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Stop the Plot! Refuse the imaginings of matter!

Kathy Fitzer, St. Louis, MO & Park City, UT
Posted Sunday, March 12th, 2006

Editor's Note: The following background information and application ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson for this week are offered primarily to help CedarS campers and staff (as well as friends) see and demonstrate the great value of daily study of the Christian Science Bible lessons year-round, not just at camp.

Stop the Plot! Refuse the imaginings of matter!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Bible-Lesson of March 19, 2006 on "Matter"
Prepared by Kathy Fitzer, C.S. of St. Louis, MO

Golden Text: It is God's nature to completely destroy every enemy - everything unlike Himself - and to bring release to all who know Him rightly. So the question is, what would mortal mind imagine - how would mortal mind modify or combine our conceptions of God - in order to cover up this activity? Hmmm... how often are we tempted to try to combine a little matter with Spirit, adulterating the pure relationship we have with God? The Hebrew word translated in the King James version of the Bible as "imagine" can also be translated "plot" or "fabricate"! We wouldn't consciously plot against the Lord, but aren't we plotting every time we accept the reality of matter?

Responsive Reading: God is ALL; there isn't anything else. Look to Him to be saved - to have all of your needs met. Notice the connection between the words graven IMAGE and IMAGINE. To imagine is to form a mental image. We wouldn't think of bowing down to a golden calf, but what are we doing when we let ourselves imagine what might have happened if..., or imagine that we have this or that disease, or that we're too fat or too skinny, or that so-and-so is looking at us funny or talking behind our back? Any time we imagine a power apart from God, we've made a graven image and plotted against God! So, what do we do if we've fallen into that trap? "Look unto me, and be ye saved ..." Keep your thoughts focused on God. Get the right model of Spirit so clearly established in thought that you're not taken in or distracted by the fabrications of matter.

Section I: Stop fixating on the nothingness of matter! The Kingdom is at hand!
This section of the Bible reiterates the ideas of the Responsive Reading. The psalmist asks why people are imagining things that don't correspond to God's Word, (B-1) and describes as confused those who bow down to graven images (B-2). And then there is the promise (B-3) and the fulfillment (B-4) of eyes being opened to see through the fiction of graven images to the gospel (the good news) of the kingdom of God present here and now! Jesus didn't make the Truth true, but led mankind out of darkness by showing them the supremacy of Spirit. Couldn't today's graven image be identified simply as material knowledge (or beliefs)? (S-1&2) The appearing of Christ in this age - Christian Science - identifies five "erroneous postulates" that Mrs. Eddy says should be considered in order to apprehend (to take or seize; to understand) the spiritual FACTS. (S-4) Let's look at the rest of the lesson from the perspective of these postulates. REPENT - change your approach. Stop judging according to the images - pictures - of limited mortal belief that define you (and others) as a certain age, in a particular state of health, "in shape" or "out of shape," happy or sad, in or out of a happy relationship, financially stable or strapped for funds, smart or not-so-smart, etc, etc. Believe the gospel - the kingdom of God is at hand, with its abundance of good overflowing for all! The Christ reveals it. We need to stop mentally plotting against it, imagining life limited by the constraints of matter.

Section II: False - Substance, life, and intelligence are something apart from God.
God, through Spirit, reveals things to us that are "beyond our seeing," "beyond our hearing," and "beyond our imagining." (B-5, The New English Bible) Trusting the evidence of the physical senses, we believe that substance, life, and intelligence dwell in matter - apart from God. But, as we learn to use our spiritual senses and demand to see and hear the Truth of being, we will see that substance, life, and intelligence are of God - wholly good - and there is no limiting force called matter. The Scientific Statement of Being (S-10) makes this point perfectly clear. "All is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation"! All is ALL! The Bible makes the point over and over again - "Power belongeth unto God!!! (B-6) So, the supposition of a "conventional firm, called matter and mind" is just plain wrong. If God didn't make it - and how could Spirit make something that would completely contradict and obliterate itself - then it has only a fabulous existence! Even if we don't completely understand this, we've got to work out from this basis if we are ever going to SEE and FEEL the kingdom that is "at hand."

Section III: False - Man is both mental and material
The physical senses constantly try to convince us that life is a mixture of mind and matter. BUT ... what about the first commandment? (B-7) Can we honestly say we have ONE God (one creator), if we think we're made up the components of both Mind AND matter? Christ Jesus demonstrated his ability to heal through Mind alone, and then gave his disciples (we're included in this group) this same power to heal all manner of sickness and disease. (B-9) Peter and John didn't hesitate to use the power. (B-10) They healed a "man lame from his mother's womb." A dear friend once shared her inspiration about this story with me. Might the root of the problem have been the belief that this man was BORN of matter? Peter and John, seeing that this man needed something more than the corruptible treasure of silver and gold, lifted him up from the bondage of belief in a material heritage. He leaped, walked, praised God, and went in to the temple to worship. The people around, viewing things from a material perspective, credited the healing to the personalities of Peter and John. This was the same mentality that thought the Christ could be destroyed by killing Jesus. Peter and John made it very clear that it was the name of Jesus (the power of the Christ) and FAITH in that power that was responsible for the healing, revealing this man's original perfect soundness as a spiritual idea of Mind. Much resistance remains today to scientific Mental healing. Why? "Because our systems of religion are governed more or less by our systems of medicine." (S-12) As Christian Scientists we need to do more than just not "believe" in the power of medicine. We need to be clear that man is not both mental and material! And, what about hygiene? Are we sure we're not being influenced by the subtle suggestions of contagion, changing weather, germs, the selling of disease by the pharmaceutical companies, etc? When we REALLY - consistently - have more faith in Spirit, living, and God, than in matter, dying, and man, NO "material SUPPOSITIONS can prevent us from healing the sick and destroying error." (S-14) Material belief can only suppose and suggest. Let's not be taken in. LET the natural power of Spirit, God, heal!

Section IV: False - mind is both evil and good; True - the real Mind cannot be evil nor the medium of evil, for Mind is God.
Many witnessed Peter and John healing the man, lame from birth, through the power of Mind over evil. As a result, the apostles were threatened with what would happen if they continued teaching and healing in the name of Jesus. Did Peter and John go into hiding in fear of this "evil mind?" NO - they went back to their friends and told them of the attempt to stop their good work. Read the rest of the story. They prayed to God, acknowledging His supremacy, and praying: "enable thy servants to speak thy word with all boldness. Stretch out thy hand to heal and cause signs and wonders to be done through the name of thy holy servant Jesus."(B-11) They immediately acknowledged the presence and power of God with them! Does it ever seem that the good we do (perhaps spiritual growth we make and the healings we realize) results in just more problems being heaped upon us? Might we feel persecuted for our good work - for trying to do the right thing, standing up for standards we believe in? Isn't this evidence of the suggestion that evil is inherently mixed in with good? In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught, "How blest are those who have suffered persecution for the cause of right; the kingdom of Heaven is theirs." (New English Bible, Matt. 5: 10) Realizing of the presence of the kingdom of heaven is more than sufficient reward! In the Kingdom of Heaven we see God face-to-face. It is Mind that heals. Peter and John demonstrated that, and we must, too! The basic problem, once again, is the false belief that we are a mixture of good and evil - Spirit and matter. And it is the carnal mind's "determination to hold Spirit in the grasp of matter [that] is the persecutor of Truth and Love." (S-15) Peter and John weren't impressed by the testimony of matter (or evil). They didn't allow it to stop their expression of the healing power of the Christ or silence their expression of Truth and Love. And we can't either. Recognizing God as "the only author of man" (S-16) eliminates the belief in the possibility of there being a separate mind that is both evil and good - which must be feared or respected. It eliminates faith in so-called mortal man to help or hurt us. The last citation in Science and Health is so important! (S-17) Christian Science - the knowledge of Christ, Truth, - eliminates belief in the lies of sin, sickness, and death. It is the Christ - the Truth itself - that comes right to our false belief and destroys the belief of evil on the basis of the "spiritual or true idea of God." This true idea of God dispels the "dream that matter and error are something." Healing happens!

Section V: False - Matter is intelligent, and man has a material body which is part of himself.
The apostles, led by Peter and John, were not easily dissuaded by personal threats or by the appearance that man is constituted of a material body, and so subject to disease. They went right on with their healing work, and Peter and John ended up back in prison. (B-12) But, God wouldn't let his servants stay in prison. An angel opened the gates and they went right back to the temple to continue their teaching. There are lots of ways we can feel imprisoned - by fears, belief of incurability, limitations of the human body, a seeming lack of drive or focus, sadness, lack of funds, etc. An angel will open the gates of the imprisoning belief that matter is intelligent for us, too, and we must not be afraid to get right back to the work of demonstrating the power of Spirit to free all mankind from the bondage of suppositional matter. The teacher, Gamaliel caught an insight that can be comforting when we're faced with someone or something that would threaten to stop our progress. He realized that if the basis of the work was of men (of personal sense) it didn't have power to come to anything. And if it was of God, nothing could stop it. Our healing work is of God ... nothing can stop it. Those things that would try to hold us back (jealousy, envy, false belief, misunderstanding, sickness, sin ...) are only mortal beliefs. They have no power to stop our progress! Look at how logical the citations from Science and Health are. #18: either there ISN'T an "all power", or the "all-power" is the ONLY power. Do those things that would imprison us really have any power? #19: Is matter (any kind of limitation) a power at all? If so, it could defeat the ALL and ONLY power. That just doesn't work. #20: Which is omnipotent - God or matter? They can't both be, and if God IS (as every example of spiritual healing exemplifies), matter is NOT! #21: Mortal error MUST vanish - be eaten up by its opposite. Hang in there! #22: An obvious error like, "God doesn't exist" is easier to see through than a subtle error like, "I know Christian Science heals, but it just doesn't work for me." But, ultimately, Spirit will dominate all beliefs of mortal sense and then we'll discover the spiritual nature that has always been man's - never dependent on a material body at all! The real benefit of persecution is that it tends to elevate our thought above the mortal discord. This is Love's guaranteed gift! Rebel against the belief of matter and be free!

Section VI: False - Matter holds in itself the issues of life and death; matter is not only capable of experiencing pleasure and pain, but also capable of imparting these sensations.
We're not going to entertain any of those "imaginations" - are we!?!?! Matter does not experience pleasure or pain, doesn't give pleasure or pain and certainly can't produce life or cause death! It may seem like we're dealing with this world of flesh and matter, but gratefully God leads us higher (B-13), inspires us, gathers us into his arms, and gently leads us all to the truth. (B-14) Try substituting this definition of grace in B-15: "the effect of God understood." (CS vs. Pantheism, 10:23-24) And try defining "understand" as Milton did: "to know by experience; to know by instinct; To hold in opinion with conviction." In other words, even though we appear to "walk in the flesh" we can accept the "effects of knowing God through conviction, instinct, and our healing experiences," and we can judge every thought that comes to us RIGHTLY - not according to what the imaginations of material belief tempt us with! Unfortunately, all of the theories we entertain about matter - that it controls us, attracts us, misleads us, satisfies us, hurts us, etc. will have power over us UNTIL "we lose our faith [in the theories]." (S-23) We have GOT to change our mental approach to this material world that seems so real and remain separate from it! (B-17 & S-24) That doesn't mean an end to joy or resigning ourselves to living a meager existence. Our good will multiply as it is found in the dependable REALITY of Spirit, rather than the fickleness of suppositional matter. This reality includes health and purity. (S-26) Remember, the pure in heart see God - see the infinitude of GOOD! We're told we can emerge GENTLY into Spirit. Emerge "softly, meekly, mildly, with tenderness." One definition of emerge is to "reappear, after being eclipsed; to leave the sphere of the obscuring object." That's cool to think about. The sun emerges after having been eclipsed by the shadow of the moon. The sun was always there. The day appears darkened UNTIL the sun gently emerges. The shadow of the belief of life in matter (with all of its etc's) eclipses the reality of life in Spirit. But suppositional matter never touches your spirituality, or changes its completeness in any way. Meekly come out from behind the shadow of matter and don't thwart (oppose) the spiritual ultimate (final state of recognizing Spirit only). Sometimes we may be "afraid" of accepting that ALL is Spirit - and that we are entirely spiritual. If someone had always ilved under the influence of a solar eclipse it might seem scary to think about living in the light of the sun. But, being familiar with light, we see it as a good thing - not scary at all. And we see that the darkness was actually an imposition. The more we become familiar with the fruits of the Spirit - life, health, joy, peace, patience kindness, goodness, fidelity, gentleness, self-control .... Spirit doesn't seem so scary. The pleasures and pains of matter, including sin, disease, and death must be seen as mean (bald) impositions. (S-26) Let's get on with the "in proportion..." idea of this week's lesson. Let the belief disappear that "life and intelligence are in or of matter," and "the immortal facts of being are seen." Then you begin to realize that the only real idea, the only real intelligence is in God. (S-27) And that's a good thing! So stop the plot! Refuse the imaginings of matter!

Camp Director's Note: The above sharing is the latest in a long series of CedarS Bible Lesson "mets" (metaphysical application ideas) contributed weekly by a rotation of CedarS Resident Practitioners and occasionally by other metaphysicians. This document is intended to initiate further study as well as to encourage the application of ideas found in the Weekly Bible Lessons as printed in the Christian Science Quarterly and as available at Christian Science Reading Rooms.* Originally sent JUST to campers, staff and CedarS families who wanted to continue at home and in their home Sunday Schools the same type of focused Lesson study and inspiration they had felt at camp, CedarS lesson "mets" are in no way meant to be definitive or conclusive or in any way a substitute for daily study of the lesson in the books. The thoughts presented are the inspiration of the moment and are offered to give a bit more dimension, background and daily applicability to some of the ideas and passages being studied. The citations referenced in the "met" (metaphysical application ideas) are taken from the King James Version of the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. The Bible and Science and Health are the ordained pastor of the Churches of Christ, Scientist. The Bible Lesson is the sermon read in Christian Science church services throughout the world. The Lesson-Sermon speaks individually through the Christ to everyone, providing unique insights and tailor-made applications for each one. We are glad you requested this metaphysical sharing and hope that you find some of these ideas helpful in your daily spiritual journey, in your deeper digging in the books and in closer bonding with your Comforter and Pastor.)

Enjoy!

Warren Huff, Director
director@cedarscamps.org
CedarS Camps Office
1314 Parkview Valley
Manchester, MO 63011
(636) 394-6162

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