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[Meditate “most on infinite spiritual substance” to advance most in Science! Misc. 309]

Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

 

Subject: SUBSTANCE

March 11-17, 2013

 

Prepared by: Heather K. Libbe, CS (heather.libbe@gmail.com)

 

In Miscellaneous Writings, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, says the following: “He advances most in divine Science who meditates most on infinite spiritual substance and intelligence.” (pg 309)

How wonderful it is that we have the opportunity to do so with this week’s Christian Science Bible Lesson, highlighting a more spiritual sense of substance than can be seen and understood on a purely human level with our material senses.  Like it says in both the Sermon on the Mount and Hymn #455 from the Christian Science Hymnal Supplement, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."  As we focus on the infinite spiritual substance of God’s universe, we can't help but grow spiritually, advance in Science and be uplifted and blessed. 

This week's Lesson gives us some helpful tips to do so, including a few suggestions about what substance is not… 

Golden Text
“O Lord, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep.” (Psalms 92:5)

Can we even imagine the magnitude and magnificence of God’s great works?!?! They are more than we can count!  As beloved children of God, we are part of God’s wonderful work and, as the expression of Mind, we reflect the same depth of thought that our Creator does. 

The word “thoughts” in both the Golden Text and Responsive Reading, as well as the citations included in the first section, comes from the Hebrew word “machashabah” meaning intention, plan, curious work, device, imagination, means and purpose. The Moffatt Translation of the Bible interprets this verse as “How great thy deeds are, O Eternal How deep are thy designs!”

 

Every single part of God’s creation has a unique place, purpose and plan – designed by divine Love – which only adds to the greatness of God’s infinite works and the infinite spiritual substance of the universe.  

Responsive Reading
As God thinks, so it is! As God plans, so it is!

Several other Bible translations use the word “plan” and “purpose” instead of thought, offering a slightly different perspective to the citations included in this week’s Responsive Reading.  For example, the New Living Translation (NLT) interprets Isaiah 14:24 as, “It will all happen as I have planned. It will be as I have decided” and The Message (by Eugene Peterson) says, “Exactly as I planned, it will happen. Following my blueprints, it will take shape.”

Whose blueprint?!?! GOD’S blueprint!

Recently, an article by Colleen Douglass called “God’s the one with the overview” was published on JSH Online, which so beautifully compliments this thought.

How humbling it is to be reminded this week that there is always a higher power in operation.  God’s ways and God’s thoughts are higher than ours, if we are thinking from a limited, material standpoint.  Our job then becomes to yield to the omnipotence of God, trusting His perfect purpose and plan – his wonderful works – that are unfolding for each of us so that we can seek God, rejoice, be glad and magnify the Lord continually. 

Section 1: Focus On God’s Thoughts Which = Spiritual Realities
Continuing with the theme of God’s plans for us, as mentioned in the Responsive Reading, the English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible uses the following wording for the first citation: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare…”  The NLT describes these plans as “plans for good and not for disaster.”

What a relief that God’s plan for us includes only goodness and peace and that, as we yield to the omnipotence of God and His perfect plan, we cannot help but know!  This is because God’s thoughts are “perfect and eternal, substance and Life.” (S2)

So, what do we learn about God’s thoughts (or plans) in this section?

  • They’re peaceful – not evil – to give us an expected end (B1)
  • They are precious, infinite and ever-present (B2)
  • They are available to all (B3)
  • They are established, as we commit our lives to God (B4)

Each and every moment, we have an abundance of God’s thoughts surrounding us, thoughts that are true substance and “spiritual realities.” (S5) These thoughts direct, comfort, guard, guide and help us to see the spiritual reality of the universe.  Mrs. Eddy explains that what we seem to see through a material lens is actually the counterfeit of the “spiritual realm of the real.” (S4) This is helpful in our work as healers, as we stick to what we know to be true as ideas of Mind despite what human thoughts & temporal things might be trying to tell us.

Section 2: Get Rid of a False Sense of Substance by Translating Things Into Thoughts
Had Elijah and the widow woman been made to believe the “objects and thoughts of material sense,” they might not have been able to behold the infinite spiritual substance of creation and exchange the “objects of sense for the ideas of Soul.” (S9) Nevertheless, this story serves as helpful encouragement to translate “things into thoughts” (S9) and learn more about Truth, Life, Love, Spirit, Mind and Soul as substance. (S7) It is also a helpful reminder that true substance is not in food.

It is interesting that the widow woman whom God had told Elijah would sustain him was preparing her and her son’s final meal, expecting to die because of the drought. At the time, Elijah was fleeing from Ahab and, in doing so, this was the second place that God had arranged for him to stay. (B6) Elijah had a tremendous trust in God – the one God – and proved that “those who turn to the Eternal lack no good,” as it says in the Moffatt Translation. He did not succumb to any “false sense of life, substance, and mind,” (S8) but knew that they would be sustained. And, they all were… because that’s God’s plan for all of His beloved creation!

Section 3: Move beyond What the Material Senses May Suggest To Infinite Possibility
How often do we find ourselves operating from a limited perspective – based on what the material senses suggest – rather than from a standpoint based in infinite spiritual substance (God) where all things are possible?

As Jesus proved when he walked on water, true substance does not include either time or sense. (S12) This account occurs right after the feeding of the 5,000, as Jesus goes to the hills to escape being forced to become king. Even after it became dark, Jesus was nowhere to be found. So, the disciples decided to proceed. However, after they had rowed around three to four miles, (a furlong is 1/10 mile) they found that the wind had blown them into the lake.

Notice, just as the Christ meets us right where we’re at, as we’re working through challenges, Jesus goes to his disciples on the lake. (B8)  And, not only did Jesus prove that there was not substance in matter, based on his understanding of divine Mind – that “matter seems to be, but is not,” (S14) but also he wasn’t fazed by the physical theories nor by the objects of material sense.  Rather, he stuck with the reality of spiritual ideas, knowing that all things are possible with God!

Section 4: Rest in the Consciousness of Truth as Substance
At every moment, whether we’re running, gardening, doing work, cooking, we can be “resting in action,” (S20) just as God does! This comes through acknowledging the control of divine Mind over matter and our unbreakable connection with God. Whereas it can be easy to make getting either too much or too little sleep a god, what if we were to “resolve things into thoughts” and focus on the infinite spiritual substance of peace and quiet as rest?

As we learn in this section, the ever-presence of God enables us to rest each and every moment. (B15) Acknowledging that we do not have a separate self from God provides infinite energy to complete all our tasks throughout the day. This is what enabled Jesus to invite all the laborers and those who were “heavy laden” to come to him for rest. (B12) It seemed that many individuals were finding life to be toil and carrying around a sense of burden – both of a belief in sin and all the ordinances that were placed on them by Judaism and Pharisaism.  His yoke was “easy” because he was working from the essence of Christianity which stems from the divine: being humble, meek, loving, tender hearted (unlike the proud Pharisees). His burden was light because there were fewer ordinances for Christians to obey.  (Dummelow’s Commentary)  However, he wasn’t asking the individuals living in his disciples’ cities to come to a personal Jesus!  Rather, he knew that God was speaking through him and that they could find both rest and peace through God, not material sleep that Mrs. Eddy says is just part of the material dream. (S18)

I’d like to share a realization I had once when I found myself not only exhausted after peaking a mountain out in Colorado, but also challenged with a really painful migraine. Because I had a lot that I needed to accomplish that evening, I caught myself saying, “If I could only be unconscious for 10 minutes, I would be fine.” The arresting angel message (God thought) that came so strongly to me was where Mrs. Eddy says in Science & Health, “Become conscious for a single moment that Life and intelligence are purely spiritual, — neither in nor of matter, — and the body will then utter no complaints.” (pg 14) Become CONSCIOUS – what a wake up call! From that point on, I was able to rest in Truth, (S19) knowing that I was acting through Mind. Furthermore, I couldn’t be punished for doing good; nor did I need to be “weary in well-doing.” (B11) All in all, I was very grateful to realize that infinite spiritual substance is not in sleep!

Section 5: Glorify God in Your Body!
Because “no exhaustion follows” the action of divine Mind (S20) and spiritual energies cannot wear out, why not “honor God with (our) bodies” as it says in the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible?!  Why not demonstrate for the world that Mind is governing the body?  How wonderful it is that there so are many different ways to do this, whether singing, dancing, playing sports or a musical instrument, going for a walk, theater performances, biking, gymnastics or even just smiling.

As is seen with the healing of the man at Lystra who had been crippled for his entire life, (B17) true substance is not in body. The infinite spiritual substance is not in matter, but in Mind! And, we are the reflection of Mind.

When we look to this true sense of substance, based in reality – “the substance of good, the substance of Spirit, not matter” (S22) – it is easy to see how we are the reflection of the divine. In the same way that Mrs. Eddy was able to heal all sorts of diseases and physical challenges, starting from the standpoint that God is all, (S23) we can do this too by maintaining an uplifted consciousness based in spiritual understanding.

Section 6: Discover the eternality of God’s works – the infinite spiritual substance!
So what is true substance?

Just like God’s thoughts, substance is eternal! (S26) It is enduring! (B19) It is good! (B20) It is incapable of discord! Incapable of decay! (S26) Spirit! The unerring! Immutable! Immortal! (S28)

There are several helpful reminders of the eternality of the infinite spiritual substance, both in the passages from Bible and Science & Health. Every good gift is from God, the creator of the sun, moon and stars, and is consistent and constant. (B20) As the beloved children of God, as expression of righteousness who can’t help but flourish, (B22) there is only good in store as we continue to trust in God. (B23) And, whatever God does – whatever God thinks, plans and does – is forever. (B21)

So, if we do see such unnatural sights like “the decaying flower, the blighted bud, the gnarled oak, the ferocious beast” with our material senses, do we take the time to pray about these in the same way that we pray about sin, disease and death? (S27) Are we really working to see the perfect and immortal, the beautiful and grand? Are we focusing on the substance of loveliness, freshness and the continuity of good? (S29) If so, the temporal – the counterfeit of the invisible universe – can’t help but yield to the ever-present spiritual reality. In this way, we’re seeing and celebrating the infinite spiritual substance, which helps us advance in Science each and every day.


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.]

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[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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