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[Follow the treasure map of understanding to find real Substance!]
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on


March 13, 2016

by Rick Stewart, C.S., Dresden, Germany Tel. +49 351 312 4736

[Click for PDF & larger-type options in CedarS online Met with these features on top.]

About a week ago my four-year-old daughter, Martha, and I had awakened from a nap. We decided it would be lots of fun to go outside with our dog, Theo. But first Martha told me she had to draw a treasure map. She took a clean sheet of paper and began drawing. When the paper was full she announced, “Okay Papa, we can go find our “Schatz!” (treasure) Martha consulted her treasure map and began leading us in a series of steps around our courtyard. First, she rode her bike around and I followed. Then. we played tag and also threw a stick for Theo to chase. She consulted her map further and led us to the swings. After a little further exploring she decided it was time to go upstairs. We had not discovered any money, any gold or diamonds, really nothing tangible that we could hold in our hands……… but what fun we had shared together.

It reminded me when my older brother Gary once said to me, “You know lots of times children only want a finger to hold onto and to lead you around where they want to go.” And that is exactly what I had experienced. In simply following Martha's leadership, with Martha consulting her treasure map, we had had a time that I will treasure forever.

I have discovered that this week's lesson on Substance is also that sort of map to our treasures. The Lesson begins with observations from King Solomon who learned to value above all else wisdom and understanding. I Kings 3:9 tells us what Solomon prayed for: “give Your servant an understanding mind and a hearing heart [with which] to judge Your people, so that I may discern between good and evil.” (Amplified Bible)

The Golden Text and the Responsive Reading are also from the writings of Solomon and give hints as to what Solomon had yearned to have, wisdom and understanding.

Golden Text Proverbs 8:14 I am (to ;), 20, 21 . “ I am understanding; . . . I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment: That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.” (The “I” in this verse is wisdom speaking.)

Responsive Reading Ecclesiastes 1:1; 2:4–7, 8 I gat, 9 (to :), 10, 11, 13

Here Solomon recounts his great possessions and accomplishments and wealth and then shares what he learned about all those “things.” “Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun. Then I saw that wisdom excelleth folly, as far as light excelleth darkness. “

Solomon, one of the super-rich of the time, had clearly learned what to treasure, and it was not things, but thoughts.

A dictionary investigation of “substance” will for the most part consist of descriptions of matter in various forms, but there are some hints of a deeper meaning. The root of the word substance is described as coming from Middle English around 1200 and from Latin. Substantia: substance, essence, that which stands under, underlies. Interesting, “that which stands under” Understanding?

Most of the world immediately thinks of matter when it comes to substance: elements, compounds, wealth, etc. All made up of various forms of matter! And then I checked in my favorite dictionary of the English language, Merriam-Webster and I discovered the following definition:
1a: essential nature: essence b: 1a fundamental or characteristic part or quality 1c: Christian Science: God Merriam Webster

Section 1: Substance is Spirit

The Bible and Science and Health citations in this section make a strong Biblical case that substance is indeed spiritual, actually Spirit itself. In Bible Citation B3** Jesus addressed this true sense of substance and what we should treasure, Matthew 6:19–21 “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

So where do we discover this real treasure, substance, Spirit?

Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Question. — What is substance? Answer. — Substance is that which is eternal and incapable of discord and decay. Truth, Life, and Love are substance, as the Scriptures use this word in Hebrews: “The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Spirit, the synonym of Mind, Soul, or God, is the only real substance. The spiritual universe, including individual man, is a compound idea, reflecting the divine substance of Spirit.” (S1, 468:16–24)

And this Bible Lesson is the treasure map leading us this week to discover our own personal treasure!

Section 2: Spiritually substantial giving, the example from Elijah the Prophet

I have always found great inspiration in this account of Elijah and the widow from Zarephath, see citation B8. In a time of great need, a drought and famine, God directs Elijah to go to a widow that was living in extreme poverty. A widow, about to gather two sticks to bake a tiny bit of bread and die… What in the world was God thinking of? Couldn't he have found a local Bill Gates, a rich man, to take care of Elijah? What is the lesson here? Perhaps, trust in God's ability to feed and sustain the whole earth, unlimited resources of Spirit, substantial resources based on Spirit?

As God brings Elijah into the widow's experience she is asked to give. She is asked to give from her seeming tiny amount of resources. And as she gives, first her willingness to fetch a pail of water, to give the Prophet a drink (in a drought), and then a cake (bread) that she thought was her very last food!

Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Whatever holds human thought in line with unselfed love, receives directly the divine power.” (S10, 192:30 30)

I know the temptation is always to think of ourselves and what we do not have! And sometimes in the littlest situations—for example: We needed a car seat for Martha, the next step in size. We had a couple old ones that Noah, Johann, and Alma had used. But they were not in the best shape. So we took a family trip to the shop to look at them. Susanne's idea was just to look because she knew her account did not have enough to buy the seat. We looked and found a good seat, one that was so nice that Alma also asked if she could have one also. So now that is two seats, not just one. I knew I had the money in my account to pay for them, but I also knew I was saving that money for another debt coming up in a week or so. But it came to me very clearly that the right thing was to buy the seat, to actually buy both seats. And even though I knew there was a debt coming next week I felt right in doing this. We left the shop and everyone was happy and as we rode home everyone was safer.

When I got home I checked the account that the money would go out of and to my surprise there was an amount credited to the account that day that was double the amount for the seats. It seems that someone that I had worked for over several months (and that I had not intended to charge) had sent a payment for double the amount I needed. I was able to pay for both seats and still ended up with more in my account than before. A tiny little lesson—just like Elijah and the widow. We can do what we are asked to do.

Section 3: Letting the false view of substance go.

I will never forget one of my most powerful lessons learned from William Shakespeare. Well actually it was not from Willy direct, but from a dear friend, and fellow church member in Palatka, Florida, Lawrence Hutcherson. One day we were speaking of someone taking something from us and Lawrence declared with such conviction, “Who steals my purse steals trash!” (Othello, Act 3, Scene 3) In that moment I understood because of Lawrence’s understanding and conviction that what’s in one’s purse is not a good indication of their true wealth.

This ties in with Mary Baker Eddy’s definition of “PURSE. Laying up treasures in matter; error.” (S11, 593:6)

In Citation B13, Jesus cautions through parable the hoarding, accumulating, storing of stuff. He concludes “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Luke 12:34)

I have found that the safest place to keep our riches is not in our purse but in the grace of God that is expressed all around us. You cannot lose that grace, no matter what happens.

I remember a time between my sophomore and junior year of university when I had worked in a special project of The Mother Church. It was called the Low Cost Housing Project. A group of 6 young Christian Scientists were gathered from around the country. Our services were made available to a construction company that was renovating burned-out and abandoned houses to provide affordable housing in the South End of Boston, near to the Mother Church. It was a great summer and we had worked really, really hard. As the summer drew to a close and I prepared to head home for university I closed out my Boston bank account. All my hard-earned wages were put in the form of a cashier's check. The entire summer. I packed my things and flew home. Upon arrival I unpacked and looked for that check! I could not find it anywhere. I looked through everything in my suitcase. It could not be found. I could not tell you how hard we had worked and now it looked like all my savings were gone. I was heartbroken at the loss. I prayed and called the bank in Boston. I explained my situation. They explained that there would have been a receipt along with the check. I know. I had seen both the receipt and the check as I packed and both were just gone. I did a lot of soul searching. What was the true value of my summer; could it actually be gone in a flash as my wages seemed to have disappeared? As I was forced to recall all the joys, triumphs, lessons, and blessings of that summer I was absolutely filled with gratitude. I actually reached a point of peace and refused to feel any sense of loss. And then, only after that resolution, I received a call from the bank. They recommended we put a stop-payment on the original check and then they would be happy to issue a new check at no extra cost! But, but in the meantime I had been forced to recapture and remember all the treasures of that summer. And rest assured although those funds have long since disappeared, my spiritual treasures have remained.

Section 4: The Prodigal Son, forced return to discover that Love never stopped.

“Looking for love in all the wrong places” by Johnny Lee was a hit back in 1980. It was part of the “Urban Cowboy” film soundtrack. For me it has always been a sort of country song version of the Prodigal Son.

I think many of us have faced the same kind of experience as found in the parable that has become known as The Parable of the Prodigal Son. (B16, Luke 15) Perhaps our experience may not have been so dramatic or maybe even just as bad, but the wonderful thing is that we always find the Father waiting for our awakening, our return.

Mrs. Eddy writes in citation S16 “The real man being linked by Science to his Maker, mortals need only turn from sin and lose sight of mortal selfhood to find Christ, the real man and his relation to God, and to recognize the divine sonship.” (316:3–7) [This is a linking citation for The Link School that has helped many Christian Science teens find their way to closeness with their heavenly Father through inspiring, experiential education experiences.]

I have been thinking a lot lately about God's “Goodometer.” You know that is the meter that registers all the Good in the universe and for that matter the good in our experience. And this is the conclusion I have come to, that in “God's eyes” our Good never fades, never dies, never declines, is never destroyed. One of my favorite hymns in the Christian Science Hymnal is 238,239. It is based on a poem by John Greenleaf Whittier, “The Chapel of the Hermits.” I love this line, “That all of good the past hath had, remains to make our own time glad, Our common daily life divine, And every land a Palestine.”

There is much of the spirit of the Prodigal in this line. That good remains eternal, and a single turn on our part brings us right back into the Presence of Good in all our life.

I remember one day when I came across this sentence in Science and Health, “It is Christian Science to do right, and nothing short of right-doing has any claim to the name.” (448:28-30) It occurred to me that this is the simple metanoia repentance that Jesus asked of each of us. A simple turn, a turn to right doing—or as Spike Lee puts it in his famous film, “Do the right thing.”

What I realized is that turn, that “coming to ourselves,” instantly puts us in the realm of substance, the realm of the real, a return to the waiting arms of our Father-Mother. What had appeared as looming mountains of lack, mistake, regret, hurt… suddenly is thrust in the full light of the true substance of Divine Love.

Today's front page newspaper in Copenhagen carried a story that there is too much diagnosis of ailments. Since the author's first studies the acceptable blood pressure level has been lowered many times. His conclusion is that there is too low a level of diagnosis leading to treatment. Also concluding that we are actually healthier than is reported.

Section 5: Metaphysics, revealing the true substance of Spirit

The promise of metaphysics looking beyond and above physics or matter has so many examples that are all around us in daily life. For example, I grew up in Ocala, Florida. One of our beloved local celebrities was Herpetologist and Naturalist, Ross Allen. What I knew about Ross mostly came from Newt Perry, my boss for many years when I was a lifeguard. Newt was close friends with Ross and the two of them would often head out together into the Ocala National Forest in search of adventure. One of the things Newt shared was that he had never seen anyone that could spot animals like Ross Allen. Newt said that Ross saw animals that no one else would have ever seen. It seemed to be an innate ability to look right through ”the forest for the trees” or in this case for the animal: snake, bear, bobcat, panther or alligator. (We have them all.) The piercing vision, the discernment, the perception to see with eyes trained to see what needs to be seen.

For me this is what this wonderful Science of Being does for each of its students. Where material-mindedness presents an impenetrable forest of beliefs, this Science sees right through the dense underbrush of matter.

For example when Mary Baker Eddy first discovered this Science she was looking at little prospect of continuing in this life. As many of you know she had fallen on the ice in February, 1866 in Lynn, Massachusetts. An attending doctor and also her pastor gave her little hope for survival. And then, she called for her lifelong friend, her Bible, and as they say, the rest is history. Here is a brief account of her life-saving healing in her own words,

“St. Paul writes: “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”This knowledge came to me in an hour of great need; and I give it to you as death-bed testimony to the daystar that dawned on the night of material sense. This knowledge is practical, for it wrought my immediate recovery from an injury caused by an accident, and pronounced fatal by the physicians. On the third day thereafter, I called for my Bible, and opened it at Matthew ix. 2. As I read, the healing Truth dawned upon my sense; and the result was that I rose, dressed myself, and ever after was in better health than I had before enjoyed. That short experience included a glimpse of the great fact that I have since tried to make plain to others, namely, Life in and of Spirit; this Life being the sole reality of existence.”

Mis. 24:1-18

Mrs. Eddy discovered this metaphysical Science that enabled her to see right through the false beliefs that were trying to condemn her to death. We do learn to look beyond matter to the substance of Spirit.

As Paul wrote, “we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (B19, II Corinthians 4:18)

As Mary Baker Eddy puts it, “As mortals gain more correct views of God and man, multitudinous objects of creation, which before were invisible, will become visible. When we realize that Life is Spirit, never in nor of matter, this understanding will expand into self-completeness, finding all in God, good, and needing no other consciousness.” (S26, 264: 13-19)

Section 6: The treasure of true substance.

“Treasure is from the Greek meaning ‘treasure store, and is a concentration of riches, often those that originate from ancient history, considered lost and/ or forgotten until being rediscovered.’”

Our Master, Christ Jesus shared this parable, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.” (B23, Matthew 13:44)

Recognizing, seeing, accepting, discovering a treasure is something we all can do more of in our everyday life. The treasure of family members we have begun to take for granted. The treasure of a job that seems to have lost some of its shine. The treasure of the simple joys of everyday life. The treasure of maintaining a sense of discovery and adventure every single day. Or at the absolute head of the list, the treasure of the Gospel, the simple Good News that the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, is within us. This greatest of all treasures is not distant, not unreachable; it is here, at hand, right where you can get your hands on it. Where we can all discover that Spirit is the one and only substance.

As a teenager I received a gift from my dad that I have always cherished and has always reminded me about where we look for treasure. Dad returned from a convention and brought me a copy of the speech, “Acres of Diamonds,” by Russell Conwell. You can read or listen to this speech in Conwell's own voice. He gave this speech over 6,152 times in the early part of the 1900s.

“The central idea of “Acres of diamonds,” is that one need not look elsewhere for opportunity, achievement, or fortune—the resources to achieve all good things are present right in one’s own backyard!

That is exactly what Martha and I discovered together. Following her treasure map we went from one great, simple adventure to another. And so is it for each of us. We discover right in our own backyard, right in our own daily experience, and the treasures of God's Love just waiting to be recognized and discovered.

In 1965 I was eleven years old and went with my mom to a Christian Science lecture in the nearby town, Eustis, Florida. I remember the lecturer, Lenore Hanks. I can still remember the auditorium. But what I did not know was that my mom was there at that lecture in great need. The terrifying belief of a destructive sense of substance was looming as a threat to my mom's life. Like I said I had no idea. But mom had been approaching this suggestion with all her spiritual understanding. And right there in that lecture that afternoon mom discovered her treasure, her real treasure, the understanding that there is in fact only one substance, Spirit. And matter had in fact no substance at all. Mom left that lecture completely healed. And what followed after that treasure being discovered was another thirty-five years of a Christian Healing practice that touched thousands of lives. Here is a link to a written copy of that lecture. If you happen to have no access to the internet and would like to have a copy, just give me a call.

As Mary Baker Eddy states it “The testimony of the corporeal senses cannot inform us what is real and what is delusive, but the revelations of Christian Science unlock the treasures of Truth.” (S27, 70:2–5)

And, “Christians rejoice in secret beauty and bounty, hidden from the world, but known to God.” (S28,15:25–26)

Sounds like what we have discovered in Christian Science qualifies as treasure!

[** See Online version of this Met (upper right) for Cobbey Crisler commentary Downloads on a couple of Bible citations.]

[CedarS featured need again this week: Completion of funding for the new CedarS Sports Center! In the coming months, we are finishing the steel structure over the concrete pad of a new CedarS Sports Center in honor of Corde Hanzlik. (See pic(s) in the link below and at the end of last week's online Downloads.) Corde’s immediate family is generously funding the construction of the 21,600 square foot gym building, featuring a multi-sport covered court. To utilize the facility at full capacity, we are hoping to raise funds for the additional items (large and small) listed at this link. Thank you for contributing in Corde's honor to this needed legacy gift for this and coming summers of happy CedarS campers! You can see more details and UPDATES as well as GIVE ONLINE to help us finish it at: Thank you in advance for checking out this need and supplying it, seeing your own good in the good of many!]

[IT WOULD BE A HUGE, HUGE ANSWER TO PRAYER to have MORE MONTHLY GIFTS ONLINE which you can easily set up at .

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