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Say YES to Immortality!!!

Craig L. Ghislin, C.S., Glen Ellyn (Bartlett), IL
Posted Monday, May 13th, 2019

Say “Yes” to Immortality!!!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Mortals and Immortals”
for May 13—19, 2019


By Craig L. Ghislin, C.S., Glen Ellyn, Illinois (Bartlett)
craig.ghislincs@icloud.com / (630) 830-8683

Have you ever had a “golden moment?” It’s that instant when something you didn’t understand suddenly becomes crystal clear. Think about the seconds before that moment of enlightenment. Your issue seemed unsolvable, yet the answer always existed. This is what Paul is describing in the Golden Text. He uses the analogy of looking into a distorted mirror to represent our apparent inability to see our true spiritual state. Irrespective of the mirror, our true being is never less than perfect and complete. We may not see it now, but who we are is always there, and eventually we will see it.

Most people think they are mortals. Some believe that they have a soul or identity that survives the body, and they eventually will become immortal. Others think immortality is a fantasy. Each of these beliefs is predicated on the assumption that mortality or immortality is a state of being. But consider this: before a “golden moment,” [W: or a “Golden (Text) moment] our feeling that we will never get the answer is really only a mistaken belief. Similarly the distorted image we see in a bad mirror is only a mistaken belief. In the same way, being mortal isn’t a state of being either. It’s only a belief. The fact is we are always immortal.

In the third section of this Lesson, Science and Health states, “In league with material sense, mortals take limited views of all things.” So, you see, mortality is a limited view, not a condition of being.

The mortal point of view is not only limited, but also contradictory. The Responsive Reading opens with James’ observation that a fountain can’t send forth both sweet water and bitter. All mortal reasoning leads to confusion and contradictions. Yet the immortal reality is completely consistent. The wisdom from above is pure—without hypocrisy, mixture, or defilement. It’s also peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated—all qualities of unification rather than division. Its goodness and mercy is distributed equally to all and is unwavering, uncompromising, without hypocrisy.

There is no variableness in God. Whereas the sun shines from one point making it possible to create shadow and darkness as the earth turns, God is All, shining from all points at once—so no shadows are possible. God expects man made in His image to be consistent as well—not just hearers, but doers of the word.

So, let’s see what this Lesson has to teach us about the difference between the mortal viewpoint and immortal reality.

Section 1: Who Do You Think You Are? [Cobbey & Ken on GT, RR, 1st s. at W’s PS#1-#6]

Mortals have the tendency to think quite highly of themselves. They pride themselves on their reasoning and ingenuity to survive and thrive in their environment. Modern advances in science and technology have led many to believe it’s no longer necessary to believe in God, and even that God probably doesn’t exist.

The book of Job challenges this arrogance: “Shall mortal man be more just than God? Shall a man be more pure than his maker?” (B1). Methodist founder John Wesley (1703-1791) paraphrases: “Shall (enosh) mortal, miserable man (so the word signifies) be thus insolent? Nay, shall (geber), the strongest and most eminent man, stand in competition with God?”

Isaiah counsels us to quit confiding in adam—meaning a mere human (B2). Do we think of ourselves as either weak, or strong mortals? Or even as human beings? The psalmist saw man in a different light—as wonderfully made (B3). Albert Barnes (1798-1870) expands on this:

“The idea is, that he [the psalmist] was “distinguished” among the works of creation, or so “separated” from other things in his endowments as to work in the mind a sense of awe. He was made different from inanimate objects, and from the brute creation; he was “so” made, in the entire structure of his frame, as to fill the mind with wonder.”

Traditional theology considers these wonderful distinctions in terms of the complex organization of the human form. As marvelous as that may seem, that’s still a mortal view. In Christian Science we go a step further— man is “fearfully and wonderfully made” because he is spiritual and immortal.

Our textbook unequivocally states, “Immortality is not bounded by mortality” (S1). It seems almost foolish to think that something infinite can be confined in a finite form. Equally impossible is the attempt to learn about immortality through ecclesiastical, human, physical, or material methods (S2). Limited mortal conceptions are incapable of comprehending spiritual things. The belief of a human mind is never satisfied with its findings because it views everything through a distorted, dingy mirror of mortal belief (S3).

The immortal view tells us, “Man is more than a material form with a mind inside, which must escape from its environments to be immortal.” Man doesn’t contain infinity; he reflects it.

Section 2: Transforming Power of Truth [W’s PS#7]

Once you have the slightest glimpse of the immortal view of man, you will never again be satisfied by the mortal view. So Paul tells us to quit deceiving others or ourselves about who we are. As Christians, we have put off the old man—the mortal view— and are committed to the new man—or immortal (B4). The immortal man is God’s image. Considering the Christian endeavor to put on the new man, contemporary pastor Mark Dunagan of Fifth Street Church of Christ in Beaverton, Oregon writes, “The old self is to be discarded, not because God is against "fun", but because God has a better life, a better character for us to develop into…. The role model for the Christian, is God Himself. Now-beat that! The standard or yardstick of this renewal process, the image that we are to strive for, is the very moral nature of God Himself.”

Our commitment to taking the higher view has a transformative effect on our lives (B5). Paul’s reference to beholding the true image “with open face” has particular significance as Adam Clarke (c.1760-1832) explains:

The Jews only saw the shining of the face of Moses through a veil…which prevented the reflection or shining of it upon them; and so this glory shone only on the face of Moses, but not at all upon the people. Whereas the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ, shines as in a mirror which reflects the image upon Christian believers, so that they are transformed into the same image….

Today we’re inundated relentlessly through print, airwaves, and on screens of all sizes with research that attempts to overwhelm us into believing the mortal view of things. Frankly, we would have no chance to oppose and resist these pressures on our own. Thankfully, divine Love is actively destroying the mortal beliefs on our behalf (S4). We can trust our Leader’s encouraging words that, “Eternal Truth is changing the universe” (S5). As daunting as the task seems, through the action of Truth the chaos of mortal belief is giving place to the harmony of immortal reality.

Section 3: Keep Focused on the Light [W’s PS#8]

We have to begin by looking in the right direction. Having a “single eye” (B6) is to have singularity of purpose. Clarke says that Jesus’ teaching is “a metaphor to point out simplicity of intention, and purity of affection with which men should pursue the supreme good.” The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Hence it only makes sense that we would stay focused on our destination. Jesus also says that we can’t serve two masters. So we have to keep our gaze on spiritual things, and recognize that we can’t simultaneously move in opposite directions. The psalmist knows the direction he wants to go, and his sights are fixed on immortality (B7).

Paul’s analogy in the Golden Text promises that even though we see immortality very dimly now, we will eventually see it clearly. We’ve seen the connection between Moses’ enlightenment covered by a veil, and Jesus reflection of the full light. In the same way, our single eye not only allows us to see clearly, but it also allows us to better reflect that light.

I’ve heard it said, “For every “Yes” there is a “No” and vice versa. If we are saying, “Yes” to immortality, we are also saying “No” to mortality. But mortals, being in the darkness of chaos are always trying to go both ways (S6). This is due to the mortal covenant that belittles “Deity with human misconceptions” (S7). The more we say, “yes” to mortal beliefs, the dimmer our view of the light becomes. It’s like covering a window with dirt. Mary Baker Eddy urges us to keep the windows of our consciousness clean to let the light through in both directions (S8). As our understanding progresses we will no longer look to material modes and means to find truth, and we’ll rise from the mortal to the immortal (S9).

Section 4: Humility and Cleansing [W’s PS#9a & #9b]

So far we’ve seen that mortals don’t have an accurate picture of man in God’s image. Yet mortal man is generally very proud of his delusion. Living in a constant state of contradiction, he continually looks in the wrong places for answers and is never satisfied. Yet, if we keep our focus on immortality, we will find the mist clearing, as spiritual perception increases.

Unfortunately, though, mortals often end up learning the hard way. The next three sections of the Lesson are cases in point.

The Bible says God lifts up those who humble themselves in His sight (B8). Scripture instructs us that if we see someone misbehaving, our efforts to correct that individual should be done “in the spirit of meekness” (B9). This is in itself a challenge because mortals usually relish the opportunity to point out others’ faults. To properly give correction requires a gentle approach. According to Clarke, the use of the word “restore” is a metaphor for the gentle touch of a surgeon putting a dislocated arm back into place. Additionally, being “overtaken” by a faultmeant that the infraction wasn’t premeditated, but was a legitimate mistake, or error of judgment. Therefore, the wrongdoer is to be considered tenderly. It’s the difference between seeing someone as a “bad” person, as opposed to seeing a good person doing a “bad thing.”

Naaman (B10) had a lot to be proud of as far as military accomplishments went, but he had a problem with pride. His wife’s maid, had genuine concern for her captor. She could have thought it served Naaman right to be punished for capturing Israelites. But she was acting from a genuine sense of goodness and purity. Whether because of his rank, or a basic character flaw, he was very upset that Elisha didn’t come out to him, and treat him with deference and respect.

The story implies that Naaman needed a cleansing of arrogance—that the disease was linked to his character. When we suffer, do we look for a link between our physical condition and some flaw in behavior? We have to be careful about this. We don’t want to inadvertently give disease a cause. We also should remember that the disease is never physical at all. The physical symptoms are only distractions that make us think it’s a physical problem. All mortal reasoning is flawed

Rather than fixating on physical conditions Mary Baker Eddy keeps us focused on spiritual growth. What we most need is…growth in grace (S10). We also need a “clean body and a clean mind” (S11). Our textbook sizes up mortals without mincing words: “Mortals are egotists” (S12). Immortal man on the other hand, is patient, meek, loving, and more interested in looking away from himself to the needs of others. Thinking spiritually, and giving up the belief in more than one Mind, enables us to see more clearly that man is God’s likeness (S13). It’s saying, “Yes” to immortality.

Self-righteousness obscures the true view of man, and inhibits healing. To utilize the power of Truth we must exercise humility and meekness. This is getting our self out of the way—becoming a better transparency for Truth (S14). Even the littlest amount of understanding is capable of uplifting our morals and physical wellbeing. Our textbook says having this higher view, “will increase longevity, will purify and elevate character” (S15).

Section 5: Making Adjustments [W’s PS#10 & #11]

As we’ve said, mortals regularly look for satisfaction in the wrong places. Saying, “yes” to the mortal viewpoint, obscures our vision. (B11). Isaiah reminds us of the futility of looking to material things for satisfaction. Barnes observes, “The immortal mind will not be satisfied with wealth, pleasure or honor. It never has been. Where is the man who is satisfied with his wealth, and who says it is enough? … There is a consciousness that the soul was made for higher and nobler purposes, and that nothing but God can meet its boundless desires.”

By contrast, the psalmist reinforces the blessings of a higher view (B12). One of the most well known stories of misplaced desires is the story of the prodigal son (B14).

First of all, this self-centered fellow is impatient. He wants his due without waiting for the process. He’s in that deceiving, immature place on the mortal continuum that believes it’s possible to have freedom without responsibilities, and happiness without earning it. Have you ever been in that position? If so, you likely have also realized the mistake.

Surprisingly, the young man’s request wasn’t entirely unusual for the time period. According to Clarke, the option to request inheritance before the father’s death was put in place as a protection to sons in case of ill treatment from unscrupulous parents. In such cases the father first complied with the request, and then the case could be brought to the magistrate for review. If the father was found to be of good character, and that the son had no just cause for the demand, the son would be fined. This may have been the reason the son was in a hurry to leave town. It also reveals that the son was deceptive as well as selfish.

The young man finds that finite riches run out, and when they do, nobody really cares, or owes you anything. We don’t get the impression that he knowingly wasted everything he had. But he was deceived by the lure of material pleasures, and got nothing in return. As is often the case, his suffering moved him to some self-reflection.

John Gill (1697-1771) describes the state of mind of this wayward son:

The man that pursues his worldly lusts and pleasures, promises himself liberty, while he is a slave; he ruins himself, his soul, body, and estate, and chooses to do it rather than part with his lusts; he takes delight in doing mischief himself, and in seeing it done by others; he proclaims his folly publicly, declares his sin, and glories in it; all which a man in his right mind would never do.

The Scriptures tell us in the depth of want, the suffering young man “came to himself.” Barnes tells us, “This is a very expressive phrase…commonly applied to one who has been “deranged,” and when he recovers we say he has “come to himself.” Today we might call it an “aha moment,” or as we mentioned in the beginning, a “golden moment.” On seeing his folly, the young man is repentant, and to his credit, has the humility to acknowledge his mistake, and go back home, even if only to be accepted as a servant.

The father is eagerly waiting for him and runs to him, embraces him, and restores his full status as a son. Aside from giving him raiment and a ring, both signs of wealth and dignity, the father gives him shoes. Although he came back willing to be a servant, the father welcomes him as a member of the family, for servants didn’t wear shoes, but family members did. The father calls for a celebration because his son had returned from the dead-end of mortal thinking to the life preserving safety of immortality.

Mary Baker Eddy acknowledges, “The loss of earthly hopes and pleasures brightens the path of many a heart” (S16). Jesus’ parables teach us the necessity for leaving materially based thinking for the spiritual sense of being (S18).

Citation S19 brings up a key point: That “what is termed matter is but the subjective state of what is termed by the author mortal mind.” Note here that matter is only a term for a subjective state of another term—mortal mind. Neither matter, nor mortal mind are real in the scientific sense. They are just terms for subjective states of thought.

In what she calls “The Scientific Translation of Mortal Mind” (S20) Mrs. Eddy specifies three degrees. Again, we need to be aware that these are only terms for the purpose of discussion. They aren’t levels of existence. We all entertain each of the traits and qualities mentioned in varying degrees at one time or another, and often simultaneously.

For instance, the son in the parable was operating from those first-degree traits and perspectives when he started out; and when he came to himself he exhibited some of the second-degree qualities. I think we could say he also demonstrated that third-degree quality of wisdom in deciding to return home. Did this one change of heart mean he would have forever changed, and separated from those first degree behaviors? Probably not.We all slip and slide once in a while. And had this been a true story other than a parable, he probably would have had further things to overcome.

If one has totally dropped all the mortal ways of thinking and acting, and totally lived those third degree qualities, he would awaken to immortality. As noted in our textbook, when exclusively expressing third-degree qualities, “mortal mind disappears, and man as God’s image appears.”

The way to get to this point is found in the next citation: “…mortals need only turn from sin and lose sight of mortal selfhood…” (S21). The closer we adhere to that realization, and demonstrate our relation to God, the closer we will be to understanding our immortality. But here is the thing—the fact is we are always immortal! We’ve never been anything less. That’s the Science of it—in reality there is “no lapse from nor return to harmony.” Everything God creates is “perfect and eternal…unchanged in its eternal history” (S22). That’s the game changer!

Section 6: Saul to Paul [W’s PS#12]

We should understand that not all who find themselves doing the wrong thing actually want to do the wrong thing, or are even aware they’re doing it. Often our intentions are very good. In my chaplain training courses for work in correctional facilities, we were taught that people do the worst and the best things in their lives for the same four reasons: the need for love, purpose, belonging, and recognition.

Saul was doing what he thought he was supposed to be doing. He was thinking he was a really good Pharisee! But alas, he needed a course correction in a big way. After his encounter with the light of Christ, he was blind. Earlier in this Lesson we talked about the light being the eye and if the light is darkness,the whole body should be dark. Although the biblical scholarsdebate the physical aspects of Saul’s blindness, and consequent healing, I think we could say that the light of the Christ brought the darkness to the surface to be healed.

Saul certainly had a change of heart, and no doubt he realizedthat what he thought were good things were actually crimes against Jesus’ followers. John Gill picked up on this line of interpretation: “the scales of ignorance, of himself, of sin, of righteousness, of the law, of the Gospel, and of Jesus as the Messiah; and of unbelief in him, and of pride, malice, and envy, and of superstition and bigotry, and of error and false doctrine, which, upon his being enlightened by the Spirit of God, fell from him…”

Knowing Saul’s previous reputation, Ananias must have had quite a bit to overcome also. Yet, he was obedient to the angel message he received, and answered the healing call (B16). Saul must have had a great feeling of awe when he regained his sight,particularly upon realizing that one of his intended victims—Ananias--actually became the instrument of God’s grace.

The desire to do things right will open the way for us. Saul may have been misguided but his desire was noble. It might be thought that given his prior activities, he deserved nothing less than being arrested and struck down for his mistreatment of Christians. In fact, during his encounter on the road to Damascus, and consequent blindness, he might have been a bit leery himself—being told to go to the home of an enemy. But his obedience to find Ananias brought healing. As Mrs. Eddy points out he “beheld for the first time the true idea of Love, and learned a lesson in divine Science” (S23). If you have ever done something severely wrong, you can remember Paul’s experience.

Reforming the sinner and healing the sick are what divine Love does. As touched on earlier in this Lesson, the old man needs to be replaced with the new man. Our Leader uses the word “self-immolation” as part of the process. Literally that means to set oneself on fire. Of course we don’t have to do that! But we do incinerate a false mortal sense of ourselves. That’s casting off the old man. To test our progress Science and Health asks us to consider how we are doing at loving our neighbor. The mortal way of selfishness should be lessening with our prayer (S25). We—like Naaman, the Prodigal, and Paul—should be “coming to ourselves” by laying aside the counterfeit traits of mortality for the pure reality of immortality (S26). As our textbook says, “Man in the likeness of God as revealed in Science cannot help being immortal” (S27).

Section 7: See It Like It Is

In the Golden Text Paul referred to seeing our true selves dimly for the moment with the expectation that we shall eventually see and understand fully who we really are. We finish this Lesson with encouragement from Isaiah that God isn’t making our emergence out of mortality an obstacle course. God has called us by our names—our true natures— and is ready to receive us with open arms (B17) even as the father of the Prodigal. And as John tells us, we are the sons of God right now—even though it doesn’t look like it (B18).

Mary Baker Eddy tells us our immortal natures are the true “models of spiritual sense” and that this true model transcends all material sense (S28). Understanding the way in Science allows us to recognize our true natures—seeing clearly all the glories of immortal reality (S29). So, let’s work to hasten our “golden moments” by saying, “Yes” to immortality!


[Reminder: Click here for special Cobbey Crisler and Ken Cooper insights this week.]


UPDATE! [Warren: Wow!! Thanks to the generous support received over the last few weeks from CedarS Newsletter subscribers and supporters, CedarS time-sensitive need is being met to upgrade to new safety standards for the four Ziplines to and from CedarS Bible Lands Park (BLP)!! This activity will annually bless thousands of visitors! It will make Christian Science Sunday School students, teachers and church members more Biblically literate and alive each summer and fall. And it will show “shoulder-season” visitors of all faiths how Christianly practical and Bible-based Christian Scientists are. From Mary’s Chapel behind Dawn Lodge all users can zip back in time to the Bible and BLP, climb its switch-back “Time-Travelers’ Trail” and learn A.P. (Answered Prayer) History lessons to take “back to the future.”


Thank you dear friends who have already given to the needs that we have made known—as well as to those of you who still want in 2019 to make a big difference in CedarS vital work, outreach and blessings!

We have a wonderful matching gift challenge to meet! You can double your donation by helping CedarS earn our "Adopt the Herd" $75,000 Match for the horses and riding program. (still ~$38,500 to go by Sept. 30, 2019.)

So, if you have been blessed by receiving this inspiration weekly and haven't given lately, or are in a position to be able to give more, we still have many needs, big and small, that you can help meet by clicking on https://www.cedarscamps.org/give/.

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.

Please sign up to give whatever you can on a much-needed MONTHLY basis to support CedarS life-changing work! [You can start at any amount and adjust monthly 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!

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

You can also reach a member of the Founding family nearly anytime by
PHONE, now at 636-394-6162.

or MAIL to our office address your tax-deductible support to our 501-C-3 organization.

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(until May 20) (AFTER May 20)

The CedarS Camps Office The CedarS Camps
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Ballwin, MO 63011 Lebanon, MO 65536

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. 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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