Our Reading Room’s overall Metaphysical Theme is:
FEED MY SHEEP
The subtopic beginning in May is Expectancy. Beginning with the June meeting, it's Foundation of Fellowship.
May 11, 2006
OPENING REMARKS - MEMBERSHIP METAPHYSICAL MTG. MAY 11, 2006
We can’t get to the subject of Reading Room without going through the larger subject of Church/church. Looking to the Bible as a starting point for research and discussion never disappoints: As some of you may have noticed, the first use of the word church in the Bible is in Matthew, from the mouth of Jesus, and, perhaps most importantly, in the context of his response to Peter’s acknowledgement, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. His insightful declaration was highly commended by Jesus: Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona. Why? Because, he said, flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. Apparently Jesus saw the moment as so significant for both humanity and for the disciple that it warranted the taking of a new name, the ancient practice employed to illustrate a mental, moral, and spiritual turning point, a spiritual discovery and renewal of life-changing proportions. Jesus praised the discernment that Simon, now Peter, had exercised as spiritual - divinely bestowed and empowered, and so eternally stable a degree of thought, that he declared it the rock on which he could and would safely build his church.
For us tonight, this is more than a rehearsal of a familiar story. It illustrates why we as a membership called for this meeting to get the spiritual view of Reading Room, its mission and purpose, clearly in thought, and in a manner that is essential: together. We recognized the necessity for giving the spiritual idea priority over the administrative or organizational considerations. The best means of fulfilling those secondary steps will naturally and necessarily come into view as a result of finding foundational answers to the questions, What is the Reading Room? its mission and purpose? And, What claims to be able to hinder its fulfillment of that mission and purpose? What is the best spiritually-impelled response - on both counts?
We’re all aware that this kind of renewal doesn’t come in a quick-fix package. It takes real work to get into the necessary deep thinking and study, and the prayerful yielding up of the old and the yielding to the new. The collective goal is won by each one of us coming prepared to give. It’s an unarguable, spiritual fact that the capacity for that essential, individual contribution to the whole lies in every one of us. Then, staying true to our spiritual discoveries, we’ll find the way, together, to the refreshment, renewal, revitalizing of our church experience and Reading Room. And so we’ll merit the encouraging praise of our Lord, Blessed art thou. Then, we can equip our church and Reading Room to respond in the way best suited to these times and in our community, to what Jesus next required of Peter: Feed my sheep.
READINGS - MEMBERSHIP METAPHYSICAL MEETING
MAY 11, 2006, CHURCH
Ps. 128:1,2,5 (to Zion)
1 Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord; that walketh in his ways.
2 For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee
5 The Lord shall bless thee out of Zion:
35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;
38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
Matt 10:6 (go)
6 ... go... to the lost sheep of the house of Israel
6 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Acts, Chapter 3
A public miracle and its explanation
One afternoon Peter and John were on their way to the Temple for the three o’clock hour of prayer. A man who had been lame from birth was being carried along in the crowd, for it was the daily practice to put him down at what was known as the Beautiful Gate of the Temple, so that he could beg from the people as they went in. As this man saw Peter and John just about to enter he asked them to give him something. Peter looked intently at the man and so did John. Then Peter said,
Look straight at us!
The man looked at them expectantly, hoping for a gift from them.
I have neither silver nor gold, said Peter, but what I have I will certainly give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!
Then he grasped him by the right hand and lifted him up. At once his feet and ankle bones were strengthened, and he sprang to his feet, and stood, and then walked. Then he went with them into the Temple, where he walked about, leaping and thanking God.
When Peter saw this he spoke to the crowd....
...it was faith in Christ which gave this man perfect health and strength in full view of you all.
Peter explains ancient prophecy.
You are the sons of the prophets and heirs of the agreement which God made with your fathers when he said to Abraham, ‘Through your children shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’
The first clash with...authorities.
Next day the leading members of the council, the elders and scribes, met in Jerusalem with Annas the High Priest, Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and the whole of the High Priest’s family. They had the apostles brought in to stand before them and they asked them formally,
By what power and in whose name have you done this thing?
At this Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, spoke to them,
Leaders of the people and elders, if we are being called in question today over the matter of a kindness done to a helpless man and as to how he was healed, it is high time that all of you and the whole people of Israel knew that it was done in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth!
The embarrassment of the authorities
When they saw the complete assurance of Peter and John, who were in their view uneducated and untrained men, they were staggered, recognizing them as men who had been with Jesus. Yet since they could see the man who had been cured standing beside them, they could find no effective reply. All they could do was to order them out of the Sanhedrin and hold a conference among themselves.
What are we going to do with these men? they asked each other. It is evident to everyone living in Jerusalem that an extraordinary miracle has taken place through them, and that is something we cannot deny. Nevertheless, to prevent such a thing from spreading further among the people, let us warn them that if they say anything more to anyone in this name it will be at their peril.
So they called them in and order them bluntly not to speak or teach a single further word to anyone in the name of name of Jesus. But Peter and John gave them this reply:
Whether it is right in the eyes of God for us to listen to what you say rather than to what he says, you must decide; for we can-not help speaking about what we have actually seen and heard!
After further threats they let them go. They could not think of any way of punishing them because of the attitude of the people. Everybody was thanking God for what had happened- ...
The united prayer of the young church-
After their release the apostles went back to their friends and reported to them what the chief priests and elders had said to them. When they heard it they raised their voices to God in united prayer and said,
Almighty Lord, thou art the one who hast made the heaven and the earth, the sea and all that is in them. It was thou who didst speak by the Holy Spirit through the lips of our forefather David thy servant in the words:
Why did the gentiles rage,
And the peoples imagine vain things?
The kings of the earth set themselves in array,
And the rulers were gathered together,
Against the Lord, and against his anointed:
For indeed in this city the rulers have joined together against thy holy servant, Jesus, thine anointed – yes, Herod and Pontius Pilate, the gentiles and the peoples of Israel have gathered together to carry out what thine hand and will had planned to happen. And now, O Lord, observe their threats and give thy servants courage to speak thy word fearlessly, while thou dost stretch out thine hand to heal, and cause signs and wonders to be performed in the name of thy holy servant Jesus.
When they had prayed their meeting-placer was shaken/ they were all filled with the Holy spirit and spoke the Word of God fearlessly.
-and their close fellowship
Among the large number who had become believers there was complete agreement of heart and soul...The apostles continued to give their witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus with great force, and a wonderful spirit of generosity pervaded the whole fellowship.
Matt 10:8 (freely)
7 ...freely ye have received, freely give.
Science and Health
3 The first edition of SCIENCE AND HEALTH was published in 1875.
The author has not compromised conscience to suit
12 the general drift of thought, but has bluntly and honestly given the text of Truth.
The divine Principle of healing is proved in the personal experience of any sincere seeker of Truth.
3 When Christian Science and animal magnetism are both comprehended, as they will be at no distant date, it will be seen why the author of this book has been
6 so unjustly persecuted and belied by wolves in sheep's clothing.
6 Perhaps the early Christian era did Jesus no more injustice than the later centuries have bestowed upon the healing Christ and spiritual idea of being.
15 Truth's immortal idea is sweeping down the centuries, gathering beneath its wings the sick and sinning.
9 The words of divine Science find their immortality in deeds, for their Principle heals the sick and spiritualizes humanity.
1 The natural fruits of Christian Science Mind-healing are harmony, brotherly love, spiritual growth and
3 activity. The malicious aim of perverted mind-power, or animal magnetism, is to paralyze good and give activity to evil.
The seed of Christian Science, which when sown was "the least of all seeds," has sprung up, borne fruit, and
18 the birds of the air, the uplifted desires of the human heart, have lodged in its branches. Now let my faithful students carry the fruit of this tree into the rock-ribbed
21 nests of the raven's callow brood.
* * * * * *
Daily Prayer, The Manual of The Mother Church 41:19
"Thy kingdom come;" let the reign of divine Truth, Life, and Love be established in me, and rule out of me all sin; and may Thy
24 Word enrich the affections of all mankind, and govern them!
* * * * * *
Close: Poem Feed My Sheep by Mary Baker Eddy
[As it turned out, the congregation sang the poem from The Christian Science Hymnal, #307)
Shepherd, show me how to go
O'er the hillside steep,
How to gather, how to sow,
How to feed Thy sheep;
I will listen for Thy voice,
Lest my footsteps stray;
I will follow and rejoice
All the rugged way.
Thou wilt bind the stubborn will,
Wound the callous breast,
Make self-righteousness be still,
Break earth's stupid rest.
Strangers on a barren shore,
Lab'ring long and lone,
We would enter by the door,
And Thou know'st Thine own;
So, when day grows dark and cold,
Tear or triumph harms,
Lead Thy lambkins to the fold,
Take them in Thine arms;
Feed the hungry, heal the heart,
Till the morning's beam;
White as wool, ere they depart,
Shepherd, wash them clean.
MAINTAIN THE PRIORITY: THE SPIRITUAL FIRST. UNITY OF THOUGHT & PRAYER
We gather and are gathered.
We gather the right concept, and gather together. God reveals the general pattern, the pattern showed to thee in the mount. God is the Architect. Our Christianity, acknowledging the saving example of the Messiah lays the foundations as eternal as Truth, the chief cornerstone. (Misc. 163:22) Science raises the superstructure.
HEALING, GLORIFYING GOD, LIVING CHURCH MBU’s. UNITY OF DESIRES, MOTIVES, AFFECTIONS, AIMS.
III. FEED MY SHEEP
MAINTAIN VISION OF DUAL PURPOSE OR UTILITY OF CHURCHHEALING/REGENERATION. UNITY IN ACTION, EFFORTS - OUTREACH.
Summary: Visible form appears/is built through the practical and the out-flow. Branch church appears and thrives in service to community. The Church Triumphant is reflected in Richmond, VA.
June 22, 2006
OPENING REMARKS, METAPHYSICAL MEETING (2nd) JUNE 22, 2006, CHURCH/READING ROOM
It seemed something of a shared assumption for us that if we came together on the subject of Reading Room we would not go far without having to move to the larger subject of church. That was quickly affirmed when we met on May 11. Our gratitude and fruitage discussion this evening and the content of our first meeting summary suggest that we’ve laid a spiritual cornerstone. Gathering together in unity occasioned the event - it enabled what Science and Health calls the gathering of the rays of Truth into the focus of ideas which brings light instantaneously. We allowed Spirit, the great architect to set our sight and form our intent. Now we’re at a point where we need to do something about it. The heart that has been touched progresses to the heart that is changed and yearns to move, to flow outward. We all know that’s the beginning of demonstration, the natural, responsive inclination of the Christian Scientist. In terms of church, we begin living it, affording proof of utility. We truly have religion that is of the heart and not the head as Science and Health puts it.
Following our own established theme, Feed My Sheep, looks like we’ve done some fine gathering and its time for us to sow - to build on that cornerstone, let divine Love raise the sides of our structure of Truth and Love, doesn’t it?
In her book Misc. Writings, Mrs. Eddy states, Mind is the architect that builds its own idea, and produces all harmony that appears.
When speaking of her authorship of the Manual, Mrs. Eddy draws our attention to the divine origin of its by-laws. She says of them, in part, The Rules and By-Laws in the Manual of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, Boston, originate in solemn conclave as in ancient Sanhedrim. They were not arbitrary opinions nor dictatorial demands, such as one person might impose on another. They were impelled by a power not one's own, were written at different dates, and as the occasion required. They sprang from necessity, the logic of events, from the immediate demand for them as a help that must be supplied to maintain the dignity and defense of our Cause;...
And within them lies our help. The basic pattern, or design, of our church is flawlessly, because divinely, provided for us through them. As a renewed sense of church advances for us, it can begin to organize in consciousness, take on and bring forth the elements and qualities of that institution that affords proof of its utility. With the whole scene coming into renewed light, revitalized aims, goals, motives, and affections, move responsively. The design of church these by-laws provide involves four major elementsReading Room, Lectures, Sunday School, and our Services. The four sides of our structure?
A recently released motion picture depicts a father and master architect passionately conveying to his architect son, in a rare moment between them, the leading factor in their art: Every good architect knows its all about light, he says. He goes on to describe the individual aspects of light in different locations, pointing out how the light in one place is different than the light in Florence, but that it remains about the light. He describes everything about the visible form as coming forth from the light, as if in response to the light. Its all about the light, he repeats. Our spiritual and mental building certainly can relate to that! It leads well into two other architectural points: One is that the architect is concerned with producing an environment. The other, drawing on an old architectural axiom, is that form follows function. That could certainly be paraphrased for our purposes as the visible form followsagrees with and glorifies - the spiritual idea and intent.
So, why not keep our momentum. Let’s build! Maintaining our spiritual priority, as brethren and friends in unity, let’s move ahead in nurturing our church with refreshed concepts and new energy, seeking new friends and new ways to bless, with the assurance of the great Friend, Lo, I am with you always.
Why don’t we continue our research and sharing now, get a little more specific about each of the four sides and see where that takes us. Maybe using the environment and function terminologies will help focusor not. Each group just follow what works best for them.
READINGS - MEMBERSHIP METAPHYSICAL MEETING
JUNE 22, 2006
CONTINUING SUBJECT: CHURCH , Feed My Sheep - How to sow
Ps. 106: 1 (to .), 2
1 Praise ye the Lord.
2 Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord? who can shew forth all his praise?
3 Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times.
1 My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;
2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;
5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.
7 He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly
8 He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints.
9 Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.
10 When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;
11 Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:
Christ reproveth the Pharisees
36 And he spake also a parable unto them; No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old.
37 And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish.
38 But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved.
39 No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.
12 ...it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
St. John, Chapter 21
The risen Jesus and Peter
Later on, Jesus showed himself again to his disciples on the shore of Lake Tiberias, and he did it in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael from Cana of Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together, when Simon Peter said,
I’m going fishing.
All right, they replied, we’ll go with you.
So they went out and got into the boat and during the night caught nothing at all. But just as dawn began to break, Jesus stood there on the beach, although the disciples had no idea that it was Jesus.
Have you caught anything, lads? Jesus called out to them.
No, they replied.
Throw the net on the right side of the boat, said Jesus, and you’ll have a catch.
So they threw out the net and found that they were now not strong enough to pull it in because it was so full of fish! At this, the disciple that Jesus loved said to Peter, It is the Lord!
Hearing this, Peter slipped on his clothes, for he had been naked, and plunged into the sea. The other disciples followed in the boat, for they were only about a hundred yards from the shore, dragging in the net full of fish. When they had landed, they saw that a charcoal fire was burning, with a fish placed on it, and some bread. Jesus said to them, Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught. ….
Then Jesus said to them, Come and have your breakfast.
None of the disciples dared to ask him who he was; they knew it was the Lord.
Jesus went and took the bread and gave it to them and gave them all fish as well….
When they had finished breakfast Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these others?
Yes, Lord, he replied, you know that I am you friend.
Then feed my lambs, returned Jesus. Then he said for the second time,
Simon, son of John, do you love me?
Yes, Lord, returned Peter. You know that I am your friend.
Then care for my sheep, replied Jesus. Then for the third time, Jesus spoke to him and said,
Simon, son of John are you my friend?
Peter was deeply hurt because Jesus’ third question to him was Are you my friend?, and he said, Lord, you know everything. You know that I am you friend!
Then feed my sheep, Jesus said to him…..
Then Jesus said to him, You must follow me.
Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 2
Peter explains the fulfillment of God’s promise
Then Peter, with the eleven standing by him, raised his voice and addressed them.
Men of Israel, I beg you to listen to my words. Jesus of Nazareth was a man proved to you by God himself through the works of power, the miracles and the signs which God showed through him here amongst youas you very well know…You must repent and every one of you must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, so that you may have your sins forgiven and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For this great promise is for you and your childrenyes, and for all who are far away, for as many as the Lord our God shall call to himself!
Then those who welcomed the message were baptized, and on that day alone about three thousand souls were added to the number of disciples…They praised God continually and all the people respected them. Every day the Lord increased the number of those who were finding salvation.
The young Church takes its stand....and miraculous power radiates from it
Many signs and wonders were now being shown among the people through the apostles’ ministry. In consequence people would bring out their sick into the streets and lay them down on beds or stretchers, so that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall upon some of them. In addition a large crowd collected from the cities round about Jerusalem, bringing with them their sick and all those who were suffering from evil spirits. And they were all cured.
1 Praise ye the Lord.
Science and Health
If all who ever partook of the sacrament had really
commemorated the sufferings of Jesus and drunk of
12 his cup, they would have revolutionized the Millennial
world. If all who seek his commemoration glory
through material symbols will take up the cross, heal
15 the sick, cast out evils, and preach Christ, or Truth,
to the poor, the receptive thought, they will bring
in the millennium.
18 Through all the disciples experienced, they became more
spiritual and understood better what the Master had
taught. His resurrection was also their resur- Fellowship
21 rection. It helped them to raise themselves and with Christ
others from spiritual dulness and blind belief in God into
the perception of infinite possibilities.
What a contrast between our Lord's last supper and
30 his last spiritual breakfast with his disciples The last
in the bright morning hours at the joyful breakfast
meeting on the shore of the Galilean Sea!
3 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
6 side. Discerning Christ, Truth, anew on the shore of
time, they were enabled to rise somewhat from mortal
sensuousness, or the burial of mind in matter, into new-
9 ness of life as Spirit.
Peo. 5:10-11, 7:30-3
The ideals of primitive Christianity are nigh, even at our door.
Because God is Spirit, our thoughts
must spiritualize to approach Him, and our methods grow
more spiritual to accord with our thoughts. Religion and
1 medicine must be dematerialized to present the right idea
of Truth; then will this idea cast out error and heal the
When shall earth be crowned with the true
15 knowledge of Christ?
When Christian Science has melted away the cloud of
false witnesses; and the dews of divine grace, fall-
18 ing upon the blighted flowers of fleeting joys, shall
lift every thought-leaflet Spiritward; and "Israel after
the flesh," who partaketh of its own altars, shall be
21 no more, then, "the Israel according to Spirit"
shall fill earth with the divine energies, understanding,
and ever-flowing tides of spiritual sensation and con-
* * * * *
Daily Prayer, The Manual of The Mother Church 41:19
"Thy kingdom come;" let the reign of
divine Truth, Life, and Love be established in
me, and rule out of me all sin; and may Thy
24 Word enrich the affections of all mankind, and
SUMMARY - METAPHYSICAL MEETING RE: CHURCH THURSDAY, JUNE 22, 2006
TAKING SPECIFIC STEPS
Considering church as a unified whole, yet involving four elements or aspects / four sides of its structure:
Services, Reading Room, Lectures, Sunday School
I. Organizational, collective. Making improvements to better reflect our revitalized standards. Responding to divine guidance as a congregation, giving action or movement to our understood and stated purpose.
III. Immediate specific steps to consider