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REFUSE TO MAKE A GOD OF MATTER! THERE IS ONLY ONE TRUE GOD!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for The Christian Science Bible Lesson on

Matter”
for September 12-18, 2022

by Kathy Fitzer at Lake Saint Louis, MO
kathyfitzer@gmail.com


INTRODUCTION, GOLDEN TEXT, AND RESPONSIVE READING:

As we approach this Lesson, it’s important to be clear about what we mean by the term, “matter”.  As I understand it, Christian Science identifies matter as the suppositional opposite of Spirit, of Mind, of God. It is a distorted view of reality, perceived by the carnal (or mortal) mind. It is that which limits or is limited, can break or be disordered, and that is subject to conflict or deterioration of good. We can refuse to honor it as a power or make a god out of it … and, in fact, denounce its very being.  There is one God permanent, all Good, Spirit!  The various sections of the Lesson specifically address different scenarios where evidence suggests that matter actually does reign supreme, rather than Spirit. But, in each case, the Lesson logically presents why the report of matter is untrue and the allness of God, Spirit, Mind, is true!


The GOLDEN TEXT asks a really important question.  “Can people make their own gods?”  Well … those who follow a monotheistic faith would surely answer that people can’t really make gods, because there can only be one supreme power.  But, we might be tempted to bow down to (in fear of, or obsessive admiration of) such things as money and expensive things, a prestigious position, political personalities, celebrities or influencers, how many “likes” a posting gets, disease, and reports of the body, weather conditions, time —and lots of other things.

A Sunday School teacher once challenged her class to examine and control their patterns of thinking by saying, “Whatever you think about most is your God. Make sure it’s up to the job of being God.”   To me, “other gods” are anything that make us believe that what we call matter has control and is worthy of being obsessively thought about or feared. In other words, even though it is truly impossible, we may attempt to “make [our] own gods” more often than we would like to think. How important to remember Jeremiah’s affirmation ….“These are not real gods at all!” (Golden Text, Jeremiah 16:20, The Living Translation)


The RESPONSIVE READING shows us how disruptive Paul’s introduction of monotheism was to the people in Ephesus and across Asia.  Before Paul visited Ephesus, idol worship was not only standard procedure, it was big business.  Many silversmiths and metal smiths earned a living making miniature statues and temples to sell as souvenirs.  But, as Paul introduced Christianity, sales plummeted and the craftsmen became more vocal in asserting the greatness of Diana (or Artemis, her Greek name).  The city was in turmoil, and a great sense of disorder and commotion followed.  Paul was forced to flee the city for his own safety.

Although the sale and worship of silver statues is no longer the issue today, confusion and conflict still arise from “warring” factions holding opposing beliefs. Today, what would try to pull us away from the supremacy of God — divine Love, infinite Mind, complete Spirit, perfect Principle? You can make your own list.  Mine includes a temptation to think most about, or make gods of, things like mortal personalities, material wealth, mortal bodies, diet, corrupt government or businesses, and individual, racial, and cultural differences.  What do we think we will lose if we reject these false gods and hold steadfastly to the one supreme and infinite power that we call God? We’ve talked before about changing our perspective.  That continues to be what is needed.  Stay with what is true and refuse to be deterred … no matter how loud the opposing view presents itself (as it did to the people of Ephesus.)

Regardless of how many have currently fallen for other beliefs, we can help to resolve the conflict in our world as we accept the last line of the Responsive Reading, where Paul assured the Corinthians: “there is only one God the Father, … everything comes from him, and … he wants us to live for him” (I Cor. 8:6, Message).  Living as God’s representative, we have access to continual good. We don’t have to be afraid of losing anything!


SECTION 1: GIVE UP THE BELIEF THAT YOU ARE CONNECTED TO FLESH (OR MATTER)

If you were presented with two options for investing your money … one that you knew would be profitable, and the other that you knew would definitely not be profitable, which would you choose?  That which would be profitable and enrich your experience, right? Well, we are constantly presented with a choice of where we will invest our thought — what we will trust and acknowledge to have power over us.  The choices are summed up in the gospel of John as the flesh and the Spirit.  Looking at modern translations can help clarify. The Voice says, “The Spirit brings life. The flesh has nothing to offer.” And the New Revised Standard Version reads, ” It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless” (cit. B1 John 6:63, Voice, NRSVUE).

The Greek word, sarx, translated as flesh here, symbolizes that which is external. It can also mean body (as opposed to soul or spirt), the human nature with its frailties, and carnal mindedness.  The carnal mind can also be thought of as mortal mind or limited and limiting consciousness. There is nothing life-giving about this mind or its external expression which we call matter, flesh or body.  Rather, this mind and its mortal expression are the counterfeits, or suppositional opposites of the divine Mind that man expresses.

We read in John that the flesh profits nothing … adds no benefit or usefulness. On the other hand, the spirit, “pneuma”, which can also be translated as “a current of air; the rational soul or vital principle; God; the Holy Spirit; spiritual mind; or life” quickens — that is revitalizes and makes alive (citation B1, John 6:63).  

Mary Baker Eddy goes on to define flesh as “an error of physical belief; a supposition that life, substance, and intelligence are in matter; an illusion; a belief that matter has sensation” (citation S3, 586:18).   A belief!  An illusion!   Paul reiterates the need to choose to live in the Spirit rather than in the flesh. And, taking it another step, he told the Romans that we don’t owe anything to the flesh — to matter or material belief.  We need to reject giving power to matter to do anything for us or to us as much as we would reject the belief that a god crafted out of silver by human hands has power.   Then … taking it a step farther, we need to “through the Spirit … mortify the deeds of the body”.  Then we will live!!! To mortify is to kill.  So, as we “put to death the deeds of the body [we] will live” (cit. B2, Romans 8:5,8,9,12-14, NRSVUE).

A report of healing given in Science and Health gives us a sense of how we “put to death the deeds (or antics) of the body. A little girl had “badly wounded her finger.” But, rather than reacting and giving the wound life, she enacted her spiritual understanding that matter (the flesh) has no intelligence and no sensation (cit. S6, 237:1).  By taking this stand, she bounded off, feeling no pain.  We read in Science and Health that “Christian Science explains all cause and effect as mental, not physical.”  Rather than being something solid that determines our experience, “what is termed matter is but the subjective state of what is termed by the author mortal mind.”  (cit. S5, 114:23-24, 27).  We’re dealing with a state of consciousness, rather than solid substance.  As thought changes, evidence changes.  Because there is one God, and that God is Spirit … all is Spirit.  Spirit fills all space, leaving no room for matter — or its supposed effects!  Reject the false testimony, just as that little girl did, … and experience life in Spirit.


SECTION 2: BIND THE STRONG MAN — MORTAL MIND — TO HEAL THE BODY

Jesus healed every claim of sickness, sin, and death that crossed his path. The question to consider is, how?  It’s so important to understand the how, so that we can emulate such healing. I’ve always found it fascinating that the “unclean spirits” that Jesus was destroying recognized that Jesus was the Son of God. They understood that God, Spirit was the source of his power, and the healing agent.  But, as The Message by Eugene Peterson paraphrases, “The religion scholars from Jerusalem came down spreading rumors that he was working black magic, using devil tricks to impress them with spiritual power. Jesus confronted their slander with a story: ‘Does it make sense to send a devil to catch a devil, to use Satan to get rid of Satan? A constantly squabbling family disintegrates. If Satan were fighting Satan, there soon wouldn’t be any Satan left. Do you think it’s possible in broad daylight to enter the house of an awake, able-bodied man, and walk off with his possessions unless you tie him up first? Tie him up, though, and you can clean him out’” (cit. B3, Mark 3: 7-11, 22-27, The Message).

Mary Baker Eddy explains that “Mortal mind is ‘the strong man,’ which must be held in subjection before its influence upon health and morals can be removed.”   The tendency is to look at the physical problem and try to fix what we think is wrong with the material body.  But, that’s like trying to break into a house before you’ve tied up the man protecting the house. The Glossary of Science and Health defines matter, in part, as mythology; mortality; another name for mortal mind; illusion; … the opposite of Spirit; the opposite of God; … that which mortal mind sees, feels, hears, tastes, and smells only in belief” (cit. S11, 591:8)

So … if the material body is the expression of mortal mind, that which needs correcting is mortal mind — not a material body.  Bodily conditions change, as thought about the body changes — as it shifts its perspective from the limited view of the carnal, or mortal mind, to the true picture held in divine Mind.  An article entitled “Binding the Strong Man” by William Milford Correll in the November 2, 1979 Sentinel brings more clarity to this idea.  Here is a link: https://journal.christianscience.com/shared/view/1gqjmajvu9w?s=e

This healing work isn’t done through will-power, but by turning to what divine Mind knows.  “Mind is the master of the corporeal sense, and can conquer sickness, sin, and death.”  God gives us authority to not accept the testimony of matter. Instead, God has enabled us to understand that “the divine Mind governs, and that in Science man reflects God’s government” (cit. S13, 393: 4-11, 16-18).  We can refuse to believe mortal mind’s mythological tales — just as we refuse to believe ancient myths that we now know aren’t true.  There is one Mind.  And, when we hold to the facts of that Mind, mortal mind’s lies must disappear — as darkness disappears in the light.


SECTION 3: BRAIN DOES NOT GOVERN — IS NOT A GOD.

I found it interesting that this was the longest section of the lesson.  To me, it says that this is an important subject! We are constantly bombarded these days by suggestions of mental instability, mental illness, anxiety, depression, etc.  It is vital that we take a stand and find freedom for all mankind from this imposition.  Defend ourselves, defend our young people, defend everyone by understanding that the answer to the question, “Does brain think and do nerves feel, and is there intelligence in matter?”  is no!  Why?  Because “Matter cannot perform the functions of Mind” (cit. S16, 478:14-18, 20-23).  There is one Mind — the all-knowing, Good that is God. As revealed in Christian Science, “Consciousness, as well as action is governed by Mind …” (cit. S480:8-16).  It is such a strongly held belief that the brain is the source of thought and can become messed up in so many ways. But, to accept brain as the source of intelligence and mental stability is to make a god of a hunk of matter and electrical impulses.   I remember as a child seeing a picture of a brain preserved in a jar and it was just so clear to me that there was no way that that lump of matter could be the source of intelligence or thought.  Next to the marginal heading, “Cure of insanity” we find in Science and Health, “The arguments to be used in curing insanity are the same as in other diseases:  namely, the impossibility that matter, brain, can control or derange mind, can suffer or cause suffering; also the fact that truth and love will establish a healthy state, guide and govern mortal mind or the thought of the patient, and destroy all error, whether it is called dementia, hatred, or any other discord” (cit. S20, 414:7).

That is the absolute truth.  It is what Jesus understood when he healed the man who lived in the tombs and was so insane that he had lost all sense of his own identity.  Rather the “devils” took charge and identified the man as Legion, indicating the huge number of devils — or mental problems — he was dealing with.  The devils (the impositions of mortal mind that were being accepted as the identity of the man) demanded that Jesus leave them alone.  Mortal mind recognized that Jesus’ clear view of Mind’s government would destroy their suppositional existence.  They begged Jesus not to send them into the “deep” or the abyss. My research revealed that “in the thought world of the New Testament, the abyss was the place where disobedient spirits were imprisoned” (New Interpreter’s Bible — 12 volume). Instead, they asked to enter the pigs.  Isn’t that the way of mortal mind … just let me change forms — anything to keep from being held captive or destroyed.  So, Jesus agreed.  But, that did not save the demons.  Once seen as frauds — as misconceptions of Mind — the only option was destruction!

In the Jewish world, there would have been no concern about pigs (or the livelihood of Gentiles) being destroyed.  Whether it seems fair to us that the pigs were collateral damage, we can’t lose sight of the real lesson.  The insanity had never belonged to the man — and couldn’t survive by changing forms (or occupying another residency).  When Mind is recognized as supreme, the only option to anything opposed to that Mind is total destruction!   Through this very visual example, word spread of the power of Christ to heal — positively influencing not only the man who was healed, but an entire community (cit. B5, Luke 8: 22, 26-28, 30-35).

This story holds valuable lessons.  We never need to be impressed by the apparent severity or scariness of a claim.  Separate the lie from yourself and from whoever else seems to be victimized. Conscientiously and consistently reject every suggestion that brain is the control center of man.  God — infinite Mind — governs, and God’s creation reflects that perfect government.  The brain is never the source of thought or emotion.  As we challenge the impositions of instability, insanity, loss of memory, anger issues, depression, etc., regardless of  how minor or severe they seem, we will free our world from these horrendous suggestions and set man free — as Jesus did!

Mary Baker Eddy healed an insane man when she was still a schoolgirl.  And, here is an article of a woman who was freed from the suggestions of insanity through Christian Science: https://sentinel.christianscience.com/issues/2013/7/115-29-30/i-refused-to-choose-insanity?s=copylink  It is called, “I REFUSED TO CHOOSE INSANITY” by Ginny Nilsen, published in the July 22, 2013 Sentinel.


SECTION 4: REFUSE TO MAKE A GOD OF DECLINE OR DECAY — FLOURISH!

How important to trust God, and view life from Mind’s perspective, rather than accepting a limited, mortal view of a situation or leaning on personal abilities (cit. B6, Proverbs 3:1,2,5,7,8). As we do this, we will, as the psalmist says of the righteous,  flourish and grow “like the palm tree … like a cedar in Lebanon.”  Psalm 92 continues with the promise, “they shall still bring forth fruit in old age” (cit. B8, Psalm 92: 12-14).  Because “Life is, always has been, and ever will be independent of matter,” God’s creation — the manifestation of Life (and that is who we are) — is “not subject to decay and dust” (cit. S21, 200:9-13).  These facts are extremely applicable to daily life.  All around we hear about how our bodies decline over time and with use.  Challenge that lie!!! Refuse to make a god out of material substance or passing years.

This section speaks very specifically about teeth.  It is a common practice these days to go to the dentist to have our teeth cleaned.  And, we are grateful for the help available if our teeth seem to need additional attention.  But … how important to alertly reject the trap that would suggest that tooth decay (and other problems with our teeth) are just things we have to accept. We read in Science and Health of adults growing new teeth at an advanced age, and others experiencing freedom from tooth decay altogether (cit. S25, 247:3, 13-15).  Such healings continue today.

Many years ago I was told by the dentist that x-rays revealed that one of my teeth was decayed, and I needed a root canal.  I thanked him, but didn’t immediately make an appointment to have the procedure done.  Instead, I prayed to better understand that my substance had never been constituted of matter.  Rather, everything about me is the consistent, undecaying expression of infinite Mind and eternal Spirit, incapable of discord and decay.  I think I had often accepted dental problems as something that were easily taken care of materially.  So, while turning to prayer to solve other problems, I just let the dentist take care of my teeth.  Something clicked this time, thought, and I decided to treat this suggestion as I would something in another part of my experience.  Every time I thought of the situation, I rejected the belief that decline and decay are to “be expected” as we get older, and I reaffirmed my integrity and constancy as God’s image.  I continued to go to this dentist on a regular basis for cleaning.  I never brought up the subject of that tooth again, and neither did he.  More x-rays have been taken since that diagnosis, with no evidence of decay.

We always have a choice as to what method of treatment to choose in any given situation.   There is no right or wrong.  But, I’m always inspired and very grateful when I have the opportunity to demonstrate “material beliefs [being] expelled to make room for spiritual understanding” (cit. S24, 346:19-30).  And, to me, the most important thing, (regardless of what kind of care we are receiving) is to be clear that there is only one omnipotent and infinite God — Spirit, Life, Truth, Love — and refuse to accept the testimony of the carnal (or mortal) mind and its portrayal of a material condition.  Even when temporary material steps seem necessary, never lose sight of the fact that “life is, always has been, and ever will be independent of matter; for Life is God …” (cit. S21, 200:9-13).  There are no other gods, or powers!


SECTION 5:  THE SENSES OF SOUL CAN NEVER BE LOST

This section specifically addresses the permanence of sight. The healing of two blind men shared here is part of a long series of healings related in Matthew.  These men had apparently heard of Jesus’ healing work, and were, in fact following him as disciples. They unreservedly believed that Jesus could restore their sight.  As the Amplified Bible puts it, “According to your faith [your trust and confidence in My power and My ability to heal] it will be done to you” (cit. B14, Matthew 9:27-30).  If what was being healed was a physical, material problem, would the men’s faith have had anything to do with it?  A plumber fixes a broken pipe whether we have faith in his ability to fix it or not.  But, because sight has never had anything to do with physical organs, but rather with spiritual discernment, Jesus addressed the men’s state of thought.

A friend shared with me that she recently realized she no longer needed to wear reading glasses. She hadn’t been specifically praying about eyesight.  But, we reasoned that as we start seeing things more clearly from a spiritual perspective, it is natural for healing to take place.  Rather than wondering how such a thing could happen, it’s important to see that as God’s spiritual idea, we should expect to grow and develop — rather than decay, or even stagnate.  Jesus said that he came so that “they which see not might see” (cit. B13, John 9:39). He was specifically speaking about enlightening the understanding of those who weren’t seeing God clearly.  But as that enlightenment comes, it is natural for physical sight to be restored, as well!

Just as a carved idol has no power to help or harm, regardless of how many (in their ignorance) believe in it … so also the material senses can’t possibly have power to see or not to see, hear or not hear, etc.  False gods (material organs) are no gods at all — are not to be feared or depended on, and have no power. As Mary Baker Eddy states in the Christian Science textbook, “Material sense is an absurd phrase, for matter has no sensation.  Science declares that Mind, not matter, sees, hears, feels, speaks” (cit. S28, 485:2-7).  Soul is the source and is eternally expressed!


SECTION 6: THERE IS ONE ALL-POWERFUL GOD

From beginning to end, the Bible has one central theme … God is God!  Nothing but God has power.  And we must not give credence to — or fear — any other supposed God.  This allness of God also forms the foundation of the teachings of Christian Science.  We start with the omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience of Spirit (cit. S32, 109:32-3).  Because “Spirit, God, is infinite, all … Spirit can have no opposite.”  So, what is this false sense (this false god) that seems so intrusive and that we have termed matter?  It is one of the “false beliefs of mortals, and exists only in a supposititious mortal consciousness” (cit. S31, 278:10-16).

How do we overcome the limitations of matter (whether in the form of pleasure or pain)?  By shifting thought to see the Good of God, Spirit, that is ever-present and that has been revealed by the teachings of Christ Jesus and of Christian Science.  Thought can only entertain one thing at a time.  So, as we entertain the truth of Spirit, the falsities of mortal mind, alias matter, must fade away!!!


GEMs of BIBLE-BASED application ideas from COBBEY CRISLER & others should be POSTED and EMAILED by Monday. Check the  current GEMs at CedarS INSPIRATION website, or later in your email, if you have  SUBSCRIBED on this webpage to receive this offering.


Ken Cooper’s “POETIC POSTLUDE” contributions related to this Bible Lesson will ARRIVE LATER IN THE WEEK. When they do arrive, the poems will be POSTED on CedarS INSPIRATION website & be EMAILED TO THOSE WHO SUBSCRIBE FOR THEM HERE.


HUMBLE, HEARTFELT THANKS to all you difference-making DONORS WHO  HELP US FEED & SHOE OUR HORSES, MAINTAIN & UPGRADE OUR FACILITIES, GIVE CAMPERSHIPS & MORE!

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For more on making a planned gift, a required IRA distribution or an endowment gift (that will be MATCHED), feel free to call or text me (Warren Huff) at 314-378-2574.

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