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Seek spiritual treasures to feed your hungry heart.
Metaphysical application ideas from the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

Substance”
March 14, 2021

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

Click on this AUDIO LINK to hear Kerry Jenkins read her metaphysical application ideas on this Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on “Substance.” Citation locations are written only below and online. To hear the Met you can also paste this address in your browser: : https://www.cedarscamps.org/metaphysical/audio/play/audio-met-on-substance-by-kerry-jenkins-cs-1/

INTRODUCTION:

Welcome to the joyous news that God’s abundant goodness, Life’s greatest treasures, are bestowed on us now, no matter what our state of thought. We may be struggling in complaint and doubt, captive at someone else’s whim. Or we may be living in selfish disobedience, or just with plain ingratitude. But no matter what our state of thought, our recognition, even in the smallest way, that spiritual reality and its richest treasures are available to us right where we are in our human condition, can afford us a glimpse of these riches and an opportunity to experience their joy.

The Golden Text declaration that God has indeed “done great things for us” is followed by the statement “And we are glad.”! So much of reaching a sense of steadier joy and peace has to do with learning to recognize God’s presence and goodness around us. This can be done in every circumstance, as we see illustrated in this lesson. It takes a willingness to humbly set aside our human views of what we are seemingly immersed in so that we can glimpse the treasures that surround us. It also seems that we must have some measure of “hungering/thirsting/longing” for a more spiritually substantial view of life.

Look at this passage in our Responsive Reading: “For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.” It doesn’t mean that we can’t be feeling lost, struggling to feel close to God. It just means we are reaching out, looking beyond the blatant material appearance of things to grasp a bit of God’s presence and power in our lives. It is always there, it is often seemingly obscured by our human sense of anxiety, ingratitude, frustration, impatience, unhappiness, and so on. Still, no matter where we are, Love’s promise stands today: “I will feed them in good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel.” These are the treasures that God is bestowing on each of us, today.

SECTION 1: HOW TO SEE OUR SPIRITUAL SELFHOOD, UNHINDERED BY MATTER.

We can actually develop a clearer and clearer understanding of our spiritually substantial identity. God’s works are made in wisdom according to citation B1 from Psalms (104:24). Another Psalm gives us a direction in which to head for joyful existence: “Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.” (cit. B2/Ps. 143:10). And a third Psalm tells us we need to “sing a new song… of praises” to God (Ps. 144:9)

And, the reward for such good behavior? Spiritual riches that define every parent’s dearest wish for their children! It’s spelled out like this in Psalm 144 (verses 12-15): “That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as cornerstones, polished after the similitude of a palace:”. “Full garners”, “no complaining”, and happiness, are included in this list of substantial rewards for our desire to be obedient to God, and to rejoice and praise Life for Her blessings. Perhaps the wording of these wishes concerning our sons and daughters sounds dated, but every parent wishes happiness, strength, health, wisdom, spiritual courage, and so on for their children, and these, I believe, are the contemporary versions of the Psalmist’s poetry.

Jesus really summarizes the substance of happiness most clearly in Matthew (cit. B4/Matt. 6:19-21) where he famously tells us not to focus our lives on the accumulation of material wealth that can be stolen, lost, rotted away. Instead, focus on—set your heart on—spiritual pursuits that bless mankind, enrich the world, and so enrich our affections in return. The more we look past the materially obvious suggestions, to recognize the glorious sweetness of Love’s creation, the more substantial our joy and satisfaction in life.

SECTION 2: EVEN IN OUR OWN “WILDERNESS”, LOVE IS PROVIDING.

It is easy to criticize the children of Israel for complaining as they walked endlessly through the desert. After all, we know the end of their story! Sure, it must have been hard to deal with the lack of food and water, and the desert heat! Even so, God parted the very sea as an escape route for them to walk through and produced drinking water from a rock! Surely, they would trust such a God. But today, each of us has felt that sense of abandonment, even having experienced the deep Love of God at some point in our lives.

Feeling a deep sense of faith and trust in God requires a pretty steady level of demonstration on a daily basis in order to nurture consistent gratitude and faith. In citation B7 from Exodus (Ex. 16:2-4, 12-15, 35), these people are complaining of their lack of food. Even in the midst of their ingratitude, God is providing for them manna and quail. It is encouraging to note that the law of Love’s provision is a universal law that provides impartially. It is the law of spiritual substance that abundance of good is part of Love’s creation. This theme is repeated throughout this lesson.

Some years ago, I had one of those days that seemed like a virtual desert march with no relief in sight. It might seem a silly example, but most of us have been there a time or two, whether we have children or not. My three young boys had been a nightmare of disobedience, arguing, running through stores, and generally misbehaving, pretty much all day. (I’m sure I responded in kind by voicing my anger and frustration). We had some event we were attending in the early evening, I do not recall what it was, and I took them to a food court for dinner. I gave them my card and had them choose and order their food while I waited at a table.

After we were settled in for dinner, a woman came over from the restaurant they had ordered from, full of wonder, to tell me that my boys were the most polite, well-spoken young men she had seen at her stand. She went on about how they should come back when they were sixteen to see her about a job, as it was hard to find young people with such good communication skills and manners. I probably had said something totally disparaging before sending them off to buy food, something about their rotten behavior. So, we all had a really good laugh at ourselves when she left! But the thing is, she was right. Just because we are sometimes struggling to practice what we know to be right, we are, even while wandering in our own little “desert”, deserving of good. This woman’s gift to us was a moment of recognition of our innate goodness. This is the spiritual substance of our being, in this case it was a glimpse of inherent consideration, kindness, and sweetness.

SECTION 3: OUR HIGHEST SPIRITUAL SELFHOOD, UNHINDERED BY FOOD.

This section revolves around the story during the Babylonian captivity of Daniel and his Jewish brethren refusing to eat the king’s food (at his food court, so to speak). (cit. B10/Dan. 1:1,2,3,5,8,10-13,15,17) Beyond the simple proof that Daniel and his friends flourished on food that was seemingly far less rich and sumptuous than the food the others under the care of Ashpenaz were receiving, we can consider what it is that substantially nourishes us today.

There are countless theories of how we should eat to be healthy. Of course, we should try to eat with balance, moderation, enjoyment, and, perhaps with some moral considerations regarding the lives of animals, or the ways that things are grown. And, we are likely aware that the obsession with which society in general tends to focus on food can really detract from an understanding of what the spiritual substance of food truly is. When we put God first when we reach for food, we can be assured that our meal or snack will bring satisfaction—even joy! This is what Daniel and his friends were doing. They were obeying their religious food rules out of a devotion to God.

Today we can simply work to be mindful of why we are eating. We can take a peaceful moment to acknowledge the provision of Love, the variety and color/texture of Life, the substance of sustenance that is altogether spiritual. All of these things can contribute to a more enjoyable, balanced, and spiritually substantial approach to food. In this way our identity as children of God does not hinge on what kind, how much, or how little food we consume, but on how we are worshiping God, even as we eat!

SECTION 4: HIGHEST SELFHOOD DISCOVERED THROUGH DISOBEDIENCE.

I would venture to say that most of our dearest and deepest lessons in life are learned through failure. It is our humble recognition of our need to grow spiritually that opens the door to access the most substantial spiritual treasures. This section includes the story of the Prodigal son (cit. B12, Luke 15:11-24). His lessons are ours today! We can see from this story that our relationship to our loving Father-Mother God is always intact.

We have only to turn to Love and we will find Love “running” to meet us! This son, who so rudely requested his inheritance, could have been worthy of stoning for his actions, according to Jewish law. He was certainly reduced to the lowliest of work in feeding the ritually “unclean” swine in the foreign country where he had travelled. It was his recognition of his Father’s mercy and constant provision—the substance of divine Love— that had him turning back home. He was prepared to work in his Father’s house as a servant, knowing that even servants were fed and housed, and given holier work than swine herding!

On returning the Prodigal son learned that his substantial, spiritual identity was intact; he was given his Father’s ring and robe and celebrated with a joyous dinner party. Had he not made the physical and mental journey, and wasted his inheritance, he may never have found that “…happiness would be more readily attained and would be more secure in our keeping, if sought in Soul.”, (cit. S19/60:29-31) and he might never have gained an understanding of his truest selfhood.

Our “failures”, if you will, do not need to be on a grand scale in order to glean these lessons. But each time we find ourselves coming up short in our gravitation Godward and our spiritual growth (cit. S20/265:3), it is an opportunity to humbly change our direction, pray to have our truest selfhood be revealed. In this way our mistakes become cornerstones of true spiritual growth in our understanding of what constitutes substantial happiness and peace.

SECTION 5: EVEN THE SIMPLEST RECOGNITION OF CHRIST BRINGS SUBSTANTIAL HEALING, GRATITUDE VASTLY EXPANDS THIS BLESSING.

The ten lepers that called out to Jesus in their isolation and pain, were answered with healing. (cit. B15/Luke 17:12-19) The one Samaritan who happened to be among the other nine, presumably Hebrew, lepers, was the one who turned back in gratitude to praise God. In keeping with a theme in this lesson we see all ten lepers healed, regardless of the fact that nine did not publicly acknowledge their healing. Again, the substance of good is available to all, we need only turn toward God, hunger after good, to see it made manifest around us. However, it is clearly implied that gratitude is essential in order for a truly substantial blessing to be gained in any healing.

Remember the Hebrew children in the wilderness in our first section? God cared for them wholly as they wandered during their forty years. But had they gratefully accepted the abundant good that God placed before them, they could have entered the Promised Land thirty eight years earlier than their children ultimately did. They succumbed to the evidence of the material senses, and were generally ungrateful for the abundant substance with which they were fed, both literal and metaphorical.

We can parse from this story that the one leper who returned to give thanks lived a more substantially joyous, satisfied life because he recognized God as the infinite source of good. Gratitude is an acknowledgement of God’s present goodness; it is also a recollection and rejoicing in this goodness. It is essential to, and inextricable from, experiencing joy.

SECTION 6: THE SUREST PATH TO SUBSTANTIAL TREASURE IS THROUGH OBEDIENCE TO THE TWO GREAT COMMANDMENTS.

Love God, and love our neighbor as ourselves. These are also the “Two chief commands” of Science. (cit. S30/467:3-8 and marginal heading.) I love that the true substance of our being is so poetically stated in cit. B17/Eph.3:14-19 “…I bow my knees unto the Father…that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.”

Think about the riches of knowing this breadth, length, depth, and height of the fullness of God, being filled with this love! There couldn’t be anything more satisfying than that! This kind of awareness is at hand. God “…has done great things for us, And we are glad.” (Golden Text/Ps.126:3). Turning thought to see this abundant treasure, and giving gratitude for evidence of this abundance, does more for our demonstration of healing than anything else can.


CLICK below for more APPLICATION IDEAS for this Lesson from CedarS-team:


Enjoy OPPORTUNITIES for SPIRITUAL ENRICHMENT with fresh insights WEEKLY!

CedarS Sunday Hymn Sings every Sunday! Don’t miss CedarS TWO special Easter Sunday Hymn Sings by Andrew Brewis of the UK! You can sing along with Andrew and hundreds of friends worldwide the 8 hymns he wrote for the 2017 Christian Science Hymnal, as well as several favorite Easter hymns! Click here for fuller, special details.

Invite family, church and other friends and even neighbors to join us by Zoom every week at 7pm Central Time for CedarS Sunday Hymn Sings. (A precious prelude precedes each sing at 6:45pm CT.) We encourage singing along in Zoom’s gallery view to share the joy of seeing dear ones in virtual family-church reunions that bless all generations.

To protect privacy and copyrights, these “brief, but spectacular” sessions are NOT recorded. So, calibrate your time-zone clocks, mark your calendars, and remind friends, so that no one misses any of these inspiring, weekly reminders of our precious, spiritual oneness with each other and with our ever-loving, Father-Mother God who owns and embraces us all!

Lovingly singing prayers and praise to God for 30 minutes each Sunday is such a warm, “Welcome Home” tradition to bless the start of each week with joyous, peaceful GRACE. (Our 2021 theme.) We have loved singing-in this grace with longtime as well as first-time friends—not only from ALL 50 of the United States, but also from 21 other countries! So far, our “Hymn Sing family” has clicked or dialed-in from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, England, Germany, Ghana, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, New Zealand, Pakistan, Paraguay, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Scotland, Spain, South Africa, Switzerland, as well as from each of the United States! In the universal language of divine Love, thestill, small voice”’ of scientific thought reaches over continent and ocean to the globe’s remotest bound.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, p. 559:8–10)


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