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SEE THE EVIDENCE OF THE SUBSTANCE OF SPIRIT
(in a recent, awesome healing!)
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“Substance”
for Sunday, September 11, 2022

by Kerry Jenkins, CS, of House Springs, MO
kerry.helen.jenkins@gmail.com • 314-406-0041


INTRODUCTION & GOLDEN TEXT

What do you think of when you think of the word “evidence”? This word conjures up images of something that cannot be refuted, can’t be doubted. If we have evidence for something, we have proof. Proof is something that we can “take to the bank”. We don’t worry about a court outcome so much if there is clear evidence or proof of a crime or of innocence. So, it is really interesting to think about evidence in the way that we see it in our Golden Text this week, and throughout our Bible Lesson on Substance.  “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) Substance too is a similar word. It clearly implies something that is lasting, significant, foundational. Yet from this passage in Hebrews we immediately are faced with “faith” being the thing that is substantial and that contains evidence, and this substance and evidence are both “unseen” or non-material in nature. The Amplified Bible translates this verse this way: “Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses].”

I really love to read books for laymen about quantum physics. This Bible Lesson cries out for quantum physical evidence for some of the arguments that are made about what constitutes substance. There have been many experiments over the last 113 years, and with these tests, scientists have been trying repeatedly to prove that matter exists “out there”, that the universe is an objective place that exists beyond our own subjective conscious awareness. At first blush this statement seems ludicrous. Of course, there is a universe that exists beyond our personal experience or senses. But for a variety of reasons this is simply not the case. None of this means that there is no point in delving into the beauties and fascinating aspects of our planet and universe.

These kinds of studies point to the glories of Soul, the intelligence of Mind, the energy and order of Life, and so on. So, just because it has been proven again and again that these experiences are subjective, albeit shared ones, doesn’t mean they are valueless! In fact, it should inspire us to redouble our efforts to value, love, and care for our planet because this will advance our spiritual understanding and perception of the infinite beauty and grace that are present each day for us to enjoy and experience.

I will briefly describe the most famous of these experiments of 113 plus years. It involves the shooting of particles through two slits and onto a screen. I will attempt to explain this simply. If we are just looking at light photons (experiments have been done with electrons as well and they behaved the same way as the light particles), we might expect that these particles would land on the screen approximately in a pattern that is behind the two slits when shot one at a time, like shooting little bullets through a hole. But, when we don’t measure or “observe” these photons as they go through the slits, they end up making a wave pattern on the screen behind, not landing at all in the expected way. This can be explained as photons interfering with one another, in the way that a wave made by throwing a pebble in a pond followed by a second pebble’s waves, might set up a little ripple pattern. But if we are only sending one photon at a time through the slits. Wouldn’t they have to “choose” which slit to go through and just hit the screen with no interference? Strangely, this doesn’t happen. Even with only one photon at a time there is this wavy pattern, as if it has split in half (which it cannot do on its own), and is interfering with itself. Scientists describe this act as the photon behaving as a “probability”. But, if we “observe” how these photons go through these slits by using a polarity filter that forces these directional photons to choose between horizontal and vertical slits (based on their orientation), we get that expected “bullet” pattern behind the slits, no waves.

The polarity lens operates as our way to “observe” the photons as they go through these slits. Feel free to look this up for a better explanation involving illustrations. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9tKncAdlHQ  is one link to a 9-minute video that is clear and gets cheeky and fun at the end. There are so many more aspects that I cannot address in this space, but suffice it to say that the particles behave in wavy, undecided probabilities until we observe or measure them. They become defined when we, (mortal mind) observe(s) them. So, what this is saying is that the universe and the matter in it, function based on our conscious observation of this matter; it does not take real shape without our conscious awareness of it. Hence, there is no “objective” universe. Here is where this begins to fit into our Bible Lesson for this week.


RESPONSIVE READING

Our Responsive Reading (Heb. 11:3, 8-11,24-26, 32, 33; 1John 5:4) might be read this way at the beginning: “Through faith (through the substance or assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of the unseen) we understand that the worlds were framed by God, so that the things which are seen (which seem solid to our material senses) were not made of things which do appear” (which become clear and solid evidence to spiritual sense). It then goes on to mention Abraham, who is featured in our Bible Lesson, and Moses, as well as some others who represent Biblical characters of great faith. All were people who ultimately forsook the pursuit of material success, comfort, or status, for the pursuit of spiritual understanding and obedience to divine direction. All who are mentioned saw something beyond what was apparent to the senses and radically followed the guidance of this unseen force. We too can find this confidence and peace through discovering and following the unseen, but substantial, reliable, harmonious force for healing and for good that is God.

A cherished example of the modern-day, awesome power of an understanding faith in God’s healing ability was experienced by  my husband.  He shared it in a July 2022 Sentinel Watch podcast, “Crushed by a Tree on Thursday, Back to Work Next Wednesday.”   You can hear it at: https://sentinel.christianscience.com/sentinel-audio/sentinel-watch/crushed-by-a-tree-on-thursday-back-to-work-next-wednesday ]


SECTION 1: “BEING IS HOLINESS, HARMONY, IMMORTALITY…” NOT MATTER, PHYSIQUE, LACK, TECHNOLOGY, ETC.

We certainly tend to think of day-to-day “being” as involving matter in some way. But true conscious being is more akin to what we were reading about in last week’s Bible Lesson which confirmed that man’s being and heritage in truth, is entirely spiritual. The material appearance that we mostly entertain, is a counterfeit. As I said earlier, while this sounds dismissive of our daily experience, it really isn’t.

We must approach this understanding step by step, and there is great joy in doing this! The spiritual seers that were mentioned in the Responsive Reading this week all lived day to day, they even made some pretty big mistakes now and again! But their desire and life mission eventually became the search for and understanding of divine being. The really awesome thing about all of this is that we are all well suited to this pursuit.

While mortal thought will argue for itself (how else will it have “being” if it doesn’t argue for itself) we, being truly spiritual reflections of divine Being, naturally possess the understanding, discernment, perception, and inspired standpoint of our Father-Mother God. Job says it this way in citation B4 “The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.” (Job 33:4) This is our origin, so it is in our nature to see from that standpoint.

Mary Baker Eddy in the last quarter of the 19th century, saw that man was created from this standpoint. She made such statements as “Life is neither in nor of matter”, and “Matter is a human concept.” (both from citation S3/469:1). These are statements that reinforce our double-slit experiment which proves matter to be nothing more than what thought observes. This Lesson, however, takes it one step further and helps us see that with spiritual sense, we can experience, here and now, the true state of divine Being that is never limited, has continuity, form, health, and true spiritual substance.


SECTION 2: FAITH ENLARGES BORDERS.

This section contains the story of Abraham and Lot facing overcrowding for their cattle. In a sense this is an environmental challenge, right? I love God’s earlier statement to Abraham (then Abram “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:” (cit. B6/Gen. 12:1,2), What is this “land”? Is it a literal place? Or, does it have a contemporary application? If so, it behooves us to consider what this “land” represents.

Later in this section (Gen. 13:14) God tells Abraham “Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it…”. Does this perhaps imply the unlimited supply of home, of abundant supply, belonging, maybe even community, that comes from wholly trusting the divine to open our eyes to the true substance of spiritual reality?

How can we today open our eyes, our spiritual senses, to the promise that there is abundant good, grace, intelligence, skill and so on, that is ours, “to the north, south, east, and west”! It takes the kind of faith that this Lesson is revealing to see this abundance through the veil of limited matter— faith that is substance, not blind trust.

Maybe we are being called on today, just as Abraham was called, to “get out” of the land where all is defined by the accumulation or manipulation of matter. This is a land that is familiar, a land that is described in that early verse as “thy country” as belonging to our family, and our parents. We are being asked to leave what may even feel comfortable and comforting to us. Through this process of obedience to faithful spiritual sense, to spiritual discernment, we are led into a broader, more abundant, more joyful, more peaceful, and healthy “land”–a land defined not by matter, but by infinite form, eternal good and beauty.

Certainly, Abraham experiences no loss by confidently allowing Lot to choose the more well-watered ground for his cattle. Through Abraham’s faith he was allowed to experience the substance of true home and family, while Lot, who chose the obviously materially prosperous path became hemmed in by the materiality of that “land”, and it hindered his experience significantly. This reaffirms the truth that contradicts material sense, we can never be deprived of good when we are spiritually generous. Rather, we are granted a larger view of the good that is universally bestowed by the Divine.


SECTION 3: A GROWING UNDERSTANDING OF SPIRITUAL SUBSTANCE REVEALS TRUE SELFHOOD.

When Abraham was 99 years old God gave him a new name. Abram means “the Father/God is exalted”, Abraham, his new name, means “the Father of many nations”. This new identity matches the expanded sense of Abraham’s faith and obedience throughout his 99 years. And even here there is reason to doubt, humanly, since Abraham is told that he and his wife will now conceive a child at the ages of 99 and 90 respectively. Yet he is glimpsing still that God is talking about spiritual development, unlimited by trips around the sun.

Mary Baker Eddy tells us in citation S14, that “…thought is turned into new and healthy channels…”. These channels are leading us to spiritual substance, “…away from materiality to the Principle (source) of the universe, including harmonious man.” (cit. S14/276:19) I love to add the idea of Principle as source, one dictionary definition of that word. If the source of the universe is spiritual, then everything in it must be spiritual.

Our spiritual development, spoken of in citation S15 (66:11), comes not from the hopes we place in material success, or prosperity, but only after we let go of these, have we then made our thought fertile for the things of spiritual substance. We cannot hurry this process. Sort of like the parable of the Prodigal, which we read in last week’s Bible Lesson, we sometimes have to experience the severe limits of materiality first-hand in order to prepare our thought to begin to relinquish its hold on matter.

Consider that for more than a century, scientists, through that double-slit experiment, have been trying without success to prove that matter is something objective, something “out there”. This is because it is difficult to accept the idea that it is our own consciousness that influences the behavior of matter. Science (with a small “s”) needs to have matter exist objectively in order for it to be a “legitimate” subject of study.

I disagree, for reasons already stated—that things of science, nature, the universe, and so on, are worthy of study to help point us to things of Spirit. It reminds me of Mary Baker Eddy’s statement on page 195:19 of Science and Health: “Academics of the right sort are requisite. Observation, invention, and original thought are expansive and should promote growth of mortal mind out of itself, out of all that is mortal.” This growth “out of itself” naturally leads us, as it did Abraham, to a new sense of our spiritual nature.


SECTION 4: SPIRITUAL VIEWS MAKE THE “INVISIBLE” VISIBLE.

Isaac was born to the impossible. A 90-year-old woman cannot, by mortal laws, conceive a child. But Sarah does do this, and an argument can be made in the context of this week’s lesson that Isaac, being an infinite idea of Spirit, was simply “made visible” as Mary Baker Eddy explains “As mortals gain more correct views of God and man, multitudinous objects of creation, which before were invisible, will become visible.” (cit. S21/264:13-20, 24)

I love the suggestion that we have a “holy purpose” that God is always unfolding. “Spirit, God, gathers unformed thoughts into their proper channels, and unfolds these thoughts, even as He opens the petals of a holy purpose in order that the purpose may appear.” (cit. S20/506:18).

Mary Baker Eddy also points to that “evidence” again where she tells us that “Spiritual living and blessedness are the only evidences, by which we can recognize true existence and feel the unspeakable peace which comes from an all-absorbing spiritual love.” (citation S21/264:13-20, 24) As we are fully absorbed in spiritual living and blessedness, we are demonstrating, giving true evidence to, the substance of God’s ever powerful presence here and now. This makes what might seem invisible to material sense, visible, and felt in that “unspeakable peace”.

Spiritually speaking, we are being spiritually conscious of reality, giving definition and form, through our actions, to God’s presence. This is not entirely unlike the form that is given to those particles as they are observed going through the polarizing lens in our doubleslit experiment. Our own conscious observation and acknowledgement of God’s activity around us, makes that activity much clearer and gives us even deeper gratitude and joy.


SECTION 5: SUBSTANTIAL WORSHIP REFLECTS AND DEMONSTRATES DIVINE LOVE.

No Bible Lesson would be complete without a jab by Jesus at Pharisaical thought. This thought represents the human thought that focuses on the letter rather than the spirit of Love. In this section this takes the form of Jesus’ healing the woman who was bent over for 18 years. This healing was challenged by the Pharisees for contradicting Judaic law that bans work on the Sabbath. Jesus defends his action and compares it to the way even the Pharisees express enough compassion on Sabbaths to water their livestock, why not do so for a “daughter of Abraham”? Jesus proved in this healing and so many others that the substance of man’s being is not contained in bones, blood, brains, etc. He did not “fix” her deteriorated spine, but saw that her substance was spiritual and without material limitation of disease, heredity, or accident. He also proved that the substance of true devotion to God must come through demonstration. (cit. S22/241:13-14, 19). Once again she reveals her incredibly inspired understanding of the universe long before any double slit experiments were done by saying: “Consciousness constructs a better body when faith in matter has been conquered. Correct material belief by spiritual understanding, and Spirit will form you anew.” (cit. S25/425:23-26). Notice that consciousness constructs this body! Isn’t this reflected in our observed particle shooting experiment?


SECTION 6: SEE SPIRITUAL SUBSTANCE HERE AND NOW.

The faith that we saw Abraham demonstrate is one that we too have within. It is not one that is riddled with human doubt and fear, but one based in a daily practice and demonstration of God’s power and presence. It is alive and visible today and eternally. Jesus points this out when he tells the Pharisees “Before Abraham was, I am.” (cit. B18/John 8:58 Verily). This great statement denies the substance of time.

If we want to see the substance, the evidence of spiritual reality, we have only to “…subordinate the false testimony of the corporeal senses to the facts of Science, [and] we shall see this true likeness and reflection everywhere.” We don’t even have to “destroy” the false testimony, but only “subordinate” it, or give it less credit than the facts of Science. Doing this brings to light the substance of good in every place that we look. Bringing the light of our consciousness to all that we do will give our lives defined spiritual substance. We will be able to discern the real and eternal. This gives our present being greater peace, joy, and true purpose.


 

GEMs of BIBLE-BASED application ideas from COBBEY CRISLER & others are POSTED and were EMAILED Monday. Check the  current GEMs at CedarS INSPIRATION website, or later in your email, if you have  SUBSCRIBED on this webpage to receive this offering.


Ken Cooper’s “POETIC POSTLUDE” contributions related to this Bible Lesson will ARRIVE LATER IN THE WEEK. When they do arrive, the poems will be POSTED on CedarS INSPIRATION website & be EMAILED TO THOSE WHO SUBSCRIBE FOR THEM HERE.


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