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Stop Playing Tug-of-war with Matter!

Kathy Fitzer, St. Louis, MO & Park City, UT
Posted Monday, March 16th, 2015

[Stop Playing Tug-of-war with Matter!]
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson March 16-22, 2015

Subject: Matter

Prepared by: Kathy Fitzer
314-323-4083 kathyfitzer@gmail.com

As I studied the lesson for this week, I notice how often the contrasts between Spirit and matter were emphasized. Spirit and matter are opposites, and, trying to work equally with opposites can be like trying to win a tug-of-war contest. Pulling equally on either end of the rope, neither team wins, and exhausting stagnation results. Victory comes when one “side” musters enough strength and traction to pull over the other side. Throwing all our weight into the side of Spirit (aligning every thought with the strength of Spirit) will surely bring the most stubborn arguments of matter to their knees, dragging every false belief into the pit to be destroyed. The facts of Spirit will always be found victorious — standing strong! This week, the demonstrations of Elisha show that neither life, health, nor substance is dependent on matter. Jesus taught and demonstrated that we can’t serve two masters … so let’s choose wisely and serve Spirit alone!

Golden Text: I looked at several translations of this verse from Galatians. They all basically said that what the flesh (matter, or human nature) desires is contrary (or opposed) to the Spirit, and the direction in which Spirit would takes us is contrary (or opposed) to the flesh. So, being in conflict with each other — they are tugging us in opposite directions. As long as this conflict remains, it is impossible to move forward in the direction we want to go.

Responsive Reading: The choice of which tugging to respond to shouldn’t be a difficult one when we consider the direction each would take us. “It is the spirit that quickeneth (vitalizes, makes alive); the flesh profiteth (is useful for; benefits) nothing.” Hmmmm … shouldn’t be a tough decision. I would think everyone would rather be vitalized than stagnate. But, humanly it does seem difficult to not be swayed by what is so often called “human nature.” That may be because it’s harder to see what “God hath prepared for them that love him.” The testimony of the senses (what we can see, feel, hear, taste, and smell) seem so convincing, but the material senses can’t show us the infinite good that God has prepared for us! So … how do we discover the good of Spirit? It seems to me that it is by accepting the gift that God is freely pouring out to us … the gift of Spirit. Just like any gift, just receiving the package doesn’t make the gift useful. We have to unwrap it, get to know it, and put it to use! Depending on how familiar we’ve been previously with the gift, it takes us a shorter or longer time to enjoy it. Paul says that “the natural (or sensual) man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him.” Someone who’s always been in the dark doesn’t appreciate the light. Honestly believing that all satisfaction comes from the physical senses, we’re not going to understand the joy that comes from accepting the qualities … unlimited ability and intelligence, love, honesty, health, etc … that are built into God’s man. Even if not immediately apparent, the “things of the Spirit” are being revealed to each one. So, let’s test each thought … is it of the flesh or of the Spirit? Is it short-lived (of matter) or eternal and life-giving (of Spirit.) And receive and put to use the gifts of the Spirit. Then watch the limitations of matter (or the flesh) fall into the pit!

Section 1: Spirit being ALL — where and what is matter?

The message that comes through loud and clear in this first section is that God, Spirit, is all — the only power that “fill[s] heaven and earth.” There is nothing else! (B-1&2) Yet, the Bible also speaks of “the flesh” pulling us away from Spirit. (B-4, repeating in part the Golden Text) The flesh represents here the belief of matter. It would pull us away from Spirit if it could, but ultimately it is powerless to do so. Spirit IS supreme — the forever victor! Isaiah warns of the futility of opposing Spirit. The prophet compares anyone or anything that would try to dispute God to a scrap of discarded pottery (a potsherd.) (B-1) That imagery really puts matter (in whatever form it may take) in its place! A broken piece of pottery is not very scary! Yet, all around us we see and are threatened by apparently very real and very convincing opposition to Spirit … limitation, poverty, war, disease, death, etc. How do we think about that? The short answer is that we don’t need to spend time trying to figure out what matter is or what it can do to us because matter is simply a “human concept” — “an error of statement.” (S-3) Matter is a term for a “wanna be” power that loses all ability to impress or affect us once it is recognized for the fraud that it is. Matter can’t exist in Spirit any more than error (a lie or a mistake) can exist in truth or evil in good. (S-3) Matter is “the absence of Spirit” (S-1) BUT … Spirit is never absent!When we wake up to see that that Spirit has all power, fills all space and is the only truth (or Science) we’re forced to give up all belief that matter is a real entity. (S-4) The only substance or influence matter has is what human belief gives it. We don’t need to fight matter … overcome it or fix it! We just need to recognize it for the fraud it is, put it in its place of nothingness and “walk in the Spirit” — “walk in the light”! (B-3&4) Do we have to get rid of darkness … or is that the function of light? Turning to light, the darkness disappears. Acknowledging the absolute allness of Spirit, the claims of matter must disappear!

Section 2: Pour in the salt of spiritual understanding and expect a miracle!

If we judge reality according to the report of the material senses, things can look pretty bleak — even hopeless. But, let’s think about the definition of matter given in the glossary of Science and Health. It includes such things as: mythology; illusion; intelligence, substance, and life in non-intelligence and mortality; the opposite of Truth; the opposite of Spirit; the opposite of God. All matter can do is pretend to be something it’s not! That’s not scary! In this section we again have Spirit and matter contrasting each other. Spirit is represented as a spring of water that never fails, but continually satisfies. And, we are assured that our very being is embraced in this realm of abundance. (B-5&6) Matter, on the other hand, suggests that this good can be changed into a picture of impurity and lack — the total opposite of God. This was the situation Elisha faced as he took his first “solo-steps” as a prophet—having just witnessed Elijah’s ascension. The city of Jericho was in a great location, but it didn’t have enough water, and what was there was polluted. I was struck that Elisha didn’t struggle to get more water or to take out the pollutants. He simply added salt to what was already there! And the water became pure and abundant — from then on! (B-7) Remember that the Bible tells us (in the Sermon on the Mount) that we are the salt of the earth and that we must not lose our “savour.” (Matt. 5: 13) Part of the definition of savour is “to relish or enjoy completely.” To me, this indicates that relishing a clear understanding of God — rejoicing in the supremacy of Spirit over matter — is the salt that, when added to an inharmonious situation, corrects the problem and restores harmony. Are healings such as the one Elisha performed miraculous in the normal sense of the word? Or are they absolutely natural? We need to see that healing is the most natural thing in the world because healing (a so-called miracle) “fulfills God’s law.” (S-6) The law of Spirit must always be found to be superior to the claims of matter because the wisdom of God is the only wisdom. (S-8) When we look at nature at its best we can get a hint of the order, beauty, strength and grandeur of God’s law. Now take out of the equation the vulnerability of limited matter. Instead, recognize that all the good seen in nature is really the expression of infinite Spirit and the destructive elements — including the extremes of excess or lack — must yield to the harmony of Spirit. Let’s do our job by pouring in the salt of right understanding when we see a problem — rather than just looking on with fear, dismay or helplessness. And let’s expect “miracles!”

Section 3: Life — coming from Spirit — cannot die as a result of a law of matter

Elisha’s ministry continues! In his travels he meets a lovely woman who provides a place in her home for him. As an expression of his gratitude to her, Elisha assures the woman that she will have a son — as miraculous as that seemed! It seems to me that this dear woman must have glimpsed the naturalness of God’s “miracles” because when this son later appeared to have died from exposure to the sun and heat, the woman simply laid him on the bed of the prophet and went off to find Elisha for help. Reaching out to Elisha’s clear sense of the reality — and consistent law — of Spirit, she was able to remain calm, trusting that law of Life to annul the fraudulent, material evidence of death! (B-10) She must have glimpsed the superiority of Spirit over matter and understood to some degree that this child had never been hers but was always Gods — having its origin in Spirit, rather than matter. She also must have seen how important it was to shield the apparent situation from mortal opinion. She didn’t say anything about the problem to Elisha’s servant — but maintained her mental stand, “All is well.” What great lessons! We can confidently trust any discordant situation to be resolved and corrected by Christ, Truth. When we aren’t able to see through the lies of matter on our own, we can be led through prayer to reach out for help from someone who’s thought is so aligned with Christ that they are ready to see the reality of Spirit right where the illusion of matter appears to be. To me, this is a key element in healing: “The belief that existence is contingent on matter must be met and mastered by Science, before Life can be understood and harmony obtained.” (S-15) Life is NEVER “contingent on matter.” Life is — always has been, and always will be — the complete expression of unchanging, harmonious, uninterruptible Spirit, Mind, God! That is our being!!! Spirit is the perpetual unfoldment of permanent good. Matter is always shifting and changing. The lies of so-called matter can’t stand up to the truth of Spirit!

Section 4: Purity of heart allows the flesh to be washed clean - health is not in matter!

The story of Naaman is a great example of how a change of thought is expressed in a change in body. Mary Baker Eddy is very specific in naming a three-pronged quality of thought (the adamant of error, as she calls it) that presents a real stumbling block to healing …. “self-will, self-justification, and self-love.” (S-19) In this case, Naaman struggled with all three! Responding to the love of his servant who was courageous enough to challenge Naaman’s pride and arrogance, Naaman humbly yielded to Love and his flesh was washed clean. (B-12) Naaman’s healing didn’t result from the water of a particular river changing diseased material flesh into healthy material flesh. Matter is not the substance of man! The healing came as the “adamant of error — self-will, self-justification, and self-love” was dissolved by Love. As Naaman was baptized by Spirit and his heart was made pure, the cleansing properties of Spirit washed away the belief of disease. (S-21) These same cleansing properties of Love result in healing today as surely as they did so many years ago, and the perpetual perfection of God’s man is revealed. I had a wonderful healing many years ago of a large tumor in my abdomen area that completely dissolved as I stopped working to heal a “mass of matter” and focused exclusively on letting go of all the “selfs,” especially justification. We all face the on-going challenge (opportunity really) to recognize one Ego — ONE Self (God) that all mankind reflects — spiritually! As we let go of the “selfs” of material personality, they are dissolved by divine Love and the apparent disorders and inharmonies of matter disappear — dissolved by Spirit. We can forever rejoice in the fact that “[we] are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit” because “the Spirit of God dwell[s] in [us.]” (B-11) As every thought is brought into line with that fact, the body will then fall in line, too! As the Christian Science textbook says, “In proportion as matter loses to human sense all entity as man, in that proportion does man become its master.” (S-20, p. 369) How freeing! Matter has no hold on us — we are right now the full expression of infinite Spirit!!!

Section 5: Laws of physics reversed — Substance is not in matter

The community of prophets following the teachings of Elisha had outgrown its living space. As they were working to establish their new home, one of the axes that had been borrowed broke and the head flew into the river, “naturally” sinking. At least it was natural according to material “law.” But, Elisha had already seen these so-called laws overturned time and time again. And Elisha understood that, as Paul later wrote, “there is no power but of God.” (B-14) It was important for that axe head to be recovered — it had been borrowed, after all. Perhaps Elisha threw in a stick so that it looked like he was doing something, and the “iron did swim.” (B-13) Certainly, a stick couldn’t make iron come to the surface. Yet, the laws of physics were reversed. To me, the lesson is that matter can’t do anything and God can do everything. Further, all action is the activity of Mind. So, whether it looks like physics is working against us — or for us — it’s important to understand that “metaphysics is above physics.” (S-26) Metaphysics, according to the Webster 1828 dictionary, is the “science of mind or intelligence.” Once again, we have the contrast between matter and mind — and MIND wins! The Science of Mind is above (superior to and beyond) physics. So we never need to be afraid of physics (that would say, for example, that an impact between two solid objects must result in injury.) AND, we can be confident that the good we attribute to physics (that helps us figure out how to move something heavy, for instance) really comes from the unlimited possibilities of infinite Mind to bless us — so there is always a solution. We read that “we tread on forces” and that although “human knowledge calls them forces of matter, … divine Science declares that they belong wholly to divine Mind.” (S-27) Elisha understood that, and reversed the forces of gravity. A few years ago I also found those ideas helpful as I experienced solid footing on the deck of a ship in rolling seas … whereas in previous times rolling such as that would have resulted in my feeling not only unsteady, but sick. The more we see that “there is no inherent power in matter” (S-23) and that all things are governed by Mind, the more dominion we will have over whatever story the physical senses try to tell us.

Section 6: We’ve got to choose! We can’t serve Mind and matter!

Jesus’ message: the kingdom of heaven is here — accessible — is truly the reality of our being. He healed as naturally as he breathed because he never wandered from a state of heavenly consciousness. His message was, “no man can serve two masters.” Think about it … no matter how good we think we are at multi-tasking, divided attention isn’t the same as full attention. To glimpse the unlimited good that is present in the “infinitude of Mind” we can’t divide our attention (our service) between God and mammon (leaning on material wealth or honoring material laws.) Jesus always gave God credit for the good he did and the good he received. He was always clear that his identity was as the Son of God! He knew he couldn’t do anything by himself, but that God is the doer, and bestows ALL blessings. That kind of thinking is what it means to “serve God.” The Golden Text is again quoted in this section. (S-29) Matter and Mind (the flesh and the Spirit) are opposites. They don’t go together — and in fact are in conflict. (S-30) Accepting both matter and Mind as real and substantial is like trying to look in opposite directions at the same time. It can’t be done! Accepting Mind as the reality of all things opens the way to experience the blessings that come from Mind, the source of all good (as Jesus’ healings illustrate.) Through practice, persistence, and patience with ourselves and others, we WILL learn how to “serve God” with every thought and deed. We won’t completely succeed all the time. But, that’s not as important as keeping our eye on the goal, at least accepting as fact that “everything is Mind,” and continue trying. Like anything, as we keep practicing, we’ll get more consistent. We should measure our progress thought by thought. Then, choosing to serve God becomes more important than looking for evidence of God serving us. And nothing will be able to take away our joy or our peace … as nothing could rob Jesus of his. We are the loved of Love - and fully cared for by Him! Matter is nothing … Spirit is supreme and ALL good!


[The weekly Metaphysical Newsletter is provided at no charge to the 1,200 campers and staff blessed each summer at CedarS, as well as to CedarS alumni, families and friends who have requested it. However, current and planned gifts are a big help and are greatly appreciated in defraying the costs of running this service and of providing needed camperships, programs and operations support. Click http://www.cedarscamps.org/giving/ for more about how you can provide even monthly support online. Or you can always call the Huffs at 636-394-6162 get information or discuss privately how to transfer securities or other assets to help support and perpetuate CedarS work.]

[You can also reach a member of the Founding family nearly anytime by
PHONE at 636-394-6162
or MAIL your tax-deductible support to our 501-C-3 organization
(Our not-for-profit, Federal Identification Number is #440-66-3883):

The CedarS Camps, Inc.
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THANKS TO YOU PRECIOUS DONORS FOR YOUR ONGOING, GENEROUS and NEEDED SUPPORT OF CedarS IMPORTANT WORK!

[LETTING 3 SPECIAL NEEDS BE KNOWN –
Significant funding is still needed for these special opportunities:
1. Now that CedarS video show circuit is in full swing, it is apparent that getting many to camp will depend on "Love's Provision" of campership assistance. Could you be one of the angels who gives towards camperships and the life-altaring and life-altering experiences they provide at CedarS?]

2. Over 100 needed items are featured on CedarS Giving Tree that could fit the budget of every grateful Met-recipient and camper. You can choose for yourself $1-and-up ways to give to support CedarS needs. Click here to see 2 young alumni tell their reasons to give.

3. “Adopt the Herd” Matching Opportunity! Generous donors, aware of the ongoing need to care for CedarS herd, will match donations for our horse program! (~$20k needed to reach $50k goal)]


[The Met application ideas above are provided primarily to help CedarS campers and staff (as well as friends) see and daily demonstrate the great value of studying and applying the Christian Science Bible lessons throughout the year, not just at camp! YOU CAN ALSO SIGN UP for weekly emails from past CedarS staff of possible ways to share Bible Lesson applications with older, as well as younger, Sunday School classes by clicking the "Subscribe Now" button (lower left) at http://www.cedarscamps.org/metaphysical/ ]

[Additional Director's Note: You can sign up to have these application ideas emailed to you free – by Monday each week in English; or by each Wednesday you can get a FREE TRANSLATION: in German, thanks to Manfred and Jeanette; or in Spanish, thanks to a team of Ana, Erick, Claudia and Patricio, or in Portuguese, thanks to helpers of Orlando Trentini in Brazil. A voluntary French translation by Rodger Glokpor, a Christian Scientist from Togo (West Africa) has been contributed in the past. Thank you, Rodger and all translators! Go to http://www.cedarscamps.org/and click "Newsletters" to sign-up for a free translation into these languages. This sharing is the latest in an ongoing, 14-year series of CedarS Bible Lesson "Mets" (Metaphysical application ideas) contributed weekly by a rotation of CedarS Resident Practitioners and occasionally by other metaphysicians. (Ask and look for "Possible Sunday School Topics "and "Possible Younger Class Lessons" in emails to follow.) These weekly offerings are intended to encourage further study and application of ideas in the lesson and to invigorate Sunday School participation by students and by the budding teachers on our staff. Originally sent JUST to my Sunday School students and 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, application and inspiration they had felt at camp, CedarS lesson "Mets "and Sunday School ideas are in no way meant to be definitive or conclusive or in any way serve as 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 and background as well as new angles (and angels) on the daily applicability of some of the ideas and passages being studied. The weekly Bible Lessons are copyrighted by the Christian Science Publishing Society and are printed in the Christian Science Quarterly and in a variety of useful formats as available at Christian Science Reading Rooms or online at eBibleLesson.com or myBibleLesson.com. The citations referenced (i.e.B-1 and S-28) from this week's Bible Lesson in the "Met" (Metaphysical application ideas) are taken from the Bible (B-1 thru B-26) and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy (S-1 thru S-32). 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 the ideas helpful in your daily spiritual journey, in your deeper digging in the books and in closer bonding with your Comforter and Pastor.]

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