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Show that the idol of matter has no existence. Lean on God, Spirit, as ALL!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

for September 16-22, 2019

Prepared by Kathy Fitzer

So, just what IS matter? And to what degree are our lives governed by it? Sometimes we can get so hung up on the difficulty of seeing through the belief of matter — or feeling we really have no clue how to think about that which seems to be absolute substance — that we become hypnotized by this conundrum and lose track of the fact that the entire universe (including man — each of us) really is entirely governed by the one and only God and reflects His goodness and perfection!

This week’s Bible Lesson helps us gain a perspective that is helpful in enabling us to have mastery over the suggestions of material belief. Trusting God to reveal to us His allness and onliness, and refusing to bow down to the idolatry of matter, we are freed from every false belief. The Lesson helps us see what matter is and isn’t and the practical application of this understanding. God’s love is sufficient to free us from every false concept — including the belief that matter has life, truth, intelligence, substance, and the power to govern us as a false god. Pay special attention to statements running throughout regarding God being absolutely all and the only power. Refuse to fall into the trap of thinking that it is hard to really understand (or even accept) the idea that matter is nothing. Taking it step by step, thought awakens to Truth and the blessings of glimpsing the allness of Spirit and the nothingness of matter are boundless!

We can think of an idol as an alternative power or wannabe god — as anything that would present itself as having the qualities, reality and authority of God, but is actually powerless [and SO not up yto the job!]. Seeing an idol as having no real existence, as stated in the Golden Text, makes it clear that it has no power to influence our lives. Thinking of matter (including what appears as a physical body) as simply an idol means we don’t need to be afraid of its testimony, respect it as having intelligence, or worship it in any way. The Harper Collins Bible Dictionary makes the point that forbiddance of idols to Israel set it apart from its neighbors. It occurs to me that seeing matter in terms of being a forbidden idol because it has no real existence (since there is only ONE God — ONE power, Spirit) sets Christian Science apart from other belief systems. The barring of idol worship from one’s thought is as freeing today as it was in past ages.

As I studied the Responsive Reading I was struck by the sense of continuity here … showing how we are all touched by God’s almighty selfhood as revealed through His Christ. As always, this was the inspiration that came to me! You may see it (and other things in the Lesson) entirely differently and that is great! As we learned last month, we are all being taught directly by the Lord — perfect Mind. Starting with the first 3 verses at the beginning, and then again in verse 8, God is presented as incomparable, as the creator of all, and as giving glory and praise to none other, including graven images. In verses 6 and 7 the prophet Isaiah reveals God’s relationship with His Son and describes how Christ brings freedom to all of God’s children by demonstrating God’s righteousness.

The last three verses share Paul’s teaching to the Corinthians, helping us all to recognize our relationship to God as His temple. God dwells forever with man. He is the Father of all and we are all His sons and daughters. Verse 17 helps us to understand the importance of remaining separate from the general beliefs of this world — not entertaining in thought things which God did not create (unclean or impure things, which would certainly include disease and inharmony of any kind). To be separate also means (according to the Greek) to be set apart for some purpose. How wonderful to realize that God has set us apart and given us the eternal purpose of expressing Him! God “receives” us (or treats us with favor, according to the original Greek). This enables us to think and act rightly and recognize that we are the temple of God (v. 16). Check out Mary Baker Eddy’s reference to temple in Pulpit and Press 2: 21-2. This citation was extremely valuable to me several years ago as I realized my spiritual nature as the temple of God and was healed of a back injury that had immobilized me.

Section 1: Shake yourself from the dust and see that God, Spirit, never created matter.

When we think and reason from the standpoint of matter being real and having an influence on us, we are turning things upside down. It’s like giving the clay power to shape itself or influence the potter … rather than the other way around. (B1) We MUST start and stay with the premise stated over and over again in the Bible, “I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me.” (B3) Although the form idols have taken has changed over the centuries, a constant remains … they cannot speak, see, hear, breathe or control! (B4) The only power they have is what we give them. What Jesus shared with the Samaritan woman at the well is as important for us to hear as it was for her to hear … “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (B6) The teachings of Christian Science elaborate on that message, making it clear that “Spirit never created matter.” (S1) Thus, we must recognize the opposite of Spirit, called matter, as nothing more than an idol posing as a god, but incapable of sustaining itself — incapable of speaking or controlling us! (S4)

Fortunately, we’re not just left with what matter is not but also, what it is. Matter is “the subjective state of what is termed by the author mortal mind.” (S2) I like to think of mortal mind as a distorted or inverted view of things, or that which sees through a mist and so is never accurate. I was struck by the definition of subjective — as opposed to objective —given in Webster’s 1828 dictionary. It said, “objective, is when the proposition is certainly true of itself; and subjective, is when we are certain of the truth of it.” A modern dictionary defines subjective as: “based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions: dependent on the mind or on an individual's perception for its existence.” This reinforces the idea that what we call matter is simply a false view of reality. It cannot act on its own, and has no inherent truth to it, but is totally dependent on mortal thought for its existence. As spiritual understanding (the understanding of the allness of God, Spirit) increases, we’ll exchange the limited mortal view that sees things in terms of finite matter and “real objects will be apprehended mentally instead of materially.” (S6) Rather than fearing that disbelief in matter will cause a loss of substance, we will find the expanded view of Spirit’s revealing unfolding more and more indestructible good!

Section 2: Acknowledge the supremacy of Spirit and so annul the claims of matter (S11)

We are constantly faced with choices as to what we will accept as reality, what we trust, and what we believe has control over us. Paul instructed the Thessalonians to not extinguish or stifle (quench) the Spirit, to examine (prove) all things, and only hold on to what is good. (B7) When the body appears to have broken down (or is demanding to be satisfied) or the weather appears to have power to destroy, or governments appear to be in disarray, or any other suggestions are made, we need to take a close look and question what God, Spirit, is saying about the situation! Throughout the ages mankind has fallen into the trap of losing sight of God’s presence and power and trusting in one’s own ability instead. Amos tried to make this point by asking the people to consider some absurd questions during a time when they were placing false confidence in their military prowess … thinking their own strength would protect them rather than placing their faith in God. One translation puts the questions this way … “Do horses run on rocks? Does one plow the sea with oxen?” (NRSV) Later Paul makes the point that it is equally absurd to think that we are “made perfect by the flesh” when we were formed by the Spirit. (B10) God, Spirit, gives us everything we need. But we have to trust God to reveal that good — rather than search for it in the limited concept called matter or limited human ability.

Go back to this very logical question … “If Spirit is all and is everywhere, what and where is matter?” (S7) No matter how convincing the material testimony is … we can refuse to bow down to it — fear it or worship it! Anyone who claims to believe in God would not consciously “disown the Almighty.” And yet … that’s what we’re doing when we either believe matter has power to wreak havoc or we believe that God created matter and so is responsible for physical and moral disasters. (S9) God is the source of solutions … not problems — of lasting good rather than highs and lows. The supremacy of Spirit annuls the claims of matter. As we acknowledge that — even in the face of contradictory evidence — we will “find the indissoluble spiritual link which establishes man forever in the divine likeness, inseparable from his creator.” (S11) Indissolubly linked to good — incapable of being separated from our oneness with God where all needs are met. Shifting our view allows us to see through the material evidence to solutions forever being revealed by the Love of Spirit!

Section 3: Don’t let fear handle thought …. God is always there to help. (B3)

There never seems to be a lack of things that would threaten to take away our peace and security or cause us to fear. But, do we need to cower in the face of these impositions — or can we face them head on and come out on top by understanding that “there is no power but of God”? (B16) We have a wonderful promise in Proverbs that gives us the assurance that if our motives are right for doing something, God will show us the way to safely accomplish our task. Here are two translations of Prov. 16: 3 …. “Whatever you do, do it as service to Him, and He will guarantee your success.” (Voice); “Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.” (NLT) That must be what Elisha realized when he responded to the distress of one of his students who thought he had lost a borrowed axe head in the river. That axe head represented a right idea. And, by the way, it would have been very expensive to replace. Ideas can never be lost! So, Elisha didn’t panic or madly search. Rather, he understood that the so-called properties of matter could be reversed by the authority of God, Spirit. The iron floated!

This story is sandwiched between Elisha healing Naaman of leprosy and warning the King of Israel about where his enemy was planning to attack him. It doesn’t matter whether a situation seems to be affecting one individual (seemingly important or an average citizen) or an entire community or nation …. we can confidently pray from the standpoint that “Mind, not matter, is causation”. (S12) Understanding this, we aren’t fooled by the “enactments of mortal mind” any more than we are fooled by the fictitious story played out on a movie screen.

Just as a scene in a movie or in a dream can seem very real …. so, the drama of so-called matter seems very real. But matter is powerless to control man because it does not have its source in Mind, Spirit. Turning to the laws of Divine Science (or the truth of God) we exchange what appear to be things for thoughts and recognize the source of all legitimate thought to be God, good. (S16) In that way what appear as material circumstances are transformed to conform with Mind’s harmonious and eternal creation, consisting of spiritual ideas.

Section 4: Mind — not matter — is the healer

It appears that the woman who had been bleeding for 12 years believed she would be healed if she could simply touch Jesus’ clothes — as if they contained some magical power. In today’s world such miraculous powers may be attributed to climate or air quality or various drugs and medical treatments. But, matter has no healing power. Jesus knew that. He understood that this woman was truly reaching out to the thought of Jesus — to the Christ, Truth, that Jesus embodied. In order to remove any doubt about what was going on, Jesus sought out the woman and let her know that it was her faith (her mental response to Truth) that had healed her. (B18 & S17) Matter can neither harm nor heal. It is entirely unintelligent. (S18) Whatever power it appears to have is given to it by mortal mind. Medical procedures appear to have an effect because of the faith put in them. At the same time, matter is credited with the power to make man sick or take away his life. The reality is that matter has neither the power to destroy or to save because “Life is Spirit.” (S20) It seems to me that a huge key to healing is the realization that “Life is, always has been, and ever will be independent of matter ….” (S19)

It helps me to think about being independent of the dreams that I have at night. I have some crazy dreams … but they have no control over my life. My life is independent of those dreams, just as it is independent of the beliefs of matter. Furthermore, because our bodies express the beliefs of mortal mind it is soooo important to be sure that, as we consider our bodies, we are delineating (or drawing) on them outlines of health and wholeness rather than sickness and decline. (S21)

We don’t want to blame ourselves when we’re having a physical or mental problem, or when dealing with any other kind of discord. Instead, we want to respond to trials by turning to God whose love will always reveal a clearer view of reality. (S22) In so doing, the view will change from the mortal to the immortal. Human will, fear, and ignorance, will fall away along with the outward appearance of disease and discord, and the harmonious idea of Mind that has never truly mingled with the false sense of material belief (any more than our lives truly mingle with our dreamworld) appears. Regardless of where we are in our experience, we can never be made to believe that the idolatry of matter is truly the source of healing. God is the only healer!

Section 5: Soul — identity — is not in matter. (S24)

Once again, we have a powerful statement of God’s allness! God doesn’t share His power. This translation is from The Message: “I am God. That’s my name. I don’t franchise my glory, don’t endorse the no-god idols.” (B19) One definition of the Greek word translated as glory here is “weight.” Nothing else holds any weight in our lives except God! It’s fun to think about glory as clarity, brightness, splendor. And, it’s believed that the Latin, floreo, to blossom, to flower, to flourish, is probably of the same family (Webster 1828).

God is Soul — unconfined by matter — and “man is the expression of Soul.” (S27) So … our sparkle, clarity, and blossoming splendor must ever shine through our being as the reflection of Soul. The limitations of so-called matter are powerless to stop this shining. An idol can only presume to have power or authority. It is, in fact, powerless to have any influence whatsoever! Rather than needing to fear destruction, we are reassured that “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning …” (There is that recurring theme of newness from this summer!)

What a wonderful message coming from Lamentations — written by the prophet Jeremiah during a period of sorrow and grief over the destruction of Jerusalem and the exile of its people by King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians. (B3) Whether working today to recover from the destructive elements of natural disasters, disease, tragedy of any sort, or simple discouragement over political or personal affairs, we can rally with the understanding that we are never separated from God’s compassion and mercy. All other testimony comes from the idolatrous suggestions of mortal mind’s subjective condition called matter.

Just because something has been given a name (like matter) doesn’t make it something! Our identity is not stuck in matter, confined to it, nor governed by it! (S26) Even glimpsing this fact — that all of creation is truly governed by Soul — brings freedom!

Section 6: Test every thought that comes to you — “Try the spirits whether they are of God” (B24)

Once again, we’re told to attribute (ascribe) greatness only to God. There is only one God and an idol is nothing. (B22 & B23) We have to be so alert to the thoughts (or spirits, as the Bible calls them) that present themselves to us — and vie for our attention. (B24) The Greek word, pneuma, translated as spirit here, can be thought of as “the disposition or influence which fills and governs the soul of any one;” So, to be governed rightly, the influences we yield to need to be ones coming from God, Mind — rather than the distortions of matter.

Jesus assured us, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (B26) Sometimes we can be tempted to think that if we haven’t yet found our freedom, it’s somehow our fault because we’re not knowing the truth sufficiently. Feeling guilty is never helpful! What does it mean to know in this context? According to the Greek, to know is to “allow, be aware (of), feel, (have) know(-ledge), to become acquainted with, perceived, be resolved, be sure, understand.” So, as we are aware of the thoughts that come to us and test each one to determine whether or not it is in line with the truth of God’s goodness, we can confidently accept each thought of Truth as powerful enough to reveal our God-given freedom. (S28 & S29)

The Scientific Statement of Being, which begins, “There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter” delineates the absolute truth of our being, made in the likeness of God. (S30) Although we may not totally understand this statement, we can certainly become acquainted with it, allow it space in our thought, and feel its power to correct every mortal lie. And we can treasure the truth it states and the love of God it represents. Then, we can expect that as a result of this treasuring (valuing God’s gifts) we will understand more and more of spiritual existence and see as God sees — worshipping and responding to the one and only GOD rather than bowing down to, fearing, and being influenced by the wanna-be god called matter.

As we give up our trust and belief in matter and lean on Spirit we will find out world expanding and brightening, and God’s permanent peace will be revealed. (S32) Truth forever reveals itself and does make us free!

Watch SOON for Warren's CAPs—Citation Application Possibilities):
Application ideas from Cobbey Crisler and others on select citations are
available online now and will be emailed ASAP.

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