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Harvest the fruits of the “tree of life” and get rid of the rotten “tree of knowledge of good and evil”

Rick Stewart, C.S., Dresden, Germany
Posted Monday, September 25th, 2017

[Let’s harvest the fruits of the “tree of life” and get rid of the rotten tree of knowledge of good and evil”! ]
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Unreality
for Sunday, October 1, 2017

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

Herbst is the name for autumn here in Germany. The origins of the word herbst, just like autumn, go back to harvest time. It is the time at the end of summer when temperatures begin to drop, days grow shorter and many grains, fruits, and vegetables are ripe and ready for harvest. We see it in the countryside all around Dresden. First the mähdrescher, combine harvester, isbusy in the fields of golden grain. Then there isthe cutting and chopping of the green grassesfor silage or the mowing, raking, and bailing of hay. Field corn is ripening and drying, ready for harvest. And of course apples, pears, and plums are sweet, juicy and ripe for the picking.

I remember a late September afternoon a few years ago when my family was enjoying the Hoffest, (Orchard Open House) of our favorite orchard, Obsthof Rüdiger. Since 1792 the family of our hosts, Ulli and Ute Rüdiger, had been in the fruit business right there. One of the high points of the day was a trailer ride through the orchards. At one point the tractor pulling the wagon stopped and the invitation went out, everyone feel free to pick an apple. As quick as a flash I had a plump, red apple in my hand. And when I took a bite all I could think of was that this was the best apple I had ever eaten. Right off the tree and absolutely delicious, sooooo good.

What a joy it must be for our friends, Ulli and Ute, to harvest the fruits of what they had planted. That apple I had enjoyed so much was the fruit of years of hard work. Wise tree selection. Careful tending, fertilizing, pruning. As we have gotten to know the Ulli and Ute I learned what thought they put into selecting and tending the trees for their orchard. The delicious fruit was actually the fruit of their labor. As we are reminded in this week’s Golden Text the source of the fruit, the tree, must be carefully selected, cared for and when the time comes it produces a good crop. But the unproductive trees, the less desirable are rooted up andburned. Through the Rüdigers I have learned that it is not just the fruit, but the source of the fruit, the tree, that is important. So, all this week as I study this week’s Bible Lesson I am going to be asking myself what trees have I allowed to grow in my orchard? And what quality of fruit are they producing? Thinking of these lessons, Jesus’ words from the Sermon on the Mount that are our Golden Text this week made much more sense to me.

Golden Text Matthew 7:18, 20 “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. . . . Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”

Our Master was always interested that we learn the truths of the Kingdom of Heaven, he was teaching us about our harvest of good spiritualfruits. His words shared over 2,000 years ago point us to the reality of God’s creation, the good harvest and the source of our fruit. He also alerted us to the unreality of false messages, the evil that is no part of what God had grown. And so, it is important to also learnto do away with the source of evil growing in our orchard of thought, not just disposing of the “bad apples,” but also getting rid of the rotten, unproductive trees that are taking up place in our orchard. In this lesson we are going to learn about “the fruit of the tree of life” and be alerted to the unwanted fruit of “the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”

Here are a couple examples from other translations of our Golden Text in its immediate context.

Matthew 15-20 “Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don’t be impressed with charisma; look for character. Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned.” (The Message)

“Living, not professing, is what matters.”

Matthew 15-20 “Be on your guard against false religious teachers, who come to you dressed up as sheep but are really greedy wolves. You can tell them by their fruit. Do you pick a bunch of grapes from a thorn-bush or figs from a clump of thistles? Every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree is incapable of producing bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit. The tree that fails to produce good fruit is cut down and burnt. Soyou may know men by their fruit.” ( J.B. Phillips New Testament)

The Responsive Reading continues our lessons about the importance choosing the right “source” with some great tree selection advice.

Responsive Reading Psalms 1:1–3; Proverbs 3:13–18

Here are some alternate translations of our Responsive Reading:

NLT - 1 Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. 2 But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. 3 They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.

CEB – Proverbs 3: 13-18 13 Happy are those who find wisdom and those who gain understanding. 14 Her profit is better than silver, and her gain better than gold. 15 Her value exceeds pearls; all you desire can't compare with her. 16 In her right hand is a long life; in her left are wealth and honor. 17 Her ways are pleasant; all her paths are peaceful. 18 She is a tree of life to those who embrace her; those who hold her tight are happy.

Wisdom and understanding are indeed sources of good fruit and happiness, or as Proverbs puts it, “She (understanding) is a tree of life!”

Section 1: The “tree of life” produces the fruits worth keeping.

We begin our lesson with one of the most important verses in the Bible,

Citation B1 states “God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31) As I read this I suddenly realized that it is not just God seeing that Good, but the fact is that is what creation is, “good,” and only good. It is “finished” as Bible citation B2 puts it.

As Our Leader states in citation S1 “God pronounced good all that He created, and the Scriptures declare that He created all. The “tree of life” stands for the idea of Truth, and the sword which guards it is the type of divine Science. The “tree of knowledge” stands for the erroneous doctrine that the knowledge of evil is as real, hence as God-bestowed, as the knowledge of good.” (526:15–22)

She continues in citation S2 “The “tree of life” is significant of eternal reality or being. The “tree of knowledge” typifies unreality.” (538:13–15)

Holding on to this reality of good and casting away the unreality of evil although perhaps a work in progress, a work in the orchard so to speak, can bear immediate fruits.

Years ago our band of neighborhood kids had descended on a large mulberry tree. It was a time when the tree was full of ripe mulberries and that meant climbing and eating. I was the youngest, maybe 7 or 8, but I was eager to join in with the harvest, yummmmm. At some point as I tried to make my way along one of the bigger branches of the tree I slipped and fell perhaps 15 feet or so. When I hit the ground quite hard I can remember thinking, “I’m okay, I’m okay.” One of my arms was hurting really bad, and I was limping around saying to myself, “I’m okay. It’s all right.” You know Sunday School lessons that teach children that they can never be outside God’s presence become practical and healing tools when they need it most. Knowing God, Good, was right there was quick and effective. This experience did not even have to get back to the dependable source of comfort, my mom or dad. In just a short time all the symptoms of injury were gone. I could even join in more mulberry eating.

You know that was not my first healing and I know it will not be my last, but it is part of the work in progress that we all are. We begin to choose what we are going to accept as real and lasting in our lives. We dispose of the weeds of unreality and their evil fruits. And we gain just a little more of the reality of God’s good creation. As Mrs. Eddy writes in Miscellaneous Writings,“The weeds of mortal mind are not always destroyed by the first uprooting; they reappear, like devastating witch-grass, to choke the coming clover. O stupid gardener! watch their reappearing, and tear them away from their native soil, until no seedling be left to propagate —  and rot.” Mis. 343:20

Section 2: You have an advocate, a helper, a comforter, hang in there!

The next three sections share with us examples from Jesus life where he absolutely demonstrated the unreality of evil’s claims. He proves that sin, disease, and death are unreal. He demonstrated their unreality! And he is the best friend anyone could have as he helps us see the unreality of evil and that all-presence of God’s goodness.

As we read in citation B5 “if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:” (I John 2:1)

That word translated as advocate is in the original Greek, “parakletos.” This is what Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance has to say about it.

Strong's Concordance paraklétos: called to one's aid.

Original Word: παράκλητος, ου, ὁ
Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine
Transliteration: paraklétos
Phonetic Spelling: (par-ak'-lay-tos)
Short Definition: an advocate, comforter, helper, Paraclete
Definition: (a) an advocate, intercessor, (b) a consoler, comforter, helper, (c) Paraclete. 3875 paráklētos (from 3844 /pará, "from close-beside" and 2564 /kaléō, "make a call") – properly, a legal advocate who makes the right judgment-call because close enough to the situation. 3875 /paráklētos ("advocate, advisor-helper") is the regular term in NT times of an attorney (lawyer) – i.e. someone giving evidence that stands up in court.

If at times you feel discouraged remember you are not alone, you have the best attorney in town arguing on your behalf. Don’t give up on yourself. You are not alone. You have an advocate! As we read in Citation B6 | Matthew 9:2–7 where Jesus heals a paralyzed man. Jesus encourages the man, “Son, be of good cheer,” or as we might say today, “hang in there.” Jesus told the man his sins were forgiven, rise up and walk, and take you bed and go home. The man’s “bed” or mat probably was strategically placed where he could beg and earn a little money. But that bed where he was lying in hopelessness could be immediately rolled up thanks to Jesus. He could carry it home. Why? Because the man had found a good defense counsel, an advocate!

I have always found great encouragement in the many examples citing Jesus’ healing of paralysis. No belief of sin need paralyzeanyone where the Christ governs. Obedience, responsiveness, receptivity, willingness all contributed to breaking free from imprisoning beliefs. No fear had the power to freeze right activity.

About forty years ago in the early days of my practice I received a call one day. A long timestudent of Christian Science that had just moved to town had awakened one morning unable to speak or move. Her daughter had called asking for prayerful help. I immediately went to visit. The daughter had to go out of town and I said, “Don’t worry we’ll be fine here together.” I spent the rest of the day with this dear one. I simply read out loud from Science and Health all day long. In the evening she was ready to eat something. And later she fell into a deep, restful sleep. I continued to read most of that night. When she awoke in the morning she could speak, was able to get up and all was well.

Let’s constantly affirm that the evils, sin, sickness, and death are no part of God’s creation and they cannot paralyze any activity of Good. Remember, we are not alone in this rejection of error, this unreality, we have an advocate, a Comforter!.

Section 3: The unrealities of sickness and disease destroyed.

I like the way Jesus treated disease. He simply destroyed it. He cast it out. Just like a good gardener he pulled those weeds up by the roots and put them on the rubbish heap! And he encouraged his followers to do the same. I am sure that it was this habitual healing activity that inspired Mary Baker Eddy to obediently and humbly follow his example.

Citation B9 states how ALL false knowledge and experience of sickness and disease yielded to Christ's healing power: “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.” (Matthew 4:23 23)

Citation B10 gives a specific example of one of Jesus' countless, instantaneaous healing: “And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.” (Matthew 8:2, 3)

In citation S13 Mary Baker Eddy explains “Sickness, sin, and death are not the fruits of Life. They are inharmonies which Truth destroys. Perfection does not animate imperfection. Inasmuch as God is good and the fount of all being, He does not produce moral or physical deformity; therefore such deformity is not real, but is illusion, the mirage of error. Divine Science reveals these grand facts.” (243:30–4)

Faith in the fact of health and the illegitimacy of disease led friends years ago to be willing to adopt a “handicapped” child. And it was interesting that the authorities were willing to authorize this adoption. From the beginning prayer in Christian Science and honest, loving care of this little one were part of his finding a place in the family. It was not easy, and required continual love and prayer on the parent’s part.

And then a very holy event took place. Up to this point the little fellow had not spoken a word. The mother and son were at home alone. The mother was taking a nap in one room, the son in another. Then the mother awoke to hear her son say with great authority, “No gods before me, you do not belong here.” She got up in great wonder and came to where her son was, remember these were his very first words! As she stood there the door bell rang. It was a neighbor excitedly asking, “Is everything all right?” The neighbor explained that she had watched a very scruffy, rough looking man come up the street and enter her neighbor’s house. And then almost immediately she saw the man go right back out of the door and walk away. She had run over to make sure all was well. And it was, well in fact it was better than okay, because from that point onward this little fellow made great progress. When I knew this beautiful family that little guy was as normal as normal could be. And he had indeed been blessed and a blessing to his family.

Maybe our orchards are not apple trees but the family tree! As we pray and claim the reality of good as the only presence in our families, that is what we will experience. We all have the right to see the presence of Good and the absence of sin, sickness, and death. Who says? God, that’s who.

Citation B11 from Job wraps up this idea of man's spiritual innocence and God-bestowed perfection: “I am clean without transgression, I am innocent; neither is there iniquity in me.” (Job 33:9)

Section 4: The “knowledge” of death as unreal, just ask Jairus and his daughter!

How many times have you read citation B12 from Paul’s letter to the Romans and rejoiced with him, “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2)

Free from death? It is just another example of the unreality presented by the “the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” So, yes, freedom from that false belief.

For example, Jesus healing of Jairus’ daughter. In this section we read the account of the raising of the daughter of Jairus from the Gospel of Matthew. It is also found in the Gospels of Mark and Luke. (Matthew 9:18-26; Mark 5:21-43, and Luke 8:41)

Warren sent us the following Cobbey Crisler insights on citation B13 about the Christ putting out of the house the funereal thought of paid mourners before raising Jairus’ daughter. (Matthew 9:18–25)

"In context, after Jairus asks Jesus to come heal his daughter who was “at the point of death” (in the version related in Mark 5:23), a woman in the crowd presses through it to touch the fringes of Jesus’ prayer shawl. Although she’d been “unclean” with non-stop hemorrhaging for 12 years (the age of Jairus’ daughter), “The woman was made whole that very hour.”… Jesus stops, realizing that one healing does not affect the outcome of the other.”
“(Verse 23) ‘And he goes into the ruler’s house, with all sorts of instruments and noise.’ There were paid mourners. We’re told by Josephus that even the poorest family had at least two pipes and a couple of horns playing at a funeral. So you can imagine what a ruler of the synagogue would have sounded like, probably like a symphony by Shostakovich. He comes in there. Just think of the atmosphere that’s going on. Jesus alters the atmosphere before he heals.
(Verse 24) ‘He says the maid is not dead but sleepeth.’ That apparently means he felt unable to affect a cure, a raising of the dead, in the presence of the weight of grief. If he’d kicked everybody out while they were crying, he would not have been supported by the social custom of that day or this, would he?
You don’t go into a funeral and sweep everybody out who’s crying. That’s why they’re there. They came to cry. Notice what Jesus does. This was pointed out to me by someone who is really respected for her Scriptural insight. I’d really missed the point. Jesus changed the whole environment.
He made a statement that was perfectly true to him but which was ridiculous to the average human thought. He said “The maid is not dead, she’s only sleeping in there.” So, notice how deep the grief ran. They all suddenly laughed. You and I know, you don’t laugh at funerals.
(Verse 25) ‘He could clear everybody out who was laughing. Then proceeds to raise the child.’]

This is what we read in B13, Matthew 9: “ And when Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise, He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose.”
“Book of Matthew, Auditing the Master, a Tax-Collector’s Report”, by B. Cobbey Crisler

All I can say is Jesus’ speaking really makes one sit up and take notice no matter what your circumstance!

This is what our textbook has to say on the matter in citation S19 “If the belief in death were obliterated, and the understanding obtained that there is no death, this would be a “tree of life,” known by its fruits.” (426:11–14, 16)

It is the “tree of life,” not the tree of death!

Section 5: Nothing ghostly about the Holy Ghost!

Bible Citation 16 quotes the 91st Psalm to assure us that we do not have to be afraid of the “terror by night…nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.”

One could say walking in the reality of God’s presence that there is no time of day when God does not rule supreme. There are no dark hours, there are no hidden dangers when one moves in the Light of the Christ. And at this time it is very important that those equipped with the tools of the Holy Ghost, the spiritual insights, the divine assurance of the Advocate, the Comforter, make use of this source of divine Light.

Nowadays there are those that do not feel at ease, or even well, due to ghostly illusions. They actually believe in an evil presence haunting themselves or others. Others find themselves challenged with pains and sensations that they seem unable to counter. And on several occasions I have been asked to help with the night time atmosphere in a hospital when patients were greatly disturbed and unsettled. What can one do? How do we do away with these seeming ghostly beliefs and fears? Well, quite simply through the affirmation of the ever- presence of the Comforter, the Holy Ghost. And this is exactly where the omni-presence of God, and the presence of the Comforter is able to establish a harmonious and assured existence. Do we have to be governed by these false sensations and beliefs? Never.

B17 | I John 4:1 1 “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”

We read in Citation S21 | 353:2–3, 13–14 (to 2nd .), 28–30 “The Sin, disease, whatever seems real to material sense, is unreal in divine Science. The age has not wholly outlived the sense of ghostly beliefs. It still holds them more or less. The true idea of being is spiritual and immortal, and from this it follows that whatever is laid off is the ghost, some unreal belief.”

My sister, Candy’s, Christian Science teacher, Herbert Rieke wrote the following in an article for the Christian Science Sentinel, “A Christian Scientist found it helpful, when challenging disease, to ask the simple question, "Is this ghost mental or physical?" How easy it was to answer, "Neither, for there are no ghosts." He then turned on disease and declared that it is composed of the same stuff ghosts are made of—nothingness; hence it existed neither as mind nor as body. The first step in healing disease is the clear realization that God alone is Mind; therefore matter is mindless. It can neither be sick nor have sensation, for there is no mortal consciousness. The next step is the realization that sickness and pain can never be in Mind, divine consciousness. Then, if disease and pain are neither in matter nor in Mind, they are to be found nowhere, for they are unreal, nonexistent.”

“On page 269 of Science and Health one reads, "Metaphysics resolves things into thoughts, and exchanges the objects of sense for the ideas of Soul." The Scientist resolves sickness or ghosts into erroneous, superstitious thoughts, but he does not stop there. He immediately goes on to realize that such thoughts are foundationless, because not of God, good, the one and only Mind. One does not need to drive ghosts out of his experience; he needs only to awaken to the fact that there are no ghosts. Similarly, one does not get rid of sickness as something; instead, he awakens to the allness of God, good, and proves disease to be nothing, unreal.”

DISEASE "NEITHER MIND NOR MATTER" by HERBERT E. RIEKE From the September 2, 1950 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel https://sentinel.christianscience.com/issues/1950/9/52-35/disease-neither-mind-nor-matter

Section 6: Glorious herbst, autumn is here, time to harvest from the “tree of life.”

The prophet Jeremiah writes in citation B21 "Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit."
(Jeremiah 17:7, 8)

What that means to me is when you have set yourself in God’s orchard, you keep yourself there in thought, and you enjoy the delicious harvest of good. In that thinking you realize that no one was ever “kicked out” of God’s garden, God’s kingdom. And that was just affirmed when I received a call from a friend in Hamburg, Manfred. He had just called to say hi and we began to rejoice over God’s harvest that is always going on. Manfred told me of driving towards home on the Czech Autobahn. As he drove he had a tire blow out. After making call after call he finally found a number that answered, a towing service. The driver was there in about an hour and quoted a tow service charge of 100 euros for about three kilometers. Needless to say Manfred was a little irritated with that but he had been praying, and also makes it a habit to pray in the daytime and nighttime simply knowing what is real. As the tow truck driver walked back to his vehicle Manfred’s phone rang and it was the German Autoclub calling him back. The lady on the line asked to speak to the driver. Manfred called him to the phone and after a short conversation the driver said, “There will be no charge!” Then he delivered Manfred’s car to a garage that had tires that fit the car. After an interesting conversation with the owner of the garage, new tire mounted, and then the owner gave Manfred a discount price. Manfred and I agreed you plant yourself in the Truth and you reap the harvest of good thinking! It does not matter what the emergency is, with correct thinking it turns into an “Emerge and see” moment.

As our Leader, Mary Baker Eddy writes in citation S26 “The Bible contains the recipe for all healing. “The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” Sin and sickness are both healed by the same Principle. The tree is typical of man’s divine Principle, which is equal to every emergency, offering full salvation from sin, sickness, and death.” (406:1–6)

Cedars Executive Director, and the founder and editor of our Bible Lesson Met Newsletter sent the closing paragraph of a Cobbey Crisler talk. "Apocalyptic Pictures: Prophesy and Parody" that I think is a great wrap up for this Bible Lesson Met on Unreality.

On citation B23, “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” (Rev 22:14)

"Accepting that divine invitation, we sit down at the feast which has been promised to us throughout the Bible -- the Agape, the feast of Love in the now fully revealed tabernacle of God and His two witnesses. Are we members of that church? Are we even now a part of that remnant, keeping the commandments and imbued with the spirit of spiritual prophesy? If we can respond affirmatively to that, not one single picture of “Tohu and Bohu”*, confusion and emptiness, of chaos, crisis, curse, tragedy, tears, ruin, pain, decay, death, or parody can any longer impress itself on human consciousness and develop there. The mark of the beast is effaced – the seal of God is in our foreheads – our names are written in heaven where nothing tampers with the majesty that God bestows. In the beginning of the Bible, God said, “Let there be light.” The divine shutter snapped, and our nature was recorded in apocalyptic pictures. It may have seemed unenduringly long for these pictures to develop in human consciousness, but He is our God, and we are His people, and that is the apple, the Apocalypse of gold in our pictures. – The End"

PS *(Tohu wa bohus, or Tohu va vohu (תֹ֙הוּ֙ וָבֹ֔הוּ), is a Biblical Hebrew phrase found in the Book of Genesis 1:2 that describes the condition of the earth before God said, "Let there be light" (Gen. 1:3). The words tohu and bohu also occur at Isaiah 34:11, which the King James Version translates with the words "confusion" and "emptiness".)


Click to enjoy CedarS Online version of Warren Huff's addition of several Cobbey Crisler insights on select Bible citations from this Christian Science Bible Lesson on “Unreality” for October 1, 2017. An updated version will be emailed to subscribers this evening, September 25th.



[LETTING CEDARS TOP NEEDS OF THE WEEK BE KNOWN:

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