With my whole heart have I sought thee: . . . Blessed art thou, O Lord:
Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
. . . put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
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:
And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.
And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
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.
Science and Health
Dost thou "love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind"? This command includes much, even the surrender of all merely material sensation, affection, and worship.
We worship spiritually, only as we cease to worship materially. Spiritual devoutness is the soul of Christianity.
Referring to the materiality of the age, Jesus said: "The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth."
Jesus' history made a new calendar, which we call the Christian era; but he established no ritualistic worship. He knew that men can be baptized, partake of the Eucharist, support the clergy, observe the Sabbath, make long prayers, and yet be sensual and sinful.
Behest of the cross
Material belief is slow to acknowledge what the spiritual fact implies. The truth is the centre of all religion. It commands sure entrance into the realm of Love.
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."
What we most need is the prayer of fervent desire for growth in grace, expressed in patience, meekness, love, and good deeds.
Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart;
He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.
For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Science and Health
The divine Principle and idea
Throughout all generations both before and after the Christian era, the Christ, as the spiritual idea, — the reflection of God, — has come with some measure of power and grace to all prepared to receive Christ, Truth. Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and the prophets caught glorious glimpses of the Messiah, or Christ, which baptized these seers in the divine nature, the essence of Love.
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.
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.
Jesus said, "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God" [Truth].
And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Cæsarea Philippi:
And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
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.
the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
Science and Health
Are all who eat bread and drink wine in memory of Jesus willing truly to drink his cup, take his cross, and leave all for the Christ-principle?
The true sense is spiritually lost, if the sacrament is confined to the use of bread and wine. The disciples had eaten, yet Jesus prayed and gave them bread. This would have been foolish in a literal sense; but in its spiritual signification, it was natural and beautiful.
Spiritual teaching must always be by symbols.
True flesh and blood
The spiritual essence of blood is sacrifice. The efficacy of Jesus' spiritual offering is infinitely greater than can be expressed by our sense of human blood.
His true flesh and blood were his Life; and they truly eat his flesh and drink his blood, who partake of that divine Life.
The "man of sorrows" best understood the nothingness of material life and intelligence and the mighty actuality of all-inclusive God, good. These were the two cardinal points of Mind-healing, or Christian Science, which armed him with Love.
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.
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.
Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.
I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord.
Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.
Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.
Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
And straightway in the morning the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried him away, and delivered him to Pilate.
And it was the third hour, and they crucified him.
Science and Health
The holy struggle
When the human element in him struggled with the divine, our great Teacher said: "Not my will, but Thine, be done!" — that is, Let not the flesh, but the Spirit, be represented in me. This is the new understanding of spiritual Love. It gives all for Christ, or Truth. It blesses its enemies, heals the sick, casts out error, raises the dead from trespasses and sins, and preaches the gospel to the poor, the meek in heart.
Christians, are you drinking his cup?
The cup shows forth his bitter experience, — the cup which he prayed might pass from him, though he bowed in holy submission to the divine decree.
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.
My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.
Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.
After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself.
Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a-fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No. And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.
As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread.
Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord.
Science and Health
The last breakfast
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.
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.
In the quiet sanctuary of earnest longings, we must deny sin and plead God's allness. We must resolve to take up the cross, and go forth with honest hearts to work and watch for wisdom, Truth, and Love.
We acknowledge that the crucifixion of Jesus and his resurrection served to uplift faith to understand eternal Life, even the allness of Soul, Spirit, and the nothingness of matter.
Those, who are willing to leave their nets or to cast them on the right side for Truth, have the opportunity now, as aforetime, to learn and to practise Christian healing. The Scriptures contain it. The spiritual import of the Word imparts this power.
For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.
Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.
and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.
And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people;
There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.
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.
Science and Health
Our church is built on the divine Principle, Love. We can unite with this church only as we are new-born 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 commended to his followers.
While respecting all that is good in the Church or out of it, one's consecration to Christ is more on the ground of demonstration than of profession.
Like our Master, we must depart from material sense into the spiritual sense of being.
If all who seek his commemoration through material symbols will take up the cross, heal the sick, cast out evils, and preach Christ, or Truth, to the poor, — the receptive thought, — they will bring in the millennium.
Christian Science Quarterly™ Bible Lessons — Online Edition, Vol. 129, No. 27
© 2018 The Christian Science Publishing Society. Redistribution of any kind is prohibited. All rights reserved. Published weekly by The Christian Science Publishing Society, 210 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts, 02115-3195, USA, an activity of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts.
Front cover image © Katja Kircher/Maskot/Getty Images. All models appearing in this publication used for illustrative purposes.