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Try hard to find God…it is worth it!

Rick Stewart, C.S., Dresden, Germany
Posted Monday, July 2nd, 2018

Try hard to find God…it is worth it!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Sacrament”
for July 8, 2018

by Rick Stewart CS, Wormser Str 30, Dresden, Germany 01309
rickstewartcs@aol.com +49 351 312 4736

Golden Text: Psalms 119:10 (to :), 12 (to :) With my whole heart have I sought thee: . . . Blessed art thou, O Lord:

I love the short, simple Golden Text for this week’s Bible Lesson. It was for me like a wake-up call to search for God like I really meant it! Not a half-hearted search. You know what I mean by a half-hearted search? For example, you have lost something and you kind of look for it, but mostly just expect it to turn up on its own? That is a rather lazy search method. And not always effective!

When you really want to find something the first thing you do is pray. We all know that, sincere, heartfelt, prayer. But sometimes we are not alert enough to do this. For example, I had been looking for our spare car key. But since it was not an absolute immediate need, I had been doing kind of a half-hearted search. The key had been missing for more than a week. And I just thought it would turn-up on its own, suddenly being found in a pants or jacket pocket. But it did not turn-up and there were no leads or ideas. I affirmed that nothing can be hidden from Mind, God, but as I said not earnestly, half-heartedly. I knew that this key was an idea in Mind and could not be lost, but once again, half-heartedly.

But then my son, Noah, used the family car for a lunch date with friends. When he was ready to come home he was unable to open the car with the one remaining electronic key. He sent me a text message for help. I told him it was probably the battery in the key. But just in case it was something more, I began a full-scale, whole-hearted search. With earnest prayer I should add.

My prayer and listening was intense. And I asked the rest of the family to think if maybe they had an idea. My daughter, Alma, searched the sofa, under all the cushions. I looked everywhere I could think of. And although we did not find the extra key, we did find: a pair of reading glasses, 11 euros, and not the other electronic key, but a regular key that could be used to open the car if needed. Isn’t it amazing that so often when you look for one thing, you end up finding so many other little lost treasures.

So we solved Noah’s dilemma with a new battery plus we had all these treasures to boot. Later that afternoon the family went for a delightful rowboat adventure in the “Grosse Garten” (a large city garden or park) near our house. I paid for the two rowboats with the 11 euros we had found in our search.

But you did not start reading this little exegesis to hear about car keys and rowboats, did you?

Aha, but that is where our Golden Text steps in as the key to our Bible Lesson.

That is where our Golden Text and Bible Lesson steps in. “With my whole heart have I sought thee”… (Psalm 119: 10)
And according to the New Living Translation…”I have tried hard to find you…I praise you, O Lord;”

Yes, it is time to “find” God and this lesson tells us we need to search for Him with our whole heart, and soul, and mind. The spirit of the Responsive Reading shares with us the manner or spirit in which we conduct our search!

The Responsive Reading (Ephesians 1:2, 3; 4:4–8, 11–13, 24 put, 32) is from a letter written by the Apostle Paul to the Ephesian Christians. In it he speaks of the need for oneness and calls for a unity, “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith.” Paul points out the need for each of us to utilize our individual talents for strengthening of the “body of Christ,” but that is not the physical body of Jesus, instead it is what we might call “the Church.” Not necessarily a denominational group, but the group of individuals that have been called to live or bring forth the message of Jesus’ ministry. In the conclusion of the Responsive Reading Paul emphasizes that it should be done with a great sense of kindness, a “tender-hearted” love, “forgiving one another” as God has forgiven us.

My youngest daughter, Martha, just completed her kindergarten days and is heading for first grade in August. Last Friday the kindergarten children, the teachers and parents and families gathered in a small informal church service. The kindergarten director and Pastor Garr shared a message so simple, so tender, about growth and ongoing development. They used the example of a sunflower seed and its various stages after planting. Each stage was illustrated; seed, seedling, developing plant, and finally the sunflower. Each person there from the youngest kindergartener to the oldest parent, (that might have been me!) could easily grasp the message. Gentle, loving, tenderhearted, the spirit of our Master, Christ Jesus lived through the message as we listened and prayed together. We joined in a unity and oneness that seemed to be exactly what Paul asks of us in his message to the Ephesians. What a sweet gathering it was. We were Catholic, Protestant, and Christian Scientist gathered together in joyful appreciation of all the love we had shared in Martha’s kindergarten time. I could look around our circle of about 50 people, from big to small, and feel the wholehearted, tender hearted Love that was present. I thought, “Yes, this is a gathering that Jesus would have eagerly joined.”

I was reminded of Mary Baker Eddy’s statement, “A genuine Christian Scientist loves Protestant and Catholic, D.D. and M.D., — loves all who love God, good; and he loves his enemies.” My. 4:14-16

Section 1: True worship? Live love! [See W's PS#1thru#4 for citations B4, B5, B6 & S4]

Since I have been living here in Germany I have become more aware of people that have chosen to fast during certain times of the year. These friends have been both Catholic and Protestant. Their inspiration was to show their sincere desire to know God by giving up certain things or activities. That could fit with the explanation given in the “My Bible Lesson” that the Hebrew word for fasting has to do with having your mouth closed. Less talk, more action!

In citation B3 the Prophet Isaiah writes his sense of the fast God requests, “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily:” [Isaiah 58:6, 7 (to 1st ?), 8 (to :)]

Citation B4 clearly illustrates how our Master lived the Love that holds us all, “And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.” (Matthew 14:14)

And in Citation B6 Jesus explains how we are to worship God, “the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.” (John 4:23 the)

Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Health, “The substance of all devotion is the reflection and demonstration of divine Love, healing sickness and destroying sin. Our Master said, ‘If ye love me, keep my commandments.’” (S5 | 241:19)

What joy it is to discover that true worship is indeed Love in action, living the Love we love.

Section 2: The baptism of the Holy Ghost [See W's PS#5 for citation B9]

When I was young I loved Christian Science and knew certain hymns by heart. I was in Sunday School every Sunday and knew lots of verses from the Bible and Science and Health by heart. And I had had lots of healings. But if someone had asked me what Christian Science said about the Holy Ghost I probably would have answered, “Nothing, I guess.” You see I grew up in Florida where many of my friends were from other Church denominations and actually some of them I knew spoke about the Holy Ghost a lot. But until I really began to study Christian Science for myself, I had little understanding of the Holy Ghost and Christian Science.

Then when I was 21 I was asked to give a talk to a youth group in a very large church. They wanted to know more about Christian Science and in particular what we thought about baptism and especially the baptism of the Holy Ghost. As I prepared for the talk I really studied what Mary Baker Eddy writes about baptism and also about the Holy Ghost. All I can say is that my eyes were opened. If someone had asked me about Christian Science and baptism before this I probably would have falsely answered, “Well, uh, Christian Science does not have baptism.” I would have been so wrong!

As we can learn from Section 2!!!!

S8 | 561:32–3 John the Baptist prophesied the coming of the immaculate Jesus, and John saw in those days the spiritual idea as the Messiah, who would baptize with the Holy Ghost, — divine Science.

As citation S9 puts it “The baptism of Spirit, washing the body of all the impurities of flesh, signifies that the pure in heart see God and are approaching spiritual Life and its demonstration. It is “easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle,” than for sinful beliefs to enter the kingdom of heaven, eternal harmony. Through repentance, spiritual baptism, and regeneration, mortals put off their material beliefs and false individuality. It is only a question of time when “they shall all know Me [God], from the least of them unto the greatest.” Denial of the claims of matter is a great step towards the joys of Spirit, towards human freedom and the final triumph over the body.” (241:27–8)

Actually this bible lesson and even deeper study can begin your own wholehearted search into what Christian Science teaches about baptism and the Holy Ghost. I guarantee it will be a search that will truly inspire you and help in your own healing practice.

Sometimes there are statements in the Bible and Science and Health that I think of as “grenades.” Very powerful statements that I go to when in need. One of these favorites that always strengthens healing prayer is where Mrs. Eddy writes,

“Hold perpetually this thought, — that it is the spiritual idea, the Holy Ghost and Christ, which enables you to demonstrate, with scientific certainty, the rule of healing, based upon its divine Principle, Love, underlying, overlying, and encompassing all true being.” SH 496:15 15Hold

Section 3: Jesus, the bread of life. [See W's PS#6 for citation B12]

When our Master shared the following he was talking to a people that were bread-eaters who even utilized bread in their worship: “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. 63 the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (B12 | John 6:35, 63 the words)

A wonderful thing about living in Germany is all the bread and bakeries. For 17 years we have lived with a bakery right in front of our apartment. And there are lots of bakeries throughout the neighborhoods. Wonderful loaves of bread, rolls, all kinds of yummy baked goods. Even the name for the evening meal is “Abendbrot,” evening bread. So when Jesus tells us he is the bread of life that really hits home for a German. And of course, for the Hebrews in Jesus time bread was truly a significant part of daily life and also religious life.

For example, here is an interesting note from My Bible Lesson. “IN ANCIENT TIMES, bread served many purposes, including religious ones! Every Sabbath day, twelve loaves of unleavened bread (known as showbread, or shewbread) were placed on a special table in the Temple as an offering to God (Leviticus 24:5–8). How did Jesus use the idea of bread in a new way?”

It was normal and natural for Jesus to take these significant elements of daily sustenance and life and show that their true significance lay in the spiritual understanding they bring to our worship of God. We begin to learn that God is intimately associated with our daily life and brings a deep, sustaining, spiritual element to everything we do.

Mary Baker Eddy writes the following in Science and Health about Jesus’ sharing with his disciples in what has come to be called the Last Supper.

“His followers, sorrowful and silent, anticipating the hour of their Master’s betrayal, partook of the heavenly manna, which of old had fed in the wilderness the persecuted followers of Truth. Their bread indeed came down from heaven. It was the great truth of spiritual being, healing the sick and casting out error. Their Master had explained it all before, and now this bread was feeding and sustaining them.” (S16 | 33:3–10)

Citation S17 continues “It is the living Christ, the practical Truth, which makes Jesus “the resurrection and the life” to all who follow him in deed. Obeying his precious precepts, — following his demonstration so far as we apprehend it, — we drink of his cup, partake of his bread, are baptized with his purity; and at last we shall rest, sit down with him, in a full understanding of the divine Principle which triumphs over death.” [31:14–22 (to .)]

Section 4: Jesus’ moments of intense suffering raised to Christly moments of benediction. [See W's PS#7 & #8 (Ken Cooper poem "LET" for citation B15]

It is tough to read of the challenges that Jesus faced from his own church, from the governmental authorities, and also from the shortcomings of his students. This is indeed a place where we have to try hard to find the God we will worship. But there is a holy event underway that could not be stopped by all the hate and failings in human nature. One thing that helps is that when we read it now, we can know that the ultimate result was finding a God and His son that will never be defeated by mortal elements. Because Jesus did rise!

And God is indeed “kind” as the Psalmist says: “How kind the Lord is! How good he is! So merciful, this God of ours! I will lift up the cup of salvation and praise the Lord’s name for saving me.” (B14 | Psalms 116:5, 13 NLT)

The New Living Translation (NLT) clearly tells Jesus’ inspiring story of uncomplaining, sacrificial yielding to God’s will:Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.” He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!” Then Jesus left them a second time and prayed, “My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done.” Then he came to the disciples and said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But look—the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.” (B15 | Matthew 26:36, 38–42, 45 NLT)

Continuing from the Message Bible:At dawn’s first light, the high priests, with the religious leaders and scholars, arranged a conference with the entire Jewish Council. After tying Jesus securely, they took him out and presented him to Pilate. They nailed him up at nine o’clock in the morning.” (B16 | Mark 15:1, 25 MSG)

This is what Mary Baker Eddy wrote in Science and Health, “Jesus rose higher in demonstration because of the cup of bitterness he drank. The divine must overcome the human at every point. The Science Jesus taught and lived must triumph over all material beliefs about life, substance, and intelligence, and the multitudinous errors growing from such beliefs. Love must triumph over hate. Truth and Life must seal the victory over error and death, before the thorns can be laid aside for a crown, the benediction follow, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” and the supremacy of Spirit be demonstrated.” (S20 | 43:21–22, 27–4)

As a Christian when the path you are walking seems particularly challenging, painful, dark and unpromising, that might be a great time to read and reread our Master’s experience. And make sure you read it until his triumph comes shining through. He did rise! And his continuing demonstration of eternal life did shine through. And he shared with his followers. I clearly remember when a Sunday School teacher, Charles Selemeyer, pointed out that Jesus was present 40 days with his students following the resurrection.

As the introduction to Acts puts this: “The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:

To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:” (Acts 1:1-3, KJV)

Keep searching and you will indeed find!

Section 5: The joys of the time after the resurrection. [See W's PS#9 for citation B20]

When Jesus rose the third day after the crucifixion it was the beginning of those 40 days of glorious demonstrations and proofs. He appeared first to Mary Magdalen and then to the eleven disciples.

According to the Biblical record, after Jesus’ crucifixion and his subsequent burial in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea, he appeared alive to more than 500 people, on twelve (12) separate occasions. All but one of the appearances (the appearance to Paul, aka Saul) occurred within the first 40 day period following Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. Jesus also appeared to at least two skeptics, James the Just and Saul/Paul.

According to the Bible on all twelve occasions Jesus was seen and he was probably heard. Jesus offered for his body to be touched at least three times and he was definitely touched twice. Jesus showed witnesses the scars from his crucifixion on two occasions and ate food with his disciples 3 – 4 times. In four instances, witnesses responded to their encounter with Jesus by worshiping him.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PostResurrection_appearances_of_Jesus

I love the following almost poetic descriptions by Mrs. Eddy in Science and Health,

“What a contrast between our Lord’s last supper and his last spiritual breakfast with his disciples in the bright morning hours at the joyful meeting on the shore of the Galilean Sea! His gloom had passed into glory, and his disciples’ grief into repentance, — hearts chastened and pride rebuked. Convinced of the fruitlessness of their toil in the dark and wakened by their Master’s voice, they changed their methods, turned away from material things, and cast their net on the right side.” (S21 | 34:29–6)

“This spiritual meeting with our Lord in the dawn of a new light is the morning meal which Christian Scientists commemorate. They bow before Christ, Truth, to receive more of his reappearing and silently to commune with the divine Principle, Love.” (S22 | 35:10–14)

Section 6: Church an expression of universal Love, regardless of numbers. [See W's PS#10 for citation B25]

My early years as a Christian Scientist were in Central Florida in the USA. At that time Florida was not very cosmopolitan, it could still be considered part of “The Bible Belt” with conservative and evangelical churches, predominantly Southern Baptist. So Christian Scientists were considered somewhat unique. Another flavor of ice cream so to speak. So it was not unusual to be the only Christian Scientist in my school class. Sunday School was often from two families. We rejoiced when a family of Christian Scientists moved into town with teenagers! You learned to live with those of other faiths and for the most part we had very good and harmonious contacts with our neighbors. The Gospel, the message, the Truth was what was important, not numbers. “After all as Jesus once said, For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them”. Matt 18:20

And this perspective has pretty much carried through my life. An example comes from my first two years of college. I started college in Ocala at Central Florida Junior College. My brother, Scott, preceded me there before he volunteered for the Army and was sent to Vietnam. He, working with a Christian Science Campus Counselor, laid the foundation for a Christian Science Organization. He was still in the Army when I came to the Junior College so I just finished up what he started. We chartered what is now called a CSO, Christian Science Organization. We had lectures, sponsored films and had weekly testimony meetings. I remember one Tuesday evening when I had prepared the readings. I arrived, set up the room and sat down. Starting time came and went and that evening no one was there. I reasoned that since I had prepared readings, I would read. Out loud. So I began. An older black gentleman that worked at the College came in. He asked what I was doing and I proudly announced that this was a meeting of the Christian Science Organization on campus. He smiled, rolled his eyes a little, “Organization?” He looked around. It was just me. He smiled again and sat down. He listened to the whole reading. Testimony time came and he gave a testimony. He was known on campus as “Preacher.” He had his own small Baptist congregation that he pastored as he explained. That night he left with a Christian Science Sentinel about the “weapons of our warfare.” From then on he was a regular at our activities and at the literature distribution box. We were Christian brothers.

I learned never to close a door to a seeker and follower of Christ Jesus. I learned never to feel alone in church. We can choose to not be isolated. We can choose to be a part of finding God as we seek the Christ. We can stop limiting God and feeling small. After all we are worshipping the source of all creation and finding Him through His son.

When Mary Baker Eddy writes (below) about “church” it is not about denominations or personal possessions and knowledge. It is truly universal and available to all.

“Our church is built on the divine Principle, Love. We can unite with this church only as we are newborn of Spirit, as we reach the Life which is Truth and the Truth which is Life by bringing forth the fruits of Love, — casting out error and healing the sick. Our Eucharist is spiritual communion with the one God. Our bread, “which cometh down from heaven,” is Truth. Our cup is the cross. Our wine the inspiration of Love, the draught our Master drank and com- mended to his followers.” (S26 | 35:19)

That is a church we can unite with anywhere. That is a church where we can worship anytime. And above all when we are willing to search for Him wholeheartedly, tenderheartedly, He will be found. God is very kind and He loves to be found, He is always waiting for us to find Him. Let’s search for Him like we really mean it. It makes for a lot of fun and you will not believe all the extra little treasures you will find in your holy treasure hunt. And remember the main prize, God, is infinite so every one is a winner! You may have already won.

As citation B26 in Ephesians puts it “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20, 21)


For Your Support, PLEASE:
1. MUCH MORE CAMPERSHIP FUNDING IS STILL NEEDED (WELL OVER $100k) AS APPLICATIONS CONTINUE TO COME IN DAILY ONLINE! Thank you for giving the camperships that are greatly needed, life-transforming and forever appreciated by over 400 worthy recipients and their families and churches.

You can see pictures of the opening of our best-yet summer 1st and 2nd Sessions of nearly 300 guests each session and Memorial Weekend of 220 Family Campers and staff at www.cedarscamps.org or on FaceBook or Instagram. (The password is CedarS.)

Especially helpful are your much-needed MONTHLY gifts, past and ongoing, that can be started and adjusted as you wish at: www.cedarscamps.org/giving ] All of your gifts add up to big blessings in the lives of today's Sunday School students (tomorrow's joyous workers in our Christ-centered church)!

2. MUCH MORE FACILITY MAINTENANCE FUNDING IS STILL NEEDED (ALSO OVER $100K total) TO KEEP CEDARS FACILITIES FUNCTIONING UP TO THE LEVEL OF ITS MISSION! (Reliable shuttle vans and stronger boat-tow vehicle(s) are needed, our original Crown Lake spillway needs to be replaced, stronger internet service would be a huge help to office operations and for our staff and fall guests... other details coming in a few weeks.)

3. CedarS “Adopt the Herd” Matching Fund has been met!

In the time since Giving Tuesday you helped raise ~$65k for the Riding Program, which will be doubled through the Adopt the Herd Matching Fund, for a total of $130k Adopt the Herd match!

With heartfelt gratitude and love,
Warren, Gay, Holly & your CedarS Family

P.S. If you haven't yet given, or are blessed with more to give, we still have many needs, big and small, that you can help meet by clicking on https://www.cedarscamps.org/giving/tree/.

You can also reach a member of the Founding family nearly anytime by
PHONE at 417-532-6699.

or MAIL to our Summer-Fall address at camp (in red below) your tax-deductible support to our 501-C-3 organization.

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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 huge proof of your ongoing LOVE made visible and are greatly appreciated!! They not only defray the costs of running this service but also provide greatly needed camperships and essential program 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/meta

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