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Serve the Lord! Reject the graven images of matter!
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson

Subject: Matter
March 19-25, 2018

Prepared by Kathy Fitzer

Matter …. seems so real until you understand it to be just a false human concept — a limited, misperception of reality. Recognizing God, Spirit, to be ALL and the only Creator, allows us to see through the myth that matter is substantial. Christian Science enables us to see that matter is but the “objective state of mortal mind.” (SH 374) It is not our master. We serve God, so God is our master and cares for us completely! As we learn to recognize what is of God and what is only a graven image posing as a god, we will alertly stop enabling the graven images — stop acknowledging them, carrying them around, or giving them power that they cannot possess on their own. Choosing to serve God only, we recognize reality and we’re not fooled by what seems to be! Matter is a limited and limiting human concept. Period!!!

I find it helpful to consider the context of the Golden Text and the Responsive Reading. The people had begged Samuel for a king. At God’s direction, Samuel granted their request, but he warned the people that they needed to be really careful in regard to where they placed their allegiance and confidence. That advice applies as much to us today as ever. Soooo many things call for our allegiance and promise to bring us answers. Samuel tells the people to “serve the Lord with all your heart.” That leaves no room for “serving” — or becoming the servant — of anything else. To be a servant includes being subject to the direction or control of whatever we are serving. And it includes giving our full attention, in this case, to God, Good!

The second part of the Responsive Reading, from Jeremiah, challenges us to be alert to what it is we are serving and warns us not to fall for the “customs of the peoples [that] are futile” — or empty and unsatisfying. Consider making a list of the “customs of the peoples” that might tempt us today. I found it interesting to do so, remembering that customs are changeable, and don’t have the lasting authority of God’s law. Included on my list were such things as: health and dietary “laws”; beliefs of heredity; allowing ourselves to be defined by IQ, personality, our job, family history, birth order, past experiences, etc; going along with popular trends; and allowing ourselves to believe that we could be limited by anything. Some things are so subtle, we don’t really realize what we’re taking in — or what beliefs we are serving. But, the important thing is that we be conscious of the desire to give all to God, cherishing the good God is constantly bestowing, and not being afraid of any other suggestion! These suggestions “cannot go by themselves.” So, let’s be sure we’re not carrying around — or leaning on — anything that isn’t entirely productive and good. What we choose to serve is what governs and controls us. It is worth it to be alert! We must worship God with all our heart and not be taken in by graven images — including the images of matter constantly being paraded before us!

Section 1: Matter is a human concept — possessing no power

A clear message throughout the Bible is the allness and onliness of God and God’s creation. (B1, B2 & B4) Also, the warning to be alert to idol worship. We may think …. “WE know better than to worship idols or parade them around — as those who had been held in captivity in a foreign land had done!!! How ridiculous to think that wood covered with gold or silver could do anything.” But, if we’re honest, would we not have to admit that the idols of today have simply expanded into the belief that we are controlled by matter in all kinds of different shapes and forms — as discussed earlier — tempting us to trust our well-being and happiness to ever-changing mortal theories more than to unchanging God, Mind? And might we be holding on to some idols in our worship practices, being tempted to focus more on the form of a church service or the letter of Science than on the love and spirit expressed? It is helpful to me to think of matter as anything that is limited and limiting, restricted and restrictive, and having the potential for both good and bad. Thinking of God — Life, Truth and Love — as infinite, it is impossible to think of matter (limitation) as being part of God’s creation. (S1, S2, S3). So, if God didn’t make matter (limited form) where did it come from? It is a mistaken human concept — an inverted, erroneous view of what really is. Just because something appears to be, doesn’t mean that it is. It may be an over-used example, but the earth appears to be stationary and the sun to move. But, that false human concept has been corrected by science. And Christian Science is destroying “the supposed material foundations of life and intelligence” and dooming the idolatry of matter and material theories. (S5) Regardless of how convincing the evidence is that limited matter is part of creation … it has no power to change the fact that “ALL things were made by [God]” and so all that exists is unlimited Spirit.” As we refuse to give power to anything else, material beliefs will lose their hold on man.

Section 2: Refuse to bow down to a graven image. Obedience to Truth gives power and strength

I love the fact that God identifies Himself as having delivered the Children of Israel from bondage before revealing to them His law — or commandments. (B5) Why wouldn’t we choose to honor and follow that which frees us, rather than something that boxes us in? I gave a bit more thought to the word graven — as it relates to not bowing down to a graven image. It basically means that which has been carved, sculpted, or engraved. Are we allowing ourselves to be influenced, impressed, or frightened by something that has been carved — or shaped — by a limited view or things? Or will we acknowledge infinite Mind as the source of the only true law?

I never get tired of the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. These young men were totally unimpressed by a law that had been created to elevate an individual (king or not) above omnipresent Spirit. Nothing could move them from complete trust in God. Do I have the faith to respond as they did in the face of a serious threat … “I’m sure God will save me, but even if it looks like I’m not being saved, I still won’t serve, bow down to, or fear another seeming power”? (B6) To be honest … I’m not always there. But, this story serves as wonderful inspiration to spur me on to know that I can trust God to meet my needs — regardless of the threat being presented by the material senses. Limited (and limiting) matter dresses itself up as being a law that we must heed. We’re told that if we choose to ignore — or outright disobey — this law, we will face consequences. (S7) But evidence abounds from the stories in the Bible to present-day testimonies of healing that we don’t need to fear such so-called laws. As we remain true to the 1st and 2nd Commandments, this “obedience to Truth gives man power and strength.” (S8)

Sometimes we’re tempted to think we have to wage battle with real material laws. But, the more we understand the allness of God and the impotence of matter, the more we can stop “warring … over corporeality” (which has no more substance or power than popular belief gives it) and start “rejoicing in the affluence [or abundance] of our God.” (S9) Obedience to the First Commandment includes entertaining no suggestions that come from a mind other than God, good. That is the foundation upon which we build in order to see things as they are. The Science of being shows good to be the reality from which springs “health, holiness, and life eternal”. (S10) We can boldly face material “law” — regardless of the guise it appears as — when we are clear that there is one law — the law of God, Good. Obedience to this law empowers us to see through the lie and be strengthened by Truth.

Section 3: The Indestructibility of man

If we’re going to be really honest with ourselves, isn’t it the belief that matter has power to destroy us — to take away our life, or the life of another — that most frightens us? Fire, which the Christian Science textbook defines as “fear; remorse; lust; hatred; destruction” had no impact on the three Hebrew boys — didn’t even leave the smell of smoke. Could that be because they never accepted that they could be separated from Christ, Truth (the Son of God)? (B8) Believing and fearing “that we have transgressed a material law” and consequently been separated from the law of Life and Love opens us up to the belief that we have to “pay the penalty” for such a transgression. (S14) But, we are assured that “the recognition of life harmonious — as Life eternally is — can destroy any painful sense of, or belief in, the which Life is not.” (S15) So, whenever faced with the belief that we have broken a mortal law — whether the belief is one of contagion; accident; lack of opportunity; limitation due to age, race, or gender; simple bad luck or being caught in a storm or political cross-fire; or even the consequences of making bad decisions — we must claim our identity as the child of God, the indestructible man which Christ (Truth) presents and know that the only law that we are governed by is the law of Spirit which “creates, constitutes, and governs” all that is real. (S16) Let Science tell you what’s real (like with the sun and earth) and don’t be fooled by false law! Remember that Christ (“the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness” SH 332) is always with us — regardless of how dire the human circumstances! Our job is to walk with Christ and not be fooled by the graven image!

Section 4: Don’t be afraid of the reports of the body (of the flesh)

How important — when faced with evidence of disease or injury — to realize that we’re not dealing with a law. We’re not even dealing with something physical. All we’re seeing is the objectification of a graven image appearing as a condition of the flesh. We need to address and correct the graven image (the carved picture) that mortal mind has molten (poured out and installed) in thought. (B10) Then the evidence will change on the body. Jesus healing the woman with the issue of blood illustrates the mental nature of disease. She reached out to touch the “border of his garment.” This border was the hem or the tassels of the shawl that Jesus wore. [See W's PS#5 and Download picture at upper right of prayer shawl tassels] Here’s some background that helps explain the importance of this “border.” It says in Numbers 15:38-39 “Speak to the children of Israel: Tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a blue thread in the tassels of the corners. And you shall have the tassel, that you may look upon it and remember all the commandments of the LORD and do them, and that you may not follow the harlotry to which your own heart and your own eyes are inclined, and that you may remember and do all My commandments, and be holy for your God.” Harlotry is understood spiritually to signify idolatry. (https://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Topical.show/…/Spirit-Harlotry.htm) So, the tassels that the woman was reaching for were a reminder to stay true to the Commandments and not be taken in by idolatrous misleadings. But, Jesus wanted to be sure that there was no confusion — or mystery — concerning the source of healing. He felt the call of the woman’s thought and responded to it — assuring her that it was her faith (or belief in the healing power of God) that had healed her. (B12) As Mrs. Eddy explains, “Jesus knew … that it was not matter, but mortal mind, whose touch called for aid.” (S19)

We all need to know that the challenge is never with a material body. It is always a mental suggestion — the belief that there is a power other than God — a graven image begging to be recognized and worshipped. What we call matter “is but the subjective state of what is termed but the author [of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures] mortal mind.” (S18) So again, regardless of how much it looks like the problem is with a material body, we learn from Science what is really going on (just like Science instructs as to what is really going on with the relationship of the sun and the earth.) We learn that “whatever is cherished in mortal mind as the physical condition is imaged forth on the body.” So, we need to capture the impositions that have wormed their way into thought. We need to allay fear by knowing man’s “exemption from disease and danger.” (S20) And we need to wrap our body up in thought and paint it with the brush of health rather than sickness — banishing every thought of disease or sin or discord of any kind. (S21) Sometimes the false testimony seems so real that this kind of corralling of thought and trusting Christ, Truth, to correct the lie can seem out of reach. But, as Christ Jesus responded to the woman when she reached out to him, the living Christ (“the divine manifestation, which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error” SH 583) responds to our reaching out, too. Healing is never out of reach — no matter how long a problem seems to have been part of us! It has always been nothing more than a graven image parading itself before thought! And we’re not going to bow down to it, worship it — or be its servant!

Section 5: Man has a “goodly heritage” — his origin being Spirit alone

The claim that we are defined by our DNA and subject to the “laws” of heredity are modern day idols that we must be constantly alert to and consistently denounce. Ezekiel denounced the commonly held belief of “transgenerational retribution.” (B14) It was widely accepted that future generations would continue to suffer for the sins of those who came before them … your dad breaks the law, you get thrown in jail, too. That would seem ridiculous to us now … but isn’t that what the “law” of heredity suggests? No matter what you do, you’re stuck with a material make-up that determines your future and your well-being. It’s not enough to casually deny this belief. The belief is too widely held for that. We need to understand why we are not governed by material building blocks or a pre-determined code. Every time we give credence to a material cause for something (including hereditary causes) we are forsaking God, Spirit, “the fountain of living waters,” and hewing “out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” (B13) A fountain is forever bringing fresh inspiration — refreshing us with perpetual newness! Claiming the fountain of Life (God) as our source, we refute the stale belief that we are the by-product of two somewhat flawed human beings coming together to form another somewhat flawed material being, stuck with the limitations of human parents. We don’t have to wait to become spiritual. God, Spirit is our Father-Mother “and Life is the law of [our] being.” (S25) As we insist on that fact, we will come to understand it more clearly and then we will demonstrate the fact that “nothing inharmonious can enter being, for Life is God.” And we glimpse the fact that “the transmission of disease or of certain idiosyncrasies of mortal mind” are impossible!” (S26) Matter — with all of its limitations and false beliefs — is a graven image. And we do not serve — and are not servants of — graven (powerless, carved) images!

Section 6: Serve the Lord with gladness!

We gladly serve and worship the Lord! (B16) We gladly submit to the onliness of God and God’s spiritual, good creation. As we serve, we allow ourselves to “be wrought” — to be formed and molded by Truth. Serving God isn’t hard work! It’s natural to gladly choose what God is revealing and reject every graven image that parades across thought — regardless of the empty promises spewing forth from these material suggestions, including instant gratification or a quick fix. It’s important to remember that matter represents limitation in a multitude of forms. Some are more subtle than others, but matter is by nature finite, so whatever good it may seem to offer must always come to an end. On the other hand Mind, God, is infinite — no limits ever! (S30) We haven’t yet experienced all that is inherent in God’s spiritual, harmonious creation. But, I imagine every one of us has glimpsed the freedom that comes from letting go of material limitations and peering through the mist of matter to behold (even for a moment) the harmony of Spirit that is revealed as we yield completely to a view that is unlimited and all good. We can experience the care, guidance, and enveloping love of our Father-Mother God here and now. We can trust God to lead us step by step to have just what we need every moment — even if we don’t understand the step! As we acknowledge the “supremacy of Spirit” (all things working together under the law of harmony), we will witness the disappearance of matter (of limitation and discord). (S29) Divine Love, the Principle of all Good, loves us. The more conscious we are of serving God by keeping every thought aligned with Life, Truth, Love — infinite Spirit — the more we will be aware of our inseparability from Mind as Mind’s idea— without a single element of error or matter. No graven image is going to hitch a ride with our thought. We’re too alert for that! We need to claim that alertness for ourselves every moment of every day. God’s “truth endureth to all generations.” (B16) There is nothing else!

Look for an email coming soon with Warren Huff’s additions of insights and application ideas from Cobbey Crisler on some citations in the Christian Science Bible Lesson on “Matter” for March 25, 2018. Click here for online version now.

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