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[“Like” Spirit’s Realm, NOT matter’s mythical monarchy.]
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on
 

"Matter" for March 24, 2013
 

by Rick Stewart, C.S., Dresden, Germany

+49 351 312 4736
rickstewartcs@aol.com

In recent months, (well, actually a couple of years), we have had a royal visitor in our home.   Almost daily we enjoy the visit of royalty either through stories, films, or dress up.  You see our five-year-old, Alma, like almost all little girls, loves princesses.  And she herself handles the court duties of a princess with great aplomb.  Seems she may have been born to the position. And when you add her love of dancing with her princess role, well, you can just imagine!!  So when I needed some insight into what it is like to rule a kingdom, I of course asked our expert.

“Alma, if there was someone in your kingdom that was hungry and they asked you for bread, would you give them a rock instead?”  “Oh no, I would give them bread.”   “And if they wanted some fish, would you give them a snake instead?”  “Papa……….I wouldn’t give anybody a snake to eat, I would give them some fish.”  “Well, Alma, you sound like you would be a very good Princess to your people.”

As she giggled I told her that Jesus had asked the same questions a long time ago to some people; and they gave the same answers as she did.  And Jesus approved their answers.   And then Jesus told them that if they knew how to give good things, didn’t they think their God would also answer prayers with good things, not bad things?”  (This exchange is found in two of the Gospels of Mathew 7 and Luke 11.)

I have always loved this clear identification that God loves to give good things to His children.  And I began to understand even more of the significance of this exchange with this week’s Bible Lesson on the subject of “Matter.”  In this Lesson the question is clearly answered, “Who is the power on the throne?”  Is He a good king?  How do you reconcile the Good King, Spirit, and the seeming power of evil and material forces?  What realm do I belong to, matter or Spirit?  Are there really competing kingdoms and monarchs?

The Responsive Reading (Jeremiah 10, 24 & I John 4) introduces us to the themes that will develop in the body of the Lesson.  Who is the true God, the real King?  Who has the power, wisdom, and discretion in the earth, the world, and the heavens?  We are also alerted as to how we actually discern the true spirit, the power on the throne.

Section 1:  REALM:  Reality Everlastingly Appears; Less Matter!!
In citation B-2 (Genesis 1:1-4, 31) we have the Bible’s clear description of the realm of God, with the firm declaration that it “was very good.”  The Bible and Science and Health citations establish the allness of God, the goodness of God, and the importance of making the separation between belief in God’s, Spirit’s realm and the “unlikeness” of Spirit, “matter.”  (S-2)

A Sunday School teacher once explained to me that he had just read that there was a new law instituted in the Soviet Union.  It seemed to be a very tough law.  But he realized that since he was not a citizen of the Soviet Union he did not need to worry about having to obey that law.  And that is exactly what we learn from the foundations established in this first section of the lesson; God, Spirit is our King, our law giver.

[Whether in the Soviet Union or anywhere, we can never be outside of God’s presence as the Psalmist reminds us in two rhetorical questions in citation B-2: “Whither shall I flee from thy spirit?  Or whither shall I flee from thy presence?”  These are the first 2 questions of 38 questions in this week’s lesson.  You can hear a fun version of the “Whither” camp song as sung by a former CedarS counselor, Erin Williams, on CedarS 50th Jubilee trilogy of CDs.  All proceeds from the $25 sale of this CD goes toward 2013 camperships.]

In citation S-2 (277:24–5) we read:
“The realm of the real is Spirit. The unlikeness of Spirit is matter, and the opposite of the real is not divine, — it is a human concept. Matter is an error of statement. This error in the premise leads to errors in the conclusion in every statement into which it enters. Nothing we can say or believe regarding matter is immortal, for matter is temporal and is therefore a mortal phenomenon, a human concept, sometimes beautiful, always erroneous.”

“Is Spirit the source or creator of matter?  Science reveals nothing in Spirit out of which to create matter.  Divine metaphysics explains away matter.  Spirit is the only substance and consciousness recognized by divine Science.”

Section 2:  Matter is not who you are.
Years ago in central Argentina I had just finished a lecture on Christian Science.  One of my guests was a little guy about 10 that I had invited from the child care room.  He said he would join us.  After the lecture he came up to me with enthusiasm and delight, “Nunca supe que era hijo de Dios!”  (I never knew I was God’s child!)

His remarks took me back to when as a small boy I also attended a Christian Science lecture with my family.  (My mom always insisted we attend lectures [anywhere in our region].  But sometimes she let us sit by ourselves up in the balcony!)  The lecturer, Herbert Rieke, was from my dad’s home town, Indianapolis.  He shared an old European legend and how it had helped him understand his true identity as God’s child.

Mr. Rieke said that for a while he thought: “there must be two of me, the material and the spiritual.”  Then he himself had heard a Christian Science lecture which completely revolutionized his thinking on this subject.  “The lecturer told a legend which enabled me to understand my true spiritual selfhood and which showed me the reasoning process by which I might find complete salvation.”  I would like to share this legend with you.

A baby prince was kidnapped by a band of gypsies.  Naturally he was brought up as a gypsy.  When he was a grown man the gypsies came back through his kingdom.  An old courtier had never given up looking for the prince.  When he saw the young gypsy, he knew he was the prince because of his resemblance to the king, and said, "Do you know who you are?"

The lad replied that he did and gave his gypsy name.  But the courtier exclaimed, "No, you are the prince of this land.”

"There must be some mistake," returned the lad.  "Can't you see I have a gypsy name and speak the gypsy language?"

"But you're not a gypsy," replied the courtier.  "That's a lie about you.  You're really the prince."

Well then there must be two of me," said the young man. "The gypsy, I know all about him.  But this prince, I know nothing of him."

But the courtier protested, "No, no, there aren't two – there's just one – the prince.  You are the prince, and you have dominion over all this land."

This naturally interested the young man, and he replied. "Well, if I'm really the prince as you say, answer me this one.  Where did all this gypsy stuff come from?"

The courtier showed him that the gypsy was just a mistaken concept of identity.  It wasn't going to do him any good to figure out where the gypsy came from.  It was just a false concept of himself, a concept to be discarded.  He needed to go to the king, identify himself, and claim his heritage.  "And remember," said the courtier, "the king will be just as happy to see you as you are to see him."  (http://www.cslectures.org/Rieke/Who%20Is%20Your%20Maker-Rieke.htm)  (If you are unable to access the lecture online, just let me know and I can make sure you have a copy.)

Guess what, the citations in this section can do just that, it will show you, just like my little friend in Argentina, that you are indeed the, son of the King, the “everlasting King.” (Jeremiah 10:10)

Section 3:  Who’s Got The Power?  Matter or Spirit?
The story of Samson, (B-9,10 in Judges 15,16) sure gives a great example of, “Who’s got the power !!”

When my boys first started to attend CedarS Camp there was one counselor that they were telling me about.  “Papa, he is huge !”  Well, when they finally showed me who it was, I had to agree, “Yeah, he is a big guy.”  And at several of the all camp activities he often did amaze everyone with his biceps, triceps, and physical prowess.  But what I found super was that as my boys and I got to know him better each year, all of us discovered what a super nice guy and great counselor he was.  He was a tank, but he was sure a gentle giant and especially with the littlest guys.

In this section we discover, just like Samson, the importance of knowing where our strength or powers lie.  What is the foundation for true strength or power?  And just like the other elements of this lesson, we learn the importance properly identifying the source of all our strength.

This section also prompted me to think of listing all the things that you think have power over you.  What elements, what people, what organizations, what body,what powers are you actually believing are the source of your own strength or abilities?  Or who or what you believe hold power over your happiness, health, and success?

I remember finding a photo from my local newspaper.  The photo showed a little grandmother, her son, and her four year old grandson.  I brought it with me into Sunday School.  I asked one of the students to read the caption and story under the picture.  The caption read, “Gramma prays, lifts car.”  The accompanying story told of the little grandson running for help to his gramma.  The boys father was trapped under a car in his garage.  The grandmother, ran to the scene, prayed with her whole heart, and then all alone lifted the car off of her son, thereby saving his life.  I have never forgotten that one.

Section 4:   Life not in matter
Last week I was sending a friend an email from my mobile telephone.  Recipients of my Smartphone emails could testify that there are quite often some very interesting typing mistakes.  But as I typed and made another mistake I decided not to correct this one.  I rather liked the resulting thought. I had intended to write, “God loves us all….”  The “i” and the “o” are right next to each other on my phone keypad, so this is what came out, “God lives us all………”  And the more I have thought about this phrase since then, the more I like it.  Yes, God  “loves us all,” but God “lives us all” as well.

This section powerfully reorients our thought away from matter and the body as the source of life, and turns us to the great fact, that God is Life and the source of all Life.

The Knox Bible translation of John 17: 3 is an interesting verse to think about,” Eternal life is knowing thee, who art the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”

I love to put the emphasis on the “is.”  “Eternal life “is” knowing thee, who art the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent.”  Not coming sometime, not a future promise.  We are talking about an isness that is a present fact.

The Bible and Science and Health citations remove the mask of error regarding life and reveal a glimpse of what Mrs. Eddy herself describes that occurred in her own experience following a severe fall on ice,
“On the third day thereafter, I called for my Bible, and opened it at Matthew, 9:2 [And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.(King James Bible) ]. As I read, the healing Truth dawned upon my sense; and the result was that I arose, dressed myself, and ever after was in better health than I had before enjoyed. That short experience included a glimpse of the great fact that I have since tried to make plain to others, namely, Life in and of Spirit; this Life being the sole reality of existence.” (Miscellaneous Writings, Page 24)

[See Warren’s addendum: for how Mrs. Eddy connects citation B-17 to her “scientific statement of being” (S-30, 468).]

Section 5:  There is no intelligence in matter…..
The citations in this section from the Bible and Science and Health do give us something to think about.  Pun intended.  Although there are many, many studies and books being published regarding brain, consciousness, and thought independent of the brain, none of them goes as deep as the insights of the author of Science and Health.  Mary Baker Eddy published in 1875, “There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter.” (Science and Health, page 468.)  She answered the question, “What is intelligence?”  “Intelligence is omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence.  It is the primal and eternal quality of infinite Mind, of the triune Principle, — Life, Truth, and Love, — named God.”  (Science and Health, page 469)

And for over a hundred years many students of this book have demonstrated a source of intelligence that is found not in matter, but in Mind.

Recently a buddy from back home in Florida, Mark Evans,  was taking an exam, the GRE, Graduate Record Exam,  for Graduate School admission.  He was struck by those three specific elements of intelligence Mrs. Eddy mentions, “omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence.”  He said he really loved thinking about intelligence as being omnipresent!  That meant he did not have to be in a different frame of mind for the test.  He didn’t have to adjust circumstances that would have made it different, but that intelligence had always been present.  He thought and prayed with these divine facts and the result was a very satisfactory result in his exam.  But also, what always goes with this type of experience in Christian Science, he felt he was left with a much deeper understanding of the basis for his true intelligence.  And he loved the new idea of the “omnipresence” of intelligence.  I am sure Mark will putting these new insights into practice as he shares CedarS Camp shows around Florida over the next few weeks and plans yet another wonderful summer as a key member of CedarS Leadership Team.

Section 6:  Who said, God, Spirit can’t heal it?
This section impressed me with the example of Jesus healing ten lepers at once.  I am sure you probably know that leprosy was probably one of the most feared diseases of Jesus’ time.  And wow, our Master healed all ten in one fell swoop.  What power, what love, what comfort!  And imagine only one guy said thanks!  Yes, there is and was a “balm in Gilead.” (B-20, Jeremiah 8:22)

Well, this is not leprosy healed, but a pretty sweet healing I had years ago, and Mark’s experience got me thinking of it.

December 9, 1989 I was sitting in Williams Auditorium, at the University of Florida.  It was thirteen years since my university graduation and I had been in the full time Christian Science practice.  A lecture tour in South America left me with a great hunger to be able to respond more effectively to calls coming in from Brazil.  My Spanish was pretty good, but my Portuguese needed work.  So it came to me to take some graduate classes at the University of Florida.  So there I was sitting in an auditorium with 500 other GRE test takers.  (Just like Mark.)  I hoped to at least score well enough to get into graduate school.

As I sat there that Saturday morning in December, pencil in hand, papers before me, praying and listening, I could hardly hear myself pray or think.  There was so much coughing and sneezing going on it was unbelievable.  And I was starting to get pretty irritated, I felt like yelling out, “Quiet,” like some cartoon character.  And then it hit me how ridiculous I was being.  After all I was a Christian Science practitioner!  Almost embarrassed I put down my pencil.  Put my hands in my lap.  And began to pray.  I decided not to worry about my test, but to worry about my neighbors.  When I felt a sense of peace return to my thought, I went back to the test taking.  It had been a pretty good while.  But the atmosphere was much improved.  After five hours of test taking the gentleman monitoring or conducting the test thanked us all and then simply said, “You know I have never had such an attentive, quiet group in one of these tests before. Thank you all very much.”

I thought, hmmm.  Well, he probably says this to all the groups, right?  But then the very next Tuesday I was on campus again to attend the Christian Science College Organization meeting.  As I walked to the meeting room someone passed me in the hallway.  I thought, that looks like the test monitor from Saturday.  I could not resist asking.  “Excuse me; I wanted to ask about your comments from Saturday?  I was there.  Do you always say that kind of thing after the test?”  He stopped and very animatedly said, “Well, I cannot really explain it.  But I have never felt such an atmosphere in a large group like that before.  There was such peace, calm.  I just had to say something.” 

Wow.  The healing of the coughing.  The atmosphere quieted.  And then Mind putting that man and me right there in the hallway to meet three days later.  I was very humbled.  And I was reminded of the fact that whatever we are doing, test taking, exams, sewing, weaving, singing, dancing, preaching, or serving up french fries, we are all first and foremost Christian healers.  Use the moment we are given, pray first; and then do what we have to do.  The result will be evidence of the “balm in Gilead.”

Use the citations in this section to show you how to do your prayerful work.  It is not about “what’s the matter with you all?”  It is about the spirit of our Master. 

Oh, and I did well enough on the test to be admitted to Grad School.

Section 7:  God is all; matter is not, “nothing else matters.”
What a precise and beautiful introduction to the “scientific statement of being” in wrapping up our Lesson this week: “God, Spirit, being all, nothing is matter.” (S-29, 113:18)   That phrase always reminds me of a classic rock song, by the band Metallica, “Nothing Else Matters.”  Below you will find a portion of the lyrics.  Perhaps you can see their metaphysical application. 

So close no matter how far 
Couldn't be much more from the heart 
Forever trust in who we are 
And nothing else matters 

Never opened myself this way 
Life is ours, we live it our way 
All these words I don't just say 
And nothing else matters 

Trust I seek and I find in you 
Every day for us something new 
Open mind for a different view 
And nothing else matters 

Never cared for what they do 
Never cared for what they know 
But I know 

So close no matter how far 
Couldn't be much more from the heart 
Forever trusting who we are 
And nothing else matters 

You can find the song through a Google search of, Metallica, “Nothing Else Matters.”  It is a song that rocks and although it isn’t the Rock of Ages, it can be inspiring.  Especially as we bring to it our understanding of “Forever trusting who we are,” the sons and daughters, the princes and princesses of one great King, the everlasting Spirit that rules supreme.


[Warren's addendum: In Retrospection & Introspection we get a wonderful statement from Mrs. Eddy that connects citation B-17 to her “scientific statement of being” (S-30, 468).  She says: “St. Paul said to the Athenians, "For in Him we live, and move, and have our being." This statement is in substance identical with my own: "There is no life, truth, substance, nor intelligence in matter." It is quite clear that as yet this grandest verity has not been fully demonstrated, but it is nevertheless true. If Christian Science reiterates St. Paul's teaching, we, as Christian Scientists, should give to the world convincing proof of the validity of this scientific statement of being. Having perceived, in advance of others, this scientific fact, we owe to ourselves and to the world a struggle for its demonstration.”  Albert Einstein called the 60 words in the “scientific statement of being” “the most profound statement ever uttered by mankind.” Jack Geis, Physics, Metaphysics and God, 220]



The application ideas above are from a Christian Science Practitioner who has served as a Resident Practitioner at CedarS Camps. They are provided primarily to help CedarS campers and staff (as well as friends) see and daily demonstrate the great value of study and application of 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/

Warren Huff, CedarS Director & editor of these notes & its bracketed, italic additions.]

[While our herd of horses still needs your "adoptive" support to be fully fed, trained and ready for camp, our focus now goes to filling camp with worthy campers!  Our main funding goals for early 2013 are raising funds for campership applicants and for operations support.  If you'd rather not give online or over the phone,

[Thank you for mailing your checks to:
CedarS Camps Office,
1314 Parkview Valley Dr.,
Manchester, MO 63011

Or for calling us at
636-394-6162 to give a monthly pledge or a single, credit or debit card gift.]

[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 Helga and Manfred; or in Spanish, thanks to a team of Ana, Erick, Claudia and Patricio.  A voluntary French translation by Pascal or Denise cannot be guaranteed due to their busy schedules. An "official" version of the weekly Portuguese translation is now available for CedarS Mets, thanks to helpers of Orlando Trentini in Brazil.  Go to http://www.cedarscamps.org/ and click "Newsletters" to sign-up for the Portuguese version.  This sharing is the latest in an ongoing, 13-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 subsequent emails.) 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 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 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-24) and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy (S-1 thru S-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 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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