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Embody and radiate the beautiful SUBSTANCE of spiritual thought!
Metaphysical notes on the Bible lesson on:

for March 6- March 12, 2023

by Kerry Jenkins, CS, of House Springs, MO • 314-406-0041

There are sixteen mentions of the words “beauty”, “beautiful”, “lovely”, and “loveliness” in this week’s Bible lesson. There are also sixteen appearances of the word “thought” in a variety of contexts. Something about these words together speak to the substance of God, God’s creation, and man’s understanding of this substance. Outside of the metaphysical ponderings of Christian Science, substance might commonly be defined in exactly the opposite way from the way it is used in our Bible lesson this week. It might be normally seen as solid physical presence, or material evidence, something one can see, feel, or touch.

Beauty, when thought of as existing in matter, is often fleeting. It might be affected adversely by age, by a storm, by seasons, or by disease. Thoughts are invisible, often fleeting, changeable. These two words would not seem the poster children for considering the subject of substance, unless we are thinking about it in the context of Christian metaphysics, where they appear as the defining elements of spiritual creation which is lasting, unchanging, and good.

Our Golden Text from Ecclesiastes (7:13, 3:11) is “Consider the work of God:”  “He hath made every thing beautiful in his time:” This idea of “considering” or seeing the work of God around us is key to a joyful, satisfying life. It is only as we train ourselves to use our spiritual senses to discern the substance of true spiritual goodness around us, that we find any lasting happiness and peace.

If we are walking around “considering” material appearances, we are likely to see a lot of duality—good and bad. But spiritual substance is always and only good. God’s creation is not one of duality, but oneness. It takes spiritual sense to see it, but it can be perceived, here and now, in a practical, living way.

Our Responsive Reading includes the story of Moses, who pauses to notice or consider, a bush that is burning with fire, but not being consumed by it. Moses says: “I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.” I really love this image of turning aside when we see God’s beauty (or unusual nature) – of stopping for a beat, metaphorically removing our shoes, and noticing the holiness of this moment.

I mentioned in one of these “mets” that this was a helpful image one day as I was working to focus on my prayerful healing work and was struggling to regain composure after a disturbing text that I received. I had to stop, and just work to listen for that peace, that presence that I knew was there, but that I was just not noticing. After several minutes of battling frustration, even as I knew that wasn’t helpful, I found myself surrounded by very persistent peeping, chirping, and bird whistling noises. At first, I was thinking “wow, this is annoyingly loud and I can’t hear anything else.” Then I opened my eyes and there in the tree next to my window was a whole family of baby titmice, newly fledged, trying out their semi-independence for the first time and still wanting mom and dad to feed them as they perched on branches of the tree. In the top of the tree was a family of warblers making similar sounds. I felt absolutely clearly that this was how God was being present for me in that moment. They were unignorable!

All the discomfort from the text vanished in the beauty of these lovely families of birds singing. Their cheerful and insistent cries for attention spoke to me of Love’s care, presence, and supply. I went back to my work with fresh energy and inspiration.

Spiritual thought, or spiritual sense perceives the substance of God’s beauty right where we are, in any setting. As we are looking past the material picture with faith and depth of love for God, we can experience the reality of this spiritual substance in our daily lives.


The substance of Spirit does not decay. This means that matter is ‘counted out’ when we are talking about spiritual substance. For while there are types of matter that are more lasting than others, nothing material is permanent or unchanging. I am particularly inspired by the idea in this section that creation is ongoing, manifold, renewing, beautiful, complete, and good. What a beautiful description of infinite unfolding creativity. “Nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it:” (citation B3/Eccl. 3:14)

There will always be appearances of “discord and decay”, but to remember that while these are uncomfortable at times, or just plain ugly, they “…are not products of the infinite, perfect, and eternal All.” (citation S2/280:2-6) And because we are speaking here of Spirit as “All”, we can deduce that these appearances do not have the substance of reality, but truly are like the mirage of water that we see in the road on a hot summer’s day.


Just because spiritual sense lies outside of our material sense of things, doesn’t mean it isn’t revealing a clearly defined, beautiful kingdom, governed by Spirit. Our spiritually still, quiet consciousness of God yields a wisdom that, as we see in this section, is obvious, visible, vocal, and presents itself at every “entrance”/”gate”/or “door”. This means to me that we can find divine wisdom, the substance of intuition, intelligence, discernment, whenever we pause before “entering” our next thought or activity. (citation B8/Prov. 8:1-3,6,20-23,25,30) God’s thoughts of wisdom surround us.

Mary Baker Eddy tells us in the first three citations of this section that:
“God’s thoughts are perfect and eternal, are substance and Life.”  (cit. S3/286:21-22)
“The only intelligence or substance of a thought, a seed, or a flower is God, the creator of it.” (cit. S4/508:5-6) and
“God creates neither erring thought, mortal life, mutable truth, nor variable love.” (cit. S5/503:24)
This sequence of short sentences speaking about different aspects of “thought”, both divine and human, can help us to categorize the thoughts that play through our heads as substantial or not, depending on how they appear to us. God’s very thoughts are substantial and they are Life itself.

So, when faced with any temptations or thoughts that are not worthy of our best selves – thoughts of worry, despair, self-condemnation, anger, lust, greed, dishonesty, envy, or any other thought that is less that intelligent, beautiful, loving, pure – we should consider that any thoughts which disobey God’s Commandments do not come from God.  Therefore, any such tempting thoughts are lies that have no origin in us, or in another, since we know that God’s creation, or kingdom within us, is All, and that it is all good!


Having faith is not the same as trying to persuade ourselves to trust in something that we hope is real and powerful. Nearly always, when the subject of substance comes up, we have this passage from Hebrews: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen….” (Heb.1:1,3,8-10/cit. B10)

This foundational passage about substance is followed by verses about the faith of Abraham, who left his homeland based on spiritual intuition. He is described as following God’s direction throughout his life journey. We can sometimes take such a story for granted. But what must this have really looked like to Abraham? He left his homeland to wander through lands he and his ancestors did not know. He did this based on a spiritual promise that he “considered”, just as Moses stopped to see and consider the burning bush and the huge mission God was assigning him.

Mary Baker Eddy tells us that “Trustworthiness is the foundation of enlightened faith.” (citation S10/15:25-31)  This sounds like something we might all want. What does it take to be “trustworthy”? How do we foster this quality? Trustworthiness is clearly a quality of substance, it is reliable, obedient, intelligent, attentive, discerning, and so on. These are qualities we can uncover and practice in ourselves so that our faith is not something blind and fearful, but solid and confident— based on demonstration.

At every turn in our lives, as in Abraham’s life, we can find provision, direction, home, safety, sacrifice, family. We need only “turn aside” from our daily tasks and be obedient to the messages that are coming our way.

A favorite message from Mary Baker Eddy is included in this section. She compares faith to a “chrysalis state of human thought, in which spiritual evidence, contradicting the testimony of material sense, begins to appear, and Truth, the everpresent, is becoming understood.” (cit. S11/297:20) I particularly love this passage because of my experience collecting caterpillars with my boys and watching them move from caterpillars into chrysalis and then to butterflies or moths.

A particular point of interest in this butterfly emergence process is the fact that during the ten days to two weeks that it normally takes for the butterfly to emerge fully grown, from her small chamber, there is not a single hint as to what is occurring within that chamber until a mere hour or two before she emerges, when the chrysalis becomes transparent and the wings and body become visible within. What a beautiful reminder to us that we should not allow material sense to be the measure of our progress, development, or well-being.

Over the years that I observed butterfly transformations, I never was able to catch the moment that the butterfly emerged. One time, not wanting to miss it, I parked my chair in front of the glass tank the day I knew she would hatch. I did all my studying right there in front of that glass. And yet another perfect metaphor arose from experiencing this “hatching”. It took all of about three seconds for the butterfly to emerge. The chrysalis just split open and she stepped out, no fuss, no muss. Her wings needed time to stretch and dry, but she was otherwise fully out.

The quickness and completeness of this transformation beautifully illustrates the instantaneous nature of healing when it appears to us. No matter how stubborn or prolonged, when healing appears, it is almost without drama, just naturally coming forth. Often, we don’t even notice it taking place until later!


This section is telling us about how to discern the spiritual root of what is true, or substantial. Jesus overturned the money changers’ tables and threw them out of the temple because he couldn’t bear the juxtaposition of material greed (in this case, material substance/money) alongside the truest understanding of what Church is meant for, healing and worship.

Within our own consciousness, body, or temple, “…tyranny and pride need to be whipped out…and humility and divine Science to be welcomed in.” (cit. S14/142:18-20) As we do this, we start to see the infinite possibilities of Spirit that Jesus demonstrated for us throughout his life mission.

In a mid-section segue between Jesus’ radical actions and radical thought, Mary Baker Eddy states, “Right is radical.” (citation S15/452:18-22). Here radical has the meaning of “root”, the Latin origin of the word, rather than “extreme”, as it tends to mean today. So, she is pointing out that we need to get to the root of what is substance, what is truth, in order for that truth and that substantial life to appear to us as reality. The reference at the end of the Bible passage in this section, citation B15/Luke 8:1-3, points out that there were many faithful women who followed Jesus, who made the choice to “invest” in a life of spiritual substance, as did Abraham, and other Bible heroes and heroines. Here, woman perhaps represents the humility that “welcomes in divine Science”.


Is it possible for the kingdom of heaven to be felt in all its substance? Yes, because, as Jesus tells us “behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” (cit. B19/Luke 17:21) This kingdom within is a “divine state of Mind (God)” (cit. S19/291:13). As we know by now, this does not mean that it is ephemeral, mystical, fleeting. It means that it is present, powerful, peace- and health-bestowing, and tangibly experienced here and now.

This idea is continued into the next section where we are given St. John’s vision of this heavenly state. We can experience this kingdom, even as John did, when we are obedient to St. Paul’s command to the Philippians, “…whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].” (cit. B16/Phil. 4:8, Amplified Bible translation) To me, this is the essence of becoming conscious of the kingdom of God within.
It is not concealed from any of us.


We are coming back to the beauty of substance in this continuation from Sections 5 and 6. Now we are to experience the substance of this beauty, not sometime down the road.

We can stop putting off our joy and peace for a time when we have removed certain material obstacles from our life/saved enough money/stopped a bad habit/succeeded in business. “Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ:” (cit. B21/Rev 12:10)

“… the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ” (cit. B21/Rev 12:10) might simply be in a quiet pause of gratitude for something sweet in our day. It might appear as a tree full of young fledglings. It might appear to us as a voice of direction. However it appears, we can stop and “consider the work of God;” because it is sure to be a work of substantial loveliness.


Theme: This hymn sing’s theme will be “spontaneity.” Reflecting this theme, the hymn selections will be taken live from the audience.

Format: The prelude will begin at 6:45pm Central, followed by the hymn sing at 7:00pm Central. The Hanlin family will lead us in singing ten hymns, including the Doxology. Afterwards, those who want to stay on the call can hear some brief updates on happenings at camp.

Musicians: Leslie, Glenn and Stephen Hanlin

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Please share this invitation with anybody who could be blessed by this healing activity. All are welcome!

With love,
The CedarS Team

GEMs of BIBLE-BASED application ideas (from COBBEY CRISLER & others) will now be POSTED throughout the week and EMAILED later in the week as a summary string.  You can always check  for current GEMs at CedarS INSPIRATION website, whether or not you’ve  SUBSCRIBED here for this free offering.

Also later in the week, look for Ken Cooper’s
contributions related to this Bible Lesson.

DEAR past & POTENTIAL, difference-making DONORS, CLICK HERE and Scroll down to hear  “What our Donors Say” about the reasons they support CedarS.  You’ll also be able to see a video of campers and staff sharing LOTS OF HEARTFELT GRATITUDE for all that you difference-making DONORS DO TO HELP US FEED & SHOE OUR HORSES, MAINTAIN & UPGRADE OUR FACILITIES, GIVE CAMPERSHIPS,

Thanks to you and to God, CedarS had another best-summer and fall yet!  Your needed, ongoing support — whether it’s one-time, monthly, or forever (though an Endowment Matched gift), will help us continue to “love into view”  SUSTAINABLE, DIFFERENCE-MAKING BLESSINGS for hundreds of families and thousands of individuals, for generations to come, all across the U.S. and the world.

After hosting this Fall another wonderful Bible Study Workshop, a touching and joyous Celebration of Life Service, and a great Methodist Women’s Retreat, CEDARS IS SEEKING TO UPGRADE OUR NORTH STAR DINING ROOM TO BE A MISSION-WORTHY CONFERENCE CENTER TO SERVE other SUCH EVENTS. For more about supporting this upgrade, or about making a planned gift, a required IRA distribution or an endowment gift (that will all be MATCHED), feel free to call or text me (Warren Huff) anytime at 314-378-2574


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