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Seek and find your inseparable oneness with God, as you are drawn up and in and by everlasting Love!

Kathy Fitzer
Posted Monday, October 12th, 2020

Seek and find your inseparable oneness with God, as you are drawn up and in and by everlasting Love!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Doctrine of Atonement”
for October 18, 2020

Prepared by Kathy Fitzer
kathyfitzer@gmail.com

[Click here for an audio version of Kathy’s Metaphysical Application ideas, read by her.
Listeners can find the location of referenced citations in this emailed and in CedarS online text version of it.]

As I’ve studied this week’s Lesson, I’ve appreciated learning more about the doctrine (or teaching) on the subject of atonement from a Christian Science perspective. Webster defines atonement basically as a reconciliation of God and man (or man again finding favor with God, after estrangement or enmity). Such a traditional interpretation starts with the assumption of division or separation, requiring reunification. But, in all that Jesus taught and demonstrated, he served as an example that God and man are one! This corresponds to the Christian Science definition of atonement according to the dictionary on my iPhone … “the experience of humankind’s unity with God exemplified by Jesus Christ.” And Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science writes, “Atonement is the exemplification of man’s unity with God, whereby man reflects divine Truth, Life, and Love.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures 18: 1-3; citation S11)

It can be helpful to try to put definitions into our own words. For me, I’m finding it helpful to think of atonement as the demonstration (or realization) of man’s forever oneness with, and inseparable connection to his (our) Father-Mother God. This at-one-ment eliminates the possibility of sin, disease, and death ever touching us. And it is experienced as we live according to the teachings of God presented throughout the Bible, and especially in the life of Christ Jesus.

We don’t need to struggle through life, hoping to earn God’s approval. But we do need to seek God, as the Golden Text tells us. Seeking includes acknowledging God’s presence as a constant that is lovingly guiding us — and all. Checking out the Hebrew word that seek comes from, we find it includes the idea of asking and diligently inquiring. If, humanly, you really want to know something, you take the time to investigate, give the subject your sincere attention, and put into practice what you’re learning. Same thing, here. In all we do, we need to really desire to see things from God’s perspective — seek God’s view! From that comes a full sense of living! The Amplified Bible translates the Golden Text this way: “You who seek God [requiring Him as your greatest need], let your heart revive and live.” A revived heart is an encouraged heart (CEV translation). So … if you’re ever feeling down, discouraged, or alone … seek God! Look for the presence of Love and beauty and goodness expressed in the tiniest of ways. Focus on those things and acknowledge God as their source, knowing there is nothing but God, good! As a result, you’ll again feel your oneness with God, good, that can never really be severed.

As I read the Responsive Reading I was struck by the qualities required of an active seeker, and how God meets our needs. Some things we are asked to do … hear, be expectant, be humble, seek God, look to Him, refrain from negativity and deception, do good, pursue peace, strive to keep thought in right relationship with God, feel remorse if we mess up, and trust God. You may find other ideas, too.

As for what God will do … we have the promises that He will direct us, hear us, free us from our fears, save us from troubles, bless us, always be with us, and redeem us (liberate, rescue, and deliver us from any sense of captivity or bondage). It’s all in balance! We never ask in vain, nor does God give in vain. God and man move together in harmony.

Section 1: God’s love is forever … and embraces all!

Is it possible to be outside of that which is all? Of course not! God is always there, loving us and continually drawing us in and up — regardless of where we think we have wandered off to. (citation B1-Jer. 31:3; B2-Ps.139: 7) Looking at the original Hebrew from chapter 31 of Jeremiah, the idea of being drawn by God’s lovingkindness includes “to prolong, to develop, to continue, extend, and stretch out.” Good to know that if we ever feel stuck, Love is moving us forward! Just as a trailer being drawn behind a car follows the car, we — drawn by God — follow God. We’re not in charge, any more than the trailer is!

This section reveals that as “the likeness” of our Maker, we reflect all the light that constitutes the one and only God. (citation S6, 305: 6-8) As the shine of God we can’t be separated from the source, and so can’t be separated from Love, Life, joy, and all that is good. (S5; 304: 9-14) But, what about when it seems we have been separated from good — when darkness seems overwhelming? That’s when we step up the search effort, grateful for the opportunity to be roused. We will be able to see the solutions God is always providing as we stop leaning on the testimony of the physical senses and stop being impressed by all that is swirling around us.

A material sense of comfort can be dangerous if it makes us forget the goal of “walking humbly with [our] God.” (B3: Micah 6:8) Good will be seen as we watch thought, keep it pure, knowing that what we most need is “growth in grace, expressed in patience, meekness, love, and good deeds.” (citations S2; 341: 8 & S3; 4: 3-5) Growing in any field of endeavor isn’t always easy. But, the practice and focus required is worth it! So, let’s stop worrying about what others are doing, or what the physical senses are reporting, and just yield to the good that always is. Give yourself over to God’s love as it draws you up to higher views.

Section 2: Prayer reveals the unity of God and man exemplified in our lives.

Because, as explained in Science and Health by Mary Baker Eddy, “God is at once the centre and circumference of being”, it’s impossible for anything real to be outside of God, or for there ever to be a separation between God and man. The way I see it, there is a kind of reciprocal relationship inherent in man’s unity with God. When things move as a unit, one is never ahead of or behind the other — but perfectly synchronized. There are different roles, but always balance. Man seeks God, prays, and looks expectantly to feel God’s presence. In addition, there is a desire to follow-through with whatever God reveals, and live according to God’s law.

As for God’s part, we’re told that God listens to us and hears us, refreshes us and rescues us from sinking into whatever would engulf us … planting us on solid ground and showing us how to proceed. (B4-Ps. 119: 10; B5-Ps. 5:3; B6-Ps. 40: 1-3,8) There is no time-lapse in God’s response, although it may not be immediately seen from our human perspective. As searching and praying changes one’s perspective, what has always been will be revealed. It’s like when one person tries to point something out to a friend, but something is blocking the friend’s view. A shift in position allows the perspective to change, and the view is then seen.

So … if prayer enables us to realize the unity we have with God and to see things as God sees them, it’s important to take an effective approach to prayer. Jesus told us to enter into the closet and shut the door when we pray (Matt. 6:6). We have similar instruction in Science and Health. We’re told “the door of the erring senses must be closed” and “lips must be mute and materialism silent, that man may have audience with Spirit, the divine Principle, Love, which destroys all error.” (S8; 15:9) I don’t see this kind of prayer as telling God what needs fixing — or outlining a solution. Rather, it is quietly listening for God to tell us what is right. What is God doing? Inspiring, illumining, designating and leading the way. (S10; 454:14)

So, what do we need to do to see man’s unity with God exemplified? “Wait patiently for divine Love to move upon the waters of mortal mind, and form the perfect concept.” (S10; 454:18) Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines patiently, in part, as “with calmness; with constant diligence; without agitation uneasiness or discontent.” Remembering that what we are expectantly waiting for is a perfect concept — one that is complete and fully informed — gives us courage to persevere as we seek God with our whole heart.

Section 3: Unbreakable unity provides for course corrections when needed.

Mistakenly believing that we are traveling in an orbit apart from God leads to the possibility of messing up in big and small ways. Making decisions that don’t correspond to God’s law of Love leaves us and/or others subject to unhappy circumstances. Gratefully, “with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption,” as Psalm 130 tells us (B9; verse 7). God’s everlasting love draws us up and in, in order to facilitate a change in course. But we also need to yield, acknowledge our mistake, and exercise meekness and humility.

God sent the prophet Nathan to get David back on track after he succumbed to temptation. David had Uriah the Hittite killed in battle so that he could take Uriah’s wife as his own. It seems he didn’t understand that his actions were wrong. Hearing Nathan’s story, David thought it terribly unjust that a rich man would take a poor man’s only lamb to share with a stranger who was passing through, rather than one of the many he owned. But, he still didn’t recognize how grave the mistake he had made was until Nathan flat out explained to him that the rich man was him. To David’s credit, he did then acknowledge his wrongdoing and go on to repent. (B8; II Sam. 12:1-13)

I see two questions to ask ourselves here … (1) are we willing to listen when someone points out a fault to us? (S12; 8:28-1) and (2) are we willing to be the agent by which the mistake of another is pointed out, allowing that person to make a course-correction and reestablish a conscious unity with God? (B10; Gal. 6:1) If atonement is the exemplification of man’s unity with God, we realize that although there never has truly been a separation, there does sometimes need to be a course correction in human thought in order to demonstrate that unity. Love, reflected in love, facilitates such a correction.

Section 4: Man is reconciled to God, not God to man.

The story of David in the previous section illustrates the point made here that atonement involves man being reconciled (or turned back) to God, not the other way around (S16; 18:13-2.) God, Love, never stops being Love and never turns away from man. But, sometimes it seems like the ties have been broken. Spiritual baptism cleanses away whatever would claim the possibility of separation.

Section 6 records more on baptism: In Acts 2 when Peter calls on hearers to “be baptized … in the name of Jesus Christ … about three thousand souls… that gladly received his word were baptized.” (B18: Acts 2:38, 41) Jesus’ baptism provided a public announcement that he was indeed God’s Son — the Messiah. This paved the way for him to heal (cleanse) others, including the leper who confidently approached him, acknowledging Jesus’ power to heal him. (B12; Mark 1:9, 11, 34, 40-42)

Paul stressed to the Corinthians the important point that God is the source of all good. Our ability, or sufficiency, always comes from God (B13; II Cor. 3: 4, 5). But, we do have a role to play. Just as the leper acknowledged Jesus’ ability to heal him before the cleansing was evident, we need to acknowledge “the supremacy of Spirit, which annuls the claims of matter”. As long as we cling to material beliefs and identify ourselves and others as mortals with separate personalities, we are accepting the premise of disunity.

As we give that up mortal identities and separate personalities, “we find the indissoluble spiritual link which establishes man forever in the divine likeness, inseparable from his creator.” (S19; 491:12) That link of at-one-ment is permanent. Acknowledging it, our perspective turns back to God, and reconciliation is experienced!

Section 5: Seek God with unselfed love, consecration, repentance, gladness and gratitude.

The woman who sought Jesus, washing and anointing his feet while he was at dinner at the Pharisee’s house is such a great example of what it really means to seek God (Truth and Love). In contrast to David, it appears that this woman knew she had a lot of things that needed forgiving. But, she humbly came to Jesus, showing her love for him and seeking redemption. The arrogant Pharisee, on the other hand, showed no indication that he needed anything Jesus had to offer.

Whether we are conscious of our “sins” or oblivious to them, at some point there needs to be a reaching out — a searching — in order to fully realize that sense of reconciliation, or unity with God. The woman came to Jesus with a sense of love, consecration, self-immolation, gladness and gratitude … ready to repent and have her slate of past mistakes wiped clean, so to speak. The Pharisee welcomed Jesus into his home, but withheld even the simple grace of providing a way to wash the dust from his feet. It seems he cared more about outward appearances than truly embracing Christ. Are we ever guilty of that?

We go to church, we talk the talk … but do we feel the deep love for God and for all that Jesus did that impels us to seek God with all our heart and follow Jesus’ example?

Let’s also consider how Jesus dealt with the woman. It serves as a great example for how we should deal with people who are working to make a turn-around after having made bad choices, or who may be struggling with fear and insecurity. Mary Baker Eddy reminds us that it is way better to respond to such individuals with tenderness, encouragement and patience rather than blasting them with quotes or lofty statements of what they should be doing differently. Love is the foundation of Christian Science, and if a sense of love doesn’t come through, a flurry of words tends to sound hollow and meaningless. (S22; 367:3-16)

Arrogance, as expressed by the Pharisee, has no place in the practice of Christian Science. As we mentally approach Christ … go to God in humility, asking to be shown the way … we will receive the same kind of love and forgiveness that the woman received and “both sin and suffering will fall at the feet of everlasting Love.” (S21; 23:7) At-one-ment will be realized!

Section 6: Be spiritually baptized in order to demonstrate your oneness with God.

To me, the most important part of Peter’s speech in Acts 2 is his emphasis on the need for repentance, and the encouragement for his listeners to be “baptized for the remission of sins." To repent, according to the Greek, means to “think differently, or change one’s mind for the better."

The Greek word translated baptized here is baptizo. The Touch Bible says this word is “not to be confused with bapto. The clearest example that shows the meaning of baptizo is a text from the Greek poet and physician Nicander, who lived about 200 B.C. It is a recipe for making pickles and is helpful because it uses both words. Nicander says that in order to make a pickle, the vegetable should first be ‘dipped’ (bapto) into boiling water and then ‘baptised’ (baptizo) in the vinegar solution. Both verbs concern the immersing of vegetables in a solution. But the first is temporary. The second, the act of baptizing the vegetable, produces a permanent change. When used in the New Testament this word more often refers to our union and identification with Christ than to our water baptism.” (Bible Study Magazine, James Montgomery Boice, May 1989)

So, mere intellectual assent is not enough in baptism. There must be a union with Christ, a real change — like the vegetable to the pickle!

In Peter’s account, three thousand people made this shift in thought as they were baptized. And they continued the teaching of the apostles and in praying for others and breaking bread (or sharing the gospel, or good news of all that Jesus had taught). (B18; Acts 2:42)

Jesus showed through his crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension that death and other mortal limitations have no hold on man. He showed the possibility of absolute freedom that comes through an understanding of man’s at-one-ment with God. The fourth tenet of Christian Science speaks to this point, saying that what Jesus demonstrated serves as “evidence of divine efficacious Love, unfolding man’s unity with God through Christ Jesus the Way-shower”.

The fourth tenet goes on to say that man is saved through Christ — through Truth, Life, and Love — and that this was demonstrated by Jesus in his healing work. (S24; 497:13) It is now our privilege to follow the example of our Master, Jesus Christ, and do what we can to heal as he did. (S25; 37:20-25)

The world is full of people seeking freedom (like those to whom Peter presented the Christ). Mary Baker Eddy tells us: “Millions of unprejudiced minds, simple seekers for Truth, weary wanders, athirst in the desert – are waiting and watching for rest and drink.” (S26; 570:14). Why not take up the challenge, let our light shine, and not be afraid to share whatever it is we understand of man’s oneness with God — a unity that brings freedom and healing to whatever challenges would confront us. (S26; 570:14-18)

Section 7: Nothing can separate us from our unity with God.

It really is quite simple. We can no more be separated from God than a sunbeam can be separated from the sun or a drop of seawater be separated from its attributes of seawaterness. (S27; 361:16) When I was working out recently, it was so helpful to think of myself as being as much at-one with God as a drop of water is one with a wave. The power is in the wave … each drop of water expresses that power simply because of its oneness with the ocean. And, so, my strength wasn’t dependent on muscles, but on my unity with God — one with inexhaustible Life, Truth, and Love! It was very freeing!

I’ve appreciated this translation of Romans 8: 38, 39 from the New Living Translation of the Bible:

“… I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (B19)

Jesus and the apostles, as well as those who came before and those who have come after, have demonstrated the truth of these statements. So, let’s start and stay with this absolute unity of God and man, and know that as we seek God, we will feel the love, care, protection, and guidance that is forever ours because of the doctrine of atonement — Love’s revelation of the inseparable oneness which exists between God and man. This unity will be demonstrated in our lives as we follow the example of Jesus in all we do! Love draws us up and in, and nothing can resist that pull! As a result, we are lifted up to see the law of God, good, operating in our lives, and in all the universe, because of man’s at-one-ment with God.


CLICK LINKS below for more CedarS-team APPLICATION IDEAS for this Bible lesson:

  • Click on Self-immolation to hear an apt Ken Cooper poem. It “takes thought from self-aggrandizement to clearing out all that is based on material thinking to that sense of spiritual baptism which Jesus experienced... Yet dropping the past may not be easy!”
  • Click on Simon the Pharisee to hear a perceptive monologue by Ken that “shows how tough the mental battle can be, and poses the question what direction do we really want to follow?”
  • View in-progress, ONLINE GEMs being sent soon with insights and application ideas from Cobbey Crisler and others that allow us to experience the precious forgiveness and higher peace of our true "Doctrine of At-one-ment" with God.

CLICK on LINKS (below) to CedarS-related OPPORTUNITIES FOR SPIRITUAL ENRICHMENT!

1. ENROLL YOUTH TODAY IN FALL PROGRAMS THAT ARE NOW CONTINUING!
! Here's a link to a NEW VIDEO about our ongoing FALL YOUTH CAMP offerings.
Our ongoing Fall “Take CedarS Home” Zoom sessions for grade grouping of campers continue each week till December to prove the healing power of childlike thought receptive to remote prayer. These Zoom session gifts to children and their families could be thought of as prayers to put love into action through practicing CedarS Five Fundamental concepts. [Great fruitage from summer and fall Zoom sessions is available. For
FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR TUITION
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2. Invite family, friends and even neighbors to join us by Zoom every week for CedarS Sunday Hymn Sings: To start each week we’ve loved singing our prayers and praise to God for 30 minutes with friends of all-generation from all 50 of the United States as well as from 17 more countries! They include Australia, Brazil, Canada, Democratic Republic of Congo, England, Ghana, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Scotland, Spain, South Africa, and Switzerland.


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