Golden text: Psalm 19:13*
Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.
After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. 3 In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. 5 One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” 7 The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” 9 And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.
Now that day was the Sabbath. 10 So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.” 11 But he answered them, “The man who healed me, that man said to me, ‘Take up your bed, and walk.’” 12 They asked him, “Who is the man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” 13 Now the man who had been healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, as there was a crowd in the place. 14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had healed him. 16 And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”
From 21st Century Science and Health**
The divine method of becoming responsible for every thought and action, involves unwinding our snarls and learning from experience how to divide between the human and the spiritual.
So inconceivable are the present methods of the human mind’s influences that they trick people into indolence and produce the very apathy on the subjects which the criminal desires. The power of suggestion, with its many different disguises such as herd mentality and the adoption of unoriginal thinking, causes people to make errors throughout the thought process.
If you believe that you are sick, is it better to say, “I am sick”? No, although you should sometimes responsibly tell other people you are sick in order to protect them. If you commit a crime, should you acknowledge to yourself that you are a criminal? Yes. Your responses differ because of the different effects they produce. Usually to admit that you are sick renders your case less curable, while to recognize your sin, helps destroy it. Both sin and sickness are error, and Truth is their remedy. The truth regarding error is that error is not true, hence it is unreal. To prove scientifically the error or unreality of sin, you must first see the claim of sin, and then destroy it. Whereas, to prove scientifically the error or unreality of disease, you must mentally stop perceiving the disease; then you will not feel it, and disease is destroyed.
Instead of blind and calm resignation to the beginning or advanced stages of disease, confidently rebel against them. Evict the belief that you can possibly entertain a single intruding pain which cannot be ruled out by the might of Mind, and in this way you can prevent the development of pain in the body. No law of God hinders this result. It is a mistake to suffer for anything but your own irresponsibility and narrow-minded thinking. Christ, or Truth, will destroy all other suffering that has been accepted as true. Human suffering is escaped from as the wrong thinking is corrected.
When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to [Jesus], “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” 16 But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. 17 And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ 20 And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ 23 And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’”
From 21st Century Science and Health
Lip service can distort a healthy perception of our Godlike responsibilities. Pay attention! Make sure that the motive for prayer doesn’t embrace the desire to be admired, because this will discourage spiritual growth.
The narrow-minded intellect rankles by the constant need to be responsible to infinite Mind. The licentious disposition is discouraged over its meager spiritual prospects. When the people are invited to the wedding banquet, the excuses come. One person has a machine to fix, others have an errand to run or a business to attend to, and therefore they can’t approve and accept.
Who would hold a calculator in their hand and pray for the science of mathematics to solve a math problem? The rule is already established, and it is our responsibility to work out the solution. Will we ask the divine Principle to solve what has already been solved? It is better to make our minds and bodies available to follow God’s rule, because we then can receive Love’s blessing and work out our own salvation.
When navigating aircraft through a storm, the pressure is shifting, the wind is shrieking, and air pockets are hiding in the air currents. We ask the pilot: “Do you know your course? Can you aviate safely among this turbulence?” Though brave, the dauntless aviator is not sure of safety because even aeronautical science is not equal to the Science of Mind. Yet, acting on his or her highest understanding, the pilot doesn’t avoid responsibility, but keeps working, ready to act on divine guidance. This example of behavior can be useful in any stressful relationship, including a seething marriage. Be accountable, hope and work, willingly act on divine guidance, not private interest. Divine guidance will either force a graceful change, or calm the enraged atmosphere.
[The] ever-present omnipotent Mind expresses the entire universe and is reflected by us. The first responsibility in divine Science is to adapt to Soul, to have one Mind, and to love another as yourself.
Proverbs 26: 12-16
Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.
13 The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road!
There is a lion in the streets!”
14 As a door turns on its hinges,
so does a sluggard on his bed.
15 The sluggard buries his hand in the dish;
it wears him out to bring it back to his mouth.
16 The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes
than seven men who can answer sensibly
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.
From 21st Century Science and Health
Humanity moves toward good or evil as time passes. If mortals are not progressive, past failures will be repeated until all wrong work is erased or corrected. If there is any satisfaction in wrongdoing, we must learn to loathe it. If we are now content with spiritual idleness, we must become dissatisfied with it. Remember that humankind must sooner or later, either by suffering or by Science, be convinced of the error that is to be overcome.
“The Lord disciplines those he loves.” A person who refuses obedience to God is chastened by Love. People who know and obey God’s will, or the demands of divine Science, will run up against the hostility of envy.
Hard work, deprivations, exposures, and all troublesome conditions, if without sin, can be experienced without suffering. Your true responsibility can be fulfilled without harm to yourself. If you sprain the muscles or wound the flesh, your remedy is at hand. Mind decides whether or not the flesh will be discolored, painful, and inflamed.
If you dare to launch your ship on the ever-agitated but healthful waters of truth, you will encounter storms. The good you do will be spoken of as evil. This is the responsibility. Be accountable. For in answering to Spirit you will win and feel the honor. Stranger on earth, your home is heaven; foreigner, you are the guest of God.
Good compels us to solve the problem of being. Commitment to good increases our dependence on a spiritual God and shows a paramount necessity to be responsible to Truth and Love.
*Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
** Text from 21st Century Science and Health,5th edition, copyrighted by Cheryl Petersen.
 Matt. 22:5; Luke 14:18–19
 Heb. 12:6