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Find and Uproot False Trusts! - Application Ideas on "Matter"

Russel Fogg, C.S., Boulder, CO
Posted Monday, September 17th, 2007

Find and Uproot False Trusts! - Matter has no say in the matter, no matter what matter says
Metaphysical Application Ideas on "Matter," The Christian Science Bible Lesson for Sept. 17-23, 2007                                                                      
by Russel Fogg, C.S. of Boulder, CO

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!   You can sign up free to have these mets emailed to you in English by Monday or in French or Spanish by Wednesday: CHECK www.cedarscamps.org/metaphysical/ FOR FREE TRANSLATIONS.

Golden Text:
"Wilt thou set thine eyes on that which is not?"

How do you answer?  Will you [unthinkingly] accept what is not true?  Will you spend your [precious] time on [watching and longing for] things that are worthless?  Will you walk away from substance and lean on an illusion?  If you answered no, let's explore how to find and uproot those false trusts.

 

Responsive Reading: ["let me never be put to confusion" (or "shame" in NIV) Ps. 71:1

"Turn my eyes away from worthless things, (NIV) toys and trinkets, invigorate (The Message) quicken me in thy way." Ps. 119:37]  How often I've prayed along these lines.  The poetic verses from Psalms can substitute for our own words much in the same way that we enjoy listening to songs when the lyrics strike a chord in our hearts.  Here, the psalms help us to declare our intention to put God first and ask for help in doing so.  They help us define how God is higher than the material idols that cannot speak, hear, see, or breathe and why we should turn to the one, true, living God for all our answers and needs.

 

Section 1:  [Stop relying on backwards & upside down illusions!  Cherish the 3 "omni"s!]

How can we expect to understand God through matter or mortality when God is Spirit?  And how can we truly honor Her through words alone?  Yet this is often what we try to do.  The psalms of the Responsive Reading get us started with words that touch our yearning hearts, but they help only so far as they express a true yearning.  Isaiah warns us that if we only speak the words of spiritual desires yet our hearts and lives are centered on the "wisdom" of material living, we will not be wise at all, and we would be looking at things backwards.  Judging God's wisdom based on material wisdom (if there even was such a thing) is upside down.  God tells us through Isaiah that She formed us even if we don't know Her, but She also promises that if we look to Her alone, we will be taken care of.

 

Science and Health keeps it short and sweet.  Spirit is real; matter is not.  Spirit is true; matter is false.  If we start with something false, are we going to get the right answer?  Nope.  It doesn't matter how wonderful or beautiful an illusion is, it's still just an illusion, and no matter how hard we try, we can't make it real.  We then get the answer to why matter can't be real:  Spirit is omnipotent (possessing all-power), omnipresent (filling all space), and omniscient (knowing all things; all Science).  So what power can matter have if Spirit has it all?  And where can matter exist if Spirit has already filled up all the space?  And how can matter (mortal mind) be intelligent if Spirit knows everything?  [Possible Sunday School Topic: PSST! What illusions that deny God's allness are you ready to wake up from this week?] 

 

Section 2:  [Matter worship and body worship is foolishness!]

Bible citation 5 is a little tricky at first.  If you have the time to read the whole 44th chapter of Isaiah [and the Bible Notes and cartoons from myBibleLesson], it will shed new light on the statements in the lesson.  After reading the whole chapter, the point of the section came out clearly to me: "I am the only real God (the only power) and to worship anything else is foolish.  All the idols are made by mortal man and have no power because they are made out of trees or metal or other material things that need mortals to exist."  Without mortal man, no other gods would exist.   By contrast, the real God made man, and the rest of the chapter (after the lesson citations) continues with all the poetry and examples making that point.

 

Okay, so God is the only real God because She wasn't made by mortals.  Now what?  Well, if God, who is Spirit (from section 1), made us, then we can't be material.  Why can't God create matter?  Because matter and Spirit are as different as a straight line and a curve.  A straight line can't have a curve in it, and a curve can't be straight: the two are mutually exclusive.  (S5)  So if I'm either material or spiritual, then I must be material, right?  Even if I'm working towards spirituality, I currently exist in matter, don't I?  No.  That is the upside down reasoning that Isaiah warns us against in section one.  (B3,B4) Let's try it again.  If I'm either material or spiritual, I must be spiritual because God made me, and if I'm spiritual, then my material body must be an illusion.  Exactly.  And furthermore, we are foolish to try to worship God (the only real God) through an illusion.  Worrying about what the illusion tells us (good or bad) doesn't help us understand God or ourselves any better.  [PSST!: How many ways does today's illusive craze of body worship try to tempt us to bow down to it?  In Matthew 5:25 Jesus advises us to: "Take no thought ... for the body" obsessions or ads for enlargement, reduction, lifts, diets, ...]

 

Section 3:  [Death-defying trust works like dynamite for the Shunammite!]

This section starts with a promise from Isaiah (B7) that if we do what sections one and two have told us and wait on God-adhere to a spiritual sense of God-we will be blessed.  But with what?  A spiritual sense of Life as well.  The Shunammite woman was given her son from God.  If we read outside of the lesson citations (II Kings 4:14), we learn that her husband was old, which, humanly speaking, meant they would not be able to have a child.  Because of her kindness to Elisha, a man of God, God gave her a son - someone who could care for her when she gets older and help his father with his work.  A child was very important to people in those days because children took care of their parents [whereas retirement funds and Social Security play a bigger role in that care today].  So when the boy died suddenly, she turned to God by going to His prophet, Elisha.  Through her faith in God, she was able to say that "it is well" with her and her husband and her child despite the material evidence of their loss.  [Hymn #350 is based on nine variations of the affirmation that "all is well!"]  Through Elisha's understanding that God gives all life, he was not fooled by what matter-the illusion-told him when he arrived on the scene, and this allowed him to witness the immortality of God's creation.

 

The citations in the Science and Health half of the section slam home the truth about Life-it's spiritual and has no relation to matter.  Life is independent of matter, and matter has no say in the matter, no matter what matter saysJ.  Matter can't even determine it's own status, which is what it tried to do with the Shunammite's boy when it said "my head, my head."  Electricity is supposedly what allows the brain to function, but Mary Baker Eddy explains that electricity is nothing more than an ethereal form of matter and has no intelligence.  As we understand that matter can have no intelligence, we learn that there is no reason to listen to a suggestion from the body, and this leaves our body [no more as our master but rather] as a servant to Mind, the real intelligence.  This is the completion of Isaiah's promise at the beginning of the section: we are blessed because we are not the powerless victims of matter's ridiculous dramas [and traumas] of suffering.  Instead, we live unencumbered in spiritual freedom.  [PSST!: What ridiculous re-runs of "trauma dramas" (in the CS Monitor and elsewhere) can you help to prayerfully terminate today?]

 

Section 4:  [The barren fig tree may represent the fruitlessness of material worship that is to be rooted out.  "Found Volumes" turned up  "The Time of Figs," Dr. J.M. Tutt, CS Sentinel, 1911, vol. 13, p. 825]

Ah, the fig tree!  Why would Jesus do such a thing?  It seems completely unloving and unnecessary; especially when we read [outside the lesson in Mark 11:13] that it wasn't even the season for figs.  Outside the context of the lesson, it immediately follows Jesus' prophetic action of going into the temple and casting out the moneychangers and chastising them for turning God's "house of prayer" into a "den of thieves." [Matt. 21: 12-13]   Many scholars interpret money changing and dove selling as representing the fruitlessness of material worship compared to the fruitfulness of real spirituality.  For the purpose of the lesson, the point is made in the next citation (B11): every plant not planted by God will be rooted up.  Jesus then heals many different diseases as well as the lame, blind and mute. (B11)  [PSST!:] Why would such healings be put along side the story of the withering fig tree?

 

The Science and Health section contains several citations that are direct statements about how to heal sickness and disease, and we've also seen healings by Jesus in the Bible portion of this section.  But we still haven't addressed what healing has to do with the withering tree.  And while we're at it, why are all the instructions in this section about how to think about the diseases?  And why is the definition of ‘Creator' in there?  The barren fig tree might represent all things material.  Sickness, sin, and disease in general, and more specifically "tumors, ulcers, tubercles, inflammation, pain, deformed joints" (S18) along with "cancer, consumption, or smallpox." (S20)  We are instructed to uproot and cast out the "growth of error." (S17)  But how?  Apparently, these all "flee before the light of Truth" just as the barren fig tree withered in the presence of the Christ idea. (S18)  Then if the barren fig tree represents the temporality and insubstantiality of matter, we must tend our trees mentally-in Mind-which is why Mrs. Eddy's instructions are about how we think about these things.  "All things beautiful and harmless are the ideas of Mind," we are told, and we are instructed to not let any false claims of sickness or sin "grow upon the thought." (S19, 20)  We do this on the basis of our Creator being spiritual, intelligent, and "the animating divine Principle of all that is real and good." (S16)  Well, sickness and sin aren't good, so they can't be real either, and they will wither before Truth, like the fruitless fig tree.  When the errors of matter wither, the truth of our spiritual being is revealed.  Likewise, when the truth of our spiritual being is revealed, the errors of matter wither away.  They are simultaneous, so it doesn't matter which way it appears to happen.  This is what we call healing, and we can all be blessed by waiting on Truth just as those who were healed by Jesus were blessed.  [PSST!: Identify "whatever is offensive" to you as ripe for being removed properly by the truth that "a spiritual idea has not a single element of error." (S21)]

 

Section 5:  [Protect from mortal mind hijackers the purity that allows you to see God -- in whom "we live and move and breathe."  CS Hymnal #144 & B16]

This section is pretty straightforward: If we keep our hearts pure and clean - our true desires spiritual, we will see God.  But we won't see Her in material things because She is Spirit.  We live in Spirit and we move in Spirit and we have our being in Spirit, so it is natural for us to be pure in heart.  It doesn't always seem that way, though.  [PSST!: What hijackers] are we listening to when we agree that we are naturally sinners and impure?

 

Because healings seem to take place in matter-my arm was broken, but now it's healed-it can sometimes seem confusing to sort out whether the arm is spiritual or material.  [But, let us never be put to confusion!]  Section 4 explained that all things material wither away in the presence of Truth, but since the arm didn't wither, does that mean it's spiritual?  Trick question.  The idea of an arm is a spiritual idea and that spiritual idea is seen spiritually.  The thing that broke was a material counterfeit of the original; the real thing doesn't break.  We use our spiritual sense more than we think we do because every time we see harmonious action, we are seeing something that "proceeds from God." (S22)  And if God is Spirit, we must perceive harmony spiritually.  When you think "But I see harmony in the physical world, too, don't I?,"  remember that matter and mortal mind have no harmony or goodness of their own.  Everything good and true comes from God and is spiritual.  Mortal mind is what conceives of the physical world, but mortal mind is kind of like the kid in class who hears someone else say a right answer and then says it louder so the teacher hears him instead.  The teacher credits and praises the student she hears, but when the tests come along, which one is going to pass?  ["The medical schools would learn the state of man from matter instead of from Mind." (S23)  In this way] medical science is like the teacher treating this student like a prodigy because he gives several right answers (which weren't his answers to begin with).  He's taken into the lab asked to explain how everything works.  The boy, too vain and ignorant to know the consequences of his action, starts answering the questions.  He [mortal mind] interprets the test results and presumes to teach everyone about their being.  The so-called scientists base their practices on this hijacker's rulings and memorize his prognoses and diagnoses of different problems.  Soon enough, they have convinced the world of the accuracy and efficacy of their ‘science' and warn of different sicknesses and diseases-the dangers of violating the laws that our favorite little [hijacking] student has so ignorantly and inaccurately decided upon.  What's worse is that his [mortal mind's] assessment of being is so inaccurate and arbitrary; he has invented certain things that we can't avoid even if we obey his laws.  And he tells us that they are just a part of life.  Yet all along, that still, small voice that no one heard back in the classroom is telling us of the freedom, harmony, health, and happiness that are naturally ours.  This is the truth of our being.  This section promises that when we stop believing the misguided medical ‘science' and understand that "Reflecting God's government, man is self-governed", (S25) we won't have to run around looking over our shoulder for the next virus or germ that we're told is going to make us sick.  That's not self-government at all.  [PSST!: How will you choose to be more purely God-governed and so properly self-governed this week?]

 

Section 6:  [Let the Christ Truth still matter's many storms and give you "a higher and more permanent peace." (S8)]

What about "natural" disasters or things that are far beyond human control?  Another trick question.  Health itself is far beyond human control.  Spirit governs health, and just as surely as the truth about our being removes those ridiculous accusations of sickness and disease, it removes the ridiculous assumption that disasters are natural.  Jesus proves this quickly and effectively when he recognizes that storms actually have no power. 

 

An error is an error no matter how impressive it seems.  We don't have to do anything to make this true.  It wasn't Jesus that stilled the storm; it was Truth that removed error.  It doesn't matter if the error is in the form of discord, sickness, sin, death, or fear, it is still error and Truth displaces it.  If you had a counterfeit dollar bill and I had a real one, would you trade?  Okay, but what if you have a counterfeit 15 million dollars and I had a real one?  It doesn't make any difference how impressive the counterfeit is because it has no value, and we will gladly trade it in for the real thing and displace error with the truth.  We cannot be fooled by the counterfeit when we know what the real one looks like.  The real creation looks like harmony, love, health, peace, and permanence.  Don't accept anything else. 

 

"Let us feel the divine energy of Spirit, bringing us into newness of life and recognizing no mortal nor material power as able to destroy.  Let us rejoice that we are subject to the divine ‘powers that be.' Such is the true Science of being." (S30) [PSST!: How, and how soon, can we trade in our counterfeit human energy and its supposed sources for  "the divine energy of Spirit, bringing us into newness of life"? (S30)]

Camp Director's Note: The above sharing is the latest in a series of CedarS Bible Lesson "mets" (metaphysical application ideas) contributed weekly by a rotation of CedarS Resident Practitioners and occasionally by other metaphysicians [with bracketed, italicized notes and "Possible Sunday School Topics" offered by me as editor]. 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. 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 (i.e.   B1 and S28) from this week's Bible Lesson in the "met" (metaphysical application ideas) are taken from the King James Version of the Bible (B1-24) and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. (S1-30)  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.  Have fun unwrapping, cherishing and sharing your special, spiritual gift(s)!  

Enjoy!

Warren Huff, Camp Director    director@cedarscamps.org (636) 394-6162
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MyBibleLesson is a new, visually oriented and very helpful resource for study of the weekly Christian Science Bible Lesson.  It is being produced by The Christian Science Publishing Society and can be found at: myBibleLesson.com.  What a great auxiliary to lesson study -- maybe even reading beyond citation markers using the handsome new student books now sold in Reading Rooms.   MyBibleLesson contains word definitions, Bible background info, fun topical cartoons, timelines and translations, plus many healing ideas to use.  Why not check out this vehicle to help bring new meaning and life to each beloved Bible lesson in order to bless the youthful thinker and Sunday School student (and teacher) in us all!  
 
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