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Be an Honest Seeker for Christmas wisdom and Truth!

David Price, CS, Denver CO
Posted Monday, December 23rd, 2019

Be an Honest Seeker for Christmas wisdom and Truth!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Christian Science”
for December 29, 2019

by David L. Price, CS, Denver, Colorado
dlawrenceprice@gmail.com720-308-9500

Introduction

I grew up in a small town in Western Pennsylvania and have fond early childhood memories of the Christmas holiday: my grandparents’ two front yard blue spruces all lit up, the elaborate downtown Christmas lights, stars, angels and Christmas trees. This along with the colors, snow and cold weather created an excitement for the approaching Christmas day – and gave me my first sense of what I thought was the “Christmas spirit.” Interestingly enough as I got older, it seemed a little harder to find that same sense of “Christmas spirit.” The newness of the silver tinsel, the reds and greens, and the fragrant evergreen Christmas trees just didn’t seem so exciting. What was the change? Well, that’s probably pretty obvious to you, it’s looking for Christmas in the material things; it just leaves you always wanting.

I watched a number of Christmas specials from the ‘60s and ‘70s as wells as recent ones with my children this year, and I found it interesting that the themes of commercialism ruining Christmas as well as the stress of the hustle and bustle of preparing for the holidays remain consistent. I love how Mary Baker Eddy witnessed that too and so began her Christmas hymn, “Blest Christmas morn, though murky clouds/Pursue thy way.” Mary Baker Eddy speaking for all time reminds us that there is always some "Herod thought" pursuing and trying to get in the way of us rejoicing in Christmas. I also appreciate that her next verse isn’t about the birth of Jesus. That comes in the third verse. Instead she emphasizes the ever-present Christ (the Spirit that animated the human Jesus) “Dear Christ, forever here and near…” (don’t forget to add “for me and for everyone throughout time”)” (Hymn 23)

I’m so grateful to get to share this Bible Lesson Met on the subject Christian Science. Just a side note, there are so many wonderful things in this lesson, as I read it through one last time on Friday night, I saw many things I could have included. But ultimately, I hope the sense that the Christ is here right now for you comes out, for that’s the source of healing and forgiveness.

The Golden Text is a great road map to the rest of the lesson. You can continually ask yourself section by section “how is God giving me wisdom, and knowledge, and joy?

In reading the Golden Text it’s so easy to start with the question “am I good enough in the eyes of God’s to receive those things? Many translations use “who please him” instead of “that is good”. It seems to me that makes things more difficult, or does it? Let’s simply start with the truth of how you were made…in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:27, 31). Then you can’t help being, not just good enough, but “very good.” This truth is already pleasing God. So, you can rest assured that you are right now receiving “wisdom, and knowledge, and joy.”

Responsive Reading –

This first passage in one way resets the time clock for the rest of the passages in the Responsive Reading. Let me explain my reasoning, Paul is reminding us that the birth (and life) of Jesus not only was a wonderful event that gave hope and joy, and a "crown of rejoicing,"--but it also is right here and now for you. He writes, “Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?” Which is to say, you are right now in the presence of his coming. Because this is true the next passages which are passages prophesying the coming of Christ Jesus, well those passages are not a future hope, but a present truth; not just a sentiment about what will come, or what did come, it’s right here and now for you.

I was thinking about a time when I felt this light dawn on my thought. It was years ago, and I was sitting in a Wednesday evening service feeling not a little discouraged, when the story of Jesus standing on the shore of the Galilean sea cooking the morning meal for those doubting disciples was read from the desk. As I listened to that story, it became so real to me that I felt myself in a sense standing behind Christ Jesus both seeing how ridiculous the disciples were acting after all they had witnessed, and at the same time understanding their desire to choose an easier path. It was in this moment I felt the Christ include me in his gentle persuasions to cast the net on the right side. I felt in that moment I was included in the meal of the bread and fish. As I think back on that experience, I now realize that this meal is meant for each of us in all times.

Struggling with my eyes closed in that Wednesday night service I saw a great light, the Christ dawning on my thought. That same Christ, in whatever way is necessary to get through to you, is dawning on your thought and is a light in the darkness. Mary Baker Eddy writes of this eternal dawning of the Christ this way, “Midnight foretells the dawn. Led by a solitary star amid the darkness, the Magi of old foretold the Messiahship of Truth. Is the wise man of to-day believed, when he beholds the light which heralds Christ's eternal dawn and describes its effulgence?" (citation S9, page 95:22)

Section 1 – Wisdom and Christian Science

Continuing this resetting of the time clock, citation B1 from Jeremiah is another prophecy referred to, by some Bible commentaries, as a Messianic Oracle. (It was written about 600 years before the birth of Christ Jesus.) When I read it, I decided to put it into the present tense – The King (Christ) is reigning and prospering and is executing judgment and justice right here and right now. As I was thinking about this passage, and without going too far, I also liked substituting Christian Science for “King.”

The first passage (S1) in Science and Health, illuminates the first Bible passage on the prophecy of the coming of Christ Jesus and in turn the coming of Christian Science. Christian Science is not something that shall appear, it’s something that eternally is here, back 600 years before Christ, and today right now for you. Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Christian Science brings to light Truth and its supremacy, universal harmony, the entireness of God, good, and the nothingness of evil.” (S1)

This idea of “brings to light” is like if you were to walk into a dark room and you didn’t know any better it would just be an empty room, but when the light is turned on you see treasures of gold and silver, right there for the taking. So, our job is to find the light switch and turn it on, and quick, because who doesn’t want treasure?

Beyond the literal connection between citation B1 about a descendant of David, and citations B2-B5) written by Solomon David’s son, these passages relate back to the Golden Text, especially the “why” wisdom and knowledge ,and “how do you get it?”

While it is important to “Honor thy father and thy mother,” don’t forget to think about Proverbs 1:8 (citation B2) as the instruction and law of your heavenly Father/Mother God. Also, when you hear the instruction of wisdom, it’s important not just to hear it, but also to follow it as well.

Section 2 – What is God’s wisdom and how are we going to use it to find the daystar of divine Science?

The 1st piece of wisdom from this section is that God’s gifts are permanent and unchangeable (B7).

Harkening back to the Golden Text, I was thinking about the difference between Herod who wanted to use any knowledge and wisdom he could get to kill the Christ, versus the three wisemen who wanted to learn more and find inspiration. Isn’t it really easy to think of wisdom and knowledge that comes from your human brain as the important stuff? Citation B8 is a good starting point in terms of what motive should be when it comes to wisdom and knowledge. You can use it as a sort of checklist to determine if this is good information. The wisemen of old check-off a number of these qualities. Well, each one of you are wisemen as well seeking and finding the wisdom that leads to the daystar of divine Science or the Science of the Christ.

Here’s the New Living Translation of citation B8: “the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.” (James 3:17)

My 5-year-old son came home from Sunday School last week and talked about Herod. He said, “Herod was doing some serious error and it needed to be kicked out!” Of course, this is true! Once Herod heard about the birth of Christ Jesus, he wanted all newborn boys killed to make sure there was no competition. (B10) As I was pondering what seemed to be overwhelming fear and jealousy on the part of the Herod thought, it occurred to me that if you are a ruler who understands and practices Love, then there is no competition with the King that is Christ, Truth, you can walk and be guided by Truth with no fear of having your job taken away.

Mary Baker Eddy states “The time cometh when the spiritual origin of man, the divine Science which ushered Jesus into human presence, will be understood and demonstrated” (S7). To me this means that we each need to look more closely at our true, spiritual nature as God’s children.

I am reminded of my own experience looking at the spiritual nature of creation. I will spare you most of the details, but I will say that at a point, early in my marriage, we were told by a family physician that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to have a natural conception and childbirth. A few months later, as we prayed together as a family, my wife proposed that we consider adoption. She said she had prayed about the right direction and the idea of adoption had come to her. Soon after she received an email that invited Christian Science families to inquire about adopting a little girl who might need a family.

I think I was caught off guard by her request. I had been specifically praying about starting our own family, and adoption hadn’t been part of that work. But I really wanted to honor my wife’s prayerful work. So, I requested the weekend to pray about this. As I prayed, it occurred to me that it was really easy to say that God was the Father and Mother of us all, and to say that creation was spiritual only, but did I really believe it?

I realized I was at best skeptical. So, that’s where I focused my prayerful work, and it led me to feel and see unequivocally that spiritual creation was going on in this minute, and it was my job to allow God to unfold His unique and blessed idea of family, and it was my job alone to follow God’s leading. This started with rejoicing in my wife’s prayerful work in the direction that it had led her. Interestingly, a month or so into adoption process, after having met the little girl, it became evident that legally the way the court process had unfolded we would not be part of the adoption process. After talking it through, we gently extricated ourselves from that process.

While it seemed like we were back at square one, I was not discouraged. I had learned a great lesson about spiritual creation, and nothing was going to interfere with God’s creative work. I was in fact really excited to witness what was going to happen next. Would we adopt another dog or cat, would we be parent’s in another unique way? I was open.

As it turned out, God had prepared the way. My wife had, unbeknownst to us, gotten pregnant soon after we started the adoption process. Just before Christmas time we had our first baby boy, Jacob, and then less than 2 years later we had our second child, a baby girl, Lena.

Jesus’ birth itself (S10) teaches us to set aside our preconceived notions about conception, birth, growth and demise of human man, and spurs us on to see spiritual child, man, woman. I love Mary Baker Eddy’s strong stance on the impossibility of miracles, instead she writes “…Science is an explication of nature.” (S11)

As I think about this idea of “daystar” (S9) it seems in one sense your own daystar is the divine wisdom that leads you to the eternal Christ (present here and now). Again, use the passage from James (B8) as a “wisdom from above” checklist.

Section 3 – True wisdom is always from God and can be gained and expressed by anyone regardless of age or education.

One of the tools in my toolbelt I seem to reach for often when I’m not quite feeling as close to God as I would like is from citation S16: “Willingness to become as a little child and to leave the old for the new, renders thought receptive of the advanced idea.” It’s this sense of humility and childlike purity that is really important when I’m reaching out to God. It is a release of human ego/pride and letting God do the teaching and the leading.

Well, if this is true for everyone, then it is important to honor those that are seeking after the same inspiration of Spirit, regardless of age. That being said, I tend to be uncomfortable with the story of Jesus, who made the 12-year-old decision to tarry in the Temple in Jerusalem, unconcerned about his parents who ended up searching for him for three days. But, what an amazing example of the wisdom of God, which knows no limitations – age, gender, ethnicity etc., etc. When Jesus’ parents do find him, he is actually teaching the learned men, and they are actually asking him questions.

Over the years in church conversation I sometimes inadvertently say I am a Sunday School student, instead of Sunday School teacher, when talking about my high school class. Usually it stirs a little laugh from someone, and I end up looking a little red-faced and embarrassed. But the best Sunday School classes are the ones where I listen and learn, where I question and let my students answer. Trust me, I don’t do it all the time, but there are really good moments, and then I am as much student and God is leading us all on. I should be more intentional about saying I am a student as well as a teacher, shouldn’t I?

Citation B11 from Proverbs speaks directly to this “Give instruction to a wise man, and will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.” This sure takes humility and trust though.

Section 4 – It is divine wisdom to let go of human, mortal law as superior or even equal to the divine law of Spirit. Trust God in all circumstances, especially if you’re in a desert without food.

First, I’d like to point out the mention of Christ Jesus’ compassion. That compassion is always so comforting to me. It says, it’s okay, just turn back to God, you’re not left out.

How often have you looked at a material circumstance, maybe it’s a test, or a bad friendship, maybe your family is struggling, or you don’t seem to have enough, and you kind of throw your hands up and say, “well, there’s not much that can be done now”? That’s what the disciples were thinking. It just made sense based on the material law of hunger and supply in a desert place that the 5,000 –plus women and children should be sent away.

Side note – Isn’t it interesting that the people, who were hungry, weren’t leaving? They wanted to stay and hear, they were hungering for more of what Christ Jesus had to share with them than what their stomachs were saying. I was thinking about my own children and what they’re like when they’re hungry, so I know just how interested those people must have been.

I remember a time many years ago when I didn’t have enough money. I had to pay an employee and pay taxes, not to mention paying myself. What I knew, and I wasn’t sure how it was going to work out, but I knew that relying on God was the right way to go, so I called a Christian Science Practitioner. We spoke briefly, and then he got to work, and I did what a good Christian Scientist is supposed to do, I lay down on my couch to take a nap. (smile) Right as I lay down, it was like a whole bunch of angels started to pull me back up, and I heard a message “write your legal motion ahead of time.”

Well, I needed to make money, not write motions, but the message I had heard was clear. I began drafting the trial motion. Interestingly, I completed that motion, which would usually have taken the better part of a day, in an hour. I was then led to complete and mail my taxes. By the end of business day, I was able to file the motion and get the taxes mailed. I remember feeling so in-the-moment with God. Love had literally lifted me up. Instead of feeling fear about how my bills were going to be paid, I just trusted and obeyed.

Two days later the opposing attorney in the upcoming trial for which I had written the motion called me up and suggested that my client and I come to court early to discuss resolving the case. This was a case that I never thought would have settled. That next day we were able to work out a resolution that satisfied everyone. My client was so relieved that he paid me the amount that he owed immediately. This was just enough, plus a little extra to pay everything I needed.

I love how Mary Baker Eddy succinctly says God didn’t create a material law more powerful than spiritual law. (S19) She then uses the example of Jesus’ healing ministry to prove this power of God’s, the power that animates the Christ, challenging and destroying the most cherished material laws – including the law of gravity, the laws of time and speed, the law of material supply, the law of death.

This section ends with that “oldie but goodie”— “Whatever inspires with wisdom, Truth or Love – be it song, sermon, or Science – blesses the human family with crumbs of comfort from Christ’s table, feeding the hungry and giving living waters to the thirsty.”(S22) Looking back on the last four sections, what has inspired you, was it a hymn that was mentioned, or a Bible passage or a Christianly Scientific view of what you truly are as God’s child? In that moment you recognize that Christ, Truth, is feeding you and giving you living waters.

Section 5 – Listen to Christ Jesus’ practical wisdom, which includes not just the disciples, but you; both in receiving healing, and in bestowing Christly healing.

What I wanted to begin this section by saying was something cheeky like – “Yea, Yea, Jesus could do special things, but he was the Son of God.” The passages here show that Christ Jesus’ mission was not to show he was the greatest, but instead to show that God was the greatest, and then promise that his human life didn’t end what God was doing and what God would continue to do.

The first passages of this section show different ways that Jesus gives us practical wisdom:

1. If you believe me, the things I’ve said and done — well, you’re really believing in the God that sent me. (B16)

2. When the human part of me as Jesus is gone, you will not be left alone—the divine, real and practical part, the Comforter, will be with you permanently (B17);

3. The things I’ve done most are there to help give you permanently, with confidence and joy in what God has done. (B18)

4. Now use what I have done and taught and go do the work yourselves (B19)

Citation B20 contains the account of Peter and John healing the lame man at the gate Beautiful. This is a great example showing that it’s not just Jesus that has this power, the disciples had it too, and so do you. I like to think of that statement Peter makes “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk,” in this way: “in everything Jesus Christ taught and demonstrated, we too are given power.”

I want to address your part in healing by sharing an experienced I had about a month ago. I was feeling under the weather, and throughout the day had gone through an entire box of Kleenex. This occurred while I had my family in town for the week. At one point during the day, my younger brother who isn’t a Christian Scientist, but is very soft to our religion, asked if I was getting sick. I think I said something like, “I’m not ready to admit that to myself,” which seemed to satisfy his question.

That evening the eight of us, including our children, went to a local restaurant. During the long wait, I asked my wife if I could head back to the car to pray. She kindly gave me that space. When I closed the door, I expected to reach out to God to feel that healing feeling, but instead I received a clear angel message that my prayer needed to be about fear of contagion. So, I got to work prayerfully addressing family, community, and even the world belief. This sense of the supremacy of God, and the present healing activity of the Christ was palpable.

When I finished, I returned to the restaurant, but only my wife was waiting (everyone else was walking around the shops). When I entered my wife greeted me with a long embrace. All of a sudden, a man beside me asked me if I usually walked in and received hugs from strangers. Everyone around laughed. Then, a woman walked in and that same gentleman explained that it was customary to give me a hug when entering the restaurant. She said, “Of course,” walked over and hugged me. When her husband arrived, she explained that he needed to hug me as well, which he did. My wife was really getting a kick out of this. And, I was smiling up a storm. After making a few friends, and feeling that divine message that all was well, in those hugs, I felt the healing work (about no contagion) was donel

I slept through the night and awoke with no symptoms, healed. My family had a good time, and no one suffered from any contagious ailment.

As you go through the passages in Science and Health in Section 5, really take in the wisdom Mary Baker Eddy (MBE) is sharing about making your healing practice practical. I love that she makes sure to emphasize that what she is presenting to us is based on God and the Christianity that Jesus taught. Christian Science IS NOT a side religious practices that MBE came up with on her own.

We read that:

  • Christian Science is what Jesus practiced (S23);
  • Sickness is not the reality; it is like a dream, and all you need is God’s presence and care to awaken you from that dream (S24).

Citation S25 really brings home what was mentioned earlier in this lesson, Christian Science is the Comforter that Jesus promised would be with you permanently.

Section 6 – [Find your “rock of salvation…” and “reason for existing” by seeking to “be a blessing” (B23)—“to impart truth , health, and happiness.” (My. 165:20*)

My suggestion is to now go through the first five sections of this lesson and ask yourself “How am I seeing ‘salvation, and glory, and honor, and power’?” (B21)

Christian fellowship [beingan active portion of one stupendous whole”**] starts with fellowship with the present Christ, and then, through Christ we have fellowship with one another. (B22)

If you are witnessing salvation, and glory and honor, and power, then you are actively being an honest seeker of Christ, Truth; that is the Christmas Spirit. And you can’t help but feel the joy that comes with it. You can’t help but utter Alleluia!

This lesson ends with a passage about Mary Baker Eddy’s sweet and heartfelt motive behind writing Science and Health. It goes straight to the heart of the Christ and Christmas. She writes, “In the spirit of Christ's charity, — as one who "hopeth all things, endureth all things," and is joyful to bear consolation to the sorrowing and healing to the sick, — she commits these pages to honest seekers for Truth.” (xii:23-26, S31) You can now ask yourself, are you a seeker to have the best, most-festive Christmas celebration—OR are you simply seeking to impart the lasting happiness of Christmas wisdom and Truth.


**As referred to in the Section 6 subtitle above: “Goodness never fails to receive its reward, goodness makes life a blessing. As an active portion of one stupendous whole, goodness identifies man with universal good. Thus may each member of this church rise above the oft-repeated inquiry, What am I? to the scientific response: I am able to impart truth, health, and happiness, and this is my rock of salvation and my reason for existing.”
First Church of Christ Scientist and Miscellany 165: 15-22


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