Monday, May 5, 2008

first impressions from this week's Bible lesson

I usually read through the Bible lesson on Sunday night, getting a sense of how the topic is being explored. Having studied Christian Science for over 30 years now, I am always interested in how these recurring topics can continue to be fresh and inspiring. This week it is Adam and Fallen Man. Many people struggle with the idea of being a fallen individual. Sometimes it revolves around a personal relationship that seems to have fallen apart, leaving sorrow and resentment in its wake. It might be an actually fall that was the result of some accident. It might be losing a job or getting reprimanded by your boss or your spouse or your parents. Whatever it was, it didn't feel good and you don't feel good about yourself as a result.

The first three sections show examples from the Bible. What they have in common is a sense of being cast away, cast out, cast down or cast off. If you saw Tom Hanks in Cast Away you know how tough that life can be, dealing with being cast adrift without family or friends, maybe even without the basic necessities of food, water or shelter. He had to call upon skills and tremendous patience. We can turn to divine Love when human love seems missing. God's beloved child is never cast adrift, left on his own to struggle. Mind's idea is never discarded as unworthy. Love does not include the quality of rejection. Yet, that is what appeared to happen to Adam. But that story takes place in the second account of creation where man is created out of the dust. Christian Science stays with the first account where man is created in the image and likeness of God and seen as very good. Adam is the victim of that 'mist' that covered the ground. It is the source of all those 'mis' words like mistake, mistrust, misconception and even misery. Don't see yourself there! Identify yourself as God's own child.

Hagar and her son were also cast away or cast out. Hagar, an Egyptian slave, bears Abraham a son, but this is not the promised heir. When Isaac is born a few years later, Ishmael mocks him, perhaps jealous of his status. Sarah sees this and insists that Abraham banish Hagar and her child. They are sent out into the desert. This could have been the end for both of them, but God hears Ishmael crying and sends an angel to Hagar so that her eyes are opened and she sees a source of water. They survive and become a part of a band of bedoins. Ishmael fathers the Arab race. They saw their oneness with God and beloved children.

Another poignant example is the daughters of Zelophehad. When he dies without fathering a son, his daughters are deprived of their inheritance. They take this to Moses, sure that the are entitled to respect and honor. Moses takes it to God who assures him that the women are entitled to a fair inheritance among their relatives and neighbors and it is not to be withheld from them. They were percieved as God's children and a legal matter was resolved in their favor.

We are not fallen children of a heartless Father. We are treasured and cherished children of a loving Father Mother with all our rights intact. And this is not at the expense of another. It is our divine right. I look forward to exploring the ideas in the lesson. The last three sections are about the sense of 'fallen man' vs. the Christ.

Stay out of the 'mist' and see that no right opportunity it 'missed'.

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