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THE SUPREMACY OF SPIRIT DESTROYS THE MORTAL BELIEF CALLED MATTER
Metaphysical Application Ideas for The Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

Matter”
for March 14-20, 2022

by Kathy Fitzer, Lake St. Louis, MO
kathyfitzer@gmail.com


INTRODUCTION:

The realm of matter seems so impressive — so imposing — so all-consuming. It claims to bring pleasure and to bring pain, to cause both fear and relief.  But, whether matter takes on the facade of good or of evil, it truly is never more than a perception.  Divine Science reveals what we call substantive matter to be simply a “material mentality” — “a fleeting concept of the human mind” (See Section 1, citations S3 & S4; 173: 11-12; 263: 32-3).  And, so, as perception changes, matter loses its power to influence.

It can seem like a big jump to accept that matter is not some concrete thing, because the testimony of the material senses seems so convincing.  And, I urge people not to get hung up on this idea if (right now) it seems too difficult to accept.  But, I also urge each one to keep thought open and accept what does make sense. This Lesson approaches the subject from a  very logical perspective. It presents the argument that God, Spirit, is supreme — is All — and is the creator of all things.  Accepting this premise, it follows that matter has no creator and so it must be simply the suppositional absence of Spirit — as darkness is the absence of light.  I say suppositional because if God, Spirit, fills all space (and Jesus’ example and the Science of Christ has demonstrated that it does), then there is never a moment that Spirit is not supreme and ever-present. I encourage you to look for references to that fact throughout the Lesson, and we’ll be discussing some of them.

Although this all seems very logical to me, and I believe it with my whole heart, I certainly haven’t completely demonstrated it — far from it! But, I am confident that as I proceed step-by-step, while holding to the absolute truth that Spirit is supreme and matter is only a misperception that can (and must) be corrected and fall at the feet of Spirit, I will see more and more of the reality of God’s presence. As this happens, the lies of matter (whether they be good or bad) will fade into the background.  Then healing occurs.  Our world is in desperate need of healing — as we face the impositions of hate, war, disease, deception, domination, imbalance, and destruction of all kinds.  Our prayers make a difference!  Our growing understanding of the supremacy of Spirit enables that supremacy to be demonstrated in our personal lives and in the world as a whole.  We must each do the best we can and expect to see things more and more clearly as we go forward.


The GOLDEN TEXT compares the Word of God to a consuming flame and a destructive hammer.  In this case, the Hebrew translated as “word” refers to the message, decree, and power of God — of Spirit — that destroys anything unlike itself.  The Amplified Bible translates the verse this way: “Is not My word like fire [that consumes all that cannot endure the test]?” says the Lord, “and like a hammer that breaks the [most stubborn] rock [in pieces]?  In this context, Jeremiah is specifically condemning false prophets and human pride.  But, it seems to me to apply just as effectively to anything that would oppose the supremacy of Spirit — that would try to claim that there is power in anything other than absolute good.


In the RESPONSIVE READING, God is speaking through His prophet Jeremiah, warning the people not to look for answers in astrology or fall for the glitz of idols.  Several translations explain the uselessness of idols by comparing them to scarecrows: “The statues of their gods can’t speak. They are like scarecrows in a field of cucumbers. Their statues have to be carried around because they can’t walk. So do not be afraid of their gods. They can’t do you any harm. And they can’t do you any good either.” (NRSV, Jeremiah 10: 5). The Responsive Reading goes on to talk about how these idols will “perish”. But “the Lord is the true God … the living God … an everlasting king” that fills heaven and earth.

We should ask ourselves what modern scarecrows we are being tempted by today.  What do we think can harm or help us, but actually have no voice or strength or power?  Our idols are often more subtle than ones carved and molded out of wood and precious metals.  But they are no less seductive.  And, often it’s not the thing itself, but how we think about it.  For instance, food, drink, exercise, health, friends, family, and money can be very good things.  But, when we start thinking our happiness (or unhappiness) depends on these things, we’ve turned them into idols.  And, there are other things that are probably more subtle and personal that we need to be alert to, too — like status, for instance. The remedy?  Constantly acknowledge the greatness — the omnipotence and “onliness” — of the one God, Spirit, that is always there for us … providing for us, keeping us safe and well and at peace.

No matter how authentic and convincing advertisements or news reports, or advice from friends and family are, we need to go directly to God to determine what we really need and what is really going on!  If the message you receive is good and enduring and not up and down (good and bad), then trust it!


SECTION 1: THE PERMANENCE AND RELIABILITY OF GOD’S WORD

A consistent message runs throughout the Bible — in both the Old and New Testaments: There is one God.  That God is Spirit. And God, Spirit, does not share His power or glory with anyone or anything else. The Word of God — God’s message to, and design for, His creation — is reliable and consistent.  God’s Word “lasts forever.” And smooths out the ups and downs of human experience. Contrast that to mortal opinions expressed by (or imposed upon) mortal personalities.  Those opinions and beliefs often emphasize differences, rather than resolve them.  Fortunately, mortal opinions do not have the power to last. They must fade like withered grass and faded flowers (citation B3, Isaiah 40:4, 5, 8).

So, when faced with a situation where conflict seems to reign— whether something as mild as a personal disagreement or minor discomfort, or something seemingly more serious such as war or debilitating disease — the answer lies in realizing the “onliness” and omnipotence of God’s Word.  Spirit reigns, leaving no room for a conflict-filled material creation, whether expressed in disputes between mortal wills or in any kind of discordant condition.

As Mary Baker Eddy rationally realized, “If Spirit is all and everywhere, what and where is matter?” (citation S1, 223:7-9). What and where indeed!  The answer?  Matter (anything limited or limiting) “exists only in a suppositional mortal consciousness.” (cit. S5, 278:12-16) So, it never needs to be cherished or feared.  To see through it and get to what is really going on, we have to stay focused on Truth — the facts of good as created by and known to God.  “As we approach Spirit and truth, we lose the consciousness of matter” (cit. S5, 278:12-16). That becomes totally logical as we think in terms of shifting views.

When we are looking in one direction, we lose sight of what we had previously seen looking in the other direction.  Similarly, shadows that appear to take shape in the dark disappear in the light.  Thus, keep thought focused on the fact that there is one God who gives life to all of creation and harmoniously governs all.  There is no conflict in Spirit — all things moving in perfect harmony.  When conflict appears to be present, refuse to fall for the report of ups and downs, and watch the permanence of God’s Word reshape and mold the situation until harmony appears.


SECTION 2: GOD (NOT MATTER OR A BRAIN) IS THE SOURCE OF WISDOM

I loved checking out the Hebrew origins for the words translated wisdom and understanding in the opening citation of this section. (Job 28:12, 23) Wisdom includes the ideas of skill and prudence, while understanding embraces the ideas of discernment and insight.  Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we understood that God is expressing every bit of skill, prudence, discernment and insight each one needs to be blessed individually, while never conflicting with the blessings of others?  God, Spirit, knows all and communicates what each one needs to know right when we need to know it.

Daniel demonstrated this concept so well!  King Nebuchadnezzar was known as the greatest king of the Chaldean dynasty of Babylonia. He conquered Syria and Palestine and established Babylon as an exceptional city. But, perhaps, he is best known for destroying the Temple of Jerusalem and initiating the Babylonian Captivity of the Jewish population.  But, he didn’t understand the source of wisdom to be God!  Consequently, when he had a disturbing dream that he wanted to have disclosed and interpreted, he called upon the Chaldeans. These were members of the dominant tribe in Babylon, and were known for their use of witchcraft and astrology.  It’s one thing to be asked to interpret a dream. But, Nebuchadnezzar apparently didn’t remember the content of the dream this time.  He just knew it was very disturbing, and wanted an explanation.  The Chaldeans responded with a sense of indignation — it was crazy for anyone to even ask such a thing.  Daniel confidently responded that the king would have his answer.  God (Mind) would reveal it.  And, of course, He did! (cit. B8, Daniel 2:1-5, 6, 10, 16, 19, 20, 23)

What’s the lesson for us?  Interpreting dreams is not something we’re called on to do very often.  But, we are called on to analyze situations, make decisions, and solve problems every day — at a personal level and on a grander scale.  Today, rather than relying on astrology and witchcraft, we are tempted to depend on “brain power” or “surveys”, “human opinions”, or other material measurements.  That is no more reliable!  The brain — matter — has no power to think or reason.  “Matter cannot perform the functions of Mind”, as the Christian Science textbook explains (cit. S7, 478:22-23). When faced with the uncertainty, indecision, or confusion of the unknown we can claim, as Daniel did, that MIND knows whatever needs knowing — whether it seems to be in regard to the present, the past, or the future.  And, as the expression of Mind, we can commune (share intimate thoughts) with Mind to hear right answers, take right steps, and even resolve issues that seem unknowable or to have happened in the past (cit. S11, 84: 11-18).  All that truly exists is the immediacy of infinite Mind expressed.


SECTION 3:  Material empires fall … God’s kingdom reigns forever

In this section, King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and its interpretation is revealed. At the time, dreams were believed to be important vehicles through which God communicated with human thought. Kings were thought to be favored recipients of such divine messages.  But, the interpretation of a dream was often a mystery. Daniel makes it clear that the only reason he could respond to the needs of the kings was because God revealed the answers to him. The task was beyond the range of human intellect.  Daniel explained that the four layers of the statue represented the four political empires — the Babylonians, the Medo-Persians, the Greeks, and the Romans — that would rule that region in turn, but would ultimately fail. The outer glitz and glamour of this mighty statue represented the pride of power and arrogance of human strength and intellect that would lead to the downfall of the entire monarchal system and a divided kingdom.  Ultimately, all human empires break down, but the kingdom of God (the government of Christ, the rock of Truth) reigns forever (cit. B10, Daniel 2:27, 28, 31-37, 40, 41, 44).

The dream would cause King Nebuchadnezzar to consider God’s supremacy — at least for a moment.  Unfortunately, it is a lesson that seems to slip away over time — for rulers of the past and for us today. The false gods and material forms that try to impress us today may be more subtle than in times past.  Or they may be just as blatant — as seen in the attempt of the Russian “empire” to overthrow Ukraine’s government and sovereignty.   But, regardless of the form, anything that would suggest something other than the supremacy of God must crumble … regardless of how impressive it appears to be.

The fact is that Spirit, Mind, is the only true substance — and it is all good and permanent!  The dream we are dealing with today is what can be termed a “waking” dream.  We often don’t realize we are dreaming and so don’t realize the need to awaken from the dream.  Mary Baker Eddy refers to “the dream that matter and error are something” and says that this dream “must yield to reason and revelation” (cit. S14, 347:26-27).

I find it helpful to consider how real a sleeping dream can feel, while knowing that the images that appear to be so real are truly just a “formation of thought rather than of matter” (cit. S15, 71:10).  The same thing is true about all of the seemingly solid material forms around us — whether called transient and illusive beauty and good or entrenched evils such as disease, discord, limitations, and war.  The key to finding consistent harmony is to understand that Spirit is supreme — and actual —, whereas matter seems to be, but is not (as a dream seems to be true, but is not.).

Our job is to translate everything into thoughts, recognizing the permanent spiritual ideas that displace illusive material dreams that are always counterfeits (cit. S16, 123:11).  Peace is the reality and war is the dream.  Abundance is the reality and lack is the dream.  Health is the reality and disease is the dream.  No matter how glitzy the dream appears to be — it is a failing empire that must crumble and fall — leaving the supremacy of Spirit and the kingdom of God intact and a sure foundation for all to stand firm on.  And the same Mind that revealed the answers to Daniel is here to reveal answers to us and to all!


SECTION 4: GOD’S LAW LIBERATES

Every day we get to choose what laws we will honor, and what we will dismiss as illegitimate.  That is not a license to cheat, steal, kill, lie, or even disobey traffic laws.  But, choosing the law of Spirit, and rejecting the so-called laws of matter, enables us to demonstrate the freedom that Christ Jesus showed us is possible.  Jesus challenged — and annulled — the laws of disease, death, lack, insanity, and even the threat of mob violence.  And he refused to accept a false interpretation of the law forbidding work on the Sabbath.  In response to being questioned whether it was “lawful to heal on the sabbath day” Jesus responded with another question.  Was it right to liberate sheep who had fallen into a pit on the sabbath day?  Yes.  Well, then, certainly it was right to liberate a man from the limitation of a crippled hand (cit. B14, Matthew 12:10-13).

This is just one example of Jesus annulling “supposed laws of matter, opposed to the harmonies of Spirit.”  He demonstrated that such laws (sin, disease, death, war, limitation) lack “divine authority and [have] only human approval for their sanction” (cit. S20, 381:31).  Take away that human approval (or acceptance) by understanding that matter has no actual basis because it is opposed to the infinitude of God, Spirit. The material picture must change as we change our view.  There is no more important time than right now to assert our God-given authority to “argue the true facts in regard to harmonious being” (cit. S22, 376:18-26). No matter how convincing the dream of material testimony is, it is our responsibility to refuse the false laws and acknowledge God, Good, as the only law maker.  The law of God, which includes the principles of harmony, safety, love, health, life, and impartial abundance is supreme!

Our job is to not be persuaded to believe anything but what God has ordained.  That’s not burying our head in the sand. It is opening our eyes to the reality of God’s Kingdom, present now.  And, as we open our eyes, and hold unflinchingly to what is true, we will demonstrate harmony in our own lives and make it a reality for the entire world.  As Science and Health reveals, “God is the lawmaker, but He is not the author of barbarous codes” (cit. S23, 381:15).  Those barbarous codes which are expressed as pride, greed, arrogance, and evil of every kind have no source because they are not from God. Mankind lives and moves and has being in God — in harmony. So, regardless of how convincing the mortal picture is, we have a responsibility to hold to the true picture until the human experience coincides with the reality of God as the only lawmaker — the ultimate liberator!


SECTION 5:  THE NOISE OF MATTER IS SILENCED BY THE GREATNESS OF GOD

There’s a lot of noise bombarding us about all the bad stuff going on in our world these days. But, we need to remember that, in fact it is just noise!! Regardless of the material evidence, we need to remember, as the psalmist did, that “The sound of the water is loud. The ocean waves are powerful. But the Lord above is much greater” (cit. B15, Psalm 93:1, 4, ICB). No matter how unnerving the noise, God is greater!!

Psalm 46 goes on to describe the chaos and destruction posing as a threat then, as now — storms, wars, destruction (both mental and physical).  BUT, it also includes the instruction to “Be still, and know that I am God.”  Or, as The Message paraphrases that verse, ““Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything” (cit. B16, Psalms 46:2, 3, 6, 10).  How easy it seems to get mesmerized by the conditions of this world — to get caught up in all the noise and fear!  But, the way to help — to be a force for good — is to acknowledge the ever-presence of God and His Kingdom which is here even when it is invisible due to the fog of mortal sense that would so often envelop thought.

In a recent lecture that my branch church sponsored, the speaker gave an example of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California, disappearing from view whenever the heavy fog rolls in to the area — as it often does.  There is no sign that the bridge is there at all.  And yet, nothing has happened to it.  Cars continue to travel on it, and it is as sound as ever.  But it may be difficult to convince someone unfamiliar with the bridge of that fact.   “I don’t believe it!” they may say, “because my physical senses cannot verify what you are telling me.  There is no bridge!”  Their argument doesn’t change the fact, however!
[Click here if you want to hear and/or share more about the Golden Gate Bridge fog phenomena from this recent talk by Giulia Nesi Tetreau, CSB, entitled “The Quest To Experience God.”   The talk will be accessible on our church website at http://csheals.org/lectures until the end of March.]

I found this citation from Hebrews so po werful … “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear” (cit. B17, Hebrews 12:28). God’s kingdom — the reign of harmony — is untouched by the noise or fog of the mortal belief we call matter.  And, here, our prayer is to have the grace (the ability to be still and get out of the traffic) in order to serve God by bearing witness to what is true — to the presence of the greatness of God — regardless of appearances. This grace is summed up beautifully by this definition of the Greek given in Strong’s Concordance: “the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude.”

We can be grateful that the Kingdom is intact and that God is greater than the most egregious forms of matter.  And we can feel the divine influence on our heart — and know that the divine is having an influence on what appears to be the most hardened heart.

And, we can expect to see the physical evidence change to be in accord with the harmony of the Kingdom of God.  As Mary Baker Eddy says about this verse in Psalm 46, “‘He uttered His voice, the earth melted.’  This Scripture indicates that all matter will disappear before the supremacy of Spirit” (cit. S26, 97:11-13, 26).  Because, as the Golden Text assures us, God’s Word is like a fire and a hammer — crushing and burning anything that would oppose the supremacy of good!

We must stay firm and hold to what we know to be true. And, as “human thought changes… the visible manifestation will at last be man governed by Soul, not by material sense.” Continue to pray. Listen for God’s Word and magnify the good.  Acknowledge healing — big and small — your own and those of others — happening now, having happened in the past, and expected in the future.  In this way, we will prove “matter [to be] nothing more than a mortal belief” (cit. S27, 125:12-16, 21-25, 31-2).  And our whole world will be blessed!


A Ken Cooper POETIC POSTLUDE related to this Bible Lesson will SOON be POSTED on CedarS INSPIRATION website & EMAILED TO THOSE WHO SUBSCRIBE FOR IT HERE.

GEMs of BIBLE-BASED application ideas from COBBEY CRISLER and others are yet to be excavated and refined and so WILL BE POSTED later this week on CedarS INSPIRATION website & EMAILED TO THOSE WHO SUBSCRIBE FOR IT HERE.

 


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