sickness or other limitation. Sometimes we even fall into the trap of identifying ourselves so much with the limitation that we resist the Truth that could free us. Isn’t that what happened to the man in the synagogue? He was so mesmerized by the lie that he spoke for the liar — asking Jesus to leave him alone! All error ever wants is to be left alone. But, the devil (or suggestion of evil and its lies) is no match for the authority of Christ, Truth. And as Jesus responded to the challenge and freed the man, more and more people became aware of the authority of the Word — or Christ — with which Jesus spoke. (B6) What an example Jesus gave us all! Understanding his unity with God, Jesus understood the “divine authority for believing in the superiority of spiritual power over material resistance.” (S7) He never felt intimidated by material evidence because he wasn’t relying on his own strength or knowledge as he spoke with the authority of the Word of God in rebuking the devil, whether it appeared in the form of sin, disease, or death. God is the healer! Time doesn’t change that. So, we can expect healing to be as natural today as it was in Jesus’ day when we are as clear about the fact that we are governed by God as Jesus was. (S11) There is only one way to truly rid our world of all that is evil — rather than constantly battling the flames. We have to completely extinguish the cause of the spark. Jesus understood that and Christian Science explains what is necessary. We have to get away from thinking that a problem is personal — and that there are many minds — good, bad, and a combination of the two. This is the exterminator of error — the fact that “God, good is the only Mind, and that the supposititious opposite of infinite Mind — called devil or evil — is not Mind, is not Truth, but error, without intelligence or reality.” (S10) An error cannot resist truth — even in a math problem. Truth cannot be reversed. So, every error is simply a suppositional absence of Truth. Identifying with the one Mind, we speak with the authority of Christ, Truth, and watch the Word destroy every lie. A lie cannot resist or hide from Truth, even when it tries to identify itself as a person. It is always impersonal and has no intelligence with which to truly resist.

Section 3: Speak the Word with authority [See PS#6]

Isaiah prophesied that God would bring salvation to mankind — enabling all to live without fear and experience freedom of sight, hearing, speech and movement. (B7) Jesus fulfilled that prophesy. (B9) He demonstrated the Truth presented in the first chapter of Genesis … that there is one God, one Spirit, creating “man in the image and likeness of Himself, — of Spirit, not of matter.” (S14) Jesus taught us to “speak to disease as one having authority over it.” He didn’t settle for anything less than a change in the bodily condition. After all, the very coming of Jesus illustrated the Word being “made flesh” — made visible to human perception. (S12) We need to remember that we’re not trying to make matter conform to Spirit. We need to see man (and all of creation) as entirely separate from the belief of matter. “Man is spiritual and perfect”! (S17) Science of every sort reveals what the senses aren’t able to perceive — like the movement of the solar system — and establishes the basis for understanding things from this new perspective. So, Christian Science reveals the spiritual and perfect nature of creation. And, consequently, man must be understood from that spiritual and perfect perspective. It is not an option. The only question is when we’re going to give up the false sense of things and think and act from the standpoint of Scientific Truth. When we speak with the authority of Truth, without wavering, the body must correspond.

Section 4: Nurture the “good soil” where the seed of Truth can take root [See PS#7]

An essential aspect of perceiving the spiritual nature of creation is the consistent cultivation of thought. Every time I read Jesus’ parable of the sower and the seed I am made painfully aware of the times that I have been lax in that cultivation. I’m reminded of the times that the receptivity of my thought has been like the way-side soil (in which I eagerly accept the truth, and then the devil manages to rob me of my conviction), or the rocky ground (where I neglect to nurture the Word and it dries up before it has a chance to grow and really take root), or the thorny ground (where the inspiration gets crowded out by the cares and pleasures of the world). And yet, there are also times when I see the fruition of my prayers and am grateful that even a little receptive “good ground” is sufficient for the Word of God to take root and bear fruit. (B11) And, I remain determined to keep working — to not throw my hands in the air and give up! A fruitful garden doesn’t just happen. It requires constant attention. It takes devotion of thought and a desire above all else to keep conditions conducive to growth. But the harvest makes it all worth it! Mrs. Eddy outlines the qualities of thought that need to be cultivated in order to provide fertile soil in which the Word may take root and grow. These include “spiritualization of thought", “Christianization of daily life”, “chastity and purity”. (S20) The “world” — or the “devil” would say that living such a life may sound awfully dull and boring — not to mention out of reach. Don’t be fooled! Spiritualizing thought tears down all walls. It allows us to see through the fog of mortal limitations to see unlimited possibilities in terms of ideas and ability. The idea of something being impossible just doesn’t exist in the realm of Spirit! Christianization demands discipline of thought and love of God and man. But, it also leads to an expectation of following in Jesus’ footsteps. Pretty cool to be able to demonstrate supply, walk through angry crowds, dissolve conflicts, overcome time and space and heal whatever discord presents itself. So, maybe it is worth the alertness it takes to live according to the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount! And what about chastity and purity? We’re told that the pure in heart are blessed because “they shall see God.” I like to think of the ramifications of looking for lost treasure in pristinely clear water, or water that is polluted and murky. You might stumble upon the treasure in the murky water, but the clear water leaves it in plain sight! Think about the treasures God has prepared for us, just waiting to be claimed — health, strength, joy, fulfillment (to name a few.) Cultivating purity includes a willingness to have anything pruned away from thought that would distract us from watching God’s unfoldment of good; anything that would have us pay more attention to what we think will make us happy (or focusing on strictly human goals, faults and limitations) rather than accepting the unique gifts that God is forever providing each of us. The word chastity comes from the Latin, castus, which means to be morally pure. In an effort to get a broader sense of chastity, I’m seeing the need to have high (unpolluted) standards as we make decisions about what to do and think, especially in dealing with one another. We don’t want smog cluttering our thought. It limits our view and keeps us from having the mental atmosphere necessary for the Word of God to take root and come to fruition in our experience. I can’t think of anyone who lived a more unlimited life than Christ Jesus! Modeling our experience after his can’t do anything but bless us! And, if we’re tempted to think that that is too tall an order, remember to start from the basis that Jesus started from — “man being linked by Science to his maker.” (S 21) We find “the real man and his relation to God” as we turn from the false belief that we can be separated from God even for a minute! Separation is the polluted view that disappears as we strive for the purity of seeing our oneness with God.

Section 5: Watch!

Jesus knew that following his example isn’t something that happens without effort. But effort is required to be successful in any field — whether in academics, business, sports, the arts, or anything! Excellence doesn’t come without facing trials — without denying oneself and “taking up the cross.” (B13) Opportunities come all the time to make the right choice — to do what is right, regardless of who we think is watching or not watching. Traditionally, it is thought that the parable in this section refers to being ready for the return of Jesus and judgment day — to be sure to be caught doing the right thing. (B14) But, as Christian Scientists the message seems much broader because salvation — “Life, Truth, and Love understood and demonstrated as supreme over all; sin, sickness, and death destroyed” — comes every moment. (See SH 593: 20) We don’t want to miss any opportunity to discover more about our indivisible relationship with God, and miss the blessing that goes along with that. Recently there have been meteor showers giving quite a show in the night sky. But, to see the show requires actually going outside in the middle of the night and looking skyward, as well as going someplace where the sky isn’t polluted by other light sources. To see good requires us to be vigilant and watching, so we don’t miss what God is doing! (B14, S25) It also means “standing porter” and really watching what we’re thinking — refusing to let sneaky “devil thoughts” come and hang out in consciousness. (S24) Mortal mind is sneaky. Sometimes we let thoughts in that that seem harmless in small quantities — like just a little disappointment, dissatisfaction, resentment, discouragement, fear, doubt, fatigue (on and on.) The problem is they act like a sticky spot — attracting more “stuff” and getting harder and harder to get rid of. So, the best way is to not let anything in that can build up — and to get rid of what we don’t want just as soon as we notice it’s there. We don’t let every unwanted visitor into our homes! So, why would we let them abide in thought? And if we need help cleaning house — get the help! Call on a friend or on a fellow Christian Scientist. Then, together, remember all that Christ Jesus did to show us the right path — and know that the Christ is with us as it was with him, enabling us to follow his example. (S26) We can “pray without ceasing.” We can keep thought so busy watching Good that it remains filled with the light of God. (S28) It’s a lot easier to detect the specks of dirt (and remove them) in a consciousness filled with light!

Section 6: Follow Jesus’ Example

The time had come for the disciples to go out and spread the good news that Jesus came to reveal — the saving power of God’s Christ. They weren’t just sharing Jesus’ teachings, however. They were demonstrating the practicality of them. They were to “heal the sick.” And they did — “healing every where.” One of the biggest lessons I take from this story is the total trust the disciples were asked to have. Not only did they have faith in the Word to heal, but they trusted God to take care of all of their human needs, as well! (B15) Did God love (and support) those early disciples more than he loves and supports us? Certainly not! So, we can put ourselves in the place of the Thessalonians and accept the benediction with which Paul blessed them: “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” (B16, NIV) We have a privilege and duty to follow Jesus’ example to the best of our ability — to let our light shine and apply what we know of the truth of being to every situation we encounter. (S30) This command doesn’t feel like pressure when we realize (as the disciples did) that divine Love is meeting every human need — for us and others. (S29) God is perpetually encouraging us and enabling us. It is not by our own power that we do anything. It “is the spiritual idea, the Holy Ghost and Christ, which enables [us] to demonstrate, with scientific certainty the rule of healing, based upon its divine Principle, Love, underlying, overlying, and encompassing all true being.” (S31) Yay, God!!


Click to enjoy CedarS Online version of Cobbey Crisler insights on select Bible citations from this Christian Science Bible Lesson on “Christ Jesus” for August 27, 2017.


[LETTING CEDARS TOP NEEDS OF THE WEEK BE KNOWN:

  • NEW MATCHING GIFT LISTINGS for CEDARS SPORTS CENTER!
    CONFERENCE TABLES; ACOUTICAL PANELS and BANNERS are all needed to make our new Sports Center ideal for several UPCOMING conferences--as well as for future sporting and all-camp events. This will make this facility a PERFECT place to host INSPIRATIONAL RETREATS for Christian Science Nurses, Bible Students, youth groups, churches, sports teams and more. Prices shown for acoustical panels are at a 20% discount for our not-for-profit status AND INSTALLATION COST HAS ALREADY BEEN PLEDGES BY A DONOR!!
  • "Maintenance Musts" Matching Funds! This hugely helpful matching grant offer has been renewed by dear supporters to match up to $25,000 through December 31, 2017!
  • Thanks to a response to this email we completed the last $1,000 needed for our $50,000 Adopt the Herd matching challenge grant to help feed and care for our herd of horses. See the CedarS photo album for great riding pictures: www.cedarscamps.org/album/2017/70323/activities/ (password: CedarS)

We are profoundly grateful for ongoing outpourings of love and support that have met many of our afore-listed needs!

Especially helpful are your much-needed MONTHLY gifts, past and ongoing, that can be started and adjusted at: www.cedarscamps.org/giving ]


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[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.

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