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Click here & scroll to Listen link to hear Kerry read her Met titled:

DISCOVER, THROUGH SPIRITUAL SENSE, SOUL’S KINGDOM WITHIN
Metaphysical Application Ideas on the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

 Soul
for Sunday, August 14, 2022

by Kerry Jenkins, C.S., of House Springs, MO
kerry.helen.jenkins@gmail.com   (314) 406-0041


This Bible Lesson on Soul offers a fresh take on this beautiful synonym for God. Ordinarily we associate Soul with various aspects of identity, creativity, happiness, and beauty. While these qualities remain true to Soul, our Bible Lesson this week speaks to the deeper joy of the kingdom of heaven, or God, within each of us—the peace we gain from accessing that kingdom—and how to access it through prayer, in particular, the Lord’s Prayer and its spiritual interpretation found in Science and Health on page 16-17.

The Golden Text sets a tone of supplication, or prayer to Soul and speaks of how we “lift” our soul, or spiritual sense to God. It is through spiritual sense that we access the kingdom of Soul-reigned heaven within. We cannot find our way through material sense.

Our Responsive Reading from Psalms and Jeremiah proclaims our wholehearted praise for God’s lovingkindness, gift of steadfast support, strengthening power. (Ps. 66:8,9 verily; 138:1(to:),2,3; Jer. 7:21(to;),23 Obey(to:);32:40(to:),41) It concludes with God’s promise to us that He will do us good, plant us in the “land” (or heavenly kingdom within) with assurance and again, wholehearted support. The final verse in this Responsive Reading translated in the International Children’s Bible reads: “I will enjoy doing good to them. And I will surely plant them in this land and make them grow. I will do this with my whole being.” Consider noticing as you read this lesson the use of the words “temple”, “sanctuary”, “tabernacle”, and even “land”. These words can certainly refer directly to where we worship God, but metaphorically also to a sense of body as spiritual, identity that is holy, and “place” where we find that kingdom within.


SECTION 1: SPIRITUAL SENSE IS HOW WE DISCERN SOUL/GOD

This idea of spiritual sense, as opposed to material or mortal sense, threads its way through each section. Mary Baker Eddy clarifies the use of this word in citation S2/482:6, and then in the following citation/298:13-15, 22 she explains that “Spiritual sense, contradicting the material senses, involves intuition, hope, faith, understanding, fruition, reality.” (cit. S3/298:13-15, 22)
Are these qualities of intuition, hope, faith etc. in an order, rising to the final stage of spiritual reality? The final sentence of that citation indicates that to be so! “Spiritual ideas lead up to their divine origin, God, and to the spiritual sense of being.” Isn’t that spiritual sense of being reality? This spiritual sense, actively using it, is key to joy in our daily living. We get a hint of this when looking at the Bible citations in this section where we are exhorted to “give thanks”, “make a joyful noise”, “praise”, “honor”, “declare” God’s goodness and being. These feelings of praise can only arise naturally if we are seeing evidence of this spiritual goodness around us. Spiritual sense is our doorway to this appreciation of Soul’s presence and power in our lives.


SECTION 2: SOUL IS SUPREME AND BRINGS HARMONY.
(“Our Father which art in heaven. Hallowed be Thy name”)

Material sense will, and does, oppose this statement. We certainly see evidence of evil actions, of war, of famine, and a litany of other awful things. Christian Science is not about ignoring error, rather, we develop a deeper understanding of the reality and supremacy of Soul or God, and watch error melt away in the face of that understanding. This can even be true on an international or distant level, though we do not always get to see the clear evidence of that.

Consider the wonder that there is not more evil apparent in our world. The potential is staggering. What keeps it from being so much more virulent? It is the clear prayer of many, the demonstrated power of good that many are consciously demonstrating in daily lives. It is the honesty that most practice, the generosity that most express, the love that most feel—these are clear evidence of Soul’s supremacy.

Here are a couple of small examples of honesty: a few years ago, while shopping in a large box store, I inadvertently dropped a $50 bill when getting something out of my pocket. I only had this cash because our bank account was empty so this loss really made me feel awful. Jesus told us how to pray when he gave us the Lord’s Prayer. This prayer begins with the one Father-Mother, the supreme ruler, lawgiver. And its next line urges us to recognize that this Father-Mother is worthy of adoration, meaning He is maintaining harmony and good.

I began at once to pray from the standpoint of God’s government, and man’s integrity, honesty—and affirming my own wisdom, and thoughtfulness, rather than accepting the material sense suggestion that I had been foolish or careless. I also affirmed Soul’s infinite supply of good to all. After retracing my steps I headed to the customer service counter and a little self consciously asked if anyone had turned in a $50 bill. The woman looked at me in shock and said that she couldn’t believe my “luck”, but someone had turned it in a short time ago. She said that she had never seen anything like that!

Just a week ago or so my youngest son Charlie was accompanying my mom home from Oregon. She doesn’t see, and had her bag with very expensive hearing aids, headphones, and listening devices with her. Charlie took her to a restroom after deplaning, and upon coming out to meet me realized, after leaving the security area, that he had left the bag (just an open bag, not a suitcase) in the family restroom. It took over an hour just to find a way for someone to go back and start looking for this bag for us. Charlie was devastated and my mom deeply concerned.

I immediately went in prayer to the laws of God that I know are in operation. These laws do not mean that we never lose or misplace things, nor do they mean that God is a Being that knows where our car keys are when we lose them. What these laws mean is that God/Mind is supreme. That Soul, honesty, helpfulness, is supreme. That we can never be truly deprived in any given situation of what is needed. I shared many of these thoughts via text with Charlie and my mom while waiting for the airport police to go back and search through the various family restrooms in the C gates of the St. Louis airport. It took some time, time that I spent joyfully sharing with Fred, a soon to retire, airport policeman who ended up visiting with me about everything from parenting, to home building, to business, and to prayer and healing. There was no real waiting happening for me, only the joyful knowledge that good was unfolding to everyone. Of course, the bag was brought to us intact. Soul, God, is supreme, and we have plenty of opportunity as we go through daily life, to acknowledge and bear witness to that fact!


SECTION 3: SOUL’S SANCTUARY OR TABERNACLE IS WITH US.

If we dwell in God’s kingdom then certainly awareness of His kingdom is something we want more of. We want to perceive it within, and enjoy the benefits of it. Mary Baker Eddy puts it this way in citation 10 (560:10-15): “The great miracle, to human sense, is divine Love, and the grand necessity of existence is to gain the true idea of what constitutes the kingdom of heaven in man.” (italics added) It stands to reason that it would be “the grand necessity of existence” to get a true understanding and awareness of the kingdom of heaven within each of us if we consider this kingdom to be a place of harmony, health, joy, peace, abundance, and infinite being—not to mention it being the “home” of the ever-present Good, Soul, or God.

In this kingdom Soul is supreme, and we are encouraged by citation S11 (125:12-17) that “As human thought changes from one stage to another of conscious pain and painlessness, sorrow and joy, — from fear to hope and from faith to understanding, —the visible manifestation will at last be man governed by Soul, not by material sense. Reflecting God’s government, man is self-governed.”
This is a kingdom where the true, spiritual man lives in freedom, governed by Soul who dictates harmony. It is a sanctuary or tabernacle of peace which each of us has permanent access to, because it is within each of us. When we see ourselves and others as governed by Soul, then we are dwelling in that kingdom.


SECTION 4: UNITY OF GOD’S WILL AND MAN’S. 

It’s easy, once again, with material sense, to believe that human will is a very real and active force in the universe. Jesus’ prayer helps us see the universe that is behind the healing work that he did. This prayer has the potential to reveal to us that there is one divine will at work. This will, obviously, being Soul’s, is for good alone. How do we experience this?

To be moved by the impulses of this divine will alone, we have to walk in the path that Mind or Soul is showing us and turn away from the distractions of material sense. Job tells us in this section “My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips;” (cit. B11/Job 23:11,12,13) God’s will is certainly done, but in order for us to feel the truth of this part of the Lord’s Prayer, we have to overcome the suggestion of a will opposed to God’s.

The opportunity to overcome personal will is found in so many small and large ways throughout our day. It is a constant, and even joyful “battle” to keep our thought alert to when we are submitting to the harmony of God’s supremacy right here and now “as in heaven, so on earth” (SH 17:2-3). We needn’t turn this into some kind of “witch hunt”, just be aware that we naturally want the harmony that comes with acknowledging the one will of Soul. Human will commits “depredations” (“attacks or plunders”) on harmony, while God’s will brings us “…into the heaven of Soul, into the heritage of the first born among men…” (cit. S16/535:15-17)


SECTION 5: PRACTICE USING SPIRITUAL SENSE AND SEE ABUNDANCE.

I love that the two stories of Jesus multiplying loaves and fish result in leftovers. These beautiful examples of abundance and tender care are also a part of our “Lord’s Prayer” when he states “Give us this day our daily bread;” and Mary Baker Eddy spiritually translates this as “Give us grace for today; feed the famished affections;” (SH 17:5). This daily provision of abundant good is meant to meet the human need, not just a desire for inspiration.

In referring to Jesus’ great heart for humanity, Mary Baker Eddy says”…if the unselfish affections be lacking, and common sense and common humanity are disregarded, what mental quality remains, with which to evoke healing from the outstretched arm of righteousness?” (cit. S18/365:7) Jesus knew, (and we can as well), that “…Soul and its attributes were forever manifest through man…” (cit. S19/210:11-16). Again, this abundance is unseen from a purely material sense standpoint.

We have to put into action the spiritual sense that we are honing daily—a sense that recognizes and gives gratitude for the beauty, abundance, and grace, that Soul is showering on each of us in any given moment. This is an abundance for the multitudes, not us alone. I love this aspect of the Lord’s Prayer, because it truly is a prayer for all, right from the start where it states “Our Father”! We are praying in this portion for the feeding of all the famished affections, throughout the world.


SECTION 6: GIVING UP DUALITY OF GOOD AND BAD.

I’m really enjoying this week, the statement that “Truth will at length compel us all to exchange the pleasures and pains of sense for the joys of Soul.” (cit. S24/390:9) This is such an interesting “exchange” because we are really not giving up anything wonderful! Sure there are the “pleasures” of sense (accompanied by pains). But we get, in exchange, “the joys of Soul”, without any “downside”!

So, are we really giving up anything that we want to keep? No. Material sense will argue otherwise for whatever “harmless pleasure” it wants. This is because, by turning away from that material sense, we are actually negating it, claiming its nothingness. This process makes it seem even more of a struggle, because the illusion of that pleasure, as if it has intelligence of its own (which it doesn’t), seems to know that without an audience, it will disappear.

Nothing makes error grab our attention more fiercely than the claim of its nothingness. Even as I say this I can hear the cries, “if error is nothing, how can it be more fierce or have knowledge of itself”? All I can say is that humanly this appears to be the struggle. The minute we stake our ground and declare that we are no longer going to fall victim to some material sense problem, for example: angry outbursts, we are guaranteed to have one of our kids do something that sets us off and tries to make us react with that very anger! So, it’s a question of dedication and desire to make this exchange.

No need to beat ourselves up when we come up short. Acknowledge the shortcoming and move forward! As Mary Baker Eddy tells us in citation S23/5:3-6, 22-25 “Sorrow for wrongdoing is but one step towards reform and the very easiest step. The next and great step required by wisdom is the test of our sincerity, – namely, reformation.” Keep uppermost in thought that the rewards are rich in this battle, they are the “joys of Soul”!

What does this have to do with forgiving our debts, or Love being reflected in love?
Do you have any resentments at all that you are hanging onto? These are debts. Most of us, when we think about it, can find that there are some people or things that we resent in life. Resentment is a canker that eats at our joy and freedom. Willingness to leave such resentments behind can seem hard, because again, mortal sense seems to want to hang on to a strong sense of self-righteousness, or justice. But when we start to glimpse the truth that divine Love is always reflected in love, that Good is always reflected in good in our lives, and in all lives, we start to see that we don’t have to be the one to enforce what seem like “debts” in our lives.

Dropping false enforcement responsibilities is freeing not just when we are the ones who appear to be “owing” but equally when we are the ones to whom a debt appears to be owed. This is the reform that is required of all that wish to approach the peace that is found in the kingdom. Consider that Jesus told us in his Sermon on the Mount that if we have any debt or grudge against “our brother”, we cannot truly bring our offering to God, but must heal that breach first. This is because resentment is a barrier more firm than cement between us and feeling the Love that is God.


SECTION 7: STEP BY STEP TRIUMPH OVER ERRORS OF SENSE

God does not tempt us. Spiritual sense and Soul actually deliver us from the false desires of personal sense. This is a step-by-step process that cannot be avoided. It is not a “one and done” action. It requires constant, steady, effort. I know I’ve said it before, but what good thing does not require regular attention and effort? Is there a relationship in the world with another person that doesn’t require sincere effort and devotion at one time or another if it is to continue to grow and bring reward?

Can we succeed in athletics, academics, business, healing, or anything else if we don’t put in step-by-step effort? Can we jump from a beginning level straight to advanced? No, in all of these endeavors, patient, steadfast, devotion is a necessary ingredient. This does not mean that inspiration and joy are not equally a part of this triumph.

Our sincere effort for reformation is not about a focus on sin, or a self-condemning mindset. This is a recognition of our nature as Soul’s expression and a genuine desire to see that truth demonstrated in a conscious and visible way. Just sincere daily work in this direction brings joy and satisfaction. It is not a “goal” down the road that we are working to attain, but a daily rejoicing in our demonstrated freedom from falling prey to the temptations of material sense.


SECTION 8: BE PREPARED FOR THE PRESENT, UNIVERSAL REIGN OF SOUL THAT IS “OVER ALL, AND ALL.”

This kingdom, where Soul is supreme, is ours for the enjoyment. We demonstrate this kingdom within every time we follow the directions that Jesus set out for us in this powerful Lord’s Prayer. The spiritual sense of this prayer “covers all human need” Mary Baker Eddy tells us (cit. S6/16:8-12). That means it is practical. It heals. It provides.

We are also told in citation S31 (208:20) that it “…cannot be lost nor remain forever unseen.” Spiritual sense allows us to see this kingdom within at any time, in any place. It might be that we sense Soul’s government when we see a pair of butterflies spiraling into the air, or some fish and crayfish crawling to the edge of a creek pool to stare at us in the face. It could be sensed in a situation where we’ve misplaced something or where we are experiencing discomfort of some kind.

Being still and engaging our spiritual sense, our sense of Soul as present, beautiful, peaceful, we can receive healing, comfort, and grace in each moment. And the cool thing is that probably each of us reading and engaging with these notes knows the Lord’s Prayer and its spiritual interpretation by heart, so its healing potential is truly available to us at any time.



GEMs of BIBLE-BASED application ideas from COBBEY CRISLER & others are in the works and will HOPEFULLY BE POSTED in part tomorrow and SENT in full later this week. Check on CedarS INSPIRATION website, or in your email, if you have  SUBSCRIBED FOR IT on this webpage.


Ken Cooper 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.


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