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Now is your time to choose wisely – who will you serve, matter or Spirit?
Application ideas for the lesson on “Matter” for the week of March 19-25, 2007

By Janet Hegarty, CS of St. Louis, Missouri

Editor’s Note: The following background information and application ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson for this week are offered primarily to help CedarS campers and staff (as well as friends) see and demonstrate the great value of daily study of the Christian Science Bible lessons year-round, not just at camp! EACH WEDNESDAY: CHECK  FOR A FREE FRENCH TRANSLATION of this weekly “met” offered by Pascal Bujard of Switzerland.

Now is your time to choose wisely – who will you serve, matter or Spirit?


Golden Text

“This only have I found: God made mankind upright, but men have gone in search of many schemes.”  (The New International Version)   Do we go “in search of many schemes,” matter based ideas, human inventions, health laws and popular fads, to understand our existence?   Merriam-Websters Online Dictionary defines inventions as “a product of the imagination; especially: a false conception” also “a device” or  “contrivance.”  God made man upright – but in man’s foolish search for material knowledge he has missed the mark.   To learn the truth about man, who is spiritual, turn whole-heartedly to Spirit and stay the course. 


Responsive Reading

If you could have one or the other, which would you prefer – a fountain of living waters or a leaky cistern?  Take an old plastic cup that has a split in it, fill it with water and you’ll have a good idea of what a leaky cistern is like – useless.  Cisterns provided water to the people of Jerusalem.  These cisterns were containers made of stones or carved out of rocks to collect rain water.  If they had a leak in them they were useless. (The New Westminster Dictionary of the Bible)   The people had turned from the worship of the one God to the worship of many god’s.  Jeremiah warns the people that this pagan, matter based worship is like a leaky cistern, unreliable, bound to be empty when you need it most.   He encourages the people to return to the one God – who is a fountain of living waters – always ready and filled to overflowing when you need it most. 



Section 1: Five good reasons to choose spiritual reality over the material illusion. 
1. “God is a Spirit.” (B1)  All power belongs to God who is Spirit.  Material theories are powerless human inventions.
2. God, Spirit promises to pour “the spirit of grace” upon his people and cast out all idols. (B4)  God, good destroys false material beliefs to bring renewal and healing.  
3. “Spirit never created matter.” (S2)  Matter is the illusion of a belief in a power opposed to God.  God is the only power, so matter must be powerless.  
4. “Spirit is the real and eternal.” (S3)  Spirit is forever, unchanging goodness, absolutely dependable.  Materiality is fleeting. 
5. “Spirit is positive.” (B4)  Spirit is the real, active, presence of good.  Matter is contrary to Spirit, it is the unreal, inactive, absence of good.  Search the rest of the lesson to find more good reasons to choose Spirit.


Section 2: No if’s, and’s or but’s.
“But there went up a mist from the earth…..” (B7)  The word but as it is used here should make us suspicious.  How could the beautiful, perfect, abundant, powerful, creation described in Genesis 1 have any exceptions to it?   God was satisfied with his creation. (S7)  Who is this “Lord God” that finds the need to re-create, in an inferior form, what God has already created perfectly? (B7)  This second matter-based creation presents a stark contrast to the first and only real spiritual creation. 

In the matter-based creation we suddenly find man formed of dust, in contrast to man and woman formed in the image of Spirit.  This “dust-man” needs to have life put into it, in contrast to the man and woman of Genesis 1 who are complete from the moment of creation because they reflect God, Life.  Next, fear enters the picture with the introduction of evil and the threat of death, whereas in Genesis 1 everything “was very good” (B6);  then the beasts and birds are created again, this time “out of the ground,” and woman is created as an afterthought from man’s rib. 

In the first creation God, Mind, needed no matter, dust, ground, or rib as creative material.  The divine thought is the only substance of true creation.  As the description of material creation continues, the picture grows darker and more fearsome – sin, lies, and eventually murder, are the result of this false concept of creation.  Thank goodness — “…it is the false history in contradistinction to the true.” (S10)   The glorious spiritual creation of God remains perfect throughout all eternity.   Material theories always lead into darkness.   Spiritual truth always guides us into the light.   


Section 3: It’s time to make a choice.
This passage from the book of Joshua is an account of a solemn covenant ceremony. (B9)  (The Interpreter’s One Volume Commentary on the Bible)  Joshua reminds the Israelites of their origin as an idolatrous people, God’s kind care and guidance given to Abraham when he was faithful to the one God and the prosperity that came as a result of this pure relationship, and then the history of how various forms of idolatry had come back into their practice of religion.

Joshua is convinced that the idolatry has to go.  He makes a heartfelt demand on the people to “choose you this day whom ye will serve.” (B9)   He declares the choice he has made to love, obey, and serve the one God only.  The people are persuaded by his speech and declare their fidelity to the one God.  The importance of this covenant becomes evident when future generations who unfortunately hold on to some of the idolatrous practices of the Canaanite tribes find that this is “a constant snare to Israel in succeeding generations.” (Dummelow)


The key to the gates of Paradise.  The idols of the Israelites appear today in the form of modern material-based theories.  The “apples” of this age are pointed out as the belief in more than one Mind (S11); as “physiology”(S12);  as “the erroneous theory of life and intelligence in matter”(S13); and as “Matter, which takes divine power into its own hands and claims to be a creator.”(S14)  Mrs. Eddy points out that these “apples” have “closed the eyes of mortals to man’s God-given dominion over the earth.”(S12)  Divine Science is the Joshua of today that calls on all mankind to part with these material idols.  Science guides us to discern the truth of spiritual reality, to discover and understand the Christ message, and so find the key that will open the gates of Paradise and reveal man and woman made in God’s image.           


Section 4: No middle ground. 
“Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (B12)  Mammon is generally defined as riches or worldliness.  Dummelow explains, “The worldly man is oppressed with care.  He is always in fear that his deep-laid plans  …will miscarry, that some object that he loves will be torn from his grasp, that his wealth will vanish, or that his health will fail so that he can enjoy life no longer.”  In the passages quoted, Jesus makes it clear that there is no middle ground in fulfilling this command.  A man may try to do a little of each but in this case he is deceiving himself because he is really serving mammon entirely.          


Is the body governed by God, Spirit or by matter? (S16) It has to be one or the other.  The citations from Science and Health reinforce Jesus’ point of view as it applies to our understanding of the body – there is no middle ground.  Either we are spiritual ideas of God or we are material.  Any supposed in-between position is really a self-deceived reliance on materiality.  Hymn 382 gives us this useful guidance, “Vain dreams shall disappear as Truth dawns on the sight;  The phantoms of thy fear shall flee before the light.”  The light of Truth, man made in the image and likeness of God, is the present and eternal reality of your being.  This image is the only concept of being you need to accept.    (Editor: Remember to daily scrub your whole self with D.I.A.L — Divine Image And Likeness!)  Cling to the true likeness and you will never be fooled into serving mammon.


Section 5: Spirit the true origin of man. 
The man, lame from birth that Peter and John healed, had accepted the illusion of materiality as the explanation of his existence.  Imagine you are the man carried to a busy public place each day to beg for coins. You’ve been doing this for years.  Then one day, two men stop where you are.  They don’t have any coins but they do say they have something else.  It is of far greater value than any coin could ever be.  What they have is an entirely different explanation of being which is infinitely powerful.  This is the true spiritual explanation that guarantees health and wholeness to all – with no exceptions.  With the absolute conviction that comes from his understanding of the divine Principle of being that Jesus demonstrated, one of the men tells you to “rise up and walk.”   The man is convinced that you can and will rise up and walk because the basis of his reasoning is wholly spiritual.  He knows you are not the servant of matter.  You are the servant of the living God.  To your amazement you obey the man and find yourself immediately “walking and leaping and praising God.” (S15) 


Man is not the product of a material growth process, he is the unfolding of Mind’s already complete and perfect idea.  Jesus had already proved man’s spiritual perfect state.  He had healed the withered hand, restored the dead to life, given sight to the blind.  He proved man’s spiritual heritage.  This was the “Christlike understanding” that  Peter and John drew upon when they healed the lame man at the Beautiful gate.  This is the same understanding that Mrs. Eddy discovered when she had her healing in 1866.  The false concept of man as the development of matter is extinct.  Rejoice and be glad — “man is the offspring of Spirit.” (S24)


Section 6:  The power of praise. 
The lame man rose up healed – leaping and praising God!  He understood that the power that had healed him was the power of God.  Praising God he accepted the healing as the power and presence of God active in the lives of men.  He wasn’t tentative about the healing.  He didn’t question if he had been healed.  He accepted the healing immediately and, with conviction, he rejoiced in the power that had healed him.  We can keep ourselves alert to spiritual truth and protected from the false concepts of materiality by living a life of praise.   Praising God throughout our day we stay alert to Spirit’s allness and acknowledge the active power of God in our lives.   We can use the Bible citations in this section as our song of praise for the week — “Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.” (B17)


“Dominion-man” has superseded “dust-man.”  In Genesis 1 God gave man dominion.  Made in His image and likeness we reflect God’s dominion.  This dominion includes authority over all false material concepts, the wisdom to understand spiritual creation, and the vision and courage to choose to serve God, Spirit, only.  Here, Mrs. Eddy, refers back to Jesus statement, “Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on.” (B12, S26)   She reminds us of earlier times when the demands of daily living didn’t allow for time to be wasted fussing over the body.  Guiding us to turn our thoughts away from the body she also points out the benefits of doing this, “The primitive custom of taking no thought about food left the stomach and bowels free to act in obedience to nature, and gave the gospel a chance to be seen in its glorious effects upon the body.” (S26)  God has given us dominion — “Life…independent of matter… not subject to decay and dust.” (S28)  You’ve chosen wisely!   Praise God and enjoy your God-given dominion every day!        

Camp Director’s Note: The above sharing is the latest in a series of CedarS Bible Lesson “mets” (metaphysical application ideas) contributed weekly by a rotation of CedarS Resident Practitioners and occasionally by other metaphysicians. This document is intended to initiate further study as well as to encourage the application of ideas found in the Weekly Bible Lessons as printed in the Christian Science Quarterly and as available at Christian Science Reading Rooms. * Originally sent JUST 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 and inspiration they had felt at camp, CedarS lesson “mets” are in no way meant to be definitive or conclusive or in any way a substitute for daily study of the lesson in the books. The thoughts presented are the inspiration of the moment and are offered to give a bit more dimension, background and daily applicability to some of the ideas and passages being studied. The citations referenced (i.e. B1 and S28) from this week’s Bible Lesson in the “met” (metaphysical application ideas) are taken from the King James Version of the Bible (B1-24) and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. (S1-30) 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 these ideas helpful in your daily spiritual journey, in your deeper digging in the books and in closer bonding with your Comforter and Pastor.)  Spirituality is your innate estate that connects you moment by moment with God.  (See S&H 258:30) Christ is the gift of light that Jesus gave.  This Christ light of spiritual understanding comes with and reveals infinite blessings. So, have fun unwrapping and cherishing your very special, spiritual gift(s)!  Then, wherever you are, share them with all as big blessings that make the Infinite difference!

Warren Huff, Camp Director     (636) 394-6162
CedarS Camps Office (where you can now mail requests or support till the office moves back to camp in May)
1314 Parkview Valley
Manchester, MO 63011

The weekly Metaphysical Newsletter is provided at no charge to the 1,200 campers and staff blessed each summer at CedarS, as well as to CedarS alumni, families and friends who have requested it.  However, current and planned giving contributions are a big help and are greatly appreciated in defraying the costs of running this service and of providing needed camperships, programs and operations support. Click  for more about how you can provide support online or to get information or discuss privately how to make a special gift to help perpetuate CedarS work.
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Another new, visually-oriented and very helpful resource for study of the weekly Bible Lesson is being produced by The Christian Science Publishing Society and can be found at:  What a great auxiliary to lesson study– maybe even reading beyond citation markers using the handsome new student books now sold in Reading Rooms! MyBibleLesson contains word definitions, Bible background, timelines and translations, plus many healing ideas to use.  Why not check out this effort to help bring to life each beloved Bible lesson in order to bless the youthful thinker and Sunday School student (and teacher) in us all! or copy and paste this link into your browser.


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