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There is no  reliable good in a dualistic view of life.
Metaphysical application ideas for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

Substance”
for August 30 – Sunday, September 12, 2021

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

INTRODUCTION
As long as man has been thinking, writing, and creating art, there have been questions in our thought about the substance of reality. Christian Science may seem to have an unusual approach to this subject, but many of the ideas that are espoused in Christian Science have been around for millennia. Mary Baker Eddy studied the life of Christ Jesus deeply, as well as the roots of his life that began in the Old Testament. She points out that the Christ that was present in Jesus’ life, was an eternal presence that we see evidenced in so many of the stories in the Old Testament. “Before Abraham was, I am.” said Christ Jesus (John 8:58). And in so saying, he embraces and speaks to the idea of the timeless Christ that was there when Abraham left his homeland in obedience to God. Jesus’ Christly work was founded on the truth that matter is not the substance that it appears to be–that, in fact, God, Love, did not make matter, sick or well, and leave us to sort out the mess by being more or less spiritually minded. Rather, he taught that God’s creation is good, and he demonstrated this goodness by raising multitudes from sickness, sin, and even death. Mortal thought is convinced of its reality, substance, intelligence and its own sensation. No words will take away this conviction. These metaphysical notes will not likely convince anyone that matter has no true substance. It is only in our own individual, daily demonstration of this fact that we gradually yield our stubborn sense of material ‘substance’ to the glorious substance of spiritual truth.

There is only one man. This is the spiritual man of substance, the “holy” man spoken of in our Golden Text/Leviticus 19:2 Ye, 19 2nd thou (to 2nd:) this week. The suggestion that there is another “man”, a mortal one, is an insubstantial, fleeting concept of man as born into, and dying out of, matter. What do we do with the fact of man’s spiritual substantial being?  We live it, we look for it throughout our day, we challenge the suggestions that come to us that there is evil. These suggestions are not uncommon! But in as much as we can, we make the decision not to “sow” our “field with mingled seed.”, that is, we willingly keep our thought filled with God’s goodness and purity. Consider for even a moment that evil is not substantial. I asked one of my boys to name something that happened in their lives that was evil. They chose a time about a year ago, when a dog that we loved very much attacked our other dog, and we had to re-home her. So I walked him through this experience that definitely seemed really bad to us! First off, we were able to find a good home for her where she was an “only” dog which was what she needed to feel safe and loved. Second, it made room in our home for a smaller and sillier dog that loves our other dog, plays with her, and is fun and sweet with our Nana, who needs that kind of companion. He can easily curl up on her bed without taking up the whole thing! And our other dog just adores him, they play together almost to an obnoxious extent! So….was that circumstance really evil? Or did our ready thought, our recognition of Love’s only-ness, and goodness as present and powerful, open to our pets and to ourselves, the allness of God’s goodness, the true substance of good for all concerned? It is something to consider! Try this exercise with events in your own life that seemed “evil” at the time. I realize that my son’s choice might seem trivial, but the truths that it contains certainly apply to a bigger seeming loss. If you are really stumped you might consider that Jesus’ crucifixion certainly didn’t seem to have a “silver lining”, if you will, at the time! Yet, it was this very event that brought about the resurrection and sealed the triumph of the truth that life in God is continuous. If we look at an event in our experience that just doesn’t seem to be something that can be transformed in this way, consider looking at it daily and asking Love to reveal to you what the true substance of your experience is. See if this yields an answer. Christ’s message of comfort to man is still here today. We can expect to hear it with clarity as Jesus, Christ’s most perfect representative, broke down all barriers to man’s communication with Love through his preaching and healing work.

As we work through our days to understand the substantial and present nature of spiritual reality, it helps that we have statements such as this from James in our Responsive Reading:”…let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” This points to the fact that we work patiently with our human concept of things. We must grow gradually out of this material perception of matter as all there is. And we can do this only through diligent, daily, practice. There is no “spiritual bypass” here, no grandiose statements of spiritual truth that will bring us to this mountaintop of understanding and cause matter to suddenly disappear. It is our daily willingness to do this work of looking for God’s power and presence and acknowledging that it is God with us here and now. As I said in another met at one point, this may sound arduous. But it is far less painful than trying to make matter, and a life of materialism “work out” in a consistently joyful, satisfying, and peaceful way. Our Responsive Reading further encourages us to be “doers”, rather than simply hearers of the word (God’s word). The admonishment that “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.” also points out the nature of materialistic thinking and its inability to provide a stable, consistently joyful, “at peace” state of mind. The image of waves in the wind is a great visual to illustrate how mortal thought, without a spiritual anchor that feels deeply that God is All, can be “blown” about and influenced by every mortal appearance of evil. Keeping our thought focused (or “single”) brings light into our whole consciousness, and therefore into our bodies as well. (James 1:4-8, 16,17,22-25; Mat 6:22)

SECTION 1: THE SUBSTANCE OF CREATION IS THE WORD OF GOD.
The Word of God is the Christ, Truth that heals and speaks to human consciousness. So we can become conscious here and now of this spiritually substantial creation. Mary Baker Eddy defines substance in citation S1/468:17 as “…that which is eternal and incapable of discord and decay.” We can participate in this creation as we remain fully conscious of Love’s presence, even when things seem awful. We can choose to find gratitude in any circumstance and this can be a doorway to the substance of spiritual goodness that is present. This kind of substance is not generally visible to the human eye, yet it is no less substantial because of this. Consider, for a moment, a mother’s love for her child. This is not visible except through kind, gentle, loving actions. But the biggest part of this love is not “visible” to the eye! Yet is is certainly no less substantial because it is a deeply felt quality, rather than a physically visible one!

SECTION 2: A MIXED VIEW OF MAN CAUSES THE “…SILVER TO BECOME DROSS” AND “WINE MIXED WITH WATER”.
This is from Isa 1:22/B9. All that would make us powerful, lovely, intelligent, helpful, if rooted in a material sense of man, loses its power, loveliness and so on. This happens either through the death process, or because matter and a material view of man is based in duality. Duality is the view that there is both good and evil and that evil is just as real as good. Here’s the thing, all the information we get about evil and its so-called power, is gained from our material senses. (S7/301:6-20). We lose our recognition of ourselves as valued, loved, pure, when we take up the common view of man as a mixture of good and evil. This is the serpent suggestion that twists our consciousness, that confuses, misleads, and brings us down. This view cannot be mingled with the true and spiritual view of man as created in B6/Gen 1:27. We can assume that anytime confusion, anxiety, or shame enter the thought, we are entertaining a dualistic sense of man as tempted, vulnerable, separated from God. This “watered down” sense of creation has no value. We find our value in cherishing the true, spiritual view of man, and practicing it by acting in accord with the divine virtues of courage, gentleness, purity, steadfastness, faith, and so on.

SECTION 3: GOD IS ALL GOOD.
This short and sweet section draws on James and the illustration of the fountain that cannot send out at the same source fresh water and salt. (James 3:11,12/cit. B12) This image, along with the impossibility of a fig tree producing olives, are strong ones to hold in our thought when we are finding ourselves in challenging circumstances! Mary Baker Eddy tells us that this statement is “not to be overlooked”! (cit. S10/455:28-30).

It is all fine and good to accept that God is all good, and can only produce good, but it may be quite another challenge to honestly feel that we are experiencing only good. When we aren’t feeling well, or something is going badly for us, beyond claiming the fact that God is all there is and produces only good, what can we do to really demonstrate this fact for ourselves? I find it helpful to think of God/Love/Life/Truth as the law of Love/Life/Truth, etc. This law is always in operation.

We experience the benefits of God’s laws as we embrace obedience in our actions (demonstration) at all times, the best we can. We cannot pick and choose when we want to obey, for example, the law of Love. If we decide, for instance, that we are enticed by gossiping about someone, we are denying the all-goodness of Love and accepting that it is fun, exciting, or whatever, to engage in this unkind activity. The very fact that we have engaged in it opens us up to being a victim of the same, of experiencing the belief that Love can be absent for us! By accepting that Love is absent in that moment of gossip, we invite that same sense into our own lives, at some point, unless we correct our behavior and demonstrate Love’s allness.

SECTION 4: NO NEED TO WAIT FOR THE SUBSTANCE OF GOOD TO APPEAR!
I love this story of Jesus healing the man by the pool of Bethesda (John 5:2-9) because of its message of the “nowness” of God’s goodness. This man had waited by this “magical” pool for a material solution to his condition for 38 years! That’s a long time! His conception of God was limited to the idea that an angel would blow across the pool’s waters and only the first person into the pool would be healed by this angel. In other words, good was limited to a certain material circumstance that would never be available to him without a lot of help!

When we put our hope and trust wholly in a material solution, we often shut out the infinite goodness of God. God’s goodness is not confined to time, to place, to circumstance. It is not confined to our experience in Christian Science, our age, our wealth. God’s infinite substance of good is available to all through our welcoming of spiritual good, to the development of our spiritual sense of God’s goodness already present. This process is described in citation S12 as “The divine must overcome the human at every point.” We can work on this right now. We don’t wait until sometime later in life when we have already done the “fun things”. We are never putting off good. Paul says it best “behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2nd Cor 6:2 behold/B14)

SECTION 5: STICK WITH THE PURE MIND OF CHRIST.
This section contains the story of the sons of Sceva who is a Jew and a chief priest. These sons think to attain renown by imitating the works of Paul by casting out devils. They are not doing it from an understanding of God or a love of God, but through a motive of gaining power and fame. Except, in this case, the man that they approach in order to supposedly “cast out the devil”, ends up identifying them as frauds, and attacks them, overcomes them, and injures them. This is a great example of the misguided inclination to look to any combination of healing methods to meet a challenge.

If we are working to understand that God is the all and only good, it will only set us back to mix that journey with other ideas that rely on the supposed power of matter to solve our problems. There is an excellent article by Nathan Talbot called “The potency and power of Christian Science healing”. Here is a link:  https://journal.christianscience.com/shared/view/1oxhyd9jcy4?s=e . This article points out the challenges at large that argue against the power of Christian Science healing, and how we can be alert to them and thereby defeat them. Christian Science is not an “alternative system of healthcare”. It is the divine Christ-healing power available to us today as it was when Jesus demonstrated it more than 2000 years ago. The true, substantial nature of this healing system is shown in its continued power today. It is crucial to note, however, that it is not in Love, all-good, all-loving Love, to know of our efforts to make our way spiritward.

Love isn’t keeping track of the methods we choose in our hour of human need. We can always be assured that we are loved, cared for and always Love’s son or daughter even when we find ourselves driven at one time or another to find a solution for pain in something other than spiritual means. God is not an anthropomorphic personality keeping track of our human decisions and judging us as “good” or “bad”! We can rest assured that Love is holding our hand every step of the way as we strive to move forward.

SECTION 6: THE SUBSTANCE OF OUR LOVE FOR GOD IS MADE MANIFEST IN OUR DEMONSTRATION OF LOVE.
I love that we are told in the first citation of the Bible in this section that wisdom is so obvious that it “cries”, it calls out. (Prov.8:1)  And, understanding apparently speaks aloud, or “puts forth her voice”. I’ve never looked at this passage in this way! This is wisdom that is spiritually substantial, appearing throughout the Bible and still today. It is clear to us, and speaks to us in our present understanding.

Mary Baker Eddy points out that “Jesus mapped out the path for others. He unveiled the Christ, the spiritual idea of divine Love.” (cit. S25/  ). This means he did not leave us in the dark, with no clear way in front of us, but mapped the path we need to follow! He left nothing hidden, but gave us clear directions by which we can experience the substance of Christ’s healing power and presence.

It is a sure sign that we are accepting a sense of duality, of good and evil, when we find ourselves sitting in confusion.  Love is the virtue that is primary and substantial in our demonstration of this Science of Love. This clear demonstration of Love is illustrated poetically in Paul’s sermon on Love in 1st Corinthians 13 and included, in part, in citation B19. The virtues in this sermon of faith, hope, and, primarily, love, are substantial, eternal qualities that keep us practicing obedience to the Two Great Commandments that Mary Baker Eddy mentions in citation S28. (467:3-13) Our obedience to these laws and willingness to follow the path illuminated for us, bring us the only “true happiness” mentioned in citation S29 (337:7-10).

SECTION 7: SPIRITUAL SUBSTANCE IS THE ONLY SUBSTANCE.
We really are in service either to God or to matter. We are freest, most joyful, most limitless, healthy, when we are serving God. Bondage to matter is entangling, confusing, unhappy. Every single alternative translation of Matthew 6:24 that I looked up, translated the last part as: “You cannot serve both God and money.” I was interested by the direct translation of mammon as “money”. I had always thought of it more generally, as matter.

If we want to experience substantial, lasting happiness, it will not be found in matter of any kind. No security, joy, or true freedom comes with money. We can no more regard our security and happiness as being a combination of spiritual and material factors, than we can our health. There is no substantial joy or safety in a dualistic approach to our financial well-being, than there is in this approach to our health!

God’s goodness is abundant for each of us. Our consciousness of our well-being as residing in spiritual substance gives us all the stability we need. It is the opposite of what is stated in our Responsive Reading: “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.” We can be “single” minded, full of the light that radiates from Christ – today, and always.


CLICK BELOW FOR  INSPIRING INSIGHTS …
a Met Prelude of poetry by Ken Cooper, UK

and an in-works continuation of inspiring GEMs by COBBEY CRISLER and others


A NEW OPPORTUNITY FOR EXTENDING BIBLE-BASED SPIRITUAL GROWTH ACROSS THE WORLD!

At last night’s CedarS Sunday Zoom Hymn Sing (that is continuing on the first Sunday of each month),  CedarS Executive Director Holly Huff Bruland made an exciting  announcement! She shared that for Madelon Maupin’s October 21-25, 2021 Bible workshop on Genesis… there will be a Zoom attendance option with access to anytime recordings for those who attend either in person or virtually.  (Campership assistance for all family members  for the Zoom version may also be available…)  So, STAY TUNED for further details in an email later this week.


CedarS is humbly grateful to God that we completed 12 wonderful weeks of hosting summer campers and staff! You can enjoy daily spiritual sense insights by scrolling down our Inspiration webpage for “Prac Talks” to nearly start every day (& activity) with a  God-centered focus.  The last Prac Talk by David Price, CS, invited everyone to take home the best version of themselves that had been nurtured at CedarS and to expunge as never-true fables any lesser history. Abundant fruitage will be shared soon!!

Heartfelt thanks to all you, greatly NEEDED and precious supporters who continue to help CedarS give LIFELONG, DIFFERENCE-MAKING BLESSINGS to hundreds of families and thousands of individuals all across the U.S. and the world. To discuss how to play a vital, ongoing role in our work, feel free to call or text me (Warren Huff) at 314-378-2574 with your pledge or intent to give a planned gift or an endowment gift (that will be MATCHED!) to help us “love into view” continued, lasting blessings and legacies each year.

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